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Getting a baby off to sleep in the evening SOS

(32 Posts)
ibis17 Mon 19-Oct-20 21:26:40


I realise this is the third sleep question in the last day or so (and found the answers to the others comforting), but wondered if anyone has tips on getting a baby off to sleep in the evening. There currently seems a huge gap between what our health visitor tells us and the reality of our baby (first child, currently 7 months). We’ve been told she should fall asleep in her cot at around 7, however, more often than not we’re still up with a tired but wide awake and playful baby at 10pm...

She used to sleep quite well - would fall asleep on the breast between 8 and 9. Now she has the same routine (solids at 5, bath and story at 6.30/7, feed at 7.45) and will almost fall asleep, but will then wake up. It feels like she gets a second wind. Our health visitor has said to put her in the cot while awake, but she just cries and becomes very distressed. Apart from in the pram, she has never fallen asleep when not feeding (although we have tried periodically her whole life). Both my partner and I are exhausted and would appreciate any advice/ solidarity.

Thank you.

OP’s posts: |
Ohalrightthen Mon 19-Oct-20 21:31:20

The second wind is a symptom of overtiredness, she's gone out the other side. What are her naps like?

Lazypuppy Mon 19-Oct-20 21:33:48

As you say OP, she is used to being fed to sleep, you need to break that cycle.

And yes 2nd wind is overtiredness.

HalfBloodPrincess Mon 19-Oct-20 21:35:49

What are her daytime naps like?

Nowisthemonthofmaying Mon 19-Oct-20 21:39:35

Just put her to bed later! Babies don't know what time they 'should' be sleeping and she's obviously not tired enough to sleep at 7.

Mmsnet101 Mon 19-Oct-20 21:48:01

How long is bath time? Too much stimulation can get them into overtired status and then they can't switch off.

Try a dark room, no stimulation but just be there and hold/comfort and see if they settle. Mine grew out of liking being swayed etc to sleep, so now just likes a cuddle and then no stimulation but me or DP in the room breathing slowly and deeply. She then matches breathing and goes off to sleep.

Won't self settle when teething though, so 9/10 we're holding until she's asleep then putting her down. Breaks all the rules but works for us smile

Thatwentbadly Mon 19-Oct-20 21:54:23


Just put her to bed later! Babies don't know what time they 'should' be sleeping and she's obviously not tired enough to sleep at 7.

I’m agreeing with this. Younger babies have lots of naps so often aren’t ready to sleep at 7.

Oly4 Mon 19-Oct-20 22:03:35

I really wouldn’t worry about this for the first year. Babies are crazily unpredictable with sleep for the first two years in my opinion!
And it’s not unusual that she cries when you put her in her cot. This is why people end up doing awful sleep training. Babies don’t want to be left alone to “self settle”.
Mum of three here, I cuddled and fed them all to sleep for the first 1.5 years. Can you feed her to sleep at 7/8? She will eventually learn to go to sleep on her own but not for a long time yet. I’d just feed to sleep for now or rock her. You can break these habits later by just laying with them while they go to sleep.. and then eventually you just say goodnight and they go to sleep alone!

AnneLovesGilbert Mon 19-Oct-20 22:07:52

We’ve been told she should fall asleep in her cot at around 7 hmm

I never saw my HV after 4 weeks and good job too if she’d spouted crap like this.

She’s talking absolute crap.

Do you want to stop feeding to sleep? If not you don’t have to, it works for a reason.

Keep her up later and see if that works. I know baby free time can feel precious but they change so very fast at this age and if you can just give yourselves up to accommodating what works for your unique baby instead of fighting it you’ll find things easier.

Spanglebangle Mon 19-Oct-20 22:14:54

Health visitor is crazy, all babies are different. My first was a brilliant sleeper. DS goes to bed around midnight feeds at 4 and 6, up at 8. One nap in the day for an hour, two if I'm lucky.

He is a happy, smiley baby all the time. He just doesn't need much sleep. Which quite frankly sucks for me!

Geluksvogel Mon 19-Oct-20 22:42:20

DD is 7 month. At 6 months she was a complete sleep refusenik. The first thing was to not feed to sleep and break the association and allow her to work out how to fall asleep and settle back to sleep. Did that a month ago. Mainly working out what was feeding and what was comfort. Now she sleeps through on her own and is put to sleep full and tired but not asleep.

Our night time routine is almost identical to yours:
Solids at 5
Bath at 6 ish
Feed at 6.30 ish in bedroom
Bed at 7
Normally asleep at 7.10

So earlier than you do so she’s not over tired. After that and it’s a nightmare. It all gets adjusted depending on tiredness cues. All children are different so might not work for you but might assist. You have our sympathy though!

spacegirl86 Mon 19-Oct-20 22:56:28

Our 15mo dd goes to bed with us at 10ish. Often only has one nap. Have stopped feeding during the day so now will only nap in pram. Feeds to sleep at night and is up multiple times a night.

Sorry no help to you, but you are not alone. I'm off to find some matchsticks for my eyes.

grassisjeweled Mon 19-Oct-20 23:02:41

What everyone said, when is she napping?

I'd put her to bed earlier, straight after bath

ShirleyPhallus Mon 19-Oct-20 23:05:55

That’s a really long bedtime routine, and you don’t say what time she has her last nap but if she’s eating dinner at 5pm and going to sleep at 7.45 then it’s nearly the right amount of time for her age. So possibly overtiredness

You need to get your wake windows and day time naps sorted at an age appropriate time

Then some sleep training. There are gentle methods and also CC. We went down the latter route and our 6.5 month DD was sleeping 7-7 within a week.

Lots of help and advice on here if you AS threads

AlwaysLatte Mon 19-Oct-20 23:16:23

We always found ours liked to feed or at least to be soothed/sung to sleep, so we tended to keep them with us in a dimly lit quiet room downstairs until we went to bed around 11. They'd be totally asleep but were deep sleepers so when we went to bed we just popped them into their beds, then they'd sleep all night till around 8.00. When the oldest started preschool at 2.5 we had to ensure an earlier bedtime so one would settle him into his room and the other soothed the baby downstairs. They've always been great sleepers, just didn't really like being left awake when they were little so we never did.

jessstan1 Mon 19-Oct-20 23:31:26


Just put her to bed later! Babies don't know what time they 'should' be sleeping and she's obviously not tired enough to sleep at 7.

That's right. Health visitors cannot or at any rate, should not, be telling you what is right for your baby who is an individual. If she is happy downstairs with you for longer, that's fine. She will sleep when she is ready.

ThatDirection Mon 19-Oct-20 23:31:32

I agree with a puebla poster that your bedtime routine is too long. I seem to remember we'd bath our baby around 6 and then go into the dimly lit bedroom, quietly read a book or two, then feed the baby, then lay her down just before 7.

I expressed a bottle a day, so DH have her the last feed from a bottle, so she was happy going down awake. But dd1 was fed to sleep following that same bath/bed routine.

What time does your baby wake in the morning? When does she nap?

Does she make obvious sleep cues, like rubbing her eyes or pulling at her ears? Use those. It does sound like your missing her natural sleep cycle and she's ending up over tired and irritable.

DontBuyANewMumCashmere Mon 19-Oct-20 23:37:49

Every baby and family's situation is different but my DS 14m is still feeding to sleep at night. I feed him, creep away, go to feed him when he wakes and co sleep in the night. It works well for us. He is my second, did exactly the same with my first and she was sleeping through in her own bed before 3. She's never come into our bed in the middle of the night.

If it's OK for you to keep feeding then crack on. You might need to tweak naps. One longer nap closer to midday rather than two naps, maybe?
If my son has slept after 3pm then he won't go to sleep till way after 8.

Good luck. It does get easier.

Letsallscreamatthesistene Tue 20-Oct-20 05:12:10

Rather than bedtimes, id look at awake windows. My very nearly 7 month old can be awake for about 3hrs before needing a sleep. What time is she waking from her last nap? Maybe shorten the bath? Then when you're feeding her, have a night light on, white noise on (if you use it), and baby already in a sleeping bag, minimal interaction from whoever is doing the feed.

My routine looks like this

1530 - wake from last nap
1645 - evening solids
1700 - walk outside
1800 - bath/bottle/bed
1845 - will usually be asleep

I would absolutely ignore anyone who tells you what a baby should be doing - all babies are different and im guessing they dont know yours.

ibis17 Tue 20-Oct-20 09:19:22

Thanks everyone, this is all really helpful. I think she is absolutely becoming too tired. She’s not a big napper in the day (never has been) if we’re lucky we get half an hour around 10am and an hour between 3 and 4, both from a feed and on me... but I would say 50% of the time she won’t nap at all in the day. Have run this by the GP multiple times and get told that she just doesn’t need much sleep. She’s very cheerful/ calm as a character. Once asleep at night she wakes once or twice asking to feed and then will happily lie in until 9 if we let her, but we try to wake her at 7.45am to keep to a rhythm.

OP’s posts: |
1738hey Tue 20-Oct-20 18:27:14

This is why I never trust healthy visitors! All their advice is just their own opinion 🤦🏼‍♀️ I'd let her sleep til 9 if she needs it, sleep promotes sleep and if she doesn't nap in the day that extra hour or so might be just what she needs smile

Thatwentbadly Tue 20-Oct-20 18:35:08

If you have a 7 months old who only wakes once or twice a night I think things are going really well.

Lazypuppy Tue 20-Oct-20 21:07:14

Why would you wake her up at 7:45?! Let her sleep!

Especially if she doesn't nap well in the day

firstimemamma Tue 20-Oct-20 21:13:07

I breastfed to sleep well beyond the age of 1. It's lovely and natural. Lots of health visitors told me it was 'bad' but really everything was completely fine and I have a happy and independent toddler who spends his days running away from me now grin

BlusteryShowers Tue 20-Oct-20 21:13:42

I've found it easier to be guided broadly by their patter rather than imposing one on them.

When my daughter was 4/5 months she went through a phase of sleeping 11pm-11am which was actually brilliant as I had the whole morning to myself! She's naturally moved more like 7-7 now but with teething she's disrupted and has up been up til past 10pm a few times this week.

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