Sleeping FAQ: 9-12 Months – Night Waking

My 10mth son wakes at night on the days when home with me and now has begun to wake earlier in the mornings

My son has been a CLB since starting the routine, slept through from 10pm feed at 9 weeks and dropped the 10pm feed at 16 weeks, and continually slept 7pm till 7am. We obviously struggled with the lunchtime sleep but solved that and never had any sleep issues either day time or night time until around 8 months old. We started to experience the occasional night waking maybe once a week and so when he woke we gave a milk feed after leaving him for around 30-45 minutes to settle. He would then seem to settle so we though he was genuinely hungry, this has carried on for around six weeks with it gradually getting worse in that we were taking him out of his cot and cuddling him and then still giving him a feed. As my son eats well during the day I saw no reason for these wakings and decided to look at other factors. I had kept a diary so looked back on what happened during the day to cause these night wakings. It became apparent that my son only seemed to wake on days that he was at home with me having a 9.30-10am nap and 2hrs from 1pm. He has never slept well at nursery. On average 20 minutes in the morning, 1hr at lunchtime and another 20mins in the afternoon. On a Tuesday he sleeps well at his grandmas around 2 – 2.5hrs, and he has never woke on any of these nights. So I felt after putting a post on the forum that he was having too much day time sleep on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and decided to try and reduce it to less than 2 hrs per day and this seems to have had a disastrous effect. I was giving 20 minutes at 9.30am and 1.5hrs to 1hr 40min at lunchtime. We are now in the situation of him waking most nights, plus sometimes also waking to start the day at 6am, crying after 30 minutes into the lunchtime nap and then settling but for only 40 minutes, waking after being in bed after 30 minutes. I feel I am in the situation of I am not sure which way to turn to solve these problems and feeling very exhausted as I am by myself during the week. I would just like my happy little boy back. For additional information he crawled at 9 months and this week is pulling himself up on furniture etc. I have not given a milk feed for over a week if he has woken up in the night and stopped getting him out of the cot, and do not go to him until he has been crying for around 20 minutes and then only visit once and have left him to cry and settle which he does do up to 1.5 hrs later.

My son takes 5-6ozs milk from a beaker at 7.15am followed by 1 weetabix with 3ozs milk, fruit and toast. 10am 2ozs of juice, rice cake or biscuit. 12midday, 1 portion of a recipe from the Weaning Book and 1 fromage frais, 2-4ozs juice. 3.00pm 2ozs juice, sometimes a small snack such as cheese but not always. 5.00pm normally jacket potatoes, soup and sandwich, 3ozs milk from a beaker. 6.30pm 6ozs of juice from a beaker.

He weighs around 24lbs.

Finding out why your son has started to wake more than ever could be a process of elimination.

You were sensible to try cutting back your son’s daytime sleep a little to see if this helped on the days when he was at home. Sometimes you will have to juggle things a little, especially with the morning nap, so he does not have too much sleep at this time which leads to him sleeping less at lunchtime and then leaves him with a long afternoon to get through. Try pushing the morning nap on, if he is able to stay awake. Make it no longer than 15 minutes, nearer to 10am. To help him adjust to the new time, move it forward by a few more minutes each morning and waking him slightly earlier each day. It would seem that he may have cut back a little too much on his daytime sleep and now, with his increasing mobility, he is exhausted by the time he goes to bed at 6.45pm.

It can be difficult to get a very active baby to sit still for any length of time during the day, especially the afternoon. At nursery, due to his short lunchtime sleep, he naps again in the afternoons. On the days when he is at home with you try going out with him in his buggy around 4pm and see if he will take just a short catnap to help him through to bedtime, especially if he is taking 1hr 40mins at lunchtime. Once you shorten his morning nap, however, he may well sleep from 1-3pm and not need that catnap before teatime. Have a look at the case study of Heather on the website which shows how too little or too much daytime sleep at the wrong time can lead to early morning waking.

If you are aware that your son falls straight to sleep at 6.45pm, you could try putting him down at 6.30pm and see if he will chat to himself for a while before settling to sleep. It can take a week or more for this to have an effect on later waking in the night or early morning but is worth trying, now that he is so much more active in the daytime. Once you have noticed a consistent improvement in the nights and mornings, very slowly begin to move his bedtime back to nearer 7pm again. Do this by moving it on by 5-10 minutes every few nights.

It could also help to take a look at his food intake. Again, with increased mobility he may need slightly bigger portions at mealtimes. Make sure he is not too tired to eat properly at 12 midday. You could try cutting out his snack at 10am and starting his lunch at 11.45am to see if he will eat more. Make sure he is having 2ozs of protein at this meal. Offer him a top up of milk before he goes down for his lunchtime nap and see if this results in him sleeping better at this time.

Look at how much your son is eating at teatime. He may need some grated cheese or baked beans with his jacket potato to really fill him up. Afterwards, you could offer him some natural yoghurt mixed with fruit to make sure he does not wake in the night through hunger. This meal can be difficult to get right as an active baby will be tiring by now and may be reluctant to eat too much. Try starting the meal at 4.45pm and see if he will take more. Replace the occasional piece of cheese in the afternoon with a piece of fruit and a drink of water to help him be really hungry again by teatime.

As you keep detailed records, have a look at what your son eats when at nursery or his Grandma’s to see if there is anything different in the menus, or amounts of food he eats, compared with what he takes when at home.

Offer your son a feed as soon as he wakes at 6am and then settle him back to sleep again as soon as you can. If he takes a full feed at this time treat this as his morning milk. When he wakes at 7.15 am offer him his breakfast and then give him a small amount of milk from a beaker afterwards.

It can sometimes be difficult to see why a problem is happening but, by looking at all the possibilities and then trying to change things a little, you should see an improvement to your son’s night time sleep.

Sleeping FAQ: 9-12 Months – Night Waking

My 10 1/2 month old son is waking early since he started crawling

My son who is now 10 ½ months old has started to wake up early since he began crawling, which was about 8 weeks ago. He wakes at 5:10am and starts chatting to himself, but then becomes very noisy. I have to give him his bottle by 6.30am. I don’t think he is waking through hunger since he eats well in the day.

I have tried to follow the advice given to parents with similar problems of early morning waking however the situation has not improved. I don’t really know what else I can do. I have tried to change his routines slightly over the last couple of weeks just to see what works best for my son. He still keeps waking up too early.

Feeding details:
6.30am 200 ml formula

8.00am baby cereal with banana or mango, Redbush tea

10.00am oat biscuit

12.00 7 cubes protein lunch e.g. chicken, lentils or fish with carrots and potatoes. Yoghurt and cheese stick. Water or orange juice

3.00pm Fruit mixture; apple, banana, pear or some toast, water

5.00pm 5 cubes of carbohydrate tea such pasta bolognaise, sultana bread, cheese stick, oat biscuit. Redbush tea

6.15pm 200mls formula

My son naps at 9-10am and 1-3pm. He is settled at 6.50pm

The amount of sleep that your son is having during the day could be the reason for his early morning waking. To encourage your son to sleep until 7am, you need to push forward the times of the daytime naps and to reduce the length of the morning nap.

In order to do this I would suggest that for a short period that you feed him the minute he wakes at 5am. I am aware that he is probably not hungry at this time, but the aim of the feed is to get him back to sleep until 7am. He may not go back to sleep when you first start feeding him at 5am, but I would continue to feed him until he does. On that first day when he does go back to sleep until 7am, it is very important that you use this window of opportunity to push his morning nap on to nearer 9.30am. Allow a nap of no longer than 30 minutes.

As he has slept better in the night, your son will hopefully still be able to wait until 1pm for his lunchtime sleep. But if he shows signs of getting too tired and you are worried that he may be unable to eat a proper lunch. Bring his lunch and his nap back by twenty minutes or so hours. This nap can be pushed forward again once he shows he is able to stay up longer.

Whilst you put these changes into place you will have to accept that your son may be irritable for a few days but it is worth persevering. Babies of this age go through a stage where they can not survive on one nap a day, but two naps can be too much sleep, which can be the cause of early morning waking. Once he is back to sleeping to nearer 7am, it is important that you keep an eye for signs that he is needing to cut back further on his daytime sleep. If he wakes even slightly earlier for two days in a row I would suggest that you cut his morning nap back to 15 – 20 minutes. You will eventually reach a stage where you do not put him down for a nap in the cot, but just allow him a cat-nap of 10-15 minutes in his buggy. When he is only having a 10 minute cat-nap in the buggy, keep an eye on how long he takes to settle at lunchtime, and how long he sleeps. If you notice any changes with the lunchtime nap I would advise that you cut out the morning nap altogether, although you may have to bring his lunch and lunchtime nap back slightly until he gets used to getting through the morning without a nap.

Can I also suggest that you look at the advice for third stage weaning in The Weaning Guide. Now that your son is ten and half months old you need to encourage him to eat most of his food finely diced and sliced rather than blended together. He needs to be allowed to feed himself as much as possible. Giving him a spoon while you feed him will help him to learn how to do this. Meal times may take a little longer but you can allow for this by starting them earlier.

Sleeping FAQ: 9-12 Months – Lunchtime Nap

Since staying with relatives my 9-month-old son has begun to wake in his lunchtime nap

One month ago I went to Italy to my parents’ house; my son had no problems in setting for his naps but at the lunchtime nap he began to wake up crying loudly after 1 hour or max 1 hour and 30 minutes (before he was sleeping for 2 hours and he woke up very happy and singing). I made sure of the fact that he was not hungry, thirsty or uncomfortable. I thought perhaps that some new sounds could be upsetting him but he woke up also when there was no sound at all. Now it is already a week that we have been at home (in Ireland) and he continues to wake up crying after 1 hour and 15 minutes. Yesterday I tried to let him cry (I went to his bedroom to reassure him after 10 minutes and then every 15 minutes): he cried for 1 hour and and half and he was more and more upset. Today it was the same. I do not want to let him cry again if I am not sure that this is a solution (and the only solution).
The worst is that it is very difficult to convince him to have another nap before dinner; if he has no late nap he has some difficulties to settle for the night and he wakes up earlier in the morning.

Usually he goes to sleep happy and smiling and he sleeps all the night without any problems.

My son is on 3 meals a day and drinks 180-210mls formula at 9.30am, 4.30pm and 9pm before he settles for the night.

He wakes at 8am, naps at 12-12.30pm and 3-4.15pm. He settles for the night at 9pm.

During the second part of the first year the sleep needs of a baby change. They are able to go longer in the morning before needing a nap. As your son starts his day quite late, and goes to bed later than the timings in the book he appears not to have a morning nap at all. Most babies of this age still need a short nap about 2.5 hrs after they have got up in the morning. The timings in the book for this are at 9/9.30am at his age, the nap being no longer than 30-40 mins. With the later timings in your day your son is up for four hours until he goes down at 12 for his lunchtime sleep. As breakfast is late he is settling for his long sleep before rather than after lunch. He may well have been able to cope with this length of time awake when younger but he will now be far more active in the day and so needs his nap times adjusted. You have already noticed that he wakes earlier in the morning, and is reluctant to have a longer sleep in the afternoon. This means he will fall asleep exhausted at 9pm only to wake earlier in the morning, something which often happens.
If you want to continue with the later morning/ evenings then you will need to readjust the timings for the lunchtime nap. You may also have to bring forward his bedtime by an hour if your son continues to wake early in the mornings.

If your son wakes at 8am, give him breakfast by 8.30am and then try for a short nap around 10/10.30am, letting him have 30-40mins. He then could have his lunch bought forward to 12/12.15pm and be settled at 1-3pm for his long nap. It may be possible to then get him to 8pm for bedtime, any later and you may have the problem of early waking again, due to him going down exhausted. At his age it would be better if he was settled to sleep in the evening around 7.45pm to allow him time to chat and settle himself.
If your son has had his main meal of the day before his long sleep he is far more likely to settle for nearer to 2 hours. The fact he has begun to wake-up but is crying shows he needs more sleep at this time of day. By having had lunch before the nap hunger is unlikely to be the reason if he still should wake. He is probably over tired and fighting sleep at present. By putting in a short morning nap you may find he is able to settle himself again within about 20mins of waking if it should still occur.

If you decide to stay with your present timings and he still wakes after 30 mins to 1 hour, don’t leave him crying for a long time. Get him up and give him lunch then he will be more likely to settle for an afternoon nap around 3/3.30pm. Your family circumstances may dictate your reasons for having these timings. Providing you understand your son’s need for structured sleep in the day it may be possible to juggle things around so he is able to be up late in the evening as well as sleeping later in the morning, providing his needs for daytime sleep are being provided for as well.