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Baby going to bed late

  1. #1
    Michelle KH is offline Registered User
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    Baby going to bed late

    My son is 4 month old now. Although he does sleep though the night (from around 11ish to around 7ish), he doesn't sleep until late each day.

    He usually naps about 2-3 hours in total in the morning and afternoon, but then he doesn't go to sleep until 11ish each day. After his feed at around 8pm, he goes for his nap but only for half hour or so. I have tried putting him in the dark room and half swaddle, but it doesn't work either. He just keep waking up after 30 minutes or so.

    I am just worried that he is not getting enough sleep, but then he doesn't seem to be overtired in the morning or afternoon. He does however seem quite cranky in the evening around 10, but he just doesn't want to go to sleep before 11.

    Any advice is much appreciated.

    Michelle
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  2. #2
    jane01 is offline Registered User
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    Your baby is very cute !

    I have two suggestions:

    1. to bring a late bedtime forward, move it forward by 15mins/half an hour until it is where you want it to be. That allows for a gradual reset of the body clock.
    2. Routine routine routine - always use the same bedtime routine. Ours is dinner (6pm), bath, milk, teeth, story, cuddles, bed (7pm). Once in bed we allow comforting, but our daughter is not allowed up (ie out of her room) after this time. Our daughter knows what to expect and seems to look forward to it.

    The so called experts say that a baby at 4 months needs around 14-15 hours sleep per day. So the 10-11 hours that you're currently getting doesn't sound like quite enough. Now, your baby might just need less than that, but you'll probably find that when you move the bedtime forward, she'll be getting enough sleep.

    Also, some babies are night owls, and some morning babies. Because your baby is waking up at 7am, I would hazard a non-expert guess that you have a morning baby that is just used to going to bed late.


    Is there something that wakes your baby up after 8pm? Is there a noisy TV? Does bub hear you going about your business in the rest of the house and doesn't want to miss out on anything until you go to bed? You could try blocking your general household noise out with some 'white noise' in baby's bedroom. For example, a running aircon, a radio tuned in between stations, etc.

    Good luck !

  3. #3
    barbwong_130 is offline Registered User
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    Dear Michelle,

    Do you want your baby to sleep earlier because you believe that babies should go to bed before 11 pm or because it isn’t suiting your family lifestyle?

    If it is because the society is telling you that babies sleep earlier don’t worry. It is fine for babies to sleep late. In fact with so many parents working outside the home it may even be desirable for a baby to sleep late and so get more wakeful hours with his parents.

    If it is because such a later night doesn’t suit your family lifestyle then it is worth tiring to change your baby’s bedtime. The way that I managed to get me baby to sleep earlier was to put forward the whole bedtime routine. We had a routine of the baby having a bath, having a play (this included stories as they got older) and then having milk to go to sleep. When I wanted him to go to bed earlier I’d slowly move the whole routine earlier. Just by ten minutes for the first few days and then by another ten minutes. It took me over a month but I managed to move his whole bedtime routine forward by an hour and a half.

    One thing to remember is that moving the bedtime earlier won’t result in the baby sleeping longer. He will just get up earlier in the morning. You have to decide whether it is better to have a baby who sleeps from 11 pm to 7 am or from 9 pm to 5 am. The other thing to remember is that babies are constantly changing. Just because your baby sleeps at this time at four months doesn’t mean that he will still be doing so at eight months.

    Best wishes,
    Barb

  4. #4
    jane01 is offline Registered User
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    I'm sorry, but I have to respectfully disagree with barbwong on one point. I don't agree that babies who go to bed earlier wake earlier. Once they've settled into a routine, they generally wake at the same time.

    There is a lot of literature on this point, but the only one I can think of off the top of my head is "Healthy sleep habits, healthy child" by Mark Weisbluth. I don't agree with his teach your child to sleep advice, but he has some really interesting information on sleep cycles, etc.

    Having said that, every baby is an individual and one baby could wake up earlier. In my experience I have just found that, within reason, an earlier bedtime doesn't affect the wake up time.

  5. #5
    jane01 is offline Registered User
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    Here is an article by Elizabeth Pantley of the No Cry Sleep Solution fame:

    http://www.earlychildhoodlinks.com/p...rlybedtime.htm

    which discusses early bedtimes. She agrees that early bed doesn't mean early to rise, and in fact encourages better sleep.

    There are also lots of references on the web to how much sleep a baby needs, such as:

    http://www.babycenter.com/general/7645.html

    They all say around 14-15 hours for a 4 month old. It just doesn't sound like your baby is getting enough sleep. Goodluck moving bedtime !

  6. #6
    Michelle KH is offline Registered User
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    Thanks for all your advice. I will try moving his bed time a bit eariler. Actually, I don't mind that he goes to bed late, but I am just worried that he is not getting enough sleep, as some expert say that babies should not go to bed later than 11pm. It seems that since I have posted this thread, he has been waking up later in the morning, around 9ish so I guess he is only 1 or 2 hours short of the "14-15" hours sleep he needed. However, he still does not go to sleep before 11pm.

    Michelle

  7. #7
    barbwong_130 is offline Registered User
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    Sleep is a biological function but the way it is managed is very cultural. Just about all the books on sleep are written by English-speaking westerners. And so portray the English-peaking western culture. This culture believes that babies do best with one long sleep taken alone. Naps are allowed while the babies are still young but are to be eliminated as soon as possible. What the books, Elizabeth Pantley included, do not tell you is that there are other cultures that have other practices – and whose babies also grow up healthily too.

    If both you and you baby are happy with one long sleep then don’t think of changing it. However, if this lifestyle doesn’t work for either of you then don’t worry about changing it to one that does work – even if this means that a baby goes to sleep after 11:00 pm, only ever sleeps in blocks of four hours or sleeps best when in contact with another human being.

    There are cultures where the adults (and consequently the babies too) don’t sleep for more than four hours at a time, wake up for a couple of hours in the middle of the night, never sleep alone or have long afternoon naps. The babies follow these lifestyles because the adults do – not because they have a need to.

    Personally I found that with my first two children it worked very well for them to stay up late and take two long naps during the day. The only problem came when I had a third baby on the same schedule and my first child started morning school. This meant that I was up late with the baby and up early with my eldest. As this life style no longer suited me I slowly changed the children’s schedule to sleep earlier and wake earlier (and yes my baby did wake earlier – resulting in roughly the same number of hours sleep in each 24 hour day).

    I think it is important to make a distinction between a biological need and cultural behaviour. Then when you want to do something that might be frowned on in your culture you can be reassured that it won’t hurt your baby.

    Best wishes,
    Barb

  8. #8
    jane01 is offline Registered User
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    Barbwong - I had to laugh at your post because we were talking about this exact subject (ie bedtime) at baby playgroup the other day.

    Without fail, all the "western" (for want of a better word) babies had bedtimes of between 6 and 8pm. Without fail all of the chinese babies had bedtimes after 9pm. I never knew this. Is this a cultural thing or are we just a strange group? What surprises me is that in the "western" group, we had a huge diversity of cultures - German, English, American, Australian, NZ, Spanish, etc. Yet without fail, all had early bedtimes for their babies.

    Two "mixed-race" (again, for want of a better word) families both had later bedtimes as well.

    Michelle - I agree with barbwong. As long as your baby is getting enough sleep in a 24 hour period and is happy and healthy, go with whatever works for your family.

    For us, 7pm works. It seems to be our daugther's natural bedtime. Put her down earlier (for example if we want to go out!), she won't co-operate. Put her down later (for example if we're late home) and it takes her a long time to go to sleep. My husband and I enjoy some quiet time together after she goes to bed.

    I have adjusted my working hours to suit my daughter. I work part-time, so I can spend more time with her. I leave work at 5.30pm no matter how much work I still have left to do - she's more important. Sometimes I feel like I'm always behind and I'm certainly not going to get promoted any time soon, but my family are my no.1 priority and work just doesn't compare. By leaving at 5.30, I'm home in time to give her dinner, bath, story and put her to bed. I love my morning and evening routines with her. Ahhhh bliss.

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