Noah, 5 months: Catnapping and waking all night long
Noah's sleep story...
Little Noah (5 months old) had never really been a very "sleepy" baby, even as a newborn. His mother, Sarah, felt like it was a constant battle to get him to go to sleep during the day and he'd then wake 40 minutes later for every nap.
Up until around 4 months old, Noah had started doing some decent stretches at night - 4 to 5 hours in a go. However, that had recently changed. Now, as well as the small catnaps in the day, he had started waking every 1-2 hours overnight and needed Sarah to help him back to sleep by feeding him.
Because of this pattern of poor naps and fragmented night sleep, Noah was a pretty cranky, tired little dude and Sarah just didn't know how to help him sleep better.
After reading some information online, Sarah tried making Noah's room really dark, in the hope this would help his night sleep. She also started using some white noise. Unfortunately, these things didn't seem to make much difference and, frustrated, Sarah continued to search for help. She came across Little Ones and decided to give our sleep solutions a go.
Straight away, Sarah could see that our suggested nap times and lengths were really different to what Noah had been doing and she was very sceptical as to whether her wakeful baby would adapt to this new sleep pattern. She considered giving up before she'd even started but decided to reach out to our sleep consultants in the Little Ones Village first.
With personalised guidance and some reassurance from our sleep consultants, Sarah started Noah on the daily sleep and feed schedule for his age. This was the best place to start in an endeavour to get a bit of structure and consistency going with Noah's days.
Sarah also learned that little Noah’s frequent overnight wakes were largely due to the 4 month sleep regression, where a baby's sleep cycles mature. This causes babies to wake fully in between sleep cycles and is when their method of falling asleep becomes really important.
Since Noah was used to being fed to sleep,this meant he was unable to then go back to sleep on his own between sleep cycles in the day and overnight, leading to short naps and a very fractured night sleep. Over time, this resulted in chronic overtiredness which was not sustainable for Noah, or Sarah.
In order to achieve longer naps and more consolidated night time sleep, Sarah realised that Noah would need to learn to fall asleep independently. After working towards an age-appropriate nap pattern during the day, Sarah was able to start on our gradual self-settling method for fed-to-sleep babies. This method works with a baby's preferred sleep association, making the learning process smoother and calmer for everyone.
Coupling the good daytime routine and the self-settling method proved to be really successful. Within a few days, Noah's chronic night wakes had reduced to just two wakes overnight for a milk feed, then one. His naps became more predictable and, although Sarah had to resettle Noah during his long lunchtime nap for a little while, once Noah had recovered from his sleep debt and had mastered the skill of self-settling, that lunchtime sleep fell into place too.
"I genuinely cannot believe the change in my baby! I really had thought we were beyond help and that I would just have to accept his terrible sleep for months and years to come, but I'm amazed how quickly he adapted to the program. I never thought we would be enjoying as much sleep as we are now and that it could be achieved in such a gentle, easy way. Best thing I ever did for my baby, hands down."
By aiming for a really age-appropriate daily nap schedule, which focused on getting the awake times and nap patterns spot on for Noah's developmental stage, and then working through our step-by-step gradual self-settling method, Sarah was able to dramatically improve her little boy's naps and night sleep. This was achieved without any sort of cry-based sleep training.
If you are experiencing similar challenges with your baby’s settling or sleep, we would love to help! Download our Little Ones App to get exclusive access to our trusted sleep solutions, detailed troubleshooting notes for when things don’t go to plan, gentle settling methods and more.