9 months old, night waking

CASE STUDY: 9 month old, frequent night waking

Thomas' sleep story...

Thomas was an okay sleeper early on, who did the "usual" things babies do at each age - catnapping from around 3 months old, then waking quite frequently in the night once the 4 month regression hit.

Thomas' mum Layla did some self-settling work with him and much to her relief, it helped with both his catnapping during the day and frequent waking at night. 

When he was around 7 months old though, Thomas started waking more at night again! Instead of waking just once for a feed, he was now waking 2-3 times. Layla was confused because he was still able to self-settle at his naps and bedtime, but he couldn't seem to manage it at these overnight wakes.

She continued to give him a bottle at his first wake, knowing this was most likely due to hunger, then tried resettling him without a feed at his other wakes. This could take a long time and some nights Thomas would be awake for an hour or more.

Layla wasn't overly concerned at first, since he was still sleeping well during the day, with naps from 9-10:30am, 1-2:30pm and 5-5:30pm. She figured the extra night wakes were likely just a phase and it would pass soon enough.

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By the time he was 8 months old, Thomas was STILL waking a lot at night but now he was getting harder and harder to settle back to sleep. After receiving some poor advice that babies this age only wake in the night out of habit, Layla decided to try some "sleep training" with him.

She used a method where she would verbally check in with Thomas to reassure him, but essentially would leave him to go back to sleep on his own. But... he didn't go back to sleep on his own.

After several nights of failed attempts, where Thomas and Layla both got very upset, Layla gave up the sleep training attempts.

By now, Thomas was 9 months old and a very frustrated and exhausted Layla had finally had enough! She got in touch with us about her baby's night wakes and the first thing we did was look at his total day sleep hours.

We could see straight away that Thomas was having a bit too much day sleep and his last nap was happening too close to bedtime, meaning he genuinely wasn't tired enough to sleep well at night. He was waking at night simply because his sleep needs had changed and he needed some more awake time.

When Layla attempted to sleep train Thomas, it didn't work because he wasn't ready to go back to sleep - not because he was being "naughty" or resisting the sleep training. You should never try to sleep train or teach a baby to self-settle until they're established in an age-appropriate sleep routine. This helps to ensure that they will be genuinely ready for sleep at the times that you are putting them to bed. 

Layla got Thomas started right away on our Baby Sleep Program and after six days, he had stopped waking in the night altogether. She couldn't believe it, her baby was sleeping through the night for the first time EVER!

So, so often, night waking is a direct result of your baby's daytime routine - either too much or too little day sleep, naps that are too late in the day, or too long, or at the wrong times. If you're working to reduce night wakes with your little one, you absolutely need to make sure their night waking isn't as a result of their day sleep. You won't be able to "fix" their nights until you first address their naps.

After a wee while on our Sleep Program, Thomas was napping at the optimal times for his age during the day, and getting enough awake time so that he didn't need to stay awake in the night anymore.  Layla was astounded that this could be achieved in such a short time and without the need for any actual sleep training!

If your baby is waking through the night and you're not sure why, our certified sleep consultants can help you to figure out what's going on and get their sleep back on track in no time. Check out our Sleep Programs in our Little Ones App.

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