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.