Episode Summary:

I know I share a lot about what’s biologically normal when it comes to baby sleep, but there are things that I would 100% change around sleep if I could go back to Lilah’s first year of life. Of course, I didn’t know then what I know now, but there are still a lot of things that I wish I did differently. This episode is another reminder of the importance of tuning out the noise and tuning into your baby, their cues, and doing what works for you. I think sometimes we get stuck in habits or routines that might actually be making things harder for ourselves, I know this was definitely the case for myself in my first year of motherhood. So I wanted to share with you what I would go back and change or do differently – and hopefully if everything in my life works out, I would love to have another baby someday, and when I do, I’ll come back to this episode!


  • Learning to shut out the noise and listen to your baby’s cues rather than worrying about creating bad habits (and embracing what works for you!)
  • How you actually can’t force sleep and what to do instead
  • Understanding and utilizing sleep associations to find a sleep routine that works for you and your baby 
  • Using your partner for indiscriminate attachment, especially in the first four months of your baby’s life
  • Why Brittni would bedshare at night and for naps earlier if she could to eliminate stress


Read a raw, unedited transcript of this episode.

Brittni (00:00.718)
Hello, hello. How are you today? How was your night last night? If it was a rough night with your little one, I am sending you a lot of love and virtual hugs. I am doing okay today. I am so glad that we keep inching closer to spring because I am over the cold weather, like so over it. And I know I live in Colorado. I know I need to expect it, but somehow every year,

I forget what a toll the cold weather takes on me. It just kind of sucks all the energy out of me, especially not getting the sunlight, which actually leads me right into talking about how I’m currently finding rest in motherhood. And how I am currently finding rest in motherhood is really taking advantage of those pockets of sunshine.

or warmer weather that we are getting. Just like yesterday, I knew I had an hour to get a workout in before I started my work day, and I could have worked out, but the sun was out. It was like 45 degrees Fahrenheit. I don’t know what that is in Celsius for my listeners outside of the US, but it was a pretty warm winter day. And so I decided, you know what, instead of…

working out, I am going to go on a 45 minute walk so that I can still get my movement but I’m getting that sunshine, that vitamin D, that fresh air because I’ve just been feeling really down, really ragey and I know yes ragey and I know it’s because I’m not getting as much sunshine right now so I’m just prioritizing outside time as much as I can, weather permitting obviously.

So as always, I hope you are thinking about how you’re currently finding rest in motherhood. Maybe you can commit one thing to yourself that you’re going to do this week to help yourself find more rest in motherhood. Or if you haven’t thought of something, think about what do I need? What is my body telling me? What is my mind telling me? How can I find rest in motherhood? So today, what I really wanna talk about is

Brittni (02:19.222)
the eight things I would go back and change or do differently around sleep in Lila’s first year of life. And this was really hard to narrow it down to eight. I sat down and I wrote my list and then I was like, oh my gosh, I could keep going. But I want it to be pretty short and concise and I want it to be like the biggest things that I would go back and change. I know I share a lot about what’s biologically normal.

But there are things, and again, what I did then, I didn’t know then what I know now, but even knowing everything I know now, obviously I’m all about like tuning into your baby, doing what works for you. But I think sometimes we get stuck in habits or routines that might actually be making things harder for ourselves. So I really wanted to kind of share with you what I would go back and change or do differently.

And hopefully if everything in my life works out, I would love to have another baby. So what I will do when I have another baby. So the first thing that I would do, and this one is hard because most of us, if we’re listening to this, you probably already have your baby. If I have some expectant mamas listening, that’s amazing. First time expectant mamas, that’s amazing. I’ve caught you early.

But this one will be a little bit harder just because you, most people listening, most mommas listening are going to already have their baby. But the first thing that I would have done differently is I would have educated myself about what normal toddler and infant sleep look like. I educated myself, I took a, actually I didn’t do a breastfeeding class. I’m sorry.

but I took like a birthing class, I took the CPR class, all of these things. I read books, right? But none of it was really about sleep. The only sleep book I read was called Baby Wise, which I don’t like that book now. Knowing just everything now that I know about infant sleep, it just doesn’t match with who babies are and it causes a lot of stress for parents. If you read Baby Wise and you’re doing it with your baby and it works for you, that is wonderful.

Brittni (04:40.054)
that we all have to do what works for us. But I would have educated myself about what biologically normal infant sleep really looks like so that I wouldn’t have felt like such a failure. I wouldn’t have felt like something was wrong with my baby for actually doing what was normal. I wouldn’t have felt like a failure for nursing her to sleep. I wouldn’t have felt like a failure for all of the failed transfer attempts to try to get out of a contact nap and get her into her bassinet.

I wouldn’t have felt like a failure knowing that it was normal for her to actually be up every two to three hours at night to feed. There’s so many things, right, that I wouldn’t have had this intense anxiety, honestly crippling anxiety that I had for at least the first four months of her life. Past that too, but those first four months were really, really hard. And so if you’re like, okay, well, I can’t really, I know what’s normal now.

That’s already a step in the right direction, right? It’s figuring out what’s normal and what’s noise, right? The noise telling you that you’re going to create bad habits. The noise telling you that if you don’t sleep train, your child will never sleep through the night. I am real life proof and many, many of my clients are real life proof that you never have to sleep train and your child will sleep through the night in their own time.

And if you’re wondering, if you have your baby and you’re like, okay, I know what’s normal, but I’m just feeling a little bit lost or I’m feeling a little bit insecure or I’m feeling like maybe there’s still more I need to do. Maybe I need, maybe there are different things I could be doing. I highly recommend checking out my zero to 12 month course resting in the first year. It is truly all of the information that I wish that I would have had in that first year of life.

From everything from routines to what is normal to choosing a sleep setup that works for your family to looking at what does a and by the way spoiler alert, there is no perfect sleep environment, but what is a Quote-unquote perfect sleep environment for your child and that’s the spoiler is it’s unique to your child. So you can kind of

Brittni (06:56.13)
figure that out. But if you’re wanting just some help getting to know your baby, who they are, what’s normal in this first year of life, what you can expect, how you can work through struggles and challenges that you’re dealing with sleep in the first year, definitely check out my Resting in the First Year course. And if you have a toddler, do not despair, I will be releasing my toddler course, which I’m so excited about. It will be here in spring of this year. So keep an eye out for that.

The next thing that I would do differently is I would stop trying to force sleep and I would simply embrace what was working for us. I remember I had looked up like wake windows on the internet and what I was, what they were supposed to be and Lila was not fitting into them, right? I wasn’t following her cues. I wasn’t looking at the baby in front of me. I was letting the internet tell me that the internet knew my baby better than I did. And so I would be like, oh.

It’s the one and a half hour mark, I have to go and sit in this dark room and try to bounce her to sleep. And that’s the other thing is I wasn’t nursing to sleep at this point because I was so afraid that nursing to sleep was a bad habit. So that fits right in, right? I would have embraced what worked for me. I would have nursed to sleep and I would stop trying to force sleep and instead get to know.

my unique baby’s sleep needs, get to know her sleepy cues, get to know her wake windows, so that I could offer sleep when she was actually tired, instead of going insane, sitting in a dark room, trying to bounce her to sleep, rage bouncing, because she wasn’t sleeping. It was an ugly, they’re ugly memories to me, and I wish I could just go back and sit, like I said, sit and watch her.

sit during the day, okay, I’m starting to see those sleepy cues. I know she’s usually asleep by the two hour mark. We’re gonna go, we’re gonna nurse, it’s gonna be a peaceful experience instead of feeling like I needed to fight it. Because the ultimate truth is you cannot force sleep. Sleep is not within our conscious ability. So like we can’t consciously just be like, okay, I’m gonna go to sleep and close my eyes and fall asleep.

Brittni (09:15.67)
brain, there’s a process. Our brain has to be relaxed. Our nervous system has to be regulated for us to fall asleep. And so we can’t just like force it on our babies. We have to understand that they’re little humans. They have unique needs. They, we can’t force a sleep schedule on them. We need to follow the needs that they’re needs. So that is, that’s my number two is I would stop trying to force sleep because you can’t force sleep.

and I would embrace what works for us. So following her unique sleepy cues and sleep needs and nursing to sleep, because it was what worked best for us. The next thing I would do is add in other sleep associations, and this is a big one, because yes, it’s great to do what’s working for you. So if nursing to sleep is currently working for you, I want you to keep doing it. But when or if,

you get to the point where the current sleep association that you’re using is not feeling sustainable. You just don’t like it anymore. You’re ready to make a transition. It’s so nice to have other sleep associations already in place so that we can start phasing out whatever sleep association is no longer working for us. So I would have nursed to sleep from the beginning, absolutely, but I also would have added in like,

singing a lullaby, I do not have a beautiful voice, so maybe not, but maybe humming or patting her back or patting her bottom or holding her hand or stroking her little nose or her little forehead, just a few other sleep associations I would have used in addition to nursing. So that when I was ready to transition away from nursing, more so from my mental health or from my confidence to know that

I had other sleep associations in place that she was used to, she had been using for a long time to then gradually move away from nursing to sleep. And I will say I nursed Lila to sleep up until her third birthday. So that was a long time coming, but I think that I would have, just earlier on, I would have added in more sleep associations. The other reason for that is because

Brittni (11:38.782)
having a multitude of sleep associations is going to help other caregivers support your little one to sleep. So one of the big questions I get from mamas is when they’re returning to work or they’re going to be leaving baby with another caregiver, they’re absolutely terrified because they nurse baby to sleep and they’re worried that somebody else isn’t going to be able to support them to sleep. I’ll first stop here and say that

Brittni (12:10.57)
I’ll first stop here and say that children, babies, establish different sleep routines with different caregivers. So it is 110% possible for you to keep nursing to sleep while another caregiver supports your little one to sleep in a different way. But one thing that can help with that transition or having somebody else put them to sleep is if you use some other sleep associations in addition to nursing to sleep.

then the other caregiver can use those sleep associations in addition to another way that they support baby to sleep. So let’s say you nurse to sleep, but you also do, like you hum a song and you do a bottom pat. When another caregiver comes in, they’re not gonna be able to nurse to sleep, but they can hum and do the bottom pat and then maybe rock, or maybe just sit there and snuggle baby and do the bottom pat and hum. So baby has,

Obviously it’s going to be a different routine with a different person, but they have those sleep associations, those universal sleep associations that are used between caregivers, which can make it an easier process. Now, one thing I will say about other caregivers putting little ones to sleep is it’s all about them finding their own way. So yes, they can use the other sleep associations that you’re using.

but I would really give them free rein and say, I want you to find your own way of supporting them to sleep because the more comfortable and organic they feel in that experience, the more comfortable your child is going to feel because that caregiver is gonna feel calm, relaxed, and we want a caregiver to be calm and relaxed when they’re supporting a baby to sleep because babies pick up on our emotions.

The next thing that I would do, and this kind of piggybacks off of another caregiver supporting them to sleep, is I would utilize my partner more. Babies have what’s called an indiscriminate attachment for the first four months of life. So what this means is, is they will attach to any caregiver that’s taking care of them. And it’s actually a beautiful thing.

Brittni (14:27.774)
It comes from like when mothers would die in childbirth, then whoever started taking care of the baby after that, the baby just indiscriminately attached to them. So it’s a beautiful, built-in part of who we are as humans from long ago. So they have this indiscriminate attachment and I think what tends to happen, and it happens for lots of reasons. Like if you’re home with baby all day long and then you have a partner who’s at work,

Obviously you have stepped into primary caregiver role because they’re away. So it tends to happen where we tend to take over all of the caregiving role. And then when our partner is home, you kind of start to micromanage. This is how I do it, don’t do it that way. And so we’re taking away that control from our partner and that bond that they can build with our child because they…

they’re already taken out of their natural instinctual actions because we’re kind of micromanaging what’s going on and they’re scared they’re going to mess up and the more we tell them what to do or what they’re doing wrong the more insecure they’re feeling and baby is feeling all of this. So I would, if I could go back, if you’ve been listening a while, if you follow me on Instagram you know I am actually no longer married and I don’t think that this would have changed the outcome of our marriage.

I know, I truly know it wouldn’t have, but I think that it would have made our relationship in that first year of Lila’s life easier and would have created less tension. But more than that, it would have taken a lot of pressure off of me and it also would have allowed him to bond with her in a very beautiful way. So I would have stepped back. I would have, if I could go back, I would…

just let him, unless it was like obviously dangerous, right? But I can’t think of any time I ever saw him doing something actually dangerous or mean or cruel, right? Those are times I would step in. But I would have just let him do things exactly the way he wanted to. And I wouldn’t have felt guilty like on the weekends when he was home from work, I would have started making it a regular thing where like I would go and spend one to two hours each day of the weekend by myself.

Brittni (16:50.838)
either going for a walk, maybe just sitting in bed and reading a book, right? I would have handed more off to him so that he could kind of find his own way of caretaking. And also, Lila could have seen him as also primary caretaker. Because what happens is, is we tend to do everything, especially I will say as breastfeeding moms.

because we’re like, oh, I’m gonna nurse to sleep. I’m the only one who can do it. And so we get into this pattern where we’re the only person nursing or supporting little one to sleep because we’re nursing. And then let’s say we get to 12 months and we’re like, I am so sick of being the only one who can do bedtime. Well, if you start early enough, you could nurse baby before nap and then have your partner go in and support them to sleep. There’s different ways that you can do it. But if you have this team,

this, if you have this partnership.

you’re doing it together, right? And if your partner’s working and you’re at home, yes, you’re gonna be doing it more, but when they are home, you really wanna make it an effort to have them do sleep, have them take over caregiver roles so that you’re not putting so much pressure on yourself and also to allow them to really bloom in their role as a parent. And create a beautiful bond with your child, with their child too.

The next thing I would do is I would have done bed sharing naps. So for like the first nine months of Lila’s life, I was terrified of nursing to sleep. So like I said, I would go sit in the bathroom, literally because it was the darkest room in the house. I would sit in the bathroom. I would have her in the Ergobaby or my Solly wrap, and I would bounce her until she fell asleep. And then I was stuck.

Brittni (18:47.518)
in this soli wrap or this ergo baby and I couldn’t even like go do things in the house because I had supported her to sleep in this pitch black dark and quiet environment and then if I would have gone out I would have had to like she would have woken up because she fell asleep in a dark environment and now she’s in a light environment and she fell asleep without any noise and now we’re I’m making noises around her so I would have gotten out of that dark room.

and I would have just laid in bed and nursed her to sleep. I contact NAPT with Lila for the first 18 months of her life, which I loved. And once I realized and learned that it was normal, I had no problem with it. But of course, before I knew that it was normal, I tried to fight so hard against it and just caused so much anxiety around NAPTs for both myself and Lila. But I would go back and I would just lay in bed and nurse her to sleep.

and I would just lay next to her and read a book and or scroll on my phone or listen to a podcast or work. So once I started my business, I did do a lot of working during naps in bed like that. I would just, I started doing these bed sharing naps probably when she was around 15 months and it was like a game changer for me. And then lo and behold, three months later.

I was in a contact nap with her on the bed and I remember the doorbell ring and so I like jumped out of bed to go answer the door and I figured like, oh, she’ll be awake in five minutes. And then I like came back up after I had answered the door and she was still asleep and I was like, oh my gosh, like what do I do? So then I just sat like right outside the bedroom and worked and she slept for like another hour and it happened organically. And that’s one of the reasons that I would go back and do the bed sharing nap.

if it’s safe for you, like if you have a floor bed, is because I would have been able to just like nurse her and roll away. Now, I don’t know if that would have happened earlier because some children still feel that absence, but it would have made naps just a lot easier in the beginning. And I also could have napped with her, especially in those early days when I was so tired. Piggybacking off of that, next thing that I would go back and do differently is I would bed share earlier.

Brittni (21:07.87)
I didn’t start bed sharing with Lila until right around the four month mark when I discovered that it could be done safely. And it was a game changer for us because I remember like putting her in the bassinet and then 20 minutes later she’d wake up. And then I’d get her in there and get her back to sleep and then she’d wake up again and it was up down up down and causing so much stress. So when I finally just leaned into the fact that bed sharing was what was going to be best for us and work best for us.

it made life so much easier. And it didn’t stop the night wakings, but it made it a lot more simple of just like pulling my shirt up, popping the boob in her mouth, and we were both back to sleep. So that’s a big one. I honestly think that if I have another baby in the future, if everything like health-wise, if they’re born to term, if they’re not low birth weight, all of that, I will bed share from day one.

I will have a backup option, right? I will have a bedside bassinet, just because sometimes safe bed sharing is not an option. And I mean, I want it to be an option for us, right? But I also know that sometimes it’s just not an option. So I will have that as a backup option, but I am certain that if we can, if I can bed share safely, if I have another baby, that is what I will do from the beginning. The next one.

I would do on the go naps more and live my life more. I was tied to like, I can’t go anywhere because we’re gonna, it’s gonna be a nap time. Or I can’t go anywhere because I’m gonna have to breastfeed her in public. I was terrified to breastfeed in public. And I would go back now and I would breastfeed anywhere. By the time she was 18 months, I was breastfeeding anywhere and everywhere.

But I was so afraid in the beginning. I was afraid of her crying. I was afraid like I was just afraid to live my life and go out And the on-the-go naps piece the reason I would do that is to get myself out of that dark room And to get myself into fresh air and sunshine and make naps enjoyable because when I was sitting in that dark room Like I said naps were such a point of anxiety for me, and it just was not

Brittni (23:30.826)
It wasn’t healthy for me and it wasn’t healthy for Lila. And so if I could go back, I would make one nap a day, a nap either wearing her outside on a walk or pushing her in the stroller because it would have done my sanity so much good. We would have both gotten fresh hair and sunshine. Not that we didn’t, I still did walks with her, but I would have done the on the go naps just to get myself out and take that pressure off of naps. The last thing that I would do differently,

is I would establish more of a routine in our day-to-day life. Now, this doesn’t mean a strict, rigid routine or a schedule. I don’t recommend following a strict sleep schedule because life with a baby is different every day. I do recommend getting to know your child’s unique sleepy cues and their average wake windows so that you can kind of let that guide your day, but it’s just not realistic to be like, okay, their nap is gonna be at exactly 9 a.m. this morning because

We can’t decide like what time have they woken up that morning? Did they have a rough night before? Are they teething? Like are there so many different factors there that we can’t say for sure when their nap is going to happen. As they get older, especially for easygoing little ones who are more predictable, for some of them yes we can. Like I have clients where when they complete their sleep blog for me I’m like wow this is happening like on the dot every day.

And it’s not that parent has forced a schedule, it’s that they followed baby’s lead and baby circadian rhythm has just kind of guided this routine or schedule, but it’s not a parent enforced schedule. But I will say as a mama to a highly sensitive and spirited child, her sleep was never uniform. It was never predictable. I just truly had to go off of her lead. But that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t

introduce a routine. And so I think what happened was I got into this place where sleep was a big stressor for me. I didn’t want to leave the house and I just kind of fell into this like blah. Like I wasn’t doing anything all day long, which by the way, there’s nothing wrong with not doing anything. But it wasn’t because like I felt like, oh, I need a rest. It was just like I was so consumed with sleep that my mind couldn’t like do anything else.

Brittni (25:56.378)
So I would go back and create more of a routine for myself and for her because when the infant brain knows like a certain like the routine, the pattern, it’s easier for the infant brain to relax because it can predict what’s going to happen next. So the more routine we have, the easier sleep is going to be because let’s say for example, we have our morning routine of we wake up, maybe we do a like a good morning song.

We get dressed, we go to the kitchen, we make coffee, depending on baby’s age, they’re probably, I’ll say under six months, so they’re not eating yet. So we maybe put them on the floor and they do tummy time while we drink our coffee and eat our breakfast. Then maybe after like our breakfast, their playtime, maybe we go on a walk, then maybe we come back and do a little bit more floor time or we read, and then it’s nap time.

And so if we can kind of get into this pattern of like, okay, we wake up, we do this little good morning routine of a song, we get dressed, then we go to the kitchen, baby knows that they’re going to play on the floor while you eat and drink your coffee. Then they know, and you know that a walk is coming outside time. Then you know when you come home, a little bit of quiet playtime, connection time, and then nap. And then after nap, maybe it’s like you’re eating lunch, they’re playing.

Just having this nice routine throughout the day helps us know what’s coming next, and it helps baby know what’s coming next, which can help everybody feel more at ease, more regulated, and just help you get through the day, especially if you’re staying at home, the days can begin to feel like just blah. But if you have this routine, you have those little things that you are looking forward to. If you’ve listened to my microdosing joy episode, hopefully you’re…

of your daily routine, your microdosing joy in there. Maybe if you live by a coffee shop, you’re walking to the coffee shop, whatever the case may be, I would go back and I would really implement an easy and relaxing routine to our day instead of just kind of like flying by the seat of my pants every day. And I will say, a lot of us tend to fall into routine, but sometimes it’s a routine that doesn’t actually serve us or work best for us. So if you’re like, well, I do have a routine.

Brittni (28:21.514)
Maybe just ask yourself, is it working for me? Like, is it bringing me peace? So that would be my last one that I would go back and change. And like I said, there are so many other things that I would go back and change, but these are my big ones that I think would have really made the first year easier, would have given me a lot more confidence. And ultimately that’s what it’s about, is having confidence in the decisions that we’re making.

trusting in the process, trusting in ourselves, getting to know the child in front of us and following their unique needs and really just shutting out the noise and doing what works for us. So again, if you are in that first year of life and you are really just struggling, if you need guidance, if you’re like, I don’t know if I’m doing this right, if you have a million questions, check out my zero to 12 month course. It is full of all of the information you need.

If you are like when I was talking about the sleep associations if you’re in a place where you are ready to switch sleep associations I have a free switching sleep associations guide which I will link below the episode So you can look at that as well. The course will also be linked and I also have a Multitude of other freebies. I have a four month sleep progression freebie. I have a toddler sleep progression freebie

So that’ll kind of wet your palette for the toddler course, but the toddler course is much more expansive than that. And then I have an eight things I wish I knew about infant sleep before I became a mom. So those are all my freebies that you can check out, but I just wanna remind you that you’re doing a wonderful job. Let go of the noise, trust in yourself, and trust in your baby. I will see you next week. Have a wonderful day.

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