Establishing bedtime for almost 5 month old(22 Posts)
DS2 is 20 weeks old and we're really struggling with establishing a decent bedtime. I'm concerned he's not getting enough sleep at night as he doesn't go down until about 10pm still
We give him a bath at 7.30pm and then feed but he doesn't go to sleep then. If he does he treats it as a short nap then wakes up until he feeds and sleeps around 9.30pm.
He's a short napper in general and breast feeds to sleep. We hold him for about 10/15 minutes then put him down, and he'll stay for about 30 minutes.
Rough (very rough) schedule is:
First nap 8.30
Wake by 9.30, maybe earlier
Second nap 11.30
Wake by 12.30
Third nap 15.00
Wake by 16.00
Last nap 17.30 (he's often in a sling so we can pick DS1 up from nursery). This is a 30 minute catnap even if held.
Awake by 18.15
Sleep 21.30 at the earliest.
Anyone's 4-5 month old do similar? Any ideas how to get him down earlier? Should we do bath later and then bring it incrementally forward? He's pretty fractious and tired seeming from 7pm and the bath cams him down a bit but he doesn't go to sleep after it.
From my memory of DS it was only once he dropped the tea time nap that he could go to bed 'early'. My DD is now almost 5 months and I think is going through this now - if she sleeps at 5ish I don't even try putting her down til late, but if she doesn't have it she'll be asleep for the night by 7.30.
So if you want him asleep early o think it relies on keeping him awake through that time. Not easy when they're a bit cranky and you have an older one though!
Thanks for replying. I just don't remember when ds1 did it! You might be right about that early nap. Hard to drop when I have him in the sling for an hour at that time but Dh has said he can do pick ups instead of drop offs for a bit to see if it helps.
That said, having a rubbish night tonight too - won't stay asleep longer than 30 minutes and can't resettle - so might wait until after our holiday in 2 weeks, and any 4 month sleep regression to pass!
This probably isn't helpful but my DD is around the same age and I do the exact opposite to the previous poster! I work on the principle that good daytime sleep = good nighttime sleep. So every single time she shows sleep cues I put her down for a nap, even though sometimes she's only been awake for 1.5 hours or so. She's the same as your DS and sleeps for around 45 minutes at a time so this does mean a lot of naps - up to five a day!
Then around 45 mins from last nap we start the bedtime routine, and then it's into the cot for the big sleep. This could be any time between 7-8.
Personally I would definitely not be trying to keep him up as surely then he'll just become yet more overtired and harder to settle? Every baby is different though so not suggesting I have some magic solution!
That is helpful. I've always worked on that principle too. With DS1 it was absolutely the case that they more he slept, the better he slept so I've been doing that with DS2 too. I also recall that DS1 had a late nap until he was about 9 months old and still went to sleep at 8. Maybe my expectations are a bit high for this stage. I just feel like he's not getting enough sleep. Tonight, I know I'm not!
My DD was exactly the same, she's now 7 months and in a lively routine! I found that as soon as she dropped her evening nap she started going to bed at about 8, I didn't do anything to get her to drop it, it just happened one day. Hope this helps
I have a catnapper around the same age and would second the good daytime sleep philosophy! Just a thought but from your timings it occurred to me that if he wakes at 1800/1815 he'll be ready for sleep again about 1930/1945 (assuming a 90 minute wakefulness cycle which seems to hold true for us). Is it possible that you're bathing him just as he gets sleepy and waking him up again? Also possibly the excitement of being around DS1 again? So he's then awake another 90mins until around 2100...Don't know how practical it would be when you have other child to organise too but maybe try bathing and winding down earlier?
We are only just starting to get consistent bedtimes and longer naps so hang in there!
That same thought occurred to us this evening. We were thinking that from 6.30 we take him into another room for a bit and either do bath at 6.45 or push DS1 bath back to 7.15 (although he's usually pretty tired and ready for bed so don't want to mess his routine up). Might give it a go
My baby was 5 months yesterday and has that EXACT routine except he doesn't take the cat nap anymore just naturally dropped it so wakes from last nap at 4pm (ish) and then bath etc at 6 asleep for 7
He's not quite 5 months do maybe he'll drop it himself. Hard when he's in the sling although I think that's going to change soon too as we turn his pram into a buggy and I'll use that instead (he hates the pram).
Am going to attempt this schedule today:
6.30 – Wake and Breast milk or Formula
8:00 – Morning Nap (at least 1 hour)
11:00 – Nap (often 30-60 minutes at this age)
2:00 – Nap
5:00 – Catnap (30 minutes)
6:30 – Begin bedtime routine
6:45 – Breast milk or Formula and Bedtime
7:00 – Goal to be asleep
In the hope that sleeping well brings more sleep. Don't know whether it's best to establish a schedule or work on self settling but since ds1 didn't self settle until I stopped bfing at 1 year I think I'll try a schedule.
If you think bath is stimulating then drop it. Don't try to change whole day - that's too much for you and him. Though tbh sounds to me that nothing will change until he drops his last nap of his own acvord. Let him sleep when he needs to and count your lucky stars you have a baby who can sleep of own accord (took at least 40 mins of encouragement for my ds to have 20 mins sleep - my entire day consisted of this. With hindsight I was a bit obsessed and should've just let it go).
Getting a 5 month old to regularly be asleep by 7pm is ambitious for most. Don't put pressure on yourself. Is it a big problem for him to be awake till 9.30? What do those hours look like ie baby sat in living room with you or you in bedroom with him? I know having a couple of hours to yourself in the evening is important so a temporary shared strategy with your dh might be necessary which allows you to have some down time.
If he's in the sling he will fall asleep so probably can't hope for much change until that stops. Saying that, mine would sleep in the pushchair too!
This too will pass
Angelik I'm not really trying to change the whole day as that schedule isn't far off what he does, but with an earlier bedtime.
I'm not concerned about our evenings. Once he's had the bath he calms down and is happy enough to sit in his bouncer while we have our dinner. The only reason I'm looking to make a change is that it feels like this isn't working for him. He seems over tired in the evenings and I actually think he'd like to go to sleep earlier. I'm just not sure how to get there. Also, I'm laughing that you interpreted his naps as something to thank my lucky stars about! He needs a lot of feeding, rocking, bouncing, begging and some more feeding to get him to nap for 20/30 mins and he has to be held for a lot of his nap. Often when I put him down he wakes within 5/10 mins. I think if he got better sleep at night (the 10/11 hours recommended instead of 8/9) then maybe he'd nap better.
Worth a try!
Forgot to add that DH does his share. He usually puts DS1 to bed if I'm feeding the little one, although occasionally we swap (I miss reading DS1''s stories!). He also cooks dinner most nights and will hold DS2 between feeds. Also, once he falls asleep he holds him so I can go off and get ready for bed etc. and if he's twitchy I'll just go off to bed and DH will put him down later. He'll also shh pat him or try and settle him if he is waking earlier than he'd usually need a feed.
I think this is a really tricky time until they drop that 3rd nap around 5/6 months. We also found that once they were eating it really helped with more of a schedule. And we had to gently encourage both of ours to learn to fall asleep on their own - while I was still bfeeding them to sleep they would wake up very often. Good luck!
Thanks. I do think it's all normal and not necessarily in need of fixing. In the middle of the night it seemed like a bigger issue. . Ds1 was probably just the same but I just don't remember it.
At 5 months, DS was having his final nap 3-4pm then bed at 7pm.
At 6 months he dropped his lunch time nap so his afternoon nap is earlier... his routine is now:
9.30 nap (1.5 hrs till 11am)
2.00 nap (1 hour till 3pm)
So we are working on a 3.3.4 routine.
A friend had a baby that was having a late nap like yours and would never go to bed before at least 9.30. She managed re-jig it all and her baby is now sleeping brilliantly from 7.30 pm
She said they key was making sure she wasn't out in the car at tea time as she was impossible to keep awake
I would spend my days breastfeeding my ds to sleep every 1.5-2 hours, after reading on here constantly about babies being overtired. It became an obsession and if he'd been awake longer than 2 hours I'd be whizzing out in the car urgently. He was waking on average 10 times a night.
I realised one day that actually he just wasn't that tired. I started leaving longer between naps (against all the sleep charts on google and advice on here) and he was like a new baby. He now age 7 months is regularly sleeping through and if he doesn't he will only normally wake once.
I'm not saying your baby needs less sleep but just bear in mind they're all different, and for us a lot of day sleep definitely did not mean good night sleep!!
Ah I came back to ask how you're managing with an older one too as I find that's my biggest problem around sleep - my 4yo always senses when I need to pay attention to the baby and wakes her when I'm trying to get her to sleep.
It's bad enough at nap time but at bedtime he's so demanding and messes around so much that I can hardly pay any attention to DD. She's just drifting off on the boob when exhausted.
However my DH is never back to help so got to struggle on!
Mine would be the same Penelope but fortunately Dh is here at bedtime. He can work at home in the evening if he needs to. I haven't had to do both bedtimes my own yet.
To update, yesterday ds2 was knackered all day and had a long afternoon nap until 4.30 so wasn't tired enough to sleep in the sling. Worked perfectly for new plan so did bath at 6 45 and he went to sleep feeding after that. Woke for another feed 30 mins later and then stayed down until 11.30. He'd a crappy night overall but that's just the phase he's in.
Today he had a nap that finished at 3.30 and I wasn't picking ds1 up today so he wasn't in the sling. I thought he wanted to go to sleep around 5 but he wouldn't drop off so I left it. Did bath at 6.45 again and he's now asleep. Fully expect him to wake and feed again but it does seem like my suspicions were right and he does want to sleep earlier.
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