Ideas on getting baby girl to sleep better?

Marla - posted on 04/02/2012 ( 9 moms have responded )

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I put her to bed at night when she's tired.. usually around 8:30-9pm. I give her a bath and then give her a bottle of formula (she usually drinks about 8-9oz). She'll sleep for a few hours and then wakes up fussing/crying. I breastfeed her and sometimes she'll sleep for a few more hours. I don't mind getting up once or twice a night. But lately when she wakes up and I nurse her, she will nurse for awhile and then start chewing on my nipples and will still be awake. When she starts the chewing I will put her in bed and she'll go to sleep on her own but wakes up anywhere between 5 & 15 minutes later. The same thing over again. So the last couple of nights I have started making her a bottle during the night and she'll sleep for a few hours and then repeat again. I think she should be sleeping better than this though. She will not take a pacifier and I'm not going to cry it out. I don't think it would work with her anyways... she is a screamer and I can see her getting hysterical, she almost does anyway by the time I get in there. Any advice is appreciated. Tonight I will be making sure she is STUFFED full before putting her in bed... feeding her everything I can think of. lol

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Karen - posted on 04/06/2012

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Hi, Marla,

I'm no sleep expert, but had been struggling for months and have done a lot of reading and research on the subject to get to a more sane place with my twins, now 11 months old. I would tell you that the bedtime routine is good! However, I would also say that you are putting her to bed too late. Most of the experts recommend a bedtime of around 7 pm - no later than 7:30 pm - for children of this age. They need around 11.5 hours of sleep at night and 3 total hours of sleep time in 2-3 naps during the day. Also, the sleeping and the eating are all inter-related. At this age, there is no reason for your baby to feed at night if she is getting enough during the day. It's habit at this point in the game. Here's the schedule I am following that we finally got right so my babies generally sleep at night:

7 am - awake - eating breakfast (solids + 6-8 oz formula/breast milk))

9 am - nap for at least 1, up to 1.5 hours

10:30-isn - small snack + drink of water

11:30-12:00 - lunch (solids + 5 oz formula/breast milk + water)

1:15-ish - nap for at least 1, up to 2 hours

3:30-ish - snack (solids + 6-8 oz formula)

5:30-ish - dinner (solids + 6-8 oz formula)

6:00 - bath

7:00 - bed



We got here by starting to figure out what their core sleep time ability at night was...that is, once to bed, how long did they go before waking up? Then we know what they CAN do...we gently force them to do that the subsequent night before they get fed. For instance, if to bed at 7 pm and they wake up at midnight, their core sleep time is 5 hours. We feed them at midnight tonight, but if they wake up tomorrow night, at say, 11 pm, they don't get fed until at least midnight again. We do whatever we can to comfort them, help them get to midnight...whatever you are comfortable with. If the next night, they don't wake up until 2 am, then their core sleep time is now 7 hours, etc. Believe it or not, this actually stretched them out to sleeping all night...my son faster than my daughter. What worked with my daughter is figuring out that she really can't tolerate being up more than 3 hours at a time during the day and adjusting her nap schedule accordingly...that and adding the morning snack. Worked like a charm!



Then, to wean her from eating at night, I would gradually dilute the milk you are giving her via bottle down to 50% and/or reducing the amount you are giving her down to 3 oz. Once at 3 oz consistently for a few nights, particularly if it's diluted to 50% strength, you can probably just get rid of it and use comfort only to get her through her wakenings. We struggled to get rid of our 10 pm feeding for weeks. Then, one night we just tried it and they were OK with just being comforted back to sleep. No fuss about the bottle.



Sorry to be so long-winded. My "vast" (hah) experience comes from consultation with a couple of sleep consultants, reading a lot, and experimentation. I hope you can find some help in my ramblings!



Regards,

Karen

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Merry - posted on 04/19/2012

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Angie, he might be having a phase of separation anxiety or bad teething or even a tummy ache that happens at bed time!

Babies are really like that more then we know, most moms don't talk about how hard their baby is at night haha, we just brag about their good sides!

I know both my babies were like yours, and my may baby still is. She nurses three times a nightt or more. And she needs to be nursed down for her naps too. I lay down with her and nurse her to sleep then slip out.

She wakes crying as well but she's rested, just pissed that she's alone! She reaches for me and squeezes me like how dare you leave me!

But such is life and I'm really not far so she's fine!

I always pick her up when she fires and nurse her when ever she wants. I'm happy with how things are going and I know in time she will grow out of it.

Hang in there! They're only small a short time as you know, and we are building a lifetime of trust.

Angie - posted on 04/19/2012

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I struggle with this, too. This is my 3rd baby and he simply will not sleep all night, especially by himself. He takes naps in his crib, but at night usually ends up with me because I nurse him. It's obvious at this point that he is nursing for comfort. He has never taken a paci (would throw it angrily if I tried to give him one) and doesn't have a comfort item (I've tried blankies, stuffed animals, using a shirt I've worn to cover him, soft music/noise). I seem to be the only comfort item!



My biggest complaint with schedules is that I cannot make him sleep at any particular time for any length of time. The poor little guy never wakes up happy, not even when he sleeps with me. He always wakes up crying and gets absolutely furious if you don't get there quickly and he is so loud! I know he's not hungry and husband insists that I've coddled him too much. I keep telling him that I've treated all three the same. Granted he's been breastfed the longest, but I've always breastfed/bottle fed to sleep. Often, I can't even get him to take a nap, sometimes he'll be up for 4-5 hours, I know he's tired but nothing works! But even more frustrating, even if I do get him to sleep, I can't make him stay asleep (sometimes he sleeps for as little as 15min)! At bedtime, he will be asleep anywhere for 30 minutes or on a 'good night' 2-3 hours before waking up.



Frankly, I'm at my wits end with everyone's opinions and schedules! Part of me wants to go the route of they're only little once, but I can't go it alone = (

Karen - posted on 04/15/2012

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What I didn't say above is that my schedule is generally following what Gina Ford outlined in her book, "The Contented Baby". I've tweaked it a bit to account for my daughter's sensitivity and tendency to be a light sleeper, but all-in-all, it was a good framework.

Patricia - posted on 04/15/2012

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I agree with Karen. My little guy started sleeping through the night consistently when we started putting him to bed around 7pm. Before that we kept him up until about 9pm thinking that he'd wake up if we put him down any earlier, but I think we were keeping him up too late and he was overtired. Try putting her down at 7pm. Be brave :-)

Merry - posted on 04/12/2012

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Hi Marla, my daughter is 11 months and she wakes to nurse about 3-5 time a night still.

If anything helps me it's remembering that this is NORMAL

Lol

I love my sleep but she's only little once and so I make do and bed share for convenience.

Anyways, maybe your girl is too full? Maybe tummy hurts?

Has she been on the formula a lot? I had a friend whose baby didn't tolerate the formula well so she woke a lot but when they went back to just breastmilk she was better.

But then again my daughter is solely breastfed and she still wakes a lot so really it's so hard to help!



Just remember your not alone, and your baby isn't 'bad' she's normal and it will get better in time.

Try to enjoy the snuggle times and she will grow up faster then you want soon enough :)

Jennifer - posted on 04/06/2012

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My little girl still wakes up 2-8 times a night and drinks milk at night several times. The only thing I can say is to stay patient and remind yourself it's just a phase :/

Ianina - posted on 04/06/2012

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growing spur maybe?

My babies were sleeping all night and all the sudden, they started waking up AGAIN

Ugggggg

I feed them during the night at least once...



Good luck

Ianina - posted on 04/06/2012

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growing spur maybe?

My babies were sleeping all night and all the sudden, they started waking up AGAIN

Ugggggg

I feed them during the night at least once...



Good luck

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