Rested Mamas Are Happy Mamas: Ways to Help Baby Get Back to Sleep

Rested Mamas Are Happy Mamas: Ways to Help Baby Get Back to Sleep

One of our cubby readers, Ashley, asked the following:

"I am all about this kind of scheduling, but how do I get my baby to go back to sleep? She consistently wakes after only one sleep cycle so it’s definitely not time to eat again yet. I don’t soothe her to sleep in the first place–she self-soothes, so she should be able to make it through to another cycle…right? She’s 11 weeks and sleeps about 11 hours at night (with 2 feedings at 10:30 & 4)."

Dear Ashley, While I would have more questions for you, such as what do you do when she wakes up? What does her day schedule look like? Has she ever slept through the night? etc., I'm going to answer this question as best as I can! And feel free to comment again!! :) So...what CAN you do when your baby just won't go back to sleep, but you KNOW it's sleep time. And it's definitely not time to eat again, and her nap wasn't long enough at all. Pull out the tricks mamas!

1. Find your baby's sweet spot

Does your baby love to be swaddled? Go ahead and re-swaddle that cutie. Did your baby lose her binky? Give it back to her. Whatever your baby needs, do it. (Side note: this does not include feeding them unless they are legitimately hungry/it's time to eat. If it's been ten minutes since they ate, it's probably not time to eat again. ;) )

2. Check uncommon scenarios

When babies wake during naps, it can be something as obvious as a dirty diaper, to something more complex like situations you wouldn't think are tied to sleep. It could be because of a growth spurt, or mom's milk supply decreasing so baby is legitimately hungry, or baby is sick, or baby is just getting too much sleep!

3. Analyze

Analyze what nap this is happening at: is it the same nap each day (it could be a familiar noise she hears that is waking her up like the sound of mom coming towards her room and now she wants to play), or is it a different nap each day? Is it just naps or at night too?

4. Check your day schedule

Here's the big one, and I think the one people have the most problems with. You think your schedule is PERFECT, but then you sit down and actually look at what the schedule should be for your baby's age, and you're stunned. Why? Because you're not actually doing that, but your own variation. your schedule on track for your baby's age? If you are finding your baby is having a hard time connecting sleep cycles, it could be because your day schedule is off. For an 11-week-old, her schedule should look relatively close to this:
  • 7 a.m. Feeding, diaper change, waketime, nap - around this age, it's about one hour that your baby can stay awake (this totally depends on your baby).
  • 10 a.m. Feeding, diaper change, waketime, nap
  • 1 p.m. Feeding, diaper change, waketime, nap
  • 4 p.m. Feeding, diaper change, waketime, nap
  • 7 p.m. Feeding, diaper change, waketime, nap
  • 10 p.m. Feeding, diaper change, waketime, down for the night

NOTE: Around 11/12 weeks is when babies start to drop this late night feeding and should be going to sleep for the night after the "7 p.m." feeding. I put that in quotes to remind you that your baby should not be doing these cycles by these times, but allowing variations in the cycles as long as they are going 2.5 to 4 hours between feedings. She should be sleeping through the night, and waking up bright-eyed and bushy tailed (but hopefully not with any tails).

Check all the little things, and see if there is an underlying cause for your baby waking up. Hopefully it's a very small easy-to-fix issue! And if not, come right back here and let me know!

Sleep lots mamas!

- Mama Jackie

*Sleep is essential. We need sleep to function, to take care of our children, to keep up on every single task life throws at us, to keep our sanity. Are you getting your eight hours or do you have a baby who is keeping you up? Let’s remedy that! In the “Rested Mamas are Happy Mamas” series of our blog, sleep expert Jackie calms all of your sleep woes. Have a question or a problem that needs fixing? Comment on the series, and Jackie will address your specific issue!*
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Hi Jackie,

My sweet baby is 8 weeks old, and I would love to get him on a schedule similar to what you described above.

He generally wakes up around 7AM or so (bright eyed and happy for the day!), but then stays awake until noon (at which point I will finallyyyyy be able to get him down for a nap). Once I finally get him down for his nap he will sleep until well into the afternoon and stay pretty sleepy all evening… I wake him for feedings, but he isn’t as alert during wake time as he is in the morning.

He honestly doesn’t seem tired before noon – I will cuddle him and lay him in his swing to try to get him to sleep and he watches his mobile for 10 minutes or so and then start to cry.

Any suggestions on how to shorten his awake cycle in the mornings to get him on a more regular nap/awake schedule for the rest of the day?

Thanks so much!


Lisa Pray

[…] Sleep is a wonderful thing. So is a clean diaper. Using these hacks will give you some peace of mind, and hopefully, a more peaceful slumber for you and your baby. For more tips on sleeping through the night, read another one of our great blog posts here! […]

Nighttime Changing Hacks

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