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?


Heidi's Answer:

Hi Conny,

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.

Other ideas:

- 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?

Good luck!

Comments for My seven months old baby boy wakes up after half an hour sleep.

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More info
by: Anonymous

Hi, Thanks for your quick answer. Here is more info.

Baby has never slept for very long during day time naps. He used to sleep from about 8pm until 10-11pm, have a feed and then sleep with interruptions until around 6am. Since approx. 2-3 weeks he started waking up in the evening after 30 minutes of putting him to sleep. When resettled he may sleep for a few hours or wake up another 30 minutes later.

I think he might be teething on and off for about 5 weeks now.

When he wakes up, he doesn't usually scream but just make noises and then eventually cry if we don't tend to him quick enough.

He sleeps in a sleeping bag in his cot and in our bed. I tried the scarf trick, put a t-shirt in the cot, but don't think it worked really well.
I am wondering whether the waking up thing is a phase or whether that is just him with his pattern.
May be during the day he does not need longer naps?


[Heidi's Reply:]

Hi Conny,

With that timing, yes indeed the teething can be part of it, and I think it combines with his current sleep patterns. And actually, both of these are 'a phase' ...

For the teething, check the natural teething remedies on the teething pages to see if there's any you haven't tried so far and/or ask your pharmacist for a mild treatment you can use.

Then next to this, a slight change in his sleep times can help fit his sleep schedule better to his sleep patterns. He seems to be quite a good sleeper at night so I suggest not changing the routines and habits you installed so far. But shift the bedtimes, both for naps and at night time.

I'd suggest starting with shifting his night time bedtime to half an hour earlier, as I outlined in my original answer above. Do a similar thing with the naps.

Naps remain important so definitely do not leave any of those away, but do not worry if they are not too long. Just keep them regular. But there?s a very good chance they will also become longer with a different timing.

About the scarf trick, even if it doesn't work like magic straight away, if you don't find it too much hassle, why not keep it up. It is something that may be a great help in the next months.

Best of luck, let me know,

mom's smell
by: AJ

I sleep with my baby's sheets for a few nights before putting them on his mattress.

Waking after 15-40 mins between 7-8pm
by: Jamini

Hi our baby has been sleeping from 7-7 since he was 10 weeks, he is now 27 weeks for the last 3 weeks he settles to sleep in his cot at 7pm and then wakes up screaming every night 1-3 times between 7-8pm. He settles when we go in the room, and tap or shhhh him, sometimes we give him a dummy to calm himself. He the sleeps till 6/7am. We have tried diming lights 30 mins prior to bed, and making his bedtime routine really relaxed. He naps 9.30 for 45-60mins, 12.30 for 45-90mins and depending on the quality of his mid day nap I sometimes give him 30 mins at around 4/4.30.

Any ideas appreciated, as we cannot understand what is happened and feel like we are not sure what else to try.

Full question
by: Heidi - BabySleepAdvice

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

Hello there, Thank you for your comment. I must ask you to start a new topic though, so I can give your question the personal attention it deserves. I will be happy to advise you in detail soon. Kindly, Heidi

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