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Thread: Help with sleep for an almost 7 month old

  1. #1

    Default Help with sleep for an almost 7 month old

    Hi,

    We moved our daughter to her own crib (beside our bed) almost a month ago and I've been sleep deprived ever since. We co-slept since day 1 of being home from the hospital was hoping to co-sleep for a longer time but, at 6 months, something changed and my daughter wouldn't sleep (arch her back and whine loudly) in bed with us after being nursed anymore. When we put her in her own crib (which we had gotten in case she starts rolling and crawling), she fell to sleep immediately. Nursing to sleep while co-sleeping made my first 6 months with my daughter great. I was hardly sleep deprived, but now that she is in the crib, she still wakes up as if we were bed sharing. I feel so sleep deprived and cranky and occasionally depressed and I would like some suggestions on how to improve the situation. I would just like a game plan that I can stick to.

    She sleeps on her own (lie down awake) by 6pm and then sleeps for 4-5 hours on her own the first stretch. I then happily give her a full feeding, offering both breasts, at around 10-11 pm and my husband, dog, and I go to bed. The night waking then starts with no clear pattern. Sometimes it's every 2.5 hours. Sometimes it's 3, then 2, then 1. IOn most days (when there's not teething or developmental milestones bugging her) she naps well, total 3-3.5 hours of naps in the day.

    So my questions.
    1) I'm hoping to have at least 4 hour stretches of sleep because I know she can go without 4-5 hours of eating. I would love for her to sleep from her first waking and then wake up anytime between 3-5 for her second wakening and sleep till (sigh) 6. I am just starting to do Pantley method and was wondering if anybody has had success with this. I am also exploring other gentle weaning methods; a version of Jay Gordon's (too young?) perhaps, but I'd like to be convinced that the Pantley can work even if it'll take me weeks.

    2) She's able to sleep 5 hours straight when we are not in the room but she wakes up every 2 hours when we finally sleep with her. Does this have to do with hunger, a lighter sleep cycle after the first sleep cycle, or me being close to her? Should I move her cot a bit further from us?

    Thanks for everyone's time and advice!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Help with sleep for an almost 7 month old

    I have no suggestions that might answer your questions above and I hope someone else with experience will chime in, but if you do really want to continue co-sleeping perhaps you could remove a side from your crib and set it up as a sidecar to your bed? That is how we have our crib set up. I wonder if this would meet your LO's need for her own sleeping space?

    J

  3. #3
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    Mar 2014
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    Default Re: Help with sleep for an almost 7 month old

    add some white noise? Maybe it would mask your sounds enough to let her sleep longer when you are in the room.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Help with sleep for an almost 7 month old

    Our baby slept in a crib adjacent to my bed - all I had to do was just sit up in my bed and reach in to pick him up. It was convenient and good for both of us. Then it got too much - he was waking up too often (even while we were asleep, so it's not like we were making noise in the room). I was like you describe, tired, and no energy to do this anymore. It's not like he was hungry. He'd just take a few sucks and then fall back to sleep. So I moved his crib out of our room and suddenly he learned to take a longer stretch in the beginning. (mind you, he was doing this as a baby from 6-12 weeks just fine! Seven hours straight, even!), but still up every 1.5-3 hours after that. And to walk out of my bedroom to go bring him back to nurse REALLY woke me up and I was even more sleep deprived. So I began to train him. I set time limits of four hours. If he wakes up and it's not yet 4 hours since his last meal, we put him back to sleep. Repeat throughout the night. It works, now he doesn't wake up that often anymore. And when he does, he REALLY eats. And that lets him sleep a longer chunk for the next shift.

    I read Elizabeth Pantley's book but I didn't find it too inspiring. I cannot keep track of all his sleeping hours by day because I work full time and someone else watches him. Also I needed something that works FAST. I tried the controlled crying method - letting him cry for 5 minutes at a time, with periods of me comforting him in between. He has an easy-ish temperament so he wouldn't even cry past 5 minutes. Five minutes I could handle. More than that I probably couldn't. So initially when I put him to bed awake he'd cry for a few minutes. I'd go back in and pat him, stroke his cheeks, and then leave. Within a minute he'd be asleep. After 2 days he didn't cry at all anymore. Now he loves going to bed and we enjoy the special routine. But in the middle of the night when he wakes up and ate recently, I'd let him cry for up to 5 minutes again and he always goes back to sleep on his own (doesn't even reach 5 minutes so I don't even have to go to him). Then he'd sleep 4 hour chunks without an issue.

    I want to feed him at night, but not more than 2 times from the midnight-ish feed until 8am. I like the idea of nursing at night to keep up my supply, but not when it involves me being an overtired miserable mom Now my baby wakes up in the morning in a happy mode, even though he's not eaten in 4 hours :-/!

    Mom to Samuel J.
    born 7lb. 10 oz. and 22" tall
    on Saturday, October 19, 2013.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Help with sleep for an almost 7 month old

    @ruchiccio
    We seem to have a similar story! I wouldn't mind feeding once or twice but not every 1 or 2 hours! I wonder if the "controlled crying" method would work even if we sleep beside her. It's just hard to listen to a crying baby at night. Thanks for your input.

    When you say "If he wakes up and it's not yet 4 hours since his last meal, we put him back to sleep." are you saying you let him cry 5 minutes, then comfort him in between instead of nursing?
    Last edited by @llli*missmimichi; June 11th, 2014 at 05:08 PM. Reason: address

  6. #6

    Default Re: Help with sleep for an almost 7 month old

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*tclynx View Post
    add some white noise? Maybe it would mask your sounds enough to let her sleep longer when you are in the room.
    Ah we already do... plus we sometimes even have the A/C on too.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Help with sleep for an almost 7 month old

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*jewelsf View Post
    I have no suggestions that might answer your questions above and I hope someone else with experience will chime in, but if you do really want to continue co-sleeping perhaps you could remove a side from your crib and set it up as a sidecar to your bed? That is how we have our crib set up. I wonder if this would meet your LO's need for her own sleeping space?

    J
    What do you do when your baby is mobile? she rolls around a lot.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Help with sleep for an almost 7 month old

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*missmimichi View Post
    @ruchiccio
    We seem to have a similar story! I wouldn't mind feeding once or twice but not every 1 or 2 hours! I wonder if the "controlled crying" method would work even if we sleep beside her. It's just hard to listen to a crying baby at night. Thanks for your input.

    When you say "If he wakes up and it's not yet 4 hours since his last meal, we put him back to sleep." are you saying you let him cry 5 minutes, then comfort him in between instead of nursing?
    Yes. Like I said, usually he won't even cry a full five minutes so I don't even have to go into him. If he's truly hungry, he'll cry for a lot longer than that. If he's quiet after 4-5 minutes, you know he just needs to fall back asleep and isn't hungry. If he's still crying after 10 minutes he might be hungry (MIGHT), or something else might be bothering him. If you can rule those out, then I don't see why you would have to nurse (for example if he ate an hour ago).

    It can work even if your baby sleeps near you but then you need a good pair of noise-cancelling earplugs! We tried it but it's just too hard to hear a baby cry right near you. Plus, as my pedi explained, he can sense I'm right there by smell and sight and sound, and if you're there, why aren't you responding to him? So instead of confusing him like that, we moved him out to adjacent room where I can easily hear him cry, but I can still close my door to muffle it. Sounds cruel maybe, but it really isn't. My baby wakes up SO much happier and eats so much better at night that it was all worth it.

    The results aren't permenant though. When my baby got a nasty virus for 10 days, I had to feed him at night (because he refused to nurse all day!) so that cancelled the training. We're in the process of retraining him now!

    Last night for example, it went like this: Feed at 9:30 (bedtime). He woke up at 11:15. He wasn't hungry. He whimpered (not even real crying) for four minutes. Went back to sleep. Same thing at 12:30. Stopped whimpering/light crying after 5 minutes. Then I went to sleep at 1:15ish so I dreamfed him because I knew he'd wake up right around then and didn't want him to wake me up a few minutes after I fall asleep! Then he woke up 4:45ish so I fed him. Then he woke up for the morning at 7ish cuz something disturbed him (usually wakes up 8ish).

    You don't have to be all strict and not feed because it's not exactly 4 hours yet. If it's right around then, then I'll also feed him. Just not like 2 hours later! He can't possibly be hungry after a huge feed. He can go longer than that during the day with tons of physical activity.

    All this, btw, doesn't apply when the baby is having a growth spurt (which you'd see during the day too!), or is sick.

    Mom to Samuel J.
    born 7lb. 10 oz. and 22" tall
    on Saturday, October 19, 2013.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Help with sleep for an almost 7 month old

    I don't know if my experience will help at all; I did not sleep train, I bedshare, I work outside of the home, and my daughter nursed far, far, far more frequently than yours did when she was at a similar age (12-15 times a night, easily). I will share these tips just in case you find that whatever training you try still fails to result in the sleep stretches of 4 hours that you desire--not all babies are particularly amenable to sleep training.

    In my experience, the best thing I did to improve my sleep? Was to focus optimizing my own sleep, and not my baby's. Infant night waking is physiologically normal, so changing my own response to it helped me more than anything else. Things that helped me get tons of sleep:
    --not looking at clocks or timing night wakings. All this did was stress me out and prevent me from falling back to sleep quickly.
    --keeping baby close by. If I had to stand or sit up? Forget it, that woke me completely up.
    --going to bed early with the baby. If I happened to have a good night and get plenty of sleep, then I just woke up for the day earlier. Going to bed early at least ensured I was maximizing my sleep opportunities!
    --putting a positive spin on night wakings. If I looked at it as extra opportunities to snuggle with my baby, the positive associations helped me fall back asleep faster than if I put a negative association on it. Stressful thoughts just kept me awake.

    Again, this is just my experience. And my experience is with a baby who absolutely could not under any circumstances go four hours without nursing. Daytime or nighttime.
    Apologies for the short responses! I'm usually responding one-handed on my smartphone!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Help with sleep for an almost 7 month old

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*sonogirl View Post
    In my experience, the best thing I did to improve my sleep? Was to focus optimizing my own sleep, and not my baby's. Infant night waking is physiologically normal, so changing my own response to it helped me more than anything else. Things that helped me get tons of sleep:
    --not looking at clocks or timing night wakings. All this did was stress me out and prevent me from falling back to sleep quickly.
    --keeping baby close by. If I had to stand or sit up? Forget it, that woke me completely up.
    --going to bed early with the baby. If I happened to have a good night and get plenty of sleep, then I just woke up for the day earlier. Going to bed early at least ensured I was maximizing my sleep opportunities!
    --putting a positive spin on night wakings. If I looked at it as extra opportunities to snuggle with my baby, the positive associations helped me fall back asleep faster than if I put a negative association on it. Stressful thoughts just kept me awake.
    Wow. I would have liked to nurse lying down but that just doesn't work for us - my baby doesn't have the best latch in that position so I have to nurse sitting up in bed. This way also I don't fall asleep on him. Sharing a bed with my baby makes neither of us get quality sleep so there's no point in doing that. I do bring him into my bed in the morning after the last feed usually so we spend some time together. Also on weekends we laze around in my bed in the morning.

    I would never manage waking up 12-15 times to feed my baby! In fact, when I go to sleep really late (1am, say) and wake up for the morning at 7am, but with one feed in the night, I wake up MORE refreshed then if I'd gone to bed 4 hours earlier but woke up 3 times that night.

    Mom to Samuel J.
    born 7lb. 10 oz. and 22" tall
    on Saturday, October 19, 2013.

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