October 09, 2010,
S.Q. asks from Springfield, OR on October 08, 2010
6 Month Old Waking up a Lot at Night Still
My son has never been a good sleeping, still waking up every 1-2 hours, here and there a rare 4 hour stretch. He'll often wake up with in 40 minutes of going to bed. I've been trying to nurse him less at night, at least 4 hours between nursing and have been trying the CIO method (after nothing else would work) for about two weeks now and nothing is any better. He still wakes up every two hours and cries. He did have reflex when he was younger but that is under control. Sometimes he'll barely nurse a few seconds and then be out. He puts himself to sleep fine at naps and bed time but still wakes up all night long. I'll let him cry and just keep going back every 5, 10,20 and yet it does it every night all night still. I try to nurse him a lot during the day to "tank" him up as all the websites suggest and have done all the suggestions I could find in the no-cry books/websites. Should I work on getting rid of all the night nursing and then try the CIO method? I here or there can get him down to 1 nursing at night, he basically wakes up, cries and then falls asleep, so by the time he wakes up again it has been 5-6 hours so I'll nurse him, he'll wake up 2 hours later and I'll let him cio and then the next time he wakes up 2-3 hours later he is morning and I'll nurse him. This is what the doctor suggested however we are not getting any where with this. I am fine with nursing my son at night when he needs it however it is getting very hard when I wake up every 2 hours to just nurse for a minute or two. We do not co-sleep. Some of his nurses are just a few minute comfort nurses however usually once nursing he does drink quite a bit. Today he seemed like he is teething, however for the past two weeks he seemed fine and nothing got any better. We have been trying to sleep train him ( with no-cry and cry it out methods) since 4-months and nothing is any better. He'll wake up 40 minutes after he went to sleep and I know he is not hungry. He will not calm down with me just patting his back in his crib so it is hard to come in and then leave when he is calm. I've tried happy crib time, he has a lovie, white noise, I try to encourage him to eat more during the day. Last night and tonight he was a bit hard to nurse, kept pulling off and fussing then going back to nurse. He does not have thrush and was otherwise happy today. We also have a bedtime routine.
J.O. answers from Detroit on October 08, 2010
My woke every hour or two to nurse until about 12 months, so I think you are doing fine!
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K.O. answers from Portland on October 08, 2010
Babies that age don't need to eat at night. The nursing is for comfort. If you are really burned out you need to cut him off. Choose a method and be consistent. That is really the key... consistency.
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L.R. answers from Seattle on October 09, 2010
i think it's completely normal. my daughter did the same thing (she's now 3 1/2) and my son is now 6 mos. old and he is doing the same thing. with my daughter night time waking did not stop until she was 2 years old and i quit nursing all together. i don't believe in sleep training. none of it worked for my daughter. for me, it's all about doing what works the best for the whole family. good luck!
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D.C. answers from Anchorage on October 08, 2010
Training a child is not easy, it sounds like he is training you. You need to be FIRM and CONSISTANT. This is not going to happen over night but will call for a few long days and nights until he gets the idea that it is sleep time. What worked for me is not to feed so close to bed time, wait it out and get one GOOD! feeding in before bed, put him to bed and leave him there. No more back and forth evertime he cries, he is not the parent or the one in control you are. Like i said before its not going to be easy, but it is benifiting him more than it is so called " hurting" him to let him cry and soon get the idea that it is no other time but bed time. Make a routine cut him off of feeding @ a decent time before bed so he is well good and hungry and will be satisfied and tired when it is time for bed.Hope this helps, Do you swaddle him? After feeding him wrapp him up real nice and tight and see if that helps, always did the trick for me.
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D.A. answers from Portland on October 09, 2010
Lots of development and teething happen at this age. If he is working on movement (crawling or some form of this) during the day, then he might be doing it in his sleep and waking himself up. Just when I thought my kids were getting to the sleep through the night phase, some development was occuring during the day that made them wake more during the night. They tend to "practice" in their sleep. Or, teething which can take forever, like with my son. His teeth came up, went down, came up, went down, many times before they finally broke the surface. When he was teething, he wanted to nurse for comfort all the time and he would wake frequently during the night. Teething gels helped some, as did teething tablets, but he still woke more.
You'll miss the days when you check on him. My neighbor said that she got in the habit of drinking a glass of water at night before bed, so she would get up during the night and have an excuse to check on her kids. Even when they were much older in high school.
Try to rest when you can and read up on "Nighttime Parenting" by Doctor Sears. It helped me immensely.
K.G. answers from Fort Wayne on October 08, 2010
I was there let me tell you. We co slept till 2 months old then stopped after she was able to wiggle her way out of her sleep nook. What I did was at 6 months brought her to bed with me laid down and nursed when she was good and out I picked her back up and back to bed she went. this is just a phase it will get better. by about 8 months he should be able to go for longer then one feeding and back to bed. he may be going through a growth spurt. My dd is 15 months old now and wakes every morning between 330 and 530 for one hour. I will get her a sippy of milk she downs it and falls back to sleep in my arms. This will last for about two weeks then she is good for about a month of not waking and sleeping for 12 hrs. it will get better gl
S.S. answers from Seattle on October 09, 2010
The fussy feeding & pulling away sounds like reflux. I know you mentioned it was under control but you might consider talking to your doc about the dose. My son had reflux & at about 6 months he started having issues again because he had grown so much. Our doc thought it was enough but agreed to trying a higher dose for a week & it made a huge difference. We also split the dose for one in the am & one before bed.
As for non-relux ideas, I agree that 6 months is too young to cut off all night feedings but baby should go 3-4hrs and a few sucks to sleep isn't hunger. My doc advised to chart the times at night that baby really nurses well & if they are consistent then nurse baby on that schedule. At all other wake up see if baby well settle & then try other soothing techniques. Be consistent for 2 weeks & if that doesn't work try another technique.
Be careful of cosleeping. I was on the fence & would do it when my son wanted it until a friend in my mom group lost her 4 month old after smothering her with her breast when cosleeping. It just isn't worth the risk.
J.C. answers from Anchorage on October 08, 2010
I would start trying to cut out the night feedings, he is past the point of needing them for nutritional reasons, and keep doing the modified CIO where you go in every 5 minutes to comfort. It may take a few long hard nights, but the many nights of good sleep you get after will be well worth it in the end. When you do go in after each 5 minutes, be sure he is completely calm before you leave again, but try to do it without removing him from his crib if you can. I used to sing softly and rub my boy's on the back or tummy to calm them.
M.L. answers from Seattle on October 09, 2010
It sounds like you're trying everything. Maybe that's too much for him? Step back, find one thing that feels like the right approach and try that for two weeks. If it helps, great! If it doesn't, try another approach for two weeks. Etc.
Also, some other responders said that he doesn't actually need to eat at night. Quite simply, yes he does. He's a breastfed baby and breastmilk passes through his system in about 30 minutes. It's normal for any baby to still wake at his age, but particularly with breastfed babies, he wakes to eat. He might also wake to comfort nurse, but no amount of sleep training is going to fill his tummy at 2am.
You said that you don't co-sleep but you didn't say why. I encourage you to give that a try since that will allow you to not wake every 1-2 hours to nurse him. He's at the right age for seperation anxiety and might simply be waking to know where you are. If he's sleeping next to you, he won't wake to find you and you'll be able to nurse him without having to full wake up and get up multiple times a night. Just an idea. My daughter is 13+ months and I don't know if she wakes most nights. She sleeps next to me so if she fusses I just turn towards her and we're both back asleep with 1-2 minutes or 10 seconds.
S.H. answers from Honolulu on October 08, 2010
Is he teething?
A.S. answers from Eugene on October 09, 2010
Your baby is absolutely normal. If you sleep with him, life is so much easier. You just nurse him, and roll over and go back to sleep. He needs you at nighttime as much as he needs you in the daytime. Don't abandon him! One thing that might help is if you put your mattresses on the floor, have his mattress right next to yours and at the same level, so that you can roll onto his mattress to nurse him, then roll back into your bed to sleep. He would also have a separate blanket in his bed, so that you wouldn't be waking him up when you roll over. Sometimes it might work to just rub his back and help him back to sleep that way (he may not actually need to nurse every time, but if rubbing his back doesn't work, by all means nurse him). This could especially work more as he gets older, eats more solids etc. And with this method, you would probably end up bringing him into your bed sometime in the middle of the night. It is absolutely normal for babies to wake up every couple of hours for the first year or so, often with one longer sleep stretch (actually it's normal for all of us to go through sleep cycles like that too, it's just that we adults are able to go back to sleep without even realizing we've woken up). When you cosleep, your cycles and your baby's will usually synchronize, so it's not so much of a disruption to our sleep, and it is so much easier to go back to sleep after nursing if you cosleep and don't have to get up. Don't worry, he won't be in your bed forever. You will end up with a much happier child if you meet his nighttime needs as well as his daytime needs.
J.D. answers from Seattle on October 09, 2010
Waking up that often at night is perfectly normal for a 6-month old. Two of my kids didn't sleep through the night until 18 months. Just nurse and cuddle him as much as he wants at night. I would never let a baby CIO, but you probably figured that out already :-) Good luck.
Y.B. answers from Seattle on October 09, 2010
My son woke up like that until he was about 18 months. Nothing I did, no patting on the back or rocking would get him to go to sleep. We started to co-sleep and that seemed to help both of us get some sleep. He was not a good sleeper, I would lay him down for naps when he was an infant and I was lucky if he slept for 10 mins. Now he is 2 and he sleeps 2-3 hours for his naps and he is sleeping all night long in his own bed that is right next to our. You might find that co-sleeping will help your little one get more sleep and you too.
J.R. answers from Portland on October 09, 2010
First of all, I want you to know that what your baby is doing is very normal and there is nothing wrong with his sleeping behavior. In the grand scheme of things, this is a short phase of infant development that you will both live through!
Secondly, I would urge you not to listen to those who tell you to just let your baby "cry it out". What is "it", exactly? Babies do not cry for no reason. That is their only way of communicating with those around them. If we let babies cry without responding, we teach them that what they are feeling and what they have to say doesn't matter so there's not point in trying to communicate. This is a dangerous thing to teach babies and can make for very insecure children. These are the children who cry whenever you go out the door or drop them off at nursery because they don't know if you'll come back. Children must feel secure before they can express independence and crying it out fosters the opposite.
But don't despair! Not letting your baby scream does not mean that he won't learn to sleep through the night! There are great no-cry sleep solutions out there.
Here are some articles that talk about the dangers of letting babies cry it out:
as well as some info on no-cry sleep solutions:
Hope this helps!
L.A. answers from Austin on October 08, 2010
Get rid of the night time nursing.. will he take a pacifier or his hand for comfort?
Get some ear plugs and be ready to really leave him crying for the next few nights. You can peek on him, but make sure it is totally dark in the hallways so when you open the door no light comes in. He will be fine.. I know this is very hard to hear him cry.
But I promise he will be fine. He is tired and wants to sleep, he just has not learned to self comfort.