29 answers

Breaking Bad Sleeping Habits for 6 Month Old

I have always been opposed to "cry it out" method for establishing sleep habits because I have such a hard time listening to my son cry. But, he is now 5 1/2 months old and not sleeping very well and I am now determined to break my habits to help him establish a better sleep schedule.
Here's some background info about my son and what we've been doing up until now. I am breastfeeding mom and pumping while away at work. He does receive formula once in awhile due to not enough breastmilk stored up. From about 10 weeks-16 weeks of age, he slept through the night, about 9-10 hours straight. But around 16 weeks old he got his first cold and his sleep patterns went out the window. Since then I think he has only slept through the night about 2 times. Otherwise, the longest stretch is about 5-6 hours, but that seems to be rare these days. I am almost positive he is teething and has been for about the past 1 1/2 months, but no tooth yet. Lately he has been waking up several times throughout the night. I have been trying not to nurse him when he wakes because I know he does not need to eat throughout the night, but sometimes that is the only thing that calms him (yet, another bad habit). He sleeps in his crib at night, but he will only sleep about 30 minutes in his crib for naps. Otherwise his naps have been in my or husband's arms, in a stroller or carseat.
I know that I should not have done many of the things I have been doing, including: nursing him to sleep, letting him fall asleep in my arms, holding him while he naps, picking him up after his first cry, but I am a first time mom and doing what seems right at the moment. My husband and I have tried letting him cry it out, but he cries hysterically and we see no chance of him calming himself down. (I should note that sometimes we'll pick him up and he'll let out a huge burp which makes me think part of the reason he's crying is because his belly hurts) We have let him cry for about 45 minutes straight before giving in. Upon picking him up, he instantly calms down and falls asleep in my arms. As much as I love this bonding, I know that realistically I can't continue like this and I want him to develop healthy sleep habits. Is it too late??
I am interested in help from those of you who have been in my situation and have successfully broken habits. Okay, I know I have included a lot of information so hopefully it all makes sense. Please help!!!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

A.,
Please read this book because it might help you. I am reading it at the moment and it has been very helpful. "The no-cry sleep solution" Good luck to you.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

I agree...letting a child "cry it out" is so silly and does not make sense during a child's attachment phase. You may want to read the NO Cry Sleep Solution. You haven't done anything "wrong" because what is the right way? Look at women in other countries and those in tribal communities...they breastfeed their babies all the time when needed. They do not put their children down for the first few months of life...literally. Their kids turn out just fine.From everything you wrote...I see nothing wrong with what you are doing and you are doing what comes natural to a mother. You may hear a lot of people say that kids need to cry it out...this is a new phenomenom in this century. You can also read "The Happiest Baby on the Block." That book is more about colic but it also has some good stuff in there. Remember that scientifically - sleeping through the night is considered five hours of consistent sleep. I have a nine month old who sleeps for only 6 hours at a shot...while very frustrating...VERY FRUSTRATING...this is something that we are going to get through. My 2 year old slept through the night at 4 weeks so this is a shock to me. We have this idea of what is typical and what babies "should" do. Every child is different. It sounds to me like you are a good mom. Hang in there!

2 moms found this helpful

The same thing happened to me, and it was all due to teething. He wanted to nurse practically all night, because it felt good on his gums. I let him and was worried he was going into old habits, but his sleep pattern returned to normal once the teeth were through.

1 mom found this helpful

The fact is that you can realistically continue doing things this way. You say that you have been doing so many things with your baby "wrong", yet you continue to do them...the reason why you continue to do them is because you are a mother who is listening to her instincts. We have our instincts for a reason: survival. The 'cry it out' method is not conducive to survival for an infant and for us mothers it feels like torture to hear our babies screaming (because it is actually torture, in my opinion). The only things I think need changing in your life is for the people around you to work on making you feel better about the wonderful parenting you have been doing thus far, along with the encouragement to continue on the right path. I will not be encouraging you today or any other day to put your son in his crib and make him cry it out because that is not going to strengthen your bond with him and it will not help him in the long run. I would however like to suggest that if you are not already, try cosleeping with your baby. He will move into a 'big boy bed' with no problems by the time he is big enough for it, and you will both get better sleep in the meantime Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

First off, ask yourself if you're really unhappy with his sleep habits, or if it's quite ok with you. We slept with our first son in our bed until he was 3 1/2 because that's where we could all get sleep...and we were actually told by my doctor (I was pregnant) to GET THAT BOY out of the bed...but it worked for us, so we left it as it was. If you're ok with his sleep, then it's working.

If you're not...my boys have been horrible sleepers--up multiple times a night, for years. I quit night-nursing last, not first. My oldest didn't sleep through the night until 3 1/2, and we're still working on #2! But...what we learned from #1--he has a very hard time relaxing himself to sleep. He only started sleeping through the night at 3 1/2 because we asked him to--he was old enough to wake up and think, "Do I really need mom and dad? Or do I need to go back to sleep?" Our baby will cry and cry and rile himself up horribly--there is no crying it out. We always snuggle him and cuddle him to sleep, praying he'll stay asleep for 2 hours! We've learned to "wean" him from this very, very slowly. For example: he still snuggles with us, but gets a bottle of water, not nursing, at night...then he snuggles with daddy on the couch, not in our bed. Then he goes down in his crib when he wakes up the first time...then he sleeps in his crib more and more...like I said, it took us 3 1/2 years to figure it out with #1, and it was hard, because it boiled down to him really not knowing how to self-soothe. Books assume children will learn it themselves, but we had to actively teach it to our oldest--once he was old enough to understand. Sometimes we're grateful for our snuggly children, and sometimes it drives us nuts...but it's the way it is, for us, and we still love our children and they're very happy!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,

I recently heard Harvey Karp, MD speak. he is the author of The Happiest Baby On the Block and he has some good suggestions for helping with this issue. He was fabulous! I suggest you read his book and DVD - I bet your library has it in stock.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,

Honey, I think you're being too hard on yourself. Everyone's child is different. What works for some won't work for all. Follow your heart and your gut. You know your baby and you have to do what you think is best. Trust yourself.

It does sound like your baby is working on teeth. We're going through this right now with our second baby (who was sleeping well and now is not) and we have discovered that a dose of tylenol before bed the last two nights have really helped him feel more comfortable and sleep through the night. I will also nurse him at night during this difficult phase to help comfort him, since he's clearly in pain. We'll worry about patterns later.

Take all of our advice and all of the books with a grain of salt. Know that you know your baby and your family best.

Very best wishes to you! Hope you get some sleep. Sleep-deprivation makes everything seem harder.

1 mom found this helpful

A.,
Please read this book because it might help you. I am reading it at the moment and it has been very helpful. "The no-cry sleep solution" Good luck to you.

1 mom found this helpful

I don' know if this will help but here' what I think.

Pick him up. Nurse him. Comfort him.

If a baby is crying there's a reason. I did (and still do) those same things with our son who now turned 1. When he cried, I would pick him up and nurse him to comfort him. For the first 8 months of his life he napped either in my arms or on our couch in the living room. At night, he would sleep in our bed so he would feel more calm. He now sleeps in his crib for the most part, however, when he wakes up at night I pull him into bed with us and nurse him back to sleep. Then I place him back in his crib. He does nap extremely well in his crib now and has for a few months already.

By letting him "cry it out" you are sending him signals that scare him and make him feel unsafe. If your heart is telling you to pick him up, then do it. If he wants to nurse, then do it. You are building a lifelong connection during these early years.

Our son is a very well adjusted boy. He goes to church nursery and plays with others fine. He is not spoiled and seems to be better adjusted to dealing with things that come his way than others his age. He can play wonderfully by himself or with others (except his sister.... LOL)

Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.