Sleeping FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Daytime Sleep

My three week baby doesn’t nap well in morning or afternoon

Having followed your routines with my first son and had great success with them, I am not finding it so easy with my second son.

I am struggling to get Charlie to nap during the morning and afternoon. He sleeps well at lunchtime and at night.

In the morning he wakes between 6-7am and then gets very sleepy from about 8.15am. I try to keep him awake until 8.45 and he goes down all right but wakes again about 9.10am. This then has makes it difficult to keep him awake during the mid-morning for his lunchtime nap. I have tried resettling him but it doesn’t work. He will sleep at this time if we are in the car going to nursery or he is in the sling. The same is also true of the afternoon nap. I sometimes feel he is overtired in the morning as he may have been awake since 6.15am. If I keep him up until 8.45 he has then been awake longer than two hours. But if I put him down at 8.15, will it surely not affect the other naps and feeds?

We do find that when Charlie does go down for a sleep he always wakes 5-10 minutes later and needs resettling. We have tried leaving him for 10 minutes and he often does resettle himself. How long can we leave a baby of this age before going into him? He loves his dummy and is a very “sucky” baby. As soon as we go in to resettle him, he wants the dummy. I give it to him but am worried about creating sleep associations. Never having had these problems with our first son, I am not sure where we are going wrong.

As you are quickly finding out, siblings can be very different. It is not something you are or are not doing with Charlie. He is a baby who has slightly different sleeping patterns to his brother.

While he is still waking nearer to 6am put him down earlier for a sleep, as overtiredness could well be a factor in his very short morning nap. Putting him down by 8.30am could help him sleep nearer to 9.30am. Rather than letting him get overtired again before his lunch time nap, let him have a short catnap of 10-15mins at 10.45-11am and then he should settle by 12.15-12.30pm for his lunch time nap.

As Charlie does settle himself back to sleep when he wakes after 5-10mins, it is better to let him do so. Leaving a baby of this age for 10 minutes is alright, although it can feel a long time to you. If you feel he is getting more and more worked up and distressed, then by all means go in and try to pacify him. But Charlie is learning a valuable skill of settling himself. It can take up to 20 minutes for a baby to fully fall asleep, so by letting him resettle himself he may well sleep better for it. If he manages to settle himself without his dummy, then let him do so, even if it involves a little crying.

It is very easy for a dummy habit to begin. Let Charlie have it in a wind-down time before sleep, as bottle-fed babies do sometimes need some “sucking” time because they are inclined to feed faster than breast-fed babies.

Sleeping FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Daytime Sleep

My 4-week-old baby seems to sleep more in the day than she does at night

My 4-week-old daughter seems to have day and night confused. For the first week, we followed the advice in CLB to feed three hourly, thereafter, I attempted to follow the routines. However, I also have a two year old who demands a lot of attention, and I find it unsafe to leave her on her play mat for as often as I like for fear of sibling interference. Consequently, the last few days, she has been asleep almost all day (I tried giving her a bath at lunchtime, so that she was awake at least for a couple for hours while my son had his nap, but she still went right back to sleep even after being put under the play gym).

And if I try to take my son for outings, she is guaranteed to sleep right through them. We try to go out at least once a day to keep things interesting for him, but it is destroying any chance of a routine.

This then means that my daughter is wakeful at night. She settles well at 7pm, wakes (on her own) for a feed at 10pm. Wakes again at 12.30 – 1am for a quick feed and is usually relatively easy to settle, but by 3.30am, she is wide awake, feeds voraciously and is then impossible to settle. In the end, I brought her into bed with me this morning (bad, I know, but after several very bad nights, sleep deprivation got the better of me!) and she did not go back to sleep until gone 5am. Then she woke starving for a feed at 6am.

My toddler often wakes up at 6 (it was 5.30 this morning, just to make matters worse!), so this “routine” we have got ourselves into does make for a very short night. This is making it very difficult for me to be up and bright for an active toddler, and I want to nip this in the bud before it gets worse.

My daughter weighed 4ks at birth, and has put on 1kg in just over three weeks, has plenty of dirty and wet nappies, so I am sure she has enough to eat (I seem to have an oversupply, if anything – I expressed over 10oz in one sitting yesterday before I gave up).

Have you looked at the routine Gina has written for the site about having a baby and toddler?

We all know that life is not easy with two, especially in the first few weeks.
The safest way to let your baby have some kicking time on the floor whilst your toddler is around, is to use a playpen or travel cot. Your baby can either lie or sit in her chair inside.

Place a play gym or arch over your baby to encourage her to have some kicking time. Teach your toddler to look through the mesh to see the baby rather than hanging over the top. This helps the toddler accept the presence of their sibling without too much jealousy. At present you are concerned about how your toddler will react to the baby and you are possibly finding yourself constantly guarding your daughter in case your toddler falls over her; toddlers can be clumsy unintentionally. Never leave the room with both children alone but having your daughter somewhere where she can lie or sit for a bit whilst you give your son some attention, could help them both.

Outings in the early days can be a problem as the pram will rock them to sleep at this early age and your son needs time outside of course. Perhaps you could work it so you take them both out in the mornings [forget the house work, do it later], let them sleep at home at lunch and perhaps organize play dates in the afternoon on some days; even if you walk/ drive to a house and your daughter falls asleep she may stir again when bought indoors with other children. If you have friends around at home, again having a safe place for her will help her to begin to watch what is going on around her.

Try keeping your daughter up at 10pm, especially when she wakes herself up. Give her one side at 10pm then let her have a kick and time on the floor with the lights up and some noise until about 11.15pm. Change and then feed her the second side with the lights down to see if that time awake helps better in the night. Have you considered giving the 10pm feed as an expressed one in a bottle? Could someone else give it to her letting you get to bed having expressed about 9.45pm? If you do this then still split the feed: give 2-3 ozs at 10pm, a break until 11.15 and offer a fresh bottle of milk, another 2-3 ozs which should help her settle to nearer 2.30am.

Your daughters night time wakefulness could also be that she has your complete, albeit sleepy attention, rather than when you are trying to feed her and look after your son in the day. In the day consider having a special bag with some toys he only sees at certain times, or something you know will interest him which you can bring out at feeding time. This should keep him content and you can give your attention to your daughter and make sure she does receive a good feed – especially in those morning times when she is tired from the night and a bit erratic. If the nights improve with her she should be more alert in the mornings and feed better.

Get out some books you can share with him whilst feeding – even watching a short video together- although it may be best to keep that option for really bad days when something really novel is needed to keep your toddler occupied. Before you sit down to feed get him a drink and snack [and yourself] and put it out on a low table where he can manage to sit. Get him to help you with changing. Ask him to pass you a nappy etc. and if he wants to keep touching your daughter give him the important task of creaming her feet whilst you are topping and tailing or changing her. It is best to have a change area near to where you spend a lot of time in the day. Having two small children can be daunting, especially when trying to manage the different needs of them both. With some forethought and planning it is possible to settle your second into a routine which will also accommodate the needs of your first.

Sleeping FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Daytime Sleep

I can’t seem to keep my 6-week-old daughter awake after her feeds

I am trying to follow the routines to the letter but finding it difficult to wake her at the suggested times. I am also finding it almost impossible to keep her awake after her bottle. At week 5 she was very alert during these times but the last few days I have had to resort to washing her face several times trying to keep her awake. Do you have any suggestions or ideas as to why this is so difficult? I am unable to wake her at all at 10.30pm and she takes her bottle whilst still asleep. She will have about 4oz but I am unable to get any more into her. She usually then sleeps until 5am-5.30am and wakes wanting a full feed. I suspect that she might sleep longer if she took her whole bottle.
She weighs 9lbs 10 ozs at present and feeds at 7.15am 2ozs, 10am 4 ozs, 2.30pm 5ozs, 5.20pm 2ozs, 6.15pm 3ozs, 10.30pm 3.5ozs, 5am 6ozs.

The routines set out for your daughters age are a guideline to work towards. Babies all have different sleep needs and it may take your daughter another week or so before she is able to stay awake after a feed for the amount of time stated. The timings have to allow for babies to be different in their needs. A baby as young as your daughter may be able to stay awake for up to 2 hours from when she woke, but many will be ready for their next nap after 1 and a half hours.

Your daughter may well be going through her 6 week growth spurt. Some babies can be sleepier for a few days whilst this is taking place or following the days when they have seemed hungrier and fed more. In another week you may find she has changed again and is more able to stay awake.

After a feed it is a good idea to try to have some sort of activity time before settling your baby to sleep, even if only for 10-15 minutes. If she is sleepy whilst under her play gym, move her to another room and let her sit in her chair and look at what you are doing. Spending time on her change mat, especially on her tummy, can help a baby stay awake for a little longer and you can begin to stretch things out by a few minutes each day and able to take more in of the world about her.

Your daughter is doing exceptionally well to be sleeping through from the 10.30pm feed to 5/5.30am. Many babies of this age are waking much earlier and needing a feed.

It can be difficult to wake a baby at 10.30pm as they are often in a deep sleep. To get them to have their deepest sleep in the middle part of the night rather than at the beginning begin to wake her at 9.45pm. Switch on her lights and open her swaddle if she is in one. Put on a radio or some music and potter around in her room tidying away laundry or drawers. From time to time stroke the backs of her hands and arms and talk to her to help her come around.

It can take at least 20 minutes for her to be fully awake. Once she is, feed her two thirds of her feed before changing her. Take her to a room which is light and has the TV or radio on to feed her for the first half. Once changed, lower the lights and give her the end of her bottle in a darkened room to encourage her to settle. A baby of your daughters weight needs to have about 4 ozs at each feed so she is doing really well with the way she is feeding at present. If she begins to push on longer in the night, her large feed at 5/5.30am will become her feed at 7am which is should be one of the larger ones in the day. Some babies manage to do this themselves, others may need a little help by having a split feed at 10/11.15pm to help them get to nearer 7am for their feed. As your daughter has done so well already it may be another few weeks before she is ready to go right through.

Sleeping FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Daytime Sleep

Is my 5 week old sleeping too much in the morning and affecting the routine day?

My son is now just over five weeks old. We have been following the programme since week 2 and although we are making good process, I still find it impossible to stick to the timings of the routine. He wakes twice in the night, approximately 2.30am and then again at 6am. At 6am we are unable to settle him back to sleep; he has a small feed at 6am and then waits to have a larger feed at 7am. The problem is that he is very sleepy by 8.15am and naps until close to 10am – is it a problem to have this length of sleep in the morning? He then feeds again at around 10.15am but starts to get sleepy by 11.15am. He sleeps from approximately 11.30am to 2.00pm. He feeds again at 2.00pm and then is awake until 4pm-ish. At 4pm we go out for a walk and he sleeps for approximately 30 minutes. Once back at 5pm he feeds well, has his bath and then feeds again. He goes down by 7pm. We then wake him at 10.30pm for another feed and then he goes down to 2.30am, feeds again and is often very difficult to resettle. He is then awake by 6am and ready to start his day! How can we get him to settle again at 6am? Could the length of his morning nap be affecting the rest of the day?
He is breast fed and feeding at 6am, 10mins, 7am 20mins, 10.15am 20mins, 11am 5 minutes, 2pm 20mins, 5pm 20mins, 6pm 15mins, 10.30pm 15-20mins, 2.30am 10-15 minutes. He weighs 11lbs.

The amount of sleep a baby of this age needs is a very individual thing. As your son is awake from 6am he will be tired by 8.15am and want to sleep. It is also quite usual for a breast-fed baby to feed twice in the night. Treat the 6am feed as a night feed, using as little light as possible, no eye-contact or interaction with him. Only change him if it is absolutely necessary. Combine this with a split 10pm feed as explained below and he should begin to sleep nearer to 7am. Once he does this you will be able to gradually keep him up to nearer 9am. Many babies of this age may still need to sleep after 1.5 hours of being up and although you use the routine as a guide to work towards, also be aware of your baby’s own needs.

Babies under the age of four months need to be awake for at least an hour in the hours between 7pm and 7am. Splitting the 10.30pm feed will ensure that your son is awake for slightly longer at this time and also that he is taking a slightly larger feed which will help him go on a bit further in the night. Wake him at 10pm and make sure he is fully awake before feeding him. Some babies can take a while to wake at this time so you may need to begin the process at 9.45pm, letting him wake naturally. To do this put on the lights and remove any coverings and swaddle he is in. Put on some music or a radio and potter in the room near to him. Once he is fully awake feed him on one side. Do this in a room which is light and has some sound such as the radio or TV. If he becomes sleepy on the first side, unlatch him and lay him down on a blanket or mat on the floor away from your body warmth. This will help him to stir and ensure he empties the first side. When he has finished let him have a quiet kick on his play mat. He needs to be awake at this time but does not need too much stimulation as it is nighttime and not day. At 11.15pm change him and offer the second side in a darkened room so he will settle back to sleep. Some mothers find it easier to offer this feed as an expressed feed in a bottle which can be given by their partner and they can have an earlier night. If you decide to do this then split the feed into two bottles so he receives a fresh one at 11.15pm. You may also find, if you are tired and your supply a little low at this time, to offer a top up of expressed milk after the second side will ensure your son has had enough and will settle for a four to five hour stretch in the night.

Once your son has started to go on in the night until 3/4am and is waking at 7am rather than 6am and has done so for at least a week, you can gradually begin to cut back on the time he is awake at 10pm. Reduce the amount of time he is awake by 10 minutes every three to four days until he is awake for 45 minutes-1 hour. If he begins to wake earlier in the morning again you will need to lengthen the time again for another week or so.

Sleeping FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Daytime Sleep

My 5-week-old baby is very reluctant to nap in the morning

My 5-week-old daughter is a very alert baby. She is not one for being comforted. Independent lady!

From the start I have found it difficult to get her to nap in the morning. This is now almost impossible – she will cry for the whole hour while I try to get her down – I go in and soothe her every 5/10mins; I usually do not pick her up. She seems to get into a complete state so that sleep is nigh impossible. I have never known her to cry herself to sleep. She naps OK if I am going out and about with her in the car or buggy, but the home naps are getting harder and harder. However, I am going out less and trying to face this problem head on.

At night she is OK – she has her ups and downs, but generally she will do the 7-10pm sleep and then wake up at either 1/3am and 5/6am. We have only had one night where she slept through (the night before last) from 12 midnight to 5am then I woke her at 7am. However, that night it took us ages to get her to go down in the evening – she slept from 9pm-11pm. We had been rocking her to sleep a bit for a week or so and did not even realize we were doing it so we thought we must stop – hence the time it took us to get her down without rocking that evening. Last night she went down fine at 7pm without rocking. I have never rocked her to sleep for daytime naps, only she does every other day have at least one nap in her pram or the car.

She feeds as per the routine but the naps are a nightmare. She seems so alert in the morning and is quite happy to sit under her play mat for an hour or more looking around and kicking about. Then I take her to her room to get her to nap and she goes mad crying.

The afternoon nap is also a nightmare – I always take her for a walk and she often cries for 10-20mins before falling asleep so she never gets a full hour then – usually half an hour at the most. The couple of days it has rained and I cannot go out, she will not go down to sleep in her room – she cries constantly for the hour.

Today has been awful. She skipped the 9-10am nap despite my efforts to get her down, calm her and leave her crying. Then I fed her at 10 (25mins then 10mins after expressing). She was very sleepy and I tried to rouse her with no luck so I put her down in cot at 11am – again I tried to rouse her but she was totally asleep. At 11.30 she woke up crying her lungs out. I left her for 10mins then went in and tried to console her. After half an hour of her screaming, I brought her downstairs to try and calm her but she was so worked up. I walked around with her in my arms but she was moving about loads and rooting to be fed. I put her in her moses basket in the lounge and she was OK for 2 mins then started crying again. At 12.20 I thought I have to feed her because she was still crying and nothing I could do would console her. So I fed her for 10mins and she got really sleepy so I took her upstairs into dark nursery and fed her another 10mins. I re-swaddled her in a lighter blanket and did not put a blanket on top of this (I did put rolls down sides to stop her moving though). I thought she might have been too hot earlier. I put her down (12.45) and roused her slightly before leaving the room. At 12.50 she started making noises and at 12.55 she started crying loudly. I went in to soothe her and held her in my arms as she was screaming again. Her eyes were very sleepy and she did stop crying this time. I put her back in cot, roused her slightly and left room at 1pm. At 1.05 she started crying for a couple of minutes and then I think in sheer exhaustion she stopped and has been asleep since. It is now 2pm and I am not sure whether to wake her now or leave her for a bit longer seeing as she has only 1.5 hours nap time so far… I think I will leave her until 2.30pm.

If she does not go down at the required time, am I supposed to move her wake up time forward so she gets the required sleep? I tend to meet half way on this and so if she goes down two hours late, I will push her wake up time 1 hour forward. Am I right to do this?

Also, I can keep her awake for a period after feeding but then I find it difficult to get her to go down to sleep. She goes down fine when I feed her then put her down shortly afterwards, but anything longer than half an hour later after her feed and she starts expecting food again. I have been expressing and my milk is plentiful, she eats loads generally, is quite a “sicky” baby (I burp her very carefully), but has been putting on weight well. She weighed 7.14lbs on 19/09.

Would it be wrong to let her skip the morning nap?

Which routine do you think she should be on? I am trying to do the 4-6 weeks one now.

What can I do to get her to sleep in the daytime?

At present she is breast fed at 7.15am: 20-25mins one side, 15-20mins on second, 10am: 20-40mins depending how sleepy, 12.30pm: 15mins if not willing to sleep, 2pm: 20mins if I am out, or 20mins on both sides if at home, 5pm: 25-30mins, 6.15pm: 25mins, 10.45pm: 20mins one side, 10-20mins second [can be sleepy], 3.15am: 20mins, 5.30am: 20 mins.

Some babies as young as yours are not ready to stay awake for two hours between naps. Learning to read your daughter’s signs of tiredness will help you get her more settled at these daytime naps. Once she has fed at 7.15am, taking both sides it will be around 8am.

She may be able to manage another 20mins of lying on her mat before the first signs of tiredness will be apparent. She may begin to fuss or cry, or she may go still and “stare” into the distance. You may see a yawn. This is the sign you need to take her to her room for “wind down” time. Even if she is not showing these signs it is time to take her away to her room to begin to wind her down for sleep. By 8.30am you should be sitting in her room with the blinds down and curtains drawn. This will help your daughter to learn how to clam down and settle to sleep with out fighting it. Alert, bright babies need this calming period sometimes more than those who are sleepy in general and not so interested in what is going on around them.

It can take a baby 20mins from being awake to being in a sleepy state. Hold her, swaddled – if you are doing this, against you but with no eye contact. You are helping her to relax into a sleep state before she goes down. Although you don’t want to get into the habit of putting her down when fully asleep, she is still a young baby who needs you to help her towards sleepiness. Hold her and try to relax yourself. Make yourself breathe deeply and calmly, possibly using the exercises you were taught when pregnant. She may wriggle and fuss and moan. Resist the temptation to rock or pat her but getting into the routine of singing one song to her as a signal it is naptime may help you and her.

Once you feel that she is heavy and relaxed in your arms have a brief peep to see if her eyes are heavy and then put her down. Tuck her in as quickly and tightly as you are able and then leave the room. She may fuss and cry for 10 mins or so but it will still be well before 9am. Leave her 10mins to see if she can settle herself down. If she is still crying quite strongly then go in and reassure her and yourself with a quick stroke and “shush” before leaving again. At this age it is best to check her every 10 mins unless you are aware her cries are getting less and she is drifting off. Look in Gina’s Complete Sleep Guide p 39 for more about “crying down”. Leaving a small baby to cry for any length of time is not recommended.

If you use this technique before putting her down in the morning and for her longer sleep in the middle of the day you should begin to see an improvement. The problems you encountered with the lunchtime nap could have been a combination of hunger and tiredness. This is why you need to work at getting her settled for 45 mins-1hr by 9am, rather then starting to settle her at this time. Once she is having a proper morning nap you will find her next feed easier. Again watch her for signs of tiredness. She may be ready for her quiet wind-down time by 11.30am. If this nap does not fall into place check she is not hungry by offering her a small top-up feed before going down. Hunger can often be the cause of waking early.

Once you are settling your daughter better at the morning and lunchtime naps you can not worry so much about her having a full hour in the afternoon. This is often a much lighter sleep, or two cat naps – especially if in the pram. Make sure your daughter is comfortable in her pram, not too hot and not lying on creased-up blankets or sheets. If you know she is down on her daytime sleep then leave slightly earlier than you have been doing to again avoid her getting overtired and fighting sleep.

Until your daughter is settling better in the day don’t expect her to be following the 4-6 week routine to the letter. Use it as a guide to work towards but realise that every baby has different sleep needs and not all are able to keep within the times stated until at least 6 weeks, sometimes even longer. The most important thing to work on is settling your daughter so she begins to fall asleep with less resistance. Once you are aware of the signs she shows that she is tired and you learn how to calm her and put her down to settle, the other parts of the routine will fall into place.

Should she miss some of her nap times because she is slow to settle adjust things a little to help her get through the day but be aware of how long she is sleeping. If she sleeps deeply in the late afternoon she is unlikely to settle well in the evening. Keep trying each day to get her down before she really is fighting going to sleep, and letting her sleep on later will not be such an issue.

Sleeping FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Daytime Sleep

My 5.5-week-old daughter is unable to settle to sleep at all in the morning

My daughter is completely unable to settle for naps in the morning or at lunch time. For the first couple of weeks we followed the routines, and she settled at least at some naps, but now she is unable to settle for any, screaming on and off for the entire time. I have read the similar FAQs on your site, and have been taking her to her room at the first sign of tiredness. This is often an hour and a half (maybe less) from when she last woke. I swaddle her, top her up with food if she wants it, wind her, and sit quietly with her in the dark until she is ‘heavy’ and her eyes are ‘staring’ and getting droopy. I then put her in the cot, pat her lightly, check she is dozing off and leave. Sometimes there’s a lot of snuffling and stretching going on, but she does go quiet for 20 minutes, but then she starts to fuss and then cry – gradually escalating to hard screaming. She never goes off for longer than this. Sometimes she is reluctant to even settle in my arms, so starts crying quite quickly. I leave her for ten minutes (or longer if she is just ‘grumbling’ crying, but not actually sounding distressed) and then go in to comfort her. For a while we tried just patting her, but it didn’t work. Sometimes she calmed down, but would quickly start crying hard again, often before I had fully calmed her. Or she just cried on through the patting / stroking. So we pick her up, calm her and put her back down the moment she is calm and dozy. But any where between 2 and 10 minutes later she cries again. This goes on for the entire nap time, often until she is then too tired to settle anyway, or hunger is setting in for her next feed. I have stayed in the room and watched her before to see what is happening, and she seems unable to go off into a deep sleep, and starts to stretch, wriggle, fuss and then cry, just when I think she seems to have finally drifted off. I am now swaddling her arms again, as she seemed to be fussing more with them out, and scratching her face a lot. The knock on effect of all this is that come the afternoon, the pair of us are exhausted. She feeds at 2pm, and then conks out by 3pm at the latest. As we often go out in the buggy, she stays asleep until 5pm, but then I find it so hard to wake her to feed then. If I do rouse her enough to feed, she then falls back asleep afterwards, and no amount of changing her nappy, taking layers of clothes off, wiping her face will wake her. This means I have to take her to bath her early, just to wake her up. All of this is all very well at the moment, but I have a toddler (22 months) and a nanny with us for the next three weeks. After this, I am on my own, so will be less able to sit doing the long wind-downs at naps, or bathing my daughter during what is effectively my other daughter’s tea time. Nights with my daughter are OK. Sometimes she fusses and won’t settle at 7pm, but mostly she does. We wake her at 10.30pm and then she wakes for a feed at about 3am. Our day begins at (or just after) 7am. I followed the routines successfully with my other daughter, but she used to cry at the beginning of naps, but once she went to sleep she stayed asleep. I am feeling utterly at a loss to know what to do, and feeling like I have tried everything and seeing no progress. The times that she is awake are a constant battle to keep her awake for a little while after feeding so as to keep her on track for the day, but this is not a very enjoyable way to spend time with my baby. Is there anything else I can do? Could this be a 5.5 week / 6 week blip? I remember my daughter was very unsettled in other ways around this time?
At present she feeds at 7am 4-5ozs expressed milk, offered a top up before nap, may take a few minutes. 10am 3-4ozs formula, top up offered before nap, may take 5mins, 2pm 4ozs formula, 6.30pm 2-3ozs formula, 7pm 4ozs expressed breast milk, 10.30pm 3-4ozs formula, 3am 3-4ozs formula. She weighs over 10lbs.
My daughter naps at 8.30-9am, 11.20-12pm, 3-5pm and 5.30-6pm.

For whatever reason it would appear that your daughter has got into a cycle of fighting sleep until completely exhausted. As you have tried in the same way at every nap to put her down in the day with no real affect it would be best to change the way she is settled to sleep. A lot of babies of this age are ready to go down for a nap an hour to an hour and half after being woken. If they do become overtired they will resist the attempt to fall asleep. Your daughter may also have a very strong Moro reflex. Around 20mins of appearing to doze off a baby enters a second stage of deeper sleep. The Moro reflex can jerk in at this time which causes her to startle herself awake. She then has to try to settle down again, and as you have seen it becomes a vicious circle.

In the article about the lunchtime nap Gina explains about assisting a young baby such as your daughter to sleep. In the next few weeks whilst you still have help this would be the best thing to do. You find a way to get your baby to sleep and stay that way for the length of time she needs. Either take her out in the pram or car or lie with her in your arms and let her sleep. You need to do this consistently at every naptime in the same way. You may decide to make the morning nap a time when you take her out in the car or pram and then spend the time at lunchtime with her being held. Whatever you decide to do it may be a week to 10 days before you can see her sleep cycles have readjusted themselves. Make sure you get her into the pram or the room where you will lie with her before she is showing any sign of sleepiness, bearing in mind that this may only be an hour since she woke up. She needs to learn how to relax enough to fall asleep without becoming overtired.
Then you need to start to put her back in her cot, putting her down when quite sleepy to begin with, and gradually working down to her being less and less so. It may be best to start with one naptime a day at first and see how this goes. If the morning nap falls into place then begin to settle her in her cot for the one at lunchtime. Try not to rush this stage, but accept that there will probably be some crying down for 15 -20 mins at the beginning as she learns to settle alone. When you have adjusted her body clock so she is used to a short morning nap and a longer one at lunchtime she should take less time to settle herself.

Continue to offer her a top up feed before she goes down until she is regularly settling and sleeping through both naps.

Continue to swaddle her when she is back in her cot, but try to do this with one arm out, or giving her the means to get it out should she want to. Because of the dangers of overheating it is best to gradually wean your baby off needing to be swaddled by 8-12 weeks. Again you may find it best to attempt half swaddling at the morning nap first and once that is accepted begin to do so at the lunchtime one as well.

The times when your daughter has been unsettled at 7pm are most likely due to the long deep sleep in the afternoon. Once her naps are more in place she should become a much happier and easier baby, who you can begin to enjoy.

Sleeping FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Daytime Sleep

My 7.5 week old daughter is always sleepy in the afternoon

My daughter has suddenly been unable to stay awake after the 2pm feed.
She is very sleepy all afternoon and I cannot keep her awake after about 3pm.
I have tried giving her a cat nap around 3pm for 15mins but this seems to make her even sleepier during the rest of the afternoon.

I have cooled her down and cooled the room down but nothing gives!

At present she naps from 9-9.45am, 11.50-2.15pm and 3.30-5pm. She settles at 7pm

The sleep needs of young babies can vary. Some are able to stay awake for up to 2 hours whilst others are not. Your daughter may well have been through a recent growth spurt which often occurs around the sixth week. This can sometimes be followed by a baby needing slightly more sleep than she had been previously, perhaps by taking a longer nap at a different time of day.

Providing your daughter is happy to settle at 7pm and sleeps well in the evening and night let her have this slightly longer afternoon nap for as long as she needs it. If she likes to sleep in the afternoon take her out in her pram or let her sleep in her baby chair rather than putting her into her cot in a darkened room. This will help her to be able to settle in places other than her nursery and also she is likely to sleep less deeply if not swaddled and tucked into her cot. This nap often becomes shorter and may become two cat naps, but your daughter will let you know when she is ready to do this.

Sleeping FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Daytime Sleep

How can I get my 6 week old son more settled and content in the daytime?

I used the Contented Baby routines for our first son and within 3 days he was within the routine – it was brilliant.

I have now been trying to get out second son into a routine for over two weeks and it is being a nightmare. A typical day is as follows:

My son of six weeks will wake in the night anywhere between 3.30am and 6.30am – the time he wakes is not related to either the amount of feed he takes or what time he goes down after his 10.30pm feed. I only give him a maximum of 2 ounces and then settle him back down to sleep – he generally settles back down quite well. I wake him at 6.50am and give him his feed but he quickly loses interest and rarely takes more than 4 ounces. The feed finishes at about 7.40am.

My son will then sit in his chair for about 20 minutes and look relatively content and alert. After a maximum of 20 minutes he will then start to cry and then to scream. If I give him a dummy, he will immediately fall asleep (this is despite the fact that we have been very careful not to let him have his dummy in his cot or to fall asleep with his dummy). If I remove his dummy just before he falls asleep, he will scream again. If I do not return the dummy, he can scream for up to an hour. If I do return the dummy, the cycle starts again. Rocking him in his chair does not settle him and even rocking him myself only brings temporary and imperfect relief – the minute he goes back in his chair, the screaming begins again. When he falls soundly asleep, he is impossible to wake.

At 9am it is then very difficult to settle him and the day degenerates from then on. Waking times are spent with an initial 30 minutes of feeding and then only up to a maximum of 10 or 20 minutes play before the screaming begins.

I have used Infacol and gripe water in case he has either reflux or wind. Neither had any effect.

I have taken my son to the doctor who was very helpful and has prescribed Baby Gaviscon in case Oliver has reflux (although she did not think this was the case). She said she was happy to see him again if the Baby Gaviscon did not work (which it hasn’t) and she would try other things (e.g. seeing if he has a urine infection) but she didn’t see that there was any physical reason for his behavior – he is an extremely healthy baby and is putting on the right amount of weight. She thought he may just be a difficult baby.

I have also taken my son to a chiropractor who carried out an hour and a half physical examination and came to the same conclusion as the doctor, that he is an exceptionally healthy baby and there is no physical reason for his screaming. Again, he thought my son may just be a difficult baby and that he would eventually grow out of it.

I am now reaching the end of my tether. Although my son sleeps quite well during the night, I am constantly on tenterhooks as to whether he will start screaming and how I will placate him if he does. Listening to your baby scream practically constantly during his waking hours is extremely upsetting and it is beginning to really take its toll on me. It also cannot be good for my baby to have such unhappy waking hours.

My son feeds at 5.30am 1.5ozs, 7am 5ozs, 10.30am 4ozs, 2.30pm 4ozs, 5.15pm 4ozs, 6.30pm 1.5ozs, and 10.30pm 3.5ozs. He weighs 10lbs.

He naps at 7.30-10am, 11.30-12 midday, 1.30-2.30pm, and 4.50-5.30pm. He is settled by 7pm.

Babies have different sleep needs. It would appear from your description that your son may be screaming because he is tired. It is not unusual for a baby of this age to only be able to stay up for and hour and a half before needing to sleep. Every baby is an individual character and whilst some may just doze off in their chair when tired, others become very upset if the “window “of tiredness is missed and they are not tucked up in their cots. The more overtired they become the more they fight sleep.

It is not easy settling a second baby into a routine which takes into account all his needs as well as caring for your first child. If your first son is still quite young himself it can be a problem trying to meet two sets of needs. Have a look at Gina’s Routine for babies and toddlers to see how you could help yourself in the day. You might also look at Structure without Stress which explains how to adapt the routines for your own individual child.

Hunger could also be causing your son a problem and it may be worth beginning to split his feeds a little, to see if he can slightly increase his daily total. Although he may not have full-blown reflux he may be a baby who does better having his feed in two parts, with a break in between.  Many babies of this age do prefer to be fed this way.

When he is woken at 7am offer him 2-3ozs and then give him a break. Let him sit in his chair for 15 minutes, perhaps whilst you and your other son get dressed, and then offer him his feed again. He may well be interested in taking a little more than his normal 4ozs by this method.

By 8.10/8.15am he may well be getting tired. Don’t wait until he starts screaming; begin his settling time earlier to prevent this. Give him some time to wind down, by holding him and letting him calm himself, before putting him down for his nap. He may need 15-20mins of this quieter time in order to relax gradually into sleep. He may still like to be swaddled for his naps as this will help him feel secure. If it is not easy to keep taking up to his room, settle him in his pram in a quiet corner of the house. You may need to place a blanket over the top to give him a really dark sleeping space.

If your son is asleep by 8.30am and doesn’t wake around 9.15am then let him sleep to about 9.45am before waking him. If he does wake after 45minutes, then you will have to fit in another cat nap after his feed at 10am to help him through to his lunchtime nap. See page 136 of the Contented Little Baby book to see how this works.

Offer him the first part of his feed at 10.15am then give him another 15- 20 minute break before finishing the feed. This should take to him to about 11am. Encourage him to have a short time of kicking on his play mat until 11.15/11.20am then begin to wind him down for his next nap. Again, if possible, take him to a quiet room and hold him until he is calm and ready to sleep. This nap ideally should be taken on most days in his cot in a darkened room. As he will have had his feed split, and therefore taken slightly more, he should go down happily and sleep for about two or more hours. From your notes it would seem that this longer nap has not been happening. Hunger is often the reason why the lunchtime nap goes wrong. You may need to offer him a small top-up bottle before he goes down to sleep, to help him get through to 2pm.

Follow the same method for feeding your son at 2pm/2.30pm and then try to get out in the afternoon. Being in his pram will help your son have one or two catnaps or maybe one longer sleep to help him be refreshed for his bottle, bath and bedtime routine.

Your son may well be ready for his bed before 7pm, especially if he naps before 5pm rather than after it. If you feel you are keeping him up too long and the result will be him fighting sleep, then put him down earlier.

As your son grows he will become more interested in his surroundings. At his present stage of development his eyesight is still quite blurry and restricted. Once this is more refined, you may find that your son is more interested in what goes on around him and is able to remain happy whilst awake. You may also have noticed already that your new son is a different character from your first born. He may be a child who needs more reassurance and an adult who can anticipate most of his needs will prevent a lot of frustration and upset as he grows.

Sleeping FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Daytime Sleep

My three week son is really sleepy in the day and so is awake in the night

My son is very hard to settle after at least one of his feeds during the night.  The other night he would not go to sleep again after his 10.30pm feed and was up until about 4am which left me with 2 hours sleep as I also have another son of 27mths. I find it very hard to keep him awake during the day, he sleeps so much and I try changing his nappy often but even that doesn’t do the trick. He often falls asleep on the bottle too! I would like to know what method is best to use on a 3 week old baby who is putting good weight on, either controlled crying or the crying down method? Also how can I keep him awake more and get him into a better daytime routine?

At present my son feeds at 6.30am 2-4ozs, 10am 2.5-4ozs,1pm2.5-4ozs, 4.30pm 2.5-4ozs, 6.30pm 2.5ozs, 10.30pm 3-4ozs, 2am 2-3ozs. He weighs 9.3lbs.

He naps at 10.30am -12.30pm, 2-4.30pm, 4.45-5.30pm and settles around 6.30pm.

Getting a small baby to be more awake by day can take time. Many babies of this age are quite sleepy and may only be awake for an hour or an hour and a half before needing to nap again. By beginning to structure your son’s daytime naps and feeds his nights should improve.

As you are coping with a toddler as well, look at Gina’s Routine for Toddler and Baby which helps you see how it is possible to cope with both children.

Although it is tempting to let a baby stay awake for longer than two hours if they seem to wake up a bit, putting in the three daytime nap periods around the feed times will help.

Consistently start your day at 7am/7.30am, no matter what your son has done in the night. If you find he is waking at 6am/6.30am then treat this feed as a night time one. Feed in a dimmed room and try to get him back to sleep again. You may have to cuddle him to do this but it means he will then be ready to start his day at 7am/7.30am. Wake him then, even if he has only slept for a short while after his last feed. Depending when he last fed, you may need to offer him a small top-up feed at 7.30am to get him back on track for the day. If he fed earlier than 5.30am then offer him a full feed and let him take as much as he wants. By 8.15am he will be getting tired, having been awake for over an hour. He needs to be taken to his room, swaddled and settled to sleep. This is not always easy to do with another small child around. If you can do this without having to include your toddler, do so, but most mothers will have to have their toddler with them. Make your first son a “busy bag” which only comes out at these times of needing quiet to settle your baby. Let him be in the room with you, or play by the door so he has some light to see whilst you calm and wind down your baby. The bag should have a small selection of toys which are new to your son. Things you could include are a magic drawing slate, an easy tray puzzle and a few simple cars.

Hold your son until he is calm and sleepy. This can take 20 minutes if a baby is wide awake but you are teaching him how to settle to sleep on his own. Once your younger son is relaxed and sleepy then put him in his crib and tuck him in well. He can sleep for 11/2 hrs until woken at 10am. Having had a nap before this next feed he should be less sleepy and able to take his full amount of milk.

Feed him at 10am and make sure he is not too warm when feeding, as this can make a baby sleepy. If he starts to nod off whilst feeding you need to put him down so he wakes up again. The safest place to do this, when there is a toddler around, is in a playpen or travel cot placed in the room where you are feeding. Put him down on the firm floor of the playpen and, if needed, undo his sleep suit so he is more exposed to the air. In a very short time he is bound to come round again. Once he is well awake then continue his feed. A small sleepy baby may need to be put down two or three times during a feed. It can be slow to feed this way but you will know he is getting a full feed and so will settle better. Change him halfway through the feed and give him a small time on his mat, with no nappy on, to help him stay awake enough to finish his feed.

If you can, encourage your son to stay awake after his feed, even if only for 10-15 minutes. This way he does not learn to associate feeding with falling asleep. Put him down on his playmat in a safe place and let him have a short kick. Putting this mat inside a playpen or travel cot does allow him to be put down without the worry that his brother may fall over him. Even if he is sleepy after his feed keep him in a light room until he is due to be put down for a nap. By 11.15am he will be getting tired again. Settle him to sleep in his room after a wind-down time with you. This nap will become the longest in the day. If a small baby is unable to settle, or often wakes during this nap, then offer a small top-up feed before he goes down as hunger is one of the main reasons why this nap goes wrong.

If your elder son is still having a daytime nap then you, too, can have a break in the middle of the day, with some time for yourself before feeding your baby again at 2pm. A young baby will need a further nap in the afternoon but this is best taken before 5pm to ensure he settles well for the evening.

If you split the feed at 5pm/6pm it will help your son have a slightly larger overall feed. Offer him 2-3ozs at 5pm then let him have a time of kicking before his bath and final feed around 6pm/6.15pm. This can be another 2-3ozs.

Splitting the next feed too can help you give your son a good daily intake, most of it between the hours of 7am and 11pm. Wake him at 10pm and again offer him 2-3ozs. Often small babies can be quite alert and awake at this time. Encourage this by giving him a time to kick and have some one-to-one contact with you until around 11.15pm. Keep him in a lit room with some background music to help him stay awake. Then offer him a fresh feed of 2-3ozs. This slightly longer awake time and bigger feed should help him settle well in the night. Have a look at The Contented Little Baby Book, bottom paragraph on page 138, where this method is explained.

At his age and weight it is not unusual for a baby to be waking twice in the night for a feed. As he begins to take in more milk and get bigger his sleep should gradually stretch out so he is only waking once for a feed. All feeds before 7am are considered night feeds.

If you look at the routine for a baby of one week in The Contented Little Baby Book you will see the framework of the day to work towards. The routines are a guide, as every baby’s needs are different. Your baby may be older but he should not be pushed onto a routine for which he is not ready. If you always start each day at 7am, and put the framework of three naps a day into place, you will find your baby will become more sociable and awake by day. At this age 51/2 hours of sleep during the day – between 7am and 7pm – is what you need to aim for.

It is hard work, especially with two small children, but if you keep trying each day things will begin to get better. You may need to wake your baby from his daytime naps but this will become easier once he is sleeping better in the night.

A small baby should not be left to cry for any length of time. The most common reasons for crying are hunger, wind or tiredness. Controlled crying is never used on a baby under the age of six months. It is used as last resort, usually when there are sleep associations involved.

Have a look at Gina’s Complete Sleep Guide, page 39, which describes crying in detail. This is used when all other factors such as hunger, wind and just not being tired have been eliminated.

There is also a section in this book about settling a baby under the age of six weeks, page 26, which gives some helpful pointers about dealing with a very young baby who cries before settling to sleep.

Sleeping FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Daytime Sleep

My son of 5.5weeks is really sleepy all the time so it is difficult to get him onto the routine

I am having real problems getting my 5.5week son on the routine. He is sleepy all the time, and will often drop off almost immediately after a bottle, despite having just had a nap. I do make sure he is fully awake before feeding. We have tried everything to keep him awake during the wake period, changing nappies, clothes, play mats etc but he just goes!

I am also thinking that he does not take enough feed in one go, normally only 4oz per feed and that this is why he always wants to be fed before the times he is supposed to. I try to string him out until the next feed time, but all this does is upset him/make him tired etc.

He is also almost always waking at 5am if not he will go until about 6am, but there is no way I can keep him awake until even 8.30am as per the routine.

Basically I do not know what to do. I try not to start the day before six am. If he wakes at five am I try to settle him back down, but sometimes I have to give him a second night feed, then he will take a top up at 7.30am, but is still screaming for the next bottle early!

Please help me, I also have 3 yr old who followed this routine from about 3mths old, and is still a contented toddler, who sleeps and eats well. I know this works but just do not know what to do.

I have read some on the questions etc on the FAQ, but I am having trouble with sleeping and eating and do not know where to turn. He is also very colicky and get uncomfortable. Some evenings he will settle and others he will not. We never know where we stand and what to expect.

My son feeds at 5am, 3ozs, 7.30am 2ozs, 9.45am 4ozs, 1.20pm 4ozs, 5pm 4ozs, 6.45pm 3ozs, 10.30pm 4ozs, 2.30am 4ozs, 6am 2ozs.

My son was 8.13ozs at birth and now weighs 11lbs.

He naps at 7.30-9.30am, 11-1pm, 3-5pm and settles at 7pm.

It is not easy to get a sleepy baby of this age to wake if he really doesn’t want to.

One way you could help your baby is to lengthen his feeds slightly. When he feeds at 7am let him have half of the feed so, if it is a top up, give him about 1oz. Then lie him on the floor in a safe place and let him kick for a short while.  Even a break of 5-10minutes could help. This will make sure he is fully awake again before taking the rest of his feed and may help him to stay awake a while longer afterwards. Use this method at all the feeds he has during the day.

Another trick is not to change his nappy until the end of the feed as this again may stir him a little.

You are doing well by keeping the feed times in place throughout the day. Some babies are sleepier than others and will need longer naps until they are just a bit older.

Check that the teats you are using are not too slow as this will tire him out and he will be likely to fall asleep at the end of a feed. As your son is on Omneo formula he will need larger sized teat to allow the thicker milk to flow freely. Working on the calculation that a baby needs 2 1/2ozs for each pound of body weight your son’s intake of 4ozs each feed is about right. You could try adding an extra ½ oz at the feeds when he seems hungry, seeing if this helps him to settle for longer until the next feed.

There are two articles on the site which may help you. Structure without stress is about getting your baby onto the routines according to his needs. If you haven’t already looked at it you may also find Gina’s exclusive Toddler and Baby Routine helpful as well.

If you son wakes at either 5am or 6am treat this feed as a night feed and aim to get him back to sleep as quickly as you can. Feed him in a very dimly lit room and keep your eye contact with him to the minimum. Give him enough feed at 5am/6am to settle him properly which may mean offering 3ozs. Unless he really needs changing don’t disturb him further, so he is more likely to settle back quickly to sleep. If he is a little more awake at 6am try cuddling him whilst sitting in a comfortable chair to see if he will drop off again. He may settle better when held against you at this time of the morning.

If your baby can be settled until 7.30am and then woken for his top up of, say 2 ozs, he is more likely to take it properly and stay awake for a short time, which will get him through to 10am.

As your son is sleepy in the day he may well be rather unsettled in the evenings. Try working on keeping him awake for a short stretch in the afternoons and make sure he is fully awake at 5pm so he is more likely to settle at 7pm.

Now your son has changed to Omneo formula he should be a little less uncomfortable in the evenings and so more likely to settle.

It may take your son another week or so to wake up a little. Until he is ready to move on to another routine, by staying awake longer and managing to get to the feed times stated, keep him on a routine for a baby younger than his age.