Sleeping FAQ: 4-6 months – Daytime Sleep

At almost 5mths my son still seems to need a lot of daytime sleep

I have been trying to follow CLB since Luke was born. He still finds it hard to stay awake as long as he should. As a newborn I wasn’t concerned by his excessive sleepiness, but as he is now almost 5 months I thought things would be better by now.
For the last few months he has slept through the night. We feed him at 10pm but try not too wake him too much for this, as he can be impossible to settle again. He is lifted from his cot and takes 5-7ozs without waking fully. He sleeps until about 6am, but is happy to chat and kick until I get him at 7am. He doesn’t cry so we don’t go into him.
Usually he stays awake until 7am but very occasionally he has settled back to sleep at 6.45am. I have woken him again at 7am although it pains me to do so. He accepts 6-7ozs although this can be a struggle as he wants to play and laugh. Whether he has gone back to sleep or been awake since 6am, he is very tired by 8/8.15am. I try to keep him going until 8.45am but he then falls asleep on his play mat, in my arms, wherever.
Trying to wake him at 9.30am can be difficult. I try to let it be natural so I open the curtains, unzip his bag and even prod him gently but he can only open his eyes for a few seconds before falling back to sleep again. By 9.45am, I resort to lifting him out and jiggling him which seems to work.
He takes 7-8ozs at 10.45am, then plays for a short while, but by 11.30am he is tired and grumpy. I can usually get him to 11.45am but again he will fall asleep whilst playing or cry until I put him in his cot. He sleeps well until I wake him at 2pm having had 2hrs 15mins. He wakes reasonably easily at this time.
He takes 6-7ozs at 2.15 and will play until 3.45pm when again he is grumpy and tired. I can keep him going with protest until 4pm, when he naps for 15-20 minutes in his chair or out in his pram.
Bath time is fine and he takes 8-9ozs at 6.15pm. At 6.45pm I take him to his nursery to wind down. He starts to cry and kick if I put him in his cot, and will often continue even if I pick him up to cuddle him. Eventually after 15-20 minutes of crying he falls asleep. Occasionally it has been an hour before he settles. He then sleeps well until he is given his 10pm feed.
I don’t know what I am doing wrong and how to get him better on schedule? Why is he difficult at 7pm when he is so ready to sleep at other naps and sleeps through the night?
I have not weaned him as the HV advised waiting until 6 months, although I am thinking of beginning when he is 5 months in a weeks time. He has never accepted boiled water or juice.

Babies all have different sleep needs. It would seem that you have Luke pretty much on schedule but you now need to adjust things slightly to allow for his sleep needs, which are slightly more than those of other babies.

If he falls back to sleep at 6.45am, let him sleep until 7.15 or 7.20am before waking him.
On the other days when you go in at 7am let him have a little play of 10-15mins and then offer him his milk. He may well take it better.

You are doing well to try to keep him up until 8.45am, but another way to get over this problem, is to let him sleep from 8.30am -9.15am, than let him have a 15 min cat nap at 10.45-11am. He could have his feed after this and go down nearer to 12.30. He would still have a good sleep until 2.30pm and maybe his short catnap in the afternoon, but should be less tired at 7pm. His crying is probably due to overtiredness by then if he has been awake since 4.20pm.
If you try the above and he still is crying when put down at 7pm, bring his bedtime forward by 10-15mins so he is in his cot by 6.45/6.50pm.

When he goes down it may take him 15-20 minutes to settle. Many babies do cry before they settle themselves to sleep. Their crying is not usually too intense but more of a “crying down”-type cry. They begin quite loudly, but begin to cry in shorter and shorter bursts until falling asleep. See p 40 of the Complete Sleep Guide for a full description.

By allowing for Luke’s need for sleep in the day, and moving his schedule slightly, he could begin to sleep nearer to 7am.

Keep offering Luke some cooled boiled water or well diluted juice mid afternoon. It can take some time before a baby will accept it. As you are considering weaning soon he will start to get use to different tastes and so be happier to have water or juice when offered to him.