The Gentle Sleep Book – 7-12 month old baby sleep Q&As.

On the first Wednesday of every month I run a free Sleep Q&A session on my Facebook Page for ‘The Gentle Sleep Book’. I often find that the questions that are asked are repeated quite frequently and there tend to be around five or six main topics that come up time and again.

In order to provide a more lasting resource I have decided to post a summary of the questions – and my answers – bi-monthly. This post summarises the questions asked (and answered) concerning 7-12 month old babies.

A quick note: I frequently get asked in excess of 50 questions during each session, meaning that I have somewhere between 1 and 2 minutes to answer each one, hence the length of some of my replies and sign posting to articles.

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7-12 month Baby Sleep Advice:

Q: I breastfeed baby to sleep. With me he will not go down otherwise, not even with a bottle. (Well, he takes hours if i try rocking him instead, and gets very upset with me.) He has started biting when bf, not every time, but enough that I have had some nights where we have both ended up in tears. As i want to feed him but it hurts too much. With my husband he will take a bottle and even sometimes go to sleep after bath, story, song with no feed. My husband travels a lot. We are planning a number two. I am just not sure how I could tandem breastfeed 2 little ones to sleep when husband is away.

A: I’m not sure what you’re asking here, but he may be teething. Check this out re. biting: http://kellymom.com/ages/older-infant/biting/ – and some tips here (ignore the weaning info: https://sarahockwell-smith.com/…/how-to-gently-night…/ – can baby no.2 wait for a year or so?

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Q; My baby is 7.5months old and a we have ongoing sleep problems. He settles well initially but wakes often (between every 30-90 mins). He is fully weaned and also breastfed although we have been advised to stop feeding him through the night to break his waking habit. We have done this and for a while improved got 2-4 hrs a time). However we went backwards and its now worse than ever again. I feed him about 7.30 pm and again in early hrs normally about 4am. He sleeps in his own room and cot. Please any advice would be gratefully received

A: It’s a real myth that babies don’t need night feeds after 6mths. Many do – well into their second year of life. He needs other things to help him to feel safe and secure if you’re not there – have a read of this: https://sarahockwell-smith.com/2015/08/26/lets-talk-about-bad-habits-and-baby-and-child-sleep/

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Q: My 7 month old girl wakes between 1/2 hrly -2hrly all night. She settles with a dummy or bottle, but also has started to have an awake 1/2hr -1hr around 3am. I have tried her in the cot & co-sleeping, but noticed no difference. She wakes at 6 am too. It very tiring. How can I help her to reduce these frequent night awakenings?

A; I would work towards weaning her off of the dummy, she could well be waking because it’s fallen out. Try introducing other objects that comfort her that can be left with her all night. Also – she may actually be hungry!

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Q; My 8 month old is exclusively breastfed and is on 3 good meals a day. From around 4 months she’s slept through the night (11-12 hours) with a few disturbed weeks in between but she has never been a great daytime sleeper. She’ll sometimes nap for 30 minutes and very occasionally she’ll surprise me with a 1.5-2 hour nap so I know she can do it. She gets very grizzly if she catnaps so we’re both pretty tired by bedtime. Also if she catnaps she wakes at 530am but if she has longer sleep it’s around 7. On the days she naps for longer she’s happier, eats better and settles easier at bedtime (we have a good bedtime routine). Should I try to get her to nap for longer during the day or just compromise as I’m lucky to have the night? Any tips on how to encourage longer naps? I’ve tried walking her in the pram but the most I get is 45 minutes. I’ve also tried a sling but she’s so alert and nosing at everything it can be pointless.

A: The biggest key is making sure she doesn’t get overtired/overstimulated. I tend to think most babies have far too busy social lives and in many cases I think this can inhibit naps. I think it’s better to look at it from ‘don’t do things that inhibit naps’ rather than ‘do do things to encourage more naps’. Things change so quickly developmentally too just when you think something’s working – it will stop.

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Q: I still breast feed my 11 month old and I can only get him back to sleep in the middle of the night by feeding him. He wakes at least 1-2 times. Will he eventually ween off the boob? If not, what steps can I take to get him to sleep through the night?

A: Possibly – or actually definitely, at some point – that could be years away though is probably a more realistic answer. Have a read of this: https://sarahockwell-smith.com/…/how-to-gently-night…/

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Q: Our 9month son will only go to sleep if I breastfeed him and then wakes up about every 2hrs through the night. Sometimes my husband can settle him but often I will have to feed him to sleep and this can take up to an hour. We’re exhausted!! He slept through from an early age so I know he can do it, but from about 6 months he just went backwards. It’s really starting to wear us down now. How do we get him to sleep for longer and without relying on me? I go back to work soon and will need sleep.

A: This is most likely why: https://sarahockwell-smith.com/2015/11/18/what-the-heck-goes-wrong-sleep-wise-at-8-10-months/ and there are some tips there to help too.

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Q: My 12 month old wakes up an hour after I’ve put him down- every night. I nurse him back to sleep where he usually sleeps through till 4. He’s often very upset when he wakes up and I’m the only one who can resettle him once he’s awake. Any ideas as to why he would wake up like this every night?

A: He’s waking at the end of each sleep cycle and needs you to help him feel safe/secure/relaxed enough to start a new one – have a look at some of the tips here (you don’t have to night wean to do them): https://sarahockwell-smith.com/…/how-to-gently-night…/

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Q: my 10-month old son has never been a great sleeper, but things have gone haywire since he gave up his paci (while cutting all 4 top teeth at the same time, about 2.5 months ago) — now our routine has been bottle in bed & snuggle until he falls asleep & then wait (usually about 15 minutes) & transfer him to the pack & play next to our bed. lately, he’s been really fighting this routine, so much so that i have to hold him & briskly walk with him around the room until he settles down, & then i can lay him in bed until he falls asleep, & more often than not he wakes up 1-2 times during the night & comes in bed with us. any tips on how to handle the night waking? we try to snuggle & shush him without a bottle, but if he’s wet through his pi’s or really won’t settle down, we’ll do a bottle… & is there anything we can be doing proactively to get him sleeping in his crib on the other side of the room, rather than the pack & play next to our bed, or in bed with us?? & help him go to sleep without needing so much assistance from us?? i’ve *never* been able to put him down “drowsy but awake,” & most times when he wakes up after only an hour or so of being down for the night, we’ll just pop him out of the pack & play & back into bed & lay with him — its like just the reassurance of having us there puts him right back to sleep & then we’re able to lay him in the pack & play for another 4-5 hour stretch. he usually takes two 1-2 hour naps during the day (i have to snuggle with him until he falls asleep in our bed — he wakes up if you try to move him… i work from home, so i just bring my laptop upstairs for naps… or i’ll put him in the car & drive around & he’ll fall asleep & i’ll work from the car), & we try to focus on when he gives tired cues (he’ll lay down on the floor & put his head down for a few seconds while playing — other than that, he doesn’t really have a ton of cues… sometimes he’ll rub his eyes, but he doesn’t get that fussy). & he has a lovey, but he’s not super attached to it. the paci used to work like a charm to help him settle down & easily go to sleep, but now without that comfort, it’s been a real challenge. i should mention that he’s on the cusp of walking, he’s been babbling a lot more & making new sounds, & we’ve started really focusing on feeding solids (3x/day). any input would be great. thanks!

A: At 10mths it’s really normal to still need a night feed so he may genuinely be hungry. He may be overtired, so make sure you’re not putting him to bed too late, I’d do more in his bedtime routine too, giving him more triggers to soothe him. Waking 1-2 times at 10mths is really good, he’s doing well – so are you. Have a read of this: https://sarahockwell-smith.com/2015/11/18/what-the-heck-goes-wrong-sleep-wise-at-8-10-months/

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Q: I have put a better bedtime routine in place, (bath, massage, pyjamas, story, feed) but my 7mo sleep has got worse than it ever was. She used to sleep at least one long stretch from 9.30 for 4 hours plus before waking for feeding(s), waking at 8.30 ish. Now she is going down at 8- 8.30, as she is showing signs of tiredness at 7 ish when we start the routine. She is now waking every 45 min to 1 hour until 12.30, where she wakes and cries for upto 2 hours. She then sometimes sleeps for 2 hours, then up again every hour til 6, when she cries a lot again and although clearly stil tired, cannot be consoled. She doesn’t want to sit up/lay down/cuddle/feed/be left alone. Last night she then eventually slept on my chest. What can I do to help?

A: If she’s showing signs of tiredness at 7 I would be starting the routine earlier. She may be overtired. Sometimes sleep does just get worse and you never know why – could be diet related, teething, developmental – who knows! If she’s crying so much I’d be looking strongly at her diet and teething.

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Q: My little one is 9 months old, she cat naps occasionally during the day sometimes for 5-10 mins sometimes we’re lucky & get maybe 30 mins, I nurse her to sleep whilst feeding her coz it’s the only way she will drop off, when I try to put her down she wakes up instantly.  On the odd occasion she will sleep from 6pm until maybe 9pm.
I’ve tried everything I possibly can to tire her out but nothing seems to work. I’ve tried to put her in her cot when she sleeps at tea time but she just wakes up so I keep her downstairs & she goes up to bed around 11 or 12 pm but is still waking 2-3 times a night for a feed, I’ve tried to give her water to break the habit but it’s not working. She’s now teething & the sleeping pattern is getting worse she’s waking at 4 or 5 in the morning & staying awake. She isn’t cranky or crying whilst awake she’s actually quite pleasant but I’m just running on empty & now that I’m back in work the lack of sleep is extremely difficult.  Thank you for taking the time to read & advise us on our problems, any advice will be appreciated thanks again.

A: It’s really important that you make sure you’re not missing her early tired cues and she’s not getting overtired as this may be why she’s so wired. You also need to get a really good bedtime routine going and consider not bringing her down after this has started. Check your environment – no TV or artificial lights (as much as possible) in the evening, check her diet and have a read of this: https://sarahockwell-smith.com/2015/11/18/what-the-heck-goes-wrong-sleep-wise-at-8-10-months/

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Q: My 11 month old will only go to bed (for naps and evening bed time), if I’m the one doing it! How to gently get him used to daddy or eventually grandparents doing it? They have tried a couple of times with no success – lots of crying unless brought down stairs and falling asleep eventually at 10pm-ish on the sofa!

A; The key is for you to introduce other sleep triggers that are not you – a comfort object, special sleep music, massage, special smell, special sleep book, special routine etc..after a good while he will hopefully feel comforted enough by these for other people to start using them, gently ‘weaning’ by first daddy doing them with you and then daddy doing alone, we’re talking a process of a couple of months though.

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Q: My 10 month old still wakes up to 10 times a night… She’s never slept through. Breastfed to sleep every time and I’m exhausted. She won’t let daddy help settle her. Any tips?

A: If she really is waking 10 times every night there are so many things that could be happening – from that it might just be her normal and nothing is wrong, through to intolerances/allergies/tongue tie/latch issues/silent reflux/some residual birth trauma. I think once you have exhausted any of the issues that could be wrong, you are left with considering whether you are happy to continue like this while she obviously needs you so much and working out a way you can look after yourself enough to meet her needs. Taking a night or two where daddy or a postnatal doula looks after her and you stock up on sleep could be a good idea.

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Q: My baby was great at going to bed after a night feed, story then falling asleep in his crib with me stroking his cheek. When he moved into his cotbed a few months ago he would not go to sleep in his bed. He began falling asleep during his night feed, and it has continued since. He is now 10 months old and I’d like to move away from him falling asleep during his night feed and towards other people putting him to bed (without him crying). Please can you advise me?

A: It sounds like separation anxiety, he is the right age for it which is why he was ‘great’ but now isn’t – have a read of this: https://sarahockwell-smith.com/2015/11/18/what-the-heck-goes-wrong-sleep-wise-at-8-10-months/

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Q: What does it mean when a baby cries in their sleep? Are they upset/in pain and what should I do?

A: It could be a night terror – although they are unusual in babies they do happen. If it is a night terror then there is not much you can do. If there is a regular pattern (timing) to it happening you could try to gently wake him/her (by cuddling/nappy changing/feeding) 5-10mins before the time that it usually happens which can help to break the cycle and obviously if they actually wake up then comfort them. If they’re asleep then they won’t be upset by it and won’t remember it, it’s much harder for parents. You might try and Omega 3 supplement too (a baby version) as recent research has shown that this may have a positive effect on parasomnias (of which night terrors is one).

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Q: My little boy is just over 8 months old, exclusively breastfed and wakes several times a night where I feed him back to sleep. His daytime naps are awful, he has 2 naps max an hour which is rare, mostly half hour each some days only 1 nap! I read he should be napping for 3hours?! Would this affect his night sleep? Anything I can do?

A: It’s likely the information you have read is made up, most of the sleep charts showing you how long a baby *should* nap are just educated guesswork from experts/medical professionals. Actually nobody had really studied how long the average baby napped for until last year and found that at your son’s age the average was two and a half hours per day – BUT it’s important to point out that this is the average, that means there would be babies at his age who didn’t nap at all, some who were happy with 1hr and some who needed 3, 4 or even more. That’s the problem with these God awful charts – they forget individuals (and science) and scare parents. If he is otherwise happy and healthy I would forget the silly charts and “should bes”. If you’re exclusively breastfeeding (and especially bedsharing too), no – it’s really unlikely to affect his night waking.

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Q: Why is my nearly 8 month old breastfeeding every 2 hours at night and how can I stop this? I try to extend the time between feeds by walking him around when he wakes but sometimes I am so tired it is just easier to feed..

A: Why? I really have no idea, but suspect it’s a combination of 1. your breasts/you are his main source of comfort and they help him to feel safe and secure enough to fall back to sleep again. 2. he’s hungry, 3. you’re there – the bar’s open! why not? 4. he’s 8mths old and that’s what they tend to do at his age. You have a magic tool to get him back to sleep so from that respect, yes, it’s definitely easier to feed back to sleep, but if you really don’t want to do that anymore have a read of this: https://sarahockwell-smith.com/…/how-to-gently-night…/

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Q: My 7.5 month old son has become really challenging in regards to sleeping in the last 6-8 weeks. Prior to this he has slept in blocks of up to 3 hours while bed sharing. We transitioned him partially to a cot by the bed (he starts the night in there) at around 5 months and he continued to sleep for up to 3 hours. Recently he never sleeps longer than 90 mins day or night and many times less and will not go back to sleep at night without nursing and will not stay asleep unless he is latched on or snuggled in. He wakes crying and becomes hysterical within a few minutes even when lifted and soothed unless I offer nursing when he instantly falls back to sleep while nursing. We are bed sharing from much earlier in the night now. I am going back to work in a month. I have this week begun more of an improved sleep hygiene programme, working on giving chances for self settling, to get improved naps during the day (moving away from baby led napping), am planing to try to go for an hour in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon fitted in around school runs.
I know much of this is normal baby sleeping, but I must go back to work and I must get more sleep than I am doing now to ensure I can function at work. I am now using a musical mobile, lavender aromatherapy and a night lamp as part of the new programme.
What advice do you have to improve my chance of getting better sleep for me and my baby how do you suggest I get there in a gentle fashion. He is fully breastfed and baby led weaned from six month and I am about to start expressing to see if milk from a sippy cup will help when I am not around. He has no teeth yet and is not showing obvious signs of teething. He is very well and gaining wait on his percentile. He will be at nursery 2 days a week and cared for by grandparents in his home 2 days per week.

A: Almost everything I could say to you you will find in my article here: https://sarahockwell-smith.com/…/how-to-gently-night…/ – it’s tricky as this is a slooow process and you’re up against the clock so to speak. If you are really desperate and can’t wait and have weighed up the pros and cons for you all as a family you might chose to sleep in a different bed to him for a couple of nights, leaving him with your partner if you have one, or perhaps grandmother sleeping over for a couple of nights if not. I’m not a fan of this as he’ll cry but he will be with someone who loves him and importantly should respond immediately and comfort him…but, if needs must this may be your best bet and it’s gentler than any of the other alternatives you have.

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Q: My now 7.5 month old will just not sleep on his own in the evening. He has managed at most a 30 minute chunk alone. I think by slinging him for all naps & co-sleeping from the start he cannot sleep without physical touch. I’m back at work in 4 weeks and as a teacher I need my evenings to get my work done. How can I gently encourage him to link sleep cycles?

A: A 7.5mth old who needs physical touch to fall asleep is a perfectly normal 7.5mth old, so I think we need to start from the place that he doesn’t have a ‘problem’ or ‘bad habits’. The issue is balancing his needs with your own otherwise you’ll run yourself into the ground when you go back to work. Before looking at your son you need to first make sure you get enough ‘me time’ and perhaps see if you can juggle school work to take place at weekends, or perhaps early morning if he’s an early riser. Is there somebody else who can comfort him in the evenings? If the answer is no then you need to work to the steps in this article (ignoring the weaning info), have a great consistent bedtime routine and a really good ‘sleep friendly’ environment. https://sarahockwell-smith.com/…/how-to-gently-night…/

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Q: My 10 month old has never been a good sleeper. He wakes every 3 hours crying out loudly. He can be settled back to sleep with water, rubbing back or milk. Any advice on how we can get longer between him waking or help him to settle?

A: Right now separation anxiety is muddying the waters, so it may be a case of waiting a little while yet – see https://sarahockwell-smith.com/2015/11/18/what-the-heck-goes-wrong-sleep-wise-at-8-10-months/ – you want to be looking at his bedtime routine, the time he goes to bed and what he has in his room to comfort him when he wakes (sounding scared) and you’re not there.

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Q: I’m after some advice on naps. My 8 month old has slept terribly at night until the last few nights. I’ve been giving her calpol as I think she’s teething, and she’s only waking twice a night now. In the day her naps have improved a bit from the 2×30 min sleeps we were having, but she’ll only sleep properly in a moving pushchair with a dark cover over it. I can feed her to sleep occasionally, but I cannot move a muscle or she’ll wake up. I’d like to be able to put her in her cot to nap sometimes. Any suggestions as to how I can achieve this would be greatly appreciated!

A: First, I would stop the calpol. It contains additives that can actually inhibit sleep and giving it when it’s not *really* necessary has been linked to things like an increased asthma risk. If you’re sure it’s really necessary try to get a colour/flavour free suspension or suppositories from a pharmacist. Or try a natural teething alternative like Ashton and Parsons or Teetha. I think in the daytime you may be a bit stuck as it sounds like you’ve conditioned the pushchair/dark cover so I think that may be a trade off for longer naps. Otherwise you need to change things in gradual slow steps, slowly removing the cover over a space of several days and slowly moving a little more each day.

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Q: What advice would you give for encouraging better daytime naps for a baby who seems to really resist sleep despite being tired/ irritable? She is 7mo & currently only sleeps on me after I have breastfed (bf) her. Often short cat naps & wakes up still tired but waits until I next bf her to go back to sleep. She doesn’t settle in a sling – just fidgets/ fusses and no longer sleeps in her pram/pushchair or in the car.

A: First I would consider whether she is a baby that does actually need more naps (and the irritable behaviour is due to this) or whether she naturally isn’t a ‘napper’ and it’s more that you think she should be napping more IYSWIM? 10% of 6mth old babies often miss naps. The next point is that you may be leaving it to late/missing her early tiredness signals and she is too overtired to wind down. To keep her awake after she’s gone through an early phase of tiredness her body will release cortisol to keep her awake and she will be buzzing even though she’s grossly overtired. Watching for very early tiredness cues (not crying/yawning – they are late) can help.

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Q: We have no problem in settling our 8.5 month old to sleep but it’s getting him to STAY asleep that’s the problem! He goes down at 6.30-7 and generally wakes twice a night (on a good night). Are there any tips for encouraging getting him back to sleep on his own or should we just carry on as we are – putting his dummy back in, bit of a shhh, and leg it?!

A; To be honest if you have no trouble getting him to sleep and he wakes twice a night on average I would be very pleased – that’s great for his age! I think your ‘problem’ (I don’t think you have a problem, but totally see it could be to you) lies in the dummy. It falls out and he wakes for you to put it back in. The dummy is a comforter and research shows that these are only really effective if the child can access them themselves, at 8mths he’s really unlikely to be able to do that with the dummy. So I think my first step would be to wean off of the dummy and replace it with a comfort object he can get whenever he needs it by himself.

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Q: My daughter is 27 weeks. She has never slept for long stretches but sleep seems to be getting worse not better (I have read your 4-5 month babies from hell article). For a while we have had great struggles getting her to bed (her resisting sleep and being unable to switch off) with her becoming upset as soon as she is taken upstairs and then she regularly wakes again after twenty minutes. We have a bedtime routine though don’t bath her every night as she has a skin condition. Currently she wakes 4-5 times a night. I feed her to sleep mostly in the night and am worried I’ve let her become dependant on this. How can we help her to settle without boob and/or reduce the amount of night wakings? We have tried rocking, cuddling, patting and shushing with very limited success so far. We don’t leave her to cry. what is a ‘reasonable’ amount of time to allow crying without it becoming harmful and raising cortisol levels too high? We started weaning her approx 3 weeks Ago.Thanks

A: I wonder if she is overtired/overstimulated? If she is her body will release cortisol to keep her awake and will inhibit sleep hormones, it will seem like she’s ‘wired’/not sleepy (and thus hard to get to sleep) but actually it’s a symptom of gross over tiredness. I’d try bringing everything forward and being hyper aware of any early tiredness signs. Try to keep days calm and consistent. Do you massage? or just rub in a bit of lotion every night? I would move baths to morning if you don’t do them every night, the bedtime routine needs to be consistent every night. Her waking is normal for her age – there is a big 6mths ‘blip’ in sleep. She is dependent on feeding to fall asleep, but that’s not a bad thing, she’s tiny still and you have a great tool to get her to sleep. It’s only a problem if you really don’t want to do it anymore. Weaning often makes sleep worse too, so be mindful of that. Does she have a comfort object? If not introduce one now. I personally never leave a baby to cry for any amount of time – that isn’t counting times when I’m physically unable to get to them (in the shower etc..) though and if she is crying in arms with someone who loves her I believe that is different. Our aim should be to ‘be there’ for our babies, not to always immediately stop them from crying. Sometime babies do seem to need to cry a little to unwind but I can’t highlight how different that is to leaving them to cry ala controlled crying/CIO/pick up put down/rapid return etc…

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Q: My 10 month old daughter is moving more and at night gets loose from the covers, shunts to the top of the cot then gets mad – all through the night. She’s in a sleep sack which should help with the cold and I’ve moved her to the top half of the cot so she’s not travelling so far. What else can I do, I need sleep!

A: You could try a mattress on the floor instead, see: http://sarahockwell-smith.com/2015/06/26/why-babies-hate-cots-and-cribs-and-what-to-do-instead/

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Q: Little one is 7 months and has been able to be fed rocked sung to sleep by me or hubby (not feb by hubby) but recently she will only be fed to sleep by me for naps and through the night. Its taking its toĺl now and I have started bringing her into bed in the night as im too tired to feed her and wait till she’s out or she wakes as soon as I put her in her cot. But I can’t sleep properly at all if she is in the bed, too nervous. Any tips so that some on else can help. And that she doesn’t only rely on the breast to fall asleep.

A:  Have you considered a cosleeper cot? That way she will still be close enough to feed quickly, but she’ll be in her own sleep space so you’ll have more peace of mind. It’s very normal for her to rely on the breast to fall asleep at her age, when she’s a little older you can try some of these techniques: https://sarahockwell-smith.com/…/how-to-gently-night…/

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Q: My nearly 8 month old wakes up every 40 mins – can time your watch by it! He has a good bedtime routine and goes down to sleep fine but will wake every 40 mins (I assume at the end of each sleep cycle) by midnight he is in the bed with my husband and I every night (we are both ok with this at the moment but know it can’t really last forever – the bed is not big enough for one!) he only naps for 40 mins in the day and I try my hardest by breast feeding him to sleep to get him to have 2 sleep cycles back to back. We then get into a continuous cycle of not enough sleep / overtired / can’t get to sleep… I feel some days all I spend the whole day trying to get him to have more sleep! He isn’t yet crawling so am pinning some hope on when he is more active might tire him out more? We are not into CIO or sleep training him but it seems there is no other option? I would rather he sleep with us full time than leave him to cry! 

A: He’s just needing you to begin a new sleep cycle – not unusual and it will pass with time. He may only be a 40min napper in the day- that’s fine! don’t stress so much about getting him back to sleep again. Most sleep recommendations are based on nothing but opinion!

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Q: my 7 month old is always rocked to sleep after getting very sleepy from a bf. She sleeps well until 10pm then wakes for a feed. She then wakes 2 or 3 times between 10 & 7. I would be grateful for advice about how to move the bedtime feeds from bf to bottle so Dad can put her to bed.

A: Check out the first section of this – the bits about conditioning sleep cues (not the night weaning bit); https://sarahockwell-smith.com/…/how-to-gently-night…/

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Q: I’m fairly content with our set up, I just think I need some reassurance! I have a 9mo baby who I generally breastfeed to sleep (both for main nap and at night time). We co sleep from about midnight – morning. She does a good nap in the day (1-2hours in her cot) and is a happy, healthy little girl. She’s very bouncy and active and is very busy! Always moving. Hence, feeding to sleep and co sleeping – they seem to calm her.
My question: She wakes quite regularly in the evening and throughout the night still (evening every 1-2hrs, nighttime every 2-3) and i feed her back to sleep at these times and she soon resettles. Any way to encourage her to go slightly longer stretches or will this naturally develop? Could she be reverse cycling?(due to busy ness in day?)

A: Are you happy with how things are? If so I would just say she is perfectly normal and her sleep sounds very typical and healthy for her age. She will outgrow this in time, generally once she’s turned 2 you should notice some gradual improvements. If you’re happy and she’s happy I wouldn’t change anything – if not there are some tips in this article of mine. You don’t have to wean her full stop, the techniques will hopefully still help to perhaps stretch out at night. https://sarahockwell-smith.com/…/how-to-gently-night…/ – if you work during the day I would absolutely say that yes, she’s probably using this time to reconnect, which is important to remember if you’re trying to change anything.

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For much more information on sleep in newborn to six month old babies check out my new book ‘The Gentle Sleep’ Book

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About SarahOckwell-Smith

Sarah Ockwell-Smith, Parenting author and mother to four.
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4 Responses to The Gentle Sleep Book – 7-12 month old baby sleep Q&As.

  1. Allison waite says:

    Hello, my baby is 8.5 months old. She is breastfed with a little baby food in the day more for fun. At night I put her to bed in her crib which is in our room. I lay her down while she is still awake and sometimes she goes right to bed sometimes she cries for a few minutes. Around 11-12 she wakes up for her first feeding. I bring her in our bed where she pretty much stays the rest of the night as she wakes a few more times after that. Am I making huge mistakes here?

  2. Emily says:

    Hello, my nearly 7 month old son was always a great sleeper and was sleeping through the night before 2 months. However, its been over a month now that he randomly started waking 2-3 times per night! Sometimes I can see he has discomfort due to teething, so I would treat those symptoms and rock him to sleep. However, now Im finding that the night wakings seem to have no real reason anymore and Im just breastfeeding him to get him back to sleep. I have a hard time understanding how he could go from sleeping through the night perfectly fine, to waking 3 times per night to eat when he’s going to bed with a full belly (he’s breastfed and already eating 3 purée mesls per day). I’m getting desperate because i thought this was just going to be a phase but we’re going to be heading into the second month of night wakings and guessing what is wrong! Are changes in behavior like this normal or am I missing something? Thank you.

  3. Heidi says:

    Hello, my baby is almost 11 mths old and takes to horrible 30 min naps and is up many times at night. I have been very diligent encouraging him to put himself to sleep for both naps and at night. I can sometimes nurse him back to sleep for naps but I also am how with a 2.5 yr old so I often can’t leave her alone to nurse him back to sleep. At night he goes to be at 6:30 because he is so over tired from the day. I have had a strict bedtime routine for about 4 mths now and he is put in his crib awake, but at night he will not stay asleep the easiest thing to do is to nurse him back to sleep. I always give him 10-15 mins to try to put himself back to sleep and sometimes he goes back to sleep but he wakes up the next hr and does the same thing so I get fed up with it by 1 or 2 am and just bring him in bed and nurse him to sleep the rest of the night. It is like he is unable to stay in a deep sleep. What am I doing wrong here.

  4. namita jain says:

    My Daughter is 9 months old. she never slept longer hours in the night and somehow I am surviving with this. But now I am returning back to work and I stay so tired all day without energy. she is waking up every 2 hours for bottle feeding. as soon she gets bottle she goes back to sleep and sleeps well. how can I stop it? Please help out, thank you so much.

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