20 answers

7 Month Old Suddenly Not Sleeping Through the Night!

My 7 month old son started sleeping through the night in his own room when he was between three and four months old. Six weeks ago he started waking us up every night (sometimes between 5-6 times a night) to run upstairs and put his pacifier beck in his mouth. He usually will fall back asleep after we do this, but we really miss getting uninterupted sleep and wonder why he suddenly wakes us constantly. We have tried to let sooth himself or cry himself back to sleep, but he just keeps crying and gets himself so upset he appears terrified. Recently, my husband has been bringing him into our bed so we can get some sleep even though we know that this is a very bad habit to start. Any suggestions on how to get him to sleep without us running into his room all night?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

It sounds to me that he is attached to the pacifier and is relying on you to give it to him when it falls out of his mouth. I really wish the pacifier was never invented because it becomes such a problem, as you are witnessing. I'd stop giving him the pacifier so that he can truly learn to self soothe himself. He will cry...but he'll get over it. Good luck.

try spreading a few pacifiers throughout his crib.
that way if he loses one, he might be able to find another.
Good luck!

More Answers

I had the same problem with my little girl. She started sleping through the night at 2 1/5 months old and right around your sons age she started doing the same thing. We would run and put the pacifier in her mouth and she was out again. We started cliping her pacifier to her at night. You can by them at almost any store by the pacifiers. At first I was scared that she could strangle her self with it but the string isn't long enough for the at happen. You clip them on their chest and the string isn't even long enough to wrap around their neck. Start by putting in on him during the day so he can get use to felling for the string and then putting the pacifier in his mouth. Then when he is sleeping he will wake up, feel his chest for the clip and put the pacifier in his own mouth. This worked like a charm for my little one.

Good Luck!!!

P.S. He could be teething too.

I have twin boys and at 7 months old, they both still needed a bottle at some point during the night. My dr. told me up until at least a year to expect them to need that night feeding, so perhaps your son is going through a growth spurt. If he is waking up constantly, it seems like there is obviously something bothering him. Have you tried giving him motrin before you put him down for the night? If that helps him sleep then it's probably his teeth hurting.
The book Health Sleep Habits, Happy Child is also a great resource. In short, it says that babies that age should be napping twice a day and bedtime between 6-7. If he's not getting enough sleep, that will cause him to wake up throughout the night and I found that to be very true with my boys. Good luck!

I agree with the other post, your baby is waking and crying for you because he needs you. At this age his needs/wants are one in the same. Nothing stays the same forever with a growing, changing, developing baby. There could be a huge number of things going on...from maturing, hunger (growth spurt), teething (which can take MONTHS), developing, a new sound or sight that is now scary in his room, he's too hot/cold, etc

I would love on him and comfort him as much as possible. This is definately the loving, caring, natural parental response. Try not to fall victim to old-fashioned baby-training advice which try to convince you to ignore him or leave him to cry...this does nobody any good and only teaches your child that in the long run to give up and that the people he loves aren't coming for him. Sad, but this advice is still floating around. Not to mention that research shows that babies brains aren't equipped to handle the rush of stress chemicals released during high stress (crying-it-out).

There is NOTHING wrong with bringing him in to bed with you (assuming you co-bed safely)! Only mainstream USA has branded this as a 'bad habit' while many other countries treat it as the norm. You will all get more sleep and your baby will enjoy the benefits of sound, comforting, security that comes with being close to mom and dad (where babies want to be 24/7, not just in daylight!)especially if you have been getting up to nurse. I applaud you and your husband for seeking out the most loving option to resolving your baby's needs. To give yourself more info/confidence that what you are doing isn't a bad habit, I highly recommend Dr.Sears books... 'Nightime Parenting' and 'Attachment Parenting' as well as Jay Gordons 'Good Nights'. These will explain safe options for co-bedding, room sharing and then moving Baby back to their own room when they are ready to be all alone at night. Every child is different. Hang in there...and best wishes with your little guy. Soon these days will be over.....

It sounds to me that he is attached to the pacifier and is relying on you to give it to him when it falls out of his mouth. I really wish the pacifier was never invented because it becomes such a problem, as you are witnessing. I'd stop giving him the pacifier so that he can truly learn to self soothe himself. He will cry...but he'll get over it. Good luck.

Ah-the joys of having a baby! Just when you get into a set pattern, they throw it out the window. Since my son never used a pacifier I don't know if it is possible, but can he put it back in his mouth by himself?

Bringing him to your bed is one way to get more sleep. Babies go through stages. And this is one of them. He will eventually sleep through the night again...until he hits the next stage.

Is he teething? Sleep interruptions also can happen if they are going through something developmentally.

You don't really give enough information to give you good advice. But for starters do not put him in your bed no matter what. Big mistake!!! How many naps does he take during the day? What time does he get put down at night? These all play a factor into a childs sleeping habbits. Maybe he is getting to much sleep during the day. Or maybe you are putting him to bed to early. Also what do you let him watch on TV?? Even a child that young can be affected by the news, violence, etc... Don't subject him to such things. Do you and your husband argue? There are a lot of things that could be causing his waking up. And I do not agree on any child no matter what age having a pacifier. It's just a bad habbit to break later, like smoking! I never used one and my girls turned out great. They have beautiful teeth and a beautiful smile. Do you read to him, play with him, etc. during the day? Maybe he is wanting attention from you or his Dad. Maybe Daddy doesn't spend enough time with him. There could be lots of reasons. You don't say if his diaper is wet. And he may really be hungry. Have you tried rocking him and feeding him a bottle when he wakes up the first time? I got up every two hours to feed my first one. That is what she required. With the second one she slept all through the night. From about 11:00 to around seven or eight in the morning. All children are different. But my guess is that he is hungry. Does he eat solids? Have you tried feeding him cereal before bed time? Sorry couldn't help you more but you don't really give enough details to go on. Good Luck!

He could be teething. Oralgel nightime works but my son hated it, when I "tried" it I realized why...it kind of burns a bit when first applied then numbs. Before we tried that, we used tylenol and motrin it took him a few minutes to go back to sleep but when he did go back to sleep, he slept until morn. I also tried the homeopathic drops which helped for a while, but when he started cutting bicuspits(sp?) it wasn't enough.

Hope it helps!

A., do not, I repeat, DO NOT, bring him into your bed to sleep with you once he has been sleeping just fine in his own crib. I cannot stress this strongly enough.

He's going to wake up whether he's in your bed or not, but the extra steps and effort you put into going into his room are WORTH IT in the trouble you save by not having to break him of the habit of sleeping with you.

NO child, I repeat, NO CHILD, will sleep all the way through the night, all the time. You are very fortunate that you got a few months of uninterrupted sleep at night as is, but know that this will not last. All through his childhood, he's going to have times when he doesn't sleep well due to illness or nightmares, and then after a while, he'll go back to sleeping well. This is just part of the process of parenting a small child.

Now, as to why he's doing this now...he's past 6 months old, so he's probably teething. The pacifier helps soothe his gums, so when he wakes up in the middle of the night from the teething pain, he needs the pacifier to help him cope. This is normal. You're lucky the pacifier helps him as much as it does. As teething progresses, this may not be the case, and you may have to give him Orajel, baby Tylenol, or frozen teething toys in the middle of the night as well.

Expect him to wake you up periodically until he's a year old or whenever the first 8 teeth erupt. Once the first 4 front teeth are out, he's going to get canines and so forth. Look out for ear infections, gas pains, diarrhea, fevers, etc., at this time. All of these things will wake him up, and keep him up, at this time in your lives.

Sorry I don't have better news, but this is part of the process. Enjoy him in between bouts of teething pain and have patience.

Peace,
Syl

My first daughter didn't sleep through the night until she was 2 1/12. Each kid is different. We tried everything. My only advice is to hang in there.

I know this isn't very encouraging, but uninterupted sleep is kind of like a vacation once you have children: Few and far between. I have tried many things myself, sleeping with them so I don't have to go to them in the middle of the night. I definately wouldn't start them sleeping anywhere else, it is way worse than having a lot of nights having to get up. This will pass eventually. Good Luck.

try spreading a few pacifiers throughout his crib.
that way if he loses one, he might be able to find another.
Good luck!

Hi A.,

Has anything changed like laundry detergent or any bath and body products? Those are stimuli that involve the neurological system. Even if nothing has changed, these types of neurological toxins will build up in a body, especially a small one....especially if you wash and clean often. Synthetic chemicals do not come out of the system by themselves. If you are not using natural products you may want to investigate. Think of the difference in the way you feel when you sit on the beach versus being in a Wal-Mart...

Regards,

M.
www.squidoo.com/ifyourbabycouldtalk

I am a firm believer that all you need to do is be there for him. It is really hard, but do this by going to him, not the other way around. Him sleeping in bed is only going to make it harder later. You loose a few weeks of some sleep now vs. who knows how long of him sleeping with you! Babies go through this, it is just reality. My baby girl is 11 months and just started sleeping great again. It has been a hard couple of months, but I just go and do what she needs. Now she is great again, always phases. I don't believe you need to teach/train them to do anything. If he is waking at this age, he needs you. When she doesn't need anything, my girl sleeps 7:30-7:30. When she was around 6-7 months old she started waking up twice a night again. I just suck it up and go in and feed her or rock her. I did the same with my son and he is a sleeper that would make any parent jealous! These phases continue into the second year, just a warning.

My first thought is the pacifier is the problem! Most people wake up during the night but we know how to fall right back asleep again. Your baby has learned to fall asleep with the pacifier, once he is asleep the pacifier falls out of his mouth, he wakes up and all of a sudden he realizes that the pacifier is not in his mouth, he doesn't know how to look for it - he is wondering "Oh no, where is my comfort sucker? WAHHHH..." It will be VERY VERY hard (I speak from experience), but if you can get him off the pacifier, it should help.

Sounds like he is teething.

It will pass. My daughter did the SAME thing for about a month. I got soooo tiring. But she eventually stopped. During the day we practiced over and over how she could put her pacifier in her mouth herself, and when she finally got the hang of it, we left plenty within reach in her crib.

Just be there for him and stop bringing him into bed. A quick bandaid will not fix this problem. Practice the pacifier, tank him up before bedtime (make sure he's full). Waking twice a night at his age is normal. Just choose how you want to respond and be consistent.

Heather B is wise! Great advice. Part of our job as parents is to teach our little ones to sleep and you don't teach them when you leave them to cry on their own and such (not that you guys are doing that but people will tell you to do that). Dr. Sears is great and I also gleaned helpful advice from The No Cry Sleep Solution and The Baby Whisperer.

any chance he is going through a growth spurt? My girl, when she goes trough those spells even now- she will wake up in the middle of the night & want milk. I would try feeding him & see if that work.

It's not so bad having him sleep with you. You gestated for nine months and now a baby is supposed to sleep alone? Europeans have their children sleep with them for a few years. Just like breast-feeding, it's supposed to last for up to two years, yet Americans are still so Victorian - ized, that we may breast feed for 6 weeks and have the little one in a bed at infancy. Relax. As long as you and your husband don't roll over the baby, and you both feel really close and nurturing, then you are having a family bond...Of course, he's got to go into the other room so you can have sex. Or, better yet, leave him in your bed and you two go to the kitchen...

Ruling out anything like growth spurt, teething, or a cold coming on....it might be the paci.

we had this problem with our daughter who would wake up and realize her paci wasn't there. At 7 months your baby should be old enough to learn to put his own paci in. if you give the paci during the day try putting it in his hand and never be the one to put it in his mouth for him. what helped us was: we sprinkled a bunch in the bed at bedtime. when my DD woke up the first few times, i went in and put the paci in her hand and helped her guide it in. then the next few time i gently moved her arms around until she felt the paci, she gripped it and put it in herself. in about 2 or 3 days we saw her on the monitor routing around for the paci and popped it in herself with out a peep.

we were not into letting her cry and are always there for her so by gently helping her develop this skill was important becuase we wanted to make sure she viewed sleeping as a safe and comforting thing.

A stuffed lovey or a musical soother can be other comforts for the baby if you are not too keen on the paci. it wasn't till about a year until our DD formed a love with a stuffy and now the two are inseperaable and it helped transition from the paci down the road.

Good luck!

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