In this interview, Alison Scott-Wright, also known as The Magic Sleep Fairy, answers questions from parents about how to help babies sleep better, the signs that something else may be at play such as reflux, and what to do if you think this is the case.
Alison Scott-Wright is an expert in reflux, baby sleep issues and the author of The Sensational Baby Sleep Plan. She is a Mum and Grandmother, with a love for caring. The Magic Sleep Fairy started her experience as both an auxiliary and a qualified maternity nurse, the rest is years of experience. Through her years of working with families, Alison has found a safe and positive method of helping children and babies learn to self-soothe and sleep well.
You can join The Magic Sleep Fairy on Instagram (@magic_sleep_fairy) where she publishes helpful IGTV videos and guides full of tips for caregivers, and also purchase a copy of her book, The Sensational Baby Sleep Plan here.
In a recent Interview with Alison Scott-Wright, The Magic Sleep Fairy, Alison shed some light on some common baby sleep FAQs. Take a look below!
Can babies oversleep?
No, not really. Sleep breeds sleep in my opinion - the more they sleep the better they sleep. Newborns absolutely need a lot of sleep. Some people think they don’t sleep at all, won’t, and can’t - but they do. And they need to.
How much should a 3 week old be sleeping if I want to avoid her falling asleep during feeds?
At 3 weeks, I would let her have as much sleep as she wants. However, what you need to implement is the daytime and nighttime split, 12-hours of day, 12-hours of night, and work off that basis. During the day, wake them to keep on track of the feeding schedule. I would be looking to feed them every three hours. That would be five feeds in the 12-hours of daylight.
For example, feeding at 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm and bedtime feed at 7pm. Afterwhich, through the night I don’t wake them, I let them sleep and they will naturally start to sleep longer and longer in-between feeds.
That is the whole basis of part one in ‘The Sensational Baby Sleep Plan’, which if you follow, your little one will be naturally sleeping 12-hours by 8-12 weeks old.
How do you get a 6-month old to take longer naps? I don’t think her reflux is bad enough for medication. What age does it naturally improve?
If it’s not bad enough for medication then it shouldn’t be causing too many problems, i.e. the baby should be able to sleep comfortably, feed easily and there shouldn’t be too many effects of it - it may be just a mild bit of spit up here and there which doesn’t cause them distress or stop them from having a full and comfortable feed.
The reflux could be causing more of a problem than you imagine and causing her to take shorter naps due to an uncomfortable digestive system. I would urge you to read the last chapter in ‘The Sensational Baby Sleep’ and look at all the information on the @magic_sleep_fairy Instagram, especially on IGTV.
How do I get a 3-month old with silent reflux to sleep better?
Look at thickening your milk, inspect the ingredients, and ask is your baby intolerant to anything you’re giving? For example, cow’s milk, protein, or lactose.
Sleep position is another one that I touch on so many times - you’ll find information on this on my IGTVs.
Sleeping better is about getting the daytime routine in place, the right milk, the delivery of the milk, the thickness of the milk, and the right medication if needed.
At what age can and should we start to establish a sleep-feeding routine?
I would start the routine from Day-1. If you haven’t started from Day-1, you can pick it up in my book and you can start to follow the routine and start to implement bits of it.
The Sensational Baby Sleep Plan has your baby of 8-12 weeks old naturally sleeping 12-hours through the night. That’s a natural necessity of sleep; the day and night split, sun and moonlight.
Babies do need to sleep and will if you provide the right environment, feeding schedule and they haven’t got any underlying digestive issues. From now really, you’ll be able to get on track and get your baby sleeping.
Our 8-week old baby will only sleep in our arms at the moment, how do I change this?
Is that just a habit? If so, was the habit driven by an underlying digestive issue, like reflux, that your baby may have had? That’s the big question.
Try to work out why your baby has never wanted to be put down. Is it because the baby doesn’t like sleeping flat on his or her back? Perhaps when they do, they feel uncomfortable because they start to reflux? Is it just that you’ve always held and cuddled your baby (and why wouldn’t you) to sleep, but now you’re thinking, ‘Hmm... I can’t really move forward with this! It’s a little debilitating and I’m literally holding my baby all the time.’
There are a number of things for you to look at and unravel - work out how and why you’ve got to the situation you’re in and then you can work out how to change it.
What I would urge you to do is read the last chapter of my book first, which is all about reflux, digestive issues, and dietary intolerances.
What does milk thickener do? Will it help them sleep?
Thickening baby’s milk makes a big difference, it lets them take more per feed, less frequently.
I know a lot of people think that if you’ve got a reflux baby, feed them ‘little and often and that’ll resolve those things’ - it actually doesn’t, it makes it worse. This is because it doesn’t fall in line with the natural workings of our digestive system and the digestive system of any baby.
There are other points to look at when your baby is struggling to sleep including, sleep position, the delivery of the milk, as I say, thickening the milk, and possibly medicine.
I hope these tips help.
The Magic Sleep Fairy.
Related blog: How To Get Your Baby To Sleep Throughout The Night?