Prima Baby, November 2008
Sleep expert Mandy Gurney, from the Millpond Children’s Sleep Clinic, answers some of your common sleep questions.
Q My 8-week-old baby feeds well in the day and has his first evening feed at 5.30pm, where he drinks 6oz. His next feed is at 10.30pm. He only takes 2oz and goes straight back to sleep. He then wants another 2oz at 3am. I’m aiming to drop his 3am feed, but how can I do this if he isn’t feeding well at 10.30pm?
A As your baby is able to sleep for long periods without a feed and then only takes 2oz, it suggests he could manage the night with one feed. Keep the 10.30pm feed for peace of mind and try advancing the 3am feed through to the morning is small stages, so he adjusts slowly to the changes. For example, feed him at 3.15am and extend this time by 15 minutes each night until you have moved his feed though to an acceptable ‘wake up’ time. If he wakes earlier, cuddle or pat him back to sleep.
Q My 11-month-old sleep from 11pm to 3am, and then again from 6am to 7am. I’ exhausted – how can I get her to sleep through?
A The process of falling asleep and staying asleep is a learned behaviour. You need to teach her how to fall asleep by herself in her cot so when she stirs, she can go back to sleep without disturbing you. Either the gradual-retreat programme or controlled crying would be suitable for you.
A good bedtime routine helps, as it gives cues it’s time for bed. It should include:
Q My daughter, who is 1.5-years-old, goes to bed awake and settles herself, but if she wakes in the night, she screams until I give her a dummy. Help!
A It sounds as if your daughter has a ‘sucking to sleep’ association and is reliant on her dummy to get her to sleep. Encourage her to replace the dummy herself by putting several dummies within her reach. Unfortunately, she is getting mixed messages from you, as you are inadvertently rewarding her screaming by responding with reassurance and your presence. Try reassuring her from the bedroom door and be prepared for her to scream even louder for the first few nights. Stand your ground and she’ll learn to resettle herself back to sleep and find her own dummies without needing you to help her. You may also want to think about weaning her off her dummy completely.
Q My 5-month-old baby has slept on her back in her cot since she was born. Last week she slept in all kinds of positions, and I’m worried about cot death. What should I do?
A This is a common problem at this age, as your baby’s mobility has suddenly enabled her to be more active at night. Let her have lots of time on the floor at home during the day to practice her rolling so she moves better. Continue to put her on her back to sleep and try not to worry if you find her on her front in the morning. For safe-sleep advice, visit www.fsid.org.uk.
Q My 3-year-ol sleeps through but wakes around 5.30am. How can I get her to sleep for a littler longer?
A Early rising can be one of the most difficult sleep problems to solve, but the ‘magic lamp’ and ‘sleep fairy’ system outlined below is very successful.