My 6 Month Old Won't Sleep!

Updated on May 27, 2010
K.D. asks from Cincinnati, OH
9 answers

For more than a month my 6 month old son has been waking 3-6 times a night. My husband and I are at our wits end! We have tried putting him down when he's still slightly awake and that doesn't work, he will either wake and cry right away or wake up in a few hours. We've also let him "cry it out", which I have decided never does any good. He will scream until he makes himself sick. We need some other ideas to help us all get a good nights sleep. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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answers from Cleveland on

He's probably hungry. Both my boys didn't totally sleep through the night until about 10 months. I would feed him and put him right back in his crib and let it scream it out. I know it sucks big time, I cried with both of them for a week, and then on night it stopped. My baby sometimes wakes up at night, cries for a second and goes back to sleep. Another thought is that he might be teething. In that case, good luck! Try giving him some motrin/tylenol before bed and see if that helps. It will pass mama, I promise,

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answers from Dayton on

get the book "healthy sleep habits, happy child". it saved my life. good luck



answers from Cincinnati on

3-6 times a night is WAAAAY too many. You must be so exhausted! Is there any chance this could be allergies? Allergies in babies can be very hard to diagnose, and they come and go for no good reason. Often, doctors mistake the signs for something else, since the baby can't tell the doctor what he's feeling. Talk to your doctor about changing your son's diet to see if he is reacting to something. If your doctor isn't interested in helping with this, it's time to find someone new, because a month is too long to go without sleeping.



answers from Cincinnati on

When you tried to let him CIO, how long did you try? We did our baby at 4 months and it took almost 3 weeks to break her. Breaking a 6 month old may take longer depending on when you started to sleep train.
Also your 6 month old could be cutting teeth, growth spurt..lots of things. Do you have a routine for night night time?
My suggestion is CIO or use the Ferber Method (thats what we did) Do NOT Feed him or take him out of his crib..if you do, he will not learn. just tell him thats it night night time and to go to bed. Whatever you try, please give it a good 3 weeks before throwing the towel in.
Also remember, he wont hate you in the morning. he wont remember it. (did you when you were that age?)
Good stinks hearing them cry.

L.- mom to a 8 month old girl.



answers from Chicago on

OK, it's all about habits. I too have a 6 month old that is waking 3 times a night. He was waking 4, but hubby and I held him/soothed him through the other waking.

It sucks. We did 2 hours last night. I'm trying to break a third waking. This is my approach: go to baby, sooth, when calm, put back down, say sleep cue words (it's bed time sweetie, I love you). When he cries, pick up and repeat. After a few nights or weeks, they stop waking.

If you do more than that, it encourages them to want to see you after every sleep cycle. So I don't recommend nursing back to sleep, not unless you want to make things worse.



answers from Cincinnati on

Hi K.,

Honestly, it seems like your little guy is going through a transition of some sort. This age is a big turning point. The world is coming into better focus, he is getting stronger, maybe trying to crawl or pull up, growth spurt is BIG around this age. All of that = NO SLEEP! Seriously. When babies are learning emerging skills it is like they are in a hyper alert stage. They wake up and want to practice! Also, big growth can happen at this age, which means LOTS extra calories are needed.

I know it sucks. Trust me. I know! My daughter was 14 months old before she slept 10-12 hours through at night. Oiy. I am not a cry it out mom before 12 months at least. Before then, I feel very strongly they NEED to know and be reassured that we are there for them. Once they hit that 1st birthday, and (depending on the individual child) really understand that even if they can't see us, we are there and WILL help them .... that's when I will try the CIO. That is what we did for our daughter. It took 3 nights of less then 5 minutes each night of her crying, and now she sleeps through no issues. Unless of course she is going through a growth spurt and then all bets are off. Oh, and in case you worry that not letting him CIO will cause him to be clingly and needy. Nope. Giving your child the assurance that you are there for him will help him feel confident to explore and do things on his own. He will know that if he needs you ... you are there.

Here's an interesting tidbit that my Certified Nurse Midwife told me. She said there was a study done to see 'how' kids grow. Do they grow all at once, or a little here and a little there. The study found that LITERALLY overnight a baby can grow 1/4 or even a little more!! That's incredible!!! So, not only do they need extra calories...but if your body is growing THAT FAST ... that has got to cause some discomfort!

When he wakes up, what does he seem to want? Try feeding him. Try just reassuring him. Be calm. Be soothing. Say things like "it's still night night time. It's still time to sleep."

In my experience with my daughter, growth spurts lasted 4-6 weeks. Then we would go back to our regularly schedule program. :-)

Make sure his needs are met. Make sure that he knows you will be there for him. Unfortunately, the first year is pretty much hit or miss with the sleep. It's just the way it is. It's a huge year for transition for baby and it all disrupts the sleep pattern. Power through is about all I can tell you to do. It will pass. It WILL get better. :-)

One thing, as you feel he is coming out of the growth spurt, or whatever it is that is waking him up (emerging skills etc...) make sure to be consistent with the soothing "it's still time to sleep" routine. They can get into the habit of waking up even once the growth spurt is over. Be calming and soothing...but try to not stimulate him too much. Don't talk alot...just be there. Rock if necessary, but not until he is completely asleep. Don't do the same thing every time. Sometimes soothe him in his bed, sometimes rock, sometimes just hold.... you get the picture. Less likely to form a habit that way.

Good luck!



answers from Indianapolis on

I don't have much advice except it will pass. Kids sleep when they are ready. My first did around 6 months soon after we started solids (we skipped cereal and went straight for mashed tables foods like avacado and bananas). My second was up every 1.5-2 hours until he was 9 months old. We finally put him in his own room in the crib (he had been in a PnP in our room) and he only woke up once MAYBE twice after that.
You can try "The Baby Whisperer" for compassionate ways to handle wake ups instead of forcing him to scream forever, you're right, it rarely works except for the few people who tell you you have to do it - they are lucky, their kids weren't quite as strong-willed as the rest of our kids! lol
"The Happiest Baby on the Block" is also anti-CIO.
Good Luck:)

It's not night terrors unless he's totally inconsolable when you go to him. Night terrors are like nighmares except they are asleep, so trying to comfort them does no good.



answers from Columbus on

I don't have much to add that Shaun C didn't already say. Parenting is a 24 hour job and joy. It doesn't stop just because as a parent you think it's bedtime. In my opinion, the only thing that CIO teaches a child is that mom & dad won't be there for me at night. Babies cannot communicate, and do so by crying. If a baby is crying, he/she needs something. Even if it's a little human contact. Connect with your child, even at night. Parenting is not always convenient-but the rewards are endless. This will pass.



answers from Indianapolis on

I would talk to your dr. he seems a little young but it might be night terrors. my son has been going through similiar nights.

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