Sleeping FAQ: 6-9 months – Night Waking

My 7 month baby wakes every night at the same time but is never upset

My son of 7 months has followed the routines since he was 9 weeks old. He is a very contented baby, but has started waking around 4.30am. This has been exaggerated by the recent clock change as he was waking at 5.30am. He is happy to stay in his cot talking away to himself and sucking his thumb. He sometimes goes back into a light sleep but more often her stays awake. But he never cries. He is not hungry as he is content to wait for us to get his breakfast with out making a fuss. He doesn’t have a dirty nappy in the morning either. He was sleeping through the night until 7.30am.
I returned to full time work at the end of August and he is cared for by my mother. He still naps for 1/2hr in the morning and my mother tries to keep to his 2hr lunchtime nap. This is not always possible with the commitments she has but when at home with her she does try to keep to the routine I had for my son before returning to work. When I pick him up in the late afternoon he has a 15 min nap but still settles to sleep at 7pm with out a fuss. Sometimes he will drop off with in 5 minutes of going down, at other times he will stay awake for 15-20 minutes before settling to sleep.
Now he is “finding his feet” and knows he can move around his cot, when he wakes he kicks the side of his cot. Knowing he is awake means I am awake too.
His bedroom is very dark, with black out blinds. The heating is not coming on at this time and disturbing him, he just has an inbuilt alarm clock that seems to wake him up.
He eats well in the day, always having home cooked food and seems to love all the recipes in Gina’s book. I recently increased his milk at 6.30pm to 8ozs, but this had no effect on this night waking.
At present he takes 7ozs at 7am, 6ozs at 2.30pm and 7-8ozs at 6.30pm. He eats 5-6 teaspoons creamy porridge and a piece of fruit in the morning. A full protein meal at lunchtime followed by petit fillous and a vegetarian tea such as pasta and creamy vegetables followed by a piece of fruit.
My son naps at 9-9.30am and 12-1.30pm.

Since this night waking is not causing your son any distress it is likely to be a phase he is going through. Once he is more mobile and active in the day you may find it will disappear, as he will be using up more energy.

Providing he is happy to chat to himself, leave him to settle himself back to sleep. Now the waking is happening an hour earlier, due to the clock change, he may well drift back to sleep most mornings. If you are using a monitor in your room try using it on the lowest setting so his noise does not disturb you too much. If he should become distressed you will be able to hear this.

During the second part of the first year the daytime sleep needs of babies change. If he is able to stay up to nearer 9.30am before taking his morning nap he will probably push his lunchtime nap on to 12.30/1pm and be able to settle until 2.30/3pm. This may not always be possible when he is being cared for by your mother but it is worth reading Gina’s notes on moving this nap in The Contented Little Baby Book, page 180. For a longer explanation see the Complete Sleep Guide, page 103. Providing he is not too tired to eat a good lunch, a slightly later nap in the middle of the day could help his night waking as he will be happier to chat for a while before settling to sleep at bedtime.

A baby who is as happy and content as your son seems to be should soon grow out of this phase. Now he is moving around more in his cot he will bang and kick the sides. You will become more used to the noise and be able to at least doze through it knowing that he is not unsettled or upset, simply awake!