Bedtime What Time?

Bedtime What Time?

Before you had kids going to bed was a forgettable event. Now bedtime is a glorious nirvana that you fantasize about throughout the day. Bedtime is also really important to your baby or kid. Bedtime that is too late, unpredictable, or inconsistent can set you up for a long slog of a night. And figuring out when bedtime should be and what it should look like isn’t always easy. Lots of parents seem to be wondering, “What is a normal bedtime?”

Newborn Bedtime

Newborn babies generally have a very late bedtime frustratingly staying awake far past the time where you are actually enjoying their company. It’s not uncommon for newborn babies to have a long period where they are awake and fussy (by which I mean they are all but inconsolable but WILL NOT SLEEP). This is called the witching hour and generally falls anywhere between 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM. And while it can leave the whole household in tears, it’s normal and temporary. The witching hour is also, blessedly, followed by the largest chunk of uninterrupted sleep you are likely to see for the first few months. So if you aren’t going to bed immediately after your newborn baby, you’re missing out.

Other things you probably want to know about newborn babies and bedtime include:

1

Bedtime is late.

Probably later than you would like. Anywhere between 7:00 PM and 12:00 AM.

2

Don’t spend 3 hours trying to make bedtime happen.

Trying to get a non-sleeping baby to sleep will leave you both feeling exhausted and resentful. If you’ve been at it for ~30 minutes and it’s not happening then it’s time to graciously accept defeat. Move on to some other soothing activity (warm bath, stroller walk, bouncy seat time) and try again later.

3

Bedtime may bounce around.

Newborns may not fall asleep consistently at the same time each night. What was their “bedtime” last night may turn into a 20 minute nap tonight. This is frustrating but also inevitable.

4

Newborn bedtime routine?

Your newborn baby doesn’t require a consistent routine but it certainly won’t hurt.

5

What does a newborn bedtime routine look like?

Usually it’s pretty simple – a warm bath, infant massage, clean diaper, feed, then soothe to sleep.

6

Don’t sweat “putting them down awake.”

YES you need to teach your baby to fall asleep on their own and all the baby sleep books you’ve got stacked next to your bed stress the importance of this. However NOW is not the time to worry about this. VERY few newborn babies are able to fall asleep without substantial assistance. So while you are welcome to try putting your baby down awake don’t feel like a failure if it’s not working yet.

Newborn Baby’s Bedtime Ridiculously Late?

Sometimes your newborn baby will stay up college-student late. If your baby goes to bed at 11:00 PM you have a normal newborn baby. If your baby is still awake at 2:00 AM then you have a problem. The MOST COMMON causes of a baby who is awake when the bars close are:

Sleep is Shifted?

baby bedtime too lateSometimes newborn babies go to bed very late and then sleep very late. For example your baby might be up until 1:00 AM and then (not including night feedings) sleep until noon the next day. Thus you have a baby who is getting a healthy 11 hours of sleep at night but the timing of “night” isn’t lining up with the rest of civilization. How do you fix this? You gradually start waking your baby up earlier in the morning. Wake your baby up 15 minutes earlier every day or so until your baby is waking up closer to 6:00 AM – 7:00 AM. This will slowly shift everything else in his day so that naps and thus bedtime will start to shift earlier too. It will take weeks for everything to get sorted out but it’s definitely worth it.

Early Bedtime is Better

As your baby get’s older (3/4+ months) an early bedtime has multiple benefits.

  • Nobody wants to come over and help you with your fussy baby at 1:00 AM, where plenty of people would love to tickle his cranky toes at 9:00 AM.
  • It creates the opportunity for you to have a bit of free time yourself. In most homes, 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM is known as “happy hour”. Not because everybody has a cocktail in hand (although it’s possible) but because this is the only time of the day that you aren’t running after a little person.
  • Most playgroups/playdates are scheduled on the assumption of baby’s naps occurring at 9:00 AM and 1:00 PM (ish) which will never happen when your baby is sleeping till noon.
  • Having a baby up in the dark and sleeping during the day disrupts some very important chemical processes that are triggered by light, which overtime, will work against you.
  • And as your baby gets older you’ll find he wakes up earlier regardless of when he goes to bed, so maintaining a late bedtime simply results in less sleep overall.

Bedtime for Baby

Once your baby is no longer a newborn (older than 3-4 months) bedtime should no longer be a stressful crapshoot. You may still have a witching hour but hopefully this has shifted earlier and is easier to manage. Other things that are pretty typical for a baby (3 months to 1 year) include:

1

Bedtime happens at the same time each night.

It might fluctuate by 30-45 minutes but unlike when your baby was a newborn, it should no longer be a complete and total mystery.

2

Bedtime is earlier.

If your baby is under 6 – 8 months it still might be later (say 9:00 PM) but when they drop the 3rd nap (usually by 9-12 months) bedtime should scoot up towards 7:00 PM and stay there.

3

You are “defending” bedtime against late naps.

If early evening naps are throwing off bedtime, it’s time to skip them. As your baby gets older a consistent bedtime is more important than napping at 5:00 PM. This may mean you can’t get into the car after 4:00 PM, take an evening walk in the stroller, etc.

4

You have a consistent routine.

It’s time to get serous about a routine. It should be something you love that you can do without fail every night for the next 3+ years. Boob, bath, books, bed is a classic.

5

Baby is sleeping in the same place each night.

It doesn’t have to be the same place where they nap but it should be consistent. However it’s OK to have them sleep in one place consistently and then move them into a new place where they’ll sleep consistently. So your 5 month old may still be in a co-sleeper attached to your bed but then move into a crib in their room at 9 months.

6

You are working towards “put down awake.”

Remember when I said you didn’t need to sweat putting your newborn baby down awake? Well your baby is no longer a newborn, so it’s time to start sweating.

Bedtime for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Your toddler, preschooler, and younger kid should be going to bed between 6:30 PM – 8:00PM, most commonly 7:30PM. Later than that is almost always too late.

Bedtime vs. Sleeptime

Your newborn baby will need to be soothed to sleep. Your older child should be going to sleep on their own. When kids older than 1 are waking up during the night it’s almost always because they aren’t falling to sleep on their own (generally because parents stay and cuddle until they fall asleep and then sneak out). This results in the same problem of night waking that babies have. As delightful as cuddling with your children is, you need to leave before they are totally asleep.

Additionally I want to be clear that we are talking about BEDTIME. This is the time you put your child to bed. The only rule is that they stay in bed. You can’t make an older child sleep (nor can you make them eat or poop FYI). This is why we don’t call it SLEEPTIME. As a parent your job is to give them an age-appropriate bedtime, a soothing consistent bedtime routine, establish the limits (primarily that they stay in bed), and then leave. What they do at that point is up to them.

Does that mean it’s OK for your 2 YO to sit in their bed awake and talking to themselves for 45 minutes? It sure does! If your kid is chronically up for 1+ hours it could mean that bedtime is too early. However I hesitate to suggest this because it is almost NEVER the case (most bedtimes are too late). You can test this theory by temporarily pushing bedtime back – does your child still spend an hour kicking around in there or do they fall asleep quickly? If the latter then perhaps bedtime was too late. Otherwise it may just be that your child needs extra quiet time to settle down at night.

Is this a form of torture? No it isn’t! Learning to entertain themselves, care for their bodies, or (*gasp*) spend a moment of the day without constant stimulation is actually really healthy! As adults, what do you do when you can’t fall asleep? You lie there and think quiet thoughts until you DO fall asleep. Your child is learning to do this too.

Bedtime Sucks?

bedtime for babyOnce your child is no longer a newborn baby bedtime should be your favorite time of day. LITERALLY. If you and/or your child hate/dread bedtime than something isn’t working and it’s time to fix it. Personally I LOVE bedtime. Kids in jammies are the cutest thing ever. Cuddling and reading books is the best thing in the world. And once they are asleep you get to watch (insert: Game of Thrones, Mad Men, New Girl). What’s not to love?

Anybody else have any bedtime thoughts to share?

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231 Comments


  1. My question is how do you know the difference between a nap and bedtime? Our 3 week old sleeps for anywhere between an hour to three hours, regardless of day or night. Our ped says that our LO should be getting 4 hour stretches here in the next couple of weeks, and she’s done it twice at night, but there seems to be no difference between nap/bedtime. We are being good about keeping the room dark and quiet at night, and trying to be somewhat consistent in a routine. Is this just something we wait out? Does bedtime naturally evolve?

    • It will naturally evolve, your baby is still learning night from day, so literally there isn’t much difference between naps and bedtime. It is so exhausting during the first 6 weeks or so. My midwife said babies don’t produce their own melatonin until 6 weeks, but then things really start to get better. With both my kids I found that around the 2 month mark we were settling into a routine.

  2. Hello Alexis!

    This site has helped us immensely, and I am sorry that my first post comes from a place of such desperation. My DD is 3 months old today, and we love her more than anything in the world! The trouble is, I feel like we lead a double life. I am lucky enough to be home with her, and during the day she is an absolute angel. She wakes anywhere between 7 and 8:30am. She goes down for her first nap around an hour after that (shortest awake time of the day) and this first nap is about 3 hours. Her next two awake times average 1 hour 30 mins (from up to down) and those naps are around an hour each. Her “last” nap of the day in late afternoon/early evening is only about 30 mins. She has had this schedule during the day for about 3 weeks now, and it is awesome. She goes down fairly easily (needs more soothing as the day goes on), and I am putting her down awake but sleepy for nap #1 and she settles great.
    Now here is the other side of the coin: night time is an absolute nightmare for us. She used to have her ‘witching hour’s between 6pm and 11, where nothing could get her settled. She would, however, go down around 11 and sleep through until 7 or 8. We were still attempting a bedtime routine nearer the 8pm mark to no avail, so we started doing it later so she would learn the association. In the meantime, we put her in her swing and let her hang out. The trouble is, about three weeks ago even this sleep went out the window. She had a little cold, we think her growth spurt, and maybe a wonder week all around the same time. The aftermath of this is that she basically is impossible to settle at night at all and has been for three weeks – and I mean IMPOSSIBLE. We have had nearly two weeks where we’re lucky if she stays down from 3am-6:30am. Other nights she is just up every 20-30 minutes (if she will let us put her in the crib at all). Last night she was awake but happy from 8 until 1:30am, then hysterical from 1:30 until roughly 4am when she finally stayed asleep from sheer exhaustion. We all end up crying ourselves to sleep on nights like that – which are becoming the norm.

    She has been in her crib at night and naps since day 3, we use a fan for white noise, black her windows and help her to sleep with rocking/bouncing and a soother (which we remove before putting her down). She is such a wonderful, happy baby – except at night. Still wonderful; very unhappy. We are at our wits end. Any advice or explanations would be very greatly appreciated.

    Even if you can’t help, thank you for all of the wonderful things you do for other families. You have such a positive impact on people’s lives – thank you.

    • How did you get through those nights you described? I am going through the same thing at 3months.

      • I would also appreciate some experience with this strange “I simply hate the night time now” shift, my son is 3 months in a few days and his ability to stay asleep during the night is getting worse while his daytime naps seem pretty normal to me. Not to mention the brutal battle to make him fall asleep in the first place as his witching hour became particularly spicy last week. I fear with this dynamism he will soon orchestrate an explosion fueled by his rage (I love how little babies cannot say much but their swearing is perfectly articulate). Until now he would doze off quite late but then we were able to make up for it by getting up with party people at around 10 a.m. Can someone say it will pass soon? I mean sooner than he turns 15. Like tomorrow. I can even take a lie, lies are good. Thanks in advance and best from Prague!

  3. I should also mention she is EBF. These crazy nights I do try to nurse her, but she generally is not interested or is too hysterical to eat. It makes me feel terrible that I can’t even soothe her that way. She nurses 5 times a day (flexible 3 hour schedule) until the 7 ish cutoff, then I’ll nurse her one or two more times before 11 based on her cues. She used to go 11pm to morning without waking to eat and could settle herself.

  4. So sorry – one more thing (I’m so tired).. We know that she is desperately overtired. We have tried spending all night getting her down and tried letting her call the shots – and everything in between I think. She just fights and fights until all we can do is take turns trying to calm her

  5. …and we swaddle for naps and bed, which sometimes calms her and sometimes makes her even crazier. That’s it – I swear!

    • Hope you’ve gotten through this by now (it’s been a few months since you posted this) but for anyone reading it and having the same problem check the usual suspects:

      Lights out! Turning the lights off and distracting noises like TV or radio a little while BEFORE you want to go to bed can help baby settle down. Or vice versa, leave a radio on perhaps on a classics music station. Babies love Beethoven!

      Also, when you hold baby at night try to yawn, slow your breathing, and even fake your eyes closed a bit.

      Babies will instinctively mimic mom’s breathing while being held to mom’s chest and slowing YOUR breathing down will force baby to do so, and relax them.

      If they are screaming bloody murder at night you may have a physical problem. Gas tends to build up in the belly and some babies have a real problem being set down with a belly full of gas. Do night time excersizes to help them relieve it. Bycicle the legs, then knees to the chest a few times will probably push a bit of this out. When they feel better they will be less cranky on their backs.

      Something warm on their tummy can help loads too- a warm bottle, heated rice bag (not too hot!), or they sell potpurri bags with lavender and chammomile especially to soothe and relax a baby’s tummy for bedtime. Called Happy Tummi- we use this just to get our LO to relax for bed. It’s comfortable and the warm herb smells make him sleepy!

      Still no relief? It could be reflux. All babies have an open tummy and their last meal can splash up into their throat. If mommy has a spicy diet (spicy, sugary, sometimes even TOO natural) it can upset baby. Keep them upright in a carseat or swing and if that is the only thing that stops your baby from crying- you may want to speak with your doctor about reflux relief methods.

  6. Thanks so much for everything – all of your previous comments and PP are so informative.

    You mention (somewhere) that the period before bedtime, babies can be awake a bit longer than “normal.” How much longer?

    Also, baby will NOT be soothed by daddy. I don’t know what to do. It’s very frustrating (and sad) for both of us. For example, she wakes up about 45 minutes – 1 hour after going to bed. (that’s a whole other question I guess – should we put her in the swing to see if it helps get her through that first sleep cycle? She sleeps 3-4 hours after that first wake up. We nurse her, and then she goes right back down.) But anyway, if I am not home and my husband has to go in and give her the bottle, she cries. Last night, she cried with him soothing her for 2 hours. Is it a matter of consistency? He works all day, and so I am the one putting her down. Should I have him put her to sleep every night so that she is able to be soothed by him? Part of the issue is also, probably, that he is trying to give her a bottle and for her nighttime feedings she is used to getting the boob. Is that another learned thing? Should we just give her a bottle every night for that first feeding?

    Thank you!!

  7. My 4 month old goes to bed around 5:30, which everyone tells me is too early. She is rubbing her eyes and getting fussy by 5:00, so we start our routine and by the time I put her down, she generally fusses very little before she falls asleep. Then, I feed her around 9 before I go to bed. She wakes up around 12 and 4 to nurse. I am hoping for the day she drops one of those feedings, so I can get some much needed rest.

    Does anyone else have infants that go to bed super early on a consistent basis?

    • OMG! Finally I have found somebody with this schedule lol! Everybody says it’s too early too so I’ve been pushing his bed time back by forcing a nap around 4pm and then bed by 630/7. He’s 4.5 months now and pushing it off is working but evenings are rough cause he is up no more than 1 hour/ 1 hour 15 mins and then naps for an hour. So he’s up/down all day long but once 230/3 comes he’s up till bed and it’s a battle to get him to nap at 4ish so his bed time is later but last night I got him down at 445 for a nap and had to wake him up at 645 to start bed time routine. He’s great onces he down…wakes up twice during the night(5-6) hours and then up at 630/7am literally 12 hours exactly. I hope this all makes sense lol but idk if i’m doing this whole nap/bedtime thing right.
      Ps he’s been a tummy sleeper since 2.5 months…yeah yeah I know SIDS but he’s had amazing neck control since 2 months old and he sleeps amazing that way and only that way and nobody has exploded in my household yet lol. What can I say I’m an 80s baby ;)

      • Rylie is now 8 months old, and she is still going to bed super early. Try as I might, I was never able to get her to stay up much past 6. So, we are going to try an early evening nap to see how that goes. I think some babies just want to go to bed early, no matter what you try. Good luck with your little one!

        • Caleb is 6 months old (today!) and since about 3.5 months old he has had a super early bedtime as well. We aim for 6pm, but often it as early as 5:30 or even 5:15. I have TRIED to force a late afternoon nap, but anything after about 3 pm is just lots of crying and never settles into sleep. (Also, Weisbluth recommends no naps after 3pm for babies this age–as best I can remember anyway, which makes me question myself anytime I try to force it.) I was delighted to find this website 2-3 months ago when we were entering the 4 month old nightmare, and was just back today to get myself caught up for the next few months.

          How early is your morning wake up? We usually hear from Caleb sometime around 5:30… he’ll eat and go back to sleep for another hour or so, but I’d really love to cut this (and any other nighttime feeding) out soon. [I think he's starting to develop object permanence, and I don't want nighttime waking to = mommy and boob for much longer.] I’m wondering if I try to slowly push bedtime to 6:30 or 7, will we still get 12ish hours?

          • Anna – Some nights Rylie gets a late afternoon nap, others she has no interest in napping. I read Dr. Weisbluth too, but Rylie is just a very sleepy baby. Some evenings she needs a nap. But, I don’t force the issue. If she hasn’t fallen asleep within about 15 minutes I stop trying. Those nights she does fall asleep, it’s usually a very short nap and it doesn’t push her bedtime back all that much. It just makes it easier to get through the bedtime routine :)

            These days, she is going to bed around 6:30. It happened gradually. I would try to keep her up a few minutes later each night, but I would never push. If it was obvious she was ready for bed, we would start our bedtime routine. No matter what time she goes to bed, she wakes up between 5:30 and 6:00. As much as I would like her to sleep in, I fear she is just an early riser. Of course, she is ready for a bed around 7:30-8:00, but by that time she is at the sitters.

            She is still waking up once or twice a night to nurse. She has slept for 6-8 hour stretches, but never on a consistent basis. Lately, she’s been waking up in the 11 and 3 range. I am going to talk to her pediatrician at her 9 month check up to see what she suggests. I have tried to wean her by cutting down the minutes she nurses on each side. The first side is no problem, but if I pop her off that second side and she isn’t ready, she just starts to cry. We did CIO to get her to fall asleep initially, but I don’t know if I’m ready to do CIO to cut out the nighttime feedings. I want my sleep, but I also know that she comes first. She has weaned herself off a bottle, so at this stage I can’t even give her a bottle with watered down formula :(

            My mom has told me Rylie reminds me of my younger brother – who didn’t sleep through the night until he was 4!! I really hope she gets the hang of things before then.

            • Wow!!! I was just freaking out because my son (4.5 months) goes to bed around 7. Tonight it was 6:30 because he was so fussy. I was worried it was too early. Glad there re other mamas and babies out there like us!

            • Rylie is 11 months now and still rarely makes it to 7. Tonight she was extra sleepy and was in bed before 6. I’ve just come to accept that she goes to bed early. Eventually she’ll stay up later and hubs and I will have to change our whole evening routine :)

  8. Hello! I love your website my college roommate and I (she has an 8 month old and I have a 23 1/2 month old and a 3 week old) have found your website SO helpful! I only wish I’d found it when my son was an infant! I was SO stressed – he was a “high needs” infant with reflux and dairy/soy intolerance and his “naps” were like 10 minutes at best – and that was being held or in a swing or anywhere… anyway, by about 7 months we hit a sleep rhythm, but I was so overwrought by then it was crazy! With baby girl (3 weeks) I am bedsharing for now and we are getting much more sleep – I am TRYING to be more laid back… but she hit this “witching hour” thing starting 2 nights ago where she is just unsettled and fussy – last night it was over 3 hours… before this she was a more “normal” newborn who would nurse, then fall asleep and sleep for anywhere 30 minutes to 2 hours during the day and about 1 to 2 hour increments at night. What advice do you have for sleep as far as “routine” for a 3 to 4 week old? My son was so not on regular newborn sleeping because of his health issues, so I don’t really know what I should be doing with this little one or expecting :-)

    THANKS!
    Elizabeth recently posted..Birth of Ruth Evelyn: Mindful Momma PhotographyMy Profile

  9. Moms you guys have some great tips, but i need more help if possible lol, my son layton is now 5months old and until 2weeks ago had been goinng to bed at 8pm until 8am without waking he has been like this since 6weeks old. Layton got his first tooth over a week ago and now has two but he has got him self so out of pattern he wont go to sleep until 12am and is up by 4 or 5am, and thats us having to comfort him to sleep and now if he naps during the day im lucky if it lasts 20mins, please help :-(

  10. My son is 2 months old and he use to sleep through the night pretty well (sleeping from 9PM-6AM) with two or three short feedings. However, he recently has been sleeping anywhere between 5-7 hours from 9PM to anywhere between 1AM- 3AM and then he would wake up every hour after that until he wakes up for the morning around 6AM to 7AM. When he wakes he doesn’t always want food he just wants to be held. Is 8 weeks considered a growth spurt time? Is this normal for a newborn to wake up hourly? I’m worried he isn’t getting the continuous sleep he needs to grow.

  11. My 3 month old fights bedtime most nights despite a solid routine (although not at a consistent time due to older daughter’s schedule and his unpredictable naps) and then wakes 10-45 minutes later screaming and needs up to two hours of further walking, bouncing etc, to finally settle in for the night. It’s exhausting and brings me to tears. I DREAD bedtime. His naps are usually 45 minutes, a rare one goes longer. I think he is overtired but don’t know how to fix it. Please help!

    • I have no answers for you, just sympathy and hope that there’s some way of fixing this. We’re in the exact same boat at the moment. So much screaming, and so many tears.

    • You might try CIO. My daughter fought sleep and didn’t nap either. We did the routine of walking, swinging, car rides…anything to get her to go down. Finally, we broke down and let her cry it out. The first night was the worst – 2 hours of screaming at the top of her lungs. The next night was 1.5 hours, then 30 minutes. Now she falls right to sleep with little if any crying. It was hard, but worth it in the end.

  12. Hi Alexis,
    I have a few questions for you. My daughter will be 8 weeks on Wed on though I know I can’t really get her on a predictable schedule I wanted your advice on what I should do. I go back to work in a month and will be having her in daycare. The daycare likes to follow your schedule for baby but I don’t have one, is my girl just too young for one, should day care just follow her lead like I’ve been doing? Also, I feel like sometimes at night, I’ll be up with her for at least an hour (I’m talking bedtime) even though she’s shown all the sleepy cues and then I have an overtired baby who just won’t sleep. Any suggestions? Thank you

  13. My little girl is just about 7 months and up until last week she was sleeping from 630PM- 7/8ish AM (all night through), needless to say it was amazing! Well last week she got sick with a cold and has started waking at 4AM for a feed… I could not let her cry it out because she was sick. but as she gets better I want to cut out the 4AM feed(I am also 17 weeks pregnant: )
    I was just wondering what to do to get her back on her “regular” bed time routine? In other words how do I phase out the 4AM wake up?
    Thanks so much!

  14. My 11 week old falls asleep around 10:30. We start her bath/massage/feed at 8:30 but she’s not ready to sleep then. She’ll have 2 evening cat naps but is also not ready to sleep. How do I find her earlier bedtime and when? She sleeps great through the night but I’m hoping she’s almost ready to start her night earlier!!

  15. My 7 month old sleeps at 10.00pm so i start her bedtime routine at 8.30ish, shes not a good sleeper at all and alwways gets up every 2-3 hours until 9.30 – 10ish in the morning…she has 2 naps a day one at 12.30pm for 1 and a half or 2 hours and the other at 5.30pm for about an hour…what is the best way of putting her to sleep earlier im thinkin around 7.30ish as she will be starting nursery in another 3 months?? thanks

  16. Hi Alexis,
    New to this website. Hope i will find some answers to my little one’s sleeping habit. :)

    My little girl is now 19 weeks. Since 3 months, she already started to develop a sort of sleep routine but just quite early. Her daily schedule is like this :

    8 ~9:00 AM – wake up for feed.
    9 ~ 10:00 AM – play for about 1 hour and then feed
    10 ~ 11:30 AM- morning nap ( Sometime, it can be 1.5 hours)
    11:30 ~ 4:00 pm – after the previous long morning nap, then my battle with her sleeps begin. She usually wants to play and has a short nap like 40 minutes once or twice during the whole time. So by 4:00 pm , she is pretty tired and ready for bed. Sometimes she might stay a bit longer till 5:00pm.
    4 ~ 5:00 pm – bath/pj time
    5 ~ 6:00 pm – final feed and settle time
    6 ~ 3:00 am – sleep
    3 ~ 4:00 am – wakes up and needs a feed , then she usually falls back to sleep after that
    4 ~ 7/8 am – sleep

    Is it normal ? can i call her sleep routine is actually sleep through the night ? I think she still needs a feed because she falls asleep so early. I try so many things to let her have more day time sleeps but i just cannot stretch her long sleep time till 7:00 pm like many books suggest.

    Any suggestion ?? Thank you :)

    • Hi Joanne,

      After reading this it sounds EXACTLY what I am going through with my 17 1/2 week old boy! (except he of course switched it up last night…) My little guy used to sleep from 630pm-630 or 7am and just recently started waking between 4-5am for a feeding. I’m wondering if it is a growth spurt?

      My pediatrician said that the sleep pattern would be considered sleep through the night because it is a 9-10 hour period. I would love to figure out how to move it later at night as well! It always backfires when I try.

      I’ve read and skimmed so many books and blogs etc. and have tried EVERYTHING to get my little guy to nap longer than 45 minutes: the shush/pat, PU/PD, CIO, hold his chest down during the sleep transition, keeping him up longer/less, wearing more/less to bed…. but he will only sleep 45 minutes (sometimes even 20 or 30 minutes for some naps).

      I have a consistent routine with him for every nap (get him into sleep sack, rock him and hum him a lullaby, close the blinds and give him a kiss) and we do the bath, massage, book (if he will let us read it to him) then try to feed him one more time (almost always refuses) then bed at night.

      Reading books like “Babywise” and “Healthy sleep habits, healthy child” only gave an A type personality like me even more anxiety because my baby wasn’t able to stay awake more than an hour at a time and he couldn’t wait 3 hours between feedings and I couldn’t put him down to sleep at the “optimal” times. I honestly have no idea how people can get their baby on a rigid schedule.

      I’m trying to just go with the flow these days and I’m not sure if you’ve read “The Wonder Weeks” but week 19 is a big one in terms of development and so maybe that’s the cause of your little girl’s behaviour. I also had read about “4 month sleep regression”- not sure if it exists but it does help explain why the patterns are changing.

      I noticed that you feed at wake up in the morning and then again before the first nap. How much do you give your little girl? My guy won’t eat more than 4oz at a time and sometimes I heat up an ounce more after I change his diaper and try again, but perhaps I should space it out a little longer.

      Are you feeding 5 times a day? How many ounces? I’m curious :)

      I am totally in the same boat with the afternoons all over the place. It has been that way with my guy for as long as I can remember.

      Hopefully we can get a magical answer as to how to push bedtime later and have that 10 hour chunk end at 6 or 7am! And how to combat the 45 minute intruder. Hate that thing!!!

      Take care :)

      • Hi Nicole,

        Thanks for your response. So relieved to know that i am not only on this sleeping battle with my little girl. :)

        She is 5.5 months this week and her routine changes slightly from the previous post. Believe or not , she has been teething since 22 weeks and yesterday I just found out she has her first tooth. And that explains why she has been up almost every 2 hours at night. (That’s right … no more sleep through the night routine :( ) Looking back , I should be happy with her old routine. I know it is hard to believe but if your bubba still has the same routine like you described , horay ~ ~ :)be relax I would say
        I started the solids when she was 4.5 months old and the first couple days, the mystery of solids long sleep did happen! But only last for few days ….
        And I stopped breastfeeding and just on formula since feeding her the solids. Like now my little girl has solids+150ml (5oz) formula x 3 meals during day time , and she still wakes up for midnight feed for about 150 ~ 180ml. Now she wakes up twice a nite (hopefully it is because of her teething), one is around 2~3am and the other one is around 5~6am. She usually finishes that 150~180ml for these two feeds. After that 5~6am feed, she is almost up for the day which means the beginning of my 40 ~ 45 minutes sleeping battle with her.  Sometimes I manage to get her sleep with me for about 1 ~ 1.5 hour ( I know it is not good but I am so tired …). When she wakes up then I prepare her breakfast (solids + 150ml milk).
        Till now, I still have trouble of stretching her day sleep longer than 40 ~ 50 minutes. And I heard from other mums from my mum&bub group, most of them have the same question. Well, I guess in a way I think I feel more relax about her sleeping habit now. And I notice that as soon as I spot her tired sign and put her in the cot, then she might sleep a little bit longer. Other than that, I just go with the flow. Just now I have another issue, how should I continue the sleep training with a teething baby?! OMG … it is really crazy!

        Like you ,I read those baby sleeping books and I feel so anxious and confused. At the end I decide to carry on the sleeping training but rather than leave her along to settle by herself I stay longer with her by her cot. It seems working. Hope the time will get shorter each day ..

        BTW,don’t mean to scare you about baby teething. I know some of my friends’ baby didn’t make any fuss during teething period. Sincerely hope yours will be the lucky one! ;)

        Joanne

  17. Why I didn’t find your website till now!? You gave me so much more insights and ensurence! My LO is now 7.5 months. He goes to bed at 10pm. I know it’s really late but he still takes a bottle at 9:45pm. He sleeps till 6ish am for a bottle then back to sleep till around 9am ( used to be 10am but he changed on his own about three weeks ago). He goes down for a 30 mins nap at 11ish am. No matter what I tried he still doesn’t sleep longer than 30-40 mins max. Then he has another nap around 2ish for 3 hours most of the time and sometimes longer. His last nap is usually 7ish to 8ish for half an hour. I am hoping to move his bedtime much earlier but didnt know how! Until i read your acticles, so now i hope he will drop that last nap then he will be able to go to bed early and wakes up early. But I am afraid he will still wakes up after 8 hours for a bottle then I have to feed him at 3-4am. Is there a way to eliminate that?

  18. my lb is 5 months old now and sleep bang at 7pm every night BUT still feeds every 2 hours even at night. My health visitor says that he is a very active baby and therefore hungry and asked me to start weaning him which I have now. But he still wakes up every two hours for feed plus with his new-found skill for rolling he rolls on his front (unable to roll back) and cries. Through out this entire night’s episode (which is every night!) he does not wake up as such just cries with his eyes closed. And like magic goes back to bed once he has had the feed no fuss at all. He also wakes up about sevenish every morning with a burst of energy. He takes two one hour naps during the day, make be a catnap around 4-30ish at the max. I feel and look like a zombie with this constant waking up. Also I have tried so hard but failed to get him to self sooth to sleep. HELP PLEASE!!

  19. My baby boy is just over 4 months old now and was sleeping through the night from 630pm to anytime between 530am and 730am. Amazing I know!! For the past week he has been waking between 4-430am and one night I let him fuss and he went back to sleep until 7am but the other times I fed him (the crying was a bit too desperate). I would then let him sleep until when he naturally woke up and this would be anywhere from 7am to 830am.

    I have taken notes on his daily schedule and it is really different from day to day. Sometimes he can stay awake 75 minutes after waking and other times it is less than an hour (going by his cues). I find that after he wakes in the morning he needs to be put back in bed in less than an hour or he misses his “window”. But the other naps of the day are a total crap shoot and they are never at the same time because he wakes up at a different time each day. In general, he will take a longer morning nap of about 45-2 hours length and then 2 or 3 more naps that are 30min-45min long.

    I’ve read that 4 month old babies can space their feedings out to every 4 hours in the day but my guy refuses to eat more than 4oz a feeding so I have to feed him every 2.5 hours so he eats enough and he has recently become really fussy with the bottle and sometimes won’t even eat the 4oz (I mix breast milk with formula).

    When the early waking started happening we tried dream feeding but it didn’t stretch his wake time. I’m hoping this is just a growth spurt and will go back to his regular 12 hour stretches.

    I have tried moving his bedtime later but it backfires and I end up with a screaming baby.

    My questions are:

    1) I know my baby can go 12 hours without a feeding. Is it a mistake to be feeding him at 4am? Am I training him to wake up at this time consistently? Or is this a growth spurt?

    2) When we do the 4am feed should I wake him up at the same time each morning to be more consistent? (between 7 and 730am)

    3) Is there a way to move his bedtime later? 10 hours is a great chunk of sleep when it ends later than 4am :)

    Thank you so much!
    Nicole recently posted..Bedtime What Time?My Profile

  20. My daughter is 8 months and I 5 months ago I found your blog and have the best baby with the best sleep schedule I could umagine thanks to your suggestions, My son, however, is 27months old and did not benefit from such information starting at only a few months old. We had a terrible first 18 months with bedtime. He would cry and was frustrated every night when we put him to bed and then woke frequently through the night. Currently we have a wonderful bedtime routine of brushing teeth, putting away toys from the day, putting on pj’s, reading a book, and finally putting to bed with a cup of water (this used to be the beloved cup of milk which, I being a first time mom didn’t realize was the start of a long problem.) my question is, now that we are finally able to have a smooth bedtime, he frequently wakes around 11pm and 12 or 1am each night (some nights he only wakes 1 time other nights 2 times) and cries for mommy. If I do not go to him he cries to the point of gagging and sometimes vomiting. When I go in I simply say “time to go back to bed” lay him back down from a standing position in his crib, cover him, say good night and walk out. He then goes back to sleep. Is there any suggestions on how to help a 2 year old stop this behavior?
    Thank you for any suggestions,
    Katie

  21. My 1 year old started hating her bed time routine. She really hates going to bed and she has always hated falling as sleep, but recently she just knows that bed time is coming because we follow our routine, we usually give her milk, read books, get undressed, bath, pjs and cuddle/lullaby then put in bed awake . The minute we approach her bedroom to get her undressed she starts throwing a tantrum and crying, kicking and screaming…she calms down once she gets in her bath because she gets to play, but the minute we shut off the water she knows her bath is over and she starts crying again non stop. Once we place her in crib, she cries at least another 15-20min till she falls asleep. Please any help or suggestions to make her bedtime more pleasant would be great.

  22. I can’t get 9 months old to sleep through the night!

    It’s so frustrating. He usually wakes up wanting to be rocked/held back to bed.. Sometimes for formula…

    He’s always been this way since birth… I was hoping it would get better but it hasn’t..

  23. Hi – All of these comments are so very helpful! I feel like we’re lost at sea with our almost 4 month old baby girl.

    Regarding bedtime for a 4 month old. We have put her to bed at 6:15 for the last two months. She gets a little catnap around 4:30 and then is ready for bed around 6:15. We swaddle her, put on the white noise and then leave her until 10:00pm when we usually wake her up for a dream feed. From 2-3 months, this worked well. We were starting to get some 6 and 7 hour stretches! However, for the last 3 weeks (since right around the 3 month mark), her sleep has gone totally wonky! At first, she was waking up a bunch between 6:30-10pm. Then, she started waking up every 2-3 hours at least twice per night. I would nurse her back to sleep. Now, three weeks later, we haven’t seen a stretch longer than 4hours and I have NO CLUE what to do to fix this.

    – Should we try to move her bedtime later, by giving her a nap around 6pm instead? If so, how does this work?
    – Should we still wake her at 10pm for another feed? We’ve tried dream feed vs waking up for a full feed. At this point it makes no difference. She still gets up about 2-3 hours later.

    We felt like things were starting to sort themselves out, and now I feel lost and helpless. We have so many sleep books and still feel so lost! To swaddle or not to swaddle, to dreamfeed or not to dreamfeed, to wake up at 7am or let sleep….help!

    Any insight on any of this would be so appreciated – we really feel like we’ve tried to mix it up and nothing works, we can’t seem to get back to the longer stretches!

    Thank you so much for your time.

    • Hi Caroline,

      I don’t have any answers for you – but wanted to let you know you’re not the only one in this situation.

      I’m typing this at 4:45am because our 4mo. LO wouldn’t go down quickly after his second feed of the night (Bed = 7:30, feed#1 = 12am, feed#2 = 3am, waking = 5am).

      We WERE on our path to longer sleeps, at one time having one or two 6 hour stretches… but that was it. I’m sure it will pass when he’s a teenager.

      • 4 months is TOUGH!

        I personally found that dreamfeeding did more harm than good. I’ve heard it said that after the first waking up during the night, the baby’s sleep is poorer quality and they are more likely to wake up. And even if they don’t wake up all the way to feed, it’s still a disruption in their sleep (besides now they are more likely to have a wet or dirty diaper that bothers them around 12-1 am).

        As a mom of a baby with an early bedtime (6 month old goes to bed ~6pm), I think your bedtime is fine… better than keeping the baby up TOO late, and I think a 6pm nap would just be confusing and make bedtime harder.

        Bottom line… hang in there! It does get better; just keep to the fundamentals– not letting the baby get overtired, and doing what you can to avoid a food=sleep association.

  24. Hello,

    We are having schedule issues with our 10 month old. He has been sleeping through the night since he was about 3 months old. He goes to sleep at around !0:30 or 11, and sleeps until about 10 AM. Like clockwork. The problem is that the clock does not work for me.

    I would love to be able to get him to sleep earlier. The problem is I cannot wake him up earlier because I am not home when he wakes up, my husband is. He works until pretty late at night and wakes up when the baby does at around 10.

    Any ideas?

  25. Can anyone help??? In the grand scheme of things, our 6 month old little girl sleeps very well. I’ve had a good routine in place from early on, she naps well and despite a 4 month sleep regression can sleep through the night. I try to limit daytime naps to 3.5 hrs (30mins-1hr am, 2hrs lunch and 30mins in eve waking no later than 5) and she goes down to sleep at 7. I can’t get her to sleep through till 7am (she wakes anytime from 5ish) and is then impossible to get back to sleep. I’m going back to work soon and am desperate to get as much sleep as poss! Should I let her CIO and see if she goes back to sleep? Should I move bedtime to a later time? Should I reduce daytime naps? Any assistance gratefully received.

    • how are things going? i’m going through the same thing with my 10 month old and can use some ideas!

      • Hi Janelle,

        We’re doing a lot better now thanks. I actually realised that she may have been having too much sleep so I limited her morning nap to 30 mins max and dropped her afternoon nap and put her to bed a little earlier to start with (depending on when she woke from her lunchtime nap – usually 2 hrs from 12.30-2.30, if she only has 1/1.5 or less, I may put her down for 30 mins around 4) I suspect at 10 months you could even consider dropping the morning one too-but don’t quote me on that!

        The other thing I’ve done is bought a gro anywhere blackout blind which has really helped since the morning’s are getting lighter. She is now sleeping from around 6.45-6.45/7 the main reason she is actually crying in the mornings now is because she throws her little rabbit comforter down to the end of the cot and can’t get it!

        Hope some of this helps!

  26. I have a 13 month old baby boy. He gets a nap once a day and then goes to sleep at 8pm and then wakes up at midnight. I just don’t know what to do. He was getting 3 naps a day but changed it to two naps a day. Now one nap a day. Help please don’t know what I’m doing wrong.

  27. My 4 1/2 month old only naps for 20-30min. She wakes around 7am and I put her down at 9am, sometimes 8:30 if she looks tired. She has a few minutes of soothing and then goes down with a pacifier. Her room is somewhat dark, blinds are drawn, white noise is on. No matter what I have tried she will not nap longer, which means she often takes 4 of these “catnaps” during the day. The last one ending around 4:30 and is ready for bed at 6pm! (I was putting her to bed at 7, but she was doing a lot of early evening wake-ups and I thought this was possibly due to being overtired and so pushed the bedtime forward.) Bedtime routine is bath and then boob. She sleeps for about 5-6 hours and has one feeding anywhere between 1-3am. Usually wakes between 5-6am and I bring her into my bed where she’ll go back to sleep until 7-7:30. Should I be concerned about her lack of nap time, even if she is generally happy? I feel like I have tried everything under the sun to get her to nap longer!

    • Hi! My LO has NEVER neen a napper from about 2 months old she spent very large chunks of the day awake! Ahes now 1 and only has 1 occasionally 2, 30-40 min naps s day! She is such a happy wee thing! She sleeps well at night now so i dont push the issue with her! Truth b told i think shes just scared to miss anything lol! But no i wouldn’t worry much at all :-) Sus x
      Susan recently posted..5 Things I Learned from Doing Sleep ConsultsMy Profile

  28. Hi everyone,

    First off just want to say i totally feel for the sleepless mummys out there! My little girl didnt sleep right until 91/2 months old.

    She was born with a congenital heartbsefect (fully repaired, thankfully) whicj meant she couldnt ever drink more than a few ounces of milk at a time (2 days after her corrective op she drank 6oz all at once and i cried lol at 6 1/2 months this was the first she had done it) but due to this she was up every few hours through the night. So not really much i could have done as dhr had to eat! Soon after her first post op check at which she was declared “a picture of health” i though right thats it!!! Ha i was completely against the CIO method so opted for the puck up put down method where you pick baby up when crying and put down when they relaxed! She caught on fast and started sleeing for 4-5 hour stretches! This was short lived as she also devided that she was happy with s 30 second cuddle! I was shattered by rhis point and was returning to work! Being up 3-4 tes a night and rising at 4:30 for a 12 hour shift took its toll and at 91/2 months i declared war! I qas ready for CIO! I had tried everything else and beyond! First night she cried for 63 whole minutes and woke 3 times through night for cuddle and feed! 2nd night she cried fof 5 minutes and woke once for a feed! 3rd night she cried 2 mins and woke but i lwft her for a few minutes and she went back to sleep on her own! GOODBYE NIGHT FEEDS!! in short CIO works but you have to be 100% ready for it orgerwise tour putting you and your baby through heartache for nothing! 4 months on and i havent looked back! Colds/teething etc can knock her off her stride but as soon as they pass back to basics! Totally worth a try but i exhausted all avenues and was 100% ready! So there is hope! Your little angels will sleep soon! I didnt blv when j got told this but its true lol good luck!!!

  29. you haven’t explained yet how to get the child to nap (unless I missed it–I am sleep-deprived!). Our sweet daughter slept wonderfully until she was 4.5 months old, and now she’s 6 months and still not back to “normal”. Anytime (day or night) you lie her down (awake or asleep) she screams, still needing to be held. We started co-sleeping just so she’d sleep, but it seems she wakes MORE OFTEN now (though from your sight I learned that was the normal amount of times,I am just aware of them now, being next to her).

    • Not an expert at all but you may have fallen into the trap of “accidental parenting” when she hit the sleep regression at 4.5 months. We did this, started comforting her and picking her up…then this sort of carried on and it’s hard for them to go back. You may need to mentally prepare yourself and try a bit of CIO – it is hard to do but read the stuff elsewhere of the site here and give it a go…She will be used to co-sleeping now, so it may be a bit tough. I have noticed that even 1 off night where we pick her up and comfort her can throw things out for a while…good luck

  30. Our 8 week old seems to prefer an early bedtime, especially the last 2 weeks since starting daycare. We are home between 5-530, he gets a bottle, a bath, some swaddling, white noise, and is usually ready for bed around 630/645. We usually semi- wake him around 830 for another bottle and a diaper change, and most of the time he is good until 2am, then 5am. Most people suggest trying to keep him up later in the evening, but when we have tried that it backfired, all he did was fuss and cry, and he was still up at 2am. We are hoping to sometime drop that 2am feed, but we didn’t find that putting him to bed any later helped. I think he just needs to decompress in the evening like we do! Anyone else dealt with this?

  31. hello,
    thank you for all your spot on advice! i’ve recently had this problem with my 8 month old daughter, who was fully sleep trained from about 3 months falling asleep by herself like a champ, then had a sleep regression about a month ago ( 4 nights ) and now still goes down for her naps really easily by herself but not at bedtime anymore like she used to…..what could be the problem? she will fall asleep easily if rocked and then we dont hear from her till 5.30 – 6.30 ish am when she feeds and sleeps ( off to sleep by herself after feed ) till 7.00-7.30ish. im not sure what we ve done wrong i dont think we have changed anything. her bedtime is 8pm. i was wondering if it might be to do with the fact that she seems to be in process of dropping her 3rd nap and wakes up from second nap around 4pm – would u say we re keeping her up too late? when put down for naps (at tired signs, usually 9am ish and 1-2pm ish, both 2 hrs ish) she takes a few minutes to go to sleep with minimal whinging, at bedtime however as soon as she is put down she SCREAMS and wont stop. could this be due to being overtired? she’s had the same bedtime routine pretty much from newborn – bath, boob, cuddles on the way to her bedroom, put down awake but visibly tired. any words of advice would be much appreciated! thank you

  32. Just when I thought my little girl was finally going to bed at a decent hour (12:30am versus 4am) a night like this happens. I couldn’t get her to sleep no matter what I did during her “witching hour”, and when she finally fell asleep she’s only been sleeping in 30-45 minute increments since. It’s now 3:40am and I’m exhausted, feeding her again, and at my wits end. She’s 14 weeks and I was hoping that by now things would be getting better. It only feels like its getting worse. She needs more soothing then ever and she’s only getting bigger by the day. And I never get any breaks because I’m breastfeeding and she refuses to take a bottle. Someone please tell me things will improve!!!

  33. Just wanted to comment on your repeated statement that you shouldn’t put a baby to bed later than 7:30. I just have not found this to be true at all. Our son is 10 months old and we put him to bed at 9:30 so that his dad has time to spend with him in the evening. Until recently our son has been sleeping for 11 to 12 hours straight at night, which means he generally wakes up at 9:00!! He goes down very easily for his bedtime sleep and he is a very happy baby in the day. The reason I went on your site is because he has been waking earlier for the past couple of weeks, but there is no way it can be down to the time he goes to bed when he has thrived on this routine for 10 months.

    • I agree with you 100%. My 10 1/2 mo DD bedtime is also 9:30. She sleeps through the night now and gets up at 6 to cuddle and nurse with mommy then we snooze till 9:30-10am. I love it because I’m more of a night owl myself and she has taken to the routine since she was born so she knows no different. So whats the big deal with a 7:30 bedtime if my household operates differently. When she is 4+ we will most likely change to a earlier routine to prepare for school times. I’m a SAHM and my husband is an overnight nurse.
      About your question Im not sure the only thing I have experienced the same is when their was a growth spurt or teething woke her up. Sleeping patterns seem to change frequently (if they wake at night, time they wake up) The one controllable is the time they go down so stick with it.

  34. Can you help me with my 10 1/2 mo old DD. I am confused about naptime. We have a baby-led schedule of going to bed late wake up late. I am a SAHM and a night owl so it works for me just fine. Once we get up 3 hours later or so its nap time for an hour to 1 1/2 hours. Or a cap nap.. which I hate. If shes going through a growth spurt its longer. The second nap is more unpredictable. Should it be spaced out a certain number of hours after the first. I don’t put down times because I have us on such a late schedule. So normally shed go down again 3 hours after the first nap. Then this would be the longer nap of 2-3 hrs. Here’s my question; If she cries for awhile like say 20 min and is up around her crib does that mean she’s not tired..even if she eventually falls asleep. Should I be taking her out of the crib? I feel bad if she’s not tired putting her down. I just get confused about the 2nd nap time.

  35. Looking for some help because at 5 months my son’s bedtime has become a mystery again! For months 3 and 4 he would always go down early from 6:30-7:30 so we thought early bedtime- this is great! Now over the past few weeks he has been waking up a few times a week about 2-3 hours after we put him down. He goes down awake, so no sleep associations problem. When I check on him, he’s not hungry or in distress. You can tell he is trying to sleep, but he can’t. He’ll cry for a few mins and then doze for another few and this can go on for 1-2 hours! Of course I have thought is he over or under tired? but he is getting naps in and going down at bedtime without a problem. Here’s a great example of what happened yesterday:
    Had two good 1.5 hour naps and the second one ended at 2:15. So we tried to get him to take that 30 min catnap at 4:30… wasn’t happening- he was wide awake and playing in the swing. Tried again at 5- same deal. He was zonked at 6, so we started bedtime routine and he was sleeping without much fuss by 6:45. 8:45 and he’s doing the on and off crying- can’t get back to sleep. I felt so bad for him and felt like it was my fault because here we go again- I’ve messed up his naps or bedtime somehow! So we take him out and sit in the dark for a while… redo bedtime routine at 10:00 and he sleeps from 10:30 til 6 without a peep.
    So all I hear is EARLY bedtime, bedtime over naps and I have no clue what is going on with my little guy. I know he could be going through some major cognitive development at this age, but should he be having this much trouble sleeping this often? Just doesn’t seem fair to leave him to fuss when he can’t sleep, but I also don’t want to get him up and create bad habits. I said to my husband maybe we should’ve done a nap at 6 last night and woke him at 6:30 and then done bedtime at 8:30. But seems so weird his bedtime would fluctuate by up to 2 hours night to night. Most nights 7:00 bedtime is ok, but I feel like I don’t want to risk it anymore because he’s waking for long periods so often!

  36. Sorry, but you’re using the wrong terminology. A baby is “newborn” until the age of 28 days.
    Afterwards, baby is considered as an “infant”.

    • I’m going with Dr. Karps “third trimester” vernacular which also lines up overwhelmingly with my experience that babies 0-3 months are effectively newborns and that this perspective frames how we care for them in terms of sleep, soothing, and feeding.

      You’re welcome to use whatever terminology you choose, but newborn/baby are the terms I use consistently on this site.
      Alexis Dubief recently posted..The Ultimate Baby Food Allergies Survival GuideMy Profile

  37. Here’s our situation; I hope you can provide some advice.

    We’re in some ways the parents everyone hates. Our little guy, who is three months old now, has been sleeping through the night quite well. It isn’t perfect though. We now have him napping every two hours, but he still won’t nap on his own. He now generally co-sleeps next to my wife or I for his naps.

    That.s not the big issue. The big issue is that bedtime has steadily been creeping later. Typically he won’t go down for good until 1am. Last night we put him down for the first time at around 1230 and he didn’t stay down for the night till at least 2. He was then down till 930.

    His typical schedule looks like this:
    1am – 730: sleep
    730: eat
    9-12: nap
    12: eat
    2-4: nap
    4: eat
    6 to 7 or 730: nap
    730: eat
    9 or 930 to 10 or 10:30:nap
    1030: eat
    12: eat
    1am: sleep

    It used to be that he’d go down for the night closer to 12, but has been creeping later and later. Plus, it means I am up late getting him down and then still have to get up early for work– so he may not be getting up in the middle of the night, but I am still suffering from a lack of sleep. What can we do here? Thanks!

    • This is exactly what our 15 wk old is doing! We still haven’t figured out yet how to have an earlier bedtime. Did you figure out what worked? I’ve tried bedtime at 7, 9, and 11pm, and baby’s still sleeping for her long stretch around 1 or 2am.

      • We have managed to get his bedtime back to between 7 and 8. I wish I could tell you we discovered some secret but he actually took to it pretty easily. We just started all of his nighttime ritual stuff before what used to be his last nap. This includes cluster feeding–usually he nurses every three hours but we nurse him at around 5:30 and then again just before bedtime. After the 5:30 feeding, he hangs out upstairs in our bed with us cuddling and playing, then he gets stories about a half hour before bed time. He then nurses again, gets changed, gets a couple of songs, and then into his crib.

        We slowly moved his bedtime earlier until we got it where we wanted it. My wife gets him up and nurses him at around 12:30 and then he gets up on his own one more time during the night.

        I think he wanted it to be earlier himself and that helped. It felt like he was sort of out-growing it. This would have been around the four month mark. Now he’s six months and sleeps from 7:30ish to 7:30 ish with the two wake-ups. A couple of times he has skipped the second feeding but that’s very rare. Other nights he wakes up other times, and lately he’s not wanted to go back to sleep after the second feeding without help. It’s far from perfect but we’re doing okay.

        Our main struggle lately is his naps. He’s a little weirdo–he goes to sleep on his own at night but not during the day. He’ll sit and babble in his crib to his heart’s content but won’t go to sleep without being rocked, and then he wakes up at 40 minutes on the button 90% of his naps. Sigh. I think we’re going to have to try some kind of controlled crying.

        We did it for his bedtime and it worked well (not cry it out–we put him down and if he cries wait just 5 minutes, then go in and pick up and rock him and repeat a phrase over and over, then put him back down and leave. If he starts crying again, wait five and go back in but this time just stand next to the crib and repeat the phrase. Then five more minutes and then stand farther away. He never lasted longer than that.) Maybe we will try that for his naps and see where it gets us.

        Good luck with yours! You may find you have more success in a couple of weeks.

        • Thanks for the thorough reply! I’ve tried bedtime with her 3rd nap (doing the bedtime routine before), but I’ll try again. Maybe she wasn’t ready for it then. If that still doesn’t work, I’ll try to keep her from her 4th catnap; perhaps that’ll consolidate her sleep.

          Regarding falling asleep, we have your opposite problem. She goes down for her 1st/2nd naps pretty well. We just put her in the crib after we notice her yawning/rubbing her eyes and she falls asleep after 10 min of staring at her mobile. 3rd nap requires a bit more soothing though she almost passes out herself for her 4th catnap. Bedtime is a struggle – rocking/singing lullabies for 20min before we put her down sound asleep.

        • May,

          It’s awesome that Dave had such a great success with inching bedtime up but some babies need more of a push in which case you might need to start waking baby up earlier in the AM to shift the day up. Babies who go to sleep super late sleep super late so yours might not start the day until 8 AM or so. Start waking her up earlier 15 minutes a day – 7:45, 7:30, etc. Then everything else inches up too. It’ll take a while to get to a nice target bedtime of 7:30 but I promise it’ll work if you stick with it!

          Good luck – cheers!
          Alexis
          Alexis Dubief recently posted..When Babies Drop Naps and What to Do About itMy Profile

  38. My 26-week old goes to bed at 6:30-7. He gets 4 naps per day, usually at least 2 are 60-90 minutes, and at least one is always 30 minutes. Lately he has been waking up 2+ times per night, typically the first is 1-2 am, then again at 4ish and then it’s VERY hard to get him back to sleep but we usually eke out another hour or so and he’s up by 6. I’m wondering if his bedtime is too early, and if so, what do I do? I don’t want to deny him his early evening nap, because if so we will be in violation of the 3rd sleep commandment which says never keep a baby his age up more than 2 hours… but I would love for him to sleep a bit later in the am and go back to 1 waking per night (we enjoyed a glorious couple of weeks with only 1 wake up at about 3 am…. sigh).

  39. My 11 month old son goes to bed 10-11pm, takes two shot naps during the day,he hyperactive and always restless,he sleeps all through the night and he doesn’t have a definite time he wakes up.how can I help him sleep early?. He’s a very light sleeper

  40. Hi Alexis,

    We’ve been putting our 8 mo old to bed around 8pm. Is that too late for her? She just recently started sleeping thru the night (mainly thanks to your training suggestions!) And is waking around 6:20/6:30 am. I would love it if she’d sleep til 7:30am, or at least 7 when it starts to get light out. Would an earlier bedtime help this? I did notice last night she went to bed late at 9pm & woke even earlier, 6am. We had gone out to eat with some family that had just gotten into town and came home after 8. If we do move her bedtime, does this mean we can never eat out later in the evening if baby is with us? Is it OK to occasionally let her stay up late?

  41. How can I push BACK bedtime? I have an almost 9 month old that goes to bed at 6:30. Those few times shes gone down closer to 7-7:30ish, it seems like she sleeps better.

    • Well one option would have been to use daylight savings time to your advantage :)

      Try chipping away at it – move bedtime 15 minutes every 2 hours. See what happens if you do things gradually. Chances are she’s at the age where she still sort of needs the 3rd nap but won’t take one and thus the early bedtime suits. Generally I vote to go WITH the early bedtime but if you’re experience is that later is better move it back gradually. Once you’ve moved it to 7 ish stick there for 5-7 days and see what develops.
      Alexis recently posted..Pediatrics Study on White Noise: Sounding Off on Sound MachinesMy Profile

  42. Hello
    My daughter is almost 7 months old and I’m just wondering if what I’m doing is right for her? We start her bedtime routine between 7:30 and 7:45 and she is usually in bed no later than 8:30. She usually doesn’t wake up until 6-6:30 the next morning. She’ll go down for her first nap about 2 hours after she wakes up and the first nap is anywhere from 1.5-2 hours. She usually does fine with the first nap, putting herself to sleep with virtually no fussing. The second nap is a little harder, but she still will sleep about 1-1.5 hours. The third nap is virtually nonexistent. I know they start to drop naps as they get older, but I didn’t think it would be this early. Also, she isn’t very flexible about bedtime, so if we’re out at 7:30, she starts to get cranky and will fuss until we get her home and start her routine. Is this normal for babies this age? I’m not saying I want to have her out late evey night, but once in a while to visit with family or friends would be nice. Thanks for any help!

  43. Hi there!

    My almost 10 month old, who was sleep trained at 5 months seems to be off a normal schedule. Her day is usually:

    Wake: 5:15am (but we don’t go to her until 6)
    AM nap: 8:30-9:40
    PM nap: 12:40-1:40
    Bedtime: 5-5:30

    We are generally following the 3-3.5hr wake time, and lately her afternoon nap is been a big struggle. It takes her 15 min to fall asleep and then she only sleeps for 20 min! She is cranky for the rest of the day, and getting her to bedtime is exhausting. Also, the 5pm bedtime really sucks!

    Can you help!?

  44. Ok, so what if an almost 7 month old has two great naps during the day, and maybe an evening nap. Some days his evening nap may not happen until 6:30/7:00pm. Does that need to be his bedtime, or do we keep this evening nap and then get him to bed, say, at 9pm? We used to do a consistent 8pm-ish bedtime (if his evening nap was at 5:30/6) but that has been thrown off for whatever reason for the last several days. Thoughts?

  45. Hi Alexis,

    I was just hoping for a little insight, my son is 5 months and has always had this problem. I put him to bed between 7 and 7:30 and 4-5 nights a week he is up at the 45 min mark. Basically he often treats bedtime like a nap. It takes my hubby and I one to two hours to get him back to sleep (pretty miserable).
    Other insight: I like to keep him on a flexible schedule. He wakes between 7 and 8am with two hour wake time. He notoriously cat naps 45 min naps with the occasional longer nap so its hard to say what time of day he naps but wake time is almost always two hours. Usually he puts himself to sleep with some “ssshhh” patting, but occasionally he will fall asleep in my arms before we reach the bed after his routine…
    Any insight would be much appreciated…just very curious if there is something I can do to improve these shenanigans!
    Sarah recently posted..7 Sleep Lessons from a Stanford Pediatric Sleep SpecialistMy Profile

  46. My 3 mo sleeps about 10 hours a night. Currently he goes down around 1030-1100pm and sleeps until 8-830am. This is great for night time sleep, but in the last two weeks he had been very cranky during the day and averages about a 30 min nap ever three hours. I know the bed time is late, and we have been trying to push it back to 8pm to match up with our 16 mo. He sleeps from 8-8 and takes a 2 hour nap in the afternoon. I’m not sure if this is a stage of fussiness or if he is really overtired( probably the case). I would just leek some advice on how to proceed.

    Thanks so much!

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