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Your Baby and Toddler Problems Solved: A parent's trouble-shooting guide to the first three years

I know how tired and anxious mums and dads can become, desperately seeking immediate solutions to their problems - and they don't want to search hard for the answers.

With that in mind, I decided to write a problem-solving guide, to provide parents with the answers to the questions they most frequently seek. This book addresses the most common problems I come across for parents who need straightforward easy-to-access solutions.

Extract (page 248):

Early morning waking and cutting out the morning nap When early morning waking suddenly appears at this stage, it is often a sign that a baby is ready to reduce his overall daily sleep and perhaps even drop the morning nap.

It can be tricky going from two naps down to one, and getting rid of the morning nap often results in a baby's midday nap being brought forward too early. An earlier lunchtime nap means an earlier wake-up time, which can have a knock-on effect the next day where the baby can become so overtired when he is put to bed at night that he goes into a deep sleep very quickly. This can then lead to early morning waking. In order to avoid overtiredness, some parents resort to putting their baby to bed earlier, but this also can have a knock-on effect with the baby waking up earlier in the morning.

With either scenario, a vicious circle can quickly evolve where
the baby gets into the habit of waking up early. He can then become
so tired that, rather than the parents being able to reduce and
eliminate the morning nap, they find themselves having to increase
it so their baby gets through happily to the lunchtime nap.
If your baby is over nine months and showing signs of waking
earlier, not being ready for his morning nap or reducing his lunchtime
nap (all signs that a change in sleeping needs is imminent), I would
suggest the following tips to help to prevent early morning waking
becoming a problem.

  • Gradually push the first nap of the day later in the morning and
    reduce it to 15 minutes. This will allow you to push the afternoon
    nap on and the reduction of the morning nap should encourage
    your baby to sleep better at lunchtime, which will also help avoid
    him going down overtired in the evening. What many parents do not
    realise is that during the transition period of dropping the morning
    nap, they may need to slightly reduce the lunchtime nap, until the
    morning one is totally eliminated so that their baby's overall daytime
    sleep is reduced. Once the morning nap has successfully been
    dropped, the lunchtime nap can then be slightly increased again.
    If your baby is showing signs of not being ready to sleep at
    9.45-10am, do not be tempted to drop the morning nap as doing
    it too early will mean that his lunchtime nap could come too soon,
    resulting in him going to bed either overtired or too early. Keep
    pushing your baby's morning nap on until he is managing to stay
    awake until close to 11am, then allow a nap of no more than 10 minutes. Once he is managing to get through to 12.45-1pm for his lunchtime nap, you should be able to cut out the 10-minute nap and get him through to around 12.15-12.30pm for his nap, which would then be increased back to two hours.
  • If you find that your baby is becoming too tired to eat a proper lunch, you can always bring his lunch forward slightly for a short period until his body clock adjusts to the new nap times. I usually find that once they have had lunch babies perk up enough to get through to 12.15-12.30pm.

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