Episode Summary:

In celebration of launching my toddler sleep course, I wanted to chat a little bit more about toddler sleep today and the most common questions I get asked from my community. My hope is that talking about toddler sleep more and more will normalize the fact that it is biologically normal for 12 months – 4 year olds to still be waking at night. But with that, I know toddler sleep can feel really hard, but I don’t want it to be harder than it already is, especially while raising a toddler – we’re already dealing with their development and their counter will and the big emotions and the tantrums. I don’t want you to also have to be dealing with really big sleep disruptions. So if you’re at a place where sleep doesn’t feel sustainable, this episode is for you.

If you have a child 12 months to 4 years of age, I highly recommend checking out my Rested Toddler sleep course. It is a comprehensive, 12 month to four year sleep course that gives you all of the tools, education and resources that you need to confidently and easily navigate toddler sleep. Learn more here.


  • Leaning on your village, especially through the harder moments of motherhood 
  • Normalizing the fact that some wakeups for toddlers are still biologically normal, but what may constitute as a problem 
  • Healthy habits to getting your child to sleep longer stretches throughout the night and trusting your child’s unique sleep timeline 
  • When to stop co-sleeping and giving yourself the permission to do what’s best for your family 
  • When to stop night weaning and/or bottle feeding 
  • The most common causes of bedtime battles and what to do in those moments 
  • Whether or not you should use melatonin to help support your child to sleep 
  • How to support your child through night terrors


Read a raw, unedited transcript of this episode.

Brittni (00:00.352)

Hello, hello friend. Welcome back to the Resting in Motherhood podcast. I hope you are having a beautiful day wherever you are, or if it’s evening and you’re listening, I hope that you had a beautiful day. I am looking out currently at a totally blue sky with sunshine out, which just makes my heart so happy because I am ready for spring.

And if you live in the Southern Hemisphere, I’m sorry because I know you are just now entering fall and then soon winter. But hopefully you soaked up the sunshine and now here in the Northern Hemisphere, we’re getting all of that sunshine and I am truly so happy. I cannot wait to just be outside as much as possible. So before we jump right in to our topic of conversation today, I will share how I’m currently finding rest in motherhood.

and how I am currently finding rest in motherhood is simply leaning on my friends. I am in a really busy season and hard season of motherhood. I’m getting busy. I’m getting ready to launch my toddler course launching this week.

I’m in the middle of launching my toddler course. Lila is kind of in this developmental regression where I feel like we have gone back to a lot of the behavior that I was seeing around two, two and a half, like fighting every single no, asking why a million times when I say no, or just simply being defiant. And I’m not saying that we haven’t dealt with that since two, two and a half, but.

things definitely got easier and I feel like we are right back in the thick of it. So things are just feeling hard and busy and heavy. And so I’m leaning on my friends. I have one specific mom friend who we voice memo all day, every day, not all day, but we voice memo throughout the day. And it’s just like this safe space to tell her like, oh my gosh, today is so hard. And then she can tell me the same thing back. And it’s just…

Brittni (02:16.248)

A place where I can find rest, right? It’s not that she can say anything that makes it easier or do anything that makes it easier, but just having someone to talk about it with who really gets it. So I’m leaning on my friends right now. As always, I invite you to stop and think about how you’re currently finding rest in motherhood, what you might do this week or this upcoming weekend to find rest and how you can just start incorporating more rest into your life in general.

So today I want to chat about some of the top toddler questions, toddler sleep questions that I get asked because there’s a lot. And also I am, my toddler course has launched this week. Yay, I’m so excited. So I wanted to, in celebration of launching, I wanted to chat about, a little bit more about toddler sleep today. So.

Probably the most common question that I get asked is, when will my child sleep through the night? And unfortunately, I can’t tell you exactly when because it will be unique to each child, but I do want to normalize the fact that it’s normal for toddlers to still be waking at night. Now, if your toddler is waking every 30 minutes to an hour all night long, that is not normal. I don’t say that to scare you, but I say that to tell you that…

there’s probably something going on that we need to investigate. We need to get to the root cause to get you to a place where they’re sleeping two plus hour stretches. And I would say even once we’re kind of nearing that 18 month mark, if we’re still at those two hours stretches, it doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong, but there’s absolutely things that we can do and look into to get those longer stretches of sleep. But in general, it is normal for toddlers to be waking at night and there is no specific age.

for when they will sleep through the night. It is unique to each child. It’s going to depend on their unique sleep needs, their connection needs, and if they’re being met during the day. It’s going to depend on their temperament and personality and sensory needs. All of this is going to come together to determine when your child will start sleeping through the night regularly. And I will stop here and say that actually none of us truly sleep through the night.

Brittni (04:39.128)

We all wake briefly at the end of each sleep cycle. Our brain does a quick scan to see, am I safe? Am I thirsty? Am I hungry? Do I smell fire? Whatever the case may be, and then goes back to sleep. And we don’t even remember those wakeups. Our toddlers and babies are doing the same thing during those wakeups, but then often they do have a need, which could simply be comfort, or maybe they’re hungry or thirsty or a little bit afraid. There’s lots of different things. So they’re waking up.

then they need some quick support to fall back asleep. So what happens with toddlers is they’re still waking up. They’re just not needing that support or that connection with us to get back to sleep. And the key to getting longer stretches, to getting your child to sleep through the night will be knowing the child in front of you, knowing their unique sleep needs, knowing their temperament, their sensory needs.

Creating healthy sleep hygiene in the family, so patterns and routines that are conducive to better sleep. For example, not watching TV for at least two hours before bedtime, ideally three. You also will want to rule out red flags, so making sure that if your child is waking hourly or every two hours, or they’re extremely restless throughout the night, let’s get to the root cause of that so then that they can sleep better.

But ultimately it will be about trusting in your child’s unique timeline and knowing that they will sleep through the night in their own time. The next really big question I hear, especially from my community, since I think a lot of my community is a co -sleeping, they’re co -sleeping families, is when should I stop co -sleeping? And again, I don’t have a set answer for you because it’s going to be unique to each child.

I recommend co -sleeping for as long as it works for you. And then once you get to a place where you feel like, you know what, I’m ready for my own bed back, or this just isn’t feeling sustainable, then you can make that transition. But you don’t need to make that transition out of co -sleeping because you’re afraid of creating bad habits, afraid that you will never get them out of your bed, or maybe your pediatrician or family member or friend has told you that you really need to get them out of your bed or they’re going to be super clingy.

Brittni (07:01.048)

In, I believe it was last week’s episode, I actually like broke down the myth of how co -sleeping into toddlerhood creates more dependent child. And I cited a study that says that it actually creates more independent and children who can problem solve easily on their own or more easy than their non -co -sleeping counterparts. So you definitely don’t need to stop co -sleeping if it’s working for you.

Once it stops working for you, then you can absolutely make that transition. And the key to doing that is just ensuring that your little one feels very safe and secure in their new sleep space and connected to you.

I will also say that if a child, sometimes a child becomes ready to stop transitioning or to stop co -sleeping before we are ready. So you might be like, we’re just gonna co -sleep for as long as it works for us. And then you have a four -year -old who comes to you and says, I’m ready for my own bed. If you have the space for it, I highly recommend really supporting your child’s.

drive to find some independence because we also don’t want to stifle independence. So if they’re showing that desire, I would support it. They might sleep 30 minutes there. They might sleep the whole night. They might sleep two hours and then decide they don’t like it. But I would really support that desire to find some independence and exert some independence in the world because ultimately we do want to create children who feel comfortable venturing out into the world. So if we stifle that desire,

We can essentially send the message that you’re not okay without me, or I don’t want you to be independent, but we don’t need to force our children into it. And even when we are ready, we still don’t need to force them. If they’re not ready, we can take gradual and small steps. Now, if you don’t have the space, like if you live in a one bedroom house or a studio and there’s literally no space for them to have their own sleep space, that’s okay. You can simply tell them,

Brittni (09:10.968)

I am so excited that you want your own sleep space. Unfortunately, we don’t have the space for it right now, but when we do, I will absolutely make sure that you have your own bed. That lets them know that you’re excited for them. You wanna support their independence, but it’s just not possible in your current life right now.

My next really common question that I get asked is about night weaning. When should you do it? And the answer is very similar to when you should stop co -sleeping. The answer is whenever you feel like nighttime feedings are just not working for you. I will stop here and say that it is recommended by dentists and pediatricians that you stop bottles around the 12 month mark.

So the general rule of thumb is to start night weaning those nighttime bottles around the 12 month mark. I am not the bottle police. I am not here to tell you when to do that. I’m just here to tell you to do what works best for your family. But if you are breastfeeding, there is no recommended age at which you should night wean simply when you decide to or when your child self weans. Some children will absolutely self wean before mom has decided she’s ready.

And sometimes mom will decide she’s ready before a child has self weaned. It would say most children generally self wean between the ages of two to four years of age, but the oldest recorded age of a child self weaning was seven years old. And I bet you that if I would have let Lila self wean, we would have been closer to that seven year age. She’s just, she still loves the boobs. She wants to say hi to them every morning when she’s hurt, she wants to snuggle into them.

And so I will say temperament and personality play a large part in when a child will self wean. A lot of easygoing children are going to be the children that self wean earlier, while our more highly sensitive and spirited children are going to be the children who self wean later on. So really it will come down to either allowing your child to self wean or deciding that nighttime feeding is not feeling sustainable, so you’d like to start night weaning.

Brittni (11:21.624)

I will also say that night weaning is your own journey. So you might be, let’s say you have an 18 month old who’s nursing six times at night and you’re just like, no, I cannot do it anymore. You could drop down to two or three feeds a night and stay there if you’re not wanting to fully night wean or you might decide that you want to gradually wean all the feeds. So it’s really about making it your own and there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to night weaning.

How do you do it? The key there will be feeling comfortable, holding boundaries and supporting emotions. And I do cover the full process of when and how to night lean within my recently launched course, Doors Opened Yesterday, The Rested Toddler. So I give you all of those tools and resources within the course and so much more. Another really common toddler question is how do I deal with bedtime battles or

Why is my toddler taking so long to fall asleep? And I’ll break those into two because oftentimes bedtime battles are more about your child dragging their feet throughout the whole bedtime routine. Like they don’t wanna put their PJs on. They don’t wanna brush their teeth. They don’t wanna actually get in bed or they get in bed if you have a floor bed or a family bed. And then they wanna get out of the bed and play around. That would be more of the battles.

And then just a delayed bedtime to me would be, or a long, a child taking a long time to fall asleep. That to me would be more of them getting in bed, you get through the bedtime routine and then you get in bed and it’s taking an hour for them to fall asleep or longer or 45 minutes. And this is really normal. I would say bedtime battles are more a result of a child who,

It can be a mix of things, but I would say the biggest things are they’re feeling like they don’t have enough control over their own life throughout the day. So they’re seeking ways to get that control at night, which is a healthy developmental behavior, by the way, your child, there’s nothing wrong with your child for wanting some autonomy and say in their life. Another really common reason for bedtime battles is a connection issue. They’re feeling disconnected from you.

Brittni (13:39.894)

Bedtime is feeling like too much of a separation, so they’re trying to delay it, install it so that they can get that connection with you. There are other reasons, like maybe they’re overstimulated, maybe they’re not tired enough, maybe they just had a hard day and they don’t know how to tell you, and so it’s kind of presenting itself at bedtime. And then for a child who is taking a long time to fall asleep, it can be they’re feeling disconnected from you.

Again, it can be that they’re needing some feeling that need to exert some control over their life. But usually with toddlers, it’s just the fact that they’re not tired enough. I think that we see these bedtimes, and I actually just did a reel about it the other day about like seeing other toddler parents talk about their toddler taking a two and a half hour nap and then they’re asleep by seven, 730. And still when I hear these stories, my jaw drops because it’s just not the norm.

Usually when a toddler is taking a nap, they’re gonna need a later bedtime because their sleep needs are decreasing. They’re getting older. So I see that we often think, parents often think, oh, I need like a 7 .30, eight o ‘clock bedtime. That might work for some children, but if your child is taking 30 plus minutes every single night to fall asleep, the first thing I’m gonna wanna look at is can we move bedtime later or can we cap their nap?

Can we make their nap earlier or maybe make it shorter? Because usually they’re just not tired enough. So that would be those, that’s what I would look into for bedtime battles and delayed bedtimes. Another common question, it’s not as common, but I do get asked it by toddler clients or by people on Instagram is, do I recommend using melatonin or any supplements for sleep?

And the answer is, I definitely don’t recommend using melatonin. What happens when we start putting melatonin into the body, because our body already creates melatonin, is we tell the brain, oh, I don’t need to create my own melatonin. So then the body comes to rely on that external source of melatonin. So we’re really messing with our circadian rhythm and our body’s functions. So I’d recommend definitely not using melatonin.

Brittni (16:00.568)

I would personally never use it, but I do know some families, like if you’re going to be traveling and you know that your little one has a really hard time with jet lag or something like that, you might opt to use melatonin, but I definitely wouldn’t let it be the norm. One supplement that I do recommend for sleep, and it doesn’t have to be like an oral supplement, it could be a lotion or a spray, is magnesium. Magnesium is amazing for sleep.

It helps regulate the nervous system and it also promotes rest and relaxation. So it is great for sleep. We use a magnesium lotion every single night at bedtime. I put it on the balls of Lila’s feet and kind of rub it up her legs. And then I put it on my belly. I choose to do her feet because for infants it’s actually safer. So that’s just how we started. But now I do her feet because she gets really bad growing pains. And so she’ll wake up in the middle of the night telling me her feet hurt.

So I preemptively put that magnesium lotion on before bed. And then if she does wake up in the middle of the night, I will put it back on. And within five minutes, her growing pains have gone away or she’s at least not feeling them. So that would be the only source of like a supplement that I would be using for sleep.

I do also, I haven’t made them in a while, but there was a period in the winter where I was making, I call them sleepy gummies. And I would just use gelatin, tart cherry juice, because tart cherry juice actually helps the body produce melatonin. And the key there is it’s helping the body produce melatonin. It’s not putting artificial melatonin into the body. So tart cherry juice, and then I have like a magnesium citrate powder that I have, and I…

some of that in there and then I make the gummies and then I was having Lila and myself eat one every night before bedtime. We’ve kind of fallen out of the habit but we are still using our lotion. This isn’t as common of a question but I definitely do receive it so I wanted to address it and that is night terrors. What to do about them. So night terrors can be normal for children.

Brittni (18:12.792)

I will say I often see night terrors happen when a child is overtired. And so they have adrenaline and cortisol kind of rushing through their body. And then they’re getting these night terrors. Another thing I’ll say about night terrors though, is this can be a sign that there’s an airway issue going on. So maybe their brain isn’t getting enough oxygen while they’re sleeping and then they’re waking up or not fully waking up, they’re having the night terror. So I would be looking into, are they grinding their teeth at night? Are they snoring?

Are they breathing with their mouth open? Are they not sleeping enough? Like, are we kind of dealing with really late bedtimes and early rising? Have they recently skipped naps when they had been napping? I would look at those things to see is, is it something else going on that we need to be looking into? But like I said, sometimes developmentally children will just have those night terrors, but usually it’s a sign to me that we need to be looking into airway.

or again, they’re overtired and we need to look at where we can add in sleep. So these are the most common toddler sleep questions that I get. I hope it’s helpful for you. And I also just want to say that if you have a child 12 months to four years of age, even if they’re three and a half or turning four tomorrow, or they’re just recently 12 months, I highly recommend checking out my Rested Toddler course. It is a comprehensive,

12 month to four year sleep course that gives you all of the tools, education and resources that you need to confidently and easily navigate toddler sleep. It’s giving you the tools to get to know your child better, to use connection as a tool for sleep, to get to know their temperament, their personality, their sleep needs more so that you can work with them instead of against them. It’s giving you the tools that you need to night wean to transition out of bed sharing.

to transition to falling asleep independently, to navigating nap transitions, to getting longer stretches of sleep, to looking into red flags. It literally gives you everything you need for your toddler’s sleep. I created it so that you don’t need to be looking at Google, so that you don’t need to be listening to other parents at the park that just stress you out. You truly have a resource that helps you work with the child in front of you.

Brittni (20:35.96)

I’m not giving you like step -by -step instructions. It’s much more holistic based where I’m giving you all of the tools and then you can use them to work with the child in front of you. Toddler sleep can feel really hard, but I don’t want it to be harder than it already is, especially while raising a toddler, right? Like we’re already dealing with their development and their counter will and the big emotions and the tantrums. I don’t want…

you to also have to be dealing with really big sleep disruptions. So even if you’re at a place where sleep doesn’t feel sustainable, this course is for you. If you’re at a place where things feel okay, but you’re wondering if maybe there’s anything you could change, or maybe if what’s going on is normal, the course is still for you. The course doors open for the public yesterday, and the doors close for special promotions on

April 11th, so this Thursday, I will link the course below as well as give you a discount code to get $30 off the course. And again, that deal ends on April 11th, so you’ll want to check it out. I’m wishing you a very beautiful day and I hope you have a wonderful night. Tonight, I am sending sleepy vibes your way.

Brittni (21:56.28)


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