Almost 7 Month Old Sleep and Eating Issues

Updated on January 29, 2009
A.D. asks from Mokelumne Hill, CA
15 answers

My baby girl is about a week shy of 7 months old,she is very healthy(21Lb),breastfed, and just got her first tooth.

My first question is about sleep. Her schedule is a little loose but consistent it basically go's:
7am wake & nurse
diaper,naked tummy time,play,eat food
9:30am nap (if lucky hour sleep)
10:30am wake,nurse,diaper,play
1pm nap (if lucky hour sleep)
2pm wake,nurse,diaper,play
5pm mini(20-30) cat nap
6:30pm bath,eat,massage,play
7:30pm rock & sing to sleep
8:30pm in crib

Ok the problem is: we have to rock her to sleep & a lot of the time she wakes up when we lay her down and the whole process starts over again-weather it is night time or day nap time. If we hold her and rock or if I wear her she will sleep for hours. During the night she sleeps in a bedside co-sleeper - she wakes up all night long, sometimes I can pat her and roll her over and she will fall back to sleep. Most of the time I pull her into bed and she nurses for a couple minutes and falls back to sleep.

She does not self soothe at all- never took a pacifier or suck her thumb.
I really can not handle the cry it out method. Does anyone have any effective techniques for getting a kid like mine to sleep on their own??????

My second question is about eating solids. I started feeding her at 6 months.
First rice cereal which constipated her. -She did not really like
Then I gave her prune baby food, which got everything moving again.-seemed to like
Then Oatmeal cereal with a little peach -liked for a couple nights then did not want
Then Winter Squash- same thing liked for a couple nights
Then Oatmeal cereal with a little apple sauce- same thing now seems uninterested.
Everything I tried I have done only it for a few days. It seems like at first she wanted to eat, but the last couple weeks she does not want to eat and even gags and spits. I have backed off and stopped feeding her the past couple days.

I am still breast feeding so I am not worried about her thriving but I really want her to learn to eat and stay in a routine.

Does anyone have any experience with their baby eating - then stopping?
thank you in advance for any input.

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answers from Sacramento on

may you could get a swing some of them have both a seat and a bed to swing them in may be she likes the movement and she would already be laying down so she would stay a sleep the wind up so it woud swing byits self. my daughter would not take a pasifer either but she had a favor blanket and would not sleep with out it. may you can sread out the naps let her set a schedule for one nap am maybe one pm. well good luck S.

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answers from San Francisco on

I don't have my copy handy to give you specifics, but the book The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems has approaches for dealing with sleep, schedule and eating issues. She does not advocate crying it out, but I think we ended up with something closer to a Supernanny approach of sitting near the crib when we had sleep issues (my kids slept through the night from 3 months on after using the Baby Whisperer book) then moving away and/or decreasing how long we sat there. Also, the book Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron had some good info on introducing solids. I don't recall if your specific issue was in there though.
Best of luck whatever you try,

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answers from San Francisco on

Your daughter needs to be "weaned" from the rocking. My suggestion would be to - over the course of a month or so - decrease the amount of rocking/snuggling before sleeping by a minute a week until it is just a token snuggle before bed. If she squeaks, definitely go in and reassure her, but don't pick her up.

As far as food, your daughter may not like "mushy" stuff. My daughter never did. She went straight to soft foods. You might try putting extra well-cooked bits of food on your plate, then let her see you take them from your plate and give them to her.

Good Luck,

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answers from San Francisco on

The answer to both questions is: this too shall pass. Your daughter is totally normal! I have a 3-month-old and a 20 month-old, and I remember a stage where my older one did a lot of waking up at night--probably right around 7 months. You're handling it right, just ride it out. Same for the eating. At this age, you're providing the nutrition. Food is just an experiment. If she's not interested, let her take the lead on it. And maybe don't bother with the cereal. At mealtimes, put her wherever you feed her (high chair, etc) and give her a few very first finger foods--cheerios or some such to play with. She'll let you know when she wants more! My daughter wasn't much interested in baby food--she wanted what Mommy & Daddy had--so she got refried beans and guacamole and little tastes of whatever we were eating. At 20 months, she eats everything from avocadoes to anchovies--and loves trying new stuff.

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answers from Fresno on

You have gotten her into this method of rocking to sleep now you have to sleep train her to go to sleep just laying her in her crib. She will cry but it is the only way to break the cycle. Be strong and consistent even for naps. At 7 mos she can begin finger foods and the different consistencies so start her with some table foods and things she can pick up and eat.



answers from Sacramento on

Hi A.,
I have 2 book recommendations for you. Both are usually available at your local bookstore or Amazon and maybe even your local library. "Baby 411" by Ari Brown M.D. and Denise Fields. Great book for all things baby. They also wrote a follow up addition "Toddler 411". Easy to read for us sleep deprived Moms & Dads. Next for sleep issues - "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Marc Weissbluth M.D. Don't worry once you get one problem solved something else will happen to upset the routine :)



answers from San Francisco on

As for sleeping, I will second the recommendation of "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Mark Weisbluth (sp?). I was an extrememly helpful book and helped us with our baby when we couldn't get him to sleep without rocking him. We used the techniques and wisdom of this book with him and later our younger kids and it was salvation!

Good luck!



answers from San Francisco on

Hi, about the "self soothing" I am working on this too and have had some success. Your child's sleep patterns sound about right. It's when you sit her down the trouble starts. When my son was first born we put a "Winnie The Pooh Night Buddies" by Fisher-Price. This was a gift from his Grandparents and is a little expensive. However... he's been sleeping with it next to him since he was born and it helps him fall and stay asleep. My son is about to be 6 months old and I have removed his co-sleeper and started to put him in his crib. His crib is right next to my bed so I can still hear and see him, however with the bumper pad he cannot always see me. I was having trouble with him falling asleep when he could still see me. Also, I swaddle my son when I first put him to bed, about half way through the night after his change and feeding I loosely swaddle him so he can get out of it in the morning. In the morning he's out and playing with his binky, his hands and the "Winnie The Pooh Night Buddies". I'm not saying this is the cure to your problems but, maybe something like this approach may help you.

Now regarding the feeding, I make all my son's baby food, mostly because I can monitor what goes into it, and because it's super easy to do. You may want to try making your daughter's food if you are not already doing so. I microware the fruit or veg., add water, mix with a Cuisinart "smart stick" and there you have it... baby food. Any extra food is put into 2oz containers and frozen. My son usually turns is nose up at the first spoonful. And I usually wait and hour to feed him after I've given him a bottle. This way he's not sooo hungry and frustrated he can concentrate on eating. Hope this helps!



answers from San Francisco on

Your schedule sounds just like ours did at that age....and your stresses about sleep sound familiar, too! Just to give you some hope, my son is now 2 1/2 and has been sleeping like a champ from about 7 months when my husband and I made the changes in our sleep routines. Persevere--it's so worth it! Bedtime is now a beautiful thing!

We tried the Baby Whisperer pick up/put down thing for a while then we discovered my presence in the room made things worse. So my husband took over bedtime and night wakings. (I had already stopped nursing to sleep or during night wakings.) To this day he does any night wakings (very few and far between now) because he's always been able to get in and out in a few minutes where I'm guaranteed to be in there and hour! Anyway, it was probably closer to 3 weeks until my husband had the routine down and it was SOLID. Upstairs, get into pj's, read a couple stories, lay down in crib, tuck in and leave. Be very matter of fact and confident about it, that goes a long way. Our son would cry, we'd give him 5 minutes, my husband would go in, reassure but not linger--again, matter of fact & confident--and leave. Repeat as necessary. It seemed that the crying decreased significantly and in just a few nights we were down to light crying for maybe a minute. Then when our son was settled into the routine, I joined my husband and we still do bedtime together as often as possible.

Just remember that you're breaking a habit. It won't scar her for life. I was sure that my son felt abandoned and scared...really he was just saying he'd prefer to go back to our old habit. But in the long run you're doing the best thing: teaching her to be self-sufficient. Now our son tells us if he's tired before his normal bedtime, for naps, too. He can sleep even when we're not at home--I was amazed at the difference that made in our last vacation. I could actually relax and have fun! You can do this! Good luck!

For eating: When you add a new food, add it to the rotation of the ones you've already tried. I could be misreading but it sounds like you're doing an all or nothing thing (these 3 days it's pears, next 3 green beans, etc.) She could just be bored. When you add in a new food there's still some variety. Only add 1 NEW food a week though to keep an eye on any reactions. But also try softer versions of what you're eating. I know plenty of friends' kids that never really took to baby food.



answers from Redding on

Dear A.,
I just wanted to say a couple of things.
Neither of my kids were day nappers, but they slept all night from the time they were basically brand new.
During the day, there were simply times I had to lay them down out of necessity to take a shower or do laundry. If they dozed off, great. But if they didn't, there was nothing hurting them by laying down and not being held. Of course they fussed sometimes but I think that this whole notion of the cry it out method has gone too far sometimes. I don't see it as a "method". Letting your kid cry for a few minutes while you're trying to put some clothes on your own body will not hurt them. We only have two arms and hands. I guess what I'm trying to say is that if your baby cries, you are not automatically "using" the cry it out method. It's a matter of allowing your child to figure out that it's okay if they aren't held or picked up everytime they fuss or cry.
As far as the food thing, it sounds like your little one is happy to try new things and just gets bored with it after a few days.
Dinner time with my first baby was treacherous because she cried every single time I cooked dinner and I thought, "Why would you pick now to be so fussy when you've been perfectly happy all day?" I finally figured out that she could smell what I was cooking and the baby food stuff didn't taste at all like what she was smelling. I gave her a taste of food from my plate and that was that. She still liked cream of wheat and oatmeal, but by 7 months, she was eating scrambled eggs, chicken, fish, mashed potatoes, tater tots, green beans, steamed carrots and things she could pick up by herself. My son was the same way. I let them taste everything. And they liked everything. As long as it wasn't baby food. I take that back. My kids still liked the jarred plums, apricots and carrots.
Try giving your little one more both taste and texture of food.

As far as the sleeping thing, kids really can get themselves to sleep. You just have to get your little one used to having rest time during the day. It doesn't matter if she sleeps or wants to spend it crying, but she will have rest time. Start slowly and work your way up.
If they are used to it, it's awesome. I actually think it helps them sleep better at night. That's just my opinion. It worked with my kids and they would sleep/rest anywhere. In hotels, travelling, visiting relatives...And no fits either.

I wish you the very best!



answers from San Francisco on

Hi A.,
Sounds like our babies are very similar in age and schedule. (My son was born July 2, and is a healthy 19 pounds.)

With my daughter (almost 3), we miraculously found the SleepSense program on the internet, and it changed our lives! Dana Obleman is a child/infant sleep specialist, and she has an e-book online (best $47 I ever spent!) at her website (under the Do It Yourself options tag). We devoured that e-book, tried many of her tips (i.e. getting rid of the pacifier and moving bedtime up earlier), and my daughter miraculously slept 11 hours through the night (the first night we tried it) at 4 months old, and the naps soon fell into place, too.

From the schedule you mentioned, it all looks very similar to the one she recommends at our babies' age/stage, except bedtime should be around 7:00/7:30. What I learned with my daughter is that an earlier bedtime will actually HELP them sleep better during the night. At this age, they should be sleeping 11-12 hours through the night solid, which my son is now doing. They should be taking 2 or 3 solid (at least 1.5 hour long) naps per day. My son is just now transitioning from 3 shorter naps to 2 longer ones (2+ hours each), and is happily napping while I type. :-)

I noticed that you are feeding your baby upon waking. That is excellent! That is what Dana Obleman recommends, so that the baby doesn't learn to associate feeding with falling asleep.

Bedtime routine should be shorter than the one you described. Maybe 30 minutes, including bath, massage, short story or song--whatever series of events works for you two. If your baby is overtired, she will not sleep as well. She should understand that night time is coming, and should be laid down in her own crib. No sleep props are recommended, because the baby becomes dependent on you or the sleep prop to get her back to sleep at night wakings. That means the baby should go down drowsy into his crib, but not sleeping. That way he/she learns that he has the power to fall asleep on his own, making (normal) night time wakings no big deal, since they just go back to sleep.

As for the Cry it Out, Dana Obleman devotes a whole chapter of the e-book to crying. She is very sympathetic and does not believe crying it out is necessary. If the baby is not overtired, or lacking some other need, crying should decrease. She does admit that some crying will occur, as baby is getting used to a new routine than what they're used to. In my experience with two babies, neither of them had to cry for very long. After a day or two, it was a thing of the past, and we all started sleeping GREAT, and waking up HAPPY. It was wonderful.

You don't have to abandon your child to cry herself blue until falling asleep out of sheer exhaustion. Dana recommends that you go in and comfort your child from time to time if they are crying. But they shouldn't be rocked or fed back to sleep. It shouldn't be cruel. Yes, crying is so HARD for a mom to hear. But after reading this e-book, you will have the knowledge and confidence to know you are doing the best for your baby. And in a couple days or so of a new routine, your baby will thank you for it. And you will all sleep much better.

Please check it out. I recommend this program to EVERYONE I know who has babies.



answers from Modesto on

BUY THE "NO CRY NAP SOLUTION" book by Pantley. It has LOTS of suggestions that covers all types of situations. And, what I like best is that it's respectful enough to acknowledge that every child is different and there's no "one size fits all" solution to sleep issues. I had the same arms to laying down problem you're having and have fixed it with Pantley's suggestions - with no crying!!! My daughter also has trouble self-soothing for the very same reasons you list and I'm seeing improvement using this book's suggestions.

As for feeding...listen to your baby's cues. My 9-month-old just started truly eating solids 9 days ago. Before that, it was mostly play. She just wasn't all that interested. She'd put anything in her mouth, but purse her lips if she saw food coming. I didn't force it and just let her play and go at her own speed...and she has now started to eat (3 months later!). (I'm so excited!)

As long as she's still gaining weight, and acting like her normal self, then don't worry about her thriving. All she needs is YOU and your breastmilk. Solids are just supplementary until age 1 anyway, so don't stress about it.

In fact, start to have fun with it. Let her just play. Let her have control of the spoon (for the first few months, my daughter wouldn't let the spoon anywhere near her mouth unless SHE had control of it - but now she welcomes me feeding her with it). Try a mesh feeder - that worked wonders for us! (and was suggested by my pediatrician) - again, maybe it gave her a sense of control. But, when she really started to chomp on the mesh feeder, I knew it was time to re-introduce the spoon - and, voila, success!

There's nothing magical that happens at 6 months that says they will want to start solids. Let her set the pace and sit back and relax...and enjoy the mess! : )

Good luck!



answers from Sacramento on

I went through the same sleeping problem with all three of my children. A friend loaned me a book with my second child that was a tremendous help. I'm sorry that I don't remember the author (my kids are now 10, 12, & 15), but the title was something like "How to Solve your Child's Sleep Problems".

Think about if you were to wake in the middle of the night and discover that your pillow was missing. You'd feel around for it, check the floor, etc. and when you found it you'd get comfortable and go back to sleep. There's a good chance that you wouldn't even remember the incident in the morning. If, however, you woke up and were unable to find your pillow, you'd be wide awake with the light on looking for it. You'd probably be angry and would even get out of bed searching for who took your pillow. Most of us wouldn't just roll over and go back to sleep without it.

If babies learn to fall asleep while nursing (as all of mine did), that becomes their "pillow". But their comfort could also be rubbing their backs, their pacifier, the sound of the TV, etc. They fall asleep the same way, but when they awake and find that their comfort isn't there anymore, they aren't able to just fall back asleep. They also can't go look for it, so of course, they cry. That's why, when she wakes up crying and you nurse her again, she falls back to sleep within a few minutes. She got her "pillow" back.

The steps to correcting the problem, as best as I can remember them, are as follows:

1. Put your daughter to bed while she's still awake, not after she's fallen asleep at your breast. She has to learn to put herself to sleep instead of relying on you.

2. When she starts to fuss and cry, let her do so for only 5 minutes. Then go in and talk with her, comfort her, and reassure her that you are still there, but DO NOT pick her up. You should only be in her room for a half minute or so, and then walk out again.

3. This time you let her cry and fuss for 10 minutes before you go in, and then you follow the same procedure as you did the first time.

4. Now you let her cry for 15 minutes before you go in and reassure her that you're still there, and reassure yourself that she's okay.

5. After that, you go in every 15 minutes until she falls asleep.

The first night is the toughest. It's hard to hear them cry, but this really works. Mine (I went through this process twice) lasted around 2 hours the first night. But amazingly, only about a half hour the second night. By the 3rd night, they were out right after the first 5 minute span. And by the 4th night, I didn't have to do it any more. I was surprised, relieved, and so thankful at how well it worked.

Good luck to you. I'd love to hear how well it works for you.



answers from Phoenix on

Just a thought. Would you get bored of eating the same food several nights in a row and want something different? I would. My kid did too. Maybe that's what's happening here. I think you do want to be feeding around 6 months & up. My son never liked baby food so I would mash up or puree whatever we were having and feed that to him.

Freeze in an ice cube tray, then you don't have too much for one meal. Also easier to have 2 or 3 different flavors at one meal (might want to go easy on the variety at first till you know she can handle it digestively)



answers from San Francisco on

I've heard of some babies not wanting solids until 9 or even 12 mos. Mine is 6.5 and not all that interested. Actually, he was more interested at 5 mos than he is now. I'm not stressing about it - I know he'll want more eventually.

Techniques I use to get my boy to sleep (besides nursing):
Ah, finally remembered the last thing:

1. Rubbing his tummy in slow clockwise circles,
2. Singing the same lullaby song I sing to him every night (he immediately starts rubbing his eyes when he hears it),
3. Putting him in his sleeping position (on his back) in the same spot where he sleeps in the bed at night, and using this spot and position only for that purpose,
4. Putting him in the Snugli (frontpack) and walking around the house w/him in it while I do other stuff,
5. Letting him really wear himself out. This isn't so much an issue w/naptime as it is at night. The boy has a ton of energy, and won't sleepuntil he's really worn out lately. So...sometimes I put him in his jumper and let him jump to his heart's content, or anything else that involves
lots of physical exertion,
6. Read to him while in his sleeping spot. This is part of our bedtime routine.
7. I found out quite by accident when he was really young, that if I didn't rush to soothe him everytime he started to get "fussy," he eventually went to sleep on his own if he was tired (Note: I do not let him "cry it out." This is when he's just sort of fussy / whiny, and I do monitor / listen in to make sure he's not launching into full-blown crying fit.) He has even managed to fall asleep while playing with his toys this way. (I have a very funny picture of him sleeping with one arm raised in the air, still holding tightly to one of the hanging toys on his activity mat.)
8. I listened to the suggestion to put him to bed when he was groggy, as opposed to fully asleep, and he really has learned to put himself to sleep that way. In fact, sometimes, esp at night, I find he goes to sleep faster
if I get up and leave the room once he's at the groggy stage, because he wants to stay up and play if I'm there.
9. I also still use the "shushing" technique talked about in The Happiest Baby on the Block.
10. I have a special red light I use for sleepytime in the bedroom. When it's time for rest, I turn off the overhead light and turn on the low red light to "set the mood." :)
11. Sometimes I bounce on a big yoga / birthing ball with him, and the motion knocks him out if he's already sleepy. Friends who watch him use this technique with success.

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