CASE STUDY: A simple change in routine made ALL the difference!
*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 mums who are in the same, or similar, situations. Not everyone parents in the same way, so please do not judge, criticize or demean these mothers and the parenting choices they have made in the best interests of their babies and their families.
Age: 6 months
Room: Dark room, baby sleeping bag, white noise
Naps: 1.5 hours morning nap, 1 hour lunchtime nap, 1 hour late afternoon nap
Night: Battle to get down at 7 PM, taking a long time to go to sleep, dreamfeed at midnight, then waking again at 3 AM where she takes a long time to go back to sleep.
Baby Grace was in a predictable routine to her day and her mother Lauren, having come from a background in teaching, had really wanted the structure a routine brings. Lauren had sought professional sleep help for Grace's sleep when she was 2 months old, due to Grace being quite an unsettled newborn. Lauren had been given a schedule that definitely helped her through the tricky newborn phase and seemed to be working well for Grace's days - Grace was taking nice long naps 3 times a day.
Overnight, Grace had previously been sleeping well, waking once or twice for a feed and settling easily back to sleep.
But, by the time Grace was 6 months old, while still napping well, bedtime started to take a hit and so did her nights. As per the sleep plan, Lauren was trying to get Grace to bed for the night by 7 PM, however Grace was now resisting settling, crying, fluffing around and not going to sleep until closer to 8 PM. Lauren found herself getting incredibly frustrated and stressed out because she didn't know what had changed for her great sleeping baby! She would try rocking or patting Grace to get her to sleep and even tried leaving her to cry, thinking she had no other choice.
Nothing was working.
To exacerbate matters, once asleep, Grace was having a dream feed at 10 PM but would then wake at 3 AM and be wide awake for up to 2 hours. Lauren could not get her back to sleep no matter what she did.
Frustrated and not wanting to pay hundreds of dollars for another private sleep consultation, Lauren contacted us.
We could see exactly what was going on for little Grace. It was actually quite simple - Grace had grown out of the sleep plan she'd been given several months ago and now needed far less daytime nap hours and in a slightly different pattern to allow her to be ready for bedtime at 7 PM and to eliminate that wakeful period in the night.
Lauren started Grace on our Older Baby Sleep Program, tweaking her daytime naps according to the Program, which meant capping the morning sleep so it was shorter than she'd been previously doing, saving the longer stretch of sleep for her lunchtime nap and, because 6 months is the time when babies generally drop down to just 2 naps a day, losing the late afternoon nap altogether! Lauren was apprehensive about how this would work, seeing as Grace was used to a LOT more day sleep and Lauren didn't think Grace would last from the end of her lunch sleep until bedtime, however she was encouraged by the customer support group and, on the very first day of implementing these changes, Grace was put to bed for the night at 6:30 PM and was asleep within minutes! Lauren couldn't believe it!
That night, Grace had her dream feed bat 10 PM, woke at 3 AM, had a quick feed and went straight back to sleep!
A baby's sleep needs are constantly changing. This means that their sleep patterns and schedules need to be constantly adapting and changing to keep up with their development. Baby Grace was still being given naps more suited to a 3 month old baby than a 6 month old, and cumulatively, she was having too much day sleep for her age. This resulted in her genuinely not being tired enough to settle to sleep at 7 PM. At this age too, any large amount of sleep past 3 PM can also result in very wakeful periods in the night - this is exactly what was happening with Grace.
With the help of our Program, Grace was able to transition to just 2 naps per day, meaning she was hitting the perfect amount of nap hours and awake time to lead to easy bedtime settling and much better night-time sleep. Better still, our Programs cover all your baby's sleep needs and changes from birth to 3 years old, so there is no chance your baby will be stuck in a routine they've grown out of!
"I thought we were doing so well with Grace's sleep, and we were, but I just had no idea how much their sleep needs can change! I was getting so anxious about her sleep and dreaded the thought we might need to do some kind of sleep training, so I am so relieved we've found such an easy solution! Thank you Little Ones for giving us the tools to future-proof our baby's sleep!"
For more advice about baby sleep at this age, read: