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Sleep & Naps

Getting your little one to sleep like a baby can be a lot easier said than done. Huggies has compiled articles, advice and answers on how to get both you and your newborn snoozing soundly.

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Good Sleepers Gone Bad

Your beddy-bye routine hasn’t changed, so why is your child suddenly rousing like a pop-up toy at all hours of the night? A few answers that will help:

The sleep situation: A change in routine. When Andrea Everett, a mom of two, and her family moved from one home in Minneapolis, Minnesota to another, she knew there would be some adjustments. But nothing prepared her for her toddler’s new 5 a.m. wake-up time. "It was almost like he was an infant all over again," she says. She pushed his bedtime back from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in 15-minute intervals, which did the trick. Travel, illness, giving up naps, and daylight savings time can similarly throw off a child’s sleep at night, says Ari Brown, M.D., a pediatrician in Austin, Texas, and author of the Expecting 411 series. The disrupted cycle easily becomes the new normal unless parents take snooze control.

The sleep solution: Reverse! Reverse! "When there has been a change in schedule, go back to the exact same old routine as soon as possible," says Dr. Brown. "A child will fall back to her normal sleeping patterns as long as parents are consistent. Of course, it won’t happen right away. Be patient—it may take a couple of nights."


The sleep situation: Night scares. Bad dreams are usually accompanied by tears and some anxiety. With night terrors, a sleep-cycle abnormality, children typically wake at about the same time each night, screaming, and have no recall of the terror in the morning.

The sleep solution: Comfort. For bad dreams, simply reassuring your child should help. Talk through what specifically scared her. Did a monster come at her? If so, you can say into the air, "Listen up, monster! Don’t you come back here!" Then give her a special stuffed animal for protection. If your child is experiencing frequent night terrors, discuss it with your pediatrician, who may recommend anything from relaxation techniques to medication.

The sleep situation: Your child’s not into the big-boy bed. For most kids, age 3 is the best time to make the move (unless your child has been climbing out of the crib); any sooner and you risk sleep disruptions.

The sleep solution: Dr. Brown advises a fanfare-free transition—if you make too big of a deal about it, she says, "there is potential for pushback." Emphasize independence: Tell your tot, "Now you’re big enough to climb into a bed on your own, won’t that be cool?"


The sleep situation: I’m thirsty, and other games. All the get-out-of-bed ploys your tot is pulling prove she’s one smart cookie (as if there were ever any doubt).

The sleep solution: Set limits. Each night, give her one token (a beanbag works fine) that’s redeemable for an extra hug or glass of water. "Of course, the token usually gets cashed five minutes after you shut the door," Dr. Brown notes. "Then you say ‘Good night’ and stick to it—no exceptions."

Sleeping baby on white blanket

Bonding at Bedtime

"Too often, families have so much going on that bedtime becomes a frantic time of finishing dinner, squeezing in baths, trying to share the news (for the first time) from that day," Dr. Dawn Huebner, a clinical psychologist and author of What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Anxiety (Magination Press, 2005) explains "It is better for kids to have a half-hour or so before bedtime to connect with their parents in a positive way — to talk and play and be together."

Bedtime can get even more hectic, when you start introducing underwear at night. Some kids and parents get anxious with the thought of nighttime accidents. However, nighttime wetting is a very normal thing and nothing that can be trained; it must be outgrown. In fact, one-in-six children age 3 - 6 still sometimes wet the bed. Most of the time, nighttime wetting happens simply because the child’s bladder control isn’t mature. Just as children develop fine motor skills and language skills at different rates, they develop bladder control on their own schedules as well.

So, how do you handle your child’s nighttime wetting? Since all you can do is wait until your child’s bladder matures, using GoodNites® Bed Mats can help your child rest through the night and help you cut down on sheet changes. Visit for a coupon. In addition, below are some easy steps to help make bedtime a relaxing time.

Creating a Relaxing Bedtime

Dr. Huebner recommends turning electronics off an hour before bedtime, leaving time for a 30-minute nighttime activity that is interesting and fun without being overstimulating: a nighttime walk, a family game, a puzzle, the telling of family stories or other calming event.

Then, Dr. Huebner advises a three-part bedtime routine that she calls "shift, snug and snooze."

Shift Time


"Shift time" is the 5 or 10 minutes that provide the transition to bed — a light snack, a final hug to all the pets, washing up, etc.

If you are ready to try underwear at night, you can add GoodNites® Bed Mats to your shift time. They are a simple way to give your child restful nights and help you cut down on sheet changes.

Snug Time

Then kids climb into bed for "snug time," which can be 10 to 15 minutes of reading or talking with Mom or Dad.

Snooze Time

"Snooze time" is the last part of the bedtime routine — maybe a brief back rub or a favorite song, or a special way of saying I love you — the final two or three minutes that signals kids to close their eyes, snuggle down and fall asleep.

"The shift-snug-snooze routine helps kids feel calm and connected, rather than keyed up and hungry for parental attention — the perfect recipe for sleep," Dr. Huebner says.

Image : Getty


Rockabye Baby Sleep Timeline

Ask any new parent what they wish for most and the common answer will likely be a good night’s sleep. Most babies however seem to know how to do it very well. In fact, they sleep most of the day (even though it’s in short stretches and not always long enough for mom to take a shower….).

But how do you know whether your baby’s patterns are normal and when will he finally start to sleep through the night? At the beginning, you may find it hard to get a cute picture of your baby without his or her eyes closed since, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, infants up to one year should sleep about 12 to 16 hours or more a day. And that sleep usually comes in 1 to 4 hour stretches, with the intervening hours filled with feeding, bathing and diapering. And of course, some babies get day and night mixed up so their liveliest waking hours hit just when you’d like to be hitting the sack.

So how much sleep does your baby really need? Here’s some sleep facts from the American Academy of Pediatrics and

  • In the first few weeks of life, babies need their rest and their sleep patterns are usually unpredictable. They’re not ready for a true schedule. Plan to be up several times in the night to change, feed and comfort your infant.
  • At 6 to 8 weeks, most babies begin to stay awake longer between naps, sleeping for shorter periods during the day and longer at night. Some even begin to sleep through the night (for 8 hour or more stretches) by as early as 6 weeks, but that won’t happen for others until at least 5 or 6 months. If you have an all-night sleeper, you might not want to brag too much about it to the other bleary-eyed parents at the playground. Just enjoy your zzzzz’s privately.
  • By 4 months, babies begin to follow a more predictable pattern of daytime sleep and have dropped most of their nighttime feedings. Many experts advise you start to give your baby the chance to fall asleep by himself by laying him down when he’s sleepy but still awake.
  • You can start to plan regular naps and begin to establish bedtime routines when baby reaches about 6 months. Baby will now be sleeping about 15 hours a day, including naps.
  • By 9 months babies begin to consolidate their naps down to 2, taking one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Help baby sleep through the night by staying dry for up to 12 hours in Huggies® Overnites Diapers. 
  • From one to two years old, babies sleep about 11 to 14 hours in a 24-hour period (including naps) and from age 3 to 5 it drops to 10 to 13 hours of rest. 

As your child grows, consistent bedtime rituals of bathing, quiet time and bedtime stories will relax him and prepare him for bed. Soon you’ll be having quiet evenings and nights of uninterrupted sleep. And just wait till the teen years when they sleep till noon!

Image : Getty


5 Ways to Give Baby a Great Night’s Sleep

While parenting your baby is full of surprises, one thing is for sure – a well-rested baby is a happy baby. Creating nighttime routines is one of the best ways to ensure that your baby will get to bed easily and sleep comfortably for longer stretches of time. Here are five suggestions for establishing a winning bedtime plan.

  1. Tone down the room. By dimming the lights and turning off all TVs and other screens you can start to prepare baby for a soothing transition to bedtime.  Bringing the energy level down and playing soft music will help your baby relax and feel calm.

  2. Prepare a warm bath. A gentle bath is a lovely way for baby to end their day and transition from dinner to bed. If your baby gets upset when you wash and rinse their hair, save that part of the bath for daytime. The bath shouldn’t be long, but it should include baby specific bath products and soft cloths and towels for their sensitive skin.

  3. Incorporate story time. Reading to your baby is one of the best things you can do for them. Nighttime reading not only introduces your baby to words and rhythms, but also allows for quality cuddle time before bed. Choose books that focus on going to bed, such as a tried and true classic like Goodnight Moon, or books with a repetitive rhythm like Brown Bear, Brown Bear. Set up a reading chair in the nursery so you can easily put baby down in the crib as soon as the reading time is over.

  4. Consistency is key. When establishing a bedtime routine it’s important to keep things the same, and don’t drag it out too long. Work backwards from your baby’s ideal bedtime, and create a routine that can be completed in about 30-45 minutes. You baby will start to automatically recognize the cues and will look forward to winding down the day and preparing for sleep. If you will be out of town or your schedule will be out of whack be sure to pack key elements of the routine such as books, Huggies® OverNites®, and baby bath soap, so your baby can still have a good night’s sleep.

  5. Help baby stay dry all night.Keeping baby dry overnight can help prevent nighttime waking and let baby sleep longer. To ensure your little one is comfortable all night long, swap out your regular daytime diaper for one made especially for nighttime. Huggies® OverNites®  hug them all night with a diaper scientifically designed for sleep. These nighttime diapers prevent leaks and let baby's skin breathe, helping keep them protected and fast asleep.

Building a foundation for a good night’s sleep is a gift you can give your baby. By establishing a regular bedtime ritual, making sure baby stays dry all night, and creating a calm atmosphere, you will help your baby sleep better so you can all have a good night and an even better next day.

Image : Getty


Spring Forward, Fall Back, Tips to Keep Baby & Toddlers Sleep Schedules on Track

When it comes to sleep, newborns tend to have a straightforward schedule because they pretty much spend an average of 16 hours a day sleeping. In fact, most babies won’t develop a regular sleep cycle until sometime around 6 months of age. Of course, that doesn’t mean that parents have the luxury of waiting half a year before considering their little one’s sleep schedule.

“Sleeping is one of the first things that babies learn as an independent skill and we have to support them in learning that skill,” says Marianne Jacobson a certified sleep coach, doula and owner of Pediatric Sleep Consulting in Seattle. “Setting up good sleep habits from the beginning will help baby become a better sleeper.”

Here’s what you need to know about how to help keep baby’s sleep schedule on track now and in the future.

Plan for an early bedtime

According to Jacobson, the most common sleep schedule challenges are often due to baby not getting enough sleep. If your little one goes to sleep too late, or the gap between the end of the last nap and bedtime is too long, baby will probably not sleep well. What to do? When in doubt, simply put your little one to sleep earlier.

Nurture independence

Try to avoid putting baby down when she is super exhausted (eye rubbing and overall fussiness are clues) or when she is already asleep. To help your little one learn how to fall asleep on her own, Jacobson recommends putting baby down when she is awake and in a “calm and alert” state. This will not only make things easier on you and baby, it’s also a great way to help support your little one in gradually developing the ability to be able to fall asleep without you.

Be a stickler about sleep

“It is imperative that parents maintain baby’s sleep schedule on the weekend,” says Jacobson. Babies can’t distinguish between weekdays and weekends, but they certainly can (and do) react to disrupted schedules. If you’re heading out on a Saturday night, get a sitter so that baby can continue to follow her sleep schedule. You can ensure that baby stays comfortable and dry throughout the night with Huggies® Overnites Diapers. If baby must go with you, squeeze in an extra late nap so that your little one will have the stamina to stay awake. Just keep in mind, baby’s body clock may be thrown off for at least 24-36 hours after your late night, so you might have to work a little harder to get the sleep schedule back on track.

Monitor daytime calories

When babies get plenty of calories during the day, they are more likely to have an easier time going to sleep at bedtime and getting a better night’s sleep overall. If your little love does not get enough calories in during the day, it could lead to all-night feedings as baby tries to catch up on the calories that were not consumed in the daytime. It's always best to discuss with your pediatrician before making any changes, they'll advise you based on your baby's health, age, weight and feeding schedule.

Rule out medical issues

You may find that you are doing everything right and following the best advice, but still your little one does not sleep well. Keep in mind that there are many medical issues that can complicate sleep too. Babies with reflux, sleep apnea, low calorie intake and other medical challenges can definitely have difficulty sleeping. Always contact your pediatrician to discuss any possible medical concerns that you may have about your baby. 

Image : Getty


FAQ Sleep Questions

The key to helping your little one fall asleep is creating a comfortable and safe environment. We polled several sleeping experts to find out what essential must-knows can help your baby boy or girl finally calm down and enter the Land of Nod.

How can I help my baby fall asleep?

“The best thing you can do to help your baby fall asleep at night is to create a great sleep environment,” says Haleigh Almquist, Certified Lactation Counselor, Advanced Certified Newborn Care Specialist, Post-Partum Doula and Founder and CEO of Hush Hush Little Baby Newborn Care.

How to create a comfy sleeping space:

  • Make sure the room is completely dark.
  • Have a source of white noise (a fan, pointed away from baby; a white-noise machine, or a radio set to static all work well).
  • Adjust the room temperature to 20-22 degrees Celsius.

Your nighttime routine can also help baby fall asleep. “Create a routine that prepares your child to unwind, settle and let go of the day,” says Dr. Fran Walfish, a psychotherapist and author of “The Self-Aware Parent.”

For a healthy and helpful bedtime routine, try the following:

  • Give baby a bath.
  • Give baby a massage.
  • Cuddle with baby and read a book or sing a song.
  • Put baby to bed slightly awake.
  • Introduce a transitional, self-soothing object like a pacifier.

How much sleep does my baby need and when will my child sleep through the night?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), newborn babies from birth to 3 months require 16-18 hours of sleep each day. By 4 months, your baby should be able to go eight or more hours without eating, and should be ready to sleep through the night. And, by 5 months, baby should only need about 10 hours total of sleep (often spread throughout three sleep sessions daily: two naps and nighttime sleeping). “Sleeping through the night means something different for each family. I consider a period of 6-8 hours of continuous sleep a success. Some babies sleep through the night at 4 months, but for others it may take up to a year,” says Almquist.

How many naps should my baby have — and when?

“Newborns spend more time asleep than they do awake,” Almquist says. “But after 4 months, they should maintain two or three scheduled naps spread throughout the day.”

How do I keep my baby safe while sleeping?

The AAP recommends the following:

  • Always put babies to sleep on their back, never on their stomach.
  • Only put baby to sleep on a firm surface, and remove any objects from inside the crib, particularly crib bumpers.
  • Put newborn babies to sleep in the same room where you will be sleeping, within arm’s reach.
  • No smoking.
  • Let baby sleep with a pacifier. If you are breastfeeding, wait until breastfeeding is going well before offering a pacifier.

How can I help my baby fall asleep?

  1. Shushing: Also, the womb is 80-90 decibels (louder than a vacuum cleaner) thanks to the whooshing of maternal blood flow,” says Melissa Gersin, a maternity RN and infant crying specialist with the Massachusetts Department of Health..“‘Shh-ing’ or white noise (can help), as these mimic the comforting sounds of the womb.”
  2. Rocking and swaying: Rocking or swaying baby mimics the gentle motion of the womb, and can act as a sleep aid.
  3. Sucking: A pacifier or nursing before putting baby down for the night help your little one relax and prepare for a nice, long rest.

About Our Experts:
Dr. Fran Walfish is a Beverly Hills, California-based child, parenting and relationship psychotherapist, and author of “The Self-Aware Parent.” Haleigh Almquist is a Certified Lactation Counselor, Advanced Certified Newborn Care Specialist, Post-Partum Doula and founder and CEO of Hush Hush Little Baby Newborn Care ( Melissa Gersin is a maternity RN and Massachusetts Department of Health infant crying specialist.



Your Top Baby Sleep Questions, Answered…Fast!

We know you’ve got a lot of questions about your baby’s sleep habits but not much time to read the answers. Voila! Los Angeles pediatrician Harvey Karp, M.D., creator of the popular book and DVD The Happiest Baby on the Block, shares super-quick advice—we’re talking 25 words (or less).

Q. How much sleep do babies need in a day?

A. On average: Newborns, about 16 hours; 6 to 9 months, 14 hours; 9 to 12 months, 13 hours.

Q. What’s the fastest way to get a newborn to calm down for sleep?

A. Wrap your baby snuggly in a blanket—it mimics the close quarters of the womb.

Q. Do babies really need to sleep on their backs?

A. Yes, to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Once baby’s a year old and can roll over, he can sleep on his stomach or back.

Q. Will feeding baby more at night or putting cereal in her bottle help her sleep longer?

A. No. It can actually lead to indigestion, which makes it harder for baby to sleep.

Q. If you keep baby up late, will he fall asleep faster and sleep better?

A. Nope. Being overtired amps up baby’s stress hormones and leads to more night wakings.

Q. Should I be waking my baby up for feedings at night?

A. Possibly—it depends on how a baby is gaining weight. Discuss with your pediatrician.

Q. What’s the deal with crib bumpers—do or don’t?

A. A don’t for newborns, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. They increase the SIDS risk.

Q. Crib aquariums and white noise machines: good idea or not?

A. Good idea: They’re soothing. Also, your baby will associate whooshing sounds with sleep (and sleep)!

Q. When do babies start sleeping through the night?

A. More than half of babies sleep five to eight hours at a stretch anywhere from 2 to 6 months old.

Q. If baby sleeps well in a car seat, is it OK to have him sleep in it at night?

A. No—babies can’t breathe as well sitting up, another SIDS risk. Transfer him to a crib.

Q. How do I get my newborn to sleep nights instead of days?

A. Keep her awake more often during the day and do several feedings in the evening.

Q. How important is it to have a bedtime ritual for babies?

A. They’re key. Routines help even newborns know what’s coming, so they’re more ready to snooze.

Q. How do I discourage nighttime wakings, as baby gets older?

A. Don’t be fun or playful and keep the lights low. Baby will get the message.

Q. When is it time to "sleep train" my baby?

A. Wait until at least 6 months, when baby’s brain has matured enough to establish patterns.


Tips for Coping With Long Term Sleep Deprivation

By: Mary McBride

While we were in Ethiopia with Elvie, my husband and I took turns taking the night shift, but once we got home, it became clear that it would be best if I would just do the night feedings every night. Not only did Jarod have to get out of bed at a reasonable hour and have his mind functioning clearly at work, but I tend to hear Elvie before Jarod wakes. As much as I’d love to still be taking turns, it simply makes more sense for me to take the night shift every night.

For awhile, Elvie was waking every hour, sometimes even after just 45 minutes, simply because she was hungry, and her teeny, tiny stomach couldn’t take in enough nutrition to hold her over for very long. Now that she has grown and gained plenty of weight, she doesn’t wake as often, but still needs to eat more frequently than most babies her age due to her birth defect and history of malnutrition. Teaching her to sleep through the night just isn’t an option right now, so I’ve figured out some ways to help make the days go more smoothly and ensure that I’m not a grump to my family 100% of the time. If you’re riding in the sleep deprivation wagon, I’m so sorry, but also: welcome! Feel free to try any of these tips to help you make it through.

Generous Amounts of Coffee

No one wants to get jittery, so I wouldn’t say more is always better, but starting the day with a gigantic cup of hot, delicious coffee not only gives me a little caffeine kick, but also provides a regular starting point for my day. Some days I need a second large cup, and that’s okay.

Make Time for Slow Mornings

If at all possible, I schedule appointments and activities for the afternoon so that we can just ease into our day. We usually just hang out on the big bed until Elvie is ready for her first nap. There’s plenty of space for all of us to read and/or play. I set my coffee on the nightstand, and it’s perfect.

Embrace Unconventional Breakfasts

Normally, I like to make something hot for breakfast, but right now I just need mornings to be simple. Most of the time I’ve got muffins or granola bars and fruit handy, but sometimes I break all the rules and we eat cookies. These pictured have oats and nut butter, so I figure they’re no worse than a chocolate dipped granola bar, and with much better ingredients.

Eliminate or Procrastinate Unnecessary Chores

The bed really doesn’t need to be made if you don’t have the time or energy, and sometimes the laundry can serve as a very comfortable cat bed for an extra day. While I don’t want to live in a trash heap, sometimes it’s worth it to conserve my energy for nurturing and teaching my children as opposed to using it up dusting.

"Make" an Easy Dinner

We can’t eat out every night, but there are a lot of affordable options for the days I am the most tired. I count ordering enchiladas and bringing them home as making dinner. If I didn’t order it, my family wouldn’t be able to eat it, right?

Have a Sleep In Morning Once a Week

If you’re the only one who gets up with the baby in the night, it’s perfectly reasonable to expect the other half of your parenting team to wake early on his or her day off so that you can get a few uninterrupted hours of sleep. Getting a solid two or three hours of sleep on Saturdays does wonders for my energy level. When I’m getting discouraged during the week, I can always look forward to Saturday and know that I can make it until then.

Feel Free to Just Stay Home Sometimes

As a stay at home parent, I often feel guilty that we don’t get out and do more some days. But it is good for me to have a day that I don’t have to pack everyone up and get them out the door, and it is good for my kids to have a day to relax and just play at home. Committing to at least one play-at-home day per week has made a significant difference in how smoothly our week goes.

Remember That It Won't Be Like This Forever

Babies eventually learn how to sleep through the night, and while the length of time between now and then is uncertain, I know that it will happen. I also know that Elvie will only be little once. So as much as I don’t enjoy the frequent night wakings, I do enjoy have a tiny baby in my life, and I will take the difficult with the wonderful any and every day of the week.


HUGGIES® mom question: "Why won't Jack nap?"

Your question:

Jack is 16 months old and a poor napper. I started putting him in the car to fall asleep. It worked great. I could take him out and put him right in the crib. Now I am trying to break his "car habit" and have quiet time (and sometimes he falls asleep in my arms) in his nursery...then in the crib he screams and cries. I have been trying to make the transition for seven days. He does not have a pacifier or bottle at naptime. He sleeps beautifully at night — drinks a bottle, goes in his crib awake and puts himself to sleep.

Ann Douglas answers:

You may be better off trying to convince Jack to enjoy some quiet time during the day — perhaps reading stories together or watching a video together after lunch. That may be all he needs to recharge his batteries — and it will give you a bit of a break, too.

As for the falling asleep in the car technique for lulling your toddler to sleep — most of us can be lulled to sleep in the car, adults included! So the fact that Jack can be convinced to take a nap if you take a drive around town doesn't necessarily indicate that he still needs that nap.

It's important to bear in mind that toddlers require less sleep as they grow older. As I note in The Mother of All Toddler Books, an average one-year-old requires 14 hours of sleep each day, while an average three-year-old requires just 12. Of course, there are toddlers who require less sleep than this, so don't worry that there's something wrong with your child if he's not sleeping as much as the "average" toddler. Toddlers — like the rest of us — can show considerable variation when it comes to sleep patterns.


Bedtime tips for sleepy moms

The top tips for more restful zzzzzs.

Co-sleep: If you co-sleep you can breastfeed in bed. You can comfort your baby without getting up, and you'll get more sleep overall.

Create a bedtime routine: Even mamas need a routine. Take a warm bath, have some tea, read a book, or play nice music. Get relaxed and you'll have a better sleep.

Make a list: Don't lay in bed all night thinking about tomorrow. Instead make a list before bed. Now that you know you won't forget your tasks, you can sleep.

Exercise: Make sure to get in some exercise every day. You'll feel better overall and sleep much better.

Naps: If you can't get enough sleep at night, try a nap in addition to your nighttime sleep.

See a doctor: If you really are having sleep issues, see a health care provider. As a mama you need your rest, and if basic tips and solutions aren't cutting it, you may have a medical issue to deal with.

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