Any suggestion of getting my 9 month old to sleep better?

Sarah - posted on 02/12/2012 ( 22 moms have responded )

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Recently my 9 month old daughter has been very clingy. She has been teething and we are using the teething medication and advil when needed. However, she isnt sleeping well, up almost every 3 hours at night, not playing with her toys (I kind of think this is because she is crawling and has discovered way to many cool other things). I am trying to let her CIO but after about 20 minutes I go in and pick her up and then rock her to sleep because I am struggling with her crying so hard. I feel bad for her. But I want her to be able to put herself to sleep again and to stay asleep. Tonight she was being rocked and started fighting me with laying still. I have put her in her bed. It now has been nearly 40 minutes. I go in and check her about every 20. At this moment she is not crying, but she might start all over if I go in there to check her. What are some suggestions from anyone who has experienced this? I am going to talk to her doctor tomorrow at her check up too. I know that the most important part of getting a schedule (any schedule) to work is being consistent. At this point I am just not sure what to do anymore. We are also breastfeeding and I am trying to break her from falling asleep at the breast. HELP!!!!!

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Jessica - posted on 02/13/2012

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On nights when I know my daughter is tired and won't sleep I let her CIO also, but we go in after every 5 minutes if she is really crying hardcore. If it's just whimpers and annoyed crying we'll leave her alone for a long time. When we do go in we pick her up so she calms down, rock and cuddle, sing a song, whatever. If it's been going on for a long time I'll offer the breast again which usually triggers her sleep reflex, but then I make sure to jostle her enough when putting her down that she is still a little awake. I almost never go in and check on her once she's quiet, until she's been quiet for more than an hour. I have found that a schedule and consistant bedtime routine have been helpful. Although after all that Rose sometimes still gets up every 3 or 4 hours at night, and then I nurse her a bit and try to put her down slightly awake and if she cries I let her, knowing there isn't anything actually wrong.

Lisa - posted on 02/13/2012

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I had the same problem with my son. I have twins and my daughter would sleep 12 hours a night, while my son was waking up every 2 hours. I contacted a sleep consultant (found her online, paid for a day of emails...was inexpensive) and she told me he was overtired which is why he was waking so much. They shouldn't have more than 3- 3 1/2 hours of wake time at a time. He now goes to sleep by 6:00 at night and most nights (not all!) he sleeps 11-12 hours.

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Sarah - posted on 04/21/2012

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Thank you Laura. Most definitely was not expecting to have another one this soon but all is well and this is our last. Hopefully this new one will be a good sleeper like their oldest sister was. :)

Merry - posted on 04/21/2012

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Sarah that's wonderful! I'm so glad things are going better, and congrats on your pregnancy! You definetly need your sleep now!

Sarah - posted on 04/21/2012

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Update:

We are finally on the right track to sleeping through the night......I think. I went back to rocking her to sleep and putting her down once she was good and asleep. We were still nursing at that point. I stopped nursing her two months ago because it was making me very nauseous (because we are expecting out 3rd.......in October.) It was hard for me to not make it to the 12 month+ mark, which is what I was aiming for but I just had to stop. I couldnt handle the nausea. She is now on a bottle and doing quite good. After we stopped nursing, when she would wake up in the middle of the night I would just put her in bed with me because my husband is a truck driver and on the road. Well of course that still wasnt giving me much rest for fear she would fall out of bed and she is a bed hog. Hubby came home and couldnt handle the co-sleeping either....ha ha. So what finally has worked is a pillow. We put a normal size pillow in her bed, we have dinner, she gets a bath (as always), a little while later she might take a bottle depending on how tired she is, we rock and listen to her music, within 10 minutes she is sound asleep and I can have an hour or even two to sit up and have some quiet time or I can go to bed. (its kind of nice to have this freedom) When we lay her on the pillow she is ALWAYS on her back. She will move throughout the night, I am still always checking on her and any little peep I wake up to check on her whether she is awake or not. She will wake up at 3:30 for a night feeding. She takes her bottle and goes right back to sleep. She sleeps until 8:30 in the morning and wakes up SO HAPPY!!!!!! I love mornings now. I am sleeping better and so is she! (also, when hubby is home he sleeps better too.....but we do need a new mattress.) I still constantly worry about the pillow and the huge what ifs but overall THIS IS WORKING!!!!!!! Finally some real sleep!

Merry - posted on 02/24/2012

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Oh I did dream feeding with my son a lot. Thanks for bringing that up Karen I didn't even think of it!

It is quite helpful if the waking is a pattern you can expect to dream feed, keeps them asleep longer :)

Keep up the breastfeeding her to sleep if it helps, no harm in her falling asleep at the breast

Karen - posted on 02/24/2012

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Hi, Sarah,

I'm certainly no expert, but do have 9 month old twins. My son is a champion sleeper in general and usually sleeps from 6:30 pm through to 6 or 7 in the morning and he's a great napper. When he wakes at night crying, I know something is up. He's been teething this week and the same issue as your daughter. I've had to hold and cuddle him for over an hour with each waking to ensure he goes back to sleep. I am keeping him loaded up on ibuprofen as I can, always making sure he gets a dose right at bedtime (lasts about 8 hours). If needed, I given him tylenol and a small feeding when he wakes (be sure to only give within dosing & scheduling guidelines). You didn't say if she was a good napper or or not. That would make a difference, too. My daughter is the opposite of her brother. She's actually only gone a handful of nights without at least one wakening episode and she's not a good napper (probably related!). We started with short periods of trying to let her learn to self-soothe (i.e., cry it out), gradually going to longer intervals (I fought this for a long time, but finally, the exhaustion and desperation gave way) and we're still not there despite consulting with a sleep coach when she was 5 months old (probably because we haven't been consistent in our response). Whatever you decide to do, you have to be consistent with it so as not to confuse your daughter. Another method discussed widely that I haven't employed myself is if you can detect a pattern to when she wakes up, wake her up and dream feed her 30 minutes before that. It someone short circuits the wakening pattern. Also, you need to make sure she's getting adequate sleep during the day (2-3 hours over 2 naps). Our latest sleep coach recommends to not have her awake for more than 3 hours at a stretch during the day. Going to start trying that tomorrow. Good luck. Know that you aren't alone in your exhaustion and frustration! I feel for you!!!

Michele - posted on 02/21/2012

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We are also doing a little CIO with our little one. I nurse hear to nearly asleep, then lay her down with a little plush puppy that plays about 3 minutes of music. I know that we can now never lose that puppy, but she doesn't cry too much at bedtime, maybe 2-3 minutes if at all.



She is sleeping about 8-9 hours with a minute or two of crying about 4 hours in. We know sleep with a timer (a digital I preset then shove under my pillow after i start it so I don't scare myself) and if she cries more than ten minutes I go pick her up and nurse, repeat with the plush puppy.



My hard part is that she is awake around 4:00, and for a working mom, that is rough. She is cranky around 8-8:30, which we appreciate since we established that as her bedtime from 4 months on.



I never like hearing her cry, but I am learning her annoying ones vs scared and needs comfort ones. I am glad to read this and know I am not the only one with the flood of emotions around this. I just keep going knowing that one day, I will get to sleep on my schedule....

Merry - posted on 02/19/2012

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I've read the no cry sleep solution and I thought it sounded wonderful!

A bit time consuming to set up your plan but if you are desperate it sure sounded like it would work.

I'm sorry you've had a set back :-( if it's any consolation I have heard from cry it out style books that an illness, vacation, missed nap, etc can back track the baby's sleeping and you have to re do the training. So it's not just her!

I hope you find a good solution soon!

Keep us posted :)

Sarah - posted on 02/19/2012

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Well I am admitting defeat on the CIO method I think. We missed one nap time because we were running errands and it seems that we have started all over with the not wanting to go down for a nap or bed without nursing or being held. We are going to explore other methods because I cant keep letting her cry or have the fear that if we miss one nap time by an hour that we will be back at square one. Started reading the no cry sleep solution, going to start my logs and evaluate where we are and if we can find a better solution.

Sarah - posted on 02/15/2012

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Laura I didnt think you were judging me. I am sorry if that came across in a harsh way. :) I appreciate you trying to keep me encouraged. I am off to bed to get some much needed shut eye just like my little one does!

Merry - posted on 02/15/2012

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Well it sounds like you know it's ok for her and that's what counts.

I don't judge you :) I remember that stage with my son as he'd flail in my arms and fight me and I too would put him in his crib and walk out but I just would go back as soon as his cries turned from anger to sadness and then he'd nurse to sleep.

We have to do what works best for all involved!and it sounds like you've figured out what has to happen :)

Have a good night tonight!

Sarah - posted on 02/15/2012

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Jennifer Young, I did not feel like you were being judgmental at all. I just know that the CIO debate is a painful one. Either a parent is for it or against it and there I feel are few in between that are do what works if that works for you. You know what I mean? What makes me feel bad is when people try to force their views on me about CIO. I respect all people and all peoples view but I also know that while I might be struggling with this my little one is doing just fine. :)



Laura, I dont think it ever feels good to a mom that their baby is crying. Yes I do hate it but I cannot let her get overly tired and be up all night either I think she is just strong willed enough that she needs this schedule because all of my other normal tactics have stopped working. My biggest problem has been realizing that I am not raising my 13 year old when it comes to my 9 month old. My 13 year old was easy until she became a teenager. :) I have to understand that my 9 month old is her own person with her own needs and my not be as easy as her sister. I know that she is fine when she is in her bed. The good news is she is doing very well with this new tactic. My pediatrician supports me with this and while I might struggle with the idea, I have to know that I am doing what is best for her in the long run. I have also learned that doing EVERYTHING for my children will and has come to bite me in the rear end. Dont take that the wrong way. I love my children to the ends of the earth and sky and would do anything and everything in my power to provide, care for, show them love, and sometimes that takes making some tough choices I as the parent might night like but know in the long run I have to do them. It doesnt always feel right to lay her down and let her cry or watch her cry as I walk out of the room but if I was to hold her ALL day long and rock her to sleep as she is fighting, scratching, and flailing her arms at me, then I would not ever get to pee let alone keep up on my house work. What is worse her laying in her bed and crying or her crying in my arms as I am trying to make her go to sleep? I know and believe in my heart that I am not hurting her but that doesnt mean that it still cant be hard on me. I am not beating her or throwing her down or mistreating her in any way like we hear about people killing their kids or abusing them every day on the news. This is just a hurdle that we are having to jump. And tonight it was successful. She did not cry at all when I put her to bed.

Merry - posted on 02/15/2012

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My motto is always,

If it feels wrong don't do it.

If it feels fine then it likely is fine!



From your post you sound like you do not feel its fine to let her cry. You say it kills you. So in your case I'd have to say don't sit there thinking this is "necessary"

But if you feel comfortable hearing her whimper and cry and you know deep down she's fined and just fussing then by all means its your judgement caall.



But if it's tearing you up inside dont do it. There's never a reason you HAVE to let her cry it out.

I see you feel like you're at your witty end and I understand the feeling! I too tried once to let my son cry it out when he was about this age and he wouldn't nurse to sleep anymore. I got to two minutes and was done. I never did it again. It felt wiring and I couldn't stand it.

So I tested out new things, I'd nurse him while patting. Or while singing, I tried a sound machine, nightlight, then tried pitch black!

I figured out his new niche and I nursed him to sleep for two full years.

It felt right and even though it was annoying and I hated it sometimes it felt right.



If this feels right then keep at it. You know your baby best. But if it feels wrong there's no need to sit outside her door wanting to go in by her. There's nothing wrong with parenting her to sleep.

Jennifer - posted on 02/15/2012

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If I sounded judgemental towards CIO or what you are doing, I'm sorry. I definitely support SMART CIO, which is what it sounds like you are doing. Every child is different and every phase can be a challenge. After trying everything, I have come to terms that my 9 month old is just not a good sleeper and still needs mom very often. While sleep would be awesome, I'm okay with that :-).

Glad to hear she is getting better for you!

Sarah - posted on 02/15/2012

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I forgot to add the last couple of nights she has been waking up at 230 to nurse again. Then gets up at 6 am.

Sarah - posted on 02/15/2012

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Thank you everyone for responding. I know that it sounds excessive to let her CIO. Honestly, this is the hardest thing for me to do. My older daughter never gave me any fits about going to sleep. Of course we co-slept until about 4-5 years ago and she is 13 now. My 9 month old is completely the opposite of my 13 year old at the 9 month age. My 9 month old is very strong willed and if she doesnt want it she doesnt want it. When she was 3-6 months of age she would put herself to sleep no problem. If I laid her down because she was overly tired she would fall right to sleep no fussing. We went through an I only want to be rocked faze. Which I loved! An I only want to sleep on my mom in the chair faze. Then she got pretty sick and started teething. This is when her schedule got really messed up. She didnt want to be rock or laid down. I cant even walk out of the room most of the day because she cries. She will just sob as she is crawling after me. Anyway......we are overcoming the sleep battles. I will be honest, I was not very detailed when I wrote my original post. She did NOT cry the entire 20 minutes without me checking on her. I would go in about every 5-7 lay her back down, give her pacy to her, tell her I love her, rub her head, but she would always roll over and scream at me. So I had to walk away. This has not been easy one me. But I will say she is getting the hang of it and after only a week she is only whimpering when I lay her down. The only reason I started this routine is because she would fight me to rock, she would not continually nurse she will pull off and then flick my nipple. So, this was what I feel like was my last solution to get her on some normal routine and to sleep. Here is a rundown of her schedule............She has been waking up at 6 am she will eat breakfast and nurse she will play until around 8 am then she takes her morning nap. She will wake up at 1030 and eat a snack and play some more. at around 1130 she will eat lunch and nurse again. She plays until 1230-100 at that time I will lay her in her bed for her afternoon nap. She will sleep until 3 PM. She gets up and has a snack then around 330 she will eat a "heavier meal" She will play until around 6 at which time she gets dinner by 630 she is getting her warm bath, she gets a lotion rub down jammies and nurses again. She sometimes falls alseep and will sleep until about 8. She gets up for her cereal feeding then plays and I have been putting her to bed at 1030. Last night it only took her about 5 minutes to go to sleep and she hardly even cried. Trust me ladies, I am the type of mom that runs at my childrens every whimper noise cry fuss burp fart or what ever the noise might be. It is completely out of normal for me to let my baby cry. It kills me. But I have to do something and if this is the only way I can teach her and it is working (for the time being) then I have to teach her. Thank you for all being supportive and listening.

Emma - posted on 02/15/2012

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We are in exactly the same situation. Our best nights mean getting up only 2-3 times but usually more like 5-6. I found that nothing positive came from letting her CIO. I have found some improvement in getting her to sleep by whatever means necessary during the day on a schedule. So whether it be at the breast or rocking her even letting her sleep on me at the same time every day ensures that she is not too tired at night to try and get herself to sleep. I think it has also helped to sort of reset her internal clock. I started with trying for a nap every 90 minutes(sounds excessive I know) and worked from there...have found that every 2 hours is her sweet spot and she will fall asleep much easier then and for longer in the crib. Then I moved up her bedtime a little each week and last night she slept in 3 and 4 hour blocks which is unheard of. Some children just struggle more than others and not every child responds to CIO but they all seem to crave a regular schedule so I try to keep our wake up time and nap times consistent.

Jennifer - posted on 02/13/2012

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I am going to have to agree with Laura. 20 minutes seems a bit overkill at 9 months. Idk how you have gone about this so if I am jumping to conclusions, I do apologize. But from what i have read the recommendation if you are going to CIO is to start at 2 minutes and work up from there.

It is perfectly healthy to lay a baby down asleep or to nurse a baby to sleep. However, if you don't want to do that or feel it would benefit you both for baby to be laid down awake, I would take it back a few notches to start with.

I'd also try a nightlight.



My son (now a bit over 3) was sleeping 12 hours a night at 2.5 months and was 8ish months old when we started CIO. He never cried more than 5 minutes. He would usually play himself to sleep but on the nights he did not, I would go in after 2 minutes and pat his back over and over. By the time he was one, it was every 5 minutes. Now at 3, he goes to bed at 8 and never even gets up once I kiss him goodnight.



My may baby, rylie, is 9 months now and still wakes up 2-6 times a night. I feel like its really taking a toll on my sometimes but overall, I cherish the time. On a normal basis, she plays herself to sleep but if she fusses, I go in immediately. I've definitely learned every child is different and some babies just need the extra bit of snuggles at night. She is definitely not ready to do CIO yet.



If you don't want her to fall asleep at the breast maybe try feeding her thirty minutes earlier than usual. That way when she is done eating, she can play a bit or snuggle a bit and go to bed after that. My only suggestion is to go with your gut. Honestly to me, it sounds like she might not be ready to CIO yet but keep trying every so often if you feel that's the right thing to do!

Merry - posted on 02/13/2012

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If you WANT her to fall asleep alone and sleep longer alone then yeah crying might be needed. But if you don't want to let her cry then there's absolutely nothing wrong with nursing her to sleep for months to come.

It will not hurt her in any way, in fact it is healthy for her and you.

It all depends on what you want.

If you really want to not have to help her fall asleep then it is hard to require their instincts as babies are wired to need mom to sleep" it's a safety mechanism.

Leaving them alone will break them of this instinct but many moms feel its too upsetting to ignore their baby calling for them.

20 minutes is a very long time and honestly it hurts me inside to imagine your baby crying for 20 minutes. I could never handle that. Not even 2 minutes. Call me a softie but when my baby calls for me I'm there ASAP.

Merry - posted on 02/13/2012

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I've never let either kid cry whine or whimper.

I feel their noises are them speaking to me and ignoring it feels very wrong to me.

I know some moms feel comfortable letting their babies cry so I have no idea what's best for others but for me, I respond to every unhappy noise and never lay my babies down awake.

My son never cried it out, and he was capable of putting himself to sleep without being unhappy by two years so I feel they learn on their own and there's no need to allow my babies to be unhappy.

I want sleep to always be a happy thing.

Every mom has her own instincts she has to listen to and she knows her baby best so I can't speak for others. But for me there's no amount of crying I will ignore.

I hear it as an emotional need and feel its just as important as physical needs. :) best of luck! Sarah!

If she wants to fall asleep at the breast know that is totally fine, healthy, and wonderful. Nothing wrong with nursing her to sleep and gently setting her down. Never ignore your instincts and never do anything that feels wrong to you.

Trust your heart and do what feels right for you and your child.

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