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Sleeping Case Studies

Felix: 9 months old - night waking

Felix, 9 months old, was waking at night to feed, after he had previously dropped his night feed.


Lauren, 7 months: Night waking

Even after weaning Lauren, her mother found her waking more than once at night.


Fraser, age 7 months: Early morning waking

Although Fraser slept really well in the daytime and rarely (unlike the vast majority of babies) reached a stage of overtiredness, struggled to consistently sleep through until 7am.


Sofia, age 7 months: Sleeping and breast association

Sofia's mum contacted the experts when Sofia was around 7 months old as her 7pm sleep started going downhill She was waking up anywhere from 2-3 times between 7pm -10.30pm looking for a feed to settle back to sleep. She also had started waking around 6am and wouldn't re-settle back to sleep. Her daytime naps started to go awry with the 6am-ish wakings and a vicious circle of early wakings had started.


Jess, age 8 weeks: Screaming at sleep time

All had been going well with Jess's routine, until she suddenly started to scream before her naps, only to fall asleep exhausted. At this point she weighed 9 ½ lbs and her weight gain had started to slow. The health visitors reassured us that she was still thriving. We both thought the screaming was a growth phase and accepted it as such, but the behaviour continued. At nine weeks Jess was still screaming before sleep.


Lucie, age 8 weeks: Problems settling to sleep

As Lucie got older, her mother tried to move her forward in the routines and she gradually became more and more difficult to settle. Just darkening her room became enough to send her hysterical. Her mother would sshh, rock and bounce her through the tears and she would fall sound asleep on her shoulder. Her mother tried to wake her slightly before putting her down, but it generally didn’t work.


Milly, aged four weeks: Unsettled evenings

Milly’s parents had tried to follow the Contented Little Baby routines from the very early days, but with little success. Milly would rarely settle for naps at the times the routines suggested and would cry and feed on and off all evening. She would eventually settle at 11pm, but only after her mother had topped her up with formula. Her parents were convinced that she was suffering from colic, as she would bring her legs up and scream as if in terrible pain when she cried. This would go on all evening, no matter how many times her mother put her to the breast.


Alexandra, age 13 weeks: Night waking

Alexandra has been on the CLB routines since she was two weeks old. She followed the routines very happily, although she did not manage to lengthen the times betweens feeds as suggested in the routines for her age. She would need a 10am feed in the morning instead of 11am and have a split feed at 5pm with a top-up at 6.15 pm. This pattern continued to work well until around 13 weeks, when she suddenly started to wake up twice at night at around 3am and then again near 5am.


Poppy, age 10 weeks: Hourly early morning wakings

Poppy was exclusively breastfed. The main problem was that Poppy would wake up hungry any time between 2.30am and 5am (there was no set pattern). Her mother would then offer her both breasts, but she would continue to wake hungry every hour or so until I got her up at 7am.
During the day Poppy was getting hungry earlier than all of the times stated in book for her age, and she was requiring a top-up before her lunch-time nap. She would go down well at 7pm, and we would always have to wake her for her late feed.

Her parents tried all of the usual things: blackout blinds, ensuring she was tucked in correctly, and keeping Poppy awake for 1 ½ hours from 9.45pm, with a top-up at 11pm. Her mother also tried replacing the late feed with formula but to no avail.


Heather, age 10 months: Early morning waking during the second year

Heather had been a contented baby since birth and from a very young age had always slept well until 7am. Shortly after her first birthday she dropped her morning nap and was sleeping well at lunchtime for at least two hours. Soon after this, however, she began waking earlier in the morning and would not return to sleep. Within a month, she was waking at 5.30am ready to start her day. This affected the rest of her day and required the reintroduction of a morning nap. Six weeks later she was still waking at 5.30am and becoming very irritable and overtired in the late afternoon.


Sophia, age 4 weeks: Early Morning Waking and sleepy 10pm feed

Sophia weighed nearly 10lb at birth and went straight into the 2-4 week routine. She fed well and slept well at the right times. When she reached four weeks she started sleeping through until 6.30-7.30am from her 10pm feed. She had done this consistently for two weeks but then she started to wake earlier and earlier every morning. She totally back-tracked with night time sleeping and started waking at 5am in the morning. Despite the fact that she was not interested in feeding, she still would not go back to sleep until nearly 6.30am.


Ella & Millie, age 6 weeks and 10 weeks: How I solved the Lunchtime Nap


Ed, age 6 months: Early Morning Waking

When Ed was 6 months old he had his scheduled vaccinations and he simultaneously came down with a tummy bug. He didn’t eat properly for a week and lost 1kg. During this time he started waking several times in the night through hunger and would have to be fed, as he just wasn’t eating enough during the day to sustain him through the night. He then caught his first cold, which made eliminating his middle of the night waking and early morning waking even more difficult.

His parents decided to reintroduce the 10pm feed as a way to help him get through the night and back to sleeping until 7am, which definitely helped eliminate the 3/4am waking. However, he was still waking between 5.30am and 6.30am, during which time they would try and settle him with water or a dummy. After three weeks they decided to drop the 10pm feed, even though he wasn’t sleeping through until 7am, because his morning milk feed started to decrease. The early morning waking then started to get even earlier: at around 5am most mornings.


Sam, age 7 months: Early Morning Waking

Sam began to sleep through the night from the 10pm feed, when he was three months old, and at the end of five months he was sleeping right through the night from 7pm until 7am.

Then, just before he turned seven months, things changed. He began to wake up earlier, at about 6.30am, but was normally happy in his cot until about 7am. However, as the days went by, the early morning wakings got even earlier, usually at 5.30am and 6.00am. Sometimes he would settle back to sleep and other times not, which would result in him becoming very overtired and irritable by late afternoon.


David, age seven months: Excessive night-time feeding due to being fed too much convenience food

David outgrew his Moses basket at five months of age so his parents decided that they would move his 20-month-old sister Andrea into a bed and give her cot to David. He continued to sleep well when moved to the big cot, but the move from a cot to a bed for Andrea turned out to be a disaster and resulted in weeks of hysterical crying and sleepless nights.

While the situation with Andrea was becoming steadily worse, exhaustion led her mother to neglect David’s diet and routine. He was given jars of baby food rather than the fresh food that had been an essential part of his dietary requirements. Soon David started to wake up every night at around 10pm and would not settle back without a feed, even though he had dropped this feed a good six weeks previously. Worse still, he started to wake up when his sister was crying in the night. His mother ended up giving him a formula feed in the night so that he would settle back quickly and allow her to return to a hysterical Andrea.

This excessive night-time feeding resulted in David eating even fewer solids than usual. He would take only a small amount of cereal after his morning bottle – about two tablespoonfuls at lunchtime, and two teaspoonfuls of baby rice mixed with milk at teatime

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