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How to get my son back on schedule after a vacation?

My son is 5 months old. He has been sleeping through the night for a very long time (he is a big baby). On a typical night, he would go down at 8:30/9pm and not wake up until 6:30 or even 7am. Then we went to Disney World. He did great on the trip and even kept his normal sleep schedule. Then we returned home. We haven't had a good nights sleep since. He now goes down at the same time (8:30/9pm) but wakes up at midnight or 1am, then again around 3:30/4am, and again around 6am. I've tried rubbing his back, singing to him, etc... to avoid taking him out of his crib. But the only thing that works is to nurse him. He eats for just a few minutes and then goes back out, so I can't figure out if he really is hungry, or if it is just a comfort thing. I am still breast feeding him exclusively. But he is a big baby. He was 11 lbs 2 oz at birth. So I'm wondering if maybe now is the time to begin solids. Thoughts?

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Asked by BeachGal121 at 10:33 AM on Jun. 21, 2010 in Babies (0-12 months)

Level 2 (12 Credits)
Answers (4)
  • It's normal for babies at night and it isn't a sign the baby needs to start solids. Babies need to eat at night to keep up blood sugar levels up for brain development. I would have suggested waking your baby when your baby was sleeping that long, it's not a good thing.

    Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended until 6 mo. Because your baby was big at birth you want to be careful about weight so you aren't setting your baby up for lifelong weight and health problems. We know that these problems can start with big babies. is a good breastfeeding web site that has info on starting solids. The AAP is very concerned about kids and weight and you can find more info on therie site.


    Answer by Gailll at 11:31 AM on Jun. 21, 2010

  • He's normal. You may find that of you just feed him right away rather than trying other things you'll get more sleep. A major growth spurt is coming up too, Gaill is right. A baby sleeping all night is unusual and you were also quite fortunate that your milk supply wasn't affected. Yours is not a common occurance, nightwaking is extremely common in the first year and doesn't really settle until age 3 or 4. Older babies are also more efficient nursers, you'd be suprised what they can suckle out in five minutes when they are serious.

    The vacation was a coincidence. It is not unusual for those few people who ended up with a long sleeper the first few months are taken aback when their babies start waking like all the others. I tell people that if they don't wake now, they will wake later! It is just a matter of time.

    Answer by amileegirl at 11:40 AM on Jun. 21, 2010

  • I just have a couple of thoughts. I heard once that to help your baby sleep thru make sure they are eating enough all day. This helped me, however my DD was nearly a year old by this point. At 5 months she was still nursing at least once a night, often twice if memory serves. Perhaps that first time your son wakes up try to keep him awake long enough to get in a full feeding, then he may be more prone to skip the other wake ups and make it through until morning, instead of wanting to nibble all night. I just read a report on today about the merits of exclusive breast feeing for six months, so it might be worth it to hold out if you can for a bit longer before starting some solids. Does your son take a pacifier? Maybe he just needs that sucking comfort at night more than the breast milk. Good luck.

    Answer by MaryMW at 2:17 PM on Jun. 21, 2010

  • Thank you all so very much for the fantastic advice! We finally were able to get our little big guy back on track. It turns out it was teething (and he was figuring out how to roll onto his belly). We would brush his gums with baby orjel toothpaste (the kind he can swallow), and follow it up with orajel if needed and his binky. He now is back on schedule and sleeps from 8:30pm until 6am! :) And according to our pediatrician, his sleeping through the night is not only normal, but occurred earlier than most because he was a big baby. We're not starting solids yet as we've realized he isn't ready.

    Comment by BeachGal121 (original poster) at 3:52 PM on Jul. 1, 2010

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