Sleeping FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Night Waking

Since moving into his cot my 7 week old is waking more in the night

Since moving my 7-week-old baby from his moses basket into his cot he has started to wake up more in the night. He used to take a 4-5oz feed at 11pm, then sleep until nearer 3am, take couple of ounces and then settle well and sleep till until 7am. But now after his 11pm he can wake any time between 1am and 3am. I am confident that he is not hungry, and try not to feed him before 3am. But I often spend from 1am till 2.30/3am going to him, rubbing his tummy or putting his dummy in to get him back to sleep. At 3am he will then take between 2-4 ounces then wake again at 5am. Once again I go to him, put his dummy in then eventually give up at 6am and take him downstairs for his first feed. I am exhausted trying to cope with this as I have a 4-year-old as well so the daytime nap timings are not easy to put in place.

He naps at 8.30-10am, 12-2.15pm, 4-5pm.

He takes 4-5ozs at 7am, 4-5ozs at 10.30am, 3-5ozs at 2.30pm, 2-3ozs at 5.15pm, 3-4ozs at 6.30pm, 4-5ozs at 11pm and 2-3ozs at 2.30/3am. He weighs 11lbs 13ozs.

With a baby under six months of age the Moro reflex can still be very strong, and when they come into a light sleep they can often waken fully and find it difficult to settle back to sleep if they have kicked their covers off. If you use a 0.5-tog sleeping bag, this will enable you to also use a thin top cotton sheet to tuck him in well and prevent him thrashing around, without causing concern that he could overheat. Place the cotton sheet lengthways across the cot, and tuck at least six inches of the sheet well under the mattress, then push a rolled up towel down either side, between the mattress and the spars of the cot.

It would also be advisable to look at the amount of daytime sleep your son is having. Because his nights have become very unsettled he probably is needing more sleep during the day than recommended for his age. A vicious circle can soon evolve if this is allowed to continue. Rather than letting him sleep until 11pm in the evening, we would suggest that you begin to wake him at 10pm. As soon as he is well awake offer him a 3-4 oz bottle. Then let him have a period 20-30 minutes of quiet play under his baby gym.. This can be in a room which is quite light and has some background noise. Between 11/11.15pm you should take him to his room, change his nappy and then offer him as much as he will take of a fresh 2-3oz bottle of milk. Ensure that he is burped and tucked in really well following the instructions above. By having him awake longer at the last feed, and offering him a split feed, he should start to sleep longer and more soundly in the night. When he does wake in the night it is important that you offer him a big enough feed so that he settles back to sleep quickly, and sleeps through until 7am in the morning. It is pointless cutting back his middle-of-the-night feed if it results in him being more unsettled in the night and needing to sleep more during the day. Once he goes back to sleeping longer and better in the night, you should aim to gradually reduce the amount of sleep that he is having at his morning nap. Try keeping him awake five minutes longer every few days until he is going down nearer 9am. Once a shorter nap is established at 9am, you can gradually cut back the late afternoon nap. Once he is taking a shorter nap in the morning and later afternoon, you should be able to cut back the time he is awake at 10pm. Again do this gradually reducing the time he is awake by five to ten minutes every few nights, so that he continues to sleep well throughout the night.

Finally, do remember to keep increasing your baby’s feeds during the day. Once he is regularly draining his bottles it would be advisable to increase the amount you offer him by an extra ounce. Check the CLB book for details of which feeds to increase first. If you are unsure as to exactly how much your baby needs to drink for his age and weight you should discuss this with your health visitor or GP.