SOS!! Why Is My 7 Month Old Waking and Wanting to Play at 2-3 in the Morning?!?

Updated on December 21, 2009
M.R. asks from Dillsburg, PA
13 answers

I am so exhausted! For the past 3 nights (this just started) my 7 1/2 month old has started to wake early in the morning...WIDE AWAKE! Wanting to play, talk, get up for the day! I do not sleep well myself and usually cannot fall asleep until 12 or 1am. So, as you can see...I get maybe an hour or 2 sleep and then he is up! I am too tired to get up with him and do not want him to think it is time to wake for the day so I put him back in his crib (after nursing) or just let him in his crib. He plays for a bit and then the crying/screaming begins. This goes on and on and on. So, I don't get sleep because he is crying so loud and hard. The one night I let him go and he fell back to sleep. But last night he just would NOT give up! After and hour of this I went in and got him and nursed him back to sleep. I am very concerned for this to start being his new routine and I cannot live like this. I am so useless and exhausted. I was hoping to be getting more sleep these days! Since having him, I have not been able to this is almost 8 months of barely sleeping. And since I nurse I do not want to take things to help me sleep...I will take a Benedhyrl (sp) sometimes to help. I thought maybe he is napping to much during the day? This is his routine...

He will nap for 2-3 hours in the morning /early afternoon. Then another half our 45 minute nap about 2 or 3 hours after he wakes up from the first nap. Then maybe another short 30-45 min nap a little later in the day. I did read that for his age it is normal for him to get 2 or 3 pretty long naps in a day. So..his napping 2-3 hours should be normal?? Here is an example : Wake up at 7 or 8 am. Nap 1: 9:30-12:30. Nap 2 : 3:30-4/4:30pm. Nap 3: 6:30-7/7:30pm. Bed: btwn 9-10pm. Now, this schedule is not strict and does vary depending on when he wakes in the morning..what we are doing that day..etc. But on a normal day where we are home together this is about right. So, is this normal? Is he napping too much? Or maybe I need to find out a way to cut out that late day nap? But, he is just so exhausted at that time..i fear letting him go down for the night that early..but he is too cranky and tired to keep him up. Oh please help!!! Thank you.

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answers from Erie on

Def take out that last nap and replace it with a nice bath and a massage/story. my 6 month old was on the same schedule and we took out that last nap and it made a world of a difference!

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answers from Philadelphia on

Dear M.,
The long nap in the morning is the one that is allowing him to keep you up at 2-3 in the morning. If you shorten that one, he will go into a long nap in the afternoon. Hopefully, the 3rd nap will be lessened (eliminated), he will eat dinner and go to ved early. Then before you go to bed, wake him up to nurse, keeping the room dark (as possible) and maybe he will go to bed again.
When shifting times like this, I would either leave him in bed with me (at night), or move to another room where there is a spare bed against the wall so you don't wake your spouse. It usually takes less than a week to change.
Hint: He may be sensitive to wet kids were.
Hint: He could be teething and nursing is comforting him.
Hint: Your sleep is very important, make sure you get help around the house....breast infections are not good for you or your child. I've been there.
Shaklee Distributor

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answers from Pittsburgh on

cut out the last nap 6:30 instead of napping give him a bath in the sleep baby time bath soap (i love it) and put him to bed around 7:30 -8;00
good luck

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answers from Philadelphia on

I agree, no nap three. My kids only took 2 naps. The last nap had to be over no later than 5. If it was not i knew i would have a bad night. You can push his bedtime earlier if he really cannot make it. It is also very important to make sure that he has a large feeding before you put him down for the night. By one year my girls were sleeping 7 pm to was such a blessing :)

For now maybe you can take a nap while he naps in the morning. That may help you not to be so exhausted. Good luck :)

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answers from Williamsport on

Food! Sleep is all about food! I'm going through this now with my 6 month old. If I slack AT ALL on the feedings during the day, she wakes during the night, if I stuff her all day, she sleeps from 9pm to 10am and that's WITH all her daytime naps. Same for my other two. I learned the trick form my step sister-mother of 12.

The trick is that he needs more food ALL DAY LONG for a few days before his body registers the change. Just a thickened bottle before bed won't do it.

Are you exclusively nursing? If so, Kudos, but also, your challenge is that this is the least filling food! You need to nurse MORE OFTEN during the day (I know, seems impossible) or thicken some bottles with cereal. I'm cheating with about half formula, half nursing right now, and once I started the formula, she slept longer because it's more filling.

So do what you can to increase food intake during the day-always offer even if he seems fine-don't worry, he won't over eat. But you want him fed to FULL CAPACITY!

This will probably solve your problem entirely, but if not, THEN remove a nap. Cry it Out works beautifully IF they're truly full, and IF you don't cave. My kids barely cried, because they didn't wake up, because they were full.

Remember-it takes a few days of eating more to work, so don't give up the first day!

Good luck!
a m y

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answers from Allentown on

I too would drop the last nap. As someone else said, sleep begets sleep, but your son is already getting more than enough so it is doubtful he needs more sleep. He is likely just getting too much daytime sleep. My daughter was a cat napper during the day, she would sleep 3 naps at that age but only about 20 to 30 mins each time, and then was in bed for about 13 hours at night. So she was getting about 14 hours total sleep. My son took two naps at that age, each an hour long and was in bed for about 11 hours at night. If I let him nap anymore in the daytime, his night sleep was shortened even more. My daughter was a much better night sleeper I think due to her short daytime naps, whereas my son does not need as much night sleep but sleeps better in the day. Your son is getting about 14 hours overall which is more than enough for his age. I would move the naps around a bit. Try an earlier bedtime and drop the last nap. My daughter learned to sleep from 7pm to 7am and had 3 short naps during the day, but my son needed longer naps so I moved his schedule to a 9 am nap not long than 1 and a half hours, a second nap around 2 to 3pm, not longer than an hour and then an early bedtime around 7 to 8pm. This took some time for him but he started staying in bed about 11 hours at night. Now he is not in bed longer than 10 hours at night and sleeps one time in the day for 1 to 2 hours. Now as for the waking at night I have no idea, but if you can get him sleeping less in the day and more at night, he should go right back to sleep during the night and not be wide awake wanting to play. My daughter still woke throughout the night until she was 2.5 and my son still wakes frequently but at least they go back to sleep. I can sympathize with your exhaustion. I typically can't get to sleep before 1 or 2am and my kids are up for the day by 7 or 8am and my son is still waking frequently during the night. With my daughter she started sleeping through the night when I night weaned her at age 2.5 but I night weaned my son at a year old he is still waking, so I am really not convinced that night nursing causes waking. But night weaning is another option. A LC told me that kids who are not night weaned before a year old, will not night wean easily. I have no idea if that is true. But my son was not happy about it at a year old. Good luck and I hope you can find a way to get more sleep.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

IMO, bedtime is WAY too late. Eliminate the third nap and get him to bed no later than 8:00. If he sleeps til 6, you will be in heaven!
Remember, this will not happen overnight, but at least start working toward it.
NEVER let him sleep past 4:30 p.m.
He's taking too many naps and his total sleep per day is still not enough, therefore I feel his night time sleep is being disturbed by being overtired. If you can cut his naps to (2) O. and a half to two hour naps, I'll bet he'll sleep much better. If he's up at 7 or 8, try for a nap at 10-10:30 til noon (no later!) Then a short nap in the afternoon at about 2:30-3, but keep it about an hour long. Start getting him into his bedtime routine at about 7:00.
Good luck, I know it's frustrating to have those wide little eyes open and raring to go in the middle of the night!

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answers from Philadelphia on

Just a few thoughts for you. To me, 6:30 is not nap time for a 7 month old, it's ALMOST BED TIME!!! Skip the nap, hold off for an earlier bed time! Give him a bath around 7, and jammies, story, nursing, bed time at 8!

Was he sleeping through before this? Is there a milestone that happened? If he could sleep through before, he can still he just doesn't want to, so instead of nursing him let Daddy go check on him. I remember this age well because all of mine did the same thing. We did a version of cry it out at that point. Making sure they fell asleep in the crib rather than being placed in asleep. And then checking on them if they woke but not taking them out of the crib if they were otherwise ok, just awake. They were formula babies and slept through from 7 weeks old, so the waking up at 6-7 months old was a nightmare... You'll have to make up your mind about what you want to deal with, a few nights of crying it out, or endless waking - which will only increase as you continue to get up with him. Other's will say - it's your job just do, I believe they need to learn how to fall asleep and stay asleep, it's necessary.
Of course if he wasn't sleeping through the night this makes no sense at all to you so... apologies...

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answers from Los Angeles on

I would get rid of that third nap - I definitely think that's the problem. It may not have been a problem before, but as they get older, their sleep needs change. Almost all babies get cranky on a daily basis sometime after 5:30 - I've heard some child experts call it "happy hour". :) Make sure you have a consistent bedtime routine you start at a time that will keep him awake until at least 7:30PM for bedtime. Try this for a few nights in a row and see what happens.

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answers from York on

I totally understand what you mean about having a hard time sleeping since the baby. I feel the same way, and I can't seem to get to sleep easily, no matter how exhausted I am, until I've had a few hours of down time to myself.
We have plenty of our own sleep issues at my house, but you asked what normal was, so here's what's been happening recently with my 6 month old son.
Like you, we also have a schedule that changes based on when he wakes. He wakes somewhere between 6 and 7, naps somewhere between 9:30 and 10:30 for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, naps again around 3:30 for 45 min. to an hour, and then goes to sleep for the night somewhere between 6:30 and 7:30.
My son's routine sounds a lot like yours, except for the third nap. I'd give it a shot and let your son go to sleep for the night on one of the nights that his third nap would occur a little more towards the 7 o'clock time. I've heard that you have to persist with sleep routine changes for four days before you can tell what the real impact is. But what do you have to lose? You're already exhausted, and this way, at worst, you'll have more wind down time earlier in the evening.
Lately, since his morning nap got longer, my son has been sleeping through the night. Even before that though, he would wake only to eat and then return to sleep. Here and there he's been suddenly wide awake at night, but never for three nights in a row! Poor you! When that did happen, we'd keep him in the dark, usually fussing and angry, and continue to try to put him back to sleep. When he hit the two hour mark, he would be tired again and (finally) go back to sleep. It's always awful, but because we didn't talk to him or make it in any way fun, it never became a habit.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Oh, I remember lack of sleep. There are so many different methods and approaches to sleep. I found the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child to be helpful, although I took it with a grain of salt. One great lesson...babies eed sleep the more sleep they get the better they sleep, not the opposite like we would think. SO no, do not lose a nap but try replacing the 7 pm nap with a bedtime ritual. When we wmade a bedtime ritual of bath at 7 then books and bed by 8, my son started sleeping better. Breastfed babies (as mine was and many friends of mine breastfed too) often get u once or twice to nurse in the middle of the night even though it can be argued either way whether they do it for comfort or food. But if you are not sleeping it is not good for you and therefore not healthy for your family. Try getting your sone to bed by 8, maybe even earlier. What I read is often the bedtime is not early enough and therefore children wake during the night. Now when my son, 16 months old wakes during the night it is because he went to bed later than usual. The earlier the better! Also schedule, schedule, schedule. You pick a wake up time say his average time. Maybe 7 am, then nap around 9 for 1-2 hours then nap 3 hours after wake up, then nap for 1-2 hour then bed 3-4 hours after that. Whatever the schedule, keep to it (within reason, don't make yourself crazy) the schedule will male sleep more predictable and easier. A well rested baby sleeps alot! Your child should sleep around 15 hours per 24 hour period at his age.

The cry it out method says that if you go to your child after an hour they will expect that again and will cry for that long next time. Cry it out works for bed time only if you stick it out for the duration no matter how long. I did not do that.

Also, if you go to him when he wakes, he will want to nurse. Can your partner go to him and help him go back to sleep? That will be easier. My husband wound up doing middle of the night wake ups and that helped. If I was there he could want to nurse, and the middle of the night nursing began to increase. If your son is in your bed, go to another room while your partner helps him go back to sleep.

Also, developmental milestones will alter their sleep, what works today might need to be tweaked tomorrow. Whatever you try, know you will have to try it for a week or two to see if it works.

Good luck! It gets easier and you will get more sleep! Sleep When he does!! Really, make yourself!

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answers from Allentown on

Hi, M.:
Contact your local La Leche League breastfeeding consultant

If they aren't able to help. Let me know.

Good luck. D.



answers from Philadelphia on

Maybe he could have an earlier bedtime and skip the third nap. Most babies at his age go to sleep between 6:30 and 8PM for the night. The third nap may be too much sleep or the late bedtime might be making him overtired.

Also, with my daughter i found that a lot of times, if I ignored the waking right from the start she could get back to sleep with 5-10min of fussing/crying. Once I went in and started trying things she would get even more awake and the screaming would not end.

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