J.V. asks from Shelburne, VT on September 22, 2008
5 Month Old Sleep Suggestions
Hi - My 5 1/2 month old baby girl is not so much with the sleeping on her own at night. For the first couple/few months she would go down between 8-9 and sleep until anywhere from 1-2. Then she'd wake up, nurse... and maybe nurse one or 2 more times. This was all fine with me. For the last month at least she is down closer to 7:30-8, and will maybe sleep til 10, if I'm lucky. I feed her and she's up again an hour later. Then she pretty much eats off & on the rest of the night. Right now, I'm just looking to extend that first stretch of sleep, from the time I put her down til she first gets up. I don't know what else to try! She just started cereal at night and that hasn't impacted the sleep thing. She is teething, has been for a bit now, and also struggles with gas from time to time, but those aren't new issues. Even when she's had tylenol before bed she's waking... and it's not like she's hurting when she wakes up. Like I said she eats & is back to sleep. Please - I am open to hearing all your suggestions! Thanks :)
H.D. answers from Boston on September 22, 2008
I agree with the other responses.. maybe adjusting nap times during the day or giving more cereal at night if your only giving a little. Also, the trying the pacifier 1st instead of nursing her. She may be going through a growth spurt where her body needs more food as well through the night. Have you tried pushing her bed time back a little later... Maybe she'll sleep a little longer before her next wake. When she wakes up at night, does she just fuss or is she really crying? I know sometimes I'll hear my son wake up in the monitor but he'll just be moving about & kinda of giving out whines but I won't get up unless he is really crying. I know it's hard & I don't really think that crying it ok is the best thing.. but maybe for 5-8 mins & see if she's getting more tired or is she's getting more angry? She may just want you as soon as she wakes up but isn't really hungry. Also, do you put her into her crib at night when she's still awake or does she fall asleep rocking/nursing? My pedi suggested at this age to put the babies in bed while they're just begining to fall asleep so they know where they are when they wake up in the middle of the night & don't expect to wake up on you where she fell asleep. I know that's hard sometimes because my son almost always falls asleep with his last bottle but he does fine (I'm very lucky!!)
anyways- hope your munchin starts sleeping better for you!
S.S. answers from New London on September 22, 2008
Have you tried changing her napping schedule during the day? I'm just wondering if maybe when she wakes up she's not hungry, just not tired. If now she's doing 3 naps (I'm just guessing from what I remember about that age) then maybe she might be ready to go to 2 naps. There were times when my daughter would wake up in the middle of the night and instead of automatically feeding her, I would just kind of make her laugh a little and then put her back in her crib and she'd fall right back asleep. I realize that might not work with every baby, but somehow it worked for us and she was almost always sleeping through the night by about 3 1/2 months and from that point on, never needed to eat during the night again (again, could just be luck on our part).
You mentioned that you started doing cereal at night. I don't know how much you're giving her, but if it's just a little, you could try giving her more or adding some other foods during the day to start to get her on a 3 "meal" a day schedule along with nursing. That can definitely help with sleeping.
From my experiences, Tylenol doesn't help with sleep at all. I used to give it to my daughter when she was teething or when I thought she was teething but I'm pretty sure she was only soothed because of the taste because right after I gave it to her, she would fall back asleep and it can't possibly take away pain that fast. I would try Orajel if you think she's uncomfortable.
I hope I've given you something that might help. I wish you luck and restful nights!
L.Z. answers from Boston on September 22, 2008
Hi J. - I don't have a magic cure for you, but I have been where you are! My youngest is 15 months old now, and she was a colicky baby until 4 months and a restless sleeper for basically her whole first year. She would go down around 7:30 and we could set our watch by her waking up by 9:30, needing to be held and comforted. She also ate a full bottle during the night until she was about 11 months old, believe it or not! Your baby must still need the milk during the night, but perhaps not as often as she is eating. You might try not nursing when she wakes up at 10. Try a pacifier (I'm sure you have already), a little water in a bottle, or just pick her up and cuddle a little and hope she gets drowsy again. These are all things we did with our youngest until she finally broke that feeding habit, then we just fed her in the 2 - 3 a.m. range. It was still awful getting up in the middle of the night, and I work full-time too, so I know what you are going through!! But, it was easier to deal with one time of her getting up rather than a whole bunch. As she got bigger and more advanced with the solids, that helped her sleep better too. She is still the kind of baby who needs to be picked up and held for a few minutes many nightsif she wakes up and can't get back to sleep. She just wants to know we are nearby! Your baby might be like this too. Good luck and remember to try as many things as you can until you find what works for you all! It will get better!
M.D. answers from Providence on September 23, 2008
growth spurt.. it will pass within a few weeks hang in there! if it desn't call your pediatrician.
C.F. answers from Providence on September 23, 2008
I know you said you just started cereal recently, so I'm not sure how fast you want to introduce other foods, but my son (now 7 mths) had the same problem. He used to sleep almost all nite waking only once or twice to nurse, then around 5 months started waking 3-5 times a nite. It wasn't until we started him on solids at dinner time that he slept longer at nite. Now at 7 mths, we give him cereal around 11am, then solids 1-2 times between 2pm and 6pm and he usually only wakes once to nurse at nite.
So I would suggest maybe giving your baby cereal twice a day, or trying solids in the next week or two. Not sure if it'll help...but it worked on my son.
M.C. answers from Providence on September 23, 2008
My 6 month old does the exact same thing! He went from sleeping 7 hours to maybe 4 if I'm lucky, then he's up every hour and a half for the rest of the night. He nurses then goes right back to sleep, he started doing this about a month ago. He used to go to bed around 8:30 and now I'm struggling to keep him up past 7:30. He also eats cereal throughout the day but that hasn't changed his sleeping habits. I'm hoping this is just a growth spurt. I wish you luck with getting some well deserved sleep.
K.P. answers from New London on September 23, 2008
my son did that until he was 9 months old - I was going crazy - the peditrician told me give him water when he wakes - then he will think why am I getting up for this ?? i thought she was crazy - but within a week it worked and he finally slept through the night.
he also started teething at 3 months and by 12 months had 12 teeth in his mouth! the teething definately affected his nursing, and was quite painful, so good old ora-gel or let him gnaw on a frozen facecloth ... good luck and SWEET DREAMS
R.F. answers from Boston on September 23, 2008
If the cereal isn't helping the sleep issue could it be giving her a belly ache and causing her to wake up? If she has problems with gas it might be too much for her right now. What kind of cereal are you feeding her? At about 6 months babies go through another growth spurt and need to nurse more often to accomodate that. The teething is also going to impact her sleep schedule. She might also not really be "eating" but just needing the comfort that nursing brings her. Try Camilla Teething Tablets by Hylands. They are a homeopathic remedy for teething that works really well. She might get some relief and sleep longer if teething is causing the non sleep issue.