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How do you keep a baby awake (so that he sleeps better at night)?

(17 Posts)
cheeseycharlie Fri 16-Sep-11 18:52:51

DS is 6 weeks. Sleeps well day and night, however after the early morning feed at 2/3/4 am or whenever it is he takes an extremely long time to settle back down, anything up to 2 hours, which on top of the time awake for the feed and nappy change etc means I am losing out on a lot of sleep. No real prospect of catching up on sleep during daylight hours thanks to 2.5 yo DD.

Several have suggested I try and keep DS awake more in the day especially the afternoon so that he sleeps better at night. I can see the logic of this. But when he takes his feeds at lunch time and late afternoon he falls asleep at thie breast and if he wakes when I put him down he cries until I give him the pacifier and he goes back to sleep. If I dont give dummy maybe he'll stay awake but he's crying and miserable bcos he wants to sleep so that doesn't really feel like the answer.

So how do I keep him awake without being cruel so that he sleeps better at night?

Cheers gals any advice v welcome!

cjbartlett Fri 16-Sep-11 18:55:54

I don't think you can at that age, as horrendous as it is you just have to go with when your baby wants to eat and sleep

Do you co sleep? That can minimise the disruption at night? Or get your partner to take the baby once he's been fed in the night - especially at the weekend so you can catch up on some sleep

Flisspaps Fri 16-Sep-11 18:56:43

I don't think you should try to keep him awake. You'll probably end up with an overtired baby who will be even harder to settle.

Although it's a PITA, babies sleep when they need to sleep, not when you want them to - especially when they're very little.

bamboobutton Fri 16-Sep-11 18:58:18

after trying to force a routine on ds and failing miserably i would suggest forgetting about a routine.

with dd i let her sleep and feed when she wanted it and everything was a lot less stressful.

forget the idea that he will sleep through, if you keep him awake it'll only make him over tired and will wreck his sleep even more.
most babies don't sleep through until about 6/7mo anyway and at 6weeks he will need night feeds.

madwomanintheattic Fri 16-Sep-11 18:59:07

honestly? go with the flow and carry on with what you're doing for another month or two. babies haven't read those 'proper routine' books, and quite often those who sleep well in the day sleep well at night, and those who are poor sleepers at night sleep a lot better when they do sleep in the day - so the less sleep in the day/ more sleep at night thing doesn't really hold true in most cases, not until they get to about 18 mos- 2yrs.

at 6 weeks i wouldn't be stressing. just make sure that you are making daytime naps 'different' to night time sleep - so not doing the bath/ dark room routine. and try and get some 'outside ' time.

if he wants to sleep, at 6 weeks, really, let him. and sleep yourself if you need to. but do try and carry out 'daytime' activities so that he learns the difference between naps and night time.

if it helps, with all three of mine, i would do the night time feeding, and dh would be responsible for the changing/ settling as required. not sure if dp is around, but do remember to share the parenting burden as far as poss.

madwomanintheattic Fri 16-Sep-11 18:59:53

ha! lots of x-posts all saying the same thing. grin

madwomanintheattic Fri 16-Sep-11 19:04:57

oh, and 2.5 dd isn't going to be harmed irrevocably if you insist on an hour's quiet time, with her sitting next to you on the sofa watching dora the explorer. or better still, invest in a couple of mornings or afternoons at nursery, so that she can socialise with her peer group, whilst you crash with the baby. wink quiet time was a definitive rule once #2 and #3 arrived.

of course, the baby will be wide awake the whole time she's at nursery, but it might tire her out enough so that she'll watch dora quietly. grin

cheeseycharlie Fri 16-Sep-11 20:11:09

So the consensus seems to be to let DS do what he wants which is of course fine at 6 weeks old... I am not trying to get him to drop the night feed or anything, I just would like it if he could settle to sleep quickly after finishing the night feed. He goes out like a light after the afternoon feeds! That's all I'm trying to remedy. Ho hum sometimes there are no easy answers

madwomanintheattic Fri 16-Sep-11 20:12:24



the answer is hand him over to dp once you've fed him and go back to sleep.

AngelDog Fri 16-Sep-11 20:16:43

Yes. Day/night organisation only really gets going at 6-8 weeks. Most babies that age can only stay awake max 1.5 hours before needing a sleep again.

My DS was always awake for 2 hours in the night every time he woke at that age. It did improve on its own till he just went straight back to sleep after feeds.

peedieworky Fri 16-Sep-11 21:26:00

I found at that age my DS slept better at night if he had napped well during the day. Days when he hadn't slept he was a nightmare to put down and was overtired and grumpy.

boognish Fri 16-Sep-11 23:50:07

I agree with peedieworky. I've also read somewhere that babies do sleep better at night if they've slept well during the day, making all that Gina Ford keep-your-baby-awake stuff seem quite wrong. Babies really need their sleep and you should just let them nod off they want to at that tender age. But it apparently helps them set their body clocks if you take them out in the afternoons for a bit of sunlight - although I'm sure you're doing this anyway.

cheeseycharlie Sat 17-Sep-11 05:27:12

Thanks boog yes we're getting out in the daylight as much as poss (it's also good for my sanity grin)

Have heeded advice and got DH to settle him after tonight's 2am feed which has made a big diff to me. Was reluctant to enlist his help as DH has a business to run plus he also does the mornings and bedtimes with 2.5 yr o when he's in the house, but as it's not a work day tmrw I figured he could manage!

Thing is it did seem to be another v unsettled night. Hopefully you guys are right and DS will sort out his day from might in the coming weeks. Looks like he's conked out on the boob now so time to try and get a bit more shuteye..

Octaviapink Sat 17-Sep-11 19:04:01

Do NOT try and keep your baby awake! Harmful developmentally and makes it harder to get him to sleep when you 'want' him to. At this age sleep begets sleep. At 6 weeks they haven't yet found a rhythm so you're in for lots of unsettled nights, for a few months yet. Go with the flow but don't try to keep him awake in the day. Sleep deprivation with a new baby is quite a well-publicised side-effect of having children. grin.

ll31 Sat 17-Sep-11 19:19:38

think you should just let your baby sleep when he needs to sleep - he's 6 wks, imho way too young to be trying to get into routine..

ItsTimeToBurnThisDiscoDown Thu 29-Sep-11 23:58:52

My 8 week old sleeps much better at night if he's slept in the day - if he gets overtired he's much more tricky to settle without tears (his and sometimes mine!), and I think he resists sleep if he's really tired. Sometimes if he won't settle at night after a feed I give him to DH and he settles just like that, I think because he can't smell milk.

Hth smile

PurpleCrazyHorse Fri 30-Sep-11 19:44:38

We co-slept with DD in the early mornings. I usually just dozed but it was still more restful than being out of bed. You just need to muddle through the best way you can.

DD was rubbish at sleeping but I tried to just roll with it and try not to stress about it. Get Dh/DP to do as much as is practical too.

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