Sleeping FAQ: 6-9 months – Daytime Sleep

Where should my 7 month baby spend his daytime sleep?

I have a seven-month-old son who has gone into his own room to sleep. It’s not going at all well…! Once an hour he starts crying, so I go in and give him a dummy. If that doesn’t work, I give him a bottle feed while he’s still in the cot. Then, if he still cries, I pick him up, comfort him and breastfeed him, which does the trick in the end. But he keeps waking, some times as soon as I’ve put him sound asleep from my arms into the cot. He has routine day sleeps although I use my night techniques to get him to settle in the afternoon, and he sleeps every day in the sling or pram when we go out. Is there something obvious I’m missing?

If your son has been sleeping in your bedroom for six months and having most of his naps in a sling or in the pram, he is probably feeling slightly abandoned at being put in separate room and a strange bed.

There is an added problem here, though – your son has to be helped to sleep with the aid of the dummy, rocking or feeding. This is the cause of him crying out every hour – as he comes into his light sleep, he is unable to get back to sleep without the same assistance. Both of these problems are very common with babies who have not learned to get to sleep alone in the early days. To solve the problem, he will have to learn to get to sleep on his own, which means going in the cot when he is tired and ready to sleep but not fully asleep. Unfortunately, at his age it will almost be impossible to solve the problem without some degree of crying. I suggest that you ask your health visitor to refer you to a sleep clinic so they can advise you on how to do controlled crying properly. There also several books, including my second book ‘From Contented Baby to Confident Child’ which explain how the controlled crying method works. If done properly, controlled crying should solve the problem within a matter of days. However, it is very important that you have your son checked over by a doctor to ensure that there is no medical reason which would prevent him from being left to cry.

In the meantime I suggest that you get him more used to his cot by putting him in it to play for short spells during his awake time. Start off by sitting on a chair beside the cot and holding both his hands across his chest while he watches his mobile go around. Once he is happy to lie there without getting fretful, let go of one of his hands and give him a small soft toy to hold. Once he is happy holding the toy in one hand, encourage him to hold and play with it with both hands. Continue to remain seated by the cot talking and reassuring him. Then, when he is happy to play with his toy for five minutes, gradually move the chair further and further away from the cot while continuing to talk to him. Eventually you should reach a stage where you can potter around the room while he is playing in the cot. Once he is happy to lie and play for twenty minutes while you are pottering around the room, you should start to leave the room every five minutes for a minute at a time. Gradually build up the time you are out of the room. If you carry out the above procedure for several times a day for a week, it will make controlled crying easier.

My tip is always to get babies used to their cots and to being on their own in them as early as you can – to avoid bigger problems later on.

Sleeping FAQ: 6-9 months – Daytime Sleep

My 7.5-month-old has started to cut back on her daytime sleep

My daughter has recently started cutting back on her daytime naps and is having about 30 minutes from 9am and an hour from about 12.15. She settles well each time and goes to sleep quickly. There is no reason for her waking that I can see: i.e. no dirty nappy or noise etc. She now has no established afternoon nap although may doze in car or pram at this time. She still sleeps well from 7pm to 7am. There has been no change in her routine but I need her to sleep longer particularly at lunchtime. I have tried controlled crying but she will have a tantrum for over an hour before sometimes settling again for a short time (by which time it is often too late). She eats well at lunch and is well established on protein and no milk at this feed.

Babies in the second half of their first year do begin to cut back on their daytime sleep. They are also able to stay awake for longer than two hours so you need to begin to move her morning nap forward slowly. Another reason for cutting back on sleep can be linked as to how mobile your daughter is. If she is not rolling a lot and spending time on her tummy in preparation for crawling, she just may not be tired in the day to sleep any longer at lunchtime.

Begin to push her morning nap towards 9.30am and let her sleep for half an hour. This should let her get to at least 12.30pm before going down for her lunchtime nap and she may then sleep longer than an hour as she will be tired.

If you have to wake her at 7am every morning you could let her sleep later and cut her morning nap completely, if this is convenient. Some babies are able to do this but will then need to have an earlier lunch at about 11.30am before settling for a long nap at 12.15pm.

Look at her day and how much activity she has. Consider joining swim classes or some kind of baby gymnastics which will help tire her out. Spending plenty of time daily on the floor, especially on her tummy, will help her become more mobile and therefore use up more energy.

Sleeping FAQ: 4-6 months – Daytime Sleep

17 week old Joe’s daytime sleep is very poor – he cannot settle for more than 45 mins

My son Joe is 17 weeks old and has problems sleeping. I could not get him to sleep from day one. He would be awake for hours then eventually drop off from sheer exhaustion then be impossible to wake up for a feed. He fed little and often and I was informed he had colic as he cried all the time. I later discovered he had a lactose intolerance which is now resolving itself.
I bought your book when Joe was about 4 weeks old but it took weeks before I managed any sort of routine. From about 7 weeks he went to sleep at about 7pm and would not wake at 10.30pm for a feed. He was totally exhausted as he was having no sleep in the day. I felt this was an improvement though. He slept through to 5am then he would have a feed and go straight back to sleep until 7.45am, when he would need a top-up. By having the room blacked out I eventually got him to sleep with the aid of his dummy during the day but he would wake after 45 minutes.
For the last 4 weeks I have woke him at 10pm for a feed where he takes about 3oz and now sleeps through to about 6.30am, sometimes waking at 5am and cooing for about an hour before he will go back to sleep. The main problem his is daytime sleep: he will have about 2 or 3 daytime naps of 45 minutes at about 8.45am, 11.30am and 1.45pm, sometimes at 3.15pm, though the last week he is only having 2 naps. I am feeding exactly to the routine in your book for a 4 -5 month old although some mornings he will only have about 5oz. I am currently weaning, feeding solids at the 11am feed and at 5.40pm.
No matter what I do he cannot seem to settle himself after coming into light sleep after 45 minutes. I find it very difficult to keep him awake in the mornings as he is still exhausted because he is often awake for an hour at 5am. When I put him down at midday he wakes after 45 minutes. I have tried controlled crying for about a week and had no change. I then decided not to go in at all – he would go back to sleep after about 45 minutes of screaming, then do the same again but I would have to get him up for his feed at 2.30pm. I tried this for about 5 days with no change.
I have now ended up putting him down when I can for 45 minutes at a time but I have got to constantly entertain him the rest of his wakeful day and he is very restless and tired. The poor boy looks so exhausted and has bigger bags under his eyes than me. I am desperate to get him to sleep longer than 45 minutes at a time.
Joe had a traumatic birth, born by emergency Caesarian after 80 hours labour. He weighed 6lb10 oz, gained weight quickly in the early days and now weighs approximately 14lb 10oz. I formula feed him with Farleys second. I settle him to sleep with a dummy but am currently trying to get rid of this as he cries for it when he drops it. For the last 10 days he has not gone to sleep on his dummy.
I really hope you can help with this not just for me but for my beautiful, grumpy, tired boy.
Thank you with anticipation.
Sonya

Unfortunately there is no “magic” answer to your problem. I wish there was but some babies do have a problem with stirring from a light sleep and being unable to settle again. Once your son is well established on solids you may begin to notice an improvement. Also when he begins to crawl and be more active you may notice a difference.

But meanwhile I suggest you keep trying at lunchtime to give him a longer sleep. Make sure he is has enough wind-down time with you in his room, before settling him to sleep. As soon as you are aware that he is stirring from his 45 minutes of sleep go into his room and try to resettle him before he wakes too much. I often found that the firm pressure of a hand on the tummy, coupled with a few minutes stroking on the head will stop the baby from thrashing around too much and waking himself further. Does Joe wear a sleeping bag? Babies of this age can still have quite a strong Moro (startle) reflex and need to be tucked in securely with a sheet or lightweight blanket over a 0.5 tog bag, which will prevent them from jerking so much. If you can keep him in “sleep mode”, by keeping everything low-key, dark and quiet, even though you are having to stay with him you may find he is more able to cope in the afternoons as he is more rested.

If there is no sign of improvement after trying this consistently for several days try taking him out in his pram at his sleeping time. Although you obviously don’t want to end up with a baby who needs to be pushed to sleep, walking with the pram for an hour can sometimes help a baby settle into a deeper sleep. This can help him get into a better routine in the day and gradually you can try to get him to sleep for longer in the day at home in his cot. Again, you will need to find out what is best for you. Some babies will settle happily to sleep in their prams after 10 minutes of walking and remain so even when the pram is stopped. Some need more pushing to keep them asleep, so they go past the 45-minute-cycle and settle back into a deeper sleep.

Gina has just written a lengthy piece about The Lunchtime Nap on the website. Have a look as it gives you a checklist and then talks you through the options available as you try to get this part of the routine into place.

I would also suggest that you visit a cranial osteopath. Your son (and you) experienced a traumatic birth. The effects on your son may not be visible to you but could well be seen by someone who specialises in treating babies for this kind of problem.

Sleeping FAQ: 4-6 months – Daytime Sleep

How can I get my five-month-old son to sleep better in the daytime?

My son feeds well and sleeps at night time, but during the day he has great difficulty sleeping. Some days he won’t sleep at all, other days he will, but not at the times recommended. He gets very irritable from 5.30pm until bedtime, but then settles fine and will usually sleep until 7am. He also seems to want a lot of attention during the day and won’t play for long on his own. I would be grateful for advice on how to improve his daytime sleep and how to stop him being unsettled before bed. At present he may sleep at 9.30-10.30am and 12.30-2.30pm and settles at 7pm.

The reason for your son’s irritable behaviour at 5.30pm is probably due to overtiredness. If he has hardly slept in the day and has been up since 7am he will be exhausted. Getting him more used to regular naps may take time to establish, and you will need to be consistent in the way you go about it; but it will help him be more content and able to amuse himself for short spells, as well as less cranky before his bath and bedtime.

A baby may not always show signs of being tired. Using the guideline that a baby of 3-6 months needs about three hours sleep during the day, you will realise that at five months, your son will only manage to stay awake for about two hours before needing a nap. If he does sleep for over two hours in the middle of the day, he may be able to get to bedtime without the need for a further nap. But many babies of your son’s age require a catnap of 15-20 minutes sometime between 4-5pm to help them get to bedtime without becoming completely exhausted.

Begin to watch your son for signs of tiredness, as well as being aware how long he has been awake. You may think that he needs attention during the day, when in reality he is becoming tired. A baby who is tired will cry and fuss. He will not be able to play with anything or amuse himself for any length of time. At your son’s age a tired baby may pull at his ears or rub his eyes, both signs of tiredness, as well as the more obvious one of yawning.

Try to have a routine in the way you prepare for nap times. Giving him a wind down time of 15- 20 minutes before he becomes very tired will help him go into his cot relaxed and ready to sleep. Be aware of the time he has been awake and begin to put his wind down into place before overtiredness prevents him from settling. There is a question and answer on page86 of The Contented Little Baby Book, which may help you see why a baby needs to be calm and settled before sleep.

As your baby is now five months, you may like to devise a little routine which will help him realise it is time for sleep. Always do the same things in the same order so he gets to know what to expect. Take him to his room, change him and then spend a quiet time talking and cuddling. Looking out of the window and talking about what you can see prior to drawing the curtains will help him begin to relax. You may like to spend 5-10minutes looking at a simple picture book together; choose one with just pictures rather than feely pages and sounds, as you want your son to associate this time with relaxing into sleep. Continue your routine as you settle him in his cot and say the same words every day before leaving. As your son is not used to regular naps, he may have to settle himself with some crying. A lot of babies may cry on and off for 10 minutes or more before settling themselves to sleep. While it is inadvisable to leave a baby of this age for any length of time crying, give him 5-10 minutes to see if his crying is decreasing before going back in to reassure him. If possible, reassure him with your voice and maybe a stroke on his head to let him know you are there, rather than picking him up. Continue to go in every 10 minutes if the crying continues, but listen to see if he begins to “cry down”. This is when a baby’s crying begins to subside and the time between the cries lengthens. This signals he is settling down and may fall asleep soon. For further information on crying down see p66 in Contented Baby to Confident Child or p 39 in The Complete Sleep Guide. There is also a small section about settling your child on p98 of The Contented Little Baby Book.

Once you have established a more regular nap schedule, you may find he is more willing to play for short spells by himself during the day. At this age it is realistic to expect a baby to be able to play on his own contentedly for 15-20 minutes at a stretch. As he is not used to doing this, you may need to build up to this time. Encourage him to play by sitting next to him and talking about what he is doing. Don’t always show him how a toy works, but encourage him to find out for himself. If he begins to fuss, try not to pick him up straight away. Encourage him with your voice, “Hi there. I can see you. Where’s your blue teddy?” and when you do go over, sit next to him and show him something new to see if he is able to engage with something again for a short spell. It can take time for a baby to learn how to play alone, especially if they are used to a lot of interaction, but with gentle encouragement you will be able to get him to play for short spells alone, and these will become longer as he gets older.

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.

Sleeping FAQ: 4-6 months – Daytime Sleep

My five-month-old gets tired in the afternoon despite sleeping well at naptimes

My five-month-old son sleeps really well between 9.00-9.30am and between 12.15-2.15pm, but gets really cross and tired every afternoon around 3.30-4.00pm. It is very difficult to do anything with him. Do you have any advice?

As your son is only sleeping 2.5 hours in the day and showing signs of tiredness in the afternoon, let him have a short catnap. Some babies of this age do still need 15 minutes to help them through bath and bedtime without becoming overtired. Use this time to take him for a walk and let him have a short sleep in his buggy. Providing he continues to settle well at 7pm and sleep through until 7am, then it would be better to let him sleep for a short while in the afternoon rather than trying to deal with a fussy and tired baby.

Sleeping FAQ: 8-12 weeks – Daytime Sleep

My 9-week-old can only stay awake for an hour at a time

Gina’s routine works well for my 9-week-old son. At night he is taking 4oz after his bath and falling asleep by 7pm, waking at 10.30pm for another 4oz. He then he goes until 4/5/6am (it varies at the moment). We start the days at 7am but my problem is that he falls asleep without exception about an hour after the first feed starts, similarly this happens after the 10am feed, so his naps are always early and this throws everything else out of sync, and we never make it to 2pm for the next feed as he is awake by 1pm. He does however manage to get back on track for 5pm.
He sleeps at 8.15-9am, 11.15-1pm, 3-4pm and is settled by 7pm. He presently breast feeds at 7am, 10am, 1 and 2pm split feed, 5pm, 6pm 4 ozs formula, 10.30pm 4ozs formula, 4/5/6am small breast feed. He weighs 13lbs 6ozs.
He also will not sleep in his nursery at lunchtime; he sleeps much better during the day where there is noise and activity (i.e. in the middle of a BBQ for 14 people!) How can I change this?

It can take sleepy babies a while before they are able to stay awake a full two hours and so fall asleep nearer to the routine timings. As your son is still not ready to do this, you will need to juggle his nap times a little. One way to try to get him to stay awake longer in the morning, would be to top and tail him just before 8am and see if this will revive him for a little longer. Let him have a 45 min nap, as you are doing now, and continue to feed him at 10am. Then allow him a short cat nap of 15 minutes around 10.45-11am. This should help him to get through to at least 12-12.15pm when you can settle him for his longer lunchtime nap. Even if he only manages 1 hr 45 minutes, as he is doing at present, he will be much nearer to 2pm before having a feed.

Working on getting your son to sleep in his nursery may take some time if he has grown accustomed to falling asleep in the midst of noise. It would be a good idea to start now, as in a few weeks his sleep cycles may begin to change and he could easily start waking after 45 minutes especially if he is in a noisier environment. You could try settling him to sleep with a CD playing in his room. Choose one of the calming discs available and gradually turn down the volume day by day, so he learns to adjust to quieter surroundings. Check that he is firmly tucked in. If he still finds it hard to settle for two hours, check it is not hunger waking him, by offering him a small top-up feed before going down.
Gina, Frances and the team

Sleeping FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Daytime Sleep

Hugo is 6 weeks old and sleeps too much

I need help with my son Hugo who is 6 weeks old. His birth weight was 7.5lbs and he is now 10.5 lbs or 4.7kg. Despite trying since the beginning with the routine I am finding it extremely hard to keep him awake at all for more than an hour at a time, so it is very hard for me to stick to the routine of the 6 to 8 weeks old baby. He wakes up at 7 am has a 4oz feed and stays awake up to 8 am with great difficulty. He then falls asleep for 45 minutes to one hour and has his next feed at 10am (4-5oz). He then falls asleep around 11.30 and keeps waking and falling asleep until 2pm when I get him up. I often need to give him 2oz of formula to settle him back to sleep. When he wakes up he then drinks another 3oz and stays awake until 3pm. He than falls asleep until 5pm when I wake him up for his next feed (3-4oz) and then another 3-4oz after his bath at 6 pm. He then falls asleep after the feed and wake up any time between 9.30 and 10.15pm. He drinks 5-6oz and falls asleep until 2 to 3 am when he drinks 4oz. He is awake again at around 5 to 6am and has another 2oz. He doesn’t settle down even with some water at this feed.
Please help, because it doesn’t seem to get any better. I have changed his formula to Aptamil 2 for hungrier babies hoping that it would get better but he never seems to get satisfied. Your advice will be greatly appreciated. I successfully raised my first son with the routine, he is a contented boy and I am very keen to be as successful with Hugo.
Thank you for your help.
Beatrice

Some babies are sleepier than others. During the day you seem to be keeping to a pretty good routine despite his sleepiness. I’m concerned that he is seldom taking a full feed, but 4-5oz during the day. A full feed at 7am should be more like 7-8oz. He is not taking this much because he has fed at 5am. Once you begin to get more milk in him during the day, he will cut out the night-time feeding and be more likely to take full feeds during the day. He will sleep longer and better at night once this is established. It will take some time to you need to be patient and just tweak the routine you have until you get there.

After his 7am feed let him kick for a while and then top and tail him if he begins to get sleepy about 8am. Letting him kick for a short while on his changing mat with few clothes on may well revive him for another half hour. Changing his view by moving him from room to room and altering his position from lying to sitting in a baby chair or carrying him around whilst talking and singing to him may well encourage him to stay awake for longer periods. Give him a variety of things to look at, one at a time. Black, white and red books with a concertina of pages can be placed in view or one of his toys if bright and contrasting in colour.

Once he starts to settle later for his morning nap he may find it easier to sleep longer at lunchtime. Always give him 10-15 mins to settle by himself each time he wakes. Check him, re swaddle him if needed and see if he can settle alone without the extra feed. Once he begins to take a full 7oz feed at 2.30pm you will find the afternoons improve.

In the afternoon, try to let him kick as much as he will, don’t overdress him and move him from room  to room so he doesn’t get bored.

Try to give him 2ozs at 5pm and see if he is content until after his bath. Again encourage a time of kicking on his change mat with no nappy on before bath time. Then give him 4ozs after his bath so he should settle to nearer 10pm. It can be hard work to keep a sleepy baby up slightly longer but if you persevere you will see him managing a few more minutes as the days pass.

When he wakes for his late evening feed, see if he is content to wait for 10 mins after waking before feeding him. If he won’t wait, feed him 3-4 ozs. Let him have a kick on his change table or on your bed until 11-11.15pm then finish the feed in a dimmed nursery. Being awake for longer at this feed should have the effect of him sleeping longer before the next. Be careful not to over stimulate at this time. Once he has regularly started to wake only once in the night, and making it through to 7am cut back his awake time at 10 pm by 5mins every few nights until he is awake for 30-45 mins only.

If he still wakes between 2 and 3am try to settle him with water rather than milk . He may sleep again for another hour or so, take a feed and settle back to nearer 7am. Trying to settle with water at the first waking, rather than at 5/6am should help him begin to stretch out his nights. The knock on effect will mean he is ready for a proper feed at 7am and things will dramatically improve for you all.

Sleeping FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Daytime Sleep

My five-week-old is too sleepy in the daytime

I have a second child, who is nearly 5 weeks old. I bought The New Contented Little Baby Book for first child and had great success from about 8 weeks old. I followed it up with From Contented Baby to Confident Child and we have a brilliant 3 year old! I have recommended you to all my friends with new babies and 6 out of 7 have also hailed you as a goddess. We jokingly refer to your first book as our bible!

This baby wakes up for a night feed about 2-3 am, takes about 4oz and then settles back into his bed. He will then wake up again around 4am, go back to sleep and wake again maybe at 5 or 5.30am. I don’t think it is hunger as feeding him a little seems to put him off his morning feed. I have tried settling him with water and cuddle for past couple of days and he does nod off back to sleep temporarily but he is still waking up. Is he too young to be left when he grizzles/cries and if so how long do you think I should leave him before I cave? As a result of the aforementioned he is very difficult to keep awake post 10am after his nap, he drifts in and out of light sleep (remember I have a toddler too) wakes up too early at his lunchtime nap etc – you can see the knock-on effect.  HELP!
Hannah

Without knowing your son’s weight, it is quite hard to tell whether he is waking due to hunger during the early hours of the morning. How well does he feed at 10/10:30pm? This feed should take at least 3/4 hour with your baby really well awake. Sleepy babies at 10pm often don’t feed that well and then go on to be genuinely hungry in the night.

At his age, waking between 2-3am is quite normal. If he settles well after this feed and then is unsettled an hour or so later I would leave him 10-15minutes to see if he will go back to sleep alone. Depending on his weight he may well be ready for another feed at 5-6am, which you then follow with a smaller feed at 7.30am so he stays on track for the rest of the day.

If you do feed him at 5-6am treat this feed as a night time one and settle him straight back to sleep until 7.30am. If possible, don’t change his nappy as this will only waken him more.  Once your son is beginning to push through to beyond 3am, then you need to treat any waking at 5/6am as habit rather than hunger and try to settle him with some water until nearer 7am.

Take a look in The Complete Sleep Guide for a full description of the “core night” method which explains how to eliminate excessive night time feeds. If you resettle your son until 7.30am he should be ready to go down nearer to 9am. This sleep may need to be an hour so he is able to then get through to 11.45am before going down for his lunchtime nap. Sometimes babies can be rather sleepy and it can take quite an effort to keep them on track. Be consistent each day and if you find he is beginning to stir after 45 minutes of sleep in the lunchtime nap leave him 15-20 minutes to see if he can  settle himself back again. Make sure he is well tucked in as the Moro reflex can still be strong at this stage.

Sleeping FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Daytime Sleep

My seven-week-old refuses all his daytime sleep

The main problem is with getting my seven-week-old son to sleep during the day. He is amazing at night and we follow the night time routine and he goes down well between 6.30pm and 7pm. He has to be woken at 10.30pm for his feed and is now waking at 4am and then goes back down until 7am. He does this no matter what we do during the day. I have been following the routines since day 1 and he will not settle for his morning nap or lunchtime nap. I have persevered for weeks but he simply cries for the whole time and gets himself really upset and will not settle. He then has his 2/2.30pm feed, and is very sleepy and then sleeps for the rest of  the afternoon until 5pm when we begin the evening routine. The nursery is very dark and I have tried top-up feeding just before he goes down at lunchtime but nothing seems to work. I have left him to cry for up to 45 minutes one day and felt terrible and he was really upset and it was too much for him. Please help, as I am at the point where I feel I may be better abandoning the day-time naps and just let him sleep when he needs to. I don’t really want to do this in case it affects the night time which is going so well.

Samantha

Some babies become overtired very quickly and are unable to settle to sleep. In the early weeks, many babies are only able to be awake for 1 and a half hours until they need to settle again. As soon as Lucas shows any signs of becoming tired take him straight to his room and begin his wind down.

For the next few days, try to settle him by 8:30am not 9am so you may need to begin to wind him down at 8:15/8:20am. Sit with him, half swaddled, if he needs it, in his darkened room. This wind-down time is very important for small babies as they need to learn how to get from being wide awake to sleepy. By holding him quietly with no eye contact,  you will teach him how to relax. Remain calm yourself as babies easily pick up on your tension. You may find it helpful to play a CD of calming music quietly as this will help you relax as well. There are plenty available, both of music and just calming natural sounds. Choose one which you like as it is more likely to succeed.

Once Lucas is really relaxed on you and heavy-eyed, put him in his cot and leave the room. To begin with, he may cry and be unsettled. Leave him for 10 minutes then re-enter and re-settle him, without picking him up if possible. I find a hand on the stomach and one or two strokes on the head can calm most babies. Then leave him again for another 10 minutes.

Look at p.39 in The Complete Sleep Guide for Gina’s detailed description of crying down in a young baby.

Although you have tried a top-up feed at midday, have you tried one at 8:30am? It is always best to eliminate hunger when trying to solve a problem.