Sleeping FAQ: 9-12 months – Night Waking

Having had a cold two months ago, my baby still has mucus and wakes at night

My son had a cold 2 months ago. Since then he has not slept fully through the night. He wakes up 2-3 times per night, usually suffering from a blocked nose or phlegm in his throat. We have tried Olbas Oil & Karvol, but they seem to have little effect. We have tipped up the head of his cot, to elevate his head and that hasn’t helped. He struggles to settle himself if left, so we have to settle him ourselves. He suffers from infantile eczema but I don’t think the two problems are linked. He sometimes rubs his nose, so I wonder if he has an allergy to something. Up until this time, he followed Gina’s routines well and slept through the night from 10 weeks and 7pm -7am from 4 months. We cannot manage to get through a night now without Alexander waking up.

By day he sleeps from 8.50-9.20am and 1.30-2pm. He is settled by 7.30pm. He eats three meals a day and drinks 18ozs of milk.

Until you have managed to clear your son of any phlegm and mucous he will continue to need you to go into him at night and make him comfortable. Once you have done this then begin to leave him to settle alone using the gradual withdrawal method. This can take a while to be successful, but as you have to deal with his congestion in the night, before you can expect him to settle, it may be a better idea than using controlled crying in the beginning. Look in the Complete Sleep Guide p49 for an explanation of how to go about this.

Use a cold-water humidifier in his room, as dry air can cause babies nostrils to become dried up and blocked. Place the machine in the middle of the room well away from his cot. Try to keep his room cool at night. Use the blinds by day to prevent it becoming too hot in the sunshine. Dress him in a light-weight sleeping bag with a vest underneath to help him not get too hot.

Dried mucus could be the reason for his itching his nose so much, although an allergy should not be ruled out if you see little improvement in his congestion. Eczema and allergies such as hay fever are often connected. If the problem goes on much longer, it may be worth asking for a referral from your Dr to see an allergy specialist.

There are some foods which are rather mucus forming and it may help to avoid them for a while. Citrus fruits and banana’s can be an aggravation to a mucous problem which already exists. Try cutting them out for a while and see if that helps him. You may have heard that excess dairy products also can be a culprit, but it would be best to consult with your doctor before cutting back on these too much. Again a referral to try to sort out his problem could result in having to adjust his diet a little, but this must be done under medical supervision.