For Those with Older babies...when Did Your Baby Sleep Through the Night

Updated on November 10, 2009
J.T. asks from Los Angeles, CA
15 answers

Hi Mamas. My son is 9 months old. He was a great sleeper from the beginning and was sleeping 10 hours straight every night from about 2.5 months on. That is, until he turned 7 months. Since 7 months his sleep has gotten progressively worse...first he woke up once per night, then twice...now we're up to 4x per night. He does not have any teeth coming in -- he is not hungry -- he sometimes is wet, but not always -- he is learning to walk, so there might be a developmental reason behind it. Either way, I'm getting no sleep and it's starting to wear on me. I'm not really looking for advice (I've tried everything I can think of)...just wondering if anyone else has experienced this and, if so, when your lo started sleeping again.

Thanks!

[Edit: I should clarify that I am not into any variation of the CIO method. I know it's worked great for some people, but I just can't do it - I'd rather get up and be tired or have my son sleep in my bed or whatever else. Just my personal preference - not judging anyone who did it.]

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D.R.

answers from Los Angeles on

My daughter was at 8 months. My son was at 4 years old. We had to just ignore the call for a few nights and then he started sleeping through the night. It was hard, but it was time. Now he is 5 and if he calls, then we know he really needs us.

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T.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

Mine started sleeping longer at night around 4-5 months but occasionally, as you know, things (still) happened. I'm not sure what sort of routine your son is in, but if you're pretty sure nothing serious is keeping him awake (pain, new skills, hunger, nightmare, etc), then simply be patient, stay consistent and stick to his routine, and he'll be back sleeping through the night soon.

Good luck!

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J.N.

answers from Los Angeles on

Not to scare you, but my son still sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night at 23 months. But I remember that just when thought his sleep pattern got steady and he was sleeping through the night, he'd do a complete switcheroo and wake up. Some said it was growing pains, others said he's more apt to have dreams that wake him up since he's processing so much more, I just don't know. But you're not alone. It sucks and then having to go from getting your full night's sleep to barely getting any is a pain, but most moms have been there, so you're not alone. :-)

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A.N.

answers from Las Vegas on

My son started sleeping through the night right after he turned 1, and then a couple of weeks later he was back to waking up at least once again. They go through phases, and even little things set them back. Right now it's teething for us (he's 13 months old), but at least he's on his last molar for at least a little while.

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M.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi J.,
I could go on forever about the problems I had with my daughter (now 2 1/2 years old), but it would be too long!
I understand that you are not interested in any CIO method. I have this wonderful on-line book called "The Sleep Sense Program". In this book the author covers many different method to getting your child to sleep through the night. I used the CIO method and worked great for my little one, but my sister used a different method by staying in her sons room, first standing at his crib to making her way to standing in the doorway within a few weeks.
Anyway, please email me at [email protected]____.com and I will send this on-line book to you. (and to any other mom who might need it) The key to any method it consistancy, and repetition. If you do the same thing over and over again....they eventually get it.
So, I hope to hear from you soon.
M.

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M.G.

answers from Las Vegas on

Hi there

My first son slept thru the night at 2weeks. But, when he learned how to crawl, he was SO DIFFICULT to get to sleep. He would still sleep thru the night, but it would take a good hour for me to get him to sleep. AND then he would wake up at 5am or something. I really think that this was cuz he was learning how to crawl.

If I were you, when he wakes up, I would let him cry for about 5 minutes or so. Then I would go in his room, lay him back down, tuck him in, give him a pacifier if he uses one still and say goodnight. This should only take 2 minutes or so. If he crys again, wait 10 min, and then go in again, and do the same. The next time wait 10 to 15min.

He KNOWS if he crys, he gets YOU. And that is what he wants. Nothing else. He will eventually get the idea, that you aren't going to come running every time, and that he will have to learn to go back to sleep.

The method I described above is similar to the Ferber method. I think the Ferber method is a bit too harsh. I couldn't let my son cry for more than 10min...... but even after crying for 10 minutes a few times, he got the idea, that I he was supposed to go back to sleep.

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D.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

My son was the same way. He slept through the night at 10 weeks old up until he hit the 6 month mark. That growth spurt had him up twice a night for the next year. Those patterns are really hard to break, but easier to do when young. I'd get him sleeping through the night now, rather than wait until he can climb out of his crib. Then it will never end. My son still ends up in our bed almost every night. Nip it in the bud.

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M.T.

answers from San Diego on

Hi J.--
There are so many responses to read here, you're going to be busy! My son is now 14 months old and has never completely slept through the night. In fact, until about 4 months ago, he didn't sleep for more than 2-3 hours at a time.

Our routine is this: At 5:30 dinner time, 6:30 bath, 7:15 bed time. (He set this routine, not me, I just reinforced it once I figured out his best bed time.) He has his bath, then 5-10 minutes in the living room to say night-night to grandparents (we all share one big house) and the dog and cat, then he gets his binky and blankie and we head to our room to nurse.

He nurses and falls to sleep without crying in 15 minutes or so. I put him in his crib and he usually sleeps about 2 hours, it used to be 1 hour on the dot. Now, its anywhere from 2-3 hours.

Then around 11pm, he wakes up and even if I nurse him, he won't go back into his crib. Like another poster said, its like he gets "crib radar" or something. At that point, we get in bed together. He nurses throughout the night as often as he needs, but its usually only once or twice. We sleep until 7 or 7:30am.

He did start teething when he was 3 months old, and has had a bad time. When he's teething he'll only sleep an hour at a time, even during naps.

So, hang in there. It sounds completely normal. I think its more normal Not to sleep through the night, than to have a baby who sleeps 12 hours without waking up.

In fact, research shows that babies are wired to frequently wake up so that they can stay in sync with mom's heart rate, breathing rate, eat, and know that someone is there watching over them.

Good luck with everything! Just love your baby and don't let him cry! Crying isn't good for anyone.

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S.H.

answers from Honolulu on

yes, this is very common- ie: when a baby or child hits major milestones AND/OR developmental changes AND/OR cognitive changes AND/OR motor skill changes.... this ALSO affects their sleep.
You could call it growing-pains for the baby. Its not fun for them either, nor something they do on purpose.
But, they are changing so fast and so rapidly... that this happens at each juncture of growth or changes developmentally.
My kids, both, had this happen every 3 months or so (which are growth spurt times), and at times of teething. AND, in addition though, my kids had increased appetites and needs for increases in intake... because they were, in tandem with their developmental changes... ALSO changing in physical demands and growth... thus, they needed more intake and had GINORMOUS appetites at these times.

This is common.
No baby or child, sleeps the "same" exact way and patterns, for very long. They are constantly changing, and any sleep aberrations are intrinsic and reflects their developmental, but normal, changes and growth-spurts.

Don't worry.... its temporary. But it will recur again.
And yes, it means no sleep for Mommy... but then again, at least be consoled that your baby IS developing normally and this does happen even in the best sleepers.

When a baby is 'learning' to walk.... it is a reflex. It is not fully at-will at this point 100%... and keep in mind, that a baby WILL DO THIS IN THEIR CRIB TOO... even if they are supposed to be sleeping. This is how a baby 'learns' and 'practices' their budding skills.... through repetition. Once a baby starts to sit=up, pull-up, walk etc., it does affect their sleep. But it will go back to normalcy.

BUT, the thing is... there is no finite time-line in which the baby WILL go back to sleep like he/she used to. Each baby is different. LOL

Sorry for rambling, I just realized you didn't want 'advice.' Sorry! LOL. I just started typing and then couldn't stop stream of thought.

Well all the best,
Susan

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C.K.

answers from Santa Barbara on

Hi J.,
I completely sympathize with you. My daughter started off sleeping 4-5 hour chunks as a newborn, but that never seemed to change. She is now 17mo and I can count on one hand the # of nights she has completely slept through the night. So I would count your blessings that you had a few months of sleep! :) Most people blame me since I cannot do CIO either...but as you said, it's a personal preference and I just cannot do it. Our routine usually looks like this. She gets tired and tells me it's time for nigh-night around 8pm. We read a book, she nurses while we rock till she's asleep, and I put her in her crib. She won't go in it unless she's asleep, but I usually only spend 10-15 minutes nursing/rocking. Bedtime is the easy part. She then wakes up around 12-1am and we bring her to bed with us to nurse and fall back to sleep. Occassionally I'll try to nurse/rock and get her back down in her crib, but for some reason she has crib-radar in the middle of the night. I'll think she's completely out, but her eyes shoot open when I try to lay her in her crib. So it's usually just easier to bring her to bed with us and try to get some sleep. She nurses back to sleep and will sleep till 5-6am most of the time. She'll nurse again and sometimes fall back to sleep till 7-7:30. Sometimes she's ready to wake after nursing at 6ish, so she'll play around on the bed while I keep resting. It's not perfect, but it's our routine. Some times I wish she would sleep through the night...but we also really enjoy waking with her in our bed. It's the nights that she's waking every hour or 2 to nurse that I get frustrated...but then I try to remember that it's probably a growth spurt and totally normal and who am I to deprive my little one of milk and comfort and snuggles. I'd want all of that if I had a choice between that and a crib by myself! OK, totally rambling...but wanted to let you know that I totally commiserate with what you are going through. I think it was right around 11 months that I thought I was going to go berserk because of our (non)sleeping habits!!! It gets better (then worse, then better again!) and you are not alone! Take care and sleep whenever you can. And make sure to enjoy this fleeting time with your precious baby!!!

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M.N.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi J.,
Don't feel bad. My daughter slept for long stretches when she was newborn. but then the nurses kept telling me to wake her for feedings. eversince then she doesn't sleep through the night. sometimes even waking up over a 12 times a night. I thought I was going to go crazy and that something was with me or my baby. She's 2 now. still doesn't sleep through the night. she wakes up maybe 2-3 times now but goes back to sleep pretty easy(most of the time). They will figure out a better sleep pattern eventually. Don't feel bad. Nap when he naps so you're miss out on too much sleep. Remember you're not alone:)

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C.H.

answers from San Diego on

it probably started as an accident of waking up, but once you go in to check on him regularly, it can become a habit. try 3 days of letting him CIO and go back to sleep on his own. It worked for our daughter when she started to wake up at 4am one week. 3 days of "retraining" and we were back to normal.

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A.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi J.
Wish I had an answer for you. My twin sons are now 5 years old and it is rare when they sleep through the night. Sheesh!

Now my hope lies with the tween and teen years.

But i will tell you that I took advantage of nap times during the day when they were little fellas. They did sleep better when I was able to wear them out.

Good luck and just enjoy the ride!

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R.P.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi J., my daughter is 16 months old. Generally she is a good sleeper. But she seems to go through phases where she doesn't sleep well. Sometimes the phases are very, very long. Sickness, teething, who knows what? Sometimes she just wants to play (at 2 a.m.).
Right now she's having nightmares and cries or calls out in the middle of the night. This morning she just started screaming (bloodcurdling screams), so in about 5 seconds flat I went from a deep sleep in my room to standing by her crib in her room. After I soothed her a bit, she opened her eyes, then smiled and waved at me and said, "hi!"
Every time she goes through a phase, I start feeling like it's going to last forever and I may never sleep again, but then the phase passes.
My tiny bit of advice from personal learnings - whatever you do in the middle of the night with your baby, make sure it is really, really boring, and that it doesn't involve eating, because eating in the middle of the night can become a habit.
Good luck and hang in there!
R.

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L.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

My son is 20 months now.. so I am trying to remember accurately, but definitely there were nights (that would last 3-4 days where he would have growth spurts.. he needed more food, or attention... etc. so be aware of those nights.

Moreover, I learned to really have a routine to give your baby the idea that sleep time is approaching.. Once my son got the idea that every night we were going to take a bath, read some books, sing a song and sleep. After a few days or weeks he was quiet and would sleep, but it took some training on my part to be strong and teach him to sleep. I had to stop picking him up after every cry. I had to listen to how he cries and only pick him up after he's cried (wailing cry) for like 30mins. Those nights were torture, but like you said he was fed, dry and comfortable. He would start off screaming cry and turn to a mantra cry(a kinda moaning cry - very repetitive) which helped me to know he was trying to sleep.

I am not trying to give you advice, I am just letting you know that there does come a point when you have to actually teach or train your child to sleep, just like any other skill. This is how I did it. Good luck.

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