5 month old just won't sleep at night

Kelly - posted on 04/06/2009 ( 13 moms have responded )




My 5 month old is a terrible night sleeper. I understand not all babies are good sleepers but I am getting so frustrated. She is tired, she shows all the cues and usually falls asleep when being fed (I am breast feeding but we've started trying a bottle of formula before bed now). As soon as you move her from your lap to bed, she wakes up and is instantly wide awake again. We have tried rocking her and same thing, when you move her she's awake. She has a soother which is the bain of my existence - she wants it but as soon as it falls out, she screams for it. She now rolls on to her belly but that wakes her up and again, more screaming.

She is not in pain, she is not hungry (we've tried feeding her more and that's not it) and she's dry. She just won't sleep!

She is usually unsettled from 8-11pm when I feed her again. Some nights she'll eat and go right back to sleep for about 5-6 hours. Other night, she's awake for another hour or two before she finally falls asleep again. Again her morning feed, she's still tired but wakes up and fights it until around 7am when she falls asleep again.

If I put her in the swing, she'll sleep up to four hours in the afternoon so I know she's tired from this current pattern. It's killing me because I'm not getting more then 5 hours at night and I spend all evening trying to settle her.

We have a routine at bedtime, she has a 2 yr old sister so we're on a good schedule but that doesn't seem to help! I just don't know what to do.


Alex - posted on 04/06/2009





my 5 month old son is the same only that during the day he sleeps in his bed fine its just night time, i rock him to sleep but i have eithr a  blanket or his little pooh bear teddy inbetween us so his face is up against that and not me once he is asleep i hold him for another 15 mins then put him into bed withhim still leaning against the blanket i also lean right over and i almost lay down in the crib 2 when i put him in, pat him softly for a few mins and slowly walk out.  i know its alot especially with a 2yr old too, it has been working for me so far my son goes down at 7pm then wakes for a bottle at 11pm again hold i feed him and hold him with the blanket for 5- 10mins and he sleeps till 2am now from 2am onwards is a different matter my son just wakes every half hour i dont know what to do there hope something in this novel i have just written helps

good luck (",)


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Miss - posted on 04/06/2009




I totally get you! My 2yr old daughter was EXCLUSIVELY breastfed until she was I was four months pregnant with my 2nd daughter and only because my milk supply just stopped. She ALWAYS cried and she seldom slept! I tried all the things you mentioned and like you, nothing worked. She cried herself to sleep many times.
I think that if you were highly emotional during your pregnancy this may be the reason for her sleeplessness and much crying. That happened with my first daughter.
With my 2month old daughter, she is also breastfed and what I do is breastfeed her until she falls asleep, then i slowly take my nipple from her mouth and press the blanket she wrapped against her cheek. I wait about 15-20 minutes or until im certain she's completely asleep and then i lay her on her side in the crib with a soft pillow under her head. I also put a pillow that extends from the back of her head to the bottom of her toes so that she feels support, something similar to you carrying her. I also put a blanket tucked from her chest to her feet for support infront and she sleeps all through the night...
Hope this works for you!

[deleted account]

I have four kids and my first was an absolute shocker. My last 3 girls are absolute angels at night. I have a 13 year old, 4 year old, 2 year old and 8 month old with another on the way! Here is what works for me. Maybe you could try this as you already have a routine for bedtime:

I never put my girls in their beds or cots in the day time. I use a flip out sofa (or sleeping bag sofa) for daytime sleeps with a light muslin wrap or sheet (with thicker blanket in winter although our house has airconditioning).

Our bedtime routine for ALL children begins at 8pm (or earlier if bath is required) where they are put into pyjamas and reinforced that it is soon bedtime with books read and teeth cleaned. This part is completed by 8.15pm. They are then given 15mins of quiet or wind down time and then it's off to bed. The toddlers take themselves to bed and are tucked in and then a few minutes later the baby (they all share a room!) is placed in the cot.

Whilst the toddlers are having book time and teeth time, I wrap the baby in a stretch cotton blanket (only ever used for night time sleeps) after putting on pyjamas and telling her it is bed time. Once she is wrapped, I feed her one last bottle for the night and then put her in the cot.

For all my girls, they regularly woke due to rolling over. I have found a sleep system called a "safe-t-sleep" which uses velcro to hold the baby in position (they are able to roll over when they are a little older) on their back. It is highly recommended to avoid the posibility of SIDS.

My 2 year old still uses a safe-t-sleep and also helps in keeping her in the "big bed" until morning.

I hope that some of these ideas help. I was like you with my first so don't give up there is hope!

Katie - posted on 04/06/2009




My son went through the same thing.  We've always rocked him to sleep and he was sleeping through the night at about 3 or 4 months. Then around 5 months he started waking up constantly.  This went on for a few months and we were so miserable.  Eventually, he just grew out of it and started to sleep better.  We still rock him to sleep and he still wakes up sometimes, but he is learning to go to sleep on his own and soothe himself back to sleep.  Is she teething? My son got his first tooth at 5 months, and I think that was maybe part of his problem.  Like another mom said, wait until you can tell she is in a deep sleep ( the limp arm test) then put her down as gently as you can.  My son had to be put down very gently on his side, or he would immediately roll over and wake up.  Try not letting her nap too late in the afternoon (easier said than done, I know) because that may be affecting her ability to settle at night.  We tried the Ferber method (sort of ) but couldn't go through with it.  So we are justing hoping our son will eventually learn to fall asleep on his own. Good luck.  I know it is so miserable when you are constantly getting up all night to deal with a screaming baby. 

Kelly - posted on 04/06/2009




Have tried putting her to bed drowsy and not quite asleep. I think 9:30pm is too late for her... she's tired at 7pm.

Fiona - posted on 04/06/2009




i have 6 month old twin boys one gose to bed at 6 - 7 pm and sleeps till three the other one screams for hours we took him to the dc and he has reflux it affectes him more at night then day try putting wood under legs of cot try putting her to sleep on her tummy in the cot and pat her leg thats what works for me you could try giving her a bath then a feed then put her to bed let her cry for a few mintues then if she has not stopped go in give her a cuddle but (dont talk any words to her ) shhh then put her back and walk out after a few gose she will relise that she needs to go to sleep at night make it different at day time so she relises that night time is for slleep do different things of day time for sleep good luck keep me posted please

Narelle - posted on 04/06/2009




I have been lucky with my 7 month old as she is a good sleeper but i have found a good routine that we have done since she was 4 months. We have dinner at about six a play on the floor afterwards then have a bath at about 8;30 then her last feed at about 9;30 taking away any stimulation and telling her in a calm and soothing voice it's time for bed, it's time for bed. Even though i may repeat this saying at least 100 times she seems to know that it's time for bed and time for sleep. Once in her cot i sit with her with my hand on her chest until she nods off into a deep sleep. No noise and a dimmly lit room all seem to help and she will sleep through until about 7;30. This works for us and after introducing her to solids it seems to be alot easier for her to fall asleep and allows me to get at least 8 hours myself! Good luck i hope you find something that will work.

Christy - posted on 04/06/2009




Have you tried putting her to bed drowsy, before she falls asleep? Let her fall asleep in her bed to avoid the transition. That worked best for me with my daughter. We also played soft music in her room so she didn't wake up to all the little noises throughout the night. The other thing that helped was getting rid of the night light, I know weird, but having a dark room really helped my daughter know it was sleepy time so if she woke in the night she'd go back to sleep becuase her room was still dark.

Hope this helps!

Jenny - posted on 04/06/2009




i had that problem with my son, and it wz because we were rocking him to sleep and such we taught him to go 2 sleep with out being rocked and it worked a charm, he still woke up for his feeds but went straight back to bed

Jenny - posted on 04/06/2009




Ouch.  I am so sorry that you are going through this.  I completely understand the need for sleep and how hard it is to function on that little sleep - especially with a toddler at home too! 

I went through a similar experience with my first son at that age, and I remember trying a couple of different things after reading a lot.  Dr. (William) Sears talks about doing an arm check before making the transfer from lap to bed and if the baby's arm is limp, they're in a deep enough sleep state to stay asleep (supposedly).  For my son, it took about 20 minutes after him falling asleep, so putting him to bed took forever and it was exhausting. I also remember trying to put him down on his own after his bedtime feeding and going in every five minutes to adjust/comfort him briefly without talking or picking him up.  I had read that lengthening the time between comfort moments was "bad" because it taught them to cry longer and I honestly didn't have the heart to let him "cry it out" at that age.  I know it may seem like she's too old for this, but does she like being swaddled at all?  Sometimes that worked for my daughter because she didn't startle as much when moved.

With my daughter, I put one of those Fisher Price Sounds and Lights Aquariums in her crib and helped her fall asleep on her own better.  The lights and rhythm seemed to help her learn to fall asleep without being held. 

I hope you are able to find a good solution!  Best wishes.

Jinglebones - posted on 04/06/2009




Try putting a hot water bottle in her bed to warm it up before transferring her in - make sure you remove it before she goes in.  Lots of babies (particularly breastfed!) have this issue - they just do not like to go from moms comforting warm snuggly embrace to that cold solitary bed (go figure).  I feel your pain - both my boys were like this - number 2 would cluster feed for hours at this time of the night - I was exhausted.  It will get better, but try making the transfer as gentle as possible, i.e. try patting her chest or bum, keep the bars down low so you can croon and keep your body in close and gradually withdraw yourself as she goes back to sleep.  You may have to play around and figure out what she likes but the key is gradual withdrawal and transfer from warm snuggly to warm snuggly.  Hope this helps and you get some sleep soon!!

Tracy - posted on 04/06/2009




i have five kids and this advice is just my own personal experience i would say that either there is not enough activity during the day or you could cut out your latest nap or even more food during the day to keep your baby full and asleep hope this helps!

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