6 months has now passed since Jack come to be with us. What a sweet little man he is.
So where are we now with sleep?
Having my two other boys I am so VERY grateful that Jack sleeps well. With all the moving parts of our lives, I can’t tell you how valuable it is that I get sleep at night.
What do the sleep habits of a 6 month old look like?
- The awake time that your baby can handle increases to around 2 1/2 hours
- The number of day naps decreases from 3 to 2
- It’s also a great time to drop the night feed (if you haven’t already)
So I have been extending Jack’s awake time slightly from 2 hours. We aren’t sitting all the way to 2 1/2 hours in the morning yet. If you push them too quick, it will result in a short nap. This will give you a day with either a very early bedtime or needing a cat nap in the afternoon – which isn’t ideal.
Until the awake times throughout the day extend to 2 1/2 hours, there is going to be a need for an early bedtime.
Bedtime around 6pm initially.
If both of the naps are short (which is very common at the beginning of this transition from 3 naps to 2) then you may need a cat nap to tied your baby over to an early bedtime. Ideally you don’t want to do this cat nap in the cot. You want baby getting used to a 2 ‘cot nap’ schedule. Plus you only really need a cat nap rather than a long restful cot nap in this scenario.
Once you have 2 good naps happening in the day (at least 90min each) extend the awake time between the end of nap 2 and bedtime by another 30min (3hrs in total). Babies seem to do well with this slight stretch before bed and have a great nights sleep following it.
Eventually, a baby who is 6 months old will have a day that looks something like this:
7:00am Up time
9:30am 1st nap
1:30-2:00pm 2nd nap
A schedule like this will continue for the next few months.
Dropping the night feed at 6 months old.
Another fairly big change around 6 months old is the introduction of solids. This is why I choose the age of 6 months to drop the night feed.
The night feed for you and your baby may have already disappeared as many babies can sleep through the night a lot earlier. Or perhaps you introduced solids earlier than 6 months, so baby stopped the night feeding alongside this. Personally I start solids around this age so it’s the age where I tend to drop the night feed too.
The best way to drop a night feed.
I find that the best way to drop the feed is to do a wean down process. Here is how it works:
- On the night you have decided to start the process of dropping the night feed, take note of the time you do the feed that night. Remember it should be after midnight at least, and at this stage there is only one feed happening in the night
- If you did the night feed at, say, 2:20am, then the following night the night feed should be AFTER 2.20am. If baby wakes up before this time, a resettle only is to be done. Again, mark down what time you did the feed that night
- Again, if the feed was at, say, 3.30am, then the next night, no feed prior to this time – and so on.
It should only take about 2-3 nights for the feed to disappear.
After bedtime, the next feed isn’t until after 6am the next day. This process is what I call ‘holding your baby to their personal best’ and it’s the process I use with my clients who are wishing to drop the night feed.
I had decided to start this process with Jack this weekend. However, on Thursday night he slept through the night. On Friday night, I ended up doing a night feed at 2am but I knew in my heart that he would be fine without it (he doesn’t wake up crying, just kind of grizzling so I go in a do a feed).
Last night (Saturday night), I decided that there was going to be no more night feed going forward. Whilst he had a long waking right after bedtime due to having a terrible cough, he didn’t wake up after that until 6.30am this morning.
So there you have it, night feed over.
A little sad for me as I loved out little chats at night, but I know how important it is for both him and I to get an uninterrupted nights sleep every night. He is well and truly able to get all his calories in the day time now, and leave the night time for blissful sleep.
For the next week or so, if I hear Jack wake in the night, I plan to leave him be. Allow him to go back to sleep on his own. He does this often without any upset. For any times there is upset, where a resettle may be required, I will send my partner in instead of me. If you were breast feeding, or you were the primary person giving the bottle in the night, then I would hold off doing the resettles until the night feed has been gone for a good while.
So the downside of dropping the night feed if you are breast feeding?! VERY sore boobs in the early hours of the morning. Good grief! The fact that we are also moving from 3 naps a day to 2 naps a day means that the amount of feeds in the day also drops (from 5 to 4).
It all takes time for the boobs to adjust. Right this very minute, if someone touches me, I will scream! They are full to the brim! In a few days they should settle down thankfully.
The next change after 6 months.
Awake times increase again by another 30 minutes. This generally happens around 8/9 months of age. Jack will still, however, stay on 2 naps a day until around 12/13 months of age.
I hope you have found this blog useful. For more information on feeding within the first year, check out this great article. To read my other blog posts that follow Jack’s sleep journey from a newborn, please click here.