Sleeping FAQ: 4-6 months – Settling/Sleep Associations

At 4.5 months my son will not settle for daytime naps

My son had been sleeping well at night, and going down reliably from birth. However, his daytime sleeps were more difficult, only taking place if he was rocked in the pram (outside), or cuddled in bed.
A month ago, night-time sleeps started to become a problem too, so at the weekend we (husband & I) decided to try sleep training. After only three nights, it’s been a huge success. Last night, my son went down without a murmur, slept till 10:30, fed well, then had only one wakening at 4:30 (considering last week we had at least 3 a night; this is fabulous!), before waking at 6:45, quite content!
The daytime sleeps, however, are a disaster! Before 9am, I bring him to his room, darken it, sing him a quiet song & lay him down, relaxed, in his big cot. I kiss him, and leave the room. There follows 5 minutes of silence, when I think “Aha!”, followed by 45 minutes of screaming, me going in and out to him, as per controlled crying (which worked so well at night!). If anything, it’s getting worse! The lunchtime nap isn’t as big an issue, as it coincides with my older son being taken to nursery, but it will become more of a problem when the holidays start in 2 weeks, and after that when he’ll have a morning place. I know it’s early days, but it’s following the same pattern as my older boy did when we did sleep training with him at 7 months. I stuck with that for 3 weeks, before finally giving up on the daytime sleeps, and going back to rocking him in the pram. We didn’t resolve that one until our first son was about 15 months old! Obviously, I’m anxious to avoid that this time.
I’d really appreciate some feedback on this one. My older son is really missing out, as naptimes should be time for us to spend together. We have only just introduced our son to the big cot at night-time, before that he had a crib in our room, and slept in the pram in the day. Could it be he thinks he’s being put down for another long sleep, and so resists it? If so, how can I resolve this? He’s a big boy, and I don’t believe the crib is comfy for him now, for that matter, the carrycot part of the pram’s days are numbered too.

To get your son more used to his cot by day use it for short periods of play when he is awake. Put him in with several toys and stay beside him playing until he is engaged with a toy. Then withdraw yourself to another part of the room for a few minutes but reassure him with your voice. Continue to do this for several days beginning to build up the time you leave him playing happily alone. This should begin to familiarize him with sleeping there.

Find one or two soft toys to place in the cot with him, making sure they are placed away from his head towards the top of the cot and there is no danger in them falling on him. Use these toys in the time you play with him during the day but leave them in there to greet him when he is put down for his nap.

To eliminate hunger being a cause of your sons resistance to sleep in the morning, offer him a small top up prior to going down. Once he has learnt to settle better on his own and sleeps for 45 minutes you can begin to cut back on it. If he is uninterested in feeding then offer a small drink of boiled water to check that he is not thirsty. Get him to his room well before 9am so he is not overtired and more resistant to sleep. Is he in a sleeping bag? If so and it is one of the lightweight variety, you could tuck him in well with a light sheet as he may feel insecure in a large cot after his small crib.

As your second son is several months younger than his brother when he was sleep trained, with persistence you should be able to get him more used to settling in his crib. Keep trying at the morning nap and also once the holidays begin at lunchtime. Use the “crying down” method where you do go back to reassure him after 10 minutes but keep the reassurance to the minimum. He has to learn how to settle himself to sleep without any external “props” and this will take him time. Although you may feel that your are depriving your elder son of his “special times ” with you, which are important, it would be better to persist and sort out this problem now rather than getting into the situation you had last time.

Some mothers who do have problems with the lunchtime nap, or find it coincides with school runs, find that putting a pram or buggy in a quieter part of the house, with a blanket draped over the top helps their baby to settle to a better sleep. They may have had a short ride in the pram to fetch an older sibling but are then left to finish their sleep somewhere quiet. This is a kind of half-way compromise between settling your son in his cot and rocking him to sleep in his pram outside.

Sleeping FAQ: 4-6 months – Settling/Sleep Associations

Our 4.5-month-old has problems at resettling himself without his dummy

For the past 5-6 weeks we have been experiencing problems with our son’s lunch time nap – he used to sleep for a good 2-21/2 hrs at lunch time and if he woke up we gave him a dummy. However, we have since decided to remove the dummy and for the past week and a half have been trying to do controlled crying with him – this seems to be working well at night time but still not in the day time. His morning nap is from 9-9.35am. I usually feed him at 11.00am if he woke at 7.00 and after 180mls of milk he then has 3 cubes of vegetables such as sweet potato and carrot mixed together, I then put him in his cot, in the dark and leave him to settle himself to sleep at about 12.15. He falls asleep and then after 45 minutes-1 hr he will wake. He settles sometimes after 15 minutes only to wake again half an hour later and even though I have let him cry for up to 25 minutes he will not settle back to sleep – I can’t see that it is hunger as he eats well at 11.00 and doesn’t seem ravenous if I delay his feed till 2.30. Today I have left him for 25 minutes the second time and he still doesn’t settle – how long should controlled crying take in order to make progress? I have been putting him in his cot (not his pram) for this nap for a week and a half and we have made no progress. Could you suggest anything else? I really don’t want to resort to using a dummy again.

Controlled crying should really only be used as a last resort, especially with a baby of this age. Check through the article Gina has written on the site about the problems which do sometimes occur with this nap to make sure you have eliminated all the reasons why he is unable to resettle himself without resorting to the dummy again.
It can take more than a few days before you see a real change in his behaviour as he needs to learn how to settle alone and is not in such a deep sleep as in the night. If you find that your son is getting tired in the afternoon as a result of this disturbed sleep than let him have a short catnap before 5pm to help him through bath and bedtime.
Although hunger may not seem to be the cause of this nap going wrong, it would be a good idea to offer a couple of ounces of milk before going down at this nap to rule out the possibility. Again the article on the site explains how to do this so.
He still may have a strong Moro reflex so continue to tuck him in well, using a cotton sheet over a lightweight sleeping bag. Secure this with rolled up towels down the cot sides so that when he comes into his light sleep after about 45 minutes he may be less likely to fully waken himself.

Sleeping FAQ: 4-6 months – Settling/Sleep Associations

My 18 week old twins are not happy sleeping in their travel cots. Should I persevere or abandon out holiday plans?

My 18-week-old twins are good sleepers: they sleep in their cots in the morning, in their cots or buggy at lunchtime and their buggy in the afternoon. My problem is that we are going away for one or two nights over Christmas. I have bought travel cots for the twins and have put them down in them for their lunchtime nap (although it’s only nights they’ll need to sleep in them when we’re away) to try and get them used to them before we go away next week. Yesterday, Twin 1 slept fine for 2.5 hours in the travel cot, but Twin 2 woke up after 45 minutes and couldn’t re-settle herself. I tried some controlled crying, which often works, but she got hysterical and had to be got up after 30 minutes. She was then hysterical for another 30 minutes. She had a long sleep back in her proper cot in the afternoon to make up for her lost sleep at lunchtime but then woke up hysterical again and cried for an hour. This is not at all like her: she is normally an angel baby. Today, Twin 1 woke up after 45 minutes, wouldn’t re-settle and got very upset, waking Twin 2 in the process. I had to take them both out in the buggy to get them to have some sleep to get through the afternoon. I don’t know what to do: I haven’t even attempted to see if they’ll sleep a night in the travel cot yet and our first night away is next week. Should I carry on trying to get them used to the cot before we go away or should I just put them down in the travel cot cold the first night we’re away? Or… should I just cancel the plans?

At present they nap at 9.15-10-15am, 12-2-15pm and 4-4.45pm. They are settled by 6.15pm.

To help the twins become more familiar with this new sleeping environment, let them spend time in the cots during the daytime, whilst they are awake. You may like to put them both into one travel cot, to have a stretch and a kick. Stay with them for a short while until they seem happy and content, then leave their side for a few moments but remaining in the room. Reassure them with your voice and return to them fairly quickly, especially if they show signs of distress. Spend some time each day doing this and gradually extending the time you move away from them, especially if they are quite happy.

You should also give them a time of being on their own, one in each travel cot. You may like to sit them in their baby chairs and put these into the travel cots. They should be able to see each other if the travel cots have the usual mesh sides.

Move any toys or mobiles which may be on their main cots onto the travel cots whilst you are using them at home. Make a note to pack these toys as they will really help your babies when in a different room next week. If you can, use the same sheets and blankets as the ones on their main cots. These will have a familiar smell to them.

The mattresses of travel cots are often thin. Place several folded blankets or towels beneath the mattresses to pad them out a little. This should help the twins feel more secure and comfortable.

Try putting the twins in the travel cots for their morning nap for the next two days. As this is a shorter sleep, even if they do wake after 45 minutes you will not have to cope with tired babies until their next nap time. After two days of morning naps and daily play sessions in the travel cots, try putting the babies in for the lunchtime nap again. You may find that with the sight of familiar toys or mobiles, and having spent time awake in the travel cots, this nap is not such a disaster as it was this week.

One thing which may be linked to their distress is the direction the cots are facing. As adults, when we wake in a strange bed we can feel very disorientated. This is usually worse if the bed we have slept in is facing in a different direction from the way we sleep at home. Making sure they are sleeping in the same direction as the one they are used to could take away some of their distress when they wake. It may involve some moving around of furniture when you are away but it is really worth doing. The result may be far happier babies when they wake.

It would seem rather drastic to cancel your holiday plans completely. By thinking ahead you have at least realized that your babies do need some time to become used to a different sleeping place. Trying to make the travel cots as familiar as you are able, positioning them the “right” way and following your usual bedtime routine should help the twins sleep reasonably well for the two nights away from home.

Sleeping FAQ: 8-12 weeks – Settling/Sleep Associations

How do I get my 8-week-old to settle better at 7pm?

My daughter, Erris, is eight weeks old and well established on the routines, and feeds and naps at the correct times throughout the day. The only problem is when I put her down at 7pm. She naps in her pram in the morning, in her cot at lunchtime and in the afternoon she sleeps in the car while I collect her brother from nursery. After a small feed at 5pm (3oz) she enjoys a kick on her mat, followed by a bath at 6pm. I give her the second part of the feed downstairs while my son watches a DVD and drinks his milk. Erris is content to sit in her chair after winding until I take her upstairs at 6.55pm. At this point, however, she begins to fidget and I give her a dummy to calm her and prevent her from getting upset. Often she has hiccups and loses her dummy. I have to go in two or three times to retrieve the dummy, re-settle her and sometimes I even resort to rocking her before she settles at 7.45pm. I have bought a lullaby light, sat with her in the dark and tried top-up feeds, but nothing helps. What else can I try?

Looking through Erris’ day, it would seem she is very settled in the routines until 7pm. The problems that then arise could be due to overtiredness. Despite sleeping well during the day, some small babies are still very tired by evening. They feed well but don’t always manage to bring up all their wind, and this can result in bouts of hiccups. Although tired, they are unable to drift off to sleep easily and become restless as a result. They fight sleep, despite it being the very thing they need.
I would suggest offering a larger feed at 5pm, and perhaps even bringing it forward by ten minutes, followed by a smaller feed after the bath. Try also to bring your baby’s bath forward by 15-20mins, so she is downstairs and feeding by just after 6pm. Allow Erris to sit in her chair for a short while after her feed and then take her up to her bedroom. You may wish to sit with her briefly, using a dummy to calm her if it helps. Put her down in her cot before 6.45pm and see if this has any beneficial effect on her settling. Altering routines by just 15 minutes can make a great deal of difference to a small baby.

Sleeping FAQ: 8-12 weeks – Settling/Sleep Associations

My eight-week-old is unable to settle himself to sleep without prolonged crying

Oscar has always been difficult to settle to sleep at 7pm. For the last three weeks we have tried controlled crying, but he is still crying wildly every night for at least an hour. He only falls asleep when totally exhausted. I follow a strict routine between 5pm and 7pm and put him down in his Moses basket not fully asleep.
He is given a full feed at 11pm, but takes this in his sleep. He then wakes about 3.30-4.30am taking between a half to a full feed and settles again until around 6am.
Oscar followed the routines from about 2 weeks. He was put to sleep in his nursery which has full black out blinds and curtains. He has all his nappy changes there. During most days I took him out either in the car or buggy, at times which coincided with his nap times. Lately he has been waking at the lunchtime nap after 30-45 minutes and not re-settling. I decided to give him his naps at home in his room, as I felt he had developed wrong sleep associations with always being out at these times. I have tried controlled crying at these times for 3 days but Oscar is getting hardly any sleep as he cries hysterically when out sleeping in his moses basket.
Despite such little daytime sleep he is still hysterical at 7pm, and now is beginning to wake really early [6am]. This makes it difficult to stay on the routine during the day. He is feeding at about the right times but not getting nearly enough daytime sleep.
Oscar weighs 12lbs 8ozs and is taking between 29-36ozs of formula milk every 24hrs. His feeds are roughly 06.30 6ozs, 10.00 5 1/2 ozs, 14.00 51/2ozs, 17.00 2ozs, 18.00 4ozs, 23.00 6 ozs, 03.45am between 2 and 6 ozs. He takes about 1oz of water at 3.30pm. His sleeping and feeding are beginning to vary a lot each day.
He has been fed Nutramigen since 6 weeks after he appeared to develop colic at 4 weeks and cried all day. I gave up breast feeding entirely at 5 weeks as it was suggested this was the cause of the colic. Before this, he had top ups of formula as I found he was taking two hours to feed.

Oscar sleeps 08.30-09.30,12.00-12.30, 16.30-17.00 in the day.

It would appear that Oscar has not learned to settle to sleep alone. He becomes tired and fights sleep and this has become a vicious circle. The more overtired he becomes, the more he fights sleep. His sleep cycles have changed from the newborn pattern into a more adult one. He is surfacing from a light sleep about every 45 minutes. As he does not know how to put himself back to sleep, he is waking fully. Getting him to learn how to fall asleep alone by day is important, so this problem does not begin to happen in the night.
To get him better at settling by himself, watch him carefully for signs of tiredness, taking him to his room at least 20 minutes before you think he will be asleep. Not all babies of this age are capable of staying awake a full two hours. Many are ready to go down after an hour and a half. This means getting him to his room before he is too tired and fights being settled.
Once there, change him and draw the curtains. When you put him down at the lunchtime nap offer him a small top up, as Oscar has his mid-morning feed at 10am. If he wakes after 30-45 minutes when coming into his light sleep, you will then be certain that hunger is not the cause preventing him from getting back to sleep. Begin to leave him 10-15minutes, so he learns how to settle back to sleep again. If the lunchtime nap still is a problem, read Gina’ s article on ways to cope with it.
Once the room is dark, sit with Oscar, who may still need to be swaddled for a few weeks, if he is disturbing himself with jerking whilst falling asleep. It can take a baby 15-20 minutes to be calm and relaxed enough to be put down. Oscar has to learn how to fall asleep after being wide awake. It can take a sensitive baby a while to learn how to do this without the aid of a car or buggy ride. Try to remain calm yourself as you hold him. A small baby will quickly pick up on a mother’s tension. Once Oscar feels “heavy” on you and you sense he is sleepy, put him down and tuck him in well. Even in a moses basket you need two rolled towels to secure the sheet or light blanket used across him. At Oscar’s current weight, it is time to think about moving him into a cot. He may well be disturbing himself by knocking against the sides of the moses basket.
Once down, leave Oscar for ten minutes to allow him to learn how to settle. If he was really sleepy when you put him down and he is securely tucked in, he should be able to learn how to carry on drifting off. Although it is best to put babies down when more awake than asleep, in Oscar’s case you need to treat him as a younger baby whilst he is learning how to settle alone. Gradually as he becomes more used to falling asleep in his basket or cot, you can lessen the time you hold him before putting him down, so he is more awake.
If, after ten minutes his crying is escalating rather than beginning to lessen, go in and reassure him with a quiet voice and gentle soothing, but keep this reassurance to only 1-2 minutes. Then leave him again and wait another ten minutes before repeating. This “crying down” can take up to half an hour but provided Oscar is not over tired when first put down he should begin to learn how to fall asleep alone.
If Oscar’s daytime sleep improves, he should be less tired at 7pm and begin to settle better then. Keep giving him a split feed at 5/6pm but possibly offer him 5ozs at 6pm rather than 4ozs. Again this is to make sure he is not still hungry when being put down. If you think he is tired by 5.30pm, begin his bath early and put him down before 7pm. If Oscar is over-tired he will fight sleep. As he is only getting 11/2hrs sleep in the daytime at present, he will be ready for bed before 7pm. This could help him be less sleepy at 23.00. Until 3-4 months of age, babies do need to be awake for a good 45mins to an hour at the fifth feed of the day. This helps them cut back and drop the middle of the night feed. It should also help Oscar to sleep nearer to 7am. A very tired baby will fall into a deep sleep at the beginning of the night and often begin to wake earlier in the morning as a result.

Sleeping FAQ: 8-12 weeks – Settling/Sleep Associations

Is my ten-week-old daughter settling too early in the evenings?

As I have to express all feeds, I am finding it difficult to stick to the evening routine. I start feeding at 6.15pm but it only takes 10-15mins to finish the feed rather than the 40 minutes it would take if I were breast-feeding. Should I be putting her down at 6.30pm after she has fed or keeping her awake until 7.00pm? It doesn’t feel right to be stimulating her until 7.00pm when it should be her wind-down time – but will the earlier bedtime eventually have a knock-on effect? Also, if I put her down at 6.30pm, she’s not going to bed two hours since last waking, as Gina suggests. Is that a problem? At present she sleeps 9.00-9.45am, 12.00-2.15pm and 4.30-5.00pm. Also, is there an equation for breast milk like the one for formula on page 62 of CLB?

If your daughter is settling well at 6.30pm after finishing her feed then put her to bed. If she begins to take longer to settle at this time and does not seem so sleepy after her feed, then sit her quietly in her chair in a dimmed nursery while you tidy up. Providing she sleeps well during the evening and does not begin to wake before the 10/11pm feed you do not need to worry. As she gets older her sleep needs will change. Many babies of her age are ready to settle at this time.
Turning to your other point, the equation for working out the daily intake of milk for a baby less than four months remains the same whether for formula or breast milk.

Sleeping FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Daytime Sleep

My six week son seems unable to settle well at the morning nap

My son of 6.5 weeks is fed at 7am, and then starts to become tired 8.20/30. I change his nappy and cuddle him for 15 minutes then take to his dark nursery for 10/15 minutes until he is drowsy. Sometimes he will sleep for a full 45 minutes but most times cries for full 45 minutes, when I will then bring him downstairs. He is normally too hungry to go any later than 10.15am for next feed, but if he has not slept he is shattered and sleeping by 11am and I have to then wake him between 2pm an 2.30pm. If I was to wake him any earlier he wouldn’t make it to 4/4.30pm. If he does sleep in the morning, he will then be tired at 11.30/45pm where he goes to sleep on most days in the car seat as I am getting ready to go and collect my daughter from nursery. So he always has a great sleep at this time regardless if it’s going into his seat or cot. He then takes his 2.30pm feed and will usually be starving taking 6 – 7oz. He then starts getting tired at 3.30pm. I change his nappy and cuddle him until 4.15/30pm and then put in his chair where he will wake on and off until 5pm and will be starving again. He would take 6-7oz if I would let him, but I cant, I only give him 4-5oz as he needs some for after his bath. But he doesn’t enjoy his bath because he is still hungry. He then takes the rest of his bottle and I take him to his room where he is very drowsy but most night’s cries from 7 – 10pm. I give him his feed at 10pm and he sleeps until  2-3am, takes a small feed and  goes back to sleep until about 5am. He takes another small feed and will only sleep on my chest then until I wake us at 7am.

(Although last night only took 1oz at 3am and would not take anything at 5am- just went to sleep on my chest and was not as starving as I thought he would be for his 7am bottle). Please could you look at my routine and tell me where I am going wrong, I do let him cry in the morning and evening checking at the appropriate intervals but he is just too upset to go to sleep.

I followed the routine with my daughter who is now 3.5years and she still sleeps 7-7. She was definitely a happy, confident, contented baby and I just want my little boy to be as happy. Just now he doesn’t appear to be, he doesn’t enjoy activities as he is either getting tired or he is too tired as he has not slept.

His feeding times and amounts are 7am 6-7ozs, 10am 5-6ozs, 2.30pm 5-7ozs, 5pm 4-5ozs, 6.15pm 3-4ozs, 10.30pm 5ozs, 2/3am 1-3ozs, 4/5am 1-3ozs. He weighs 11lbs 7ozs.

He naps at 8.50-9.35am, 11.30-2pm, and 4.15-5pm.

The needs of every baby are different: some may need more sleep than others, and some may need their feeds at shorter intervals. Finding out what your baby’s needs are and then using the routines as a guide to work towards, rather then trying to get your baby to fit them, is the best way to cope. Having already had a contented baby with your daughter, it can be a shock when your second child just doesn’t seem to fit so easily into the routines for his age. Take a look at Gina’s article Structure Without Stress which shows you that it is in both your own and your baby’s best interests to follow his needs for feeding times and sleeping, as well as moving him towards a structured routine.

By 9am your son is too tired to sleep properly. He is fighting this sleep, unable to settle himself by this time in the morning. Many young babies can only stay awake for an hour or an hour and a half before needing to be settled for a sleep. Gina states that babies may stay awake for up to two hours but, once your baby shows signs of tiredness, you need to get him to his room and settle him for a sleep. If your son seems to be tired by 8.20am, change him at 8.15am and then get him to his room by 8.25am for a wind down time. Once he shows signs of being drowsy settle him into his cot. Tuck him in tightly, making sure the sheet or blanket covering him is secured at both sides of the cot with rolled towels pushed down the sides of the cot spars. At this earlier time of 8.40/8.45am he may well settle much better. He will be tired and ready to sleep but not over tired and fighting sleep.

Once you have assessed his needs for the morning nap, the next nap(FEED?) should fall into place around 11.30am. If your son wakes at 10am and is hungry then feed him. If he is able to tolerate a split feed at this time you could give him 3-4ozs and then see if he is willing to wait until 10.45am for the second half of the bottle. Although you may not have used a dummy yet, they can be useful to help a baby slow down its feeding down a little. It gives them some “sucking time” which they are missing if drinking their bottles in 10-15 minutes. If your son is taking his feeds very fast, then consider using a dummy whilst he has a break of 10-15 minutes to slow him down a little.

Your son is having a good lunchtime nap which he seems to need. Once he wakes for his next feed again try having a rest halfway through, letting him have some sucking time on a dummy whilst he sits in his chair. Even if he is only content to do this for 5-10minutes you will have slowed him down a little.

It is quite normal for a baby of this age to catnap in the afternoon, or have an hour of sleep; again each baby is different. You son seems to be ready for sleep an hour and half after waking so consider moving his bedtime to 6.30pm. This tiredness may well be the cause of his evening crying. Again, as in the morning he is too tired to sleep.

Splitting the feed at 5pm/6pm is done for several reasons. It helps a baby enjoy his bath more as he is not desperately hungry. It also allows you to give a slightly bigger feed overall. By giving the one part at 5pm and another bottle at 6.15pm your baby will be ready to take a good feed at 10pm. If he had one, complete, feed at 6.15pm it might well knock his appetite to feed well at 10pm. This would then lead to him needing more than one feed in the night. Let your son have 5-6ozs at 5pm if this will mean he is more content at bath time. Make sure he is in the bath by 5.40pm and then having his feed by 6pm. This bottle could be 2-3ozs. Settle him by 6.30pm. The larger 5pm feed, earlier bathtime, and settling by 6.30pm could all help him to go down without such a struggle. As you have an older child as well this earlier bedtime may well help you at this busy time of day.

To help your son begin to stretch himself at night use a split feed at 10pm. This will mean beginning to wake your son at around 9.45pm so he is really well awake and ready to feed at 10pm. Give him 2/3rds of his bottle, so offer 3-4ozs and then encourage him to have a time of quiet kicking. Make sure the room he is in is really light and there is some background noise such as music or the TV. Although you don’t want to stimulate him too much he does need some time awake between 7pm and 7am. Using a split feed at this time will help him have that wakeful period now rather than later in the night. His need to fall asleep on you at 5am may be due to him being not really tired at this time in the morning.

At 11.15pm change him and give him a fresh bottle of milk which can be 2-3ozs. This should be given to him in his room which is darkened and he should be swaddled, if he sleeps like this, ready to be put down as soon as he has finished his feed and has been winded. The combination of a slightly larger feed and a time awake should help him begin to push on in the night.

Look at page 138 of the Contented Little Baby Book where this split feed is described. It is also used in a question and answer on page 86[bottom] which is a problem similar to your own.

A growth spurt is often happening around six weeks of age. This can cause a baby to be a little more unsettled for a few days. Some babies may need more sleep, especially just after the spurt has occurred.

Swaddling your baby and making sure he is well tucked in at all his naps and sleeps will help him learn to settle alone. His Moro reflex can still be strong and may wake him if he is in a period of light sleep.

Have a look at the routines for babies younger than your son. You may realize that his needs at present are more in line with the 2-4 week routine or even the first week routine. Follow these if they seem more suitable to his needs than the one you are presently trying to work. Many babies may stay on a routine which is labelled for a baby much younger than themselves and then they suddenly “grow up” a little and are ready to move on to the next one. Keep a diary of his feed times, the amount of milk he takes at each feed and his nap times, so you can see the pattern that he seems to follow at present. Once your son is following a routine which is in line with his needs he will begin to enjoy the short spells of time that he is awake, as he will be well fed and rested.

Sleeping FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Settling/Sleep Associations

At six weeks old my daughter is unable to settle at 7pm

My daughter is fine during the day, feeding and sleeping according to your routines, but she will not settle at 7pm. We have tried giving her more milk in the evenings, thinking she may be hungry, and we have tried to vary her afternoon nap, but it doesn’t seem to work. She feeds well between 10 and 11pm and will usually sleep through to 6/7am. It is, however, extremely difficult to keep her awake until 9am and she often takes her morning nap between 8.30 and 9.30am. She then sleeps at 11.30am- 2pm and 4.15-4.45pm.

When we put her in her cot at 7pm she sometimes settles, but within twenty minutes she is crying. We then wait ten minutes before going in to settle her. Sometimes by this point she has temporarily stopped crying, but if we don’t go in and she starts crying again five minutes later, should we wait another ten minutes before going in? We have also tried putting her to bed earlier in case she is overtired, but that hasn’t worked either.

My daughter is breastfed. She feeds at 7am 20 minutes one side, 15 minutes second side; 10.15am 20 minutes both sides; 2pm 20 minutes both sides; 5pm 20 minutes one side; 6.15 20-45 minutes second side; 10pm 20 minutes both sides. She weighed 9lbs 2oz last week.

One of the most common reasons why a young baby will not settle at 7pm is hunger. As you are exclusively breastfeeding your daughter, your supply by 6.15pm could be low. This is a very common problem with breastfeeding mothers, as it is difficult to rest between feeds, especially in the afternoon when you want to be out and about. One way you can help yourself is to feed your daughter at 5pm, giving her both sides, and then offering her an expressed feed at 6.15pm. This milk could either be from a freezer supply, or if you decide to give a bottle feed on a regular basis, then refrigerate your milk expressed in the morning and offer this to her after her bath. She will probably need around 2-3oz, having fed from you an hour before. By taking a good feed at this time your daughter should be more able to settle herself.

On p 26 of The Complete Sleep Guide there is a section about settling a young baby. You are quite right to leave your daughter about ten minutes before going in to her the first time, but as the Sleep Guide explains, if she is becoming more distressed, then always pick her up and offer more food. Young babies are tired by this time of day and may not take a full feed before becoming sleepy, yet they are not full enough to settle properly to sleep. Once resettled, give your daughter another five to ten minutes before going in. With a baby this young it is not advisable to leave her crying for anything longer than ten minutes, unless you are aware that the crying is really beginning to diminish and she is obviously going to settle. If this is the case, then wait another five minutes before quietly looking into the room to check that she is settling herself down.

The amount of sleep your daughter is having in the day is not excessive, often another reason for unsettled evenings. Providing she is well awake by 5pm, having had a short afternoon nap, she should be ready to sleep at 7pm. Turning to the morning routine, a baby of this age may not be able to stay awake beyond 8.30am. As she gets older this will gradually happen, and providing she manages to stay awake until 11.30am then settles easily for her lunchtime nap, you will have no real problems. If, however, she begins to sleep for only 45 minutes at 8.30am, then she may need an extra 15-20 minutes around 10.45am to help her get to 12.15/12.30pm and still be able to sleep for a longer stretch at this time; page 136 of the Contented Little Baby Book explains this fully.

Sleeping FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Settling/Sleep Associations

How do I put twins of 2.5 weeks to bed?

I need some advice on how to put twins to bed. Harriet and Evie are just over 2 weeks old and at the moment both sleep in separate Moses baskets in the same room.

However, I am not sure if this is the best idea as more often than not, one will disturb the other either by not settling to sleep straight away and disturb the other during the 20 minutes of wind-down crying, or alternatively one will wake earlier than the other and invariably wake the other – which would be fine if they were both due a feed, but not so good if they both should still be asleep !!
I know that there is an element of comfort in keeping them both together but I wonder if perhaps it would be easier if they were in different rooms (especially if those rooms were in different houses !!!!)

Anyway, your ideas and thoughts would be appreciated.
Thanks, Karen

I  encountered this problem with twins and found separating them the best way to get both of them into good sleeping habits. One found it easy to settle and the other was a much lighter, restless sleeper. Once both of them were better at settling we moved them back in together during the day but they spent the nights apart as this way they both got the best amount of sleep.

During their waking hours they spent a lot of close time by sharing an activity mat and whilst still small enough I would put them together in a cot under a musical mobile. They did not seen affected at all by being separated for sleep.

Sleeping FAQ: 0-8 weeks – Settling/Sleep Associations

My seven week old won’t settle

Please could I have your advice about my 7 week old daughter and sleeping? We have been trying to apply your routines from about two weeks but seem to be struggling to get things established. Though to begin with she would settle if put in her moses basket dozy, she now will not. We have tried all  sorts of shushing, rocking, jiggling etc and when we can get her to settle, she wakes and cries 10 minutes after being settled.  During the day she will sleep in her bouncy chair, and she will also sleep in the car, but the moses basket/dark room means she just screams. Last night she did not settle at all until 3.00am when my husband took her out in the car in desperation. We have also stopped swaddling and moved to a sleeping bag which seems to be no better or worse. We used controlled crying technique on my older daughter (now two and a half) very successfully, but she was much older (4/5 months) I now feel we have no option but to do this with Megan but I am concerned that at just 7 weeks she is too young for it to work.  I would be grateful for your thoughts or advice as we are now finding it very difficult to cope with so little sleep! To give you a little more background – Megan is being breastfed, was 7lbs 10oz at birth and at 6 weeks was 11lbs 8oz, so is gaining weight very well. As for her daytime routine, I am trying to stick to your routine but she like us is so exhausted that every day seems to go awry and is rarely the same as the day before.  She is so difficult to settle to sleep that her lunchtime sleep, for example, instead of being 2-2.5 hours is more like 20 or 30 minutes.
I look forward to your reply.
Many thanks

Controlled crying should not be used with a baby under the age of six months. Sleeping in a darkened room seems to be at the bottom of this problem. Your daughter has grown used to some kind of external factor, whether the car or you rocking her to fall asleep and wakes to find that factor has stopped.

Would it be possible to move her to her big cot? A baby of this size will be now be quite a tight fit in a Moses basket. Possibly as she settles and moves her arms she is hitting the sides and disturbing herself. As this keeps happening she gets crosser, cries harder and knocks the sides more so, keeping herself awake and becoming over-tired.

If she can go into a cot, put some kind of musical mobile or lullaby light on the side which she can begin to associate with calming down. Some on the market play for at least 15 minutes which allows the baby to really unwind and calm themselves so falling asleep is easier.

A dimmer switch would also help as you could gradually lower the light level over a number of days until she is more accustomed to sleeping in the dark.

Try dealing with the night-time problem first, which seems to be getting her used to settling on her own in the dark. Make sure the bathtime routine is as calm and happy as possible. Then watch her very closely for the first signs of tiredness, or when she has been awake for an hour and a half. Take her into her room to calm her before sleep. Give her the final breastfeed quietly in her dimly-lit room.

Some babies do cry when they go down. If you know she is well fed and winded and has been awake for a length of time she will be tired, but not over-tired. Sit with her quietly for a few minutes and put her into her cot when she is calm rather than sleepy. Put on her mobile or lights, reduce the dimmer to a reasonable level and leave the room. If she begins to cry, leave her for 10 minutes before going in to reassure her. Try to do this without picking her up and only stay a few minutes before leaving again. It may take her a good few nights, possibly even a week or more to get used to settling alone.  She has to learn how to fall asleep from being wide awake without external help from motion, rocking etc. If the crying begins to decrease just leave her. It can often take 20 minutes for some babies to calm down and settle. Keeping a daily record of how long each sleep is and how she settled will encourage you to keep trying.You are teaching her how to settle alone.

Possibly half swaddling your daughter, one arm out, may help her as she probably thrashes around a lot in a sleeping bag. Babies can have a very strong Moro reflex until the age of about six months – this causes them to jerk their arms or legs when they come into their light sleep, which wakes them up. So make sure she is tucked in securely.

During the day it is important your daughter gets some sleep especially while she adapts to sleeping more at night. Is it possible to get her asleep at lunchtime by taking her for a walk in the pram? At least then she will have the sleep she needs. Part of her night-time problem could well be over-tiredness, especially if she is not having any late-afternoon nap. Concentrate on settling her at night in her room to begin with. If that becomes easier then try to settle her at her morning nap followed by her midday nap.