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When to wake a sleeping baby

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I was speaking to a group of parents with 7/8 month olds recently who were telling me that they all cap the first nap of the day at 1 hour. They were surprised when I queried as to why they all did this as they thought capping this nap would be music to my ears and that waking a sleeping baby was the right thing to do to keep naps on track. 

I felt compelled to explore when it may be a good idea to wake a sleeping baby further in a blog post. So, let’s delve into the topic: Should you ever wake a sleeping baby? Despite the prevailing belief and the old saying, there are indeed instances where it’s advisable to gently rouse your little one! Here, I’ll share four situations where waking your sleeping bundle of joy might be beneficial.

Health:

There are some circumstances whereby feeding at regular intervals may be necessary and therefore waking a sleeping baby for a feed also known as a ‘dream feed’ may be advisable. This may happen if weight gain is a concern and your GP/Health Visitors will guide you on this with a feeding regime which may or may not include a dream feed. Similarly, if your little one is poorly you would follow any advice from your GP.

Nap Duration:

If your baby’s naps extend too long, it could disrupt their nighttime sleep patterns. As your baby grows, their awake periods become longer. What’s suitable at four months differs significantly from what’s appropriate at seven and eight months. Keeping track of their daytime snoozes is crucial; otherwise, it might affect their nighttime sleep. Click here for a useful little blog for awake windows and naps.

Nighttime Wakefulness or unsettled nights:

Prolonged awakenings or restless nights often indicate a discrepancy in their daytime routine. Perhaps they’re napping excessively during the day or are ready for a nap transition.

Transition Periods:

When transitioning your baby to a new nap schedule, waking them up may be necessary. As they reduce their naps, incorporating a short catnap in the afternoon can help bridge the gap until bedtime. This applies whether they’re transitioning from four, three, or two naps. Ensure this catnap is brief, around 20 minutes, and if needed, gently wake them up.

Goodmorning:

Maintaining a consistent wake-up time, especially for older children attending school, is beneficial. Wide variations in wake-up times over the weekend can disrupt their Sunday night sleep routine. Similarly, establishing a regular wake-up time for infants helps regulate their circadian rhythms. Aim for a wake-up time around 7:30 to 8:00 am to keep their day on track.

By recognising these scenarios where waking a sleeping baby is warranted, you can help foster healthier sleep habits for your little one while ensuring smoother transitions throughout the day and night.

If you are struggling with unsettled nights or you are having a wake your baby regularly and they are not happy then please get in touch  for a free, no obligation call and we can talk about working together to get you a better night’s sleep.

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