Sleeping Problems

Alicia - posted on 01/13/2009 ( 2 moms have responded )

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My son Lucas (just 4 months old) used to be a pretty good sleeper at nights. He would consistently sleep for two six hour stretches. As he got older that first stretch would sometimes be 8 or more hours...up to 11 hours!

Then all of a sudden, about a week before Christmas he started waking up only a couple hours after falling asleep, I would let him cry for a few minutes just to be sure he was really awake. I would go in there, and give him his soother, and he'd be asleep instantly. He would continue doing that every hour or so until I fed him at the 6 hour mark. Then he would go back to sleep for only 3 or 4 hours. It's now going on almost 4 weeks, and I am exhausted.

How can I correct his new pattern of bad sleeping? I'm desperate.

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Ashley - posted on 01/13/2009

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I have found that the "bedtime routine" is crucial in trying to set your baby's sleep pattern. These are all tips that I got from my pediatrician and they have worked wonders for my son. Try to put him to bed around the same time every night. Have the same routine every night before bed. My routine is this: change diaper, change into pj's, feed warm bottle while rocking. If he's still not sleepy enough I'll play lullaby songs for him or softly read to him. On bath days, I bathe him right before bed and he's usually asleep before I even dry him off.



I have heard suggestions that you want to put your baby in the crib while he's drousy but not asleep yet. And to not let his last waking memories be of you or the bottle. That way he gets used to his crib and used to putting himself to sleep. I tried that technique for a few weeks and it just did not work for me. He refused to sleep and would cry the entire time. So I gave up because of exhaustion. Now I get him to sleep first and then put him down. It works every time for me.



Just remember that every baby is different though, so you'll most likely have to set your own routine with him. Try feeding him in a darkened room and do not talk to him or play with him at all. The sleepy time ritual is supposed to be boring, so the baby doesn't not get stimulated and is allowed to get sleepy. And also remember that it may take a little while to set the routine. So give it a little time and adjust the routine as you see what works and what doesn't.  Hope some of this helps!

Leslie - posted on 01/13/2009

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Hi Alicia, A very similar thing happened to me and my son, Toby. He was a good sleeper and then things changed. We would spend roughly 2 - 3 hours a night doing the same thing: rock him to sleep, he'd sleep for 1/2 hour then wake up and cry, rock him back to sleep, sleep a little, wake up...

We decided to Ferberize him which is a method of helping him learn to fall asleep on his own. The issue was basically he had a problem with sleep association. He would fall asleep in my arms and then in the normal sleep cycle wake up and realize he's not in my arms anymore, so he'd be upset, naturally. So the trick is to have them fall asleep on their own in the environment that they will be in when they wake up throughout the night (or hopefully in the morning!), i.e., in their crib or wherever they sleep for the night. And then when they wake up they're not surprised/upset and they go back to sleep on their own. It takes about a week of crying/fussing for them to be fully trained. The first night Toby cried for 40 mins, then the second night 30 mins, then the third night 25 mins and then the 4th night just 5 mins! And when I would get up to feed him in the middle of the night I just put him down awake in the crib, smiling at me and he doesn't fuss for a second, just goes to sleep on his own. I suggest you buy Dr. Richard Ferber's book and read chapter 4 on sleep associations. Good luck!

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