Sleeping FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Daytime Sleep

My five-week-old is too sleepy in the daytime

I have a second child, who is nearly 5 weeks old. I bought The New Contented Little Baby Book for first child and had great success from about 8 weeks old. I followed it up with From Contented Baby to Confident Child and we have a brilliant 3 year old! I have recommended you to all my friends with new babies and 6 out of 7 have also hailed you as a goddess. We jokingly refer to your first book as our bible!

This baby wakes up for a night feed about 2-3 am, takes about 4oz and then settles back into his bed. He will then wake up again around 4am, go back to sleep and wake again maybe at 5 or 5.30am. I don’t think it is hunger as feeding him a little seems to put him off his morning feed. I have tried settling him with water and cuddle for past couple of days and he does nod off back to sleep temporarily but he is still waking up. Is he too young to be left when he grizzles/cries and if so how long do you think I should leave him before I cave? As a result of the aforementioned he is very difficult to keep awake post 10am after his nap, he drifts in and out of light sleep (remember I have a toddler too) wakes up too early at his lunchtime nap etc – you can see the knock-on effect.  HELP!

Without knowing your son’s weight, it is quite hard to tell whether he is waking due to hunger during the early hours of the morning. How well does he feed at 10/10:30pm? This feed should take at least 3/4 hour with your baby really well awake. Sleepy babies at 10pm often don’t feed that well and then go on to be genuinely hungry in the night.

At his age, waking between 2-3am is quite normal. If he settles well after this feed and then is unsettled an hour or so later I would leave him 10-15minutes to see if he will go back to sleep alone. Depending on his weight he may well be ready for another feed at 5-6am, which you then follow with a smaller feed at 7.30am so he stays on track for the rest of the day.

If you do feed him at 5-6am treat this feed as a night time one and settle him straight back to sleep until 7.30am. If possible, don’t change his nappy as this will only waken him more.  Once your son is beginning to push through to beyond 3am, then you need to treat any waking at 5/6am as habit rather than hunger and try to settle him with some water until nearer 7am.

Take a look in The Complete Sleep Guide for a full description of the “core night” method which explains how to eliminate excessive night time feeds. If you resettle your son until 7.30am he should be ready to go down nearer to 9am. This sleep may need to be an hour so he is able to then get through to 11.45am before going down for his lunchtime nap. Sometimes babies can be rather sleepy and it can take quite an effort to keep them on track. Be consistent each day and if you find he is beginning to stir after 45 minutes of sleep in the lunchtime nap leave him 15-20 minutes to see if he can  settle himself back again. Make sure he is well tucked in as the Moro reflex can still be strong at this stage.