Sleeping FAQ: 4-6 months – Lunchtime Nap

Joe is 17 weeks and I can’t make the lunchtime nap work

Joe was 9lb 4oz at birth and at 17 weeks weighs 18lb 4oz. He is formula fed. We have been following the routine with success from 4 weeks, but from 8 weeks the lunchtime nap has gone wrong (as you said it might in the CLB book). Joe will sleep for 40-45minutes and refuses to settle himself. I have tried leaving him for increasing periods of time but he continues to cry until 2pm. He is not hungry, goes down awake and initially settles within 5minutes. There is blackout lining at his window and he sleeps in a sleeping bag. He sleeps well from 7pm, we wake him for a quick feed at 10pm, then he re-settles and used to sleep well until 7am but now wakes at 5-5.30. He is not hungry at this time but again is impossible to settle, although will sometimes go back to sleep with the dummy. Am I confusing him by giving the dummy at 5.30-6am and not at lunchtime? I don’t want him to be dependant on the dummy though. He can’t cope with being awake any earlier than 7am and is beginning to show less and less interest in his 7am feed, but we are reluctant to drop the 10pm feed due to the early morning waking. His morning nap is only ever 30-35 minutes and I just get him up when he wakes – does this confuse him also? He still has an afternoon nap, and is grumpy most afternoons, largely because of a poor lunchtime sleep. We have introduced solids as the CLB of Weaning suggests, but with no change. We all need the lunchtime sleep back to save our sanity!!
Gill

Until Joe is taking more solid food, it is very important that he has a good feed at 10pm. He is quite a big baby and needs to have 6ozs at this time. Once he is taking more solid food at 6pm you can begin to make it slightly smaller. I am sure tiredness at 7am is more likely to be the reason for his reluctance to feed. Make sure that he is really wide awake for the 10pm feed. If he has gone to bed at 7pm and fallen directly into a very deep sleep, this may be the reason for his early morning waking. He just has had enough sleep. By making sure he is well awake at 10pm, and remains so for at least three quarters of an hour should help him sleep longer in the mornings.

Tuck him in securely over his sleeping bag with a lightweight blanket or sheet. When you are aware he is beginning to stir, leave him a good 10-15 mins before going into him so he begins to learn to settle alone. If a dummy helps him to settle at this time, try using it for another week or so but I understand your reluctance to let him become dependant on it. Once he has begun to sleep to nearer 7am, you can begin to wean him off it.

If Joe manages to sleep to nearer 7am, put him down again at 9.15am and give him only 30 mins. Wake him from this nap by 9.45am so he is really tired at 12pm. Make sure he is not thirsty at 12pm before going down by offering him a drink of boiled water. Let him have 10-15mins quiet time with you in his room so he is really relaxed and ready for sleep when he goes down.

Another idea which a lot of mothers find does work is to take the baby for a walk at this time. Some babies fall asleep more quickly in their prams and remain so even when it is stationary. So you may be able to go for a short walk and then return home and let him finish his nap in a quiet corner of the house. If this works and is practical for every day, use this method but still keep trying every few days to put him to sleep in his room so he does not become dependant on the pram.

Let Joe have a 15min catnap before 5pm to get him through to bedtime until this problem is resolved. Give him plenty of time on the floor during the day and encourage him to roll over. Once he is sitting and becoming more mobile, he will use more energy during the day which should help the overall problem.

Don’t forget to read the lunchtime nap article on the site and it really is worth persisting with it, so don’t lose heart.

Sleeping FAQ: 4-6 months – Lunchtime Nap

My 18-week-old son always wakes after 45 minutes into his lunchtime nap

My son always wakes after 45 minutes of his lunchtime nap, and is very hard to settle again. The two hours prior to the nap are also difficult, with him screaming for food from 10am. I have tried giving him a lot of food, and sometimes he loves it, but at other times I wonder if I am giving him stomachache. My son was in hospital 3 weeks ago with pyloric stenosis (a narrowing of the lower outlet from the stomach) and I am wondering whether he is making up for lost time with his feeding. I don’t know where I am with weaning or how much I should be giving him. He was weaned at 16 weeks.
My son weighs 11lbs 9ozs. He feeds at 7am 8oz, 10.45am 6-7oz, 2.30pm 6oz, 5-6pm 7-8oz and 10.30pm 5oz. He also takes about 2oz of diluted juice in the day. In addition, he has two cubes of carrot mixed with baby rice and one cube of pear puree at 10.45am, and at 5-6pm he takes two teaspoons of baby rice mixed with formula. He naps at 9-9.45am, 12-12.45pm, 4-4.45pm and is settled at 7pm.

Getting the lunchtime nap in place can take time and persistence. There can be many reasons why your son is unable to sleep for longer than 45 minutes and has difficulty settling. Please take a look at the detailed article on the website which Gina has written on this subject. Solving the lunchtime nap.

To help him settle better at lunchtime, and cause him less distress earlier while waiting for his feed, try splitting this into two. At his age it is important that he takes his milk before being offering solids, otherwise he could begin to cut back too quickly. Give him 4-5oz of milk when he shows signs of hunger after 10am and then give him the final 2-3oz before you offer him solids around 11/11.15 am. To eliminate the possibility of hunger being one of the reasons why your son does not sleep well at lunchtime, offer him a small top-up of 1-2oz before he goes down.

Since your son has had a problematic start, he may well have a higher milk intake than other babies of this weight. I assume you were advised to start weaning your son at 16 weeks by the medical advisers who were handling your son’s case. The present guidelines advise waiting until nearer six months, but there are some babies who need to wean earlier, usually after 17 weeks, unless otherwise advised. If you have a copy of Gina’s Complete Weaning Guide, then follow the detailed guidelines as to how to introduce different vegetables and in what amounts. Don’t hurry the process, watching always that he does not start cutting back on his milk. Until he is nearer six months, milk should remain the most important part of his diet. Now that you have begun to offer your son a vegetable at lunchtime, move the pear to be mixed with baby rice at teatime. Mixing fruit in with the rice will help make it more palatable and also helps with any possible problems he may have with constipation. At lunchtime offer him carrot mixed with baby rice, but begin to introduce him to a wider variety of vegetables, such as sweet potato, which being high in carbohydrates does not need to be mixed with rice. Use the weaning book to see how gradually the weaning process introduces different tasters and fillers.

Sleeping FAQ: 4-6 months – Lunchtime Nap

My 4.5 mth son has a short lunchtime sleep and wakes several times at night

My baby boy, age four and a half months and weighing fifteen and a half pounds, has never slept well at lunchtime. He settles at noon, but wakes after 45 minutes, when I have to re-settle him using his dummy. Recently, he has also started to wake two or three times a night between 1am and 6am. I have tried settling him with a dummy, but he rarely sleeps for long. I even resorted to controlled crying, checking him every ten to fifteen minutes, but he cried on and off until 6am.
He is taking 7/8oz at most feeds, and I am still doing a split feed at 5pm/6.45pm. He settles well at 7pm and sleeps until 10pm, when I wake him and give 5/6oz. I also offer one cube of vegetables at 11am, and two teaspoonfuls of baby rice with a cube of pear at 5.15pm. I can’t believe with the amount of milk he is taking, together with his solids, that the waking is caused by hunger. How do I deal with this wakefulness? Should I just leave him to cry until he goes back to sleep?

There are four main reasons why a baby of this age would wake two or three times in the night and not settle back. The first reason is hunger, the second is the wrong sleep association, the third is kicking the covers off and the final reason is sleeping too much during the day. Although you are using a dummy to settle your baby at the midday nap, I do not think that the problem is association, as he settles well at other sleep times. Neither is he sleeping too much during the day, so that reason can also be eliminated. You do not say whether he has kicked off his covers when you go to him in the night, but this could be a possible cause. Some babies under seven months still have a very strong Moro reflex and need to be tucked in securely (see page 5 of the New Contented Little Baby Book). If you are using a sleeping bag, it should be the lightest tog weight so that you can still use a sheet to tuck him in, as the book describes. Once you have eliminated this possible cause, we are left with the possibility of hunger, which I believe could be the problem.

Your baby is a good weight for his age and, if he were fed exclusively on milk, as is now recommended until the age of six months, he would need around 38-40oz of formula a day to satisfy him. As he is only taking 30oz, plus a very small amount of solids, I believe that his disturbed sleep is probably being caused by hunger. When deciding how much your baby needs to eat, you must be guided not only by age but also by weight. I would suggest that, for a few nights, you feed him the first time he wakes, and if he sleeps right through to 7am then you know that the problem is hunger. You will then have to decide whether you want to keep giving him a milk feed in the night or increase his solids more rapidly during the day. If you choose to increase his solids, so long as you continue to give him most of his milk first, you will not risk the problem of the solids reducing his milk intake, which is still very important at this age. As a rough guide, if you choose to go down the route of increasing solids rather than milk, you should aim to increase the amounts every two to three days, provided of course that he is finishing the amounts you are giving him. If you have any further doubts about weaning, please refer to my message on the site about the new guidelines :
http://www.contentedbaby.com/members-only/GR-Weaning.php
It is also important that you discuss any concerns over your baby’s eating or sleeping with your health visitor

Sleeping FAQ: 4-6 months – Lunchtime Nap

Should I re-swaddle my 4.5-month-old so she sleeps better at lunchtime?

My daughter is very active in the night. She rolls everywhere, so we have put her into a sleeping bag. She used to be swaddled. She still sleeps through the night but has begun to wake up at the lunchtime nap. For the last week she has refused to go back to sleep after 45 minutes. She doesn’t have a dummy and is very good at getting herself to sleep. Before this she had rarely slept a full two hours but would resettle herself when she stirred. She also seems more unsettled at bedtime too.
I have tried cutting back the morning nap to 30 minutes, but this has not worked. I want to be consistent and not go into her. She is teething and has seemed more settled when I put something on her gums, although even that is not working so well now. She is not hungry as I have tried milk and water but I am wondering if it is because she is unswaddled (not rolling over in her sleep).
She is happy to go from 7am to lunch (11am) so I don’t really want her to move lunch yet. She is definitely tired as she is having another short nap at 4pm. Should I re-swaddle her?

She feeds at 7am 8oz, 11am 7ozs and 2oz vegetable puree combined with potato, 2.30pm 6ozs, 6.30pm 8ozs and 2ozs fruit and rice, 10pm 3ozs.
She was on Aptamil 2 before weaning at 14/15 weeks (she weighed 17lb 6ozs 2 weeks ago) but during the day is now on Aptamil 1. I give her Aptamil 2 at 6 and 10pm. This seems to suit her better.
At present she sleeps from 9-9.45am, 12- ? and 4-4.30pm.

As your daughter has been able to settle herself at lunchtime it would seem better not to go back to swaddling her. If you are using a lightweight sleeping bag, tuck her in securely with a cotton sheet used lengthways across the cot. This could well prevent her from disturbing herself if she moves in her sleep.
To eliminate the possibility of hunger, as she is still in the early stages of weaning, split her lunchtime feed. Offer her 3-4ozs of her milk feed at 11am followed by her solids and then give her a break before offering her the rest of her milk, and settle her at 12.00. As she begins to take more solid food this feed gets pushed nearer to 11.30/11.45am.
Giving her something soothing for her gums just before going down should rule out teething pain being a problem, as it would still be working after 45 minutes. Most pain relievers take 20 minutes to become effective so they should see her through her nap.
Until you have got the lunchtime sleep back to nearer 2 hours, let her have a nap in the afternoon to prevent her from becoming overtired by bedtime.
Have a look at the article by Gina on the website about the lunchtime nap and the problems sometimes encountered.

Sleeping FAQ: 4-6 months – Lunchtime Nap

Rolling over is causing my 18 week old to wake at lunchtime

My son of 18 weeks can now roll over onto his tummy and wants to practice at every opportunity. He refuses to sleep on his back (which was, initially, very worrying until I spoke to the Health Visitor) and, if put into his cot bed on his back, he will roll onto his front, even when half asleep or completely asleep. He is also trying to crawl and has learnt how to manoeuvre himself around his cot; including moving up and down, swapping ends or lying transversely! The trouble is that he often gets stuck and/or becomes frustrated and cries out! I suspect that this is one of the reasons why he is waking at lunchtime. I have tried a sheet over his sleeping bag and tucking the end of the sleeping bag under the mattress but my son is a very strong and determined baby! Is there anything else we can do?

Many babies will sleep in the most uncomfortable looking positions and move around their cots a great deal. If your son does cry out in the night and you suspect it is because he has got himself stuck, give a few minutes before going in as a lot of babies will move themselves again whilst still asleep. If he sleeps on his front and your Health Visitor has told you that it is allright to do so, let him settle himself to sleep in his favoured position. Providing he is able to roll back onto his back with ease, he should get himself out of any tricky positions. Rushing in too quickly could cause him to start becoming dependent on you to settle him back to sleep.
Some mothers decide to pad the head and sides of their cots either with bumpers or better still towels or blankets which have been rolled up and pushed down well between the side of the mattress and the cot sides. This should protect his head a little and help prevent him getting too “stuck”.
Now he is moving around so much it would be better to put him in a warmer sleeping bag (2.0 tog) and remove any bedding such as sheets to prevent him from becoming tangled.

Sleeping FAQ: 4-6 months – Lunchtime Nap

What else can I do to get my son of almost 5 mths to sleep better at lunchtime?

My son who is almost 5 months, always wakes up after 30-45mins of his lunchtime nap. I find this really frustrating as I also have a 3.5yr old, and just as we sit down to lunch I have to go to attend to my baby. I have been giving him a top up feed before going down for at least 3 months. I have tried not picking him up but going in to reassure him every 10 minutes. I have tried patting him back to sleep which does work at times but sometimes only for another 20 minutes. I have tried taking him out in the buggy instead, although this is not easy to do on a regular basis with my older child in tow, and didn’t seem to work really.

Could this all be due to poor feeding? I feel he doesn’t take enough milk or solids for his age and weight, which is presently about 14lbs. I have been reluctant to increase his one good feed of the day which is rice and fruit at 5pm because of his low intake.

After a good start with vegetables he has lost interest in them at 11am.

He also often wakes around 4am looking for a feed, though in the last few days has settled back after muttering and groaning for a while. He will then wake around 5.30-6.30am and get really cross until I feed him. He naps well in the morning and almost always settles well at 6.45pm. I am waking him at 11pm for a feed but he will only take about 4ozs. , with all his feeds when he has decided he has had enough, despite patience and trying hard, he refuses to take any more.

He takes a 45 minute breast feed at 6am. 10.45am; 5ozs formula followed by 3-4 baby spoons vegetables: sweet potato, butternut squash, carrot, parsnip etc mixed with about 1oz formula.12 midday; 10 minute top up breast feed, 2.30pm 3-4ozs, 5pm 2 cubes apple or pear mixed with 1oz formula and 3 teaspoons baby rice, 6.30pm 6oz formula, 11m 4ozs formula.

My son naps at 9.15-10am, 12.15-1pm, 1.20-1.45pm and 3.30-4pm.

Getting the right proportion of solids and milk can be tricky if your baby seems to cut back on both and then appears hungry at the wrong times.

It would be a good idea to separate his milk and solids at 11am, to see if he will begin to take more vegetables. At his age and weight it would be usual to expect him to take 3-4cubes at this time. Two of these cubes should be carbohydrate based mixed with one or more cubes of a different vegetable. Sweet potato can be used as the carbohydrate and then add another taste such as parsnip, courgette or bean. For a change at lunchtime you could offer baby rice mixed with carrot or swede puree. To encourage him to take enough, begin to offer him his milk at 10.30am then give him a break of at least 40 minutes before offering him his solids at 11.20/11.30am. This should help him begin to increase the amount of solid food he takes at this time without him cutting back further on his milk intake yet. Continue to offer him the top up breast feed before he goes down for his nap. If he begins to sleep better at lunchtime you can very gradually cut back on this feed and drop it when he has been sleeping longer during his lunchtime nap for at least a week.

Check he is well tucked in and the room is very dark. The Moro reflex can still be strong enough at this age to wake a baby in a light sleep.

In order for your son to have a good feed at bedtime you could try splitting this feed too. The solids he is receiving at 5pm are obviously causing him to cut back on his milk at 6.30pm. Gina deals with this problem in a question and answer on page 33 of the Weaning Book. By giving your son two thirds of his milk at 5.30/5.45pm followed by his rice and fruit, then a later bath at 6.30pm, he should be happy to have the final part of his milk feed before settling for the night. Increase the amount of rice to 4 teaspoons if this way of feeding means your son increases his milk intake. See Gina’s last point in the answer about a baby waking early when they are not having a split feed at 6pm.

The 11pm feed should not need to be any bigger than 4ozs. This feed usually begins to lessen as a baby starts to have more solids by day. By splitting his feed at 6pm you should ensure that your son has a good milk feed at this time but is also taking in enough solid food to help him through the night.

Sleeping FAQ: 8-12 weeks – Lunchtime Nap

I’m giving my 10-week-old her lunchtime nap later in the day – does it matter?

Hi – my 10-week-old daughter, Alice, has been following Gina’s routines since birth and is a very contented baby. Thank you. However, she is waking up 35-45 minutes after I put her down for her lunchtime nap. I know this is a common problem and I have tried all the tips that Gina suggests to no avail.

So that Alice does not get overtired later on in the afternoon, I put her down for an hour and 20 minutes after her 2pm feed.  My question, therefore, is does it matter if Alice has her lunchtime nap after lunch?

Antonia

If Alice is settling well at 7pm and sleeping through the evening to 10pm then I would continue to let her have her longer sleep after 2pm. But you may find in a few weeks time she is not so easy to settle at 7pm having had a longer sleep in the afternoon.

Keep trying to get Alice settled for a longer lunchtime nap as the timing of this coincides with her natural dip in alertness in the middle of the day. Learning to settle herself back to sleep after 45 minutes can take a while but, as she gets older, having a longer sleep in the afternoon is bound to affect her evening settling and sleep.

Sleeping FAQ: 8-12 weeks – Lunchtime Nap

My 10 week son has problems resettling at lunchtime

My 10 week old son has been on the routine for about a month now, but it seems like the moment I get one problem solved, another pops up. Originally I was having problems with the lunchtime nap as well as early morning waking. So I started keeping him awake for 1 hour at the 10pm feed. Since doing this he stirs slightly at 4am, but goes back to sleep and again at 5:50 but goes back to sleep until I wake him at 7.

The problem that we still have is his lunchtime nap at 12. At every sleep he cries when I put him down for about 1- 10 minutes but eventually settles himself and goes to sleep. The problem is that he wakes at 1pm, I’m sure it’s due to his sleep cycles. Occasionally he will cry for 10 minutes then settle back to sleep, but if he has slept well through the night, he refuses to go back to sleep.

I am trying to practice controlled crying, going in after 10 minutes, then 15, etc. However the main problem is that he begins to cry uncontrollably, working up a sweat and waking himself up completely. If he does fall asleep again, it’s usually for about 1 to 10 minutes, when he wakes up again and starts the whole cycle over. Also because his crying is so wearing he begins to gasp which usually wakes him up if he does manage to settle himself.

When I go in to settle him, he rarely stops crying, but I usually stay no longer than 2 minutes. Should I be trying harder to calm him down or just leaving him? If I leave him, he seems to get more uncontrollable and is unable to get back to sleep. This continues throughout the final hour of his sleep when I get him up at 2:15. I feel as if he will never learn, as I always eventually get him up when he’s supposed to. Also if he does fall asleep it’s not until almost 2pm. Should I still get him up at 2:15-2:30 or should I leave him to sleep a little longer? Also after his 9am nap, which is about 30-45 minutes, he is very grumpy through to the lunch time nap and is often very sleepy at 11am. I make sure he gets his full feed at 11 by giving him an expressed bottle of 6ozs at this time so I know it’s not hunger waking him during his lunch nap.

He also has an afternoon nap of 30 minutes from 4.15-4.45pm.

At present he is breast fed at 7am, 2.30pm, and 5pm. I give expressed feeds by bottle at 11am, 6.30pm and 11pm. At those feeds he takes between 6-7ozs. He weighs 14lbs.

Getting a good lunch time sleep established can take time. Have a look at the article written by Gina about this very common problem: http://www.contentedbaby.com/members-only/Lunchtimenap.php. There are also case studies from her books which should be helpful to you.

At his age, your son’s startle reflex could well disturb him when he comes into a light sleep. Make sure he is really well tucked in, even if he uses a sleeping bag. At this age a low tog [0.5] bag can be used with either a cotton sheet and/or cotton cellular blanket. This needs to be used lengthways across the cot, and two towels rolled up and pushed down the spars to secure everything.

Be aware that the room needs to be as dark as possible, especially at this time of year when the sun is bright. Stop up any gaps at the top of blinds and curtains and also make sure that the door has no gaps which allow light through.

Bring your son’s feed at 11am forward to 10.30am. This should help him take a good feed because he is not too tired. Before you put him down at 12 offer him a small top up. If he then wakes after an hour you will know that it is not hunger disturbing him from resettling himself.

As you have tried to get your son to resettle himself without much success, there is another way to try to get him used to sleeping longer at this time. Either take him out in the car or in his pram, or even lie down and let him sleep with you so he manages to get a two hour stretch without a break. If you do this consistently for a week or more, you should find that his cycle adjusts. Some mothers find they may need to keep the pram or car moving during this time, others find that once the baby has settled to sleep and he is put into a quiet spot; perhaps the garden or a quiet room, he makes it through to 2pm. Once their baby is sleeping for longer each day, go back to settling him in his cot at this time. Usually with a small amount of crying down, the baby is able to sleep through the whole nap.

If you decide to continue to carry on trying to let him settle himself, decide how long you will leave him trying to resettle himself before you get him up. If he has only slept about an hour let him have another 30 minutes after his 2.30pm feed and another 30 minutes before 5pm. This will ensure he is not getting too tired in the late afternoon. Alternatively if he does settle himself back for a while, let him sleep to 2.30pm. You may have to adjust the afternoon naptime a little, so he is getting his recommended amount of sleep before 5pm. Adjusting the routines a little is often the way forward until your baby has learnt to be more settled in the middle of the day.

Letting a baby cry whilst he resettles is not easy. At his age it is a skill he needs to learn and he appears to be doing quite well at times. Working to get him to sleep longer may take a bit of time, but it is worthwhile so you are able to get a break in the middle of the day.

Sleeping FAQ: 8-12 weeks – Lunchtime Nap

How can I get my 10-week-old to settle better at the lunchtime nap?

Using previous advice you gave about getting my son to sleep without being held, he now settles well at all his naps and sleeps. However I have a problem with him remaining asleep for two hours at the lunchtime nap. He is happy to sleep for 30-45 minutes, but will never return to sleep after this. Sometimes he will be content to lie there for another 30-45 minutes sucking his thumb; at other times he will cry. I have tried the controlled crying method and just leaving him when he does suck his thumb but to no avail. He settles well at 7pm and does usually wake in the night, but will settle himself by sucking his thumb until 7am when he wakes for his feed.
He is normally quite grumpy in the afternoon but has been more so lately.
My son has 5 feeds of 7ozs at 7am,10.45am,2pm,6.15pm and 10.20pm. We have never been able to wake him for his 10pm feed, as he is deeply asleep but still takes his bottle. I am about to increase his feeds to 8ozs to see if it improves his grumpiness. He weighs 18lbs.
He naps at 9-9.30am, 12.00-12.45pm, 2.30-3pm.
I cannot understand why he will settle himself back to sleep at night but not in the day. His room is pitch black with blinds.

At his weight your son will be ready for 8oz bottles. One of the main reasons the lunchtime nap goes wrong is hunger. By changing the timings of his feeds slightly, you can offer him a small top up before going down, to help eliminate this cause. Bring his morning feed back to 10.15/10.30am. Before settling him to sleep at 12.00, offer him another 2-3 ozs so he goes down with a full tummy and is less likely to stir himself awake after 30-45mins.
Have a look at the website for Gina’s in depth article on the lunchtime nap: http://www.contentedbaby.com/members-only/Lunchtimenap.php
At his age babies do often need some help in returning to sleep at this time, so they become used to having a 2 hour sleep in the middle of the day.
Controlled crying is a technique used for older babies. Younger babies should not be left to cry for longer than 10 minutes before you go in to reassure them. If they continue to cry it is better to resettle them and then go in every 10 minutes rather than leaving them for longer and longer periods, as one does with controlled crying.
If your son did wake after 30-45mins and not return to sleep, let him have a 30 min nap at 2.30-3pm and then another short nap from 4.30-5pm which would help him be less grumpy in the afternoon.

Sleeping FAQ: 24+ Months – Lunchtime Nap

My 29 month son does not sleep well by day which affects his night time sleep.

I have trouble getting my 29-month-old to settle down for his day nap; sometimes he does a poo after I put him down and treats it like a game because I have to go back and change his nappy. I feel he doesn’t have a restorative sleep and appears fretful and tired by 4pm. He takes ages to go to sleep so instead of putting him down at 7pm, I find myself getting him in bed by 6:15pm, and he still takes an hour to fall asleep. On days when he misses a nap, he goes into a deep sleep at 6:15 pm and wakes extremely early, but if I keep him up until 7pm, we still get the early wake-up, so that is why I try for an extra hour between 6 and 7pm. Is this wrong, or should I force him to go till 7pm in a hope that he will eventually sleep in later? My other problem is that he has a drenched nappy at 5am, even though I am limiting the water and milk at tea time. His sleep is precious at the moment and I’ve heard of lifting at 10:30pm, but I do not want to disrupt his sleep, as once he is awake he is fully awake!

My son sleeps in a blacked-out room in his bed in a grobag, and has 3 meals a day, but I have to stay away from juice, sweets etc as they change his behaviour.

It can be difficult to get an active child of this age to settle down for his lunchtime sleep. Give him plenty of exercise in the morning, including as much outside time as possible so he gets plenty of fresh air. Keep things as quiet as possible over lunchtime and perhaps introduce a 5 minute story before settling him for his nap so he is more relaxed and likely to drop off to sleep. Some toddlers of this age may be more ready to go down at 1pm as they are moving towards dropping the nap altogether. If you feel he could settle better at this later time then move towards it gradually. This may also help if he has a dirty nappy just after going down at 12.30pm. At his age it may be worth considering getting him to sit on a potty after lunch if you know that he often has a pooh at this time.

A slightly later lunch-time nap may help in the evenings as he would be less exhausted. At this age his daytime sleep needs will be beginning to decrease and he may only need an hour, but getting that hour at the right time of day will improve how he settles at night and also may help the early morning waking.

It is easy for a child of this age to become burnt out and exhausted. Make sure he has enough activities and play dates but beware that he also needs quiet times in his day. He may need help from you to have short rest periods throughout the day. Offer to read to him or help with a jigsaw if you feel he needs to take a break and recharge.

Having a very calm bath time and bedtime, not being rushed, even if you are aware that he is tired, will help him relax into sleep. Start to wind down after tea and keep his bath time short and peaceful. A very active child needs longer to calm down and also may need quiet but firm handling to do so. Once out of the bath don’t let him run around again. Lower the lights and close the curtains. Begin to settle him about 6.15/6.30pm if he seems tired but still keep to the same routine of enjoying a story or two and a chat about the day before leaving him to settle himself to sleep.