Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
125
Sleep Consolidation (#2)
April 3, 2023

Found in age groups

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

5th Edition: 
A Step-by-Step Program for a Good Night's Sleep

Buy now

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

5th Edition: 
Chapter 1 (only 16 pages!) outlines everything you need to know about your child's sleep.

Buy now

Introduction

A Healthy Child Needs a Healthy Brain, A Healthy Brain Needs Healthy Sleep

If you have not already done so, please read Blog Posts 1 through 5 that describe how sleep is important and beneficial. I will post specific information for parents and children based on my book, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” Please do not be put off by my book’s length. This is a reference book. Read only the topic of interest to you.

Blog 125Sleep Consolidation (#2)

Tips For Baby Sleep Schedules and Baby Sleep Training

All babies wake up for feedings at night. All babies cycle between deep sleep and light sleep during the night. All babies make non-distress vocalizations at night.  

Some babies, at night, have more difficulty returning to deep sleep by themselves after a normal partial awakening occurring during a light sleep phase. They then fully awaken and cry out (‘signaled awakening’) and return to sleep only with parental soothing assistance. This is called fragmented sleep.  

Some babies, at night, have less difficulty returning to deep sleep by themselves after a partial awakening occurring during a light sleep phase. They have better self-soothing skills and are more able to return to a deep sleep phase unassisted. This is called consolidated sleep. Sleep consolidation (Blog Post 11) means uninterrupted sleep in between awakenings for feeding.

Self-soothing skills in the baby (Blog Post 16) are related to features within the baby such as infant colic (Blog Posts 43 and 44) and infant temperament (Blog Posts 4648).  

Self-soothing skills in the baby may be encouraged by parents by having early and regular bedtimes (Blog Posts 7, 12, and 91), frequent and consistent bedtime routines (Blog Posts 10, 87, 89, and 90), healthy naps (Blog Posts 5356), and perhaps, most importantly, putting your baby down to sleep drowsy but awake at bedtime (Blog Post 9). This is because learning self-soothing at sleep onset (the bedtime) makes it easier for your baby to self-soothe back to sleep in the middle of the night.

Blog Posts 99 and 100 summarize how impaired sleep in children causes mental health problems in children.

The good news is that when parents help their child sleep better, their child’s mental health improves (Blog Posts 66 and 75)!

Remember, it’s never too late and it’s never too early to help your baby sleep better through the night (Blog Posts 102107), and prevent or correct mental health problems in your child.

Comments

  1. Hi Dr. Weissbluth!
    We have read you book and have implemented the 5:30 reset for a few days for our almost 5 month old son. He did great and we have been doing a 6:15/6:30 bedtime which has been working great up until a few days ago. He always wakes up for a feeding between 4-6am but now there have a been 2-3 other wakings that we need to soothe him back to sleep. His naps have also gone from 1.5ish to 30 min. Any advice? Thanks so much!!

    1. Looking carefully at his mood and behavior when by himself with toys (no screens and no parent involvement) between 4-5pm, is he showing any drowsy signs (view Blog Post 115X)? If so, maybe 6:00-6:15 is his best bedtime (or sometimes earlier because of shorter naps) and 6:30 is too late. Small changes in bedtimes have big effects! What do you think? Review Blog Posts 84-86 for a deeper understanding of cumulative sleepiness to better understand what may have happened.

  2. 4pm is the start of him being soo fussy- the only thing that soothes him is being held or in a wrap. We can try and move the bedtime back to being earlier. Just frustrating when my friends babies can go to sleep later and still sleep 12+ hours at the same age haha

    1. Understood. But many parents with late bedtimes do not share the evening struggles, tantrums, bedtime battles that they experience with their babies. You, your family, and your baby will all do better with an earlier bedtime. Please re=read Blog Posts 1-5.

  3. Okay we will keep trying! Last night he feel asleep by 6:15 but still had a few wake ups. Will it take for him to regain the sleep loss?

  4. Hello Dr Weissbluth! I’m a huge fan of your book, having started reading it 2 weeks postpartum and employed all of your strategies. I ended up with a very amazing sleeper who started sleeping 12 hours straight at just 3 months old, which I credit mostly to your book. What I find even more impressive is that he’s a reflux baby and has had a lot of GI issues with food allergies (leading to a lot of vomit, sometimes at night) and yet has still persisted with amazing sleep!

    Unfortunately, over the past 2 weeks (right around 5 months of age), my son has started night wakings – usually around 5 a.m., but sometimes as early as 2 a.m. He’s a good self-soother and usually able to put himself back to sleep, but we’ve had a few instances where he cannot. I’ve tried very light soothing, diaper check, sometimes a rock and replace to get him back. I’m ensuring I’m not feeding him since he passed night feeds at 3 months of age. Is it time to employ an extinction method for these night wakings? I want to make sure I’m not training him into crying and getting parental soothing (even though I’ve kept it really light thus far). He goes to bed early (we start the process around 6, generally asleep by 6:30 or 6:45 at the latest). Thank you for your insight and wisdom!

    1. Please tell me your child’s age, current nap schedule, and describe his mood and behavior during the hour before falling asleep when alone (no screens or parental interaction).

  5. Age: 5 months
    Nap Schedule: Still not consolidated, but generally: 1. first nap around 9 a.m. (it’s starting to lengthen to 60-90 minutes from 30 minutes). 2. Second nap around 12-1 (usually only 30 minutes). 3. Third Nap around 3/4 p.m. (generally only 30 minutes, sometimes will go 45-60). We never let him sleep past 5.
    Behavior before falling asleep: we watch for drowsy cues which starts as glassy eyes/yawning and that’s when we take him to get ready for bed (it’s usually sometime around 6, sometimes earlier, sometimes later). Routine is lotion, meds, diaper change, and a nursing session which has become short in the recent weeks and he usually gulps his milk down, then cries to be put down in his crib. Once put in the crib, he’s drowsy but awake and hangs out in the crib murmuring to himself for 5-10 minutes before falling asleep.

    1. For the next 3 days only, do everything that you currently do but start the soothing to sleep process 20 minutes earlier and monitor latency to sleep onset, night wakings, and naps. Let me know how it goes.

  6. Hi Dr Weissbluth! Reporting back on the 3 day early soothing process.

    Day 1: long latency to sleep (20 minutes) which included crying, needed one light soothing (pacifier/headrub). He woke up at midnight needing soothing (worst yet since newborn!). Also was up at 4/5 am.

    Day 2: long latency to sleep (20 minutes), also crying, needed one soothing light soothing (pacifier/headrub). Woke up at 3/5 a.m., but not crying, didn’t need intervention. Up for the day at 6:30, but then fell asleep while feeding at 7:15 to 8 a.m.

    Day 3: Normal latency to sleep (5-10 minutes), mostly happily babbling, a little crying (no intervention needed). Only one wake up around 5 a.m. but it was happy babbling and he was back to sleep shortly and slept until 6:50 a.m.

    No changes in naps for any of these days, still seeing variable 30-60 minutes on that first nap, with the second two really only being 30 minutes long.

    Let me know thoughts and if we should keep going on the early bedtime. Thank you for your help!

    1. Because of the suggestion of improvement on Day 3, I suggest you stay the course for 3 additional days and continue to monitor his sleep. Please report back after these 3 more days.

  7. Bebê de 7 meses. Acabou de fazer a transição para 2 Sonecas. Estava indo bem, mas há 3 dias tem múltiplos despertares no início da noite. E o melhor estirao de sono é de 4h. Mas tem acordado a cada 1h , as vezes mais.
    Help!!

  8. Alright, reporting back after 3 more days!

    Latency to sleep onset was good all three days – down to 5 min or so.
    Night wakings: Minimal (e.g., experienced some small cries early evening/midnight ish, but never needed parental intervention, always soothed himself). Woke up at 5 a.m. on 2 days, but soothed self back to sleep.
    Wakeup: Ranged from 6:20 to 7 a.m.
    Naps: HORRIBLE! We saw the biggest decline here with naps on the third day deteriorating to 10-15 mins per nap. We had a VERY tired baby on the third day and we started bedtime routine at 5:30 and he was asleep by 6 pm, earliest yet.

    I’m pleased with the night consolidation with this approach, but naps still seem to be a struggle. Please let me know thoughts – thank you!

    1. Because night sleep is improved and he is 5-6 months old, please consider imposing on your baby an age-appropriate nap schedule as discussed on page 289: ‘Nap Drill’. If this does comport with your values, let me know and we’ll try something else.

  9. Perfect, thank you! I’ve tried the soothing extension for the midmorning nap on weekends which has had varying degrees of success, but might try one of the more “harsh” strategies. My vortex of control is more limited during the week because I’m back at work and he’s under the care of a nanny, but will do my best. And to note, I’ve seen the midmorning nap emerge to a small degree – we sometimes get 60-90 minutes out of him, it’s just not consistent yet. Will keep working on it. I’ve left the midday nap be for now since it seems we should be focusing on establishing the midmorning nap first. Let me know if I’m off-base here.

    Just to confirm, because we’re seeing improved night sleep – we should permanently adjust the bedtime to the 20 minutes earlier we’ve been doing?

    1. 1. Just to confirm, because we’re seeing improved night sleep – we should permanently adjust the bedtime to the 20 minutes earlier we’ve been doing? Yes for now. As naps get more regular and longer, the bedtime might be comfortably moved a little later. But naps vary a bit from day to day so it’s always better to adjust the bedtime based on how he looks between 4-5pm.
      2. The midmorning nap does begin to become more regular and longer before the midday nap so more focus on the midmorning nap is appropriate; for now.
      3. By the way, from about 1-2 weeks of age to 2-3 months of age did he have a lot of evening fussiness/crying suggestive of colic?
      Have confidence that naps will become well established over the next few weeks because you were able to execute an earlier bedtime. Congratulations!

  10. 1. Got it. Will keep monitoring that 4-5 pm zone and adjust accordingly. But for now, will keep going with the earlier time.
    2. Perfect, for now 🙂
    3. So, no, he wasn’t a ‘colicky’ baby, but did have GI issues that all baked down to food allergies. So he cried more than a normal baby (definitely not to the definition of colic in your book), but the poor guy was in pain with microscopic blood in his stool. Once we eliminated the irritants from my diet (cow milk protein, soy, eggs and fish) his demeanor improved substantially. He’s also a reflux baby, and went on pepcid around 2 months of age.

    Thanks for your help, will keep working on those naps!

  11. Hello Dr Weissbluth,

    I am a first time mother. Our baby girl is just shy of 8 months. We used your recommendations and graduated extinction to “sleep train” her around 4.5 months of age with great success!

    We have a fairly consistent schedule at this age (naps #1 9AM 1-2 hours and #2 1/2PM 1-2 hours.) with a bedtime of 7/7:30PM and wake up of 7/7:30AM. She goes to sleep well for all naps and bedtime but has been waking 1-2x per night, feeding and then struggling to fall back asleep on her own. (Usually waking around 11PM and 3/4AM). We tried a GE method for few nights with the wakings and ended up holding her until she falls asleep and that has now become a pattern. How can we help her get back to putting herself to sleep in the night after wakings?

    Thank you!

    1. Please describe her mood and behavior between 5-7pm when she is alone with toys (no screens or parental interaction).

  12. Reporting back. She played happily but quietly (she’s usually a babbler) with toys until approx 6pm. Then she began rubbing her head with both her hands and toys. Started bedtime routine around 6:15 (bath, nursing, book, bed) and she was happy through all of that as well but definitely appeared tired (reddened brows/eyelids, rubbing ears and eyes). She fell asleep within approx 10 minutes.

    1. “We have a fairly consistent schedule at this age with a bedtime of 7/7:30PM and wake up of 7/7:30AM. She goes to sleep well for all naps and bedtime but has been waking 1-2x per night, feeding and then struggling to fall back asleep on her own.”
      Her behavior around 6pm is proof that your current bedtime is too late and is directly causing her night awakening. Read my Blog Posts on Drowsy Signs and use them to choose a much earlier bedtime.

    1. Hello,

      My daughter was born on May 2. Currently, she falls asleep during or after nursing anywhere between 6:30-7:15. We have worked to make the nighttime routine more consistent, and it has been hard since I am home by myself until around 6 with the baby and the toddler until my wife gets home.

      Once in her crib she will either stay asleep after nursing or wake up and cry for a bit, but we will not go in. Until recently, she consistently woke up once a night anywhere between 1-5 for a feeding and then went back to sleep. Now, she is waking up twice a night – at 1 and at 4-5. I am feeding her both times.

      At daycare naps are 30 min-hour, but she has a hard time napping in the crib. When at home, the mid morning nap is most successful, around 9, but she has a very hard time napping and soothing in the afternoon.

      On school days, I pick her up around 4-445 and she is usually exhausted and might fall asleep in the car. With one child, it was much easier to follow the routine and he slept through the night at 4 months and had zero sleep regressions. This has felt a little trickier to get her in a routine and also help her soothe consistently. Sometime she cries for an hour and sometimes not at all.

      Hope this all make sense. Thank you!

      -Chelsea

      1. Because her naps are brief at Daycare, try a 5:30pm lights out (you have bathed, fed, soothed and are leaving the room at 5:30pm) for 5 nights and let me now how she behaves and sleeps. Pick a night sleep solution (let cry, maybe cry, or no cry) and practice it consistently. How does this sound to you?

  13. I can definitely try that!

    Today she fell asleep in the short car ride home from school and slept from 4:50-5:20. Should I just put her right back at down and stick to that plan?

    Thanks so much for your support!

  14. Okay! In that case she will take three naps a day instead of 4, but seems worth it. Tonight she was down at 5:43 and stopped crying/was asleep by 6:45.

    I’ll report back!

  15. Hello,

    We are instituting the earlier bedtime and things got better, then declined. We are trying to give her time to cry when she wakes up at night, but it is hard for her to settle.

    Sleep:
    Night 1:
    Put down @ 5:43
    Asleep at 6:45
    Woke at 1 – fed and back down by 1:30
    Woke at 5:50, fed at 6:05

    Night 2 10/17:
    Down at 5:50, asleep by 6:05
    – little noise, not really any crying
    Woke at 5:58 am

    Night 3 10/18:
    Down at 5:39, asleep by 6
    – no crying, just babbling for awhile
    Cried at 935-10:15, fed @10:20, back down at 10:47
    Woke at 310, cried until 3:25. Fed at 3:28 and back down at 345
    Woke at 6:48am
    :
    Night 4 10/19:
    Down at 5:37, no crying
    Woke briefly a 7:38 and cried minimally
    Woke at 1215, fed at 1226-114
    Woke at 4:50 – babbled/cried until 5:20. Woke and fed at 5:30.

    Thoughts? Thank you!

    1. Are her naps still brief?
      Is the crying extremely loud, continuous, and intense or more mild and intermittent or variable?
      Please describe exactly in what way sleep initially improved and then failed to improve?
      Are you able to stay the course for a few more days/nights?

  16. We will definitely stay the course! The early bedtime seems to really work for her.

    The crying was continuous and loud on Night 3 at 10. The other nights have been extended babbling and crying. Do I go in at these times? Should I always feed?

    I will be honest that out son’s room is next store, so that brings on worry about him waking.

    Naps have been inconsistent at school. She has been more independent in her crib and sleep onset, but timing is still brief.

    Appreciate you!

  17. Just checking in. Our daughter has continued to go down as close to 5:30 as the flow of our after work/daycare time permits.

    She goes to sleep without a fuss and independently. She has been waking either once over the night or she will occasionally sleep through until 545. After the first waking, she always goes back down easily, no matter the time.

    Naps at home this past weekend were the best they have been, not over an hour, but much better self soothing.

    Does the overnight waking disappear at some point?

    Thanks,
    Chelsea

  18. Yes and no. I am wondering most about consistency. We are doing everything in our control, and we will have a couple days of one overnight waking, but then it’s back to two.

    Should my wife try to resettle first? She is going down at 5:30, and starting to wake again at 12:30-1 and again at 4-5. Is this just something we need to wait to grow it of?

  19. She is 6 months old. She wakes up and babbles to herself, but begins to cry. Then, we change and feed her.

    The napping has definitely been hard during the day to get her to settle. She crises for an hour and twenty today before I picked her up.

  20. I’m not, but she does eat. This has been the hardest part for us and the hardest for me to decipher how to handle from the book.

    Also, since her naps have been so inconsistent, I have a feeling that is affecting her nighttime sleep.

    Thank you for your help.

    1. Would you consider you or the father giving a test bottle at night for 2-3 nights to clarify whether she is truly hungry at 12:30-1? By observing how many ounces she takes and how quickly she takes it, you might discover that she is, or is not really hungry. If she is not really hungry, would you consider ignoring her at that time?

  21. That sounds like a plan. I will have my wife (two mom family!) try a bottle at that time tonight.

    Thanks for working through this with me!

  22. Overnight, she definitely drinks a whole bottle. The sleep overnight has gotten worse – even with the consistent early bedtime. I am thinking of giving her a bottle before bed instead of breastfeeding to make sure she is full.

    Does it make sense to let her cry at night for more than an hour or to continue having my wife try to settle and/or give a bottle?

    Thanks.

    1. If you suspect that your breast milk supply might be low (thirsty a lot, pumping a smaller volume) at the end of the day (her bedtime), than do breastfeed at that time and follow it with a bottle. The well-fed breast-fed baby will not take much from the bottle and might suck a little slowly. If, however, she takes an ample amount from the bottle quickly, than you know that your breast-milk supply was low. Now you have choices such as trying to augment your breast milk supply (perhaps working with a lactation consultant), offering a supplemental bottle, or weaning. But if it appears that your baby is crying at night or not sleeping well at night from hunger, than feeding more is your priority.
      Do you agree?

  23. I definitely it let agree.

    Overall, I think things aren’t syncing with naps because she spends her weeks at daycare where she can’t always self soothe. Then, she comes home and the routines are different.

    Just been a hard process, so I appreciate you being a resource.

  24. Hi Dr. Weissbluth! We are struggling to get consolidated early morning sleep with our 5 month old (born 38 weeks gestation) I am wondering if nightweaning could help? He falls asleep with little to no fuss and wakes for one feed around 4am. After this feed he does not have sustained sleep, and he wakes every 30-40 minutes, sometimes crying for up to 15 minutes before putting himself to sleep. We wake him at 7am if he is not awake but this is rare. He never seems to wake happy, which concerns me about sleep inertia.

    Otherwise, his morning nap has solidly developed (8:30-9am start, for 1.5 hours). His midday nap has not been consistently longer, and he continues with a catnap around 4:45pm. Bedtime is between 7 and 7:30pm at the latest. His weight is good (60th percentile) and he eats small amounts of solids while breastfeeding during the day. Should we try weaning the 4am feed?

  25. He is typically happy during that time. His most reliable drowsy sign is staring off into space and he doesn’t do that until close to bedtime. We do a bottle of breastmilk to ensure he is getting at least 6 oz at 6:15pm. He is usually smiley for this, sometimes does appear to get drowsy and will close his eyes. After the bottle we do lotion/pajamas/story. He is engaged in the story, reaching for the pages and babbling. We offer a pacifier then as well.

    He used to get kind of a rebound energy “kick” after the bottle and would be very active on the changing table, so we moved bedtime earlier (to 7/7:15) and this seems to have gone away.

    1. “We do a bottle of breastmilk to ensure he is getting at least 6 oz at 6:15pm. He is usually smiley for this, sometimes does appear to get drowsy and will close his eyes. After the bottle we do lotion/pajamas/story…He used to get kind of a rebound energy “kick” after the bottle and would be very active on the changing table, so we moved bedtime earlier (to 7/7:15) and this seems to have gone away.”
      Moving the bedtime earlier helped and he will sleep much better when you move it even earlier. Around 6:15 he is fed and sometimes appears drowsy. By doing everything else before the feeding, try a falling asleep time around 6:30pm. Monitor latency to sleep onset, night waking, and mood in the morning. After 3-5 nights let me know how it’s going.
      Does this help?

      1. Yes this is very helpful! I have two follow up questions:
        1. Should I be concerned about a feed to sleep association if feeding is the last thing we do before bed? He developed that once after a vacation and it’s the only time we had to use graduated extinction.
        2. When should I “cut off” day sleep if he is going to be sleeping at 6:30?

  26. Hello! Reporting back after 4 nights of earlier bedtime to try to reduce early morning waking.

    Night 1: sleep latency 11 minutes. After 5:30am, did not settle, woke every 10-20 minutes. We started the day at 6:30am and he was upset and fussy for about a half hour.
    Day 1: Short morning nap, woke crying. Cried before midday nap but slept 1.5 hours. Fussy at 5:50pm.
    Night 2: Sleep latency 3 minutes. Beginning at 5:25am woke every 10-20 minutes. Up for the day at 6:23am. Cried but quickly happy.
    Day 2: GREAT naps (2 hours, 1.5 hours, 25 min). Good mood all day.
    Night 2: Sleep latency 6 minutes. Woke 6:45am crying, but quickly happy.
    DAy 3: Nonexistent naps despite doing nap drill for first two (21 minutes, 17 minutes, 7 minutes). Mood was surprisingly good until 4pm. Held him for a half hour to sleep 4:30-5pm because he was so fussy. Decided to move bedtime even earlier to “reset”
    Night 3: In bed at 5:49pm, asleep within a minute. Woke naturally at 7:02am with no early morning difficulties!
    Day 4: Shorter morning nap (46 minutes), good mood, 1.75 hour afternoon nap, 38 minute evening nap. Drowsy signs (staring off into space) at 5:30.
    Night 4: Rushed through bedtime routine because we saw drowsy signs, got him into crib at 6:22. Sleep latency 23 minutes, crying often. Pretty horrible night. After 3am he wouldn’t sleep for more than half an hour. Ended up feeding him 5 times in the night, holding him for an hour in the early morning hours so he would sleep.

    Any thoughts or advice? Should we keep at 6:30 bedtime even though his naps have deteriorated so much? Is it possible he needs an even earlier bedtime (like 6pm?)

    1. I agree with you. Looking at the big picture, the earlier bedtime was associated with a very short latency to sleep onset telling us that the previous bedtime was too late. My suggestion is to continue with what you are doing except for a 5:30pm lights off, falling asleep time, you are leaving the room at 5:30pm for only 4-5 nights. But if he has two great naps, then 6:00pm. Watch for drowsy signs between 4-5pm to guide your decision for either a 5:30 or 6:00 falling asleep time. If Thanksgiving does not permit this new schedule, then begin on Friday in order to have a 4-5 night consecutive trial. It is possible that this even earlier bedtime will permit two long naps in the future and if so, then the bedtime them might be closer to 6:00-6:30pm.
      How does this sound?

  27. Reporting back! We did 4 days of 5:30 lights out and he had very low sleep latency (1-5 minutes). He clearly needed that bedtime. Last night was the first time we saw no drowsy signs between 4-5pm so we opted for a 6:00pm bedtime. Sleep latency 11 minutes with no crying. He does sleep well at first (approx 9 hours!), but his early wakings (5am, upset) have returned for the past 3 days. If we hold him, he goes back to sleep until 7am. I’m unsure if we should be leaving him in his crib crying at 5am or if we should support him in returning to sleep.

    Unfortunately naps still haven’t lengthened like they did when we had a 7:00pm bedtime. He wakes from naps after about 45 minutes very upset, rubbing his eyes. We leave him in the crib for 15 minutes to see if he will go back down but he hasn’t yet since introducing the earlier bedtime.

    What do you think? Do we continue with a 6pm bedtime and hope naps will extend? He is 5 months and 1 week old, born 38 weeks gestation. I saw in your book that most babies drop to 2 naps by 6 months but he does still fall asleep easily for that 3rd catnap.

    1. At 5 months of age, if helping him sleep from 5am to 7am works to extend his early morning sleep and is doable, probably it will be a good thing, for now. However, in the future, he might wake himself up even earlier, call out, and expect you to come and hold him. So maybe this is a temporary or short-term helpful sleep strategy.
      At 6pm months of age, about 16% of infants are taking 3 naps and this decreases to 5% by 9 months of age. Dropping the 3rd nap now will enhance your ability to get a super-super early bedtime which in the long-run will permit him to sleep better at night and during the day. Does this help?

  28. It does. It sounds like we should experiment with dropping the third nap and continuing with early bedtime (last night was 6:15 and thus seemed perfect). I don’t want to create the expectation that we will hold him from 5am-7am, so I am very open to strategies that will let him sleep beyond 5am naturally.

  29. Hello,
    We are not able to implement an early bedtime as our commute on work days means we are not getting home until either 6 or 645ish, depending on the day. Usually, baby takes a catnap in the car on the commute which means bedtime is pushed later. He is 21 weeks now meaning his wake times are longer. We are down to 4 naps, sometimes 3 when we do not work that day depending on the length of his naps. what should one do if that early of a bedtime just does not work? He wakes often at night – every 1.5-2.5 hours on average, and always has. If I nurse him he gets back down to sleep relatively easy. He is able to put himself to sleep for all naps and bedtime with minimal or no fussing – we put him down wide away also. Daily wake time (due to commute for work) is around 640am and if he wakes within an hour or two of this time I’ve been holding him to get him to sleep until the 640ish time so the rest of the day goes ok. He gets pumped bottles during the day and I nurse at night. I’m not sure why he is waking so much overnight..sometimes I hear him wake and get back to sleep after sucking his thumb, other times he wakes and is upset until I nurse. Even if I pick him up he still fusses. Any help is appreciated.

    1. Your specific family circumstances associated with a catnap in the car and a bedtime that is too late might lead to cumulative sleepiness and major sleep problems. I would like to help but there are too many variables for this forum. A community sleep consultant (maybe the Family Sleep Institute can help with a referral) might be able to sort out how prevent this from occurring.

  30. Hi!

    My husband and I have read and followed your healthy sleep habits book with our son. He is a wonderful sleeper (I really believe mainly because of the insight offered in your book, so thank you!) and is starting to consolidate his naps (he’s five and a half months old!)

    Within the last week or so, we’ve noticed him become a lot more “vocal” in the wee hours of the morning. It seems to be happening right around the 50 minute mark and just sounds like he’s babbling. Never resulting in a cry, and typically he quiets back down and visibly becomes peaceful on the monitor a couple minutes later. I guess my question; is this interfering with his consolidated night time sleep? Or is this actually part of his sleep cycling? So far we have not needed to intervene and stay out until our morning start time between 615a-630.

    We have recently dropped the fourth nap, and are still doing three and have moved bedtime from 7-730p to between 6-630p

    Is the chatter and babbling something to be concerned about?

    1. Because the new behavior started around the time of moving the bed later, please try for 3-5 nights moving the bedtime back to the old 6-6:30 time frame. If he falls asleep at this earlier time, then you will know, after the fact, that switching the bedtime later was a mistake. If so, the new vocalizations that you observed might disappear because they reflected the development of a cumulative sleep debt. How does this sound?

  31. I think we may have a misunderstanding, we have actually moved the bedtime earlier, moving it from 7-730 with four naps, to 6-630 with 3 naps. This has been in the last 10 days or so

    However, today he woke at 6a, first nap at 8 for 1hr 20mins second nap at 1120 for 1hr 40mins and third nap at 3, for 40mins. By 5p he was giving sleep cues so bedtime routine and lights out by 535p … this is the earliest we’ve ever put him to bed so I am admittedly a little anxious about it.

    What are your thoughts given this information?

    Also, do you feel like waking him at the same time each day is helpful or harmful in this situation?

    1. Sorry for the misunderstanding. You are on the right track: moving the bedtime earlier is likely to help. Previously, during the last 10 days or so, based on his mood and behavior when alone with toys (no screens or parental involvement), do you think he could have been sleepy before 6-6:30pm?
      I suggest that you continue with the super early bedtime (based on drowsy signs) for a few days and keep a record of latency to sleep onset, the vocalizations, and the naps and then we will reconsider how to proceed.
      My observation is that following your child’s need to sleep (not waking him in the morning) is usually best. An approximate age-appropriate nap rhythm is a major nap around 9am and 12-2pm +/- a variable and brief nap that starts before 3pm. It will develop over the next few weeks. Let me know how it goes.

  32. Thank you so much for your guidance! Happy to report that the even earlier (535p) bedtime last night resulted in less vocalizations, none of which required any intervention, and slept visibly more sound in the early am until waking at 620 on his own.

    To answer your question re: drowsy before 6-630- in reflection, yes I know for certain he has become drowsy before 6-630 in the last week and a half or so with us dropping the fourth nap and adjusting to an earlier bedtime… in reconsideration I don’t think it was an early enough adjustment based on what we are seeing and experiencing and should have relied on his drowsy signs more than looking at the clock and thinking “wow 6 is really early, so he should be fine to make it until then!”

    We will give the next several days with a super early bedtime a go and report back on naps and night time vocalizations! Thanks again!

  33. Hi Dr. W,

    I currently have a 5 month daughter. She wakes up after one sleep cycle at night after being put down for the night. She goes back to sleep immediately if we put back her pacifier.
    I have tried both an earlier and a later sleep time at night, but I don’t think that had solved the issue and I am not sure what to do to troubleshoot. Your help is much appreciated.

    1. Please provide exact details of what you have attempted in the past and her current most common sleep schedule.
      Do you put her down drowsy but awake for naps and night sleep?

Add comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related blogs

These blogs are related or mentioned in this blog.
7
Blog 7
  | December 28, 2020
 | 183 Comments

Early Bedtimes

An early bedtime may prevent sleep problems from developing in the first place. A slightly earlier bedtime alone might completely or partially solve a sleep problem.
Read full post
9
Blog 9
  | January 11, 2021
 | 12 Comments

Drowsy Signs

The brains in babies and young children produce drowsy periods followed by sleep during the day and in the evening. Watch for drowsy signs before your child falls asleep. Drowsy signs are your signals to start soothing your child to sleep for a nap or for the night. Begin to soothe your baby to sleep as soon as your baby starts to become drowsy.
Read full post
10
Blog 10
  | January 18, 2021
 | 11 Comments

Pre-sleep Routines

Parents should experiment to see what soothing method works best and then try to be somewhat consistent so that your child learns to associate certain behaviors with falling asleep. But it is not necessary that Mom and Dad have the same soothing style. The goal of soothing is to create a calm and peaceful state compatible with transitioning to a sleep state.
Read full post
11
Blog 11
  | January 25, 2021
 | 8 Comments

Sleep Consolidation

To repeat, after your child has fallen asleep at night, your child, while asleep, or after waking, may make non-distress sounds. What are non-distress sounds and why do they occur? I am talking about harmless sounds that all babies make, that do not indicate distress and, if you feel comfortable, can usually be safely ignored.
Read full post
12
Blog 12
  | February 1, 2021
 | 10 Comments

Sleep Regularity

For young children in day care, dual-career families with long commutes, and older children with scheduled activities, it may be impossible to catch that exact magical drowsy state for going to sleep. An alternative strategy is to maintain reasonably regular bedtimes.
Read full post
16
Blog 16
  | March 1, 2021
 | 32 Comments

Self-Soothing

A common goal in a sleep plan is to have a bedtime routine that includes soothing followed by putting your child down and then your child falls asleep, without crying. The idea behind self-soothing is that during the sleep period, your child is not in your arms, swing, stroller, nor riding in the car.
Read full post
43
Blog 43
  | September 6, 2021
 | 1 Comment

Infant Colic

It is now known that persistent low-intensity fussing, rather than intense crying, characterizes infants diagnosed as having colic.
Read full post
44
Blog 44
  | September 13, 2021
 | 70 Comments

Post-Colic Sleep Problems

I studied 141 infants between 4- 8 months of age and showed that the history of colic was associated with the parents’ judgment that night waking was a current problem.
Read full post
46
Blog 46
  | September 27, 2021
 | No Comments

Temperament (1 of 3)

The term temperament refers to the individual differences which are biologically based that create a behavioral style or the manner in which the child interacts with the environment. It does not describe the motivation of an action.
Read full post
47
Blog 47
  | October 4, 2021
 | 5 Comments

Temperament-Sleep (2 of 3)

I discovered an association between temperament characteristics and sleep. In my study of sixty 4- to 5-month-old infants, the infants rated as having a difficult temperament had average sleep times substantially less than the infants rated as easy (12.3 versus 15.6 hours).
Read full post
1 2 3

Stay updated with new blog posts

Get access to free lullabies when signing up!
Get notified when new blogs are posted
Loading
Notify me
About Marc
The first month
The second month
Months 3-4
Months 4-12
magnifiercrossarrow-left
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram