Sleeping FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Daytime Sleep

My three week baby doesn’t nap well in morning or afternoon

Having followed your routines with my first son and had great success with them, I am not finding it so easy with my second son.

I am struggling to get Charlie to nap during the morning and afternoon. He sleeps well at lunchtime and at night.

In the morning he wakes between 6-7am and then gets very sleepy from about 8.15am. I try to keep him awake until 8.45 and he goes down all right but wakes again about 9.10am. This then has makes it difficult to keep him awake during the mid-morning for his lunchtime nap. I have tried resettling him but it doesn’t work. He will sleep at this time if we are in the car going to nursery or he is in the sling. The same is also true of the afternoon nap. I sometimes feel he is overtired in the morning as he may have been awake since 6.15am. If I keep him up until 8.45 he has then been awake longer than two hours. But if I put him down at 8.15, will it surely not affect the other naps and feeds?

We do find that when Charlie does go down for a sleep he always wakes 5-10 minutes later and needs resettling. We have tried leaving him for 10 minutes and he often does resettle himself. How long can we leave a baby of this age before going into him? He loves his dummy and is a very “sucky” baby. As soon as we go in to resettle him, he wants the dummy. I give it to him but am worried about creating sleep associations. Never having had these problems with our first son, I am not sure where we are going wrong.

As you are quickly finding out, siblings can be very different. It is not something you are or are not doing with Charlie. He is a baby who has slightly different sleeping patterns to his brother.

While he is still waking nearer to 6am put him down earlier for a sleep, as overtiredness could well be a factor in his very short morning nap. Putting him down by 8.30am could help him sleep nearer to 9.30am. Rather than letting him get overtired again before his lunch time nap, let him have a short catnap of 10-15mins at 10.45-11am and then he should settle by 12.15-12.30pm for his lunch time nap.

As Charlie does settle himself back to sleep when he wakes after 5-10mins, it is better to let him do so. Leaving a baby of this age for 10 minutes is alright, although it can feel a long time to you. If you feel he is getting more and more worked up and distressed, then by all means go in and try to pacify him. But Charlie is learning a valuable skill of settling himself. It can take up to 20 minutes for a baby to fully fall asleep, so by letting him resettle himself he may well sleep better for it. If he manages to settle himself without his dummy, then let him do so, even if it involves a little crying.

It is very easy for a dummy habit to begin. Let Charlie have it in a wind-down time before sleep, as bottle-fed babies do sometimes need some “sucking” time because they are inclined to feed faster than breast-fed babies.