My son is now 7 months old. His daily schedule is a lot more flexible than it use to be. Prior to 5 months old, if I did not get Cooper down for his nap at exactly the right time, then he would not nap well. Timing was everything. Now that Cooper is a little older, he has become more flexible with his napping schedule. This is very nice for me because I don’t have to stress out if I am out running an errand and will make it back a few minutes late for his nap because he will still take a decent nap.
I was looking over his schedules and noticed a pattern to his napping schedule. I started to goggle some information about older babies napping schedules when they are down to only 2 naps a day. I found that a lot of babies fall into a 2-3-4 napping schedule. What is a 2-3-4 napping schedule? This type of schedule is when a baby is awake for 2 hours in the morning before the morning nap, awake 3 hours in between the morning nap and afternoon nap, and awake 4 hours in between the afternoon nap and bedtime (nighttime sleep). It seems that babies cannot stay awake as long in the morning. I am not really sure why this is, but it has always been true with my son. Even when he was on a good 4 hour schedule (up for 2 hours down for 2 hours) he could only stay awake 1.5 hours before his first nap. As he has gotten older, 6 and 7 months, my son has naturally fallen into a napping schedule very similar to the 2-3-4 schedule. He is on a 2-3-3.5 napping schedule. Here is his current napping schedule at 6 & 7 months:
*his naps are anywhere from 1.5-2 hours in length usually. His nap lengths do cause some variation to the schedule. I just start watching the clock from the time he wakes up. So if he wakes early from his morning nap at 10:30 that means he would go down for his next nap 3 hours later at 1:30. To see all of my son’s daily schedules type out by age click on this link: https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/05/13/infant-schedules-by-month/
More information on the 2-3-4 nap schedule:
For more information on creating a daily schedule for infants read my post:
For more information about sleep requirements for babies read my post:
If your child is having trouble with napping read the following posts:
Read Full Post »
Posted in good night sleep tight, schedules, sleep, sleeping though the night, trouble sleeping, tagged awake time, baby, black out blinds, early birds, early riser, infant, kim west, naps, nighttime sleep, overstimulated, overtired, room temperature, sleep, Sleep Training, too little sleep, too much sleep, waking early, white noise machine on April 28, 2009|
Leave a Comment »
My son who is now 7 months old started waking up an hour early for about the past 3 weeks. He does not do this consistently. I was looking over my notes and it seems that he has been waking between 5:45-6:30 but occasionally sleeping in until 7am (which seems to happen mostly on weekends). I should add that I have dark out blinds in his room and a white noise machine running all night long.
Here’s my theory for why he is waking an hour early:
First, it is getting lighter sooner. I think this is setting off a natural alarm clock in Cooper that says, “rise and shine”. Unfortunate for Chris and I because our alarm clock says, “no thanks we need another hour”. I have tired to darken the room even more than it was, but there is still a faint bit of daylight creeping through, enough to make it appear to not be night but morning. The hormone that signals sleep, melatonin starts to decrease in the early morning hours, causing us to have lighter sleep. Sunlight also decreases the amount of melatonin that we produce.
Second, our neighbors above us (we live in a condo) have been waking up early in the morning it seems. I hear them somewhere between 5am and 6am. I can hear their footsteps and water running. Occasionally, I might even hear their dog tramping across the floor or let out a bark. They are not being overly loud, but the noises are enough to stir me awake. (I am a light sleeper to begin with.)
Conclusion: I think I am just going to have to accept the fact that Cooper is waking at 6am. I cannot not tell God to make the day light come up an hour later and I cannot tell my neighbors above us to wake up later. This just means that Chris and I need to go to bed an hour earlier at night and wake up at 6am instead of 7am. Oh well!
Future Action: Since we are moving to Texas in a month, the time zone will change and we will be an hour behind Maryland time. This might be the chance for me to get Cooper back to waking at 7am. I will be in a quieter house with no condo neighbors and the time change will make it easier for me to just shift his schedule.
There are many reasons your little one could be waking early in the mornings
- might need less sleep– check my post about the average amount of sleep your infant should be getting daily. It could be that your child is older and now requires less sleep at night or during the day. If your baby is getting too much daytime sleep, it could be causing him to wake early. Or if you little one is sleeping too long at night, they could be waking up. https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/08/sleep-requirements-for-infants/
- morning nap is to close to nighttime sleep- if you don’t keep your baby up long enough in the morning, your little one could be confusing the first nap of the day as part of his nighttime sleep. Try extending his wake time between the time he wakes from nighttime sleep to the first nap.
- afternoon nap is to close to nighttime sleep- the last nap of the day or the afternoon nap if you are down to two naps is to close to nighttime sleep, this could also cause your child to possibly wake up early.
- hunger- your child could be going through a growth spurt or just need more food. Try feeding him more solids or offering bottles/ nursing more frequently during the day to prevent him from waking early in the morning. You can also try to offer a later dinner that has more carbohydrates to keep him fuller longer. You can also do a late night feeding (some people call this a dream feed). A late night feeding is when you feed your baby after already being asleep for the night between 10-11pm. This might help to hold his hunger out longer in the morning.
- needs a longer awake time- you might try keeping your child up longer in between naps and nighttime sleep. Your child may not be tired enough to sleep for a longer stretch. If you adjust their awake time, they may sleep longer. See my post on infant schedules, it includes average awake times for infants. https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/16/infant-schedules/
- overtired/ overstimulated- if you child has been not sleeping well and may have had a lot of disruptions to his sleep, then that too could cause him to wake early. Try to get your baby to bed during their “sleep window” before they become overtired/ overstimulated. Stay as consistent with your schedule as possible too- this helps to get your little on back on track. See my post on sleep windows https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/23/sleep-windows-get-them-to-bed-before-its-too-late/
- too bright in bedroom- the room may be to bright in the morning. Invest in some darkening blinds or put cardboard up to block the light.
- too noisy- invest in a good quality sound machine/ white noise machine, run a fan, or play soft music in the background to block out external noises from loud neighbors, your own home, or outside.
- room temperature is too hot or too cold– make sure to dress your baby appropriately for bed. If they are either too hot or too cold they will wake more easily, especially in the morning when melatonin, the hormone that helps us to sleep, is wearing off.
Some kids are just early birds
If your child wakes up happy, you have tried all the suggestions above, and you have seen no improvement, then you might just have to accept the fact that your child is waking early. Some children just wake early. Just adjust their schedule as needed to accommodate the earlier wake time.
Other Resources About Early Risers
Note: many of the ideas were pulled from Good Night, Sleep Tight p. 98-100 and the internet resources provided
Read Full Post »
Posted in baby whisperer, Babywise (-wise parenting series), breastfeeding, eat wake sleep, good night sleep tight, infant feeding, schedules, sleep, Sleep Training, sleeping though the night, tagged awake time, baby, baby schedules, baby whisperer, Babywise (-wise parenting series), bottle feeding, breast feeding, breastfeeding, directed parental feeding, eat awake sleep cycle, feeding schedules, good night sleep tight, growth spurts, infant, infant schedules, naps, sleep, sleep requirements, Sleep Training on April 16, 2009|
4 Comments »
There are two books that I highly recommend you read if you have a small infant: Babywise and The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems. These two books have been a huge resource to me, especially when Cooper was under 4 months old. I have turned through the pages of these two books plenty of times. Both books talk about a daily schedule that follows a very simple pattern it looks something like this:
- Awake/ Play
- Repeat (eat, play, sleep)
This pattern is important to follow because your baby does not learn to depend on eating (nursing/bottle) to fall asleep.
Be careful not to hyper schedule- be flexible
Depending on how old your baby is will determine how long each cycle (eat, play, sleep) will be. Your baby is not a robot and each cycle may vary by a few minutes each day. It is important not to hyper schedule and only feed the baby by the clock. Also keep in mind that at different parts of the day, your baby will be able to go longer between feeds than other times of the day. My son was only able to go 2.5 hours in the morning between feeds when he was under 3 months old. The rest of the schedule he was able to go 3 hours between each feed. Be flexible. Find out what works for your child and build your schedule around that.
Schedules are constantly changing based on the developing needs of your child. Keep that in mind too! What worked last week might not work this week. Consider changing the amount of time your child stays awake if you child is having trouble napping by either decreasing or increasing his awake time.
What happens to the schedule when your baby has a growth spurt?
When a baby is in the middle of a growth spurt, if you are nursing, you must increase the number of times you feed your baby. This will only last a few days and you can go back to your normal schedule. If you are bottle feeding during a growth spurt, you can just increase the amount of formula in each bottle.
What determines the length of each cycle?
- Eating: this depends on how long your baby takes to eat (nurse/bottle). Newborns can take 20-45 minutes to nurse. As babies get older they get more efficient at eating. My son is now 6.5 months old and he nurses for 5 minutes on each side for a total of 10 minutes. When he was a newborn he was a fast eater, only nursing for a total of 15-20 minutes. Each baby is different and some take longer than others.
- Awake/ Play: this will depend on two factors- how old your baby is and how long it takes them to nurse. If your baby takes a long time to nurse then he will not have a lot of time left over to play. Below are some recommended awake times for each baby. Not all babies are the same. Some babies need shorter awake time while other may need longer. Remember to include how long your baby east when calculating awake time. As your baby gets older, wake times could vary. They tend to stay awake for a shorter time in the morning, longer in the afternoon, and even longer in the evening. See my post entitled 2-3-4 Nap Schedule for more on this: https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/05/13/2-3-4-nap-schedule-for-older-babies/
Newborn 50-60 mins
1 month 60 mins-hour and 15
2 months 1 hour and 15 – 20 mins
3 months 1 hour and 20 – 30 mins
4 months 1 hour and 45 – 2 hours
5 months 2 hours – 2.25 hours
Late 5 months/early 6 months 2.25-2.5 hours
6.5 – 7 months 2.75-3 hours. Some are getting more.
8 – 10 months 3 – 4 hours. Some are getting more.
11 – 12 months 3.5 -4.5 hours. Some are getting more if moved early to 1 nap
- Sleep (naps): this depends on how long your baby can stay awake and how long they can go in between feedings. Below is a the number of naps that each baby should take each day (this could vary). See my post Infant Sleep Requirements which gives more information about how long each nap should be.
Newborn- 1 month 3-4 naps
2- 3 months 3-4 naps
3 months 3 naps
4-5 months 2-3 naps
6- 8 months 2-3 naps
9- 18 months 2 naps
18+ months 1 naps
I typed the schedules that I kept with my son every month. They have changed quite a bit as he has grown. https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/05/13/infant-schedules-by-month/
Read Full Post »