Sleeping FAQ: 9-12 months – Night Waking

My 9-month-old baby is not sleeping at night – she wants milk

We are having problems with our 9-month-old girl, Molly, and her sleep routine (or lack of!). We have two boys aged 3 & 6 who weren’t great sleepers either. Molly was born at 7½ lbs and has maintained a healthy weight gain since then. She has been in hospital a couple of times as a small baby with suspected infections that were never conclusive. A doctor also thought she had ‘silent reflux’ and put her on renetadine medicine. Molly has been quite behind on her solids.

This is her feeding routine at the moment:
4.30-5am – bottle, 6oz
7-8am – cereal, 5/6 spoonfuls.
11.30am – lunch 1 jar (4 month size).
2.30pm – bottle 5 oz.
5pm – dinner, as lunch but with ½ jar pudding.
7pm – bottle 7oz.
10pm – bottle 6oz.
1-2 am – bottle 6oz.

Sleep-wise she settles well at her 7pm bedtime and is happy to fall asleep by herself. But in the day she is less happy to fall quickly to sleep and can just fall asleep with exhaustion. This is also the case at 1 or 2 in the morning when she often cries for 1 or 2 hours! We have tried several times to drop the middle of the night feed but she cries for 2 hrs. She is now crawling and I feel she should be having more solids but she just won’t eat more, sometimes she cries all the way through the feed. Any advice? We would be very grateful for any tips.

Kind regards,
Emma and Simon

Ask your doctor for advice before beginning to try to cut down on these night feeds. He should be aware of her past history of silent reflux as crying through feeds is a symptom of this distressing condition, and it may need further investigation.

Molly is taking 12ozs of milk during the night, which is causing her to be uninterested in her daytime solids. I realise that she has had feeding problems in the past but it is only by cutting back on this milk intake that her daytime appetite will increase.

As your daughter is nine months, she should be able to pick up small finger foods such as lightly steamed batons of carrot, florets of broccoli, small pieces of cheese, mini sandwiches and small pieces of pizza. If she is given the chance to feed herself with a small but colourful selection of food, you may find she becomes more interested in eating.

Is it possible that you could begin to introduce some home-cooked food into her diet? Commercial food, although convenient, does have a low protein content, which could be a cause of Molly’s night-time hunger. Perhaps you could make some apple or pear puree which could be given to her with her breakfast cereal. Introduce a small amount of home-cooked chicken and vegetable casserole at her lunch. For a few days you may need to mix the home cooked food with that from a jar. Increase the home-cooked portion and decrease the readymade as she becomes more accustomed to the taste and texture. Home-cooked food will fill her up and help her become used to satisfying her hunger in the day.

Will Molly eat yoghurt or fromage frais? This could be given at teatime to replace her jar of pudding, after offering her a home-made savoury such as vegetable soup with mini sandwiches.

For ideas on what to prepare Molly, I suggest you read the Complete Weaning Guide which has many recipes and ideas to tempt your daughter.

The best way to wean Molly off her night-time feeds, without leaving her to cry excessively is to dilute the feeds. This is done over a period of time. As she begins to take less milk in the night, her appetite should improve by day, if she is tempted with finger food and homemade dishes. Diluting feeds must be done slowly. Try one feed at a time. If you could increase Molly’s 10pm feed to 7oz she may go longer before waking again. Dilute her 1-2am bottle by 30mls (1oz), so use180mls (6ozs) of water to 5 scoops of formula. Dilute this feed each night by 30mls (1oz) until the feed is only 1 scoop of formula to the rest water. Molly may drink more at her next feed (4.30/5am). This may happen as you are trying to eliminate the feeds one by one. Once she has had the very dilute feed for a couple of nights, try to settle her if she wakes at 1-2 am with plain water. Be prepared for the first nights to be disturbed as she may take a while to settle. It is important not to give in and feed her again at this first waking. If you can get your husband to help you, perhaps over the weekends you should be able to cut down on these feeds in time.

Once the first feed is eliminated work on the 4.30/5am in exactly the same way. By the time you start to do this, Molly may be showing signs of an increased appetite by day so you could start diluting the feed by 50 per cent. Once she is taking just water and settling until morning you can be sure she is getting enough to eat by day. Then is the time to attempt controlled crying if she should wake.

Crawling babies can often keep going until they are exhausted. Try to watch for the first signs of tiredness during the day and put down her to sleep then. She should be able to settle herself more easily if she is not overtired.

Sleeping FAQ: 9-12 months – Night Waking

9-month-old Megan’s reflux wakes her at 4am every night without fail

Hi! I am desperate for a full night’s sleep. We have 2 girls – Ella, 21 months and Megan, 9 months. Ella has pretty much always slept through (except when there is a full moon!)

Megan is a different story. At seven months she was diagnosed with reflux (prior to this, the doctor and health visitor ignored it – then we insisted on seeing a specialist privately). Symptoms were: a very strong cough, sick a lot, slow to take a bottle, can’t eat lumpy food (only very puréed).

She wakes up EVERY night at 4am screaming and rigid. We have tried cranial osteopathy, homeopathy, more protein, protein before bed, carbs before bed…

To fill you in on Megan: she currently weighs 20lbs.

Feeding times are: 4 am bottle, 8am breakfast, 11am bottle, 12.30 lunch, 3pm bottle, 4:30 tea, 7pm bottle. Bottles are all 8oz and she doesn’t always take it all. She takes about 15 minutes to finish a full bottle. She is on SMA Gold (tried SMA staydown before she was prescribed Gaviscon), teat size 4 (Avent).

Solids – all she can eat is puréed food (she has a very strong cough from the reflux so anything lumpy she coughs and rejects). Breakfast – Weetabix mixed with lots of milk and fruit purée. Lunch and tea are puréed versions of whatever her sister has (pasta, fishfingers soup etc). Waking time – I put her to bed every 2 hours. At nursery she has much less sleep (about 1 hour a day). At home for 4 days a week she has a 2 hour sleep in the morning then one after lunch and then a nap at about 5pm. She settles herself to sleep and her bedtime routine is bath at 6:30pm and bed by 7pm. She always wakes at night between 4-4:30am. She wakes up screaming, arching her back and is inconsolable until we give her a bottle then goes straight back to sleep in her cot. We have tried everything from leaving her to scream to rocking her. She is rigid and now we can only assume that, as it is almost the same time every morning, that it is just when her stomach is empty acid comes up.

Please help! We have had about a week’s full night’s sleep since she has been born. She is the most gorgeous happy little thing apart from at 4am and the odd day here and there when the reflux is bad through the day.

Thank you!

Caroline

You have our every sympathy over Megan’s reflux. Have you discussed with the specialist you saw about this early morning problem? Sometimes a slight change in medication can help, especially as she was diagnosed two months ago.

Megan appears to have her longest sleep in the morning, especially when at home. By moving the two hour nap to lunchtime she may not need her sleep at 5pm and settle still by 7pm. She is possibly being woken by her reflux at 4am as she is in a much lighter sleep. By moving her longest sleep to midday she will be more rested for the afternoon, but not too overtired by bedtime. Many babies in the second half of the first year start to cut back on their daytime sleep. Helping them to cut back at the right times will prevent them from becoming overtired as they get more physical.

Try cutting back on her morning sleep by 10 minutes every few days until she is sleeping about 30-40mins. When she goes down at 1pm she should settle for a good 2 hours and then wake really refreshed for the afternoon. If she can then make it through to 7pm happily you may find her early morning waking will improve. As long as she settles to sleep happily at bedtime and you don’t feel she is exhausted then I would try to cut out her 5pm nap.

As Megan gets older, hopefully her reflux symptoms will begin to subside and she will be able to cope better with her swallowing. This will help her to accept larger portions of food at a time and begin to cut back on her milk intake. If possible, I would make another appointment with the specialist to discuss her growing needs.

Sleeping FAQ: 9-12 months – Night Waking

Teething seems to be causing night waking

My problem is night waking. My son was a good sleeper (12-13 hours a night) up to the age of seven months when he began teething. He is now nine months old. He has never been a good daytime sleeper and I have always struggled to get him to fit in with the routine fully, but generally he has a morning and an afternoon nap of anywhere between 1¼-2 hours split between the two. He always settles well at 7pm and I do not believe he has any wrong sleep associations.

I think that teething is the main cause of his night time waking. He seems to be in pain and is constantly trying to bite my face when I pick him up. (He is also quite grizzly during the day.) However, in Gina’s books she says that she has rarely found teething a problem in the hundreds of babies that she has cared for. Am I wrong about this? Do other parents have night time waking due to teething? He is getting harder to put back in his cot and we have even resorted to taking him into our bed on a couple of occasions because we are so tired.

Sion sleeps in a sleeping bag and has three milk feeds a day and three good solid meals. He was 10lb when he was born and is now 24lbs.
Joanne

Any problems with teething are usually short-lived. A baby may be in discomfort for a day or two as a new tooth comes through, but it not usually an ongoing problem. Waking up every night has become a habit with him, possibly beginning with the discomfort of teething.

Is your son very active by day? A baby who is crawling, cruising and generally on the go all day is using up a great deal of energy. At this age it is not uncommon for his food intake to not be quite enough for his needs. Sion may well be all too ready to get down from his chair at mealtimes when he just hasn’t had enough. Take a look at his food intake, especially towards the end of the day when he is also getting tired. Encourage him to have a healthy snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon as well as his main meals.

If you feel that teething is a problem still try using Nelson’s Teething Granules when he wakes at night, or rubbing some Bonjela onto his gums, if he will let you.

Once you are sure that Sion is waking purely from habit you will need to put some controlled crying into place. Leave him for 10 minutes when he first wakes and then go in to reassure him. It will mean a few very disturbed nights as he relearns how to settle himself when he comes into a light sleep but that is better than possibly beginning new sleep associations with your bed.

Sleeping FAQ: 9-12 months – Night Waking

My son refuses to go back in his cot when he wakes in the night

My 10-month-old son is really good all day, but is tired by 7pm and goes straight to sleep in his cot. He is awake when he goes in, but very dozy and goes to sleep straight away. He may cry out once but that is all.

In the night he often wakes between 10pm and 3am and will not settle himself or go back into his cot if I take him out. He just screams and screams. I have tried everything: giving him a bottle, giving him water, giving him a cuddle, controlled crying. I gave up on this after 1hr 20 minutes at 2.30am. I have started to bring him in bed with me, where he sleeps very well. On some occasions he will sleep all the way through from 7pm to 6 or 7am. There does not seem to be any reason or pattern as to why or when.

His daytime sleep is erratic. On the 3 days he attends nursery he generally does not sleep there. On the days he is at home he will sleep for 1-1.5hrs at around 10.30am and possibly have another 20-30 minutes at about 4.30pm.
What should I do when he wakes in the night to get him to settle? Or should I be doing something in the day to get him to sleep through the night.

He takes 2x 8oz bottles at 7am and 7pm. He eats three meals a day and drinks a small amount of juice with his meals.

Your sons night-time waking is probably due to overtiredness. He is also associating falling back to sleep with being in bed with you. He is losing a lot of daytime sleep which he still needs at his age. As well as not sleeping much on nursery days, he is having his longest sleep in the morning when at home so going down at 7pm exhausted.

On the days when he is at home, get him more used to having a short nap of 30-45 minutes at 9am and settling for a longer nap after his lunch. This should help him go down less exhausted in the night. Try to get him down by 12.30am and get him to have 1.5 to 2 hours. To put this in place, cut back on his 10.30am nap by 15 minutes every few days and begin also to push it back to 9/9.30am. It may take a week or so to really get this in place but should help him catch up on the sleep he is missing on nursery days. In the beginning he may still need a very small catnap in the afternoon, especially if the sleep at lunchtime takes a while to fall into place. Settle him in his cot whilst still awake. Check he is not thirsty before going down at 12.30pm by offering him a drink of water.

On the days when he is at nursery, bring his bedtime forward by 15-20mins so he is settled by 6.45pm at the latest. Although this will not totally make up for his lack of sleep in the day, it may help him settle down to sleep more gently rather than falling into a deep sleep immediately.

Once this daytime sleep is more regular you can begin to sort out the night waking. At 10 months your son is aware that if he cries for long enough, you will take him into your bed. In order to break this habit you will need to use controlled crying so he learns to settle back on his own in his cot. This is going to involve some crying and persistence on your part if you want to make it work.

Look at the Contented Sleep Guide p45 which gives you detailed instructions on how to do it. Also read through some of the case studies, which will help you to see that controlled crying can take a while to really work. It is the only way that your son will learn to fall asleep on his own. As he falls straight to sleep each night and is away from home on several days a week his cot is probably not a very familiar place to him.

Get him more used to this by using it for short periods of playtime by day. Put him in there when awake and engage him in play. Once he is happily playing leave his side for a few minutes and busy yourself in the room so you are still in sight and can talk to him. Gradually extend these times of play until he is content on his own for 15-20 minutes at a time.

At ten months he may be attached already to some kind of comforter such as a toy or muslin. If not, it may be worth finding a small toy to tuck into his cot beside him to help him settle back to sleep better. A good trick is for you to sleep with the toy for a couple of nights so your familiar smell is on it when given to your son.

Sleeping FAQ: 9-12 months – Night Waking

Having had a cold two months ago, my baby still has mucus and wakes at night

My son had a cold 2 months ago. Since then he has not slept fully through the night. He wakes up 2-3 times per night, usually suffering from a blocked nose or phlegm in his throat. We have tried Olbas Oil & Karvol, but they seem to have little effect. We have tipped up the head of his cot, to elevate his head and that hasn’t helped. He struggles to settle himself if left, so we have to settle him ourselves. He suffers from infantile eczema but I don’t think the two problems are linked. He sometimes rubs his nose, so I wonder if he has an allergy to something. Up until this time, he followed Gina’s routines well and slept through the night from 10 weeks and 7pm -7am from 4 months. We cannot manage to get through a night now without Alexander waking up.

By day he sleeps from 8.50-9.20am and 1.30-2pm. He is settled by 7.30pm. He eats three meals a day and drinks 18ozs of milk.

Until you have managed to clear your son of any phlegm and mucous he will continue to need you to go into him at night and make him comfortable. Once you have done this then begin to leave him to settle alone using the gradual withdrawal method. This can take a while to be successful, but as you have to deal with his congestion in the night, before you can expect him to settle, it may be a better idea than using controlled crying in the beginning. Look in the Complete Sleep Guide p49 for an explanation of how to go about this.

Use a cold-water humidifier in his room, as dry air can cause babies nostrils to become dried up and blocked. Place the machine in the middle of the room well away from his cot. Try to keep his room cool at night. Use the blinds by day to prevent it becoming too hot in the sunshine. Dress him in a light-weight sleeping bag with a vest underneath to help him not get too hot.

Dried mucus could be the reason for his itching his nose so much, although an allergy should not be ruled out if you see little improvement in his congestion. Eczema and allergies such as hay fever are often connected. If the problem goes on much longer, it may be worth asking for a referral from your Dr to see an allergy specialist.

There are some foods which are rather mucus forming and it may help to avoid them for a while. Citrus fruits and banana’s can be an aggravation to a mucous problem which already exists. Try cutting them out for a while and see if that helps him. You may have heard that excess dairy products also can be a culprit, but it would be best to consult with your doctor before cutting back on these too much. Again a referral to try to sort out his problem could result in having to adjust his diet a little, but this must be done under medical supervision.

Sleeping FAQ: 9-12 months – Night Waking

My nearly 1-year-old still wakes and needs resettling in the night

My daughter was a totally contented baby until solids were introduced. Since then we have had periods of sleeping through the night and periods of regular night time waking. She is a dedicated breast feeder, who from day one rejected a bottle. She initially refused but using the books and case studies (esp. Daniel), I now have a baby who eats well. At 11 months I decided to get tough. Together with my partner I stopped feeding in the night and he settled her back to sleep with cuddles or just by tucking her in and turning on her musical star. I have followed Gina’s advice on stopping breast feeding, cutting out one feed at a time, but my daughter drinks very little milk from her cup. Even hinting at stopping her bedtime breast feed results in hysterical fits. She is now back to waking twice in the night. She is easy to settle but we are exhausted and she is waking up our 2.5 year old who is very difficult to settle. We are second time parents and our daughter has had the right sleep associations from day one. We have tried leaving her for up to 45 minutes but always need to settle her in the end. Even if just to say “shush” and strike her forehead.

She has three good meals a day. In the morning she will take 2-3 ozs of formula from a cup and has a breast feed at bedtime. During the day she will take water or well diluted juice.

Now that you have eliminated the breast feeding in the night, you need to help your daughter learn to settle back to sleep without either yourself or your partner’s help. Up until now she has fallen back to sleep either with a breast feed, or more recently someone coming in to tuck her in and reassure her. She has learnt to associate falling back to sleep in the night with having the comfort of a feed or reassurance of an adult. The best way to unlearn this association is with controlled crying. As her wakings are disturbing her sibling already, it might be an idea to arrange for your 2.5 year old to stay with relatives for a few nights.

Read the details for how controlled crying works in The Complete Sleep Guide p45. Initially you may have to cope with times of crying, but persistence and consistency will work in the end. Rather than leaving her for a long period, then giving her reassurance, this will gradually build up the time she is left to settle herself. At present she has learnt that if she continues to cry for long enough someone will come. Controlled crying builds up the time gradually so she learns how to resettle herself without needing any other associations. As she appears to be a happy and contented baby in all other aspects this should not take too long to take effect.

As your daughter readily returns to sleep in the night, at present her waking is much more likely due to habit rather than hunger. In the past months when she stirred from a light sleep she fed as it was offered to her, but as she now does settle back without too much trouble hunger can be eliminated as a reason.

It would seem that you are feeding a varied and well balanced diet by day with plenty of cheese, sauces and other calcium rich foods to help her low-ish milk intake. Keep trying her with a cup. Once she reaches her first birthday in a few weeks you may like to consider weaning her onto cows milk. This she may accept more readily than formula.

Sleeping FAQ: 9-12 months – Night Waking

My 11mth daughter has begun to wake at night. I am not really sure why or what I should do to stop it

My daughter has slept through from 10pm untill6.30-7am since 9 weeks old. She then slept well after dropping the 10pm feed. During the day she also slept well although not always for 2.5 or 2 hrs recommended. She had gastro -enteritis in September followed by a bad cold. Her daytime sleep continued to be alright but at night time we had to help her. Since then she wakes erratically in the night, eg 3.30am for 1.5hrs or 11.30pm for 2 hrs. We cannot settle her despite controlled crying, feeding, medicine, water, cuddles etc. Since going to nursery, two months ago, her daytime sleep has not been so good. She will not sleep in the morning and has about an hour at 12.30pm although she has had less and more! She does not show tiredness until too late and she fights sleep. I have looked at all the subjects on the site and in the books and feel that this is a combination of too many subjects for me to make sense of it. I want to try and sort this out before it gets any worse. I can’t understand why she won’t settle in the night on the nights she wakes. She has woken the last 2 nights but before that slept through for a fortnight.

My daughter eats three meals a day. She has a fairly small breakfast taking around 2 dessertspoons of cereal, followed by toast.

She takes about 8-10 tablespoons of a protein meal at lunchtime and the same amount of a vegetarian tea followed by yoghurt or a fruit pudding. At teatime she can be irritable if tired but will eat well in the end. She drinks 8ozs of formula at 6.45pm and is settled at 7pm.

It can be difficult trying to work out why your daughter has begun to wake for a length of time in the night, especially as she has been ill for a while. Eliminating all the reasons may take some trial and error on your part.

Being overtired is often a reason for restless or interrupted sleep. As well as being awake in the night your daughter is waking by 6.30am. Since starting at nursery your daughter’s daytime sleep has lessened quite a bit. She is probably quite mobile now and has the added stimulation of being at nursery four days a week. These two factors mean she is probably falling straight into an exhausted sleep at 7pm. Even if you feel she is not showing signs of being tired earlier, move her bedtime back towards 6.30/6.40pm. She may spend 15 minutes chatting to herself before falling asleep but this preferable to going down exhausted.

On the days when she is not at nursery make sure you build quiet times into her day to make up for dropped morning nap. At this age a baby is constantly moving, pulling up on the furniture, crawling or cruising around. They need short spells when they are resting in between all this activity. You may be able to put her into her cot to play quietly for 15-20 minutes around 9.30am whilst you tidy up nearby. If this is not an option consider going out for a short walk at this time. Again, your daughter will be resting whilst in her buggy or pram. If she does rest during the morning you may be able to push her lunchtime nap on to nearer 1pm. At this age the lunchtime nap may move nearer to 1-3pm which can also help her be less tired by teatime. Moving her nap at nursery may not be an option but try it when she is at home. It may result in her settling longer for this nap.

Again in the afternoon a short walk can give her a much needed rest, especially if she has been up since 1.30pm. On nursery days she will be tired coming home at 5pm and having her tea. Give her an earlier bath which is quiet and calm, to help her be settled in her cot by no later than 6.30pm.

If you feel that her night waking is now a habit left over from her illness you will need to deal with it in a consistent way. If she wakes and chats to herself, showing no signs of distress then leave her to re-settle herself. If she cries when she wakes then go in to her within 10 minutes. If she is standing in her cot lay her back down and use the same few words to her each night, “Lie down. It’s night time, time for sleeping.” Depending how distressed she is you may or may not be able to leave her. If she gets very worked up then it would better to use the method of gradual withdrawal. Gina describes this method in her Complete Sleep Guide, page 49. Reassuring your baby with your voice, but gradually moving away from her cot for longer and longer periods, means she will get used to settling herself again at this time. It will take several nights for this to be effective. You need to be consistent with whatever method you try and stay with it so your daughter does not end up becoming confused. If she needs to learn how to settle herself again it may involve some crying but this can be kept to the minimum if you reassure her with your voice in the same way every time she wakes at night. Make sure your partner knows what words you use so he can deal with the situation in exactly the same way if he goes in to check her.

If she does not already have a comforter of some kind find a small, soft toy which you tuck in beside her every night. This may reassure her and make it more likely that she is able to settle alone should she wake in the night.

Your daughter’s food and milk intake seem fine for her age which again leads back to overtiredness rather than hunger being the probable reason for this waking. Depending how mobile your baby is at this time she may be waking because of muscle spasms in her legs. If she is cruising around the furniture a great deal, or taking her first steps, she may be disturbed in her sleep. This will pass as she becomes more agile and adept at walking. Again, building quiet times into her day will give her short breaks of rest. It can be difficult to sometimes stop a baby who is determined to keep moving.

Keeping a diary of her food intake, length of daytime naps and general comments as to how she has spent her day, may help you pinpoint the reason why this waking has occurred again after two weeks of your baby sleeping through the night. If the waking is irregular then it could be due to something she has eaten, or what she has done the previous day. Looking for any recurring pattern may help you work out the reason why, although tiredness does appear to be the most likely cause.

Sleeping FAQ: 6-9 months – Night Waking

Night time sleeping isn’t working for my 7 month baby

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

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

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

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

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

Sleeping FAQ: 6-9 months – Night Waking

My 6.5 month son is waking at night – is it hunger?

My son is 6 and a half months, was 7lb at birth and now weighs 16lbs. He is breastfeeding from both breasts at 7am; 2.30pm; 6.20pm; 10.30pm; about 2.30am and 5am. He is having 4 tsp cereal with grated pear at breakfast. Lunch is 2 cubes of chicken casserole, 2 cubes broccoli or 2 cauliflower. Dinner is 6 tsp baby rice with grated apple. I have kept to your routine in the weaning book. I’m just about to start him on a carbohydrate in the evenings. His daytime naps are 0915 to 0955, 1300 to 1345 then 1915 to 2230. He settles on his own in the day but at night it is a complete different story.
After his baby rice and apple in the kitchen I then bath him. Then in his bedroom with the light on low I breastfeed him. For the 2nd breast I turn the light off and sit in darkness. He goes to sleep straight away at 19.00. He wakes up about 3 to 4 times. The first wake up is at about 10.30pm. I breastfeed him and he is happy to go back to sleep. Then he sometimes wakes up at 2.30am. I offer him a drink of filtered cool water but he drinks only about half an ounce and screams. I end up breastfeeding him. Even after breastfeeding him he cries and cries. It takes about 2 hours to settle him. Then he wakes up again at about 5am. I offer the water to him but he rejects that. Then I breastfeed him. Sometimes he manages to go back to sleep or I just pace around in his room desperately trying to settle him.
I appreciate that you are busy and cannot answer everyone’s questions but I am simply exhausted and don’t know where I am going wrong. I have tried to stick to your routine, except my son has never slept very long at lunch. I have left him crying and crying in the hope he will settle himself but it simply doesn’t work. There are black-out curtains in his bedroom so daylight is not the problem.
Night time is a nightmare! I have approximately 4 hours sleep a night and am exhausted. Where am I going wrong? Does he need more food, or more milk? I really hope I have given you enough information.
Charlotte

At his age your son does now need both protein and carbohydrate to meet his growing needs. I would begin to speed the weaning process up a little, increasing his amounts every few days. By eating more solid food, he should be able to go longer stretches at night and you can begin to eliminate the night feeds. You may have to put some controlled crying into place but first you must make sure he is taking enough food and milk by day.

I wonder if possibly your milk supply gets low by the end of the day? If you are having so little sleep and are busy all day with your son, he is maybe not getting enough milk in the last few feeds. I notice he spends longer at the later feeds which indicates his needs may not being fully met.

I suggest you replace the 10.30pm feed with formula. You have breast fed your son for over six months so given him the very best start in life. Replacing one feed with formula will help you both. Possibly your husband could give this feed. You could get an early night. This formula feed should settle him for longer. Try him with 6-7ozs and see how long he sleeps for.

Because your son sleeps so little in the day he is going to bed exhausted and falling into a deep sleep, this effect is that he comes into a lighter sleep earlier in the morning and is unable to settle back to sleep at 5am. If you can get him to take an afternoon nap from 4.30-5pm while you are making these changes, he might be less overtired at bedtime.

Once his feeding by day is increased, I feel he will be easier to settle at night, but he needs to learn how to do this himself. This could help him settle himself longer at lunchtime.

Sleeping FAQ: 6-9 months – Night Waking

Following an illness, my 7-month-old is very unsettled through the night

In general, Ben has settled into the routines well and goes down happily at 7pm. Following several episodes of illness, however, he has become very unsettled at night, sleeping for no more than two hours at a stretch, before waking up crying. This can happen more than ten times a night, and sometimes he even cries in his sleep. I try to leave him for five minutes before going in, and he will settle again if his dummy is replaced or if he is turned on to his side. As Ben suffers from reflux (due to milk allergy) he has more than the recommended number of feeds during the day. Please help, as I have no idea how to solve the problem.

Ben’s waking could be due to one of several problems. Firstly, as Ben uses a dummy to go to sleep with, he could be waking every time he enters a light sleep cycle and needs to use it to get back to sleep. You could gradually lengthen the time before going in, to see if he is able to settle himself back to sleep. If his dummy is nearby, he should be able to find it by himself. If the dummy is in already, he will need at least 10 minutes to settle.

Secondly, by this age Ben can probably roll quite well, but during the night he may find turning from his back to his side or front a little difficult. If Ben is in a sleeping bag, he may be getting stuck when moving around in his sleep. Either secure him with a cotton sheet or cellular blanket, or if the bag is extra long, tuck the end into the bottom of the cot to prevent him from twisting too much until he is better at turning over.

Thirdly, if Ben is not in a bag, he may be waking through feeling cold, having kicked off his covers. If this is the case, try a bag of 2.5 tog, which will keep him warm without the need for any additional covers, unless on an exceptionally cold night.

Finally, to eliminate the possibility of hunger, you could offer Ben a full feed around midnight. If he takes this and sleeps through you will know why he is unsettled for most of the night. At this age Ben should be increasing his solids, but he may not yet have the right balance of milk and solids by day to see him through the night. You may need to consider all of the above possible causes and experiment a little before getting to the root of the problem.