Saturday, January 4, 2020

Tips from a Sleepwise Consultant

You guys! 

I am SO pumped to share this with you all! 

This is my sweet friend Marissa Gianakas. 
We have known each other for many years and I adore her, her precious family, and our friendship. She is super sharp and has such a passion for babies, littles, and helping mamas thrive. Not only is she a certified pediatric nurse practitioner, but she is also a certified sleep consultant. Hello...jackpot! I've had so many friends ask questions needing help with getting their littles to sleep well in my Healthy Mamas/Healthy Kiddos page, that I "convinced" (okay, begged, but she was very willing!) to do a 1 hour live video in the group for all of us for FREE! She's giving away her expertise because she truly cares. (And trust me, I've seen her client testimonials...she is the best and worth every penny.) Sleep is such a pillar of wellness and in helping children thrive. For me personally, I notice a huge difference in my attitude, patience, and even sugar cravings when I don't get enough I know what a gift a well-rested kiddo and mama can be. If you have any questions, you can join the group & add your question on the thread by 5 pm on 1/5. She's going live Sunday night (1/5) at 8 CST/9 EST in the Healthy Mamas/Healthy Kiddos FB group.

In the meantime, I also asked her if she'd be willing to write a blog post with some tips for readers who may not have a Facebook account. Plus, helllo new baby! I want all the tips because I legit feel like I forget everything after each kiddo. (Anyone else? I have to re-read all the books every time and I'm like, wait, what did I do with my others? This is my 4th...shouldn't I be a pro by now? Ha!)

Okay, here ya go....enjoy!

Here are 6 tips for helping your baby get better sleep with Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant Marissa Gianakas!

Did you know that being tired is one of the biggest enemies of sleep? When little ones become overtired, it makes it harder to fall asleep and stay in a deep sleep- and it happens more quickly than you might realize!
Here are some general guidelines for the amount of awake time your little one should have between sleep times:
·         Newborn (birth to 10 weeks): 45 minutes-1 hour of awake time
·         11 weeks-3.5 months: 1.5 hours of awake time
·         3.5-5 months: 2 hours of awake time
·         5-7 months: 2.5-3 hours of awake time
·         8-13 months: 3-4 hours of awake time
·         14 months to 2.5/3 years: 5-6 hours of awake time


The feed-sleep association is pretty common amongst babies. Many are used to being nursed or bottle fed to sleep. If your baby is under 6 months old, it’s likely that they need a feed when her or she wakes in the night (although I see 12 week olds sleep 12 hours all the time!). The problem is when a baby only knows how to sleep by being nursed to sleep. So when he or she wakes up in the night and are not hungry, the baby will still call out to feed because he or she feels tired and does not know how to fall back to sleep without nursing. Feeding and sleeping can become inseparable partners in the little one’s mind – which can lead to exhausting nights for both mom and baby! For naps- try feeding your child right after nap time. That will help break that connection in his or her mind, while allowing the little one to fall back to sleep without intervention overnight when waking between sleep cycles. At bedtime you definitely want to offer a feed as part of the bedtime routine, but work on keeping your little one nice and awake for the duration of the feed!

You've probably noticed that your little one loves a routine. Routines provide a reliable rhythm to the day, which is comforting. Doing the same things in the same order provides security for children!
By creating a predictable rhythm for your baby in the 20-30 minutes before every bedtime, you are letting your little one know that sleep time is coming. Thus helping him or her prepare for great sleep. A simple routine could include bath time, get into jammies, read a book, have a bottle or nurse, and goodnight kisses.

Our bodies know that we sleep when it's dark because that's the natural order of things. So whether it's nap time or bedtime, keep your baby's room as dark as possible. Consider blackout curtains or window coverings, but also be aware that nightlights and clocks that glow can disrupt sleep. Teaching your baby from the get-go that the dark is a great place to rest will help him or her keep this habit as they get older. The truth is that little ones who nap in a dark room will nap better and longer.

Just like your child does best with a predictable routine, your baby will sleep through the night more predictably if he or she is sleeping in the same place at the same time, too. Your child should be able to know "sleep happens here" regardless of nap time or bedtime. Try to avoid sleeping in strollers, car seats, or your arms, if you want them to sleep longer and better. Ideally a baby should fall asleep where he or she will stay asleep. That will alleviate any shock from falling asleep in mama's arms and waking up in a different place.

BABY SLEEP TIP #6: Encourage independent sleep
A sleep cycle lasts approximately 45 minutes, and it's normal to wake up at the end of each one. For adults, that awake moment is so slight we won't even remember it in the morning, or maybe we just roll over and look at the clock. But for a baby? Well, it can be hard to fall back to sleep if they are dependent on an external source to fall asleep and stay asleep (feeding, rocking, bouncing, etc). If your little one is not familiar with self-soothing in any way and instead relies on you to rock or feed to sleep, he or she will likely cry for you at those times when ideally the little one could go right back to sleep. In order to get them sleeping longer chunks during the night, you want to put him or her down in bed relaxed but awake after the calming bedtime routine. Next, create a very clear plan on how you will respond to him or her if they have trouble falling asleep. Consistency here is crucial!

If you start applying these six simple steps today, your baby can start sleeping better tonight! Still stuck? Don’t hesitate to reach out to me for a free 15 minute call. Every family deserves rest!

You can contact Marissa at: or set up your free call here:

Instagram: sleepwise_marissa