Almost 10 month old takes a long time to fall asleep.

by Debbie

Question: Hi there, My baby boy is almost 10 months old. Previously at 6 months, he would need to sleep at 8pm sharp otherwise he will be screaming, and he wakes up for feeds about two times.

Since he was 8 months old, he refuses to go to bed, even though he is rubbing his eyes and yawning, he would rather play, crawl, smile at us until i force him to sleep where he cries non stop. He would then sleep at 9.30 or 10pm till 2am (for feed), then sleep till 4am (for feed), and finally waking up at 6am (for another feed). He sometimes naps till 9am after this, and wakes up to play till lunch.

He has pureed pumpkin, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes and broccoli with rice cereal at around 12pm and he'll nap at around 2pm.

He sometimes sleeps after lunch, or not at all. I will then try to nap him at 4pm after a milk feed, which not always works. He has dinner of the same food at 6pm. Somedays when he doesn't have a nap at 4pm, he'll be cranky at dinner and nap immediately after. I'll wash him up at 7.30pm and try to put him to bed at 8pm after a milk feed (which never works, not even with rocking).

He's generally happy baby, smiley and active; a little timid, he just started creeping and standing with support.

His naps never go beyond an hour, and is usually only 1/2 an hour.

Each feed of milk is 100ml of breastmilk, and he doesn't always finish this.

I can never seem to get him into a schedule because he takes more than an hour to finally sleep and sometimes eating into his next feed. Could this also be due to the coffee i take during the day? I must also add that i'm a smoker, i smoke after expressing and wait 3 hours after my last stick to express again.

I'm currently trying the cry it out method, and it is simply heartbreaking. Please help.

Thank you so much.

Heidi's Answer: Hi Debbie,

From what you write, your son sounds like he needs a very regular schedule. And this is a typical age where many babies become very dependent on them.

One reason why he may have trouble falling asleep at night is because he is overtired. The first thing to do is to shift his night time bedtime to earlier, go to 7pm or if that sounds too early for your own schedule, 7.30pm.

Even if he doesn't sleep straight away, stick to this fixed bedtime from now on: start the last feed and then the bedtime routine in advance, so he is in bed at always the exact same time. Work with the gentle self soothing method to teach him to go to sleep by himself, gradually. This means you may nurse him to sleep at first, and then wean little by little over a couple of weeks.

Work on regular naps as well. Try one before lunch (10-11am), and then on in the afternoon around 2-3pm at the latest (since he is now going down earlier at night, his nap should be earlier too). If two naps sounds absolutely too much and he's not tired at all by 2pm, then leave it at one, but I'm expecting he might be well off with a mid-morning nap for now.

Yes, both nicotine and caffeine have a stimulating effect on your boy as he drinks your milk.

It is good of you to wait three hours before expressing milk, by that time most of the nicotine will have cleared.

But, it is not only through your milk that your baby gets nicotine effects. I'm not sure if you do, but if you sometimes smoke in any room where he also spends time (even if it is after you finished the cigarette) or in the car for example, he is also smoking passively.

And research found that the sleep troubles from passive smoking are the same as from first-hand smoking.

So this, and then the caffeine (the effects of which are worse with him than with an adult even if he gets a small dose, because he is so little), are good reasons for him to have trouble finding sleep.

Sugary, fizzy drinks and also most teas (except the 100% herbal ones) also stimulate and can worsen sleep.

I will not advise you to quit smoking, I'm sure you would have if it were that simple. And even with the smoking, it is still best for your baby to get the breast milk so thumbs up to you for keeping that up! But do smoke only outside or in places where your son never goes. It's also best to wash hands and change shirts after having smoked, to avoid as much contact with it for him as possible.

I'm guessing leaving out the caffeine might be easier and definitely worth it as it may change his sleep drastically. And maybe substitute with decaf or herbal tea, even it is just for a month or so to see if his sleeping improves.

Good luck, take care!

Comments for Almost 10 month old takes a long time to fall asleep.

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same boat
by: stacey

Hi, I was actually pleased to read your post, I thought I was the only one with this problem. I have 10 month, almost 11 month twin boys. One is an ok sleeper but the other takes an hour to fall asleep. I have tried early bed times around 630 and late ones around 9, we have tried 3 naps (every 2 hours after wake up at 6 am) and we have tried 2 naps, 1 nap and no naps. We pace the floors with him, sing, read books, watch movies, bathe, rock, breastfeed, nothing seems to quiet him down though. He is a happy baby but honestly the sleep is more for myself and my husband than for him. Only sleeping from 9-6 with 3 wake ups for an hour each time throughout the night and then a total of 2 hours of sleep during the day is exhausting us. Im not a smoker and I don’t drink any tea or coffee, I do have a love of chocolate but have regulated myself to minimize for the boys sake. Any ideas on what is keeping baby B awake? As a side note, since he was 5 months, he has been biting the sides of his tongue in his sleep. Our ped. Seems to think he will grow out of it.

************* NOTE BY Heidi-BabySleepAdvice:

Hi Stacey, thank you for your comment. I totally recognize your love of chocolate ... ;) You could try a zero-chocolate for a good week to see if there is an effect (he may be very sensitive).

It seems like baby B can sleep well in principle but is awake for long for lack of self soothing.

So practicing with the self soothing method (as I suggested in the original post above) will be important). See if you can work things out with the info there or in the book (No-Tears Self Soothing) or alternatively, start a fresh topic so we can look into in more detail.


My 10 minth old has same problem!
by: Caro


My 10 month old has the same problem! It takes forever to get him to fall asleep around 1hr for each nap and another hour fir bedtime). He is a very active and very happy boy, but it's like he never wants to sleep because he would rather keep playing, even if he is really tired.

But if he doesn't take naps he gets in a cery bad mood.

I don't breastfeed him anymore so the food I eat is not the problem...

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