April 13, 2009,
K.W. asks from Corpus Christi, TX on April 10, 2009
Sleeping Through the Night - 6 Months
My daughter is 6 months old. We went for her check up today, and I told the doctor that she is still getting up 3-4 times every night. The doctor told me that he believes this is a habit. He suggested that when she wakes up, I let her cry it out. I'm not a huge fan of this, but I am willing to give it a try. I have been so exhausted that everyone in my house is beginning to suffer. My question is what exactly constitutes "sleeping through the night" for a 6 month old? I put her to bed between 7:30 and 8:00 at night and with the way things are currently, she usually sleeps until anywhere from 7 to 9 AM (with her getting up 3-4 times during that time). I have a hard time believing that I should expect her to sleep for 12 to 14 hours at this age. Please help me understand what I should expect from her!! TIA!!
S.W. answers from Wichita Falls on April 11, 2009
Most mom's would disagree with me, but I say co-sleep. I did this with both my kids and they slept through the night since 2 months old with only 1 nightly feeding. My daughter is 2 now and she converted to her bed at 18 months with no problems. My son is 3 months old and only wakes up 1 time. I can't remember ever missing much sleep doing it this way.
I strongly disagree with the cry it out method.....6 months is still too young to try it anyway.
V.B. answers from Dallas on April 11, 2009
You didn't say whether you are nursing or not. Sometimes they go through a growth spurt and need to be nursed during the night. Also, if you let her cry it out, what does thsi say to a 6 month old about your loving care of her needs, even if it is just to know someone is there and they care. Thsi to shall pass. Love her and nurse or soothe and sleep when you can. You are the mother, not the doctor. And no, not all babies sleep thfough the night at that age, yet.
Also, their tummys are not ready for cereal or solids until about 11 months, mother's milk is all they need, not even water, as your milk has water in it. And so many babies are lactose intolerant, even if you eat dairy while nursing, it can cause colic and extreem upset tummies in babies, not to mention rash, etc.
Love them while they are here and let go when they are grown.
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D.C. answers from Austin on April 11, 2009
Believe it or not, at that age babies ARE expected to sleep that long. They really need good sleep, since so much brain development is going on (doesn't happen again until their teenage years)!
With our son, he would get about 14 - 15 hours of sleep a night, which broke down as anywhere from 10 to occasionally 12 hours at night (8 pm until 6 or 7 am usually, with the occasional 8 am wake-up) and anywhere from 2 to 3 naps of 1 - 1 1/2 hours each!!
Once he was eating solids, we would give him a final milk feeding, then give him his solids (at 5 months, he started rice cereal, then moved on to oatmeal---much better re: keeping him regular---and veggies by the time he was 6 months old).
Once we were feeding him his solids, we knew that any wake up was not from hunger, so we would just go in and change a diaper, if needed, or soothe him with some back-rubbing in his crib. If we couldn't get him to go back to sleep, we knew he was also teething at 6 months old, so we'd give him some Motrin infant drops and he would go back to sleeping "like a baby" ;-)
I hope this helps!
*** Addition to my original response --- we also gave him Mylicon with each feeding during the day (every 3 - 4 hours) and his final feeding at night. He was a pretty gassy baby and that probably helped him sleep through the night, too! Good luck!
N.M. answers from Dallas on April 11, 2009
As someone else said, all babies are different, and I think it's very unfair to say that all six month olds should be sleeping through the night! My oldest soon, who's now 4, slept through the night (8pm-7am) by 8 weeks, but my youngest (who's 2 now) didn't consistently sleep that long until he was a year old! With my first, I obsessed over what he was "supposed" to do - what the books said, what the internet said, what friends said. With my second, who has the same parents, the same schedule, the same toys, books, etc., I have realized that no matter what we do, kids don't all behave the same way! I was lucky not to have to use the cry it out method with my first because he slept well on his own. I tried it with my second sometime during the first year (I don't remember when - the first year was a blur because I was so tired!), and I just couldn't do it. I'm not judging people who use the method and find that it works for them, but I couldn't relax knowing my child was crying for me. He woke up 2, 3 or even 4 times a night for the first year, and either I or my husband always rocked him back to sleep. Sometimes I nursed him too, but he many times he was clearly not hungry; he just wanted the comfort of touch.
I guess my only advice is: do what makes you feel most comfortable. If you don't want to let her cry it out, don't! She WILL eventually sleep through the night, whether it's next week or in a few months. Good luck!
L.S. answers from Austin on April 13, 2009
My son is 6 months and he totally sleeps through the night! It is very possible! He goes down at 8 and doesn't make a peep again until 7 am. He is on a schedule all day and we have a bed time routine which I think really helps him. All babies are different but I wouldnt think she needs to eat 3 or 4 times during the night. It doesnt hurt them to cry it out a bit and it will be better for you in the long run! Good Luck!
C.T. answers from Dallas on April 11, 2009
I think sleeping through the night means the last feeding being around 11 at night and waking in the morning around 5. Both my children did sleep through the night by 6 months, but I know many who did not. Waking 3-4 times does seem a bit much though, I would think she might wake once. You didn't say whether you breast or bottle feed or if you even give her a bottle when she wakes, but I'm assuming you do. Since I didn't breastfeed at this age, I really don't know about that area, but if you are feeding her formula, she should be getting close to sleeping through the night. Does she eat solids? I would definetly start her on some, if not. I would make sure she eats a bowl of cereal for her last meal and that you give her a full bottle around 10 or 11 each night before you or your husband goes to bed. I do not believe in letting a child cry it out either. So, I would never go that route. If she wakes during the night and drinks from a bottle give her a smaller and smaller amount in her bottle. If you normally give her 6 oz. at night, reduce it to 5 for a few nights, then to 4 and so on to wean her off that bottle. How do you put her to sleep-rock her or just put her in her bed? If you rock her to sleep, rock her until she is very sleepy, but not asleep and lay her down, so she is falling asleep on her own. Eventually, you will be able to put her down when she is a just a little sleepy without her crying. It is a long slow process, but to me better than having my baby cry it out for long periods of time. Good luck and do what you feel is right for your daughter. and above all be consistent.
J. answers from Dallas on April 11, 2009
I guess it depends how how much she is eating at a feeding. My 2nd son has always eaten so much at a time and sleeps through the night. He is 4 months old (formula fed). He eats 8 ounces at a feeding. I put him to bed at 7:00 and wake him up around 10:30 PM. He then sleeps until 8:00AM.
Now if she only eats 3 -4 ounces, she will likely need to eat throughout the night. If she is getting enough food throughout the day, then don't feed her at night. IF she isn't, then you do what you think is best.
Our first son woke up a lot and we ran in there every time. It's hard with the first baby to know what to do. Find a good book that you agree with on sleep and try to follow it. There are lots of different ones for the different parenting styles.
S.T. answers from Dallas on April 11, 2009
I would encourage you to not fall into the lies of the cry it out method. Go get Dr. Sears book on sleep. You'll have a much happier child when they are older.
A.T. answers from Dallas on April 11, 2009
They are definitely capable of sleeping 10-12 hours without getting up. My child did. He still sleeps 11.5 hours and he's 11.5 months old.