Sleeping FAQ: 8-12 Weeks – Daytime Sleep

My 10-week-old daughter has started to be unsettled in the evenings. What am I doing wrong?

For the last week my 10-week-old daughter will not settle at 6.30/7pm. She settles well at other naps and has been going through the night since six weeks. I wake her at 5pm for her split feed of 4ozs. I have tried to drop this but she is always hungry and demanding food at this time. Sometimes even after this she is still crying for more food. I bath her around 5.45pm and start to feed her again at 6pm. She normally falls asleep on me after this feed so I will end up putting her to bed at about 6.30pm. She will then wake at 7pm and demand more food, normally around another 4ozs then go down again to wake again at 8pm. Then I have an hour of trying to settle her until around 9pm. I have tried increasing her day feeds but she won’t take any more milk in the day. She also can’t stay awake for more than an hour and a half. Why has this suddenly started happening?

My daughter feeds at 7am 7ozs, 10.45am7ozs, 2.30pm 6ozs, 5pm 4ozs, 6.15pm 4ozs, 7pm 4ozs and 10.30pm 7ozs.She weighs 12lbs.

She naps at 9-9.45am, 11.45am-2.15pm and 4.30-5pm.

If this has been a recent occurrence your daughter may be going through a growth spurt, as the amount of formula she is taking for her weight is quite high. It would be worthwhile to look at her daytime sleep as well. As you have to wake her at 5pm maybe she needs to go down earlier for this nap, or replace it with two cat naps in the afternoon. It is quite usual for a baby of this age to want to sleep for an hour and a half after waking for a feed. As she gets bigger she may be able to stay awake for nearer two hours. Your daughter may well need to go down around 4pm for 45 minutes and so wake naturally for her 5pm feed. Or she may be happier having a doze in her chair for 15-20 minutes around 3.45pm and then another half hour whilst out in her pram at 4.30pm. The 5pm/6pm split feed often stays in place for quite a while. It is better to leave it like this if your daughter is so hungry. If she needs a slightly larger amount at 5pm let her have another ounce at this time, to help her last until later on in the evening, but also be aware that she may be drinking her feeds too fast. This is explained below.

Start her bath earlier if you know she gets tired after an hour and a half. With slightly more sleep in the afternoon she may be able to stay awake to nearer 7pm and then settle well for the evening, but still need to be in the bath by 5.35pm/5.40pm before she becomes overtired. A baby who sleeps and wakes in the evening, as your daughter has been doing, could well be overtired and be fighting falling into a deep sleep.

If she is very sleepy when being fed at 6pm it may be wind that is disturbing her. Once she has been asleep for half an hour she may become uncomfortable, having not burped properly before going down. One way to eliminate this would be to put her down on a firm smooth surface, such as the floor, as soon as she shows signs of being sleepy during the 6pm feed. This should rouse her enough to finish taking a proper feed and wind as well.

Look at the flow of milk on her teat. If the flow is too slow she may be sucking hard and getting tired whilst doing so as it is too much effort. Move to a faster flow if you think this is the problem. If the flow is too fast she maybe draining her bottles too quickly. As she is still on the size 1 Dr Brown teats she may just be an efficient feeder. A feed should take around 20 minutes, if a full one, and at least 10-15 minutes at the smaller split feed. A baby who drinks too quickly has not had sufficient sucking time. They may well think they are still hungry but, if offered a dummy, will be able to satisfy their sucking needs without taking excessive amounts of milk. If you feel this may be the problem, offer your daughter half her feed and then allow her 10 minutes sucking on a dummy whilst she sits on her chair. You could also do this after her 5pm feed and see if she is more pacified before her bath.

During the day, although tired after an hour and a half, make sure your daughter has plenty of free time on the floor to kick. Taking her out once a day for some fresh air will also help her be properly tired at night. Doing this at 4.30pm could help her sleep at this time but not too deeply. Giving her the right amount of sleep by day will help her be more settled in the evening. It can take a few days of juggling and tweaking to know what she really needs. If you also look at her feeding and see if she is very fast or rather slow that, too, should help you solve this problem and get your evenings back again.

Sleeping FAQ: 8-12 Weeks – Daytime Sleep

My 11.5-week-old daughter will settle for her daytime naps but wakes after 30-45minutes and is hard to settle again

I have already been given a pretty detailed response by the Team about my daughter and her not wanting to sleep in the day. I have followed this but the advice unfortunately did not work fully, very frustrating!
Certainly the advice on wind down was of some help and she will go down now but wake up after 30 minute or sometimes 45 minutes at every nap.  For the morning nap I take her for a walk in the pram and she sleeps just fine, coming round after 30 minutes but after a couple of minutes of looking around she goes back to sleep (as long as I keep walking that is!). The lunchtime nap is a nightmare –I put her down after wind down, she wakes up after 30 minutes so I have tried a top up feed (40mls, even tried more – 70ml) either before she goes down or when she wakes up at 12.30. She basically just bawls her eyes out when she wakes up. She is not interested in my going in to sssh sssh her to calm her – she just cries even louder when I go in and I end up walking out with her in an even worse state than when I went in there. I have left her many times for up to an hour, today I left her for 30mins and she stopped crying but then started up again after 15 minutes (I went in after another 25 minutes of crying). Previously I let her sleep in the lounge as I was getting nowhere in the nursery but that does not seem to work now either (unless I am at my sisters house – she seems to like noise around her?). I have totally blacked out her room
My daughter sleeps perfectly at night – wakes up once or twice (4am or 2.30/5am). It can take me an hour to feed and get her back down though as she seems to wake right up.

At present my daughter feeds at 7.15am 100-140mls, not very hungry at this feed. 10.15am 100-140mls, hungry for this feed and not able to wait until 10.45am. 2.30pm 80-120mls, the amount varies depending how well she has slept at lunchtime as she can be sleepy. Woken at 3pm to be given more. 6.15pm 120-170mls Just dropped the split feed at 5/6pm as my daughter seemed happy to wait until after her bath for this feed. 10.30pm 120-170mls, 3am 60-100mls. She weighs 11lbs10ozs.

My daughter naps at 9-9.45am, 12-12.30pm 1-1.30pm, 4.30-5pm. She settlers by 6.40pm.

Your daughter has now learned how to fall asleep but, not yet, how to stay asleep. It can take a while for a baby to become used to surfacing from light sleep and settling back again. As you have found, she is able to do this whilst out in her pram. If you look on the website at the Lunchtime Sleep article you will see that you need to do the same thing persistently for at least a week to ten days, to change the pattern of sleep and “reset” her cycles. Keep going with the walk in the morning to help her get used to sleeping for this nap.

Rather than offering your daughter a top up when she wakes, consistently offer it to her before she goes down at lunchtime, even if you feel she took a good feed at 10.15am. This morning feed seems to be her hungry time of day, and as she is taking it over an hour before going down for her nap, a top up will make sure she really is taking all she needs. Watch that she is not getting too tired before this nap: bringing it forward by 10-15 minutes might help as being less exhausted may means she sleeps better.

Are you still tucking her in firmly with a sheet? Even if she is in a sleeping bag it helps if she is tucked in. Secure the sheet or cotton blanket with two rolled towels so it is tucked well down the cot sides. The Moro reflex is still present in a baby of this age and she may startle herself awake when in a light sleep.

Dealing with her every lunchtime can be draining. When she wakes leave her for 10 minutes to see if she will settle back again. If, by that time, her crying is becoming more insistent then you must go in to reassure her. It is inadvisable to leave a baby this young crying for long periods. She needs the reassurance that you are there for her. If she is very distressed then you need to pick her up and calm her down. A baby who is settling back to sleep may be able to do so with a gentle “shush”, but one who is very upset must be calmed down first. You need to keep going in to her about every 10-15 minutes to reassure her, rather than leaving her for longer periods of time.

If you have given her a top up feed and know that hunger is not her problem then you need to decide how you will settle her back again. You can try the “crying down “ method, which is explained above, but it would seem in your daughter’s case she really cannot yet get herself back to sleep and so still needs some assistance. Some mothers decide to hold their baby to sleep for the lunchtime nap rather than walk with them for two hours. This is explained in the “Sleep Training” section of the Lunchtime Nap article. Whatever you decide to do, it will have to be for at least a week or more, every single lunchtime, to help your daughter become used to sleeping for a longer amount of time.

As your daughter has always found it hard to sleep well in the daytime it would be worth considering following one of these methods for two weeks, rather than have every lunchtime spent listening to her crying.

Until her lunchtime nap is the full two hours feed her earlier, at 2pm, and allow her to have half an hour’s sleep at 2.30-3pm and another half hour at 4.30pm. This will help her not to get overtired by 6.30pm.

Although you feel your daughter is happy now to wait until 6.15pm for a full feed Gina does suggest keeping the split feed in at 5pm/6pm until a baby has slept from the 10pm feed to 7am for at least one week. The reason for this is that by splitting the feed the baby will have a smaller amount at 6.30pm and so be ready to have a good feed by 10pm. This feed can also be split and your baby kept up longer at this time to help her sleep better and settle in the night. See page 138 of the Contented Little Baby.

Many babies can be sleepy at 10pm and take a time to wake up properly for this feed.  Begin stirring her at 9.45pm, by putting on the lights and undoing her coverings and sleeping bag if she uses one. Make sure she is fully awake before feeding her. Do this in a well-lit room with some background noise. Give her about two thirds of her formula and then let her have some quiet kicking time. Babies under the age of four months do need a time awake between 7pm and 7am so it is better to encourage her to have it now rather than later in the night. One good thing about splitting this feed is that her father gets to see her for a time, especially if he is out working long hours. If he is willing to do this whole feed then you can get yourself off to bed earlier and so be better able to cope in the night. At 11.15pm your daughter should be changed and then offered the rest of her feed in a dimmed room, so she is able to settle down to sleep as soon as she has finished. Make this feed in two bottles as there is over an hour between each one.

When you feed her in the night, keep everything as quiet and dark as possible. Only change her nappy if it is really necessary. If she is still sleeping in your room at night feed her close to her cot so you put her straight back down when she has finished. If she is in a separate room from you, feed her there; again, close to the cot so you disturb her as little as possible.

If you are aware that your daughter is cutting back on her 7am feed you could begin to cut back very gradually on the amount she has in the night. If she begins to have a good split feed at 10pm/11pm she may well be able to settle with 60-80mls each night. Cut back slowly, no more than 20mls every few days. If you are feeding her at 5am and she is genuinely hungry, give her a top up at 7.30am to get her through to 10.30am.

It may take another few weeks for your daughter to learn how to sleep better in the day, but it is well worth persevering, providing you also ensure she is feeding well and going down to sleep tired but not exhausted. The two words to remember are consistency and persistency. Keep doing the same thing every day, in the same way, so your daughter learns how to sleep through her cycles of lighter sleep.

Sleeping FAQ: 8-12 Weeks – Daytime Sleep

My 10 week old twins have begun to refuse to settle themselves in the day for naps, despite sleeping well at night

My 10 week twin girls are sleeping after the 11pm feed through to 6/7am. They started off as easy to settle and were following the routine well. In the last week the girls are refusing to settle themselves to sleep during the day. We return from dropping my 3 year old to pre-school and they scream through their morning nap. I eventually feed them as close to 11am as possible but sometimes as early as 10.15am. I try to entertain them a little if they manage to stay awake until 11.45am, although they are sometimes tired and sleep before that. If they do sleep they wake shortly [20-30minutes] and scream through the rest of the nap. I check they are clean and dry. If I try to settle them by themselves, they scream the whole 2 hours. In the afternoon they catnap in the pumpkin seats whilst picking up their sister.

I have used the controlled crying method so far to no avail; I have separated them for all naps and sleep. I am at a loss as my daughter was a CLB baby to the last word. We moved house a week ago.

My daughters feed at 6/7am 4-6ozs, 10/11am 5-6ozs, 2.30pm 6ozs, 6pm 5-7ozs, 11pm 5-6ozs.

They weigh 12lbs and 12lbs 9ozs.

They usually nap from 11.30-12.15pm and are settled by 7pm.

If your daughters are awake and ready to feed at 6am give them their feed and, once they have finished, try to get them back to sleep until 7.30am, even if it is only for a short time.

At 7.30/7.45am offer them a top up feed of 2-3ozs so they are able to get to at least 10/10.15am for their next feed. At present they are overtired by the time of their morning nap and so they are fighting going down to sleep.

Depending on the time of your school run it may help your girls to have two morning naps to prevent them going down at lunchtime overtired. If they are ready for a sleep by 8.30/8.45am let them sleep until 9.15/30am. If they have had a top up feed at 7.30am they should be able to wait until 10/10.15am for their next feed.

If the babies are hungry it is far better to feed them rather than trying to get them to wait until nearer 11am. Once you have fed them at this time let them have a short cat nap around 10.45/11am. This will then mean they are ready to settle to their lunchtime nap around 12.15-12.30pm.

Before they go down for their lunchtime nap offer the girls a top up feed. If they are not over tired and not hungry they should settle well for this nap.

Dealing with twins and another child is not easy in the first few months after the birth. As the babies appear to be overtired in the mornings, despite sleeping well at night, it is much better to put them down earlier for their nap than allow them to get overtired.

Once you have sorted out the morning naps for both of them you may like to put them back in the same room for their naps. It may mean two or three days of them getting used to each other again, but will prevent more severe sleep problems which could occur if you wait until they are older before moving them in to the same room.

Sleeping FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Daytime Sleep

At 7 weeks my son will not sleep for longer than 10-15minutes at 4-5pm and so gets exhausted by bath time

My 7 week son follows the 4-6wks quite well but I’m having trouble getting him to sleep for more than 10-15mins between 4pm-5pm. This then makes him very ‘ratty’ and tired up to his bath and then he ends up falling asleep at 6.30pm.

I am a child minder and have gone back to work (work at my Mums house) so his 9am-10am sleep is usually in car seat and tends to wake after 30 minutes but I manage to ‘get him back off’ until 10am. But his 4pm sleep just goes wrong, tried car seat and also putting in own cot when gets home but still wakes up.

My son feeds at 7am 6ozs, 10.30am 5-6ozs, 2.30pm 5-6ozs, 5pm 3-4ozs, 6.15pm 3-4ozs, 10.30pm 5-6ozs and 3.30am 3-4ozs.

He weighs 10lbs 10ozs.

My son naps at 8.50-9.50am, 11.30-2.00pm and 4-4.15pm. He is settled by 6.30pm.

The afternoon nap is always a much lighter sleep than that of the earlier daytime naps. At his age your son will still need to sleep in the afternoon, but he may need some help to do so.

If possible, you could let your son doze in his baby chair once you are back home from work. Tuck him in with a blanket and see if he will doze there until 5pm.  Gina recommends that you let this nap happen in some place other than the cot so a baby does not always need a darkened room in which to sleep. Another option would be to take him for a short walk in his pram once you are home and see if that encourages him to drop off to sleep.

He may be too tired to sleep properly at 4pm so try letting him have a catnap in his chair before he leaves your Mum’s house. Allow him 20-30mins from 3.30pm. He may then be more likely to take another short nap later, either in the car or once you are home.

Until you have found a way for your son to sleep in the afternoon try bringing his bath time forward to 5.30/5.40pm.  If he is less tired he may enjoy his bath time more. It is not unusual for a baby of this age to be ready to go down by 6.30pm.

It can be difficult to fit in naps around your own commitments but, with a little juggling and letting him nap somewhere other than his cot, you should be able to find a way to get him to have a nap to help him through to bedtime.

Sleeping FAQ: 0-8 weeks -Daytime Sleep

My 6-week-old daughter naps at different times to the routine because of the school run

My 6-week-old daughter has settled well into the routines. I also have a three year old that means I am finding her daytime naps are taken in the car seat to fit in with school runs. This sometimes affects the length of her naps and then also the times of her feeds. She now is becoming harder to settle in her cot for naps on the days when I am at home and don’t want this to become a long term problem.

At present I drop my eldest daughter off at 8.30am three mornings a week. On these mornings my baby will fall asleep in the car earlier than she should. I cannot wake her before 10am because she will demand a feed straight away and it also affects the timings of her next nap.

I pick up my eldest daughter at 1pm. This means I must either disturb my baby’s sleep by taking her from her cot or let her fall asleep at 11.30am in her car seat and put the car seat in her room until I leave.

I find that on the days when her nap times get mixed up it can also affect the times of her feeds.

Feeding details:

She is breast fed at 7am,10.30am, 2.30pm, 5.00pm, 6.15pm and occasionally a 2oz formula top up to settle. At 10.30pm she has a 4-5ozs formula feed, and then sleeps until 5.00am when she is breast fed.

My daughter naps at approximately 8.30-9.45am, 12-2.00pm and 4.15-5.00pm. She is settled by 7pm.

To help you meet the needs of both your daughters’ you may need to juggle the routine times a little on the three days that are affected by the nursery times. You are right to be concerned that your baby may begin to associate falling asleep during the day with being in a car seat. But if you can manage to settle her for her most of her lunchtime naps in her cot, then having her first nap of the day in the car or buggy should create any of the wrong sleep associations. On the days when you do not have to leave the house at 1pm she should get used to sleeping there as well as in her car seat.

On the mornings that you have to take your elder daughter to nursery I would advise that you start to wake your daughter around 9.30am so that she is wide awake by 9.45am. As she has fed at 5am in the morning and topped up at 7am, I am sure that she will be ready to take a feed from one breast at 9.45/10am, and then the second side around 11/11.15am after she has had a time of free kicking on the floor.

However, If she is unwilling to split her feed in this way, offer both sides at 10am and give her a small top up at 11/11.15am prior to her going down for her lunchtime nap. By reducing the morning nap, and bringing it and the feeds forward slightly your daughter will be ready to sleep by 11.15/11.30am, therefore you can settle her in her cot for her lunchtime sleep every day. Although you will need to get her up earlier at on the three days when you are collecting your elder daughter from nursery, she will have slept past her first 30/40 minute sleep cycle.

If she has slept an hour in her cot and you manage to transfer her quickly from her cot to car seat she may well fall back to sleep again once the car begins to move. If you arrive home before the end of this naptime and she remains asleep, place the car seat in a quiet spot in the house until she wakes for her next feed. If you find your daughter does not settle back to sleep once moved from her cot during her lunchtime nap, you can let her have a short cat nap after her 2.30pm feed and another one at around 4.30pm to prevent her from becoming over tired by bath time. If she is unsettled once you arrive back from the nursery pick-up, it would be advisable to offer her one breast then. You may find that she will then have a short cat-nap. If this is the case allow her to sleep until no longer than 1 hour, so that she is on track with her feeding and sleeping by 2.30pm.

Although it may seem that you are having to do a lot of split feeds and shorter naps, the above advice should help you get through the next few weeks. Once your daughter gets a little older you will probably find that she can stay awake until 9am, at which time you will be back from nursery and she can be settled in her cot for the morning nap. Once you are at this stage I would suggest that you shorten that nap to twenty minutes so that she is still ready to go down for her lunch time nap earlier, so that she will continue to have between an hour and an hour and quarter in her cot. As she gets older you may find that she does not need at cat-nap at 2.30pm, but she will probably continue to need a longer late afternoon nap than the books recommends, because she is having a shorter nap at lunchtime. However, the majority of babies start to resist the late afternoon nap once they are over six months, even if they have only had a short lunchtime nap. Therefore I would suggest that once she is six months you should start to push her morning nap until 9.30am, and allow her 45 minutes. If she will sleep this long it will allow you to push her lunchtime nap forward so she could sleep from 1.15pm to 3pm. The longer nap at lunchtime will mean that she should get through the rest of the day happily without becoming overtired at bedtime.