Night sleep help for 7 month old


Hi Dorothy, I was listening to your live question and answers this morning and you did answer one of mine but it raised a few more questions for me. My 7month old sleeps perfectly during the day but screams if I put him down at night and I can spend up to an hour waiting for him to be in a deep enough sleep for me to transfer him to his cot. He is waking about 3 times a night so with the amount of time he sleeps on me I'm not getting many long stretches of sleep. I'm lucky enough not to be going back to work so haven't really worried about a routine as such. We have recently tried little ones (my coffee group all seem to be following this), so a half hour sleep at 9.30am (I find it very difficult to keep him up until 9.30 and he seems to really want to go back down at 9am) where you wake them and then 2 hours at 12.30pm and then a 10-15min nap at 4.45 if they really need it. He is usually fine in the afternoon but after you suggesting he is maybe overtired I'm not so sure. There was a day I didn't follow this and he did a total of 3 and a quarter hours through the day and he actually seemed better that night. So I guess I'm asking what do you recommend nap wise for the day?

The other question was around food. He has recently decided he doesn't want me to feed him from a spoon, flat out refusing to open his mouth after previously eating anything and everything really well. We have had some issues with constipation so have been following plunket guidelines to a tee. When he refused food I decided to try grated cheese which he loves and happily feeds himself so I've given him lots of finger foods now and he loves it. I think you said best not to give red meat, cheese, dairy or fruits (sugary things) after lunch? So what are good thing to give for dinner? Thanks so much.

Dorothy Waide replies:

Thank you for your email.   At 7 months ideally he is having wake cycles of around 2 ¾ to 3 hours and having two naps a day of a minimum of 1 ½ hours – they can be longer as well.

The nap starts from when you put him into his cot and then when you go back in and say it’s time to get up.  It is not the length of time that he is actually asleep. 

In my experience the routine you are practicing (as you have worked it out yourself) that if you aren’t consistent with wake times and you have a longer wake time for the last wake cycle that a lot of babies are overtired going to bed therefore they tend to wake up more. 

Also his wake cycles are: he wakes, feeds (solids and milk OR milk and solids OR part milk, solids, part milk), then plays, and then a milk feed before he goes down for his naps and evening routine.  (This is not about feeding to sleep but ensuring he has a full tummy to have a sleep).  When he goes to bed for his evening routine if he takes longer (overtired babies cry harder and take longer to fall asleep) I then re-feed them more milk and then start the settling process.  Some babies like to tank up (cluster feed) for the night. 

With regard to different lengths of time for his wake cycles I keep it within 30 minutes either side so his wake cycles could look like this - I have given you a couple of options. 

First wake cycle second wake cycle third wake cycle
 2 ¼ 2 ¾   2 ¼
 2 ¼ 2 ¾  2 ¾ 
2 ½ 3 2 ½
2 ½ 3 3


Constipation: In my experience, sometimes the babies need more food – I have tutorials on my website – introducing solids which you may find helpful. 

Millet for breakfast can also help and I mix this with either EBM or formula or an alternative milk plus prune pulp. I find the prune pulp is better for babies than the prune juice. 

A lot of babies are very independent and don't like spoons so I use my fingers and allow them to use their fingers as well. I do make the cereals and grains quite thick so easy to pick up and also the same with purees.  Alongside their purees I have finger food and ideally this is the same as what is in the puree. 

At this age, in my experience, they do not need red meat – it is so hard to digest and they are just starting their journey on solids. Also I never give anything raw under 9 months unless I know what or how the farmer has watered and fertilized their crops. Cheese – this can contribute to constipation even in adults.  Again check out my tutorials on my website – comes with a menu planner for three weeks. This menu planner is when they are on a full diet so just take out the protein at this stage. 

What to give for dinner at this age - vegetables with a good carb, and it also depends how long he has been on solids.  If he has just started on solids I would be doing a cereal or grain. In the way of solids I am a little old fashioned as I haven’t done the new way which is introducing liver, egg yolk and broth – but there are people out there that can help you if this is the way you want to go. 

My two favourite expressions are TACT – time, acceptance, consistency (80%) and touch.  Touch is powerful the same as presence. 

Also don't do anything in arms or out of the cot that can’t be replicated in the cot and for all those mums feeding to sleep yes, it can be done in the cot. 

Parenting is a lifelong journey – your parents are still parenting you, and parenting to sleep is part of this journey.

When looking for support ensure you are on the same page as the support person, as you are your baby’s whisperer and expert, people like myself are support people. 

Kind regards, Dorothy Waide

Night sleep help for 7 month oldAnswer by:
Dorothy Waide
Baby Whisperer

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