Phoebe, 10 months: Unsettled bedtime, awake for hours in the night
Phoebe's sleep story...
When Phoebe was 10 months old, her mum Rachel wanted to get a bit more of a routine happening during the day. Phoebe would sleep for 1.5 hours in the morning, after roughly 2 hours awake time, and most of the time would do the same in the afternoon.
It wasn't always easy getting Phoebe down for her naps though. She would start crying as soon as her mum Rachel put her into her bed, which led to Rachel feeding Phoebe to sleep for naps and bedtime.
There were some days where Phoebe totally refused her afternoon nap (which was a nightmare!) but overall Rachel was pretty happy with her day sleep. Her night time sleep was a different story though...
Phoebe's bedtime was around 7pm but she would scream the house down before going to sleep. Every. Single. Time!
Rachel would eventually go to bed herself, but every night, she felt dread and uncertainty about Phoebe's night wakes. Usually Phoebe would wake at 11pm (just after Rachel had fallen into a deep sleep) and then again around 1 or 2am.
Since Phoebe was fed to sleep at her naps and bedtime, when she woke overnight, Rachel would try to feed her back to sleep again. When that didn't work, she would bring Phoebe into bed with her but Phoebe just wanted to stay awake! Being older, she would pinch and kick Rachel and try to get her to play - sometimes for a few hours!
Rachel was at her wit's end, with being back at work and constantly feeling guilty and tired, and she just could not see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Little Ones came up on her Facebook page as an ad but since she was skeptical about baby sleep programs and routines in general, she didn't do anything for a few weeks. Eventually though, Rachel got in touch and asked us where to start.
We could see that at 10 months, Phoebe was having far too much day sleep and it was not spaced at the optimum times in the day to allow her to settle well at bedtime and sleep well through the night. Her wakeful periods in the night were due to having had too much daytime sleep and simply needing some more awake time.
We suggested Rachel start following our Older Baby sleep program, as this would help to make sure Phoebe's awake times and nap lengths were age-appropriate. This would give her the best chance at settling and sleeping well overnight.
After the first day on her new sleep schedule, Phoebe slept through the night - a full 12 hours! Rachel was stoked!
Any time you make a change to your baby's nap structure though, you can expect that there will be a period of adjustment. Sure enough, Rachel found that it took a few weeks for her and Phoebe to get into the swing of things and for that great night sleep to become more consistent.
During this time, Rachel introduced a Snuggin so that Phoebe could easily find and replace her own pacifier during the night. She also started giving Phoebe protein at lunch time, rather than dinner, which helped to relieve some digestive discomfort she'd been having.
Rachel made Phoebe's room super dark for naps and overnight sleep, which helped her to settle quicker and started offering a milk top-up before bed, to make sure Phoebe was nice and full before her longer overnight sleep.
Rachel also made the decision to move away from feeding Phoebe to sleep, since this meant that Phoebe still needed her assistance to resettle back to sleep whenever she woke at night. She was able to guide Phoebe towards self-settling using the gentle methods in our sleep program.
Once Phoebe was napping at the right times for her age, this helped her consolidate her night sleep. She was also settling much better at bedtime because she was ready for sleep and not undertired, as she had been previously.
After 3 weeks, Rachel's life was changed. Her baby slept for 12 hours every night, she napped well during the day (when she was meant to!) and it actually made Rachel's life far more flexible because she could work around Phoebe's sleeps.
8 months later, Rachel is happy to report that Phoebe is still a great sleeper!
After being super skeptical about routines I have had to eat my words. Not every day is perfect and she still has wakes up with development periods but she is so much more settled, she does not cry every single time we put her down and I no longer feel guilty or stressed about my daughter's sleep. I cannot thank the team at Little Ones enough! Who knows where I would be if that Facebook ad didn't pop up!
If your baby is napping well during the day but their overnight sleep is a struggle, there's a good chance that their nap times need a bit of tweaking! Your baby's sleep needs will change frequently in their first 12 months and it can be a struggle to keep up.
Our Little Ones App can help to take the guesswork out of your baby's sleep, with evolving, age-appropriate sleep and feed schedules, detailed troubleshooting for when things don't go to plan, gentle settling methods and more.