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Question:

I’m wondering if you can give me some advice. My baby is 14
months old and waking frequently through the night. She has slept right
through the night maybe 5 times in her entire life. On a good night she
will wake twice on a bad night she will wake every two hours. Each time she
wakes I get her up, breast feed her and then she goes straight back to bed.
She’s up for about 15-20 mins each time. I’m pregnant and feeling exhausted
and wondering if there is anything I can do to encourage her to sleep all
night? I would really rather not leave her to cry and I am hoping you have
some advice for me on how to get her to settle herself back to sleep.

Answer:

Its hard to answer this question as I am not sure when she feeds or what she eats. So I will give you a general guideline to work with. I am not sure whether you breast when she first wakes or she has breakfast first. I would suggest that she has breakfast then breast. Also she has a very early nap and again I would move this over the next few weeks by 15 minute stretches until she is having lunch then nap. Until you take the time to resettle over night then you cant expect her to stop feeding. It is healthy for a baby to cry, however it is not healthy to leave them crying for long periods of time and also not to intervene and help them find their sleep. You can replace the feeding with slight movement like cupping which can be done in arms or in the cot

Her routine will look similar to this
7.00am Breakfast solids then breast
10.00am Morning tea – you can either offer a small healthy snack with water OR full breast feed
12.00pm Lunch age appropriate meal with water in sippy cup
12.30pm Nap after lunch – can have breast before nap if you like
Nap ideally is a minimum of 1 1/2 hours can be longer optional to offer afternoon tea when she wakes – again should be a healthy snack and small and ideally no later than 3.00pm
5.00pm Dinner solids
evening routine milk, bath, milk
7.00pm bed for the night
Night waking resettle resettle.

SETTLING AND RESETTLING NOTES
Settling and resettling take TACT – time, acceptance, consistency and tranquility
Sleep is a learned behaviour. Sleep is also a nutrient and walks hand in hand with food.
It takes a minimum of ten days to see any changes and the change at the end of the light is just a dim light. The first 3 to 4 days is always the hardest and to change their circadian sleep cycles it takes a minimum of six weeks

Sleep is a learned behaviour. Sleep is also a nutrient and walks hand in hand with food. It is healthy for a baby to cry/grizzle before going to sleep. When you go to bed you read a book, meditate, watch TV, or chat with your partner – a baby can only do one thing and that is cry. You are not leaving him there to cry it out; you are leaving him there to give him the ability to find his own sleep. In my experience it takes approximately 20 minutes for a baby to fall asleep, however you are not going to leave your baby to do this on their own. Ideally you will put your baby in their cot awake, close the curtains and leave the room. You will leave your baby for an appropriate time and then intervene with reassurance – I tend to do this in 5 minute intervals so the settling routine will look like this – and it also depends on the age of the baby. For babies under 12 weeks, I tend to do the settling in arms. IF doing in arms I never do any movement that cannot be replicated in a cot.

Into bed, leave for up to 5 minutes (at your baby’s age you will probably only leave for a minute and its also about the crying/grizzling and whether it is off or on)
comfort – reassure (this is normally less that the grizzling time)
this can be repeated for up to 20 minutes with reassurance every five minutes and then you need to stay in the room and help your baby find their sleep – if you already haven’t. Sometimes babies will not be able to go to sleep if they are light sensitive. I would suggest that you look at your baby’s room and if they are unable to fall asleep then try making the room darker.

It is not about leaving your baby to cry it out, but it is about allowing your baby the right and ability to find their sleep and if they cannot do this in an appropriate time then intervening and helping them to find their sleep.

RESETTLING
teaches babies how to progress from light to heavy sleep. This is essential to avoid the pitfalls of frequent waking and catnapping. In a sense, resettling is the second stage of teaching baby how to find sleep and does demand more time and patience than settling (TACT).

Most babies stir or wake when progressing from light to heavy sleep and this occurs anywhere between 20-45 minutes. In the beginning the idea is not to let your baby wake fully during this transition; a sleepy baby is easier to resettle than a wide-awake, crying baby.

Resettling is not about calming them down or staying until they just start to drift off, it is about staying with your baby until they go into a deep sleep.
Thank you so much for your question I hope this helps, just remember you are doing an amazing job and being a Mother is the hardest job in the world.
Kind Regards
Dorothy

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