Wake to Sleep

What is 'Wake to Sleep'?

Wake to sleep is a strategy used by The Baby Whisperer (and others, but she was the first I learned this from so she gets to be mentioned here) to help reset a child's pattern of habitual sleep awakenings. Just like any other sleeping method, it requires
commitment and consistency. The Baby Whisperer says it usually takes around 3 days to work but I'm going to say 3-7 days because I think that is just a safer number for those of you who start to freak out (I know, I'm one of those people) if something doesn't go by the book.  If it doesn't work after this amount of time, you may want to reevaluate the situation to make sure nothing else is going on, and then try again for at least another few days. Before using this method, do make sure your child truly is waking up habitually and doesn't have something else going on (click on the links in "when to use it" below for more information on this).

When can I use 'Wake to Sleep'?

How to use 'Wake to Sleep' at night
Your goal at night (this includes early morning awakenings too) is to get your baby to partially wake up into a semiconscious state so that she starts the sleep cycle over without completely waking. You do this about 1 hour prior to her normal habitual waking time by going into him while he is sleeping and moving him around a little, stroking him, maybe even changing his diaper. What works best depends on your baby. For my son Joshua I would have probably had to do a dance to get him to wake up enough. For my son Jacob I could whisper his name on the opposite side of the house and he'd wake up (OK, not really, but seriously, this kid is a light sleeper and it is super annoying!) You don't want to wake him up too much or he may want to stay awake, especially in the early morning hours. This isn't as big of a problem in the early part or middle of the night (assuming he is used to putting himself to sleep) because the drive to sleep is very strong. Set your alarm clock. Try to be pretty exact in your timing.  I know it won't be fun to do that in the middle of the night, but in the long run it will be worth it!

How to use 'Wake to Sleep' for naps
For naps you go into your baby about 30 minutes into the nap (this is shortly before she starts to rouse from a sleep cycle) and pat him gently on the back until his body relaxes which may take up to 20 minutes. If he doesn't relax with the patting, The Baby Whisperer suggests moving onto P.U./P.D. if over 3 months in age. Although The Baby Whisperer suggests to pat which would probably be very useful for some babies, especially those who have used her shush-pat methods in the past, it may not be useful for all babies so I suggest using whatever method of soothing works for your baby (although I have to warn against using certain sleep props that will result in more problems in the long run). Another good thing to do instead of patting is applying pressure to baby's tummy or back (depending on how she is sleeping) during the sleep transition to keep baby from jolting awake.

And finally.... Some Extra tips!
  • The Baby Whisperer's method during naps is a bit different than some experts. What many people suggest to do is go into baby during a nap just like you would at night. In other words, try to rouse them slightly without waking them and get out of there as fast as you can!
  • If baby doesn't stir (even a small twitch is usually enough) at all after like 30-60 seconds when you do your rousing method then do it again and do it a bit more vigorously if you need to. Trial and Error is necessary for this part. You won't really know what is too little or too much for your baby until you do it. But it is probably better to error on the side of too little at first.
  • I have italicized the word about before mentioning how early to go in to baby for a reason. This also requires trial and error. If baby wakes up when you go in then maybe try going in 10 minutes prior.
  • At naps you only go in once.
  • If there are multiple wakings at night I would work on one at a time. Once baby is out of the habit of waking at that time move onto another waking.
  • Make sure you are timing things by when baby falls asleep for naps, not when you put baby to bed. A video monitor obviously makes this easier to do but you can do it without one.
  • Sometimes you have to do wake to sleep more than once. Baby wakes up habitually...wake to sleep stops this...baby starts to wake habitually again...wake to sleep stops this again. The hope is that it will work for good the first time, but we all know babies aren't that simple!

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Related Posts:
Wake to Sleep - Personal Experience
Wake to Sleep AGAIN!


  1. Hi! My friend Melanie Hamblin told me about your blog when I facebooked about a situation with my 6.5 month old son. So, if you dont mind, I would LOVE your help. If its ok, ill start from the beginning. First off, I have read baby wise and Healthy Sleep Habits. They were both good but I am just not a CIO type of mom. ( I sooo thought I would be before my son was born) It makes my son way more wound up and overly tired. He has a very easy temperment and usually goes down pretty well. However, lately, he has been wanting to go down on a full tummy. This happened once he was able to stay up longer during the day. When he was napping every 2-2.5 hours, he always had a full tummy, then i would feed him when he woke. Anyway, I know he can go 4 hours with out eating and when I try to put him down once 3 hours has passed... he wont do it. So I end up feeding him but then the next time he is hungry is right before the next nap again so now feeding has become a sleep prop almost. Is it bad to feed him like 45 min before he goes down? Is that still a "sleep prop"?

    Next issue, we have been traveling for the last little bit for my husbands work. My son has always been great at knowing night from day and he started sleeping 8 hours around two months. (phew!) However, we went on a trip to LA for an interview and my sons naps got all messed up. When we got back home, he was wanting to go to bed at 6 pm! (before he was like clock work sleep from 7:15 to 7: am, nap at 9, nap at noon, nap 4....) But once we got back I figured he needed to "catch up" on sleep so I put him down when he was tired, around 5:45 or 6:00 pm. He still prefers going to sleep at 6 and when I put him down at 6 then he sleeps till 6 am. I have been very slowly trying to move the bed time in 20 min incriments back to 7 however, whenever I put him down around 7 - 7:30 he wakes up at 4 or 5 am just chit chatting and playing for about 45 min till he starts whining. Maybe this is because of the whole going to sleep on a full stomach thing? I dunno. I tried to CIO and shush pat and PI/PD then I found that rushing in before he got overwhelmed and feeding him and putting him right back down he slept until 7 or 7:30 agian!!! However, I am done getting up because I know he can sleep through that!! Growth spurts down usually last weeks right? I feed him TONZ during the day and if he goes down closer to 6 then he sleeps till almost 6 usually 5 (still way too early for me, hence the moving of bed time). AHHHH!!! As you can see, Im very frustrated and could use all the help.

    Sorry this was a total novel to read. I figured keeping in all specifics wouldnt hurt ;)


  2. Oh, and the last couple nights I have tried the wake to sleep but still he woke up around 4:45

  3. I promise this will be my last comment but I was just browsing your site again and I found the "dropping a nap" post and how it says that babys bed time may be earlier for a while. He just dropped his third nap so maybe thats why but he still wont sleep past 5:30 - 6 at the latest. with the earlier bed time.

    ok, im done :)

  4. Can you give me an idea of when he normally eats and sleeps. Just write out your average day with wake times, eat times, nap lengths etc. It'll help me help you :)

  5. for sure. but something I forgot to mention that is PROBABLY pretty good to know is that he has really bad reflux and allergies as well as pooping issues. ALSO, he has torticollis and he is getting a helmet in two weeks :) Its a good thing he is a happy baby. So maybe he just needs to eat a lot more often? sometimes its like he is hungry every 3 hours. Is that ok at nearly 7 months old?

    bed at 7 pm
    4 or 5 - wakes to eat then goes back to sleep (eats nearly 5 oz)
    7 am - wakes for the day and has 1 to 2 cans of fruits/veggies
    8: 45 ish or 9 - drinks 4 more oz (i have tried to feed him closer to 7 and he wont)
    930 ish - naps for about 1.5 - 2 hours
    11/1130 ish - run errands or play and have a snack (fruits or veggies)
    1:45 - 4-5 oz
    2:00 - nap for 1.5 hours (again.. ish)
    3:30 - wakes
    4:or 4:30 - ALWAYS crys for food and eats 3 oz
    5:00 family dinner we eat and he has a can of stage 2 fruit and can of stage 2 veggie
    6:15- tubby and night time ritual
    7:00 in bed with 5 more oz

  6. the 11/1130 is more a lunch... a can of veggies and i try to give him a bottle but only eats about and oz or two. forgot about that.

  7. Kelly,
    I will get to answering your question tomorrow. But for now, you might want to try a sippy with a little water after his nap. Sometimes babies that are used to eating when they wake up have a hard time without something. Even a few sips from a sippy can help them feel ok about things for a while :)

  8. Kelly,
    First off, some reflux babies need to eat more regularly and smaller amounts. If he does fine eating larger amount every, say 4 hours, then I don't think there is an issue. But if he spits up more or has other problems from eating bigger meals, you'll need give him less more often. Things usually get better as he gets older.

    Taking a quick glance at his daily formula it seems like he isn't getting as much as most babies his age. Do you feed him until he is full? I know this can be a bit tricky to tell since he is probably easily distracted at this age. This might be causing some of the hunger issues. Regardless, keep in mind that formula is still the most important thing at this age and don't let solids take the place of it too much. Anyway...as weird as it may sound, most babies will sleep better if you space the feeds out in the day a bit. The baby whisperer suggests giving milk followed by solids 2 hours later. I'm not a fan of this. then you are feeding baby all day long. I do milk shortly followed by solids (sometimes they are a bit spaced as I am helping my toddler but they are somewhat together). I give milk first because that is what I want baby to have most of. If baby starts to eat less milk, I give less solids otherwise I generally let baby have as much solids as he wants. IF baby is not into solids I might do solids first for a while. So I do
    7 milk and solids
    11 milk and solids
    3 milk (maybe a little solids--I consider the "snack" to be mostly milk)
    5-6 solids
    Once baby spaces out naps a bit I might give some milk as snack before the afternoon nap so more than 4/5 hours doesn't elapse without eating. This is just an example of what I do. It isn't necessarily the way to do things. But I think it keeps things pretty simple and teaches baby to eat farther apart which often helps with nights.

    Another thing I noticed is that he is up for a long time after that afternoon nap. He probably needs an earlier bedtime or a mini nap in the evening (like 30-45 minutes). Since he is used to not taking an evening nap it might not do it so an earlier bedtime will work better.

    Make sure if you try wake to sleep you do it consistently for 3-5 days. And you might need to play around with what time you do it at and how much you wake up baby.

    Usually an earlier bedtime (if needed) won't result in an earlier wake time. But this isn't always the case. Some babies will just wake earlier. What you can do is slowly move back bedtime a bit. Or sometimes you just keep things up for a few days and baby will start to sleep in later. Another thing you can do is go with the earlier wake time. STart your day at 6 (or whatever) and go from there. Baby may start sleeping in later in a few days, or if not, you can SLOWLY start to move the whole day back a bit. Maybe move the naps back slowly or don't go in to get baby from bed until a bit later every few days.

    I don't think feeding 45 minutes before a nap is a sleep prop. Feeding a few minutes before maybe, and feeding to sleep certainly is--but you know that :)

    Try feeding a bit less when he wakes early in the morning so he'll take more when he wakes at 7. Also, you can wean from this feeding by giving him less over time. you can even dilute feeds but maybe check with your ped before doing that. Or you can slowly move the feed closer to wake time.

    If you don't want to do CIO, I suggest the baby whisperer methods. Well, first try to get other things, like food, figured out, to make sure the situation is conducive for STTN.

    I don't know if I answered all your questions. If not, feel free to ask again!

    good luck!

  9. AH!! Thank you. That helped SOOOO much. When you mentioned taking a third nap it reminded me (which I forgot to mention), that he was taking three naps before but then that is when he started waking up so I thought maybe he didnt need the third nap anymore because he didnt need as much sleep at night. So maybe I should add the third nap if needed and still push bedtime closer to 7:30 again? Hm. I will try that tonight. Yes, I think focusing on feeding for a few days is a good idea too. Thanks so much. I remember reading all the sleep books and thinking to myself "I wish I could just email *the author* really quick and ask him just one question"... ha! But to me, you are just as good or better since you have read everything out there and are an experienced mommy. Thanks again!

  10. Kelly,
    My guess is that he would need to be in bed somewhere around 6 if he doesn't have that last nap. A third nap may or may not work. Sometimes a later bedtime makes night sleep worse but some times it isn't a big deal. Night sleep is better for you than day sleep so it is better to have an early bedtime instead of an extra nap, but if an early bedtime means an early morning waking then I'd stick to the extra nap. And remember to always go by your gut when you do things. While I generally have guidelines of how I do things, what I feel is right at the time is something a bit different. Glad I was able to help a bit!

  11. First, thanks for this incredible blog! - very helpful.
    My 5.5 months baby has been a good sleeper since day 1.
    She normally goes to sleep at around 8, following a bed time routine which she loves, and wakes up 11.5 -12 hours later. I dream feed her around 11.30.
    Often I give her a dummy if she wakes up crying around 4-5 and she goes back to sleep (I do that before she fully awakes).
    Occasionally she would wake up for 30 min-1 hour and would 'talk' to herself, until she falls back to sleep.
    However in the last week she is waking up hungry any time between 3-5.30.
    Once I feed her she quickly settles back to sleep. If I don't feed her, and only offer the dummy, she would either stay awake and free herself from the swaddle, and after about an hour of being awake would start fessing, or wake up every 15 min until I feed her.
    During the day she falls a sleep when and where she wants, usually for a total of 2 -2.5 hours.
    She is only breastfed, and I have started to introduce solids about 2 weeks ago (very small amount).
    Have you got any ideas how to put her back into sleeping full nights?
    Many thanks,

  12. Yoav,
    If it has only been going on a few days I will usually feed baby. Often things suddenly go back to normal. If it continues for several days I try to change things up.

    It is possible that the dream feed is causing issues. You can either change the timing of it, how much you feed her then, or try to drop it some or all. Sounds weird, but sometimes this is the issue. but not my first guess...

    It really does sound like she might be hungry then, but it is possible this isn't the case. Most babies I know of will happily eat after even a couple hours even if they are used to sleeping all night (assuming they aren't in deep sleep). I will often assume hunger if baby is unhappy with the pacifier (especially with a newborn), but I have seen many babies get to the point where the pacifier doesn't help anymore to put them back to sleep at night or during short naps when they get to a certain age, regardless of hunger. Most babies should be able to make it from df to wake time at this age even during a growth spurt. But some babies really seem to want to get that extra food during the night instead of the day. You can help them move it to the day by holding off on feeding them at night, but sometimes this is more work than it is worth if they get over the growth spurt soon.

    It sounds like she might not be getting enough day time sleep for her age. This can cause night wakings. And a lack of a day time routine (not saying this is the case just throwing out this thought) can cause the same thing. I have also seen very easy going babies that have always slept well start to have issues with sleep as they get older (at least 3-4 months). I can't say for sure why. Maybe they were always so easy going and wanted to sleep that when they got to an age where they didn't want to sleep as much (ie just want to play or see mom) then they did't have the understanding or discipline (weird word to use but not sure how else to say it) needed to sleep well. So sometimes these babies have to have a bit of sleep training of some sort. THings like the pacifier insertion or night wakings that used to happen infrequently start to happen more and more.

  13. Hi Rachel

    I have a six month old who has just Ed solids other than that exclusively breast fed. He goes to sleep at night really well like clockwork at 7:15. This week has has been solid with naps getting at least two hour naps one two hours after waking up and one two hours after waking the second time. He usually has a third cat nap (30 minutes some time in the after noon).

    In the night he wakes up to feed any time between 2 and 4 and then. Wakes up for the day around 6:30. Sometimes he eats more than others and some times he is very wet Dave and I want him to sleep through the night (which he has done on his own once). With out a consistent night wake up what would you suggest. Thanks. Jane

  14. Jane,
    Is the one waking his only feeding? If so, it is possible he might need it for a while longer until he is taking more solids. I say possible bc it really depends on who you talk to. Some say babies mgiht need it until solids are firmly established, others say they probably don't need it. A lot of mights and maybes! So I would keep in mind that you might be fighting a battle that can't be won!

    I would probably decrease how long you feed, dilute the feed slowly over time (check with your pediatrician to see if they are ok with this), or slowly move the feed closer to wake time by holding baby off a bit longer every few days. Wake to sleep still might work if you do it like at 1 am.

    Much luck!

  15. I have a four and a half month old, who has what the baby whisperer calls a "touchy" temperment. She usually goes down between seven and eight after a sleep routine. We put her to sleep by rocking her until she is really drowsy and then putting her in her crib. She then usually wakes between 10 and 10:30 for the dream feed and eats 4-5 oz. She then wakes at 1:00 (I have done wake to sleep for two days at 12:00 but she has still woken at 1:00), I go in and shush pat, give her a pacifier and she sleeps until 1:45 and starts crying so I feed her 3oz ( I have been trying to reduce this amount over the past few weeks). She then wakes around 4:15, sometimes it is just shush pat and sometimes we need to pick her up. Most nights we will have to go in every 45 min or so from 4:15 to 7:00 to put her back to sleep. Obviously, we are getting very tired! Any suggestions you might have would be great!

  16. Lynn,
    If she still wakes at 1 with the wake to sleep you might need to wake her up a bit more.

    Sounds like she is possibly overtired (how are naps?) and like she is using you guys, and possibly the pacifier, as sleep props. I would try to wean off how much you rock her before sleep so you can put her down less drowsly. I do recommend putting newborns down drowsy, but by this age it can lead to more problems and a few months down the line can take forever to get some babies to this state. You probably also need to drop the pacifier if you think it is causing the wakings and decrease how much of the shush/pat you do with wakings. Make sure you give her a chance to learn to settle by herself. Settling is different than letting a child scream. And listen for that mantra cry. You might be rushing in when you hear this and disrupting her when she is trying to settling herself to sleep.

    I bet you are tired! Hopefully things will improvement soon so you don't feel like the walking dead!


  17. Hi Rachel,
    Her naps are okay. She usally naps an hour and 15 at 8:45, an hour and fifteen at 11:45, and hour at 3 and then a catnap between 4 and 5 that 30-45 min. During the longer naps, I usually have to go in and put her back to sleep like we do at night. I am not sure how to eliminate the rocking and holding as she often cries hysterically until we go in. We have waited five to ten minutes to see if she will calm on her own - but she doesn't, and the crying becomes more frantic. We feel like we may have to resort to crying it out, but I don't want to do that either!

  18. Hi Rachel...seemslike I'm not the only one having sleep issues. I have a 5 month old boy, very easy going...great baby. He is on a 4 hour schedule during the day starting around 7:30am. He takes about 6oz every feeding and a dream feed around 10:30-11pm. He has a 1 1/2-2hr nap in the morning and afternoon and a catnap around 5:30pm. I lay him down awake and he can fall asleep sometimes with the soother and sometimes not. He has been waking at 1:30am and then is seems every 2hrs after that. I've tried letting him soothe himself but he just ends up getting really upset and really awake...we also have a 3 yr old who ends up waking up. If I go in to him and give him his soother it seems to help but then it falls out and he wakes again on occasion. I've tried picking him up and holding him...that worked great, but I don't want to get in the habit of that. I haven't tried the wake to sleep method yet. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  19. Lynn,
    Just slowly eliminate with the rocking. Do it until she is drowsy still, but not quite so drowsy. I guess, even if you do that, you still have the sleep prop issues and not being able to go to sleep more awake by herself is part of that. You might need to cut out on the rocking until sleepy pretty quickly so that you can work on the prop issues and get some shut eye yourself without having to wait weeks for it because that may be a bit too long for you. I would choose a plan and try to stick with it at each waking (unless she needs to eat of course). She is old enough for pu/pd if you want to do that in combination with the shush/pat. If you do these you will most likely need to get rid of the pacifier. It is possibly you can do it with it, but not likely from the sound of it. It will be a tough several days but she will improve quickly. CIo is no fun, but if you end up doing this I really believe your baby will be ok after it. Maybe try the ferber method or checking and soothing every 5 minutes (no change in time with each check unlike ferber) if it makes you feel better. Your daughter probably will get more upset when you leave after a visit, but that doesn't always mean things aren't going as they should. You have to feel it out really to know though.

    good luck!

  20. Marie,
    Often an earlier bedtime can be the solution to a lot of your problems. It is amazing what it can do.

    The dream feed might be disrupting him. Maybe try changing the timing of it.

    Wake to sleep is always worth a shot after you look over issues that might be the cause.

    ARe you feeding him when he wakes? If you don't want to let him cry sometimes just helping him get used to skipping a feed (even if you are holding him) will make him stop waking for the feed over several days time.

    If you really want him to sleep well throughout the night he needs to learn to sooth himself to sleep initially, and ideally when he wakes at night...cio or not cio. Sounds like he is using the pacifier or you as a prop. Also, 1:30 is kind of an early time to be waking so really look to see if he is overtired when he is going to sleep. He might be getting overtired from bad sleep at night and trying to make up for it by napping longer...but you mostly want him to go to sleep early at night to catch up on sleep rather than catch up on sleep by napping longer. HTH!

  21. Hi Rachel,

    I have a baby girl who will be 3 months old next week. She is fabulously easy to put to sleep for naps and bed time and is already sleeping 11+ hours straight through the night!

    We are having troubles with 30-45min naps though. I think I made the problem worse... after she had had a few short naps I extended her awake time to compensate so that IF she had a shorter nap, she would be closer to her next feed when she woke up. She is easy to keep up and can do long periods of awake without going crazy so I thought it was ok.

    So now we're trying desperately to fix these short cat-naps! I just finished 2 days of trying wake to sleep, the baby whisperers approach with trying to soothe her through her sleep transitions. I had one success yesterday, but other than that one nap I am finding that the shush/pat is not soothing for her and she still comes right out of her sleep and once she sees me she fusses and I end up picking her up for the shush/pat. The only way I've been able to get her back to sleep once we get to this point is if I add a soother to the mix... Would it be appropriate for me to pick her up and rock her before she wakes up as I know she likes to be rocked to sleep? or is that too much intervention and a prop? What about the method where you just go in while they're still in a deep sleep and stir them and leave the room? is there much success with that approach?

    We are following the baby whisperer EASY routine and are on a 3 hour schedule. I am now paying more attention to her sleep cues, as subtle as they are, and keeping her awake times to 1hr30min or less. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

    Your blog is great! Thanks for taking the time to help so many strangers!

    Blessings from B.C, Canada

    Crystal <><

  22. Crystal,
    At this age I don't think it is a big deal to add some kind of prop to help baby go back to sleep after a short nap. Just make sure there isn't anything you are doing that is causing the short nap. Is the room dark (a light room can start causing issues at this age)? Is it noisy? Is baby hungry (probably not if she easily goes back to sleep with help). Make sure to give her a moment to see if she can go back to sleep on her own without her help first. If this never seems to work I would just rush in and help her before she become wide awake and is difficult to put back to sleep. wake to sleep is worth a try though. Can't hurt. She may stop taking short naps as she gets older or you might end up trying pu/pd eventually. Good luck!

  23. Rachel,

    thank you for your reply! I am having some success with going in before she stirs and rocking her through her transitions. Although I am in there for 20-30 minutes because she generally wakes at the 35 and 45 minute marks of her nap! my arms are getting sore but hopefully it will all be worth it! She did wake in the night last night for the first time in almost 2 weeks... I wasn't surprised though. Using the new method she did have 2 longer naps yesterday and I had a feeling that changing her day time sleep may affect her nights.

    I am curious about how long to continue doing this method for and if you have any suggestions on how to go about stopping... I have no idea if she'll be able to sleep through these transitions on her own after this?!

    any thoughts?

    Crystal <><

  24. let me stress the "SOME success"... how do you know if you're getting somewhere with this?! I've had it work on a few naps. One I didn't get in there before she woke and it didn't work, and for her 3rd nap today I thought I had her through it but she still woke 5 minutes after I put her back down... I think I've done it successfully 3 times out of 6 tries.

  25. Rachel,

    last night was my little one's worst night sleep since her first couple weeks of life :( I think I'm messing around with her sleep patterns too much. I'm going to take a break from trying to "fix" her naps and see if we can get her nights back on track. thank you for taking the time to try to help. Maybe she just isn't meant to have longer naps right now... hopefully they will come with time.

    Crystal <><

  26. Kridal_fish,
    Sorry about the bad night last night. Hopefully they'll improve soon. Keep in mind that there are always up and down days with babies that change with the moon :) And there are usually up and down days with babies when you do any form of sleep training. Good luck figuring stuff out!

  27. sooooooo, I "give up" and she starts having fabulous naps?! I guess something must have worked ;) this is day 2 of sleeping through transitions at ALL naps! she has NEVER done this! she only woke once last night at 4:45am (which was her old habitual wake time), but I'll deal with that! She has even cried out at her usual times at a few naps and then gone back to sleep! she has never done that either! most naps though she just sleeps right through without a peep and I'm waking her for her next feed! What a goofy little girl :)

    Crystal <><

  28. Crystal,
    That is good to hear. Giving up is also a method that works sometimes ;) But seriously, something I did with my oldest when he was young and all over the place was let him do his own thing for a week and it helped fix some of the overtiredness and put him back on track. So "giving up" can work at times to help with that, or help you figure out how to better work with baby rather than against baby (i.e. figure out what baby's natural rhythm is and work around that a bit instead of making one out of the blue).

    I hope things continue to improve....at last overall. At least some good sleeping days will knock off the overtiredness and you'll have more success with whatever you end up doing. Much luck!

  29. My 3 month old wakes habitually at 40 min into her naps, on the dot. Every single time. I'm on my 2nd day of wake to sleep, but it isn't doing anything. I'm not even sure if I'm doing it right. HOW can I help him transition back to sleep? Once I get him back to sleep he sleeps pretty well. Equaling 1.5-2 hr nap. With that wake up period in the middle. It is driving me nuts, and I knew he needs the sleep! WHAT DO I DO?!

  30. Hi Rachel 

    I have a seven month old who is having 3 meals solids plus some breast feed. She goes to sleep at night really well between 6:30 and 7. However she just slept the whole night through twice, she usually wakes around 10:30/12am.Then she will wake again around 2 and 3am, sometimes she is hungry and after feeding she goes down with no problem but lately she has wake for comfort (she is also teething), but she might cry for an hour. And she will wake again around 5:30/6am. She is eating solid really well, so I don’t know what to do.

    Her routine
    6am – breast feed
    7:30am-milk and weetabix
    9am – nap, it might vary from 30 min to 2 hours.
    12:00-lunch – stage 2 weaning
    2pm - nap, it might vary from 30 min to 2 hours.
    3pm- expressed breast milk or formula, she has been battling to have the bottle, so we are giving her cereal with the milk.
    5:30 – dinner – stage 2 weaning
    6:30 – breast feed

    I believe the nap is a bit erratic at the moment because she has started nursery last week, and she is not used to sleep in noisy places yet, but saying that she slept for 1:30hrs on Friday afternoon. I just don’t understand why she still does not sleep the whole night through.

    I would appreciate your help with this one.

  31. Raquel Owen,
    Solid food can be helpful, but remember to always put most emphasis on milk feeds before 12 months. That is my opinion at least (and a pretty common one among many experts now a days--it wasn't always this way), and I see most babies sleep just fine with this. Even babies older than yours sometimes sleep 12 hours with no solids, but in the least they can do it with just one waking. So I think as long as you are giving her how much she needs to get full during the day, you are good food wise. (assuming she is healthy and growing well). Babies are awfully good at getting in the habit of eating at night. I hear about it more if mom is away during the day.

    It likely has to do with her daily sleep routine and daytime changes (the addition of nursery). Some kids have a very hard time sleeping well at night if their day isn't really consistent with almost perfect naps and nap timing. From the look of it, she is probably getting not enough day time sleep. That is a sure cause of extra night wakings for many babies. Teething might also be a problem but I think often it isn't actually the problem when parents think it is so be careful to jump to that conclusion.

    You not be able to do much about the day time naps so the key would probably be to get her to bed really early to make up for lost sleep. That can be hard too if you work late because you can't pick her up early and also because you probably want to spend some time with your baby. but if it fixes night sleep problems it might be worth figuring out.

    Some babies have to work at learning to sleep all night long for a while and they are sensitive to changes and have lots of set backs. You just have to keep at it and figure out what works for them. It is hard having children that are more sensitive to sleep changes (I'm still praying for a perfect little sleeper myself!) but it is somewhat common and you have to try to have patience and work on one thing at a time and be as consistent as possible. Keeping a sleep log (see post0 can be especially helpful with these kinds of children.

    Good luck!

  32. hello there, Im very new to this and really am glad that you have this blog set up. I have a 10 month old daugther and she was always sleeping through the night since about 3 months till 9 months. Even at 9 months she was not sleeping through the night but was sleeping about 9 hours straight. We have read Healthy sleep habits book and are sleep training her. Before we really never had a set bedtime but it was usually anywhere between 9-9:30pm. She woke up around 10ish but would always wake up 2hours after she was put to sleep and stay awake for 2-3 hours and would go to sleep average 1:30-2 am. I have stopped feeding her at night. But I would go into her room when she cried and soothe her by rocking, tapping her in her crib.

    So after reading the book, we have started the CIO method (very tough choice). we just started on monday night.and here is info from my sleep log. first night put to bed at 9ish, cried for 1 hr then slept till 11pm, cried for 2 hrs then slept.

    day 2. she woke up at 9ish(by herself). Nap 1 11am (cried 12 mins) I woke her up at 1:30pm
    Nap 2 430pm(cried 8mins) I woke her up 5:45pm. Bedtime 9pm(cried 5mins) woke up at 11:45pm (cried and played 2 hrs 49mins) finally I went in and repositioned her and she cried 5 mins and went to sleep. Finally sleeping at 2:40am.

    day3. woke her up at 9:15am Nap 1 11am(cried 14mins) woke her up at 1:20pm Nap2 3:40pm(cried 16mins) bedtime 8:30ish awake 10:15ish cried and played 2 hrs 15mins. finally sleeping at 12:30ish.

    woke her up at 9:15ish nap 1 11am (cried 4mins) woke her up 1:50pm(was late, had to run some errands) Nap 2 4pm (cried 7mins) woke up herself at 5:15ish. 8:30am sleeping 10:15 awake and crying for 2 1/2hrs, went in to check diaper and then she cried for another 30 mins and fell asleep at 1:03 am.

    day5. woke her up at 9:40am nap 1 11:45ish(cried 4mins) woke her up at 1:45pm Nap 2 4:45pm (cried 14 mins) woke up herself 5:30pm and never fell back asleep. Bedtime 8pm (cried 14mins. woke up 10:15pm (cried and played 1hr 50 mins) asleep at 12:40am..

    I just feel like we are doing great with naps. But she always is getting up 2-3hrs after bedtime. She shows no sleep cues, very happy baby! Its so hard to hear her cry but I know she needs to learn to sleep.
    Should I be waking her up in the mornings and after 1-2hrs of naptime or should I let her wake herself up? Just frustrated and dont know what to do, and when I'll see results...

    thank you in advance for any help,tips, advice or critism...
    PS: so sorry this is like reading a book...

  33. achand21,
    I would try moving her whole schedule a bit earlier and be consistent about wake times in the morning within 15-30 minutes. Often that fixes the problem. I would wake up for naps if needed. I would aim for longer one in the afternoon instead of the morning so she can make it until bedtime. Overtiredness can cause waking issues. Just make sure she is getting enough day time sleep but not too much. THere is a blog post on this (total day sleep, total nap sleep etc). I'd play around with the waketime before bed to see if that makes a difference with anything. Sounds like her body is set to wake up in the evening because she has done it so long and been playing. It might be a tough to get her out of it but the key is to not play with her at that time and to keep things dark and quiet for her. If it won't go away with above methods, you could try making her official bedtime for a while that really late one she is into the habit of having 2 hours after she normally goes to bed. THen slowly move her bedtime earlier until you get to your ideal bedtime. hope this helped!

  34. Hi Rachel,

    I could really do with your help!

    Before I launch into the problem, I do think I should make a note that my little Bethany Bean has only been on this new routine for about a week, and also that I'm going to try this wake to sleep thing from tonight as well, it may help.

    Its not really too serious, my problem. But I do think she could be a happier child so I'm trying to figure out what I can do, and being a first time mum who has always been good at doubting herself I need a bit of help from someone with experience.

    Basically, she wakes every night at 1:30 AM, and again at 5:00 AM, sometimes again at 6:00 AM. I am trying to get her to only "wake up for the day" at 7:00 AM. She is quite young and does seem to be hungry for the 1:30 feed...but not so sure about the 5:00 one, I don't know if she is just wanting to be fed (breast) as a comfort. If I don't feed her she fafs and kind of doses until 6 and then she stars actually moaning and is properly awake...changing her nappy does seem to help sometimes as does the feeding, but the nappy change always wakes her up completely.

    She is 6 weeks old and her routine (she is following well until the night time...also I am expecting her to wake up as she is still young and will need to be fed during the night, also expecting a growth spurt) is as follows:

    07:00 Wake up and feed
    08:15 - 10:15 sleep
    10:15 - 11:45 awake and feed
    11:45 - 13:30 sleep
    13:30 - 15:00 awake and feed
    15:00 - 16:45 sleep
    16:45 - 17:45 awake and feed (nap if she wants to)
    17:45 - 18:00 bath
    18: 00 - 19:00 awake and feed. I stop feeding 15 mins before bedtime.

    As i mentioned she is still new to this routine and I do sometimes struggle to keep her awake during her awake times...bit I worry that if she sleeps outside the routine everything will get messed up and she will go back to being totally overtired and feeding every hour during the day and every 2 at night.

    Not sure if you can help....

  35. Another thing...she is still learning how to settle herself to sleep...not sure if you have any tips. I have realised that I was using the feeding (before the routine) as a sleep aid, so this routine should help with that. maybe that's also part of the problem? she is learning that it's no longer a sleep aid though. do you have any tips with settling to sleep?

  36. Ah sorry! Forgot to say she does have a dream feed at 22:00 as well.

  37. Just looking for some words of wisdom for my 4 month old daughter. We're trying the PU/PD method to help her with her naps. (nighttime sleep is no problem for her, but with naps she wakes up 30 minutes into them) I've been doing the wake to sleep tactic, and she resettles herself, but still wakes up 30-40 minutes after first falling asleep. PU/PD hasn't been successful at getting her back to sleep, she just seems too alert. I will sit by her crib with my hand on her belly and she'll be quiet, but awake.
    Any suggestions? It's been 2 days (4 naps total), so hopefully things will get better.

  38. Kate, my LG is doing the same thing. apparently when babies hit about 6kgs they become more aware of their sleep cycles and it becomes harder for them to settle back to sleep after thee first cycle - 40 mins or so, especially I'd they are even a teen bit hungry. Solids sorts it out. so I guess our little ones are starting to show signs of needing solids :) maybe try a little top up feed 20 mins or so before she goes to sleep, as long as there is at least 10 mins before the feed and sleep so feeding doesn't become a sleep prop.

  39. katieharris,
    I'd try to work with the timing of wake to sleep and maybe how much you rouse your daughter. PU/PD doesn't always work for naps. If it does, it can take a while and what sometimes eventually results in sleep comes from a totally dead tired baby just falling asleep after a long period of pu/pd. I would be careful not to turn into a prop while you are there. make sure to reduce stimulate etc. look at the short nap post for extra tips

    It is always good to rule out hunger. Some people say if you feed baby and she takes a full feed it was hunger. This is sometimes the case, but some babies, like my oldest, would always have a full feed no matter what. If this happens, I'd try feeding right before nap to see if it helps. Not feed to sleep, but a little while before. Note that it might also help because it soothes baby and relaxes her before sleep. I'm not huge on doing solids before 6 months. I really don't think most babies need it. If a baby really is hungry an extra milk feed is usually enough to remedy the situation. I'm sure there are some babies that need the solids early, but I think it is rare to truly need it.

    Try increasing the soothing time before naps time. Make sure wake time doesn't seem to be too much.

    You might not be able to do anything to increase nap length. Some babies won't for a while. the short nap post talks more about this.

    Good luck!

  40. Leila Starfish Pan,

    Thanks for the helpful tips for katie! It always helps to know you are not alone with something.

  41. Thanks so much for the advice, ladies. I think I'll start working on the timing of the wake to sleep. I went in at 25min and roused her, and she seemed to situate herself back to sleep. I kept my hand on her tummy, but then at 30 min she jolted wide awake--eyes wide open, arms flung overhead and crying. I tried pu/pd for an hour with no success, then it was getting close to feeding time so we just quietly relaxed for 15 min because she was content. Perhaps I need to more actively help her through that 30 min mark. Any suggestions for that? Do I go in maybe at 28 minutes?
    I do know that I need to extend soothing time before nap and even though the room is dark, maybe it's not as dark as she prefers.

    Will be working on that tomorrow, otherwise will try your feeding suggestion. I just didn't want that to become a prop, but I do feed her right before bed (but always put her down awake/drowsy) and she doesn't have the 30 min awakening problem like during the day, so maybe that is what she needs. Is that something that could be phased out then? Seems that would limit me being able to leave her with a sitter. I also do not intend to start her on solids until 6 months.

    Hopefully something works, I've been told that maybe she is just a short napper, but I'd say 2 out of 3 times she wakes up crying and rubbing her eyes, so I know she's still tired.

    thanks again for any advice!

  42. Katieharris,
    Maybe try holding your hand more firmly on her during the body jolt and try doing shhhh/pat to sooth back to sleep before trying pu/pd. you might need to try doing the shhh/pat before the body jolt occurs. You will just have to continue problem solving with the timing etc.

    Babies that are "just sort Nappers" may still wake up cranky. It seems like they are more likely to go back to sleep than those that wake happy and alert.

    You will feed just before to see if it is a food issue. You can adjust things to fit you better if that is an issue. Regardless, babies change so quickly that you won't be doing something the same too long.

    Having issues with short naps and waking at night are usually different things (unless baby simply can't ever sleep by himself). Just mentioning this to prevent any frustration with this.

    Good luck

  43. Hi Rachel,

    I have tried everything to get my 5 1/2 month old to sleep through the night. He goes down at 7:30pm on the dot after his nightly ritual of feed, bath, feed. He is consistently waking between 3:00-3:30am. I've tried the wake to sleep method, dreamfeeding, etc.

    For wake to sleep, I wake at 2:00am and go into his crib, and move him around a tiny bit and he clearly becomes semi-awakened and goes right back to sleep, only to be up again at 3am (I have been trying this for 2 weeks now). If I change his diaper during the wake to sleep, he wakes up even more, and then has a very bad night night - waking every hour.

    For the dreamfeed, we feed him at 10:30pm, but he still wakes up at 3am for a bottle. It seemed silly to us to keep doing the dreamfeed if he was still waking at 3am. How much time do you suppose this would have to be done in order to see any results from it? I’m imagining 1 night since it has to do with their fully belly, right? Or maybe my habitual waker has just been conditioned to do so.

    He always eats 5 ounces out of his normal 6 ounces at 3am and then goes back to sleep. (even if I dreamfeed him at 10:30pm).

    My question is…none of the methods seems to be doing anything to help him get over the hump of this 3am snack bar wake-up call. Is it feasible that slowly decreasing his bottle by an ounce every 3-4 days may help? And then when I get down to 2 ounces, just cut it out? I can’t figure out what my next approach should be. My husband and are lost (and a little sleep deprived!)

    Thank for your help,

  44. Rachel,

    Sorry for posting again before you could respond but I just wanted to add one thing about his schedule. He is in daycare 5 days a week. He went into daycare on a schedule that we got nailed down and now his naps are erratic. They are never at the same time of day and they vary between 30-45 minutes. The providers at daycare tell me that he awakens to doors opening/closing, other babies sounds, etc. These noises will jolt him awake and most of the time it's impossible for them to get him back to sleep (I'm not sure they are trying very hard).
    Some days, his Aunt or Grandma will pick him up (2 days a week) and he'll sleep longer a bit longer with them. When I am with him on weekends, I'll put him down for a nap on his cue (because I have no established schedule) and he'll do the same with me with 30-45 minute naps. When he wakes from his nap (usually upset), he's still rubbing his eyes and I try to get him back down with the various techniques with no luck. So, his schedule is pretty erratic except for at night - we have that down pat past 4pm.
    I don't know what to do. Someone suggested getting the noise cancelling headphones for baby's his age...would this be practical? Or would I just be setting him/us up for disaster?! I want to help him nap better and sleep better at night - but I definitely can't stand at daycare all day showing those women what to do.
    Thanks again for all of your help and your enlightening blog,

  45. NLTMama,
    With night, it may take several days for the df to help with the middle of the night waking. But I'm not sure it will ever help. For one, many babies (but not all, yours could be an exception) at this age will never pick up on the dream feed well. If often cuases more night wakings (which it doesn't sound like it has yet, which is good) and often doesn't help extend sleep tons. the other issue is that the waking seems very habitual.

    Sound like wake to sleep isn't working too well. One last thing I would try with it is changing the time you go in. Like try going in 20 minutes later or something like that. Then the idea to decrease feed amoutn is a good one. every few days, like you said, is a good way to do it. You can also hold the feed off. Comfort baby but don't feed. Or some will just cio. But that might just move the feed later and later (which could take a while until you get to morning wake time). IT very well may make him get out of the waking habit and he'll just wake at the morning wake time though.

    As for daycare, that is a tricky one. I can't see a baby keepingon headphones at that age. But Ive never seen ones for babies so maybe they have a way to do it. I would consider trying a sound machine if there isn't one. Or maybe they have a darker place for him to sleep. Getting a child used to sleeping in less than perfect environments is a semi-good idea, but some kids will never sleep good this way no matter the practice. I think it is good if you can have a child sleep with some noise, but if it isn't working, I don't think it is the end of the world to try to make no noise. If you think about it, how much of your life is spedn sleeping with loads of noise. It isn't how we usually sleep--and for a reason. So I don't think it is going to cause any life time sleeping problems as long as he will sleep without you hvaing to do soemthing extreme that is hard to duplicate in a normal environment and hard to carry on for a while. Most kids that struggle with noise as babies get a bit older as they get older too.

    Mabye you could even find a day care where he might have his nap needs better taken care of. I know that would be hard to do and possibly more costly, but it is worth a shot (if he'd even sleep longer in a different situaiton--he may be a short napper right now) if you can do it. It'll make things easier on him and easier on you.

    Oh, and make sure he is getting an early bedtime to make up for short naps, if you can. Work may not make this possible.

  46. Dear Rachel,

    Your blog is fantastic! Thanks for all the great info. We are planning to do wake-to-sleep for our 6 month old daughter who habitually wakes up around 45 minutes after she goes to sleep. My question is, since we can't go in an hour beforehand, when is best to go in and rouse her a bit?


  47. unknown,
    Treat the waking like you would a nap.


  48. Hi Rachel..

    Great blog! I have tried wake to sleep but have not had much luck yet, so was hoping to get your help..Basically my 6 month old daughter goes to bed at 8:30 then wakes up at 11:30-12. At this point if i go in and put my hand on her she goes back to sleep but is then up every hour after that (and goes back to sleep after i put my hand). She feeds once at night around 3 and if im lucky i'll get 2 hours after that..if not the hourly trnd continues.

    Working on the midnight waking, i tried wake to sleep..I went in at 11..she wakes up a bit later but still around 12:30-1! Ive tried for abt 3 days now with the same results...so a bit discouraged!

    Any help would be great!


  49. Also want to add..I am not a 100% sure if I am doing the wake to sleep right..what i do is put a pacifier in her mouth (she doesnt take them normally so its different for her to suck it i think), she stirs, doesnt open her eyes though and keeps sleeping..

    1. angela,
      It sounds like you are doing the wake to sleep fine, but you have to keep in mind that every baby varies in how they respond so you may have to just do things slightely different (ie, arouse her more from sleep) and see if they work. But....I'm not sure you'll have tons of luck with wake to sleep in your situation. Maybe with the first waking but possibly not and likely not with the others. It sounds more like she has a sleep prop issue and is waking rather than a habitual waking problem. She is waking at night once sleep gets a bit lighter wihch is common for babies that need someone or something to help them fall back asleep.An earlier bedtime may also help as well as more nap time during the day if she is lackign with this as a late bedtime and overtiredness often lead to multiple night wakings like this.

      Good luck,

  50. Hello Rachel,
    I found your blog a couple of nights ago searching for some help on my mobile phone. My little 7-month old baby girl has been teething for sometime now, and though a couple of days ago two little teeth peeked out, things seem to be getting worse, rather than better. She used to be able to go to sleep on her own, very little fussing, sometimes after 5 min sometimes after an hour of babbling and yapping but no crying. She slept at/and for: 9am/45-60min, 12pm/60-90min, 4-5pm/30min, sometime she would drop the last nap, which wasn't a big deal. But for the past three days she's only been sleeping for 20 min! and twice a day, not being able to resettle not even in the pram (:-(). We are already given her medicine for the pain, but still, this morning and yesterday afternoon, she cried/yelled for over an hour before sleeping for 20 min (I went in and calmed her down twice before putting her in the cot, but same result, she only paused her cries to yawn or rub her eyes. What am I doing wrong? I've tried everything to get her to sleep: rocking, feeding, today's pram walk was of 2.5 hours, and I only got 20 min of nap, again. Please help.

    1. ulisean mum,
      I wonder if there is a wonder week.
      Maybe she is still having a lot of pain that isn't covered with pain medicine. Any change in diet? If it was just some sort of sleep prop issue from extra comfort offered during teething, I'd expect her to be able to settle a little more with help from you. Regardless of what is going on she is overtired and I would work on putting her to bed super early at night and also earlier for naps to see if she'll settle better. When you get rid of the over tiredness issue (if you can), other things will improve and maybe what is going on will be easier to figure out.

  51. This comment has been removed by the author.

  52. Really in need of help.My 11 week old wakes every 2 hourly at night.He takes four naps during the day as he gets sleepy after 45 min of being awake.He is put down at 7.00 pm and wakes at 9 pm then fed and wakes 11 pm , then 1 am , 3 am , 5 am and 7 am.He usually feeds and goes straight to sleep.I have tried to drop one or two feeds but then he wakes up hourly!Once 2 weeks back he slept 4 hours straight and we cant seem to figure out what we have done differently.he is exclusively breast fed and ive recently started pumping and giving him expressed milk to top him off but still doesnt work.Pls suggest a different shedule which might work.
    thank you

    1. Jnymom,
      How often is he eating during the day. .I would work on spreading day feeds out to every 3 hours (ish) if he isn't already there. If he is used to eaten often during the day, he will probably want to eat often during the night. He also doesn't get used to taking full meals and then feels hungry sooner. I suggest working on full feeds all day and night long (there is a post on this). Try to keep him up to finish the meal if he gets sleepy. After that you can try to slowly move feeds farther apart. You may want to work on only one at a time especially if it is at night. Is he used to falling asleep eating or sucking? This may have something to do with it.

  53. Rachel,
    How early do you start this? I have a 5.5 week old and didn't know if she was too young! I've never waited at night for her to cry to eat, i just start seeing her root/hear her and I immediately feed her and I'm wondering if she's even hungry. Should I try this or wait for her to cry to eat/actually open her eyes, etc? She consistently goes 4 hours at night (usually falls asleep around 10, then up at 2 and then 6, all going straight back to sleep) and then up around 8:15 am. LOVE this blog!! I tell all my pregnant friends to read :)

    1. AB,
      Hmm, I have actually never thought about how early to start this. I suppose you can start it at anay age although all the reasons to do it at won't appear until kids are older.

      With your situation I would try to not rush in. Give her a short time to see if she'll completely wake up, or, if she wakes, if she'll quickly go back to sleep on her own. If she doesn't, you can even offer her a pacifier to see if she'll go back to sleep with this. These are the main two night techniques I've personally used and they have been mostly all I needed.

      So happy you like the blog :)

  54. Should have said, if I'm able to get her to do a DF, she sleeps four hours after that. Again, this is not her crying for food but just rooting and smacking.

  55. Rachel
    My little one is 10 weeks and we have been trying sleep training him for last 3 weeks but no luck :( During the day I'm trying EASY approach with him but sometimes (especially now when it's this hot, he wants to eat like every 2 hours so EASY is not working and he falls aslep after feed. And when he falls asleep than he wakes up in about 3 minutes and screams :( I am trying to read his sleep signals but I don't think this is working. He just gets over tired and doesn't want to sleep...
    In the morning he wakes up at about 5-6 for his feed and most of the times he falls back asleep and gets up exactly 3 hours later for another feed. Then he stays awake from 1-2 hours (nappy change, play time) and then he has another nap for 30 mins but can go for up to 2 hours (it depends if we are out - in the buggy he can sleep for up to 2 hours)When he wakes up I'm trying to keep him busy and feed him 2,5 hours after his last feed and after nappy change and a bit of play time he should have another sleep but he is fighting it soooo much, finally when he falls asleep he sleeps for like 30-45 mins. I usually don't let him sleep after 5 pm (read somewhere that baby shouldn't sleep after 5pm but after reading some of the articles here I think I need to change it... any suggestions? If he wakes up at about 4 he can stay awake until 6.30 when I give him bath and put him to bed but after half an hour he is wide awake and doesn't want to go back to sleep until 10 pm. I have tried to cluster feed him at 5.30-6ish and then after his 30 mins nap and couple of times he went back to sleep (that's when I kept him awake until 7, bath time and fell asleep by 7.30 for half an hour, feed and fell back asleep) this is not longer working... yesterday he fell asleep at 6.45 and was up 7.15pm and didn't go back until 10pm... Me and my husband usually take turns for giving him cuddles when he screams so much because it's breaking my heart and I just can't keep him crying for too long. Sometimes patting him on his chest stops him crying but most of the time we have to pick him up and when he start to fall aslep we put him down but he screams again for attention and cuddles. This is making me and my husband extremely exhausted and it looks like our little man is controling us at the moment... I think now it's the time when it needs to stop.
    Rachel any suggestions please? I think I might be keeping him awake too long in the evening and then he gets overtired but why does he keep waking up after 30 mins sleep no matter what time I put him to bed in the evening?

    1. IvanaH,
      Sorry for the late reply!

      It sounds like a shorter wake time wil defiantly help all round. The evenings will improve if he is less overtired but he may still be a bit fussy for a while longer at this age.

      Go to the index and check out the top sleep tips article. You may also want to look over the baby whispere technique of shush-pat to help with sleep. You might benefit from getting the book and reading it rather than just looking at the articles here. There is a post that tells you about the book.


    2. Thanks Rachel

      we kind of giving up sitting next to him after his half an hour nap and we rather take him downstairs for like 30-45 mins and then I take him back upstairs and after feed he falls asleep :) (I usually give him cuddle sing a song and as soon as he starts falling asleep I put him down and just pat him to sleep) I'm sure this will improve as he gets older :) and I also got the book.

      Thanks again Rachel :)

    3. Thanks Rachel

      we kind of giving up sitting next to him and forcing him to go back to sleep, instead we take him downstair and he has little daddy time as he only sees him in the evenings and weekends :) after 30-40 mins I take him back upstair and after his feed, cuddle and song he falls asleep (when he starts falling asleep I put him down and pat his back)
      I'm sure this will improve when he gets older as you said.
      I also got the book.

      Many thanks Rachel

    4. Good to hear things have improved IvanaH,
      This technique is one that often works better with younger babies than older ones so keep an eye out for any changes that happen as he best older. I'm glad your able to at least get some daddy time in.


  56. Hi Rachel,
    I really need your advcie here. After being sleep deprived for weeks at a stretch , I am really at my wit's end !. My little one is 5 months od, he is a darling when he is awake, which he wants to be all the time,Since he resists to sleep and wakes up every hour in the night.
    He has two naps for 1.5 to 2 hours during the day and a captnap in the evening. I put him to bed by 6.00 . But he wakes up at 8.00, and then every hour. The worst is after 2.00 , when most times he just refuses to go to sleep.
    I breastfeed him to sleep , so it is really a prop which he is habituated to . He is willing to sleep in my arms , but when I try to put him in his cot he wakes up !
    I don't want to use the CIO method, since he gets really distressed and just would'nt settle at all.
    Please help !!!

  57. Here's his routine

    6.00 am : wake up and feed
    7.00 -8.00 : play time
    8.30 - 10.00 : morning nap
    10.15 :feed
    10.30 :fruit/veg puree ( just started on solids)
    10.30 - 12.00 :playtime
    12.00 - 2.00 - afternoon nap after a feed
    2.00 - feed
    2.15 - 4.15 : playtime
    4.30 - cereal
    5.00 - reading, night prayer
    5.30 - 6.00 - feed and sleep

    1. Laffalympics,
      The waketimes look a little long, especially first thing in the morning. Take a look at the waketime post in the index. The Top Sleep Tips post may also be helpful for you.

      If you don't want to do any CIO, I suggest something like the no cry sleep solution, the baby whisperer. You can read more about these methods on their book reviews or in the in the sleep training section of the index ( it is listed by author). Someone like Sears is non cio, but he also seems to be non sleep too in my opinion ;) so most of his methods aren't my first pick.


  58. Hi Rachel,

    I'm hoping you may be able to offer some advice.
    My son is now 14 weeks, and I'm struggling to get him into any sort of feeding/sleeping routine.

    I go back to work in 6 weeks and he'll be starting nursery so I'd like to have him in some sort of routine before then.

    His feeding is very erratic. He's exclusively formula fed and takes anything from 0 to 6 oz'z in a feed. In an average day he has anything from 23 to 27oz. I can't get him to take anymore.

    He sleeps well at night, but I have to fight to get him to sleep during the day, even though he's tired.

    Here's a typical day:

    6am wakes up. Has anywhere between 4 - 6oz
    7am - 7:30am nap - 1hr
    9am - feed 2 - 4oz
    11 - 12 nap - 45 mins (sometimes 1hr)
    2pm - feed 4 - 5oz
    Sometimes will nap for 45 minutes
    5pm - feed 3 - 4oz
    6:30pm bath
    7pm feed 4 - 6oz
    8 - 8:30pm sleep

    He's not easy to settle for any of his sleeps. He always fusses and cries and won't self settle.

    He seems to get himself overtired because he won't sleep long enough during the day, and always seems to wake up tired from his naps. I think this is because he's hungry, but I can't get him to eat more during feed times.

    We also think he suffers from silent reflux, which makes him very fussy during feed times.

    At his last weigh in his was 14lb. He's only on the 50% percentile but he's putting on weight.

    Any ideas you have would be appreciated.

    1. Debs,
      Watch his sleep cues as well as the clock. Look over the wake time post and take in mind your son is having short naps. Looks like some of the wake times are a bit long.

      Try something like the 4 s routine (see index for more)

      Look over the top sleep post.

      Keep in mind that self soothing takes time and consistency.

      Help him extend naps (with a swing, rocking--see extending nap post) if posdible.

      I'm guessing he had an extra feed in the morning you didn't mention, right? Feeds 3-3.5 hous apart sound fine at this age.

      See if sleeping at an angle makes a difference. Does he seem to have reflux problems at night? Is he fussy after going a while without eating at night? Is he possibly frustrated with the flow of milk while eating?(not fast enough) Do you burp frequently but gently? Maybe if it is reflux eating more often will help him.

      To get daily consistency, try starting the day at the same time each day and do feedings around the same time with hopefully naps somewhat around the same time. See the posts under routine in the index

    2. Try for an earlier bedtime too. You should be moving closer to 12 hours at night at this age. An early bedtime helps in numerable ways.

  59. Hi Rachel, this site is a God-send!! Thank you! Please help us..... Our 6 month old is cutting her first tooth and it's been miserable. She also has the worst cold which doesnt help. She has been a pretty good sleeper for most of her life (at nighttime at least) until now. Beginning about 2 a.m. She is waking up crying and crying. Given her situation (teething)nwe are going to her rightit away. We pat her and try to soothe her but she either cries or want to look at us and smile. If we leave the room she screams. We reenter and pick her up. We try rocking her and she screams. We hold her in place and rock harder and she quiets. She will eventually fall asleep (after much touching, cooing, etc) but when we place her back into the crib she screams. The whole process starts again. We are so sleep deprived. I have read the Baby Whisperer and know that we are commiting "accidentsl parenting" left and right. D the same rules apply when a baby is teething? My instincts tell me to throw the rules out the window and soothe and cottle my baby, my head says we are setting up many bad habits. What do you think??? Please help.

    1. Mrs. Long,
      Take a look about my recent post on sleep training during a wonder week. I do a similar thing for this. It can be pretty ticky to figure out what to do. If you've always had a god sleeper, don't be too surprised if you have to implement a little sleep training when she is feeling better.


  60. Hi Rachel,need some help please!

    I have a 3.5 month old who has a bad problem with waking up 40-45 min EVERY nap. She is a great nighttime sleeper (8:30-7), but a horrible mapper. This leads to her being extremely cranky all day bc I don't feel like she's getting the rest she needs. She naps on her bellyand LOVES a pacifier. She falls asleep on her own with the pacifier, but when she wakes up at 40-45 min, pacifier is out and she's screaming and screaming and won't take it back and calm down. Her middle nap is the only one I can get her to fall back asleep on, but that's after many trips in her room, replacing pacifier, rubbing back, etc. I read about wake to sleep and thought I should try it, but she ended up fully awake, screaming bloody murder, and wouldn't go back to sleep.

    Her schedule looks like this:
    7am eat (exclusively bf)
    9am nap (40-45min)
    10:30-11 eat
    12 nap (with a lot of work I can get this to last 2 hrs, but she always wakes up screaming at 40 min)
    2:30 eat
    4PM nap (40-45 min if I'm lucky)
    5:30 eat
    7PM bath, eat, bed by 8:30

    I appreciate any help you can give. Thanks!

  61. A warning to anyone who would consider using this technique:
    About a week and a half ago, I started using wake to sleep to lengthen my 5 m.o. DD's 45 minute naps. For the first three days, it was like magic: I would wiggle her arm a little bit, hang out next to her and pat her through sleep transition, and she would sleep another 45+ min. After a few days, she began to rustle at about 1/2 hour on her own, and I would pat her back to sleep, but sometimes she would wake up. Now she is generally sleeping for a half hour, despite my best efforts, opening her eyes wide awake after 25-30 min. Yesterday, she did take an hour and a half nap unassisted, but that is now the exception.. by far. Be mindful that you are messing with your baby's sleep cycle when you do this, and in our case, it seems to have backfired.

    I'm sure there are other extenuating factors, like the previous night's sleep, but this seems to be the case with increasing frequency. Well, sucks for me. Rachel Stella, any advice?

    1. Sorry you've had some issues with it Chayah.love

      Some kids will easily break into new habits and things that helps others (like wake to sleep, shush/pat etc) will just make them wake up even more out of habit or to wait for mom and dad to help them go back to sleep.

      I wonder if rousing her even less during the wake to sleep would have helped?

      Look over her waketime to see if that might be an issue in this change.

      Consider trying to reduce how much you help her go to sleep or how long you stay with her. She may be getting more depending on your presence to sleep.


  62. Does anyone have any time to advise me as to whether to give wake to sleep a try. Jacob is 9 months, he's a very happy chappy, he has a loose routine which we stick to every day just not necessarily to the minute. he wakes around 8am has 8oz of formula (he has gone off cereal and wont eat breakfast at the moment) he then goes for a nap around 10am until 11.30/12 he gets up, has a play, lunch, play some more until his next nap at 2pm for around an hour and a half to 2 hours when he gets up he has his tea and plays unntil 7pm when he goes down for the night. what happens then is a mystery he goes down fine no crying but after 30-40or so minutes he wakes crying (the only time he ever cries in his cot)he wont settle back down, we have tried going in to settle him before he wakes too much and leaving him to CIO neither work and the only option is to bring him back downstairs and ignore him for 10 mins and he will go back to bed. it sometimes happens a couple of times a night sometimes just once. so.. do you think wake to sleep at about the 30/35 minute mark would work to push him onto a new cycle before he wakes completely? thanks in advance for any advice, i'll be very grateful. Jess

    1. Jess,
      The wake to sleep will work sometimes here (not as often as later in the night), but you won't know for sure until you try it out :) You also might want to consider an earlier bedtime.

  63. Hi, I really need your help, I'm feeling very overwhelmed and confused with everything.

    My little girl is 5 months 1 week old, she has reflux but is on medication for it. She is also bottled fed and just starting some solids in the morning.

    My problems is around the 4 months mark she started going from waking at 7am to 6:30am to now 6am if not before. She was doing great sleeps in her bassinet of 45 mins in morning 1.5 to 2hrs in the afternoon then another 1hr before bed. But since moving her to her cot that all changed as all my settling techniques stopped working.

    My problem is that depending when she wakes in the morning it can throw my day out because her naps are never consistent, so her bedtime is never consistent? And I feel 5-5:30pm is too early. Sometimes she can even sleep to 7am but should I let her...and just recently she started waking at different times at night for her feed every night, she could wake at10:30pm one night then 11:30pm then to 1:30am or even sleep through

    Should I wake her in the morning to keep my daytime a bit more consistent? But then again, like this morning she woke at 5am and started talking so I let her till she made a little cry and went and put the dummy back in, I thought she was asleep but 15 mins later she started talking again, so Picked her up and rocked her back to sleep but then she kept sleeping and I thought maybe I should wake her so as not to throw her day out, so I woke her at 7am...but with her naps being so inconsistent even 30mins sometimes, I'm just not sure what to do any more....if I can't get her to sleep longer at nap time her bedtime keeps creeping up earlier and the I fear her wake time will be 4am.....this is all so confusing too sorry, but she is all over the pace sometimes and I don't know what to do. I've done dream feeding and it didn't work. But now if she wakes at 10:30pm and I feed her it usually gets her through to 5am.

    Generally her routine looks like this
    6am wake and feed 150ml
    8am 8:45sleep
    9am feed and solids
    11am to 12 or 12:30pm sometimes 1pm nap then feed 150ml sometimes
    2:30pm or 3pm to 3:45pm nap then another feed 150ml
    Bed at 6pm with 180ml if she drinks it.

    Anywhere from 10:30pm to 1:30 she can wake for feed
    Then anywhere from4-5am she wakes and really on settles in bed with me but will toss and turn till 6am but can go longer n rare occasions like this morning

    Please help

  64. Hi Rachel,

    First of all, this site is very useful resource!! I have not seen anything with so much information at one place, and explained very well.
    But since each situation is unique, I would like your help on where to start...

    I have 4 month old girl, and haven't done any sleep training so far. The first 2 - 2.5months she was sleeping well but lately (especially the past month) she doesn't sleep enough. She goes to bed at 7:30 pm, wakes up about 2.30-3 to eat, and then wakes up around 4 to 4.30 am (4am more often) and completely awakes without any chance to go back to sleep. Then she is awake for about 1.5 hrs before she has to sleep. From then on throughout the day she takes only short naps, 35-40mins, about 3 to 4 such naps during the day. By the time 7pm comes she is way too tired and cranky…

    For going to sleep at night we have a routine of taking a bath + massage and then she eats before falling asleep. During the day I am afraid that breastfeeding has become a sleep prop… She CAN fall asleep with other methods (rocking or similar) but takes about 30-45 mins to fall asleep which is very hard to do since she is taking such short naps.
    Also I have to point out that every time she wakes up (in the morning or after a nap) she is very happy, smiling and wants to play so it's impossible to get her to continue sleeping once she wakes up.

    Now I want to try wake-to-sleep method since for these naps it is obvious that she is waking up because she is unable to transition into the next sleep cycle. But I would also like to extend these 4am wake up calls. And obviously I need to eliminate breastfeeding as sleep prop. But what do I do first? Or do I attempt all at once? Generally I am not for CIO but now I am willing to try anything for a week.

    Thanks a lot for all the info you shared, I would appreciate any advice

    1. Nela,
      First off, try for an earlier bedtime, probably about 6. I know that sounds early, but I think she needs it and it'll probably help with sleep overall.

      You can tackle day and night all at once, but night is almost always easier to tackle so many people start there first then move on to day. Not as difficult at once this way, but takes longer overall for a full days worth of changes.

      Whether you are rocking or nursing etc, it is all a sleep prop that is making so she isn't learning to fall asleep on her own--and likely even the nursing will stop working--or at least it'll take a really long time or only work when she is very overtired. So if you want sleep to improve, you'll want to work on her learning to fall asleep completely on her own. Personally, I find extinction CIO to be the quickest if you are feeling desperate, but any form of sleep training will work if you are consistent. Some ideas are listed on the post below and in the ST index:

      If you do nights, you can start off with the whole night or just bedtime. Many babies if they get bedtime good, will start sleeping through the night a couple weeks later. But some won't. You'll have to decide which method sounds best to you. If you've decided to do all night, you do your ST method from bedtime until morning (about 7 am). You'll get less sleep short term, but more in time.

      Then you work on naps (if you aren't already). You can work on her falling asleep then leave her 20-45 minutes after she wakes or you can help her extend her naps (but don't feed, try a quick rock or the swing). Make sure the sleep environment is really good so she'll sleep in through the morning and take longer naps--nice and dark and quiet with a possible sound machine.

    2. Rachel, thanks a lot for your reply! We decided to user Ferber method. I read the book, and we have just survived Day 1! Yay! It wasn't too bad for the first day - she cried for 31 min, and I am hoping each day will be better. We will use it for naps as well i.e. no more nursing to sleep, rocking etc AT ALL.

      Anyway, thanks so much for all the info... Your website with all the info at one place was the best way to start on researching and deciding what to try.

    3. Nela, good luck. I hope thinks keep improving!

  65. Hi. I happened to link to this site through google. My boy is a 2 year old poor sleeper. He slps 9-10 hours overnight and nap 30-45 min in one whole day. I have tried all suggestions and ways to let him nap longer but nothing seems to work. Do you think this method would still work on a 2 yo? I'm really scare it might backfire and he will end up taking a 20 min nap instead as he is an extremely light sleeper. Thanks!

    1. Mummy Jenny,
      First step is to increase his night time sleep. 9-10 is not enough for a 2 year old to be at his ideal. He should be at about 11-12, maybe even 13 since he's getting such a short nap. With a nap that short, I'd suspect overtiredness which more night sleep will help. You may need to adjust the timing of the nap. Make sure the room is dark (look over the short nap post if you have'n't already). If he isn't going to sleep longer, he should at least be left in his bed for a while to rest. If he can't rest in his bed happily, then that is very likely the problem with the short nap, he doesn't know how to be happily in his bed and put himself to sleep when he wakes up after a short one. Use a sound machine if it helps. My guess is that with a nap that short and at that age, wake to sleep won't be too helpful, but I don't think trying for a few days would mess things up too much either. Go with your gut on that one.


  66. Great blogs, as I was on google I came across this blog and it is great:-)
    I have 17 month old twins who sleep pretty good one nap a day for 1hr and a half to two hours and go to bed at 6pm and usually wake around 6-630 am but recently early awakenings have been happening and I usually don't go and get them until 630 no matter what in hopes to extend that wake up time (and we tried doing a little later bedtime and tht was disastarous) but I beleive that the early morning wakenings are because of poop issues? One of the twins have been waking up with poop and lots of it not sure when "it" happened but she is rotten in the morning and this is why she is waking I believe because she still seems tired. are these times good for their age or should I try pushing back bedtime some to 630 not really sure anymore? Feel like it is a guessing game all the time.
    Thanks Christine

  67. Hi Rachel,
    We really need your help with my 17weeks old son nap problem.( he will be 4mths old in 2days time).
    He can sleep no problem at night(touch wood) ,he normally goes down to bed on 7.30pm after his last feed(180ml) but with his dummy ( i normally will go in to his room and took the dummy out from his cot). He sometime wake up at middle of night making noise, talking to himself... and go back to sleep on his own most of the time. (Or we have replace the dummy if he cried out or shouting/screaming)
    His problem is nap time. Since ge was 2mths old, He wake up from his nap 30-45mins shouting with eyes wide opened. (I didn't know about sleep transition change when they 2-3mths old )and I normally just place the dummy to him again and he might go back to sleep. Without thinking too much I just keep putting the dummy in everytime he cry or shouting until I think he has sleep enough.
    Below is his normal routine
    5:45am feed 180ml( we want him to sleep will I getting ready for my husband and 6yrs old daughter to school by 7am) and he goes back to sleep.
    8:30am wake up & play in cot until I go to get him on 9am
    9:30am feed 180ml & play
    10:30-11am nap only 45mins or 1hrs max and awake.
    1:30pm feed 180ml & play
    2:00-2.30pm nap ( wake up after 30-45mins, will give dummy back go back to sleep. Totally can sleep 2-2 1/2hrs but have to put his dummy back almost every 30-45mins to keep him back to sleep.
    5.00pm will get him up and breastfeed until 5.30 when his sister back from school.
    6:45pm start his bedtime routines, ( gently play in his room , bath and milk 180ml and bed.

    To be cont


  68. Hi Rachel,

    We are using feed , play & sleep routines. And today I have started to skip his 5:45am feed and let him to be awake by 7:30 to start his day. And I aim to let him nap for 2hrs in the morning after 2hrs from his last nap as below
    8:30am nap
    10:30an wake and play
    11:30am feed and play
    12:30pm - 1pm nap again for 2hrs- 2. 1/2hrs
    3:00pm wake and play
    3:30pm feed and play
    5:30pm short nap 30-45mins
    6:45pm start bedtime routine
    7:30pm bed

    What do you think about this new routine, I will try and let you know after a week try.
    Do you think what cause him to wake up every 30-45mins? Habitual waking? Or Can't go back to sleep by himself because of dummy? (But he can go back to sleep at night most of the time)
    At day time he get very upset and fussy if I tried to let him sleep w/o dummy or tried to sooth him to sleep by pat, sshh, place my hand on his hands , tummy and tried pick him up or rock him, but just nothing work.
    He never fall asleep with me carry him, he always look so curious) I also tried wake to sleep, but may I go in to his room too late or not early enough , when I tried to wake him, he never go back to sleep unless I give him back the dummy.
    How do I extending his nap? Using wake to sleep, but once he wake up he always need dummy to sleep. Do u think I should put extending nap on the priority or wean off his dummy( I really don't want to use CIO, because he can cry for very long and still not sleep and it will affect his night time sleep) .

    I don't mind to put the dummy back for him at nap but I worry he never gonna learn how to go back to sleep by himself .

    Sorry for such a long story and my lousy English.

  69. Hi Rachel
    My 5 month old baby would have been described by baby whispered as an angel baby but since spending a week in hospital due to having croup has all changed.

    His routine has been really disrupted and i would really appreciate some advice on getting him back on track.

    He weighs nearly twenty pounds and was feeding 8ounces every 3hrs between 7am and 7pm. He would sleep for 12 hrs at night without df. If he woke i would put ewan sheep on and he would go right back without any fuss.

    Now he keeps waking up at twelve every night and won't settle unless he has a feed. He has about 4 ounces but then refuses his 7 am and 10 am feed which in turn is disrupting his daytime naps .

    I really am at a loss on what to do.

    Many thanks

  70. Hello,

    I want to try wake to sleep for my 3 month boy who naps only 30 minutes. Should I try this method for only one nap or for all naps? Also, this method will create a habit for all naps? How long will i have ti try to restablish the naps? 1-d days or weeks?

  71. Hi Rachel,
    I am at a loss and would really love your help!
    My 7 month old son has been STTN since 8 weeks. He is a very placid baby who until recently has been exclusively BF. I have started him on solids and he's not doing too badly, eating 2-3 meals a day depending on timing (he is a little bit fussy). He self settles and has 2 naps a day of 1-2 hours. If he has a short nap he always has a third nap but this is always about 40 mins in length.
    My problem is he has started waking during the night and sometimes it can take over an hour to resettle him.
    Should I start feeding him again overnight or try and kick him over the wake up by dream feeding later or trying the wake to sleep technique?
    Any advice would be appreciated

  72. Hi Rachel,
    I am at a loss and would really love your help!
    My 7 month old son has been STTN since 8 weeks. He is a very placid baby who until recently has been exclusively BF. I have started him on solids and he's not doing too badly, eating 2-3 meals a day depending on timing (he is a little bit fussy). He self settles and has 2 naps a day of 1-2 hours. If he has a short nap he always has a third nap but this is always about 40 mins in length.
    My problem is he has started waking during the night and sometimes it can take over an hour to resettle him.
    Should I start feeding him again overnight or try and kick him over the wake up by dream feeding later or trying the wake to sleep technique?
    Any advice would be appreciated

  73. Hi Rachel,

    I am going to try this for my son’s naps since he can’t go past the 40 min mark on his own. I am unsure how to handle it for his early morning waking’s. He currently is 3 months old, feeds 19-21 oz during the day, and feeds once during the night. He currently has been waking at 11 pm or 1 am and we hold him off till his usual 3 am feed, but I am going to start dream feeding to see if this helps him stretch things out. His early waking’s could be b/c of various things:
    a) Gas (smiles while tossing/turning)
    b) Acid Reflex (not sure if he has this, comes off bottle at times
    arching his back/crying, or starts choking/gaging while drinking).
    c) Poor naps
    Either way, we’d like to try the wake to sleep method but do we do it once he starts his tossing/turning (this could last up to an hour before he wakes), or do we go in an hour before this point?

    Thanks for your help and taking the time to respond :)

  74. Hi Rachel,

    I am going to try this for my son’s naps since he can’t go past the 40 min mark on his own. I am unsure how to handle it for his early morning waking’s. He currently is 3 months old, feeds 19-21 oz during the day, and feeds once during the night. He currently has been waking at 11 pm or 1 am and we hold him off till his usual 3 am feed, but I am going to start dream feeding to see if this helps him stretch things out. His early waking’s could be b/c of various things:
    a) Gas (smiles while tossing/turning)
    b) Acid Reflex (not sure if he has this, comes off bottle at times arching his back/crying, or starts choking/gaging while drinking).
    c) Poor naps
    Either way, we’d like to try the wake to sleep method but do we do it once he starts his tossing/turning (this could last up to an hour before he wakes), or do we go in an hour before this point?

  75. My problem deals with early waking.
    Even if my DS has just fed and then been put down at 4:30 am, he will wake up at or shortly after 5. Then, regardless of how long it takes me to get him back to sleep after the 5 am waking, he's awake again around 6. Every. Single. Day. he wakes at 5 and 6 regardless. So, the wake to sleep does not seem to be a solution since it's every hour, already, that he's awake.

    What I wouldn't give to sleep through from 4 to 7 am!!!!

    I'm considering upping his bedtime to 5:30 or 6 (about an hour earlier than normal) and just getting up with him at the 5 or 6 am waking. I'm so tired of fighting this battle...

    I'm open to any comments or suggestions!

    1. Heather,
      I'm not sure DS' age. Some babies the first few months will be a little fussy or awake int he early morning then it will improve. I would try whatever helps to get him to sleep in the morning. A swing can be helpful at this time, even if it hasn't worked in the past it may work now. If you haven't already, you could try the wake to sleep (I would try keeping him asleep with another method first, if you can). I've been though this too with one of my kids for a few months. It can be tough and tiring. If nothing works you can go ahead and try to move up bedtime. Who knows, maybe it'll work. If not, you can go back to where you were before. Even a little earlier could actually help if over tiredness is an issue. Evaluate your naps etc throughout the day too to see if over or under tiredness isn't an issue.


  76. Hi Rachel! I was hoping you could give me some insight into my son's sleep "issue". Just some info on him 4.5mo old, 18lbs, tummy sleeper, can roll from tummy to back.

    So our problem may be habitually waking, but the waking isnt what really bothers me. When he wakes he is up for at least 1.5hours (2hrs 20 minutes is the longest). It is almost always around 2:30am. He goes down easily for naps and bedtime (barely awake).
    730/8am - wake, eat 8-10oz
    930/1030 - nap
    1130/1230 - wake, eat 8-10oz
    130/230 - nap
    330/430 - wake, eat 8-10oz
    depending on how things went during the day he may take a short nap around 530, but if he woke from his nap at 430, he usually is awake till bedtime
    7 - bath, bottle (4-8oz), asleep by 715-730
    230am - 6oz (no lights, no talking)

    so before he could roll I would let him CIO in the middle of the night. but now he rolls onto his back and gets stuck. i have tried to let him fall alseep on his back but he wont. He will lay awake for 30 min(no fuss) then start crying...

  77. Hi Rachel, I hope you can help me - My 2 and a half year old daughter has always been a very habitual waker and so I have had to use the wake to sleep method numerous times and always with success. However, her latest habit has left me searching for a new solution - about a month ago she started waking every morning at 5.50am ready for the day ahead. I started setting my alarm at 4.50am and going into her room, picking her up, kissing her and asking if she needs a drink. Her eyes open slightly, she replies no and then goes straight back to sleep. She then doesn't wake at 5.50am that morning. However, as soon as I stop stirring her at 4.50am she does wake at 5.50am. I have tried this for over a month now and every time I stop stirring her the habit returns. I know it is a habit and not noise or light that is bothering her because she still wakes when we sleep at other peoples houses. I don't like the idea of having to set a 4.50am alarm for the rest of her life and so am hoping for a permanent solution... Should I stir her earlier or later? Should I be waking her more than I am? Is there something else I should try? Your ideas would be greatly appreciated as I am expecting another one in May and certainly do not want to still be having to worry about her sleep when I have a newborn to keep me awake! Thanks in advance.

  78. Hi Rachel, I am hoping you could help me with my 7 month old little girl. This is her routine:
    7am wake and bf
    8am breakfast
    9.20 am nap time
    11am fees
    12pm lunch
    1.20pm nap time
    3pm fees
    5 pm dinner
    6.20pm feed
    7pm bed time

    She sleeps great during the day- self settles like a pro. Ar 7 pm she falls asleep straight away. She will then wake between 8.30/9.30pm. Won't settle down unless I feed her. She then wakes around 3.30am for a little snack. She use to sleep through the night, until a month ago when she got the flu. How do I get her out of this habit?

    Thanks, Claudia

  79. Hi Rachel
    I have an 11month old who has always been a terrible sleeper.

    However I think she has now developed a habitual awakening it could be anywhere between 12am -2am and she Usually stays awake for a MINIMUM 2hrs.

    She doesn't self settle, I have tried CIO and I too am not a CIO Mum. She usually likes to be rocked to sleep and sang to. The singing is fine but the rocking we are in the middle of learning to drop it.

    She starts to show improvement, then we go further back then where we started.Every time she gets sick - her routine resorts to being rocked to sleep.

    Now my arm is killing and I'm sleep deprived. I need this sorted .

    This is her routine:
    6- 7am wake & bottle
    8am breakfast
    Snack ( rice biscuit)
    9-10am : 1.5-2hr nap
    -1pm :bottle feed
    2pm lunch
    3pm nap time (2-2.5hrs)
    5 pm dinner
    6.00 bottle feed
    7-8pm shower &bed time

  80. Hi. I have just discovered your blog and spent hours reading it - super useful! If you are still active on this I will would love some advice...
    I USED to have a great sleeper & napper (slept through 12hrs without exception from 3.5-6mnths, lucky mummy!) and then it all went wrong...nightmare nighttimes and max 20-30min naps since 6months (now 9m). (Born 5 weeks prem).
    Last week I discovered this 'wake to sleep' method and it has revolutionised day naps - THANK YOU! Two x 1.5hrs daily! I hoped that going by the sleepbreedssleep theory this would help nights but no luck! Last night excitidly tried wake to sleep for two of the regular wake times (there's often many more as well!) and was hugely disappointed that it didn't work! Caused more rather than less wake ups :( I shall try persevere but if you have any further advice please help! Thank you x
    (Happy to give more detail but didn't want to bombard you)