blog - well rested baby

IMG_4809On average, a baby will start to pull up to stand on his own at around 8 month as this is about when his torso and leg muscles are strong enough for this new task. As every child is different, some will do this a bit sooner and some a bit later – and both are completely ok. Guess when they like to practice this skill? At nap time! This is because a baby’s naps serve differing biological purposes. The afternoon nap is physically restorative for your baby and is often when they decide to practice their new found gross motor skills. Once this skill is on the rise, many babies go through a bit of a nap regression and skip or postpone their afternoon nap while perfecting their “stand.” If your little one has been a rockstar napper and is suddenly standing for an hour rather than sleeping, it can be very frustrating. Can he lay down on his own? Does he know how to do this safely? While the urge to go in and lay your child down (or at least attempt to reason with him to do so on his own) is huge, do not do it! If you intervene, this “stand off” will last days and days. If you leave him be to figure this out on his own, one of two things will happen: 1. he will learn to lay himself down and go to sleep or 2. he will learn not stand up in the first place. Going in to assist him will not allow him to experience how to handle the conflict of getting back down on his own and will also give him reason to stand for even longer the next day as he will have high hopes of your return. What to do?
-If you see your child is trying to master this skill and it is taking a very long time to fall asleep for his afternoon nap or boycotting the nap all together, get him down a bit earlier than normal in hopes that he will get it out of his system and still fall asleep before be becomes overtired.
-If that doesn’t work and he still decides to stand up through his entire nap or take a very late catnap, an early bedtime will save the day and will help him from becoming woefully overtired. At this age, that means 5pm with no second nap!
-Stay consistent and offer the nap at the correct time (or a few minutes early) everyday and within a few days, this new skill will be out of his system and his nap will come back.
-Do not go in and lay your child down as this will just prolong the return to his norm and usually becomes a game as at this time, he does in fact understand cause and effect.

Follow these simple rules and your child’s “great stand” will be over as quickly as it began.

WRB Flashback Friday: this is my daughter and I a month or so before she turned three (she is already 4.5 – boo). This is her nap story and it’s glorious ending. I thought it was worth sharing as I have been receiving far too many emails from parents of 2 year olds who think their child no longer needs a nap. Hint – they are wrong! Interested? Read on… napping tribulations

IMG_4673-1Well Rested Baby Sleep Tip: Who’s afraid of the dark?

A newborn? Nope. A 13 month old? Not likely. A 2 year old? Could be. When a child wakes up in the middle of the night and is very upset, as a caring parent you of course worry about what is causing this behavior. Could your child be afraid? If so, what could be causing this fear? If your child is under 2 years old, their behavior is most certainly not due to the darkness in their room as they just are not capable of fearing the dark yet. If your two year old has suddenly started asking for a light to be left on and seems genuinely scared to be in the dark – then they likely are. So how do you know if your child is afraid and what can you do to ease that fear? And why wouldn’t we just turn on the light?

Your Infant is Not Afraid of the Dark

Why? Because prior to age two, children aren’t developmentally there yet. Remember that your child spent almost 10 months in the dark…while in the womb. It is an environment they find very soothing. Fear of not being able to see what is going on around them – be it a shadow or unknown figure is not something babies and young toddlers are capable of having. Of course children this age are very keyed into their parents concerns and anxieties, so if you project the dark as being something to be afraid of, then that may cause your child some anxiety. Additionally, separation anxiety is common in infants and can occur as early as 6 to 7 month, often peaking at around 10 to 18 months of age. As with anything behavioral, separation anxiety can of course occur around sleeping times.

Children Age 2-6 Can Experience This Fear
Fear is a normal part of a child’s development and is usually first exhibited at around two to three years of age. Between the ages of two to six years, children start to have great imaginations, but in many cases they have a hard time distinguishing real from make believe. While a vivid imagination is usually a great attribute, it can now make your child have anxiety over things that he didn’t think twice about in the past. Even after a soothing bedtime routine, once left alone in the dark there are few distractions to keep their minds occupied and their young minds can go into overdrive. Suddenly, the branch brushing on the window or the shadow cast by their lamp becomes very frightening. Being afraid of the dark is not something that plagues every child, but there are many ways to help your child work past their fear:

Help Your Child To Move Past Their Angst
Add light?
Although turning on a light may sounds like a simple solution, it is actually not advised. We want your child’s room to be as dark as possible because lights can distract from sleep and suppress your child’s production of melatonin (the hormone needed for sleep). It is ok to introduce a night light to your child’s room, but make sure it is tucked behind a piece of furniture so that it emits a subtle glow rather than shining right in their view. According to Dr. Marc Weissbluth, a light on in the closet or even a conventional 7 watt night light may keep a sensitive child from sleeping well.
Talk About It
Have a conversation with her at a non-bedtime time about what she is afraid of. Validate her feelings, but also explain that everything in her room is exactly the same in the light and in the dark. Often talking about these fears in the daylight helps them to lose their power at night.
Schedule a Darkness Date
During the day, take your child into his room, turn the lights off, pull the shades, and “explore” the room together with your eyes. “See there that dark rectangle is your dresser etc…” Take your time and really look around and give him the chance to point out anything that may frighten him, so you can explain what it is. Finally, turn the lights back on and show him that all is as it was before.
• Hit the Library
Read a book that explains the topic. I love this Winnie the Pooh book “Don’t be scared, Piglet and Roo.” Others have also recommended “The Dark, Dark Night” and “Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear?”
Send in Reinforcements
Another strategy that works well for many children is to make sure they have an object in their bed to make them feel safe and confident – almost like a lovey for bigger kids. For some children, a new teddy bear will do the job, while others do well with a basket placed next to their bed filled with items that make them feel brave – such as a favorite photograph, a happy book, and a small dim flash light.
Monsters Are Not Real
I stay away from things like monster spray, because using it actually confirms to your child that monsters are real and something to be afraid of. It is ok to look around the room and show your child that there is nothing in there to be afraid of, but be sure to again reiterate that nothing is there because monsters are make believe.
• Use Parental Safe Guards
Take care to not allow your child access books or tv shows that have frightening content.
Safe and Sound
If/when your child is afraid during the night, do not try to discuss their fear at that moment. Instead be a good listener and simply provide reassurance that he does not have to be afraid while leaving the lights off. Remind him that he is safe and protected. Mention a happy moment or thought that may take his mind off of whatever is making him afraid. Encourage positive self-talk, with phrases like, “I’m not afraid; it’s just dark” or “I’m not alone. Mommy and Daddy are in the other room.”

Amy Lage is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Family Sleep Institute certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant. She is founder of Well Rested Baby ( She offers a host of services including in person, phone, email and Skype/FaceTime consultations that can be tailored to meet any family’s needs and schedule. Please email her at with any questions. Be sure to follow WRB on Facebook too more great sleep tips!

(photo by

Perhaps the “fall back” component of DST occurs just days after Halloween, because it often leaves parents looking like zombies and young children acting like goblins! Why is it so frightening? Because children who were previously waking at 6:30am will now be waking at 5:30am post time change if left to their own devices. But fear not, there are ways to aid your child in adjusting to the new time. Follow these tips and your transition will not be scary!

October is SIDS Awareness month. At WRB safe sleep practices and your child’s safety are our highest priorities. In fact, we hold SIDS for the Professional Certifications from the Canadian Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths. I know that most parents and childcare providers are familiar with SIDS, but take a moment to make sure you are up to date on all of the latest research and information:

(Photo by Harmon Weston Photography
Heather Andersen Family PhotoHeather officially joined Amy as a new member of the Well Rested Baby team in October of 2014. Heather first learned about Well Rested Baby when she saw a company postcard in one of the local children’s stores in Salem, MA, where she frequently shopped and participated in infant classes with her then 10-month-old daughter, Claire. At the time, Claire was sleeping pretty decently at night but Heather could just not get Claire to take more than 30-45 minute naps. After one particularly challenging napping day, Heather decided to call Amy and learn more about her services. Her first reaction when speaking to Amy on the phone was instant relief. Amy was delightful to speak with and made Heather feel so confident that Claire’s sleep issues were common and could easily be fixed. By making tweaks to Claire’s schedule, as well as giving tips and strategies to help her become a better self-soother, within a very short period of time, Claire was taking two wonderful naps each day as well as self-soothing wonderfully at all sleep periods. Heather was hooked. She immediately became a huge fan of Amy’s work and began following her blog, FB page and read many of Amy’s articles. A few months later, Heather again worked with Amy on Claire’s transition from two naps to one. As a person who has always loved science (Heather has an undergraduate minor in Science), she found the science behind sleep fascinating and became very interested in the work of a Pediatric Sleep Consultant.

Fast forward 2 years, to a few months ago, when Heather had the tremendous opportunity to join Well Rested Baby and work with Amy, someone that she had grown to respect enormously over the years, both professionally and personally. Heather was beyond excited to have the chance to help families in the same way that she had been helped over 2 years ago. Heather is a huge believer that healthy sleep habits are crucial to the entire family, not just children, and cannot wait to help deserving families get back to the rested state they weren’t sure was even possible. Helping children and entire families sleep better is incredibly rewarding work and Heather is so proud and honored to be part of Well Rested Baby.

Prior to joining Well Rested Baby, Heather was an Event Planner in the Financial Services Industry in New York City for over 5 years and holds a certificate in Meeting Planning & Event Management from New York University. Heather has also taught third grade and has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Born and raised in Wisconsin (yes, she is a Cheesehead and an avid Badger fan), she joined her then boyfriend, Will, in Hoboken, NJ in 2003 (Amy and Heather lived in Hoboken over a very similar time period yet never met!) and she and Will both fell in love with NYC and the surrounding areas. Extremely proud to now call New England home, Heather lives with her husband Will, their two children, Claire (3 years) and Charlie (10 months), and their 7-year-old Golden Retriever, Madison, in the wonderful community of Newburyport, Massachusetts.

I don’t know about you, but the recent talk about all of the viruses out there has me a bit on edge. I have been doing everything in my power to keep us all as healthy as possible this germ season. A 20+ second hand wash every ten minutes (well, not that often but you get the idea) – check. Apple a day – check. Anything and everything to keep our immune systems in gear. Do you know what else is a key part of keeping us healthy? SLEEP! So insist on it for your entire family (Dads, toddlers, high schoolers, infants – everyone!) as it is key in our defense against illness.