I need help desporately, my 6 month + baby keeps waking at night. I dont get any sleep at all!

Adisha - posted on 10/18/2010 ( 15 moms have responded )

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My son is 6 months + and is on solid food but he is still waking up at night. I dont know what to do I think I am starting to take it out on my son, as I get no sleep at all. Even during the day it is very hard to get him to feed and sleep. He is teething but I dont think thats to blame. when he wakes up at night I get him back to sleep by feeding him, I have thought of giving him water instead but then I have the dilemma of how to get him back to sleep after that. I have tried to show him how to sleep on his own but he just cries all the time when I teach him, so to get some quiet time I make him go to sleep by swaying him on a pillow. I live in a small flat so his cot is in my room, I am going back to work in Dec so I am desperate to make him sleep though the night now if I can! I dont understand why he will not sleep though the night now he is on solids, he must get full after dinner but then why does he wake up at night to feed from he so often. Does any one have any ideas? I am at a lost and I tend to cry most days when I dont know what else I can do! Please help!

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Renae - posted on 10/19/2010

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Firstly Adisha, you are NOT making him go to sleep too early, it is the exact opposite, you are keeping him awake when he is tired. Overtired babies have trouble going to sleep, difficulty staying asleep and wake up more often. Your first step is to get him to bed when he is just starting to get tired (before he is yawning - once he is yawning he is overtired, if he is rubbing his eyes he is extremely overtired).

You also need to make sure he is getting enough sleep during the day. Again, if he is becoming overtired during the day he will have trouble moving between sleep stages and will wake up and cry. A 6 month old should be awake for no more than 2 hours (absolute maximum 3 hours) at a time before having a nap. Most 6 month olds also become tired very early in the day and need their first nap about 45 minutes after waking up.

Starting solids usually does nothing to help babies sleep through the night. Babies get far more nutrients and calories from breast milk or formula than they do from solid food. At his age your baby should be having his milk feed first and then a little bit of solid food later. Do not give more solids thinking that will fill him up - it doesn't. Give more milk to fill him up.

When a baby is overtied and waking frequently like your baby is, sleep time can become stressful for them. When "cry it out" methods become more difficult than normal and the baby cries for hours and hours if is usually because they already have some anxiety over going to sleep.

So here is your plan:
1. You need to get him to sleep before he is overtired, during the day and at bedtime, so that going to sleep becomes easier for him and doesn't stress him out so much.
2. Do not replace milk with food, continue giving him milk feeds every 3 hours (or when he wants it) and top-up with a little bit of solids a couple of times per day.
3. After 2 weeks of going to sleep at the right time, start teaching him to go to sleep by himself. This should be done VERY GRADUALLY, as follows:
Do each step for at least 3 days, or however long it takes him to get used to it, which could be up to a week.
Step 1 - Get him used to being put in his cot awake and jiggle or pat him to sleep until he is fast asleep.
Step 2 - Stop patting or jiggling just after he goes to sleep but is not fast asleep.
Step 3 - Stop patting just after he closes his eyes.
4 - stop patting just as he is closing his eyes
5 - stop patting when he is about to close his eyes
6 - now time how many minutes you are patting for, from here reduce the time by 1-2 minutes for each step, until you put him down, pat for 2 minutes to calm him and walk away.
If at any time he wakes and cries when you stop patting, pick him up, calm him down completely, and START AGAIN. You may have to start again up to 5 times, especially in the first 2 weeks. This whole process will take 3-6 weeks.
You must be as consistent as possible every time he goes to bed, all day and all night. If you resort to old habits at 3am because you are too tired to continue with the method, that's ok, just get straight back to it the next time.

Once your baby learns to go to sleep on his own, his stress over going to sleep is relieved and he is going to sleep before he becomes overtired, he will automatically sleep through the night when his body is physiologically ready to go without food.

Remember that 50% of babies still need to be fed at least once a night until they are 12 months old. Yes doctors will tell you differently, but that is what the most current research says.

You are welcome to contact me if you run into any problems or have any questions.

Good luck.

Sunshine - posted on 10/21/2010

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That is normal.. My Son was the same way.. After my husband deployed is when my son started sleeping through the night. He is 11 months. Just keep working with him.. He will grow out of it I never thought my son would.. I never got sleep :( My son still wakes up during the night but I make him self soothe himself.. He is always losing the binky. I put a couple in there & let him find it :( Good Luck girl.. Don't use medications to make him sleep its not good for him :(

Kim - posted on 10/18/2010

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I have a 10 month old and she still wakes up 2-3 times during the night. I am still nursing her and I think for nursing mothers its different for formula fed mothers. When babies nurse they feel comforted and safe, so sometimes when they wake up in the middle of the night it is just to feel comforted and thats why they fall asleep again so fast. I know because sometimes my daughter will nurse for literally one min and she is back to sleep. It is so hard to not get any sleep, but know that your not yourself when you lose out on sleep... don't blame yourself for things you cannot control. We all lose our patience when we lose on sleep. Another thing that my help is something called gripe water. It is a natural anti gas relief but it also helps their digestive track. I know it helped my daughter tons! Hope it gets better for you, and if its at all possible try to get some sleep yourself during the day when he naps.

Melissa - posted on 10/18/2010

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Oh ours gets tierd at 5 pm as well so we let him take a nap we usually try to put him down at 4:30 the time does very though sometimes its at 4 sometimes its at 6pm...it is usually a short one...then depending on when he took his nap he goes to bed at 8 or 8:30pm....BUT if you keep them up when they are tierd they get a second wind and that causes big time sleep issues as well! What does his nap schedule look like?

Our little guy when he takes great naps always goes donw about 1.5hours after he woke in the morning for at least 2-3 hours, then takes one at around 2 or 3 which is 45mins to an hour, then again at 4 or 6 Good luck! Then in bad by the latest 8:45pm.

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Italia - posted on 10/21/2010

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Adisha don't be so hard on yourself you are doing a great job. There are so many suggestions we can give you but it doesn't mean it will work for u or ur baby. so don't feel bad if one thing doesn't work.
i hope this situation gets better soon... ::hugs::

Renae - posted on 10/21/2010

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I just wanted to add that no professional (sleep consultant, nurse, doctor, psychologist) on this planet will agree with keeping any baby awake in order to make them sleep better at night. It is a proven fact that all babies sleep better at night when they recieve the necessary sleep during the day. Babies fight sleep when they are overtired. You are stuck in a viscious cycle of your baby being too tired to go to sleep but desperately needing the sleep. You need to break this cycle by getting some sleep into him. Try carrying him in a sling, putting him in a swing, whatever works to get him asleep when he is tired. This will also relieve his current anxiety over going to sleep (as I talked about earlier). Once he is no longer over-tired, you will find it much easier to get him to sleep.

Melissa - posted on 10/20/2010

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The teething is absolutly why! Maybe try some tylanol...i am not a fan of meds.. but sometimes they need it can you just imagine how painfull and frustrating it has to be for them to not be able to sleep caus eit hurts so bad..poor babies! Dont listen to the people telling you to keep him up it may have worked for them but creates bad sleeping habits, I am sure they have great intentions telling you that but isnt the always the best!!! Babies need their sleep!!! I would suggest that only if the baby sleeps very well and a lot during the day but then are awake for long hours at night...thats just them having their days and nights confused!

Reneas suggestion really sounds great!

Adisha - posted on 10/20/2010

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Thank you for your replies, I will try all of these suggestions. My son is teething pretty bad, I dont know if thats why but he does not want to drink form me much during the day. I give him the breast at every possibility but he just plays with it! As a result my breast become uncomfortable! The same problem is there when it comes to sleeping. He will not want to sleep although he is sleepy, and then will eventually become over tired and cry. He only slept 2 hours during the day last night!

WHen do you give your baby Gripe water? Should I give it to my son before bed? I give him Calpol before bed too, his teething is worse at night. I know it must be a comfort thing with him at night. Its weird cause I put him to sleep on the sofa in the living room during the day, and I do some house work while he is a sleep so sometimes he opens his eyes looks around, sees me then he smiles and goes back to sleep! So I know he can sleep if he wants to!

I am a bit confused as some people are telling me to keep my son awake during the day with few naps and others are telling me to put him to sleep every 2-3 hours! I know every baby is different, so I will try all options.

Thanks again for your replies, very helpful.

Maggie - posted on 10/18/2010

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my baby is 4 months right now & my schedule with him is his last feeding is at 8:30 -9:00 pm so he falls asleep around 9:30-10:00 pm he wakes up at 5:00 am for another bottle & then falls back asleep right away... Maybe you can try doing your schedule a little later so he sleeps longer. Another thing i do is keep him awake as much as i can during the day so he is just super sleepy by bedtime. He still take a nap or two but after 6 i DO NOT let him sleep...
it has worked for me

[deleted account]

I would look at his naps during the day and how much he is eating during the day.

At 6 months he probably will need 3 naps during the day, staying up no longer than 2 hours. Try putting him down for his naps before he is overtired, because they become so much harder to settle when they're tired. Try to stick to roughly the same routine every day (roughly though. Don't feel you need to put him down at 11am on the dot everyday - for example).

How much is he eating during the day? A friend at a playgroup found her son slept so much better when she increased how much he was eating at lunch. It's not just about how much he eats just before bed that matters. Try increasing his solids (don't decrease his milk) and then if that doesn't help, decreasing the amount of milk he's having during the night and increasing it during the day. If he's bottle fed it's easier (though I'm not advocating for you to do that if you aren't), just decrease the amount and add the removed amount to a feed during the day. If you're breast feeding, maybe try decreasing the amount of time he feeds and offer him the breast more during the day. Once he's having all his calories during the day, just offer water if he wakes at night. Hopefully if he's not getting any food and all his calories are coming during the day he will realise he's not getting anything and not wake.

I would also leave him for about 5 minutes to see if he'll settle himself. We all wake often during the night between sleep cycles. Give him a chance to settle himself. If you go to him on the first cry, he might not actually be awake and you could possibly be waking him fully.

Good luck :)

Adisha - posted on 10/18/2010

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Thank you for all your responses. My son is definitely teething, he has been since he was 4 months! After he wakes up I feed him at around 9am and he will sleep from about 9.20-10.20am. Then he usually has another nap after lunch at about 1.30pm, this nap tends to be longer. It may be 2 hours but he does wake up 1-2 times to feed. I then feed him at around 5.30and wait an hour before bathing him. I will try to give him another nap at 5.30 today before feeding him and see how I go. I do go to him soon after he cries, only because I have left him for a bit before going and his crying got worse and it took me a long time to settle him again! When I go to him sooner he drinks and falls a sleep sooner! I will give him some Calpol when he wakes up during the night and before bed and see if this will help! Thanks again for your advice.

Alison - posted on 10/18/2010

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The 7:30-8:00 bedtime sounds perfect. Don't change that!

If you want him to sleep through you night, you do have to stop feeding him. Could you temporarily move him into the living room? We set up a pack & play in our living room while training our daughter to sleep through the night. It was inconvenient, but only took a week or so. When he does wake up give him some ibuprofen as a test, to rule out teething.

You sound exhausted. I think it is definitely time to get your son sleeping through the night.

Melissa - posted on 10/18/2010

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Mine has been doing the samething...he has always woke at 5:30 but used to go back to sleep with in 15 mins...now he wakes so much my hasband and I wake at least 5 times at night....IIn your sirutation I absolutly think teething is to blame. Loss of appitite and sleep interuption is both a sign of teething! Maybe try giving him a pasi to comfort him instead of feeding him...thats probably a Habit, although we wake our baby at 11;30pm to feed him so he does not wake up at 2 am to. I agree with sarah on the sleep issue aswell....if our baby gets great naps in eaqualing at least 4 hours he sleeps great and we only wake maybe 2 times at 5:30 and 6am , which is his habit since birth, but if he doesnt or is teething we are up all night as well! Letting them cry is soooo hard but it worked for us when we were training him to take naps on his own...I am struggling with doing that now though but I might have to give in when I know the teething pain isnt bad and do it. I think I m going to look into the seetleing clinic as well!

[deleted account]

its really normal for a 6 month old to still be waking up during the night. some babies are 12 months old before they stop waking up during the night. how many sleeps does he have through the day? it might sound strange but i did a settling clinic (and if you want get your doctor to refer you to one if you think its a problem they may have some good ideas) and the more a baby sleep during the day the more they sleep at night. it has a lot to do with self settling. another question is does the second he cries do you go to the cot? I know its hard with him being in the same room but try and ignore it for 10 minutes to see if he can settle himself. Its hard at first to listen to him but if he does go back to sleep then its good he'll soon get the hang of settling himself to sleep. but like i said if you are worried then i highly suggest a settling clinic. but this is normal

Adisha - posted on 10/18/2010

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I forgot to mention that he gets tired at around 5pm, so I tend to feed him dinner at 5.30pm and start to bath him at 6.30pm. He will then fall a sleep at around 7.30-8pm. I am not sure if I am making him go to sleep too early. He wakes up at around 6-8am after waking up at 3-4 every night on top of other times after I put him to sleep. At a stretch he will sleep for 3 hours without waking up.

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