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Mum

Hi, any help or advice for a five month old baby that wakes up every hour?

He naps in the morning for about 45 minutes to an hour at about 9-10am. Then again in the afternoon for about 45 minutes. And then after 6pm he takes again a small nap. Last night, I did not let him nap at 6pm to see if he will sleep for longer but that did not help. In the day, I let him nap on our bed as the room is cooler or in his pram if we came back from a walk and he is asleep.

At 5pm he gets a tiny bit if rice cereal, then we do bath. After bath he gets a bottle if he wants one then he normally takes a nap. When he wakes up we’re normally busy with dinner and then I walk him to his room just before 8pm. He’s asleep around 8:30pm until 11-12pm - 1am if we’re lucky - but after that he wakes every hour. He drinks a bottle before bed and normally falls asleep or I rock him to sleep. He sleeps in his own cot in his room.

In relation to his naps and daily schedule, each baby of course has unique sleep needs but where the naps fall and how they are distributed throughout the day will either support or hinder sleep at night.

As he is now five and a half months, I would look to support a three-nap day as you are currently doing but I would potentially reassess the timing of his naps and bedtime.

My suggestion would be to initially try and stablise the time you start his day in the morning to a 30 minute window for example 6.30-7am. This will help to reset his body clock at around the same time every day.

I would then support a nap as you are doing about two hours later starting at 9am.

I would then aim for him to be asleep at 12.15pm for 90 minute to two hours if you can. If he wakes half way through his nap I suggest you try and settle him back doing what ever it was that you supported his nap with in the first place. I would then let him sleep to approx 2.15pm at the latest.

You can then support him for his third nap at 4.30pm for 30 minutes.

Bedtime would then be at 7.15 PM ish, two hours and 15 minutes later.

Although he is having three naps at the moment it looks like he is awake for long periods of time in between them, which ultimately could be causing him to wake up more than necessary overnight.

If you are looking to support a fourth short nap you of course can around 6pm again for approximately 30 minutes and you can then settle him to sleep for the night between 8.30-9pm.

You might like to move his bottle to 30-45 minutes before you intend him to be asleep and ensure it is wakeful.

I also suggest you might like to gradually phase out the rocking as rocking to sleep can cause a jerky nervous system - it can cause babies to startle awake.You could either choose to hold him still in your arms at bedtime while he falls asleep or if that sounds tricky for you do at the moment I suggest that you use something called 'habit stacking' to gradually phase out the rocking and replace it with other sleep cues.

To do this you will want to add in additional multi-sensory sleep cues alongside the rocking. For example, I suggest you use something he can hear such as white noise, a lullaby, something he can smell such as essential oils or a comforter and something he can feel such as patting or stroking him rubbing him.

The great thing about doing this is if you remove a cue, he still had three more cues he associates with the feeling of sleepiness.

In terms of the dummy, this may also be one of the reasons he is waking hourly after midnight especially if he needs you to replace it. My suggestion would be now he is coming up to six months to remove the dummy as it will not only play into sleep but it can also affect the development of his jaw especially as it prevents the tongue from resting where it should ie in the top of his mouth just behind the teeth.

Hope that helps!

Emma, Tinto Expert