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My 7 month old has been sleeping through the night (seriously, 10-12 hours!) for 5 months (I know, hooray…how can I possibly have a sleep question?). For the last week, she gets very sleepy while I am nursing her between 8:45 PM and 9:30 PM but when I go put her in the crib, she bolts up, wide awake. She’s been going down more like 11:00 PM. I don’t mind the later bedtime, the problem is that she then wakes at about the same time (8:30 AM) and is cranky in the morning. She will nap, sometimes too well. I wake her up so that she doesn’t go too far in naps and completely destroys bedtime.
She did get her first tooth this week but nothing else has really changed. How can I get my easy to bed baby back?
Dear Lori Beth,
Regressions like this can be typical sometimes, but you want to ensure that the problem doesn’t escalate further. If she isn’t falling asleep until 11 pm, and still waking early at 8:30, this is due to the fact that she is overtired. The first step to solving this problem is to introduce an earlier bedtime. She is probably fighting bedtime so much simply because she is overtired, so I would recommend the goal of her sleeping no later than 8 pm.
If she needs an extended routine or wind-down process to help her relax, that’s fine. That means starting the nursing before bed no later than 7:30ish to ensure she is asleep by 8. Also, as you’ve realized, you don’t want her naps too close to bedtime which could interfere with her ability to wind-down at that time. If you want her sleeping by 8 pm, ensure that her last nap doesn’t extend past 4-4:30, latest. This will also help her settle to sleep in a way that allows her body to naturally acclimate.