Sleeping FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Daytime Sleep

Is my 5 week old sleeping too much in the morning and affecting the routine day?

My son is now just over five weeks old. We have been following the programme since week 2 and although we are making good process, I still find it impossible to stick to the timings of the routine. He wakes twice in the night, approximately 2.30am and then again at 6am. At 6am we are unable to settle him back to sleep; he has a small feed at 6am and then waits to have a larger feed at 7am. The problem is that he is very sleepy by 8.15am and naps until close to 10am – is it a problem to have this length of sleep in the morning? He then feeds again at around 10.15am but starts to get sleepy by 11.15am. He sleeps from approximately 11.30am to 2.00pm. He feeds again at 2.00pm and then is awake until 4pm-ish. At 4pm we go out for a walk and he sleeps for approximately 30 minutes. Once back at 5pm he feeds well, has his bath and then feeds again. He goes down by 7pm. We then wake him at 10.30pm for another feed and then he goes down to 2.30am, feeds again and is often very difficult to resettle. He is then awake by 6am and ready to start his day! How can we get him to settle again at 6am? Could the length of his morning nap be affecting the rest of the day?
He is breast fed and feeding at 6am, 10mins, 7am 20mins, 10.15am 20mins, 11am 5 minutes, 2pm 20mins, 5pm 20mins, 6pm 15mins, 10.30pm 15-20mins, 2.30am 10-15 minutes. He weighs 11lbs.

The amount of sleep a baby of this age needs is a very individual thing. As your son is awake from 6am he will be tired by 8.15am and want to sleep. It is also quite usual for a breast-fed baby to feed twice in the night. Treat the 6am feed as a night feed, using as little light as possible, no eye-contact or interaction with him. Only change him if it is absolutely necessary. Combine this with a split 10pm feed as explained below and he should begin to sleep nearer to 7am. Once he does this you will be able to gradually keep him up to nearer 9am. Many babies of this age may still need to sleep after 1.5 hours of being up and although you use the routine as a guide to work towards, also be aware of your baby’s own needs.

Babies under the age of four months need to be awake for at least an hour in the hours between 7pm and 7am. Splitting the 10.30pm feed will ensure that your son is awake for slightly longer at this time and also that he is taking a slightly larger feed which will help him go on a bit further in the night. Wake him at 10pm and make sure he is fully awake before feeding him. Some babies can take a while to wake at this time so you may need to begin the process at 9.45pm, letting him wake naturally. To do this put on the lights and remove any coverings and swaddle he is in. Put on some music or a radio and potter in the room near to him. Once he is fully awake feed him on one side. Do this in a room which is light and has some sound such as the radio or TV. If he becomes sleepy on the first side, unlatch him and lay him down on a blanket or mat on the floor away from your body warmth. This will help him to stir and ensure he empties the first side. When he has finished let him have a quiet kick on his play mat. He needs to be awake at this time but does not need too much stimulation as it is nighttime and not day. At 11.15pm change him and offer the second side in a darkened room so he will settle back to sleep. Some mothers find it easier to offer this feed as an expressed feed in a bottle which can be given by their partner and they can have an earlier night. If you decide to do this then split the feed into two bottles so he receives a fresh one at 11.15pm. You may also find, if you are tired and your supply a little low at this time, to offer a top up of expressed milk after the second side will ensure your son has had enough and will settle for a four to five hour stretch in the night.

Once your son has started to go on in the night until 3/4am and is waking at 7am rather than 6am and has done so for at least a week, you can gradually begin to cut back on the time he is awake at 10pm. Reduce the amount of time he is awake by 10 minutes every three to four days until he is awake for 45 minutes-1 hour. If he begins to wake earlier in the morning again you will need to lengthen the time again for another week or so.