Sleeping FAQ: 4-6 months – Lunchtime Nap

My 18-week-old son always wakes after 45 minutes into his lunchtime nap

My son always wakes after 45 minutes of his lunchtime nap, and is very hard to settle again. The two hours prior to the nap are also difficult, with him screaming for food from 10am. I have tried giving him a lot of food, and sometimes he loves it, but at other times I wonder if I am giving him stomachache. My son was in hospital 3 weeks ago with pyloric stenosis (a narrowing of the lower outlet from the stomach) and I am wondering whether he is making up for lost time with his feeding. I don’t know where I am with weaning or how much I should be giving him. He was weaned at 16 weeks.
My son weighs 11lbs 9ozs. He feeds at 7am 8oz, 10.45am 6-7oz, 2.30pm 6oz, 5-6pm 7-8oz and 10.30pm 5oz. He also takes about 2oz of diluted juice in the day. In addition, he has two cubes of carrot mixed with baby rice and one cube of pear puree at 10.45am, and at 5-6pm he takes two teaspoons of baby rice mixed with formula. He naps at 9-9.45am, 12-12.45pm, 4-4.45pm and is settled at 7pm.

Getting the lunchtime nap in place can take time and persistence. There can be many reasons why your son is unable to sleep for longer than 45 minutes and has difficulty settling. Please take a look at the detailed article on the website which Gina has written on this subject. Solving the lunchtime nap.

To help him settle better at lunchtime, and cause him less distress earlier while waiting for his feed, try splitting this into two. At his age it is important that he takes his milk before being offering solids, otherwise he could begin to cut back too quickly. Give him 4-5oz of milk when he shows signs of hunger after 10am and then give him the final 2-3oz before you offer him solids around 11/11.15 am. To eliminate the possibility of hunger being one of the reasons why your son does not sleep well at lunchtime, offer him a small top-up of 1-2oz before he goes down.

Since your son has had a problematic start, he may well have a higher milk intake than other babies of this weight. I assume you were advised to start weaning your son at 16 weeks by the medical advisers who were handling your son’s case. The present guidelines advise waiting until nearer six months, but there are some babies who need to wean earlier, usually after 17 weeks, unless otherwise advised. If you have a copy of Gina’s Complete Weaning Guide, then follow the detailed guidelines as to how to introduce different vegetables and in what amounts. Don’t hurry the process, watching always that he does not start cutting back on his milk. Until he is nearer six months, milk should remain the most important part of his diet. Now that you have begun to offer your son a vegetable at lunchtime, move the pear to be mixed with baby rice at teatime. Mixing fruit in with the rice will help make it more palatable and also helps with any possible problems he may have with constipation. At lunchtime offer him carrot mixed with baby rice, but begin to introduce him to a wider variety of vegetables, such as sweet potato, which being high in carbohydrates does not need to be mixed with rice. Use the weaning book to see how gradually the weaning process introduces different tasters and fillers.