September 07, 2007,
R.H. asks from Fredericksburg, VA on July 31, 2007
8 Month Old Won't Sleep More than 3 Hours at Night
My little girl is 8 months old. She has never been able to sleep more than 3 hours at a time at night. It really doesn't matter where she is sleeping (my bed or her crib). She wakes up, flips around like she is going to crawl and looks around for me. Sometimes she starts crying and won't stop until I pick her up. I usually feed her when she wakes up because that usually puts her straight back to bed, but that she just wakes up 3 hours later. Does anyone have any idea why she might be doing this and what I can do about it? Thanks
S.L. answers from Washington DC on August 01, 2007
My now one year old son didn't sleep well at night for the longest time. Now he is sleeping 12 hours straight! Here is what I had to do...do not feed her when she wakes up, she isn't hungry and it only gives her a reason to wake up. I would suggest sleeping in a different room because she is very dependent on having you there when she wakes up and this is only going to get worse and harder to break. Babies develope separation anxiety around that age and freak out when they wake up until they learn how to put themselves back to sleep and comfort themselves. This is a huge tool to give them...and you. When she wakes up, let her cry (I know it's hard but stand your ground, once you start you can't go back) for about 5 minutes. Watch the clock b/c it will seem longer to you. Then go in pat her back, giver her a pacifier or maybe start putting a toy in bed with her then leave the room. Let her cry for 7 minutes and do the same thing, then 10 and so on until she goes to sleep. The first few nights this process may take an hour but once she realizes that she isn't getting what she wants she will either not bother waking up or will just put herself back to sleep. If she wakes up and she is not crying - do not go in! You will only make it worse. My son was waking up 3-4 times a night around that age and in about a week I had him down to only 1 time. I kept nursing him at 4am until I finally realized that he wasn't going to give that up on his own so I stopped feeding him then too. Now he sleeps 12 hours straight. I put about 4 pacifiers in his bed so he can always find one! I'm sure he feels better with a good nights sleep just as I do. Good luck!
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C.D. answers from Washington DC on August 01, 2007
Every kid is different. My son didn't sleep longer than 3-4 hours at a time (at least on a regular basis) til he was 2. He needed the reassurance that I was there I think. He is a very social person and I think he just wanted to know someone was around. Like you I would nurse him back to sleep cause he would fall right back asleep. I tried just rubbing his back, putting him to sleep in his bed when he was totally tired, everything the books suggested, except for crying for hours, and nothing worked. Now he sleeps thru the night and tells me if he is tired and is ready for bed. I think he just had to be ready to do it. Hope this helps. At least you know you aren't alone and I feel your pain and tiredness.
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S.S. answers from Washington DC on August 06, 2007
Teething may be an issue,but with my son, I gave him a little cereal in his night time bottle. He was sleeping through the night at 3 months.
A.L. answers from Washington DC on August 01, 2007
First off do you have a bedtime routine?? My suggestion is to get a routine, one that she will get used too. At about 7:30 pm or 8 pm, give her a bath, read a story, say prayers (if you do that) make sure everything around her is condusive to sleep, lights low, house or room quiet and put her to bed. Also you might want to limit day time naps if she is going to sleep alot during the day, she may not be so sleepy at night, also if she takes a nap close to bedtime (you know like around 6 pm or so not a good idea). Also if you are nursing her, maybe something you are eating is keeping her awake, say if you drink a lot of sodas with caffeine, or tea or coffee, she just might be wired. I hope these help.
L.M. answers from Harrisburg on August 19, 2007
Could this be something medical? Have you ruled out Reflux? This is not unheard of with infants? Is it possible that every three hours she is refluxing and the burning in the back of her throuat causes her to wake up?
I experienced this firsthand with my son. I had the condition as an infant and he followed suit. It used to be called "Colic," but now that's recognized as the generic term that covers a number of symptoms. I have written informative articles on this and you can view them: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/25158/acid_reflu...
T.A. answers from Washington DC on August 01, 2007
Hey R., Try the Sleep Lady book. I cannot remember the title. That is who the book is by(just google the sleep lady). I was having sleeping issues with my 7 month old. We tried that book and it worked in about 6 days. Last night he slept for 12 hours. Good luck I know your tired!
T.C. answers from Washington DC on July 31, 2007
My first wouldn't sleep through the night until 10 months. I was breastfeeding so I thought it was because the food digested too quickly. She would wake up, I would feed her, then she would go back to sleep. It was a pain getting up like 3-5 time per night. I barely remember it now though, so that is good. Anyway, I had child number two. I still breastfed, but this child slept through the night by 2 months. So...breastfeeding or not, it doesn't matter. I did turn the monitor off with my second child. I can hear her if she cries, but I didn't want to hear her turning. Oh, I just realized you sleep in the room with her. Can you move her to a different room or sleep out of her sight? You can always do the other thing too....let her cry!
Both of my girls went through a period of crying when I put them to bed. I put them in the crib after having read a book and feeding. When they cried, I told them it was time for bed and left the room. They cried...and after 5-10 minutes I went back in, picked them up for a minute and put them back down. By the third round, they were sleeping. And this only happened for no more than 3 nights! I made a choice from the beginning that I would put them to bed while they were awake. I was not going to rock my children to sleep. My kids can sleep anywhere!
Part of me feels that it was my fault that my first child didn't sleep through the night until 10 months, but the other part of me thinks every child is different.
I do know that if your child has slept throught the night once, then they are able to sleep through the night all the time (minus the scary dream nights).
H.P. answers from Washington DC on August 01, 2007
Also, please make sure before you try any sleep solutions that your child has been evaluated for reflux and other disorders that can show up at night. My son had reflux and they didn't treat it and kept telling us it was a parenting issue because it was mainly a nighttime thing. Once he was treated properly it made a huge difference. He would wake almost every 2 hours, sometimes more frequently, and ask to eat because it soothed his tummy. It was a year of severe sleep deprivation, so I feel your pain. He still does not regularly sleep through and he is 2 1/2 now. A pediatrician can also tell you if the liver is processing enough glucose or whatever to be released through the night, at her weight, to see if she is genuinely hungry or wanting comfort for any reason.
It sounds like she is also very bonded to you and knows you will be there if she needs you. That's good, but the trick is to also teach her that she can deal with some of the small stuff on her own. At 1 year old we decided on a modified cry situation. We left him after the routine and soothing and winding down with a sippy cup of water and his favorite stuffed doggy, for first 5 minutes, then 10 minutes. He doesn't ever cry in bed for more than 10 minutes. He knows this and will settle if he can, but if he continues to cry we go to him. Every 10 minutes until he settles in. I want him to know that "I'll be there for you no matter what" means exactly that. But we can give him a bit to see if he can figure it out, pass the gas, have the drink, and see if he can do it himself.
Be warned, it's the longest 5-10 minutes of a person's life. We still have to set a timer so we can just sit and make ourselves do something else. But after about a week or two he started to figure it out and if he could settle, he did. The night feedings are also something that encourages wakings. If she's just wanting your company she has to learn that that's a day thing. If she's uncomfortable - reflux, gas, whatever, that needs to be addressed before you start to take that away.
Sorry such a wordy reply - this is a subject that we faced and still face.
T.L. answers from Washington DC on August 03, 2007
My daughter was 8 1/2 months before she started sleeping through the night. I was a walking zoombie. I finally told my husband that he had to start getting up with her and he got up 1 time & she has slept ever since. Everyone told me that you have to let her cry, I am not good at this. If you have a spouse that can get up with her, let him. You are going to need to seperate yourself from her now, the longer you wait, the harder life is going to get. She knows you are there. Even my daughters doctor told me the same thing, she had just had a baby and she made her husband do the tough love thing b/c she was no good at it. Good luck, your time is coming!
T.T. answers from Washington DC on September 07, 2007
You mention she is sleeping in a crib in your room:
My husband and I had our son in a crib in our room because I wasn't strong enough to go into another room every two hours to feed him. Finally, my husband decided to start giving him bottles of breastmilk at night while I slept and we moved the baby into the other room. For about 3-4 nights, it was torture. He would cry when we left the room and would wake up crying a few hours. All of the sudden one night, he started putting himself back to sleep if we just let him whimper a bit.
The reason I'm telling you this story is that whenever we would have guests and give them our room, we would sleep in the baby's room. It's like going back in time. He wakes up and can sense we're there. We hear him making those "I'm going to cry" sounds and if we're not 100% silent he starts crying louder until we come to him. We can never sleep soundly because we're laying there trying not to wake him up.
One night, while we had guests - we went to bed in the baby's room as usual. He woke up as usual. After we got him to sleep - my husband and I didn't go back in the baby's room - we were so tired, we passed out in the living room.
The baby slept through the whole night that night!!
We've found that Just having us in the room, breathing is enough to signal him to wake up regularly. So, we always try to give him his own peaceful space to signal "this is quiet sleeping time with no stimulation"
That may not apply to your situation but I thought you might find our experience encouraging that you're not alone.
A.S. answers from Washington DC on August 07, 2007
8 months old is NOT to early to CIO. I did this method at 5 months. My daughter is now 7 months and still sleeps 10-12 hrs. If you choose to do CIO you have to give it ATLEAST 3 days or it might not work. It takes babies that long to basically understand it. At this age your child should definitely be able to self soothe. The main reason she wakes up is routine. She's just used to waking up so her body keeps up the same pattern. My daughter would wake up between 12 and 2 every morning. I'd go in and pat her back or sometimes had to give her a bottle. Finally one night she woke up and I was just too tired to get up and fell back asleep. Guess what happened? I woke up 3 hours later and she was alseep. She had put her slef back to sleep (at 5months)because she could. After that night she stopped waking up in the middle of the night. She will occasionally wake up but I just let her be. She eithers plays/talks or cries but goes right back to sleep after a bit. So if I were in your situation this is what I would do. 1) stop sleeping in the same room. 2)Give her a bed time routine(6pm feed her dinner(babyfood),6:30 bath, 7 bottle, 7:30 bed)3)try CIO or your own method of it(put her in her crib, rub her back, say goodnight. Close the door behind you and walk away for 5 min. If it's too hard to listen to her walk outside or somewhere you can't hear her. After 5min go back and see if she's stopped crying. She may be asleep, playing, or still crying. If she's crying go back in and pat her back(soothes her and lets her know you're still there) and the say good night and walk out. Keep repeating and each time wait longer before checking on her. Eventually she'll fall asleep(may take 5 min may take 45 min). Just make sure that you stick to it and do it for atleast 3 days. After that she'll understand it better and it won't be as hard. I find that if I miss my daughters window(time when you can put them down and the go right to sleep w/o crying)she fights it more because the more tired she is the harder it is for her to fall asleep. Most times we put her in bed and she plays and talks for 10-20 min and the next thing you know she's out. Once or twice a week we put her down and she cries off and on for 20 min and then she's out liek a light. I would work first on the waking up in the middle of the night though. When she wakes up leave her there. Don't even let her see you. She'll fall back alseep on her own. After a day or 2 she should stop waking up in the middle of the night altogher. And then maybe a week later try CIO or which ever method you choose. At 8 months she should be eating 3 meals of babyfood a day(probably a whole jar each time)along w/ her regular milk. My daughter is 7months and has about five 4oz bottles and 2 meals throughout the day and for dinner she has her 3rd jar of food her bath and then a 6oz bottle. My daughter isn't a "big" eater and has always eaten less then other baby's her age so I owuld think your daughter would be eating arounf the same amount if not more.I HTH-A.
L.N. answers from Washington DC on July 31, 2007
time for her to sleep through the night, and no more nighttime feedings. are you giving her baby food 3 times a day and milk/formula?
she may be hungry, or teething although i doubt it's the latter one since you say she has never slept through the night.
she's too young for CIO, but you may try not responding immediately. listen over the monitor and see if her cry changes to hurt/pain cry.
you may also address this with the pediatrician.
just for reference around 5 months of age my girls were sleeping through the night