I have a 6-month-old grandchild (my first) who is always kicking and now is no longer on his schedule of nap taking and going to bed at 8 p.m. He wants to play from 8 to 9:30 p.m. and wakes up at least twice a night. Is this normal? Otherwise he is a very good and happy baby, always smiling.


We would need to know more about the kicking to understand if and how this might be related to your concerns about his changing sleep pattern. Is the kicking new or more frequent and intense? Is it directed at anybody or in protest (at being changed or dressed or carried when he wants to be put down, for example) or just something he's doing with his legs? 
 

At 6 months he may be getting ready to creep, and with this new focus on motion, sleep may go out the window. One possibility is that this could be a touchpoint, a new development in one area that temporarily throws off progress in another. (See Touchpoints 03, by Brazelton and Sparrow, da Capo 2000.) In this case, it sounds like a time for the parents to impose a regular schedule and be flexible about comforting him (but only after he's settled in bed). Try naps at 10-12 noon and 2-4 p.m., but no sleep after 4 p.m., so he'll go down on time. If he won't sleep, these can be quiet times when he can begin to learn to entertain himself with less excitement and stimulation from you.
 
During the night, the goal will be to help him learn to get himself back down to sleep when he awakes. When he awakes, the parents may need to go to him to pat his back and softly talk him back to sleep. If they pick him up, though, they'll be doing all the work of soothing, and he won't be learning to settle himself. With their teaching he may still rouse up to light sleep at 3 a.m., but he will no longer need his parents to get back to sleep. They might try feeding him at 7 a.m., noon, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.—and if necessary, wake him at 10 or 11 p.m. for another feeding before they go to bed. For some reason, that extra waking sometimes seems to help babies learn to sleep through till morning.
 
 
We all must learn to sleep in rhythms, coming up to light sleep but getting back down to deep sleep every three to four hours.  After the touchpoint or new achievement is acquired, you would expect your grandson to settle down again. He may begin to creep (crawl) or vocalize more freely. We'd love to find out what he learns!
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