Any advice re: non-sleeping, pushchair-dependent 5month old very very gratefully received...

(9 Posts)
sleepbecomeshim Tue 26-Jan-16 16:31:03

Hello, I’d be very grateful for some advice if possible. In short, I don’t know how to go about helping my son get to sleep. Don’t know which method to use, when, how – feeling a bit overwhelmed (and sleep deprived!).

We have become wholly reliant on the pushchair to get my son (just turned 5 months) to sleep. The pushchair needs to be pushed/rocked/in motion for him to drop off. This applies to daytime sleeps (which are all very short; each one is equivalent to one sleep cycle of 30-45 mins I think) and night-time. At night, we get him off to sleep in the pushchair and then transfer him to his cot later on. I need to feed him back to sleep during this ‘transfer’ and then quickly put him in the cot whilst asleep.

During the night he wakes 2 or 3 times and I feed him. I’ve tried not feeding but he doesn’t go back to sleep without it. I also think he needs at least one of these night feeds as he does drink and not just comfort suck. Until recently he has nodded off during these and I have been able to put him back in the cot asleep. However, for the last couple of weeks or so he has not fallen asleep during these night feeds and, consequently, has remained awake for 2 or 3 (or more!) hours in the middle of the night.

I’ve tried a number of things during these night wakings: putting him back in cot awake; leaving him “chatting” to himself in his cot for up to 90 mins to see if he’ll self-settle; feeding; patting/reassuring etc. Nothing works except the pushchair which we resort to eventually where he’ll maybe sleep fitfully/patchily for a couple of hours more.

A few other (maybe) relevant things:
-He is breastfed – refuses bottles – not started solids yet
-He is on 91st centile, gaining/developing well
-Was born at 40+11
-Has reflux which is finally under control with meds (omeprazole) – it is because of the reflux that we initially started using pushchair as we were so desperate for sleep in the earlier days
-We don’t have a set feeding/sleeping daytime routine – should we?
-We do have a bedtime routine involving bath, massage etc – but at the crucial moment we should put him in cot we put him in the pushchair as he won’t self-settle in the cot

Many thanks if you’ve read this far (understandable if you haven’t!). Any advice would be much appreciated as to best method to try to help him fall asleep…. Thanks in advance x

fluffikins Tue 26-Jan-16 17:52:50

Well at 5 months I'd say you're classic 4 month sleep regression territory so it may well get better on its own in terms of the night waking periods.

In regards to the pushchair, then I'm a fan of gentle techniques. So I'd be inclined to get a liner and pop it in the pushchair. Eventually you'll can move this into the cot and they he may associate it with falling asleep (or at least it will help).

In the mean time then I'd get him used to not being pushed, each night slowly slowly reduce the amount you move the pushchair until eventually it's just stable and then so it's stable right next to the cot. You could introduce a cue, something like white noise that stats to get played once he's in the pram, that way he'll start to associate the noise with sleep, not just the surroundings.

fluffikins Tue 26-Jan-16 17:54:02

also self settling is a developmental skill he'll learn in his own time, so for now waiting until he's asleep and then transferring him is completely normal

PotteringAlong Tue 26-Jan-16 17:55:44

He's 5 months old. Just feed him to sleep and don't worry about it!

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Tue 26-Jan-16 18:26:13

It's against guidelines nowadays but I was told to start giving mine solids if they were waking up in the night for more feeds? Could he be more wakeful in the night because he's hungry? Maybe try a bath before bed if you're not doing that. It seems to tire them out a bit. Massage sounds a bit of a faff. I wouldn't worry about the buggy technique, if it works for you. He will grow out of it. I guess you've tried a bouncy chair? I hope it gets easier for you smile it's hard work and bloody tiring I know.

fluffikins Tue 26-Jan-16 18:32:42

Guidelines suggest no solids until 6 months and in my experience they cause more wakings due to digestive wind etc!

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Tue 26-Jan-16 19:07:52

Fair point. OP should probably check with health visitor before she starts shovelling food down him! It is recommended to help with reflux in some cases.

sleepbecomeshim Tue 26-Jan-16 19:41:33

Thank you so much for your comments. It's nice not to be told off for our pushchair dependency (we beat ourselves up about that enough!). Some really helpful ideas here. We'll def try the gentle transition first, even if I did want to go cold turkey/cry it out at 3am this morn after 2 hrs of wakefulness!

I'm very happy to feed him in the night but it's a problem that he doesn't always nod off afterwards and thus stays awake. Perhaps that's attributable to a sleep regression; he's definitely not still hungry. It's this middle of the night wakefulness that's the real problem at the mo.

We'll be trying some first solids in a few weeks so will see what effect that has too! He has silent - not pukey - reflux so there's no need for earlier weaning.

Thanks, all.

FATEdestiny Tue 26-Jan-16 21:23:41

Pushchair naps in the daytime at 5 months old are not a huge problem. But going to sleep at nighttime is something I really would move into the cot.

Daytime

Pushchair for daytime naps can work to your benefit. You are just entering the age when baby is developmentally able to extend the length of daytime naps through one sleep cycle into the next. Your pushchair will be a great way to teach baby to link sleep cycles. At the earliest possible signs of stirring, gentle rock/move the pushchair and try your hardest to help baby learn to extend the nap.

I wouldn't wean off pushchair daytime naps until they are extended to naps of more like 1-2h. In the meantime the idea of a movable liner mentioned above is a great idea.

Night time

While doing the above, I would start trying to establish in-cot settling techniques for bedtime and night time. The idea being that you need to work on this anyway, so do it while daytime naps are good (in pushchair) and by the time daytime naps are extended, then you can use the in-cot settling techniques as a way to move daytime naps into the cot.

Is the cot next to your bed? This makes life easier for settling techniques. So your presence helps for a start - lying next to the cot (on your bed), eye to eye. Then you could try a firm hand on baby's chest/shoulders, some reassuring patting, stroking, tickling - that kind of thing. Also reassuring voice, either shushing or repeating a sleep-sentence "sleep time now, nan night" (or whatever).

Using a dummy and re-inserting it as needed will help with this too.

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