6 months, night & early morning waking

CASE STUDY: 6 months, night waking and early morning waking

Nov 2, 2021
2 min read

*this is a case study from a real-life mother who reached out for help. We share our case studies in the hope it may help other mothers who are in the same, or similar, situations. Not everyone parents in the same way, so please do not judge, criticise or demean these mothers and the parenting choices they have made in the best interests of their babies and their families. 


Baby: Jacob

Age: 6 months

Mum: Heather 

Naps: 3 naps, 9-10:30, 1-2, 4-4:45



Jacob was a really good napper in the day. He had slotted into a predictable routine to his day with 3 naps, totalling just over 3 hours cumulative day sleep. His mum Heather was pretty happy about how he was napping, however she was not happy about his nights!


Jacob had recently started waking 45 minutes after going to bed in the evening and needing to be resettled (sometimes for quite a while!), waking around 3AM and seeming wide awake and sometimes he was even waking at 5:30AM and ready to start his day.


Heather wasn't sure what was causing these wakes as he had previously been sleeping mostly through the night from around 3 months old. Jacob didn't seem interested in a milk feed at the 3AM wake and Heather often struggled to get him to go back to sleep quickly.


After a frustrating couple of weeks, Heather got in touch with us and asked if we would recommend she try some sleep training with Jacob. We could see quite quickly that there was no need for "sleep training" and that Jacob was just having a bit too much daytime sleep and the last nap of the day was the thing that was most likely causing the night wake and early morning wake.


Heather was nervous about changing Jacob's napping because he was such a good daytime sleeper and she worried it would all backfire! With some encouragement from our Support Group, Heather implemented the Older Baby Sleep Program with Jacob. The nap structure in the Program was a bit different to what she'd been doing previously and it did take a wee while for Jacob to get the hang of the new timings in his day.


With the nap timings and lengths tweaked and reducing then dropping the late afternoon nap, Jacob's bedtime wake at the 45 minute mark vanished, his 3AM wide awake period vanished and he was sleeping through to 6/6:30AM most days!



As a baby ages and develops their nap requirements also change and mature. This can mean their nap timings and lengths need constant refining so that their napping doesn't impact their night time sleep. What had happened in Jacob's case was that he was now napping a bit too much in the day to mean he genuinely wasn't tired enough to sleep deeper overnight. In a baby this age, the late afternoon nap can start to wreak havoc with bedtime settling if it's too long or too late in the day and beyond 6 months any amount of sleep past 3PM can correlate to a wakeful period at around 3AM. This is exactly what was happening.


The 5:30AM wake was also caused by the nap timings from the previous day and simply reducing then removing that late afternoon nap really improved Jacob's consolidation of his early morning sleep.


Heather was grateful that she didn't need to implement any sort of actual "sleep training" with Jacob and that we were able to improve his nights in a far more holistic way.


"I hadn't really thought that the night time waking would have been caused by his naps! We were always told that sleep breeds sleep so I thought it was good he was napping that much! I'm quite surprised how easily we were able to take on board these small changes and how big a difference it made."


To get your baby's naps spot on and head towards better sleep, our Sleep Programs have everything you need.



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