My good friend Lynne recently asked for some sleep help for her adorable daughter Reese. It’s a good example of the fact that even good sleepers and babies who need lots of sleep—like little Reese—can have occasional sleep speedbumps.
I’m in need of some help. Reese is almost 8 months old and has now started waking at night, after months of sleeping through the night. She usually goes down for the night around 5:30 or 6pm. Her first wake up has been around 2/3am. I typically get up and feed her and put her back down. She then gets up again around 5am. I know she’s not hungry so I just let her fuss for an hour and eventually feed her at 6 and put her down yet again.
Is there some big growth spurt that happens at 8 months? It’s rough because she’s been sleeping through since 4 months so this is a rude awakening after 4 months of good sleep (for us and her).
I'm so sorry things are tough!
My first thought is that perhaps she's transitioning to needing a bit less sleep. She is sleeping a lot—about 15 or 16 hours per day. That’s at the high end of the average for her age range.
Late infancy—around eight to nine months—is an age where sleep can get shaken up. For starters, at the end of the first year, some babies are beginning to need a little less sleep. But since babies in this age group still take two naps during the day, it’s very easy for babies to get too much daytime sleep, which can lead to nighttime wakings.
Between about 8 months and 15 months, babies are in a bit of a sleep limbo—they’re often ready for a bit less daytime sleep, but they still need the two naps. During this tricky time, limiting nap length is the key to successful daytime sleep and solid nighttime sleep.
When babies switch to one nap (around 15 months on average), you can stop worrying so much about limiting nap length so strictly.
For now, if you limit her naps to one hour each and move her bedtime later by half an hour, I'm betting that things will improve. When you move bedtime later, you want to go slowly, like 15 minutes each day, so that you don't create an overtired situation. Babies like Reese who need lots of sleep can be prone to overtiredness too, and that's no fun either.
Good luck, and let me know how it goes!
Update: Little Reese is now sleeping through the night again. Hooray! And how adorable is this kid?