How can I get my 4 week baby to go longer at night between feeds?
Zac will never settle after his 7pm feed. He falls asleep when exhausted, usually after hours of crying. Then, no matter how much he takes at the 10/11pm feed, or how much food and sleep he has had during the day, he wakes twice in the night at 2am and 5am. I cannot get him to sleep longer in the morning. He is very hungry in the night and takes 4ozs at both feeds.
I am not sure when I feed him at 5am whether I should put him back to sleep and wake him again at 7am or let him stay awake? Should I offer him a 2oz top up at 7am so he will make it through to 10am? I am desperate to get Zac to sleep to 6am or later.
In the day Zac fights sleep and is often very overtired by the time he eventually goes down. Would this be affecting his night time sleep and feeding even though all his daytime feeds are on schedule?
Zac weighs 10lbs 5ozs and feeds at 05.30am 4ozs, 10am 5ozs, 2pm 4-5ozs, 6pm 5ozs (split around bath time),10pm 4-5ozs. I sometimes offer him this feed at 11pm if he has taken a long time to settle at 7pm. He sleeps 05.30-10am, 11.30am to 1pm and 3-5pm by day.
In order to begin to stretch to one longer sleep in the night, Zac will need to have his afternoon/evening feeds and sleep structured a little differently.
In a baby of his age failing to settle at 7pm is either due to hunger or not being that tired when put down as he has slept for 2 hours in the afternoon.
To eliminate hunger being the cause, begin to split his feed between 5 and 6.15pm. When he wakes at 5pm offer him 2-3ozs of milk and then let him have a good kick before his bath at 5.45pm. After his bath offer him another 3-4ozs in his room with the lights low so he settles better. After 10 minutes of going down, if he shows no sign of settling, offer him a small top up to eliminate any possibility of hunger.
Once you have structured Zac’s waking and feeds in the early morning he should have a morning nap from about 9-9.45am. He then will need a longer sleep from 11.45-2pm and so only need a short 45mins to 1hr between 4-5pm. This will make him ready to settle to sleep, if well fed at about 7pm.
Although at his age it is not uncommon for a baby who feeds at 2am to wake again at 5am helping him stretch a bit can be done by lengthening the time he is awake at 10pm.
Wake him at 10pm and give him 3ozs of his feed, Then change him and let him have a good kick for 20-30mins. Keep the lights low and don’t stimulate him too much. By 11.15pm offer him the rest of his feed in a darkened room and settle him to sleep. This should help Zac sleep until at least 3am if not beyond. He will need a feed then but should settle back until nearer 7am.
If he does wake earlier than 7am, always treat the feed like any in the night. Keep the lights very low, don’t have much eye contact, only change him if necessary and settle him back to sleep as soon as possible. Depending how much he has taken at the feed he will need to be offered a top-up between 7 and 7.30am to help him get through to 10am. At this top up feed, wake Zac by pulling back the curtains to signal the beginning of the day.
Let Zac have some kicking time after this feed before his morning nap. Watching him for signs of tiredness means he will go down tired but not over-tired and fighting sleep. After his 10am feed let him have another time of kicking before he settles for a longer midday nap. As Zac will be feeding again at 5pm make his 2pm feed no more than 4ozs and encourage him to stay awake until 4pm by making sure he is not too warm and cosy. Again a spell under a play gym will encourage him to stay awake. Let him have a sleep but this afternoon nap should be short. Sometimes it is two catnaps taken in his chair or out in his buggy. Have Zac awake and ready to feed at 5pm so he will take the slightly larger split feed helping him to settle at 7pm.