Sleeping FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Daytime Sleep

Hugo is 6 weeks old and sleeps too much

I need help with my son Hugo who is 6 weeks old. His birth weight was 7.5lbs and he is now 10.5 lbs or 4.7kg. Despite trying since the beginning with the routine I am finding it extremely hard to keep him awake at all for more than an hour at a time, so it is very hard for me to stick to the routine of the 6 to 8 weeks old baby. He wakes up at 7 am has a 4oz feed and stays awake up to 8 am with great difficulty. He then falls asleep for 45 minutes to one hour and has his next feed at 10am (4-5oz). He then falls asleep around 11.30 and keeps waking and falling asleep until 2pm when I get him up. I often need to give him 2oz of formula to settle him back to sleep. When he wakes up he then drinks another 3oz and stays awake until 3pm. He than falls asleep until 5pm when I wake him up for his next feed (3-4oz) and then another 3-4oz after his bath at 6 pm. He then falls asleep after the feed and wake up any time between 9.30 and 10.15pm. He drinks 5-6oz and falls asleep until 2 to 3 am when he drinks 4oz. He is awake again at around 5 to 6am and has another 2oz. He doesn’t settle down even with some water at this feed.
Please help, because it doesn’t seem to get any better. I have changed his formula to Aptamil 2 for hungrier babies hoping that it would get better but he never seems to get satisfied. Your advice will be greatly appreciated. I successfully raised my first son with the routine, he is a contented boy and I am very keen to be as successful with Hugo.
Thank you for your help.

Some babies are sleepier than others. During the day you seem to be keeping to a pretty good routine despite his sleepiness. I’m concerned that he is seldom taking a full feed, but 4-5oz during the day. A full feed at 7am should be more like 7-8oz. He is not taking this much because he has fed at 5am. Once you begin to get more milk in him during the day, he will cut out the night-time feeding and be more likely to take full feeds during the day. He will sleep longer and better at night once this is established. It will take some time to you need to be patient and just tweak the routine you have until you get there.

After his 7am feed let him kick for a while and then top and tail him if he begins to get sleepy about 8am. Letting him kick for a short while on his changing mat with few clothes on may well revive him for another half hour. Changing his view by moving him from room to room and altering his position from lying to sitting in a baby chair or carrying him around whilst talking and singing to him may well encourage him to stay awake for longer periods. Give him a variety of things to look at, one at a time. Black, white and red books with a concertina of pages can be placed in view or one of his toys if bright and contrasting in colour.

Once he starts to settle later for his morning nap he may find it easier to sleep longer at lunchtime. Always give him 10-15 mins to settle by himself each time he wakes. Check him, re swaddle him if needed and see if he can settle alone without the extra feed. Once he begins to take a full 7oz feed at 2.30pm you will find the afternoons improve.

In the afternoon, try to let him kick as much as he will, don’t overdress him and move him from room  to room so he doesn’t get bored.

Try to give him 2ozs at 5pm and see if he is content until after his bath. Again encourage a time of kicking on his change mat with no nappy on before bath time. Then give him 4ozs after his bath so he should settle to nearer 10pm. It can be hard work to keep a sleepy baby up slightly longer but if you persevere you will see him managing a few more minutes as the days pass.

When he wakes for his late evening feed, see if he is content to wait for 10 mins after waking before feeding him. If he won’t wait, feed him 3-4 ozs. Let him have a kick on his change table or on your bed until 11-11.15pm then finish the feed in a dimmed nursery. Being awake for longer at this feed should have the effect of him sleeping longer before the next. Be careful not to over stimulate at this time. Once he has regularly started to wake only once in the night, and making it through to 7am cut back his awake time at 10 pm by 5mins every few nights until he is awake for 30-45 mins only.

If he still wakes between 2 and 3am try to settle him with water rather than milk . He may sleep again for another hour or so, take a feed and settle back to nearer 7am. Trying to settle with water at the first waking, rather than at 5/6am should help him begin to stretch out his nights. The knock on effect will mean he is ready for a proper feed at 7am and things will dramatically improve for you all.