23 answers

7 Month Old Having Sleep Issues

Hi Moms! I know there are a lot of questions about sleep, but I'd like to add mine to the list. My daughter is 7 months old and having sleep issues. From months 3-5 she was sleeping through the night (10 hrs. straight) then she got an ear infection and the past 2 months have been horrible. She wakes up every 2-3 hours and needs me to rock/nurse her back to sleep. My husband helps some times, but he has to work so I usually get up 3-4 times a night with her. It's like she's a newborn all over again! I need help...I just feel so sleep deprived and I know she's not getting enough sleep either. I realize the problem is she can't put herself back to sleep anymore. We have tried to not pick her up at night and just console her in her crib, but that has only worked once. I have always wanted to stay away from letting her "cry it out" but I am desperate now! A friend reccomended the Ferber method. I ordered his book and am waiting to get it. Her naps have changed too. She used to sleep 2-3 hours for naps...now they are no longer than 45 min. She takes 3 naps a day...each around 45 min. Sometimes I can rock her back to sleep and she'll sleep longer, but not usually. I know she's still tired though, she acts cranky. I've read that babies her age should be taking 2-3 naps, each 2 hours long. Here are my questions: Have any of you experienced this kind of regression/sleep behaviors with your 7 month old? Has anyone had great success or failure with the Ferber method? Should I be concerned that she's not napping long enough or is this typical? I realize that every baby is different, but any advice or encouragement would be great. Thanks in advance for your wonderful responses!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I don't think the Ferber method is a very kind way to sleep train, but I know it works for a lot of people. I prefer The Baby Whiperer or No-Cry Sleep Solution.

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I am not a fan of the Ferber method myself. You know there is an issue going on so why not address that instead? Could she be teething? That can be the catalyst for ear problems and can cause loss of sleep. Maybe try treating the pain issue and she'll sleep rather than letting her cry in pain until she goes to sleep.

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My daughter did something very similar around 8 months. It just wasn't worth my health and sanity to keep getting up because it didn't stop after a few days or a couple of weeks, crying it out or not. More food didn't help, and if she was in pain, nothing helped. We made the decision to bring her into our bed at that point, and that was the end of long sleepless nights. Yes, she still sleeps with us at 2 1/2, but I have faith that she'll be in her own bed by the time she goes to first grade, and that's fine with me. (I waited 16 years for her, I don't mind spending lots of time with her!)

You may not be able to co-sleep, and may not want to. That's an individual decision. Keep trying - this too shall pass ... some day.

At 7 or 8 or even 9 months, their sleep habits usually change. I would suggest reducing the number of naps to 2 and she will probably sleep longer during nap times. With my daughter, unless she had a lot of interaction before naptime (to wear her out), she wouldn't sleep very long, either. When she started crawling, jumping in the Johnny Jump Up, etc., she did much better - even fell asleep while eating or playing.

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Ferber method worked w/us initially and then my son regressed. I highly recommend the book: Healthy sleep habits, happy child by Dr. Mark Weissbluth. It's a lot better than the Ferber book (at least I think so). Your daughter might still feel badly. And it takes a long time for antibiotics to get out of her system. Maybe that's why she is still waking up at night. My son has sleep prbls anytime he is sick and some time afterwards until he is completely healthy again.

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http://www.ezzo.info/
http://www.fresnofamily.com/ap/ezzo.htm

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

http://www.phdinparenting.com/2008/07/05/no-cry-it-out/

You could try reading "The no cry sleep solution" or "Happiest Baby on the Block". Both would be more towards your original desires of not wanting to let her cry it out. Cry it out is NOT the only way!! ::Hugs::

1 mom found this helpful

I don't think the Ferber method is a very kind way to sleep train, but I know it works for a lot of people. I prefer The Baby Whiperer or No-Cry Sleep Solution.

1 mom found this helpful

S.,

She may be going through a growth spurt. You can look them up on the internet. They have a list of when babies usually go through growth spurts but I have found that it just happens when it happens. My daughter was four 1/2 months old and she did the same thing...started taking horrible naps sometimes 30 min long and would not sleep through the night..woke up 3-5 times. The only good thing is it will pass. Growth spurts are supposed to only last for like three days but hers lasted almost a week.
Good luck,
M.

Hi, S.,
I know how hard it can be to have a child sleeping through the night and then start regressing. My first son did this and we did have to finally use the Ferber method with him. It was still hard. After about 1 week of him crying it out he started sleeping all night again. With our second son with used the the book "On Becoming Babywise" and he has slept 100% better than his brother and never had that regression. I highly recommend this book. One of the main ideas of the book is to let your child fall asleep on their own, not by rocking or nursing, because when they wake up during the night they will want whatever it took to get them to sleep again.
I also think that by 7 months she maybe ready to go to just 2 naps a day. All kids are different, but by about 1 year old my first son only took one 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon. Good luck with your little angel! I feel for you!

my 9 month old never i mean never slept!! i recently got the book "healthy sleep habits, happy baby", the last 4 nights 7:30 until 6am!!! oh and now she naps during the day too. it is not as drastic as ferber, there is still crying it out but it has a gentler approach. good luck

Sleep patterns come and go with age. They go from needing 16 hours of sleep a day to 8 hours and back up to 12 hours. I would reduce the time of the naps during the day. My children had a hard time getting to sleep when they were around 1 and 2. I would play tag or "lion chases the mouse" around the house for like 15-30min to wear them out before bed. When their little faces were red and they started to slow down a bit, I would rush them to bed. Sometimes I would chase them to the bedroom, tickle them a bit and then sit down to read a short story. By the time they relaxed, they were already in bed, lights were dimmed and they fell out a bit easier.

You might also try putting on some "white noise" in the bedroom. This might be a CD of calming waves and sea sounds, reggae background music playing softly, or a classical CD such as Bach or Beethoven playing softly. The sound helps drown out other sounds in the house, footsteps, motor of the fridge or heater running, etc. If that doesn't work, you might try putting a radio station set to static.

I am not a fan of the Ferber method myself. You know there is an issue going on so why not address that instead? Could she be teething? That can be the catalyst for ear problems and can cause loss of sleep. Maybe try treating the pain issue and she'll sleep rather than letting her cry in pain until she goes to sleep.

Hi S..
I was opposed to the whole "cry it out" thing, too, with my first child, who is now 3. But, with my son, who is now almost 1, I went ahead and did it when he regressed in his sleeping and it worked. I committed to letting him cry if he woke up between midnight and 6 a.m. Each night he cried a little less until he was sleeping through the night again. I am fan of the book, "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Marc Weissbluth, MD. He supports crying it out, but within the context of overall sleep training. He would also say that your daughter's naps are shorter b/c she is overtired and that once you get the night sleep back on track, the naps will follow. His mantra is "sleep begets sleep."

My friends who have done Ferber swear by it.

Hope that helps. I have been where you are. My daughter didn't sleep through the night consistently until she was over 1 year. The sleep deprivation made me miserable!

I'd highly suggest the Sleep Lady (not sure on the name of the book) versus Ferber. Your daughter probably only needs 2 naps at 7 months old. My daughter never took 2 or 3, two hours naps so just realize that each child is different.

Make SURE she's adequately hydrated. Dehydration can cause sleep issues in both children and adults. In addition, I"d get copies of NATURALLY HEALTHY BABIES & CHILDREN by Romm as well as The ENCYCLOPEDIA OF NATURAL HEALTH & HEALING FOR CHILDREN by Weber

You didn't mention what foods or liquids you've given her within a few hours of bedtime. If she is on meds for the ear infection, could they be keeping her from sleeping soundly? What are the side effects of the meds? There are natural remedies for ear infections that WORK! I would HIGHLY discourage you from using antibiotics any more than you have to. These destroy friendly bacteria which help fight off other things in the body. If seen numerous times where once they go on antibiotics, it's a repeated cycle time after time, year after year. I'd try a natural route FIRST.

Another vote for Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. It's really easy to read and implement, plus to me it was comforting knowing that he is a pediatrician who specializes in infant/child sleep issues with over 3 decades of research and experience behind his work. We used the extinction method meaning, after our son's bedtime routine we put him down and that was it. No return trips, nothing. The first night with 45 minutes of crying was tough. The second night of 15 minutes of crying was not bad. The third night of 2-5 minutes was amazing. To this day, he is almost 2 and goes into bed and down for naps awake and falls asleep on his own.

There are many parenting techniques out there and there are many moms who will try to make you feel badly or guilty about whichever technique you use...the anti-CIOs will say this is cruel; other mothers will tell you that if you keep going in you are enabling them. Listen to your heart and decide what is right for your family, but since you asked specifically about CIO (Ferber and Weissbluth are similar) I thought I would share with you what worked for us.

No matter what method you choose, be consistent with it and be patient - it might take a few days. Good luck to you and happy, healthy sleeping!

Hi

I read only a few of the other responses. My son (now 11-mo) did this exact thing this summer. I also used the "No Cry Sleep Solution" book. By 9-mo he was sleeping through the night again, however we did have a few bouts of crying (maybe a handful of nights at most).
Also, my son changed his nap schedule around this time (7mo) and went from 3 shorter naps to 2 longer naps (1.5hrs or so each). This change completely rearranged his feeding schedule also. As a first time mom it was difficult for me to see this change was coming and how to work with it - but he quickly settled into a new one during the day and night.

-S.

There is a book called "Baby Wise" that we used with our son. We didn't start addressing his sleep issues until he was 13-14 months old (why we waited so long I really don't know.) But it did work wonderfully. Then with our 2nd child we did the Baby Wise stuff from almost the beginning and really had much fewer issues.

It does sound kind of like she has gotten into a bad habit following her illness - not unheard of. I really do wish you luck because it is so hard to deal with a baby and be sleep deprived on top of it. :)

We used Ferber method with my 5 month LO. The book was so easy to follow, and now he goes to sleep without being rocked/held. He still fussess occassionally when he goes down for naps, but at least he's doing it on his own.

He used to sleep 2-3 hours for naps, too, but this was before he turned 3 months. Since then, his naps have been short 30-45 minutes. Sleep training made no difference on the duration of naps.

Ferber works, if it is followed consistently (for us, it took a long time b/c we were rocking him to sleep for naps, and using Ferber for nighttime - big mistake!). So, the only recommendation I have for you is use Ferber for both naps and nighttime, otherwise it might confuse LO and it will take that much longer.

Good luck!

Hi S.! Your story sounds familiar! I have an eight month old boy who has recently changed his sleeping patterns as well. He used to take two long naps and one short nap each day, and lately we are lucky if he sleeps for any good length of time during the day. His patterns are all over the place so I don't know what to expect. He is also the lightest sleeper ever. I think that if a pin drops by him he would wake up! :) Anyway, this is my theory-it most likely has something to do with teething. My son just cut his first tooth and I know he has felt pretty miserable for a while now. If you think this could be it, try Motrin or Tylenol and some baby orajel before bed. Just a thought! Best of luck to you.

My son went through this multiple times. He would regress everytime he got sick. I can remember at least 3 times we had to work hard to get back into a routine. I was a single mom and so I all the nights with no help.
I never did the ferber method. I did turn to the cry it out method. It was the quickest way to get him back in routine.
The less sleep she gets, the more she will have trouble sleeping. I find this to be so very true.
My only suggestion with the Ferber method is to use it as a suggestion. I don't think that a super strick nap, eat, snack schedule that you put an infant in is good. I think that they come up with their own schedule, and we should use the suggestions to make their schedule the best for them.

You mentioned that this started back when she had an ear infection. Did the doctor look at her ear a few weeks after she started the antibiotic to make sure the infection cleared up? Maybe her ear infection came back?

Hi, S.! Is it possible that she has teeth coming in? If so, it may bother her when she is lying down. I would give her a dose of Tylenol or Motrin and see if that helps. I know that was our problem with my daughter. After I gave her the medicine, she slept again. You don't want her to get in the habit of bad sleeping either!! That's no fun! Good luck!

My 9.5 month old does the same thing! Months 2-5 he slept 8-9 hrs per night. Since then (4.5 months already) he has waken every 3hrs and cries like he is hungry. As soon as I nurse him, he falls back to sleep. I have increased the amount of food he gets during the day, but he then wouldn't drink any of his bottles at daycare. I have been avoiding the ferber/cry it out thing. Thanks for asking this question and thanks to the moms that responded. I will get the book and open my mind to it!! As I am also exhausted and work full time!!!

I don't know about the Ferber method, but at 7 months, 2 naps in the day should be enough. She probably got into a habit of getting up often at night when she had the ear infection. Also, at 7 months, she may be needing to increase her food intake, make sure she is eating enough in the daytime to get her through the night.

hi S.,
it is common for 7 month olds sleeo habits to change. i would not recommend ferber or any other cry it out method. the book "no cry sleep solution: gentle ways to get your abay to sleeo through the night" is wonderful. it takes more time and patience but it's approach takes the child into consideration. good luck. and trust your instincts. i know how difficult it can be.
also, she outlines how much sleep is necessary naps, ect.

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