My seven months old baby boy wakes up after half an hour sleep.
by Conny - Answer by Heidi Holvoet, PhD
Question: My seven months old baby boy usually wakes up after half an hour sleep during day time and night time sleep. The only times this doesn't happen is when he goes to sleep in the pram during a walk or on the breast in Mum's and Dad's bed, even if I then leave the bed when he is fully asleep.
Why is he waking up after such a short time?
A number of things could make your son wake up after such a short time. I'll ask you for more details below to get a better view, but from what you say I am thinking of the following:
He could be going through a phase of baby separation anxiety. When he half-wakes up after half an hour (normal, as he's not into deep sleep yet), he senses that you are not there.
His separation anxiety makes him fear you will never come back so he is not reassured enough to doze off again.
In the pram, your are probably near so he has no fear and he is either moving or tucked in more tightly so he will not wake up that easily either.
In your bed, even if you left it, your smell that is around may reassure him enough to continue sleeping.
See the 'how to recognise' paragraph on the separation anxiety page I just referred to see if you recognise any signs. There's tips to keep it from disturbing his sleep too.
If you recognise any of these signs, try to have a scarf around with your smell. Wear it during the day, in between naps. Then during naps or night time sleep, make sure it is near him, e.g. fixed at the bedside. Similar to when he is in your bed, your smell can reassure him.
- If it started recently, he may be teething or have some mild illness coming up. Something that does not bother him until quietly in bed.
- A slight change in bedtimes might help. Try shifting towards half an hour earlier or later.
Those times might suit his current sleep patterns better. It's an easy test to do: shift to earlier/later by ten minutes for three days, and then stick to it for a week or so. You'll quickly see results if this was the cause.
- Something else that may make him wake up after sleeping for half an hour is that he went to sleep very quickly after feeding. He may need a bit more 'burping' time or the time do wet/fill his diaper, things which can bother him and keep him from going into a deeper sleep.
For this, simply give him a bit more time between feeding and bed time.
- Also try tucking in more tightly, he could be wake himself up by moving about too much.
Safely and well tucked in or a good baby sleeping bag may help.
With a bit more details, we can nail it down further so if you like, let me know the following (just post a comment below):
- did this started recently?
- does he show any signs of teething?
- is he crying or screaming when he wakes up? how does he go back to sleep? how does he settle in the first place (alone or with your help)?
- how different is if for him in your bed than in his own crib? is he tucked in differently?