Sleeping FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Daytime Sleep

I can’t seem to keep my 6-week-old daughter awake after her feeds

I am trying to follow the routines to the letter but finding it difficult to wake her at the suggested times. I am also finding it almost impossible to keep her awake after her bottle. At week 5 she was very alert during these times but the last few days I have had to resort to washing her face several times trying to keep her awake. Do you have any suggestions or ideas as to why this is so difficult? I am unable to wake her at all at 10.30pm and she takes her bottle whilst still asleep. She will have about 4oz but I am unable to get any more into her. She usually then sleeps until 5am-5.30am and wakes wanting a full feed. I suspect that she might sleep longer if she took her whole bottle.
She weighs 9lbs 10 ozs at present and feeds at 7.15am 2ozs, 10am 4 ozs, 2.30pm 5ozs, 5.20pm 2ozs, 6.15pm 3ozs, 10.30pm 3.5ozs, 5am 6ozs.

The routines set out for your daughters age are a guideline to work towards. Babies all have different sleep needs and it may take your daughter another week or so before she is able to stay awake after a feed for the amount of time stated. The timings have to allow for babies to be different in their needs. A baby as young as your daughter may be able to stay awake for up to 2 hours from when she woke, but many will be ready for their next nap after 1 and a half hours.

Your daughter may well be going through her 6 week growth spurt. Some babies can be sleepier for a few days whilst this is taking place or following the days when they have seemed hungrier and fed more. In another week you may find she has changed again and is more able to stay awake.

After a feed it is a good idea to try to have some sort of activity time before settling your baby to sleep, even if only for 10-15 minutes. If she is sleepy whilst under her play gym, move her to another room and let her sit in her chair and look at what you are doing. Spending time on her change mat, especially on her tummy, can help a baby stay awake for a little longer and you can begin to stretch things out by a few minutes each day and able to take more in of the world about her.

Your daughter is doing exceptionally well to be sleeping through from the 10.30pm feed to 5/5.30am. Many babies of this age are waking much earlier and needing a feed.

It can be difficult to wake a baby at 10.30pm as they are often in a deep sleep. To get them to have their deepest sleep in the middle part of the night rather than at the beginning begin to wake her at 9.45pm. Switch on her lights and open her swaddle if she is in one. Put on a radio or some music and potter around in her room tidying away laundry or drawers. From time to time stroke the backs of her hands and arms and talk to her to help her come around.

It can take at least 20 minutes for her to be fully awake. Once she is, feed her two thirds of her feed before changing her. Take her to a room which is light and has the TV or radio on to feed her for the first half. Once changed, lower the lights and give her the end of her bottle in a darkened room to encourage her to settle. A baby of your daughters weight needs to have about 4 ozs at each feed so she is doing really well with the way she is feeding at present. If she begins to push on longer in the night, her large feed at 5/5.30am will become her feed at 7am which is should be one of the larger ones in the day. Some babies manage to do this themselves, others may need a little help by having a split feed at 10/11.15pm to help them get to nearer 7am for their feed. As your daughter has done so well already it may be another few weeks before she is ready to go right through.