Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
Mini Sleep Consul
November 27, 2023

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Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

5th Edition: 
A Step-by-Step Program for a Good Night's Sleep

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Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

5th Edition: 
Chapter 1 (only 16 pages!) outlines everything you need to know about your child's sleep.

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A Healthy Child Needs a Healthy Brain, A Healthy Brain Needs Healthy Sleep

Blog Posts 15, based on the United States of America Department of the Army Field Manual: Holistic Healing and Fitness, describe what really matters for your child’s sleep. If sleep is an important enough topic for national defense than surely sleep should be considered a serious topic for parenting!

Blog 159Mini Sleep Consul

Here is a successful mini sleep consult that appears in the ‘Comments’ of Blog Post 25. Blog Post 155 explains why other families are not successful.

Hi Dr Weissbluth

We are 13 days into extinction with our daughter- 8 months old. After 45 minutes of crying on the first night, she gradually improved until there was only a few minutes of crying on night 5. However, since then, it’s been more of a roller coaster. She’s had some nights where she’s cried for an hour and others of 15 minutes or 45 minutes. Last night there was no crying but tonight she cried for 58 minutes! This inconsistency is making me doubt myself.

Her naps total about 2.5 hours a day, and we try put her down when she shows drowsy signs. We put her to bed between 5:30 and 6:30, depending on when she wakes from her final nap.

There has been an improvement in terms of her night waking- she was waking twice a night for a feed but since we started extinction, she has dropped to one feed and has no trouble falling back to sleep after her feed.

Given that she’s been so inconsistent with her crying, should we give extinction a break? Or is it too early to give it up as we’re only on day 13?

I appreciate any advice!

1. MW says: Please describe the drowsy signs that immediately precede your soothing bedtime routine.

2. Crystal says: Yawning and rubbing her eyes and face. Her wake window before bedtime is usually around 3-3.5 hours after the last nap.

1. MW says: Please read about Drowsy Signs in Blog Posts 9 and 83 and give me your thoughts.

3. Crystal says: I’ve read Blog posts 9 and 83– thanks for directing me to them. She is definitely showing fatigue signs on the nights with crying. I am going to try and start the bedtime routine earlier while she is happy and soothe her to sleep when she shows the drowsy signs instead of starting the routine when these [fatigue signs] first appear. Thanks again

1. MW says: Please let me know how the next 3-4 nights go so we can fine tune this if needed.

4. Crystal says: Hi Dr Weissbluth. We’ve had a huge improvement over the past 5 nights. We’ve gone through the bedtime routine much earlier than we were and have started soothing our daughter to sleep as soon as she yawns. Her routine now starts around 4:30 pm and she’s in bed between 5 – 5:30pm. Out of the past 5 nights, we’ve had one where she protested then cried for 28 minutes, but on the other 4 nights, she went to sleep with no tears. She even woke up after an hour on several nights but put herself back to sleep with no tears. It’s hard to believe that all she seems to have wanted was an earlier bedtime- we are in shock! Thanks again for responding and for your amazing blog.

1. MW says: Hi Crystal, I am happy that you had the courage to try a super-early bedtime. Not all parents are able or willing to give it a try. As weeks go by, she will be napping better and then will appear less drowsy in the late afternoon and early evening. At that time, slowly and in small increments, allow the bedtime to become later. Follow her lead and don’t be tempted to rush her. Also, please resist family and friends who might suggest that it is all right for her to stay up later. By the way, today I started to post ‘Fake News’ reels about children’s sleep on Instagram (#marcweissbluth). If you find it worthwhile, please spread the word.

5. Crystal says: Thank you for that extra advice- I will look for the signs that she’s ready to go a bit later over the next few weeks. Friends and family have been quite surprised to hear how early we’ve been putting her to bed and some have suggested to me that she may wake early as a result- she hasn’t! I just tell them about your book and blog. I’ll have to mention your Instagram too. My husband has also had a few days where he’s not seen her because he’s had to work late. However, we know it’s just a short-term thing and we’re so happy to have seen her sleep so soundly this week. Thanks again


  1. Hi Dr Weissbluth

    I am on your email list and noticed this week’s post was a question that I’d asked you last year. Before I found your blog, I remember reading the many testimonials that you included in your book, and at the time felt inspired as to what my life could be like if I were able to successfully sleep train my daughter. So, I wanted to give you an update on my now 2 year-old daughter’s sleep.

    Since I first contacted you, she began sleeping through the night without a feed from 9 and a half months. She dropped from two naps to one nap around 12 months, started childcare (some no nap days) and has endured multiple coughs and colds. Throughout all of these changes, her sleep has remained predictable, and we have felt empowered to make adjustments that ensure she has adequate sleep. She still sleeps 2.5-3 hours during the day and goes to bed between 6 and 6:30 every night. On a childcare night, her bedtime can be as early as 5:00! She settles herself to sleep and wakes up around 6:30 everyday, well rested and happy.

    I often talk to people about the early bedtime advice that you gave me last year, and am thankful everyday for the positive impact it has had on my family’s wellbeing.

    Thanks again

    1. Congratulations. Thank you for the follow-up report! Your expectation is that your daughter will have an easy transition to school and an easier transition through adolescence in the future because healthy sleep is a buffer that protects the brain against inevitable challenges. Also, please consider writing a narrative report of her sleep journey and post it here for me to anonymously use it as a Blog Post. Your voice will resonate with some mothers better than mine. I apologize if I previously have asked this of you. If you do so, please include the role of the father.

  2. Hi again Dr Weissbluth

    Apologies for the delay- I have typed a sleep narrative for you to post, if you would still like to. I tried to post it a few days ago, but it didn’t appear. Thanks for your encouraging words- I hope my daughter will continue to get good sleep as she grows and all the benefits that come with it!


    Holly was 10 weeks old when I began to read Dr Weissbluth’s book. It had been recommended to us before she was born by friends who’d had great success in sleep training their son. My husband bought the book, but until we had experienced the shock of having a newborn and our new reality of poor, fragmented sleep, we hadn’t made the effort to read it! Up until 10 weeks, I had felt as though I’d spent every moment doing nothing except hold, feed and change her. I was used to her sleeping on me during the day, and we accepted the witching hour as a normal part of our evenings.

    The first thing that struck me when reading the book was the importance of good quality sleep and that regular opportunities for sleep were essential to Holly’s brain development. I had wrongly assumed that her sleep needs were the same as mine, and that any nap meant she was missing out on chances to learn new things and enjoy bonding experiences. The book also helped me to understand what to expect at each age. When I learnt about the natural development of each nap and that it is completely normal and reasonable for a baby to wake overnight for feeds until around 9 months of age, I began to have realistic expectations about her sleep.

    The first thing I started to do was to watch Holly for drowsy signs and to respond to these by offering her a nap- always in her bassinet. This began at 3 months old, but it took several more weeks for her naps to consolidate. At 4 months old, I began to keep a record of every day; documenting her drowsy signs, feeds, and the lengths of her naps. At 5 months old, she had established two naps a day- each 1 to 2 hours long- and the occasional 45-minute afternoon nap. I was strict, and many times had to sacrifice planned activities such as baby sensory classes or catch-ups with other mum friends, in order to maintain the routine.

    Around 5 months, she had also established a night time routine- we went on a walk, had a bath, read a book, and she had a feed. Her bedtime was usually between 5:30-6:30pm, and she would wake twice for feeds- once at 10:00pm and again at 2:00am. It was all going great, but as she neared 6 months, we noticed a change in her. She would go to sleep when we put her down, but she would wake every night after about 45 minutes and cry, unable to put herself back to sleep. We started having to go in over and over to offer her another feed, rock and pat her. After a few weeks of this, we talked about the extinction method and decided to try it. It was a rollercoaster. Some nights she would cry for 5 minutes, others she would cry for 50 minutes. It was difficult to hear, so one of us would eventually break from the method to go in to comfort her and offer her another feed. I felt great anxiety every night at bedtime, wondering whether or not she would cry and for how long. After 14 days, I felt it wasn’t working as I had expected it should, so I contacted Dr Weissbluth via his blog. I was so grateful when he responded, and he advised me to try an earlier bedtime. I was a bit sceptical that her bedtime could be any earlier- but turns out Dr Weissbluth was completely right! In hindsight, I recall him explaining in his book that the extinction method will not work if your baby is overtired, but I had overlooked this in practice. It was clear that by the time we put her down, Holly was overtired, and that this was the cause of her being unable to self-settle.

    On Dr Weissbluth’s advice, we adjusted our routine and brought her bedtime forward to the super-early time of 5:00pm. This meant that our routine would begin at 4:00pm and she would be put down for bed when the sun was still up! Within a few days, we had a completely different baby. Each night, we watched closely on the monitor and were amazed to see her wake up after 45 minutes, turn her head or stretch, then self-settle back to sleep until her first nightly feed. We slowly moved her bedtime back to 6:00pm, and at 9.5 months, we were amazed to have our first overnight sleep with no feed- 6:00pm-6:30am.

    Since then, we have had very few occasions where Holly has woken up overnight and needed us- a few times for coughs and colds, once when she vomited from gastro, and a couple of times when she had her finger stuck in her dummy. However, on each of these occasions, as soon as her needs were met, she went straight back to sleep without any help. I always tell people that the most important thing for us was/is the early bedtime. Even though it seems unusual to go to bed at 6:00pm (or earlier on a childcare day), it made the biggest difference to Holly’s ability to put herself back to sleep.

    Holly is now 2 years and 2 months old, and has been through teething, illness, starting childcare, dropping from three to two to one nap a day, and physical and cognitive milestones. She has slept consistently and reliably throughout. She naps 2.5 hours a day and sleeps overnight, uninterrupted for 12-13 hours. From the beginning, my husband shared the responsibility of the nap and night time routine when he could, so she is as happy for him to put her to bed as she is for me to do it.

    We are lucky to have a happy, emotionally stable and well-rested daughter, and there is not a day that goes by where I don’t appreciate the advice I received from Dr Weissbluth and the impact it had on my family. I recommend his book to any new parent, and encourage people to remember that it takes time and tweaks along the way, but is well worth it in the end.

  3. Thank you Crystal for sharing!!!
    My baby girl is 8 months old tomorrow. We started extinction a few weeks ago and it has been a bit of a roller coaster.
    We just finally got 2 naps going great where she sleeps anywhere from 2-2.5 hours total. I had been doing a 5:30pm bedtime. Her night sleep has been mostly good, but still having some problems with night wakings. So I chose 2 times I would go in to her if she woke…around midnight and usually between 3-5am, and let her cry if it was before those times.
    Last night she slept from 5:30 to 3:30! I was so excited.
    Then today she had her longest 1pm nap and slept for over 2 hours. So I decided to make the bedtime later…at 6pm.
    Now I know that was a mistake and I jumped the gun for sure. She was already showing fatigue signs while doing bedtime routine and she cried more than she has in days going to sleep. She then woke at 10pm tonight and cried for a full 40 minutes. I don’t believe she was hungry yet because she ate really well right before going to bed, and it was more just a very tired cry.

    You can bet I’ll be back to 5:30pm tomorrow! Maybe even 5! I will be watching for her drowsy signs for sure….it just seems like they start so super early. I guess she is still in a sleep debt though.

    Anyway this post really helped me so much. Thank you again and of course thank you Dr. Weissbluth.

    1. You are welcome. “Last night she slept from 5:30 to 3:30! I was so excited. Then today she had her longest 1pm nap and slept for over 2 hours.” Sleep begets sleep! Blog Post 173 is on this exact point! Would you be interested in writing a narrative account of your sleep journey as did Crystal for a future Blog Post?

  4. Sure! I will start working on it.
    I’m such a big believer in healthy, sleep now and have you and your research and book to thank. I’m always trying to pass on what I am learning from you, so anything that can help other families, I’m always open to.

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