Sleep Problems - Palmetto, FL

Updated on August 21, 2008
K.N. asks from Palmetto, FL
7 answers

I have a 6 mos old daughter who has never been a greatsleeper. She had reflux, which seems to be better. I also had some supply issues while nursing and she had to eat round the clock to get enough. she's now on formula, but I still nurse her at night. Since the formula and starting solids her sleep improved a little, but now she's regressing. She goes to sleep at 8 pm(sometimes falls asleep before she's done eating, and wakes a half hour later to finish. Last night she woke at 12. I have to hold her to get her back to sleep. Then woke at 1, and then 1:30. I nursed her at 1:30. Then up at 5 and wouldn't go back to sleep. Held her for a while and then had to get ready for work. She's now dozed off when I tried to give her the morning feeding. Some nights she also gets up around 11. I've read a lot of sleep books. Nothing seems to work. Her "drowsy state" is very brief. If I lay herdown drowsy she goes right to wide awake. When she wakes up shes babbling, kicking, and if I don't go in there she'll eventualy start crying. She sometimes kicks her way to the top of the crib andhits her head. I am waiting this out a little, thinking maybe its teething or just a stage. I may have to try cry it out, but don't want to. Any suggestions? If I try cry it out, how do I keep her from hitting her head? Put the bumpers back in? I don't know if it's safe.

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So What Happened?

Thank you for the suggestions. It's a lot to think about. My biggest concern is the frequent waking throughout the night. I understand she might need (or just want) 1 feeding during the night, and really have no problem doing that. I feed her around 2:30, but not at the other times that she wakes. The other times I just hold her until she falls asleep. I started the early bedtime because that iswhat all the sleep books said to do. But now I find that I need it to be that early. I have to get up at 5:15 am to get ready for work. So I need both kids in bed be 8:30 ( she falls asleep between 8 and 8:30). That gives me a little time to do dishes and pack lunches, then I'm in bed myself. We've had the consistent nightime routine since she was tiny, and I do give her solids at night ( 2 oz. veggies plus 2 oz. cereal, and a little juice from a sippy cup). The allergy possibility is interesting. She is on lactose free, but Dr. said delay giving her wheat due to that possibility. When I was breastfeeding exclusively she had severe eczema. That has pretty much cleared. So I could ask about allergy testing.I'm wondering if this could be a regression due to learning a new skill. She started sitting on her own, but still a little wobbly. Anyway, the last 2 nights she's been much better. Only waking 1 time per night to eat. I will take that! If that's the only waking, I can gradually cut back her feeding as she gets older. Dont know what is helping. I did give her gas drops before bed the last 2 nights and also some formula after nursing. Filled her up as much as possible. When she's a little older I'll let her have her "night night doggy" in her bed. She holds it when I put her to sleep for naps. Right now, she fiddles with her jammies when she tries to get back to sleep at night. So I think holding her doggy blanket will help. Anyway, here's to hoping the better sleep continues. We're going to continue what we're doing and see what happens.

More Answers

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G.W.

answers from Fort Myers on

Hey K. sounds like you have your hands full. What I suggest is definatly putting the bumper back in. I didn't remove mine till they (my kids) started to attempt to pull themselves up. And as far as the sleep goes she's pretty much old enough to go all night without a middle of the night feeding. May I suggest maybe doing the last feeding a little later to tie her over. well I hope my advice helped a little good luck!!

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C.M.

answers from Tampa on

She shouldn't be needing to eat anywhere near that often at 6 months. So, I'll give the contrast to the other poster. I'm also a breast feeding mother of a 10 week old who wakes 2 times a night to feed. By 6 months pediatricians and other "experts" say your child should go through the night (8 hours sounds good) without needing to eat. Yes, you can delay this as long as you'd like. But look at it this way. If you woke up in the middle on the night and someone offered you a glass of milk, could you drink it? Of course. Did you need it? No. If this continues week after week, you might start to wake up for it. It's human nature. I say it's time to cry it out. Does she use a pacifier? I would feed her at 8, making sure to wake her if she falls asleep before finishing. The idea is to get her into bed half awake so she knows where she is when she wakes in the middle of the night. Then, if she wakes up, go in there, and whisper, "shhhh, go back to sleep", lay her down and leave. (I usually help get the pacifier in at this point.) Then, If the screaming continues, I go back in 5 minutes, then 10 and then fifteen until they fall back asleep. Then, continue this through the night as many times as she wakes up. If she wakes around the 4 am time, you can feed her and lay her back down again. It might be tough for you but I think it's important for a baby to learn to self soothe and learn to sleep on their own. This is one of the first challenges for you to do something for your child that you know is for their own good (not to mention you too, since you're working again.) Depending on your consistency and her personality, it shouldn't take more than 3 or 4 nights for her to get the drill. I've done this with 3 kids already and will do it with my newest addition when it's time. It doesn't mean I don't love him. I adore my kids, and as harsh as it might seem, it's a gift to them to teach them to sleep on their own. I give TONS of love, hugs and kisses all day. Nighttime is for sleeping. And about her head, she'll be fine, she's too old for the bumper. If she hits her head a couple of times, she just won't do it anymore. Good luck and sweet dreams!! By the way, I used to worry the crying would wake up my older kids. Don't worry about this. It very rarely does and even if it does, just tell him she's fine and to go back to sleep.

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R.W.

answers from Tampa on

Sounds to me like she is just nursing to have you near. She may not be getting enough Mommy and Me time with your working. Have you tried feeding her cereal before bed time? A lot of times that will hold them over until morning. You could also try giving her the bottle when she wakes up during the night instead of nursing. Let your husband have a shot at a night feeding with a bottle if at all possible. If at all possible try to set aside at least a half hour every evening for the baby. Playing, reading, etc... That may just help solve the problem. Put her down at a later time. I never put mine down that early, I think that is a lot of the problem right there. Try a later bed time. If all else fails then give the crying it out a try, but put the bumper pads back in. Good Luck!

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C.F.

answers from Tampa on

I would suggest something simple: feed her more at night. First, give her a good dish of solid food rice mixed with a veggie in the evening. Then nursing is nothing more than the remaining "fill-up" to wash down the solid, rather than the full meal she wants through breastmilk alone. You may need to try to push back the last feeding. Not all babies do the 8pm-6am sleep thing. My son certainly didn't. Looking back into my baby journal, I wrote at around 4 1/2 months: "He's finally sleeping through the night--11pm-6am!" 7 hours straight with a non-sleeper baby was wonderful! He gradually added another hour, then another until he did 9 hours.

I agree the pacifier is a good idea to try. Don't believe this "nipple confusion" the adamant breastfeeding moms say. Babies are pretty darn adaptable. If all she needs is comfort, then when she fusses, let her fuss a little, see if she goes back to sleep (give her at least 5 minutes), then put the pacifer in. Teaching a child how to get themselves to sleep is probably the nicest thing we can do for our young children and selves. Just look on here at how many moms are desperately begging for help on that now that they have toddlers with sleep issues.

To do that, start establishing a routine, even if it's at 9 or 10 at night. Some food, a little bath, a little lavender lotion, then breastfeed. Turn on some music or get a crib toy that plays music (it'll also help distract her when she's upset. I'd push our aquarium and tiptoe away on those awake nights, and my son would be asleep again before the toy turned off). If she requires a pacifer, then go ahead and give it to her. At her age, you could even try a new sleep position. I've known a few people whose babies just would NOT sleep flat on their back, and needed to be side or tummy sleepers. They changed the position, then their sleep problems were gone.

I hope that just a few minor tweaks is all you'll need to get her sleeping. Btw-yes, that teething time can last months and make her wake up fussy. If you feel little hard bumps on her gum (the bottom two almost always are the first ones), or see a small red bump in that area, try a bit of ambesol or tylenol at night. Though again, the pacifer might help there, too.

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H.B.

answers from Tampa on

First of all congrats on sticking with the night nursing! Breastmilk is such an invaluable source of nutrition for your baby as well as the bonding, comfort and security that comes with nursing that bottle feeding just can not provide...way to go! Your daughter's sleep/wake patterns sound entirely normal :-) Although some people may have sleep-trained their kids into not crying for tehm all night, It's really not the norm for a 6 mo old to go to bed at 8pm and wake up at 8am with no requests for comfort/cuddling or a feeding. It is also entirely normal for a young baby to want to eat many small meals throughout the day/night, even frequently. It's actually better to have them eat many smaller meals, just like adults :-) This is likely just her adjusting to her changing and developing body as she grows and matures in many ways. How long ago did she start solids (formula and food)?? Her body could be adjusting and maybe having a small amount of discomfort? Breastmilk/formula is still her primary source of digestible nutrition, the other stuff os still harder (hence why they sleep more as their bodies try to digest the formula!)Can she get pumped breastmilk during the day by bottle? It is also possible that she really enjoys the closeness and special feeling that comes from nursing, especially since she doesn't get that all day now. Many working moms say that their babies nurse more at night when they finally have the chance since they love it so much. The bonding and closeness is really special. Also, some babies need human contact at night to assist in their normal emotional/social maturity....letting her cry-it-out would probably confuse her and make her not trust in people at such an impressionable time in her young life. Sure, it may train her into the sad state of not seeking people for warmth, comfort and emotional support and she will stay quiet rather than cry for you eventually, but is that what you want to teach your little one? It doesn't sound like it from how you have been responding to her so far:-) Crying is their only way to say that want/need you and since we never know the reason (pain, fear, hunger, security) thenI would respond and provide for her needs rather than letting her cry. She's only a baby and can't understand like a 10 yr old can that night time is when you want to sleep :-)I would continue to nurse her on demand whenever she wakes and requests. If she is actually eating, then she needs it, if she's playing with the nipple then she probably just needed some comfort and security of knowing you are near. Where does she sleep? In your room would be easiest and best for her to give you quickest access. Six months is still very young and waking is soooo normal now and probably for many more months as she experiences teething, growth spurts, changes, emotional developments, etc. I would not change anything....going to bed at 8pm then waking at 11 or 12 followed by another 1-2 wakings is really not bad and pretty normal. Like you said, she may be teething or she could be endiring a growth spurt. We will never know what it is, she is just saying she needs you.... It is very hard when they go through these difficult phases, especially when you want to sleep more, but hang in there and she will eventually sleep longer. As hard as it is, try to enjoy those precious night nursings...they won't last forever! Best wishes!

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A.A.

answers from Punta Gorda on

Hi K.,

I agree with Heather B's post. My daughter nursed during the night regularly until she was about 16-18 months old. We made it easy by learning how to sleep and nurse at the same time (lying side by side in one bed). An infant cannot know that nighttime is for sleeping. It's unlikely she even knows what night or sleeping means yet. We never did cry-it-out techniques for her sake.

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M.S.

answers from Tampa on

You mentioned reflux so have you had her checked for food allergies. My kids have them but did not have a problem sleeping however my friends' child is allergic to gluten and he never slept until he was 3 yrs old because his stomach was in so much pain. The pain is worse when you lie down.

Reflux/food allergies eat eat and eat because they are not retaining the nutrients.