7 Month Old Not Sleeping Through the Night Yet....

Updated on July 20, 2008
L.H. asks from Braselton, GA
30 answers

Help! My 7 month old daughter will still not sleep through the night. She goes to bed around 8-8:30 and still wakes up at least once during the night. We do not give her a bottle when she wakes up. We do let her cry for a few minutes and then we go give her her pacifier. We have tried just letting her cry but then she gets so worked up and cries for hours without wearing herself out! She doesn't take long naps during the day so I don't think she is getting too much sleep during the day. My husband and I are in desperate need of getting her to sleep through the night and we do not know what else to do. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!!

** A little change to the above - she does take two naps a day, one in the morning for at least 2 hours, the other in the afternoon that usually lasts about an hour to two hours. Also, I do not continuously let her cry for hours, everyone told me to let her 'cry it out' and that she would eventually fall asleep, I threw that in here to show that I have already tried that method. I am not a horrible mom that doesn't tend to my baby like some responses have made it seem. Please if you don't truly have any advice then please keep your thoughts to yourself. After reading the intial repsonses I was in tears, thank you to the ladies with encouraging responses.

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So What Happened?

Well after listening and taking to heart all the adivce I have received there are several areas I am going to try to improve on. Hopefully within the next few months we will have my daughter getting excellent sleep. Thank you everyone for the advice!!

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K.H.

answers from Atlanta on

Don't worry. I know it's tiring but, most babies aren't sleeping through the night at this age. My son was 9 months before he started sleeping through the night regularly. Now he's 26 months and still wakes up every once in a while for comfort. It gets better but I know you're exhausted.

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C.P.

answers from Charleston on

My son didn't start sleeping through the night until after his 1st birthday. I think some babies are just legitimately hungry when they wake up. He started sleeping after he weaned himself from breastfeeding at about 14 months. All babies are different but 7 months is still awfully young. I always snarled at the moms who had babies who started sleeping through at 3 weeks! Haha

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H.R.

answers from Myrtle Beach on

Like other moms have said, she's only 7 months old. I have 2 kids. 3 and 5 and they still have nights when they wake up. EVERY child is completely differant. They will sleep through the nighi when they are ready. As frustrating as this is, I guess it's just part of parenthood. I am finally just starting to get a good nights rest and I'm going to have another baby in a couple weeks. So I sypathize with you!! Hang in there it'll get better.

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D.M.

answers from Atlanta on

Hi L.,

I also have a 7 month old daughter and she too goes down at 8pm and then sleeps until 7am. So I thought I would let you know what we do to see if it may help you out. We feed her stage 2 foods around dinner time 5-6 and then she takes a 6oz. bottle between 7-7:30pm and then her bath and bedtime routine. We put her to bed in her crib awake and she either rolls over and goes right to sleep or plays for a bit and goes to sleep depending on her day. We put her to sleep with her blanket and pacifer, she soothes herself with the blanket by rubbing it on her face. Which helps if she wakes up in he middle of the night. I would say that maybe she is going through a growth spurt and may need a little more to eat. Try giving her more before you put her down at night. There were times when I felt I was stuffing my child with too much food, but she is happy, healthly and sleeps great and the doctor says she doing great. So follow your gut and keep your chin up you are doing a wonderful job! Let me know how things work out for you...

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J.J.

answers from Augusta on

Hey L.,
I read all the responses and everyone is right. At that age, they should be getting as much sleep as possible. It really does sound like your little one is getting up at night because she is hungry. Imagine how simple it will be if that is all that is wrong. You get up, make a bottle, feed, burp and put back to sleep. If that is all it is, then you are so lucky. I have two and they both still got a bottle sometimes during the middle of the night. Neither one of my kids were down to one nap a day until they were about two years old. They either got a really long nap or would have two separate naps. Overstimulating a child will cause problems with sleep. It causes a child to jerk in their sleep and scare themselves awake or sometimes cause them to have bad sleep dreams. Some little ones can have them early. Don't try to make your little one grow up so fast. Enjoy your little one! My youngest is three and she still gets up in the middle of night because she wants to be closer to me. And I still get up and take her back to her room and lay with her for about ten minutes to get back to sleep and then go back to my bed. It is hard and tiring but it has to be done! Good Luck to both of you and remember to think positively around your little one. They know.

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J.I.

answers from Atlanta on

MAMAS, YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES! IF YOU DON'T HAVE SOMETHING NICE TO SAY DON'T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL!

Please don't be discouraged by all these moms basically laughing in your face. I am sorry that you came here for a bit of help and advice and instead entered into a hostile environment. Mamasource is supposed to be a place where we can go and never feel stupid or judged for asking a question. Also you shouldn't be stuck with what they all have to deal with. If you want your infant to sleep through the night then you should be getting suggestions to help with that not berated for the desire because let's face it ladies we all want the same thing. That being said...

Both of my children slept through the night before 7 months and both were breast fed. Some tricks, make sure that your baby has really good naps, it sounds counterintuitive but the better they sleep during the day the better they sleep at night. Also be sure that your night time routine is consistent and very soothing. (i.e. dinner at 5, play until 6:30, cereal at 6:30, bath, book, bottle/breast, song, to bed by 8:00) I know this sounds like a lot but it will definitely help and is just an example. If this doesn't work you can try taking the bedtime back to 7:30. Another tactic if she wakes in the night is to get up after about 2-3minutes of her being awake, going in and giving her the pacifier but don't pick her up just reassure her in a low soothing tone and pat her for a bit then go back to bed, if this doesn't work go back in and do the process again but don't talk to her, finally just go in a give her the pacifier and go back out until she falls asleep. This method provides the comfort without her getting out of bed. It will take several sessions like this and you will be very exhausted but it will be worth it in the end when you have a baby that sleeps through the night. Also know that some babies really do need to eat more during the night so if that is the case then you might just be stuck with feeding her until her stomach is big enough to hold the food she needs during the night. However since you are not feeding her now that is probably not the case and you have a great chance of getting her to sleep all night long!

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N.L.

answers from Atlanta on

she's only seven months old. She's not supposed to be sleeping through the night. She's telling you she's needs something, Please, please feed your child when she wakes up! Don't ignore her cries for help, she needs you.
Most babies don't sleep through the night until they are two.

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B.L.

answers from Atlanta on

My kid is 2 1/2 and she still wakes up once in the night. Usually around midnight. She has a pooh bear that makes soothing music and helps her go back to sleep....

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S.D.

answers from Sumter on

i never really had this problem both my boys started sleeping all through the night early on. But when they do wake up at nights with a nightmare or so i give them alittle bit of milk, and that helps. Another thing i would suggest is dont let her take the two naps. just let her take the one in the afternoon. Its seems that shes getting to much sleep during the day. after you give her dinner try i bedtime routine bath storie then bed something along those lines. I learned that was the best thing with my boys. hope it works for you to.

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J.S.

answers from Savannah on

My 12 month old wakes up in the middle of the night for a bottle... I let him have it. He holds it himself, snuggles in and when he is finished goes back to sleep. I know all the risks for his teeth, but for now this works and I am not in a hurry to change it. He is happy and that is all that matters for me. I figure he will stop when he is ready.

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A.B.

answers from Atlanta on

I'm amazed at the number of moms who responded and said that their little ones still don't sleep through the night! I must be very lucky! My little one had a hard first four months, but it seems like from the first day she slept through the night she always has unless she was sick or had a bad dream. My daughter wore a helmet at 8 mnths and she slept through the night even with it on! I don't have much to add, but be sure to keep a good bedtime routine that is not over stimulating. Do you have any type of music box or something that "tells" her that it's time to go to bed. My daughter is four and still has to have her music. She also has to have her lovey--her blankie. You are doing the right thing by not feeding her. Someone responded and said not to pick her up or talk to her, just pat her for reassurance and give her her pacifier if that soothes her. If she continues, give her five minutes to "cry it out" and go back in. If she is able to stand, kiss her and lay her back down. It will take at least 3 days to see a change, but it will happen.

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A.P.

answers from Atlanta on

Our children didn't sleep through the night until they were about a year old. We put one daughter's crib next to ours, so that when she woke up, I could just reach through, and pat her back to sleep. She'll get the hang of it; crying it out will only cause more problems, so I wouldn't go that route. Good luck!!

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A.A.

answers from Atlanta on

My little girl is 7 months aas well and started getting up in the middle of the night every few nights. We have discovered that she doesn't like having pee-pee in her diaper. She doesn't like to sleep with a blanket, so her hiney must get cold when it has pee-pee on it. I change her diaper and put her back in her bed. She doesn't get a bottle either. She will play with the few toys I put in the bed with her (nothing that will choke her or hurt her) and go back to sleep. She also doesn't take but maybe 2 little naps a day and she sleeps 10-12 hours a night. She has been sleeping through the night since she was 2 months. She has just started doing this this past week. I don't take advice from the baby books because ev efry baby is different and its what works for your baby!!! Not sure it will help you, but it could be something as simple as that! By the way your not a horrible mom...your a concerned mom...people can be so rude sometimes!

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M.D.

answers from Atlanta on

L.,
I think it sounds like she is over tired. If she's not napping she could just be so tired. At her age, she should be taking a morning nap (1-2 hours) and another one in the afternoon (2-3 hours). Is there a reason she won't nap? Have you tried just laying her in her crib and putting herself to sleep? I'm a firm believer of this and sometimes the "tough mom" to my friends.
I also had a child that didn't sleep through the night until about 9 months...sorry! We took her to the doctor thinking it was reflux because she would wake up the same time every night and not fall back asleep. Some nights we would be up a few hours with her and others it was 10 min. It just varied. We got to the point that we kept a food diary and were to try medicine when someone suggested putting something in her crib that was mine...like my t-shirt that I wore to bed.
Sure enough...it was all anxiety!!!! She has slept through the night ever since! I gave her my t-shirt that I had worn the night before and she went right to sleep and I didn't hear a sound out of her. I would switch it every other night with another t-shirt that I had worn and eventually (after about a week) switched the t-shirt for a blanket. Some kids just need that "thing" to make them feel secure. My son never had anything like this (stuff animal, blanket, etc.) so this was all new to me.

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A.L.

answers from Atlanta on

L.,
I feel your pain!!! My daughter is 8 1/2 months old and we are having the most awful time with her sleep habits at night!! She used to fall asleep fine and then wake up around 12/1am. Then, she would stay awake sometimes for an hour, maybe two!! Now, we are having trouble getting her to fall asleep. We have tried letting her cry it out also and it is awful!! Pure torture and it does not work for us, either. Tylenol is good, but don't count on it making her sleep and you cannot use it all the time. I am glad to know we are not alone, but it is hard just the same. One thing we try which works sometimes when she wakes is this:

have a bottle made
go to her but do not talk to her or engage really
change her diaper
give her the bottle
soothe her a bit then back in the bed

Sometimes this works for us. Oh, and do not cut naps out. Napping babies sleep better than non nappers, for the most part. Good luck!! A.

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J.G.

answers from Atlanta on

no real advice...just writing to say that it can be developmentally normal to still wake once or twice at this age. then again, my two year old still doesn't sleep through a lot of nights.... i know it is hard, but it will pass eventually. good luck. hopefully some mommas here will have more useful advice for you...

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T.P.

answers from Atlanta on

At this age, babies need two good (1-3 hours) naps. It sounds crazy, but a baby who doesn't nap well during the day will not sleep well at night either. You should read Dr. Weissbluth's book, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. It explains the biology behind our sleep patterns and gives you great advice for helping your child sleep better. Both of mine were sleeping through the night by 8 weeks and they have always taken great naps because I respected their need for sleep. Good luck!

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A.B.

answers from Spartanburg on

L.,

I bought a book called The Sleep Easy Solution: Sleep Guide From Birth to 5 Years by Jennifer Waldburger and Jill Spivack. It has helped us tremendously in getting our infant sleep trained. One of the problems it talks about is if your child is not getting enough sleep throughout the day then they will not sleep well at night.."Sleep begets sleep." Sounds like it should be opposite but it's not. According to this book, infants between 6-9 months should sleep 2-3 hours a day made up in 2-3 naps. I found that Ava (my daughter) was not sleeping enough during the day and this was hampering her sleeping well at night. It also teaches you how to put your child on a sleep schedule both for naps and nighttime. It is a great resource. Good luck!

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B.

answers from Augusta on

She's only 7 months old. Its actually pretty comman for a 7 month old to still be waking at night. My son didnt stop night waking until he was a year, my daughter didnt have a single night w/o waking until she was almost 3 and I have done nothing different with them. Kids sleep through the night when they are ready. If you're looking for a book, " The no cry sleep solution" by Elizabeth Pantley is a good one. Some babies dont need as much sleep as the text books say, just like some people dont need as much sleep.

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A.P.

answers from Atlanta on

Put her to bed later than 8 or 8:30. Keep her up until 9:30 or even 10.

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B.W.

answers from Myrtle Beach on

I would not expect a 7 month old to sleep through. I have a seven month old and often am up 3 or so times during the night with him. Of course, he is breastfeeding and only eats 1-2 meals of other food during the day, so he's goingt o digest fsaster and therefore be hungry sooner than a bottle baby. However, one feeding during the night sounds very normal for a 7 month old on formula. This is my fourth child and they have all been different, but none were regularly sleeping through the night at 7 months. In fact my forst was still breastfeedig every 2-3 hours religiously at that age. You could set a clock by him. So, I would say if she waking b/c she's hungry (which you would know by if she takes a bottle happily, eats it all and then falls right back asleep) then feed her and be glad you are only getting up for one feeding! Really that's not bad. :) I don't mean to be harsh, just amused. These are the joys of motherhood. Sleep? Who needs sleep???

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D.H.

answers from Charleston on

Hi L.! I don't want to sound too harsh, but get use to getting up in the middle of the night, and sometimes more than once! It's part of being a mom. My daughter is 2 yrs old now and she still wakes occassionaly. Usually it is something like an ear infection, bad dream, etc. At 7 months old, your daughter probably is hungry. Mine breastfed until 1 year and she did sleep thorugh the night some, but the breast always got her back to sleep. It's tough, but it does get easier. Tonight, try giving her a bottle while rocking her, once she falls asleep, lay her down and go back to sleep. If she wakes again, give her the paci. She will probably fall right back asleep if she is not hungry. Good luck. D. H

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S.M.

answers from Atlanta on

It's not typical for a 7 month old to sleep through the night. Some occasionally do, but they are definitely in the minority. Furthermore, the number of night awakenings change with the babies age. In studies with a large number of infants, it was found that the number of babies waking up at night decreased from birth to 6 months, and then increased from 6 months to a year before starting to decline again.

The kellymom webiste has this to say about infant sleep:

"Probably one of the main reasons that babies who don't sleep through the night are such a big issue is that parents don't have realistic expectations of the sleep patterns of babies. Babies were designed to wake up often at night to feed and cuddle, and keep in mind that many adults wake during the night, too. If our expectations for babies were not so different from our babies' expectations for themselves, much of this "problem" might disappear."

To give you an idea of what's considered typical, here's the results of an infant sleep study: In this study, part of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Pregnancy and Childhood (ALSPAC), researchers surveyed the parents of 640 babies. Some of the results:

Only 16% slept through the night at six months old -- 84% were not sleeping through the night at 6 months, 17% woke more than once per night, ranging from twice to eight times
5% woke once every night
9% woke most nights
50% woke occasionally
16% of six-month-olds had no regular sleeping pattern
========
In another study,
"Most infants woke during the night at all ages observed. (3, 6, 9, as 12 months) Younger infants tended to require parental intervention at night to return to sleep, whereas older infants exhibited a greater proportion of self-soothing after nighttime awakenings. However, even in the 12-month-old group, 50% of infants typically required parental intervention to get back to sleep after waking. Results emphasize the individual and contextual factors that effect the development of self-soothing behavior during the first year of life.

Another study found (among other things) that: "It is not until after 24 months that regular night waking (requiring attention) becomes much less common."

http://www.kellymom.com/parenting/sleep/sleepstudies.html
===============================================
When my babies woke up in the middle of the night, I would nurse them back to sleep and put them back in the bassinet near my bed. When they were older, I put their crib mattress on the floor near my bed, and them I could lie next to them and nurse them back to sleep. (Or snuggle them to sleep as I do my older one when he wakes up in the middle of the night.) And yeah, whether it was feedings, or illness, or bad dreams, or just restlessness, it was a loooong time, a couple of years, before they consistently slept all night long without a peep.

Now, I'm not saying you're bad or mean - but I believe that "When you KNOW better, you DO better." And if "everyone" has been telling you to let her cry it out, you should know that there's plenty of research on infant sleep that suggests otherwise. "Sleep-training", especially when it involves ignoring the babies cries, is quite controversial, and many studies have shown that the "cry it out" technique is harmful and has long-term effects. (This is not my opinion, this is peer-reviewed research from our top medical schools. Just google for "cry it out harmful" and you'll see what I mean). Again, I don't think you are bad - following advice from other moms, even if it turns out to be awful advice, does not make *you* bad, OK?

The good news is there are lots of gentle, nurturing alternatives, and you won't have that lingering doubt, that conflicted feeling about whether you're doing the best thing for your child. My mother once said that when you're making decisions about your children, you ought to act in a way that will make you feel proud of your decisions 20 years later. She still feels guilty about every little thing she did wrong 40 years ago, (like not nursing us at all) - even if that's what everyone did.
http://www.kellymom.com/parenting/sleep/sleep.html

Sweet dreams!

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G.M.

answers from Columbia on

If she is only waking up once in the night I'd say you are lucky, but please don't let her cry for hours, that's not solving anything for her except causing anxiety and stress. She clearly is having a problem and whatever it is you need to fix it if you can. That's your responsibility as her mom or dad, she has no other way of solving her problems except through you guys. Maybe seeing you, feeling you, and smelling you near her, that's why the t-shirt thing works so well. The other thought I have is, is she being played with too agressively, like being thrown up in the air, tickling, jostling, etc. too much before she goes to bed? If so then I can guarantee you that she is over stimulated or even scared, which parents think is funny, but causes fear to the baby or child, thus a fitfull night of sleep. Quiet, calm is the way to go with any kid an hour before bedtime no matter what. The whole house needs to slow down at this time so everybody can sleep well. Good luck on that one, but you can make it happen.

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K.C.

answers from Macon on

My son is not as old as your daugther but he wakes up at least once a nite too. I give him his bottle and he burp him and he usely falls back to sleep. So try giving her a bottle and see what she does. I'm a first time mom so im learning r i ask family memeber.

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M.C.

answers from Charleston on

I know this isn't what you want to hear, but mine didn't sleep through the night until about 13 months old. We tried every technique on the market until we finally accepted that she would do it when she was ready and one night she did and then every night thereafter. At the time it seemed like all of our friends with babies had great sleepers and ours wasn't, so we thought we were doing something wrong. Just like every adult is different, so is every baby. Ours does not require as much sleep as her peers (still--and she's 2 now). My husband and I used to trade off nights so we would at least each get a full night's sleep every other night. I know what you're going through and how it seems like you will never sleep normally again, but just trust me in knowing that you will and this will quickly become a distant (and, believe it or not, fond) memory. Good luck and hang in there!

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M.G.

answers from Atlanta on

Go get the book,"Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. It explains how children need to go to bed earlier than we may think so they get into a deeper, more relaxed state of sleep that allows them to sleep better and longer. It seems counterintuitive, but it worked for both of my daughters. She's not getting up to eat, since you are not feeding her, but she needs help soothing herself. I highly recommend that book I mentioned. It worked for me and for my friend. All four of our kids sleep great. Good luck!

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P.S.

answers from Macon on

You are on the right track of getting her to sleep through the night by letting her wake up on her own. I have read of parents who set clocks for the night feedings, that won't encourage your baby to sleep through the night. I'm sorry but it looks like your daughter hasn't quite reached the point of sleeping through the night, but it shouldn't be too much longer. If she cries for more than 10 minutes, then she probably is hungry and needs a bottle. Just remember that you are not alone in having to get up through the night with your daughter.
Onyx

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F.T.

answers from Athens on

Hi L., I have 11 month old twins and they wake once during the night around 50% of the time to nurse. They go to sleep around 7:30-7:45 and get up anytime from 6:30 - 8:00. We only let them cry it out if they try to get us up to eat more than once, which is very rare. One of my girls would most likely sleep through the night all the time, but the other does wake about half the nights to nurse, so she wakes as well. When I nurse them on these nights, they always eat good, which tells me they are hungry. I have debated what to do, but decided to continue to allow them to feed this one time for a little while longer. I just go to bed a little earlier so I get plenty of sleep. I can't say I won't be glad when they are sleeping through the night 100% of the time, but it is far better than 3 times a night, which we went through for months! All that to say, I do think every baby is different, and if you have tried letting her cry it out for several nights and it is not working, maybe she really does need that mid-night feeding. When I went for my twins 9 month well check, my ped and nurse didn't think it strange at all that they were getting up once to nurse during the long nights. I wish I could think of other options for you- maybe you got some other good advice! Best of luck to you, and I'm sure it will work itself out soon, these babies have a way of doing that! F.

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C.G.

answers from Atlanta on

It could be teething pain. Ask your pediatrician about infant tylenol. I knew I had figured out it was teething with my daughter when she would wake up within 5 hours of having tylenol because the pain was back. If the pacifier calms her, then she's not hungry, just wanting comfort. Please ask your pediatrician about whether or not your baby needs to be fed in the middle of the night. It varies depending on size, health, etc.
Good luck!