22 answers

5-Month Old Won't Sleep More than 2 Hours in a Row

Hello Mamas - I desperately need your help. About a month ago, we transitioned my daughter from the bassinet to the crib. She had been waking up once or twice a night while sleeping in the bassinet. Ever since she has been in the crib, she has woken up every 1.5 to 2 hours, like clockwork. I literally have not slept more than 2 hours in a row since then, and am at my wits end. I nurse her full-time, and it is the easiest way to get her to go back to sleep, so that is what we've been doing. Occasionally if she wakes up sooner than 2 hours, my husband will go in to try to sooth her and she screams immediately because she knows its not me. On the rare occassion that he is able to get her to go down again, she wakes up within 20 or 30 minutes. meanwhile, after all of the screaming, I am wide awake, as is our 3 year old. She is still too young to do the cry-it-out method. We think the problem is that she does not feel cozy in the crib because its so big and she is still so little. Any tips on how to get her to feel cozy while still being safe (i.e. without using a blanket)? I will try just about anything at this point! Thanks!!

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Guess what? 5 months is old enough to do the cry-it-out method. If you want more sleep, you have to do it.

She knows that if she cries she will get mom's milk and so that is a great incentive not to fall back to sleep by herself. You could try an amby bed - www.amby.com. they are jpma certified for safety and are very cozy and rock but I am guessing that the only thing that will really work at her age is to let her cry a little bit. My doc told me that after 4 months a child should be able to sleep through the night and to let baby cry and she will learn to fall asleep - the first few nights at this are tough but after that it is better for everyone. good luck.

More Answers

Hi C..
We had the same problem when my son was 4 months old. We chose to use the weisbluth method and he now sleeps from 7:30-2:30, nurses and is back down until 6:30. If you don't want to do this, maybe try a sleep positioner in her crib so she feels more closed in. I use to lay my son vertically in the crib so it felt more confined to him. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter is 9 weeks old and we moved her to her crib at 6 weeks. I breastfeed her during the day and have been pumping once or twice a day so that my husband can feed her a bottle at her last night feeding (10pm-ish). After her feeding we check her diaper, swaddle her up, and lay her down in a sleep positioner (we've used it since she came home from the hospital while she was in her bassinet and now in the crib). She only wakes up once a night normally sometime between 2:30am and 3:30am. We've been trying to follow the "Babywise" method.

Here is a link to the book on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Baby-Wise-Nighttime-Becomi...

I'm going to talk to her doctor at her 2mo appointment to discuss stopping her middle of the night feeding so that we can work on getting her to sleep completely through the night (10pm-7am). But this method has been working pretty well for my husband and I.

Hi C.,
I am in a similiar situation with my 4 month old son. I have a 2 year old daughter. I nursed her and am nursing my son. I followed Dr. Weissbluth re sleep scheduling but did not sleep train my daughter until she was 9 months old. she was up at least twice a night. I was so sleep deprived. I finally decided to do the "cry it out." It works. Within two days she was sleeping through the night. It is a miracle and wished I did it sooner. M

Our children are similiar in ages, 4 and 5 months. According to Dr. Weissbluth, they should not be getting up more than 2 times per night to nurse. I am going to sleep train Aaron tonight, as he has been up every 1-3 hours for the past 4 nights. He knows that when he whimpers, I go in there and he gets picked up and nursed back to sleep. Life could not be better. I would recommend a halo sleep sack to make your daughter feel secure. They are thin. In the cooler months I use a Grobag, expensive but worth it. Let's hold each other accountable. It is hard to sleep train, but it only takes 2-3 nights. You have a much happier and rested child. D.

C.,

I've heard a lot of praise for Weisbluth's book (he talks about many methods, not just cry it out) and for Elizabeth Pantly's The No Cry Sleep Solution. But if you're anything like I was, the last thing you want to do is read a book.

Remember, where ever baby sleeps (safely) is the right place for baby to sleep! If it's safe, try the bassinet again, the car seat, a positioner (to keep baby cozy). If you're ok with cosleeping, you can nurse you daughter in bed, lying down. I was able to fall back to sleep that way. We discovered that our son slept great in our bed, and that was the best thing for all of us. We tried it with our younger son. Turns out he likes to sleep alone. Every kid is different.

Good luck. I feel your pain.

Hi C.: I had this same problem with both of my girls. They loved their bassinet and slept great in it. When I did the transition, it was really hard on me as you well know. Here's what I ended up doing. There are blocks that you can buy (perfectly safe for cribs) that keep them in a general area in the crib and nestled. You can find them at Babies R Us; they come in different sizes and i placed two of them around them as well as making sure they were snuggled in whatever onsy was appropriate for the weather. The first night was a little rough, but they soon grew to feel safe. This way, they can't roll and can feel boundaries and the space isn't so vast for them. I usually tried to stay in one small section of the crib, like using the shorter sides as a part of the barricade as well. For some reason, the longer sides are disconcerting to them. They are small enough that you can lie them the direction of the smaller sides with the blocks (they are kind of triangular). I hope that you meet with some success. God Bless!!

She knows that if she cries she will get mom's milk and so that is a great incentive not to fall back to sleep by herself. You could try an amby bed - www.amby.com. they are jpma certified for safety and are very cozy and rock but I am guessing that the only thing that will really work at her age is to let her cry a little bit. My doc told me that after 4 months a child should be able to sleep through the night and to let baby cry and she will learn to fall asleep - the first few nights at this are tough but after that it is better for everyone. good luck.

I cannot believe the amount of people who would recommend cry-it-out for this age of a child. Yes. it works. no doubt. But you are basically giving your child the message that it doesn't matter how much you cry, I'm not coming, so what's the point in crying. It's not that it works in teaching them to sleep. It simply works because they realize crying is pointless when they need you.

The two books I recommend is not necessarily the easy road, but it is a more gentle loving approach to helping your child learn to sleep independantly.
Tracy Hogg - The Baby Whisperer and you probably need the Baby WHisperer solves all your problems
Good Night Sleep Tight by Kim West

They both give approaches to teaching your child how to sleep without listening to the agony of your child cry.

As an aside, there is a reason it is agonizing to listen to a baby cry. A baby's cry is designed by nature to get it's mothers attention for help. Not for mother to ignore it.

I too have a 5 month old daugther. She was waking up too and I figured out I think she was cold. I put a sleep sack on her and when she sleeps on her side she seems to do better. Also, instead of nursing her, try giving her a pacifier if she takes it. Our daughter still wakes up a couple times, but as long as we give her the pacifier, she goes right back to bed.Most babies wake up several times per night and if they don't know how to sooth themselves they will cry. It sounds like she only knows how to sooth herself with nursing, so try keeping her in the crib when she cries and give her the pacifier and reassure her that you are there vs. taking her out and nursing her. You may have a few rough nights but better than months of waking up to nurse! Good luck! Also, could she be teething?

I'd do a few play sessions every day in the crib to get her more use to it. That might help her feel more comfortable, and then be more able to go back to sleep.

You could try the sit and comfort method to see if you can get her off the boob for some of the wakings (i know the boob is so easy, but you don't want to be doing the 2 hour thing for the next 6 months!)...so, it goes something like this: you go to her, sit by the crib and touch her, soothing her without picking her up. Every night, you try to move further and further away from her, until you don't have to sit there anymore. I tried this approach with my daughter. It didn't really work, but I know it works for some people.

Sending my husband in didn't work for us either. I think the most important thing is to stop nursing her so much, as then she pees, wakes up for a new diaper, etc. So pick two times to nurse, let her fuss during the other wakings with you present, and after a few nights or so, she should hopefully settle.

Good luck! It will get better!

Let her cry it out. She is at the age where she should and could sleep through the night. If you keep getting up and comforting her she will be up during the night for years. It won't her to cry and sooth herself back to sleep. It will take a few days but it will be worth it.

C.,

I tolerated the same behavior from my daughter for the first 9 months of her life! I was so tired I couldn't even remember my own mother's phone number any more. As the months went on, the intervals my daughter slept got shorter and shorter -- she slept only about 45 minutes at a time by herself, by the time I finally did something. I know you may not want to hear this, but we did use Weisbluth's method, and it did work. Believe me, over the course of those nine months, we tried everything, and nothing else worked. I know you think that your daughter is too young to "cry it out," but the fact is, she is too old to be sleeping like a newborn -- you BOTH need your sleep.

If you are afraid that Weisbluth is too tough, then try Ferber. It takes more discipline on your part (not to lapse into old habits), but it is definitely a kinder, gentler approach. When I had my second child, we tried Ferber at around 3 months, and my son never had a chance to develop bad sleeping habits in the first place. I nursed both of my children exclusively for their first 4-5 months of life, and before I started sleep training them, I got my doctor's o.k. that they could make it through the night without a feeding (which was always a worry of mine with the whole cry-it-out method).

i would let her cry it out a bit. with you going in for reassurance - the graduated approach. i don't think she is too young. or wait until she is 6 mos. i just started letting my 8 mos. old cry it out at night (she had regressed and was getting up every 1 - 2 hours recently). she now sleeps through the nights. on evening she falls asleep nursing, she still gets up every few hours. try it 3 nights. if it is too hard - try again when she is a bit older.

C.,

I just wanted to sympathize with you I know how hard this issue is I've been dealing with a horrible sleeper for a long time and it started when she was born. I'm not saying that your daughter will suffer from this as long, I just know how exhausting it is.

Anyway, my suggestion is- If you think she is not feeling cozy enough try putting her in her car seat and putting the seat in the crib. When my kids were sick the doctor told me to do that and it helped, so why not try it for the "cozy" issue? See if it works and good luck!!!!!

A.

We transitioned my child at 5 months from the bassinet in our room to the crib in hers. She also resisted at first, but we did let her cry-it-out. It only took a week, and she is now a dream-sleeper (she's now 18 months.)

I have a friend who nursed her kid every time he woke up and he is just now sleeping through the night at 3 years old. Their life is a nightmare.

I say, nip it in the bud. Did you read somewhere that she's too young to cry-it-out?

Also--we did use a sleep sack for her until she was about a year. You just zip them up in a blanket, and there's no danger of suffocation. She loved it. Might help, but in the end, I do think you can't set her up to wake-up that often, and going to her and nursing her will only reinforce the pattern. Remember, that sleeping through the night is more important to her health and well-being than the discomfort of a few crying nights.

I highly recommend this resource....

http://www.askdrsears.com/html/7/T070100.asp

As the mother of a former high-need child, I also highly recommend a lot of holding and rocking and nursing. Your baby had non-stop 24/7 physical contact with you for the only life that she had known until birth (in the uterus). For her, to try to sleep on a hard, non-flesh, surface that doesn't move or make sounds is a very strange experience indeed, especially as early as 5 months of age. Ashley Montagu, an anthropologist, in his book "Touching" says that human babies aren't actually done with their gestation until 9 mo. after their birth. So he says that ideally they should be held continually for the first 9 months of their post-birth life.

http://www.amazon.com/Touching-Human-Significance-Ashley-...

I also highly recommend using a lambskin specifically designed for baby-use (they are real lambskin but can be laundered as needed).

http://www.sheepskintown.com/baby-sheepskin-short-wool-p-...

http://www.kiwi-sheepskins.com/detail.asp?product_id=BA001

http://www.sheepskinfurs.com/27-baby-lambskins.html

You might also find some help by taking a look at this book, which is probably in your local public library (or at least available through inter-library loan)...

http://www.amazon.com/Family-Bed-Concept-Child-Rearing/dp...

It seems to me that if she's waking up more now than before you made the change to a crib in a different room from you, then perhaps that is a clue that this is not working for what she needs at this stage of her life, and perhaps a switch to something similar to what she had before that change would work better for both her and you. Cooperation with what a baby needs (rather than expending a lot of energy in fighting those needs) often makes everybody happier and healthier.

I do not recommend letting her cry it out. I believe that that kind of treatment causes a deep grief in babies, which can leave internal emotional scars for the rest of their lives (unless they get treatment for it).

I also disagree with the belief that if you don't let her cry it out, then for many years you will have a child who will not transition to a more grown up style of sleeping. The people who practice attachment parenting, in which the parents respect the needs and natural growth patterns of their children, have found that the opposite is true. Those children who frequently have their requests for holding and nursing and sleep needs denied are the ones who are most commonly the fearful and tense and clingy ones. Those children who are constantly respected and made to feel heard, and who get the amount of holding and nursing and physical contact that they ask for, are the ones who are peaceful and self-confident and more likely to move on to separations from their mothers at a normal pace.

I often think that people who suggest the cry-it-out method might feel differently about the issue if they would think about how they themselves would feel if they were asking and asking and asking for love and holding and attention and comfort and reassurance and a listening ear, and getting ignored by their loved ones (husbands, family, friends, pastors, or whoever their support network is), and then sobbing and sobbing and sobbing for that, and still getting ignored by their loved ones.

I would also like to add that if you start giving her a pacifier, you may find that your milk supply may start decreasing.

Best wishes,
J.

PS I would like to add the following resources...

"Distressed Babies Need to be Held"
http://www.mothering.com/crying-comfort-distressed-babies...

"Babywise Advice Linked to Dehydration, Failure to Thrive"
http://www.ezzo.info/Aney/aneyaap.htm

When a baby starts waking up more times in a night than s/he had been for awhile, it simply means that s/he is going through some kind of change or development stage in which s/he NEEDS more holding or nursing or something, NOT that they are somehow regressing in a negative sense. When we ignore those needs, we are not being sensitive to or caring for our babies' legitimate growth processes and changing needs. The baby has no way of reading the mind and knowing of the good intentions of her/his mother. The baby can only feel ignored and unheard and abandoned and alone and very, very, very profoundly sad and grief-stricken.

What about a co-sleeper that you would attach to your bed?

Buy a sound machine (doesn't have to be expensive). I've been using one from the beginning, and I think it helps (and turn it UP). Absolute silence for babies is unnatural, considering where they just came from. White noise (or beach waves or womb sounds) are a great distraction and very soothing. I use one myself. I also have a night light in my daughters room. Perhaps your little one is going through a growing spurt too, making her hungrier more often. Good luck to you.

Guess what? 5 months is old enough to do the cry-it-out method. If you want more sleep, you have to do it.

We ran into a similar situation with my son - it wasn't until I started writing down every feeding that I realized that he was eating what he should - but was doing it over 12-14 feedings a day!! (Totally my fault obviously as we got into the habit of putting a bottle/boob in his mouth every time he cried rather than look at the clock b/c we also had a 2 1/2 year old at the time and were very busy with him.)

You mention that you are feeding her every 2 hours - which is a bit much for her age. Check in with your doctor and see how much/how often she should be eating.

Once we realized what was happening, we immediately worked at getting him on a 4-hour schedule. Within 2 days, he was only getting up 2 times a night.

He's now 1 (yesterday was his birthday!!) and still getting up 1-2 times a night. We've made the decision to let him cry it out and not offer food since he doesn't need it at this age.

If he's been crying, I will go in with a cup of water to soothe his throat. But once he's calm, it's a kiss, an "I love you, goodnight," and back in the crib. (This is our 3 am routine as of this week.) We've noticed that the first two nights were 90 minutes of going in every 10 min. The next night was 60 min and last night was about 40-45 so it's getting better. The key is that we no longer linger in there to pat his back or rock him. We found we were trading one sleep crutch for another and it was making it difficult on everyone. Here's hoping only a few more nights before this is done.

A year later and I'm fricking ready to sleep through through the night again. Good luck!

Would you consider co-sleeping? My son has never been a good sleeper, and co-sleeping has been so helpful. Especially since your baby is nursing, you would find it really easy to roll over and let her nurse back to sleep without you really waking up yourself. You could even pull the crib up to your bed (take one side off) and use it as a sidecar so your baby will also get used to her crib at the same time. If you want more information on the safety of co-sleeping, Dr. James McKenna has a book called "Sleeping With Your Baby" that goes over the basics really well. Co-sleeping with my son is some of my favorite time with him.

Hi there,
first of all, good luck reading/trying all these responses!
Remember that the "crying it out" method is really a way to TEACH your baby how to sleep by herself, not some kind of negligence on your part, or that you are ignoring her needs. In fact, she needs to sleep, so by teaching her to do that, you are better attending to her needs than by letting her wake up so often. (not to mention your own needs).
I don't know how you feel about this since she is still pretty young, but would you consider giving her a small "lovey"? Something that you would be comfortable leaving in her crib with her, that she could grab and be cozy with. If not now, maybe in a few months when she is better with her hands, etc. We gave my daughter a soft blanket starting around six and a half months and she got attached to it immediately, and it always helps her calm down. This may not help right now but perhaps in the future.

Good luck!

I have a 4 month old and has been in her crib since 10-weeks. I swaddled her for the 1st several weeks with the swaddle-me blankets until she was pretty much able to sleep a whole night then changed to a sleep sack. I also have several weights of clothing depending on the weather (I never want her to get too hot, with the SIDS risk and all) I too am nursing, so for the 1st few weeks it was about every 3 hours or so, then 5 and now we sleep 8-10 usually feeding at the 8 hour mark and going back to sleep for a couple more hours. I don't have a set sleep time for her, I wait until she shows me the signals (usually around 7:30-8 but can be as late as 9) we turn out the room light and turn on our night light, change the diaper, put on the sleepsack or swaddle and nurse until she falls off the breast, I rock another 2-3 minutes and then put her down. She sometimes wakes a little but goes back down quickly. The whole routine takes 10-15 minutes and works everytime with very few exceptions, usually involving a change in routine like being out late. We even recently took an overnight trip and I was concerned she wouldn't sleep in the pack n play but I switched back to the swaddle for the 2 nights and she slept with no problems! So happy! anyway, I ramble...big advise ROUTINE and swaddle worked for me, it took away her "startle" reflex and she stayed asleep. Not to mention, the more relaxed I've been, the easier she falls asleep. Get some time for you too! best of luck!
E.

PS: I thought of a couple more things since I just put my little one to bed....I do shut off even the night light when I leave the room so she's pretty much in complete darkness and we also have a fan for white noise so she doen't hear the goings on in the house and wake up so much.

good luck again!
E.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.