36 answers

6 Month Old Waking up Almost Hourly and Taking 30-Minute Naps!

I'm looking for moms who have successfully helped their infant to sleep longer stretches at night and/or taught their baby to put him/herself back to sleep during the night (or during naps). My sweet little boy has begun to wake up needing to be consoled almost hourly at night and my husband and I are feeling the effects on our marriage, during the day, etc. I believe the waking could be partially due to teething (or some other discomfort), but am also SURE that my son has gotten used to the habit of "summoning" us when he wakes up at night. I am reading a lot of information and many parents say that letting the child cry it out is the quickest, simplest way to address the waking habit, but my little man is so sensitive and cries so hard when he's upset--I'm not sure my husband or I can do it. Trying to comfort him without picking him up seems to make him even more angry and he completely rejects the pacifier unless you are holding him and he's exhausted. I've tried to introduce a "lovey" to associate with sleep, but don't think I'm doing it right. I wonder about sleep cue words or music. Basically--I'm looking for any tips about how you helped your baby learn to break the night waking/calling for parent cycle. I KNOW that our son CAN put himself back to sleep (I hear him make noise and then go back to sleep once or twice during the night), but he can't do it every time.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you to everyone who gave advice and suggestions. I know this can be something of a controversial topic. My husband and I decided (after much research) to try gradual extinction, or sort of a "supported" cry-it-out method. I started two days ago with his naps, where I made sure he was fed, dry, and sleepy and put him down in his crib awake. Then, I stayed in the room in a chair near his crib and let him know that I was there by singing or shhhing. When I tried to pat him to comfort him the first time, that only made him more agitated. By the third nap (the 2nd day) he was putting himself to sleep within 15 minutes with NO crying. We haven't tacked nighttime yet, but I think the nap strategy is trickling over. The last several nights I have heard him wake up and go back to sleep on his own, with only one feeding. Last night, he slept for 10 hours on his own! I'm working hard to make sure my son knows that I am there for him if he needs me, but it is clear that he was ready for more independence and was in need of better sleep and sleep strategies! Oh, another piece is that I never go to him sooner than 10 minute after I hear him wake up. Usually, he's back asleep before the 10 minutes are up and if not, then I know he's probably ready to go!
Thanks again!

More Answers

Hi A.,
I would recommend picking up a copy of the No Cry Sleep Solution. I bought our copy in downtown Olympia at Orca Books. The author is a mother of four from Washington I believe. This book is pretty popular amongst those parents unwilling to let their baby "cry it out", but who need help developing a better sleep pattern for their children. By the way I support your choice to not let your son cry it out. This is a very nurturing and healthy decision. I am reading the book "Bright from the Start" right now and it focuses on brain development in babies and young children. The healthiest thing you can do when your baby is crying is respond in some sort of attentive way. Ignoring your crying baby consistently can be very damaging to their emotional brain development. Seriously the number one thing I suggest is the book.

Also frequent night waking is common when teething. This can be very grueling. I would suggest nursing/feeding often through the night preferably in the same bed during the worst teething nights. This will help both of you get the most sleep. Also try Hyland's Teething tablets they really work you can buy them at Safeway in the natural section, the oly food coop or Radiance Herbs downtown. If all else fails and your pediatrician agrees to it I would try a dose of the Dye-Free Infant Motrin when you suspect your guy is having real teething pain.

2 moms found this helpful

Try reading the book, A sleep ladies guide to a better nights sleep.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter is 6 months old and has been that way since day one. It has been an awful experience. She is finally sleeping 8 hours straight for the past 2 weeks. I have tried everything, including white noise in the room, she has a pacifier, perfect room temperature. I think what finally started working was loading her up with food in the evening, although she hasn't nursed at night since about 4.5 months old. This was the pediatrician's suggestion. She eats her solid dinner at about 5:30 ( I give her some meat, and baby whole-milk yogurt, veggies, and fruit) then it's bath, then I give her more yogurt, then I nurse her and put her down. This seems to have done the trick, but it's only been a couple of weeks. I still wake her to nurse at 10 pm before I go to bed, and she's going until 6 am now. When she was waking up, I don't even know what she wanted. She didn't really want to nurse. She just wouldn't sleep more than 1-2 hours at a time and then she was crabby during the day. Since she's been sleeping at night, she's a different baby. She's happy and rarely fussy. I don't let her nap past 4 pm. She's our second child, and our 2-year old son slept through the night (9 hours) by 9 weeks old. Go figure!

1 mom found this helpful

I'm 30 yrs. old and have 3 great kids, 7, 4 1/2 and 2 yrs old. Each of them have had different sleep patterns. What I learned with them is (1. Have a bedtime routine that you can stick to everynight. Like a snack, or bottle, bath and story, it relaxes them and gets them ready for rest. (2. It's important to put them to bed drowsy but still awake, it teaches them to fall asleep on their own. I learned this the hard way, my oldest did not sleep through the night until he was 15 mos old because I always rocked him to sleep and then when he was a toddler and couldn't fall asleep as easy in my arms it was taking forever to put him to bed and keep him asleep. We did the "cry it out" at 15 mos, it was horrible, at that age they can definitely out last you. (3. Once your son is in bed for the night, the first time he cries, wait ten minutes before you go to him, just pat his back, quietly say something soothing and then leave. Don't turn on the light. The next time he cries, wait 20 minutes before going in, do the same thing and then leave. Every time up the time by 10-15 minutes before going in. It may take a couple of nights, but he will learn to settle himself and go back to sleep. If you find that your going in there doesn't do any thing but make him more upset, what I did was just wait, and not go in there at all and it worked as well. This is what I did with my first two kids, and it really works. My third slept through the night from 3 mos on. Heaven!!
I know how hard it is to hear them cry and not go to them. You're not being a bad mom, you're doing your son a favor because he (and you) will be able to get the quality of rest that he needs. They don't grow out of it, you have to train them. I hope this helps!!

1 mom found this helpful

You've heard it here before--"The No-Cry Sleep Solution" book by Elizabeth Pantuso. Phooey to the cry-it-out method! Some kids are too intense for that method--they cry so hard, just ramping it up and up until they vomit and pass out from exhaustion. Your little one sounds just like mine at that age: soothing words just made her angry; she furiously rejected all pacifiers unless already deeply worn out. Kaiser was actually helpful to us in assigning a "temperament nurse" who helped us measure different aspects of our baby's behavior; one of the words they used was "reactive"--intense reactions to whatever's going on. She has settled down quite a bit, but she can go from 0 to 60 emotionally in about 2 seconds. They explained that "crying it out" doesn't work well for this type, or only works for a short time--I know some swear by it, but I've seen people in this forum say that after all the upset, it only lasted for a week or two. Trust your gut, it's YOUR baby, and try more of the gentler methods you're inclining toward.

1 mom found this helpful

There is scientific evidence that supports massaging infants and toddlers which helps increase sleep. Try a "formalized" massage that stimulates as well as relaxes and you will find that your little one sleeps those longer hours you are looking for.
visit www.lovingtouch.com for more information. Sleep tight, good night! Check out the book, Touch, by Dr. Tiffany Field.

1 mom found this helpful

I have a 2 1/2 yo who didn't sleep through the night on a consistent basis until she was almost two!!! And I really believe it was my fault because I was in the same situation you are! We moved her out of our room and into her own around 6 months, and I missed her so I'd jump up at every little cry or coo to nurse her and get her back to sleep. I didn't want her to feel lonely or scared. Pretty soon, I was getting less sleep than when she was in my own bed. She got used to being nursed at night, and it took me another year to realize I was the one enforcing the very behavior I wanted to get rid of. Let me tell you, breaking an 18 month old of this habit was way worse than breaking a six-month would have been. YOUR SON MAY GET ANGRY AT YOU for not picking him up, but he will get angry at you many more times in his life for not doing what he thinks you should do to make him feel better: do his homework for him, buy him beer, bail him out of jail... Sounds extreme, but if he can manipulate you now, he'll be able to manipulate you easier. My friend with TWIN boys would sit in a rocking chair in their room with her eyes closed while they cried it out. Sometimes she'd go hold their hands. She was THERE. They were SAFE. But she wouldn't pick them up. She was setting a new boundary, and whenever she let the boundary get fuzzy she said she'd have to start all over. She moved the rocking chair closer and closer to the door, and then she got to where she would just go in if they were fussing and let them hear her voice from the doorway. It is so hard to listen to your child cry. You feel so helpless. But my sister who has three kids always reminded me that crying won't kill them. It might kill you, but it won't kill them :) Also, try adding some rice cereal to his milk right before bed. He may just need more in his little gut to tide him over until morning :)

1 mom found this helpful

my daughter woke 4-7 times a night from 6 months to 10 months. i slowly became a zombie! i'm certain that i lost some brain cells because of this.

by 10 months, i COULD NOT take it anymore. i started looking for books to tell me what to do. some of the more gentle approaches seemed to take so much effort and brain power....and i just didn't have it in me to go through all of that. i finally found "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Marc Weissbluth, M.D. it saved my life (and possibly my daughter's!). i loved how it explains sleep and the way our brains work with and without enough. it gives a lot of "in their words" accounts of people who have used the tips in the book to get their children on a sleeping schedule.

yes, part of it includes crying it out. i didn't think that i'd ever be able to do that, but by that point, it was the only option for me. another big part of the book is establishing routines around sleep times.

good luck. i KNOW how hard it is!! :)

oh! and i wanted to add that once we made it over the hurdle (it took 2 nights!), if our routines were ever messed up b/c of travel or anything, it only took one night to get us back on track. it is amazing how much babies depend on routine and knowing what to expect. they respond so well to it!

1 mom found this helpful

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