Ask SIFTW: Baby waking at 7 months after sleeping through

November 30, 2007

David writes:

Our 7 month old has been sleep trained for about a month (what took us so long?) and now he goes to sleep at 6:30 or7pm and is fine. But today he had an odd day and had an extra nap. So, although he went to sleep fine, he has woken up. What should we do? Let him cry it out or go comfort him, take him out of bed, play for a while, night feed and then put him back? Or something else?

Firstly, sounds like you’ve been getting a bit of sleep in the last month David, so well done, that’s not an easy achievement in itself. Firstly, crazy nap days are going to happen. We’re off on holidays tomorrow and the Imp does not nap so well in the pushchair, so I think we are in for an interesting time with loads of overtiredness. For some babies, naps really do seem to dictate the flow of nighttime sleep, for others the connection is somewhat dubious at best.

Your baby has woken up in the night after sleeping through for a month or so. There’s a couple of ways you could take this (off the top of my head). Hopefully it is a one off for you and he will go back to sleeping soon.

  1. Baby had too much sleep in the day and is now awake at some ungodly hour thinking about playing and entertainment. As tempting as it is to play a bit of hide and seek at 3am, I tend to think keeping the mood dull and sleepy with the lights low is key. Even if baby won’t nod off straight away, at least you may be instilling the message that nighttimes are very very boring and it is way better to keep sleeping. When the Imp really insists on doing stuff at ungodly hours, I usually lie down and feign sleep while he climbs over me, pulls my hair, pokes my eyes until he lets out a little yawn and then I try to rush him off to bed again.
  2. Since Baby has been sleeping through for a month, I would consider whether there is something new that might be waking him up, teething, illness, that kind of thing. He might need a little more comfort than usual until this passes. The Imp is a terrible co-sleeper, but will happily sleep with us if he’s sick or teething.
  3. At this age, you might want to consider if Baby is going through some developmental spurt, such as learning to crawl as this can cause them to wake up at night rocking on hands and knees and such and such.
  4. Concede that you don’t know what the hell is causing this night waking and get your baby to sleep by any means possible and hope that it’s just a phase.
  5. If this waking becomes a habitual night after night, then you are back to considering the way forward. Can you live with some interrupted sleep for a bit, or do you need to revisit the sleep training?

What do our readers think? Post your thoughts/advice in the comments.

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Partying at all hours

November 24, 2007

We had a couple of weeks where the Imp slept. Amazing. Sometimes he slept through, sometimes until 5am for a feed, then back til 8am (ah bliss), or sometimes just a brief waking at 1 or so. I was a new person. I actually believed I could do anything. I was wonderwoman. I hardly even needed coffee (though I still indulged).

And now, we are back at the waking up at 3am and not going back to sleep routine. Any attempt to place the Imp in his cot results in standing and screaming. Any attempt to bring the Imp into bed results in much cute chatting and poking and climbing and hair pulling, but definitely no sleeping. So what do you do? Really, if you have any advice, I’d be grateful because there seems to be no way of getting him to sleep. Not even feeding will cut it. No amount of Dad’s rocking will do.

I’m tempted to come downstairs and put In the Night Garden on, at least for my sanity, if not the Imp’s.


Moving forward while clinging to the old

November 23, 2007

The thing that scares me about the Imp dropping down to one nap in the day is not that I get less time to myself, not that it stuffs with my the Imp’s play dates and music groups, not that it means the Imp is growing up… It’s more that, like Eminem says, you only get one shot, one opportunity. There is no redeeming make-up-for-what-went-wrong-the-first-time second nap.

In order for a one nap day to be viable, the nap needs to be well timed, and it needs to be long. Otherwise, let’s face it, neither of us are going to make it through the day. And so I find myself tiptoeing through the house, trying not to clang dishes, pausing the washing machine, cursing the postman all because I’m worried the Imp will wake up too early and make it impossible for either of us to survive the afternoon stretch intact.

I’m on the edge waiting for the Imp to wake up at the moment, it’s 12.32pm, a little too early. Is that a noise?

Sshhhh, do you think I’m typing too loud?


The Ninja is back and this time it’s workable

November 21, 2007

It’s been a while I’ll grant you and no it’s not because we’ve been getting loads of lovely sleep (actually we have had one technical sleep through but it was only until about 5 o’clock so personally I don’t think it counts, I mean who the hell thinks 5 o’clock is an appropriate time at which to get up?) no, we’ve been away basically because I’ve returned to work and there has just been no time to get all poetic about lack of sleep.

Two things have arisen since returning to work though, well three actually. Firstly, baby Ninja and I are both enjoying our new arrangement despite initial concerns, last minute changes to childcare arrangements and a couple of weeks of learning to be without one another. Secondly, worrying about how I’d cope without a full night sleep and having to work was, like so many things, a waste of my energy because you just do cope.  And thirdly, because I’ve been busy with work I’ve had less time to worry too much about sleep and have consequently, well, just not worried about it.

We’ve also just accepted co-sleeping again and instead of fighting it we’ve bought baby Ninja her own double bed which we can join her in during the night. Her wakings are (teeth and illness aside) less frequent and shorter in duration. This is something age and maturity have given her. So on the whole it’s feeling pretty positive at the moment. Although she is still an unsociably early riser but one thing at a time and all that.

So sleep habits in the Ninja household have become workable after all this time and we’re working on them getting even better with time.


There’s one thing guaranteed to mess up a baby’s sleep…

November 21, 2007

Chops in hospital…and that’s three nights in hospital, with oxygen tubes attached at one end and a heart rate monitor at the other, suffering from bronchiolitis and with nurses coming and poking you every ten minutes through the night.The good news is that after a serious bout of this horrid illness left him breathless and miserable, Chops is on the mend. The bad news is that three nights of messed-up sleep plus a lingering cough have played havoc with his (already unreliable) sleeping habits and we have had a week of sleep hell since getting home from hospital. Here’s hoping for a steady improvement…


Going Postal (x 3)

November 20, 2007

Whenever I think I’m having a tough day with the Imp, I should really re-read this Going Postal


Goodbye sleep training, I’m 15 months and learning to sleep!!

November 19, 2007

I’ve talked before about my attempts at sleep ‘training’, particularly using Gradual Retreat; which I still have a soft spot for, but am just too lazy to implement at the moment, hmm….

Anyway, I’m going with the method of least resistance and am laying down beside the buddha bubs until she arrives at the land of nod, then creeping away to leave her to it. And you know what?…..it seems to be working. I have managed to night wean her recently (you’ll get there swizzler!) and I’m sure that has helped. Knowing that if she wakes, she won’t be greeted with a soft, warm boob, has deterred her a little,  I’m sure, but I also think that she’s just getting older and is maybe learning how to sleep.

This is not to say that we don’t have bad nights, those when she wakes several times, or even just once, but it lasts an hour, arrrrrrggghhhh. I’m just hoping that she remembers that sleep is a good thing, that we like sleep, that we want more of it!!!!