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An unbiased answer about night-waking... Please! (7 - 9 MO)

(34 Posts)
bvmsmummy Tue 05-Feb-13 12:00:17

So, I have a generally very cheerful, happy to play, enjoying getting into solids, almost ebf (occasional bottle say once a week if I go out), happy to nap three times a day (with a little bit of help e.g. pat on the back, shsh or out in buggy - but sleeps less well then) DS who is coming up for 9 months but was born seven weeks early so is more like 7.5 months developmentally.

TBH he is pretty cool in every way (after a pretty difficult start) but he still wakes minimum four times and sometimes up to nine times a night. He has always been a frequent waker, he sleeps in a co-sleeper cot and I generally bring him in with me around 4 - 6am if he needs it.

He goes to bed easily, has a great routine and goes to sleep in his cot with me just gently stroking his head or even just lieing beside him as he drifts off. I'm not into controlled crying so he has reached this point very gently over time but he is there! He can 'self soothe' I know because I hear him wake and go back to sleep on the monitor.

So my question is - can anyone tell me if this is just normal for some babies or what? I love reading about babies and stuff but I'm not ideological so I have read the Baby Whisperer and I have read Dr Sears and various others in between.

Maybe this is my mistake?

According to one 'side' (Baby Whisperer / My HV) he should certainly be sleeping through and I am perpetuating bad habits for the future and its all my fault and I need to try a harsher method. But according to the other (Dr Sears / La Leche League) its totally normal to wake loads and I shouldn't try to change anything until he is at least one year.

I feel like both sides have an agenda.

Anyone know the FACTS?

Oh and yeah any advice on how to get more sleep sooooo welcome.

Thanks x

MrsMushroom Tue 05-Feb-13 12:11:16

It's quite a lot of wakings for his age....but then I have a 4 year old who still wakes once every single takes time. My 8 year old.,..she slept through every night from age about 2. 9 months is you can expect wakings for a good long time yet.

Having said that, 3 naps is maybe too many at this age? 2 might be better especially if you are having to help him fall asleep on one of those naps.

I would lean towards letting him regulate his own naps more....if he doesn't seem to need one, don't put him down for one.

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 05-Feb-13 12:11:28

Can help with some unbiased, research based info, and don't forget that the baby whisperer isn't research based, its just one woman's opinion. The baby whisperer book is also o the kellymom books to avoid list.

There is lots of information on normal infant sleep here.

If you want some help with the night wakings, have a read of 31 ways to get your baby to sleep and stay asleep and 12 alternatives for the all night nurser. Have you read the No Cry Sleep Solution too?

Your HV is talking out of her arse btw grin

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 05-Feb-13 12:13:25

Sorry, just seen that you've already read dr sears. The isis website is probably what you are after.

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 05-Feb-13 12:16:21

There is also some information on normal infant sleep on Kellymom.

mummybare Tue 05-Feb-13 12:45:41

Well, I'm not sure there's ny such thing as 'should', but there's probably an element of truth on both sides. I'd say the wakings are within the range of normal, but on the more frequent end of the scale.

I'd also say that there are a lot of choices that lay between 'do nothing' and 'let baby cry'. What do you do when DS wakes? I.e. do you feed him/pick him up/shh-pat, etc.

I'd agree about having a look at your routine, too. My DD is really sensitive to being over-/undertired. She currently (at 9mo) has one long nap and a catnap, but was having two naps of about 1.5hrs until quite recently.

Good luck, OP. Just to reassure you, I did things in a very similar way (and also read all the books!) - slowly, slowly, no crying, but encouraging self-soothing and independent sleep and DD now sleeps through most nights and puts herself to sleep. They get there in their own time, which I realise is never quite fast enough when you're in the middle of it and tired, but it WILL happen eventually.

mummybare Tue 05-Feb-13 12:48:29

Incidentally, just because my DC had two naps, doesn't mean that will be right for yours - sorry if that's how it came across. Just something you might want to have a look agin case it helps!

mummybare Tue 05-Feb-13 12:49:11

Agin = at in

bvmsmummy Tue 05-Feb-13 15:10:01

MrsMushroom - thanks for first acknowledging that he wakes quite a lot - one of my frustrations has been that the books / websites I am most drawn towards don't seem to want to admit that 4 - 9 times is a lot and maybe does need a bit of help!

I realised that I have become a bit attached to his current nap routine (amazing how quick that happens) because it seemed to be working (and he does respond better to flexible-routine than totally flexible). So I just decided to wait a bit beyond his normal nap time this afternoon and he lasted another 45 minutes!

He cried a bit when I put him down (with me there gently patting his back, cuddling him etc.) which is not really unusual but he actually fell into a deep sleep much more quickly. He did wake after 40 mins which is not unusual either but it took my longer than usual to get him back to sleep. I'm pretty certain that he did need to go back to sleep because he was crying with his eyes closed and rubbing his eyes and ears. When he wakes up fresh he's normally active and smiling.

Does that sound normal?

He usually has about an 1hr 15 in the morning, 1 hr 30 in the afternoon and then 30 - 45 mins in the evening. Which of those naps do you think might be most likely to go?

Sorry - what a lot of qjuestions!

bvmsmummy Tue 05-Feb-13 15:15:29

jiltedjohnsjulie Thanks so much. That website is really interesting and reassuring and somehow I have missed it up till now! I really like research based information like that - and yet somehow the dissenting voices of Tracy Hogg, my HV, the lady on the bus are eating away at my tired brain!

You are right my HV is talking out of her arse - she also tried to get me to sleep train him at six weeks (when he was not in fact due for another week!?) - but again somehow it makes me feel like perhaps he really should be sleeping more and I am doing something wrong. Thats authority for you!

I have read the No Cry Sleep Solution btw and I found it quite helpful but I have pretty much tried everything appropriate that Pantley suggests to no avail...

Thanks again - really helpful info.

Tee2072 Tue 05-Feb-13 15:21:41

The facts are that the baby hasn't read the book. Any of the books. Or listened to the HV. Babies are too smart for that. grin

You need to do what you need to do to ensure you and baby get as good a night as possible.

And throw the book (and maybe the HV) out the window.

My son didn't sleep through the night consistently until he was about 2.5 years. Some kids just don't sleep.

bvmsmummy Tue 05-Feb-13 15:25:33

mummybare thank you - good questions and also nice to hear your similar story and that there is light at the end of the tunnel!

I tend to try and have a policy of not feeding him if it has been less than three hours since he last woke / fed however in the night I find it really hard sometimes to stick to that. Basically I try to shsh pat / snuggle in but if his awakeness escalates to being fully awake or crying I do tend to feed him otherwise he just cries and cries and cries.

I do think he is hungry much of the time (although I do try and feed him loads through the day) he is also teething and sometimes has a very wet nappy so I try and address those things too.

Early in the night (before 3/4am) if I feed him he tends to just go straight back to sleep and I pop him in his bed, giving him a llittle pat and he's off. But from about 4 - 7am sometimes even when I feed him he keeps waking every hour / 45mins. I tend to just bring him into me and feed him in a side-lying position then.

I'm thinking maybe this is a sign of under tiredness? Or maybe I shouldn't feed him so much at that time :/

Maybe he needs to get up for the day earlier (6am?) and have less naps as you suggest.

My brain is a bit scrambled so any objective thoughts on all that v welcome!

Thanks again.

bvmsmummy Tue 05-Feb-13 15:27:33

tee2072 I know, I know - you are right of course (particularly about throwing HV out of the window) but I can't help trying to find answers! Still thank you for the reminder smile

Tee2072 Tue 05-Feb-13 15:31:30

Of course you want answers! I was desperate for answers for a long time and then finally shrugged, started to co-sleep and chilled out.

We all got a lot more sleep that way and now, at 3.8, he sleeps 7 - 7 every night, except when ill or something, in his own bed, and settles himself after a story and kisses.

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 05-Feb-13 16:29:17

Pretty similar story to Tee. Ended up having them in bed with me and letting them feed when they wanted, it was the only way we could all get any sleep. They now are both reliable sleepers, love their beds and ask to go to bed when they are tired.

As for not feeding him in the early hours, I thought this was the time they were programmed to wake more (I too though could be talking out of my arse).

According to one study, quoted on kellymom, 58 percent of babies wake at 9 months. So you are not alone and its worth bearing in mind next time you are having hv inspired doubts.

If you want to drop a nap, what time are the naps now and what time does he wake and go to bed?

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 05-Feb-13 16:34:24

All that sounded like you should just put up with it. Sorry, of course I don't mean that.

Are you doing all the usual stuff too like lots of sunlight and exercise, even if that's just going to playgroup.

Have you tried putting a comfy chair for you in his room and moving him in there? My dd was a total boob monster and still woke when we moved her out of our room, but it was much less and luckily she was always a super fast feeder.

mummybare Tue 05-Feb-13 19:21:07

The early morning restlessness does sound to me like undertiredness, if he's anything like DD, so it could be worth trying 2 naps. If it were me, I'd shift the naps back a little, but not much - say 10/15 mins - and/or move bedtime a bit earlier for a week or so to avoid overtiredness.

I used to have a similar policy with the only feeding after a certain amount of time. And a similarly weak resolve, by the sounds of it! I think as long as he can settle himself, and does resettle himself some of the time, comforting and/or feeding is unlikely to cause any long term issues. For us, routine is key (never thought I'd be the sort of mum to say that, but it's true). Tweaking naps can't magically make a hungry baby sleep through, but it can make a big difference ime.

HTH smile

ineedaspartame Tue 05-Feb-13 19:42:28

I'm a baby now. Feminists hate babies.

ineedaspartame Tue 05-Feb-13 19:43:08

Sorry wrong thread!

SeriousWispaHabit Tue 05-Feb-13 19:48:48

I have two DDs, 4 and 2. Neither started off as 'good sleepers'. DD2 still isn't really, as she comes into bed with us for the second half of the night.

With DD1 I tried so many things to encourage sleeping through. She did it when she was ready, which was about 20 months.

With DD2 I just went with the flow and did whatever got the most hours of sleep for the greatest number of people in the household. It has been 1000 times less stressful and I and DD2 have had more sleep as a result.

If I have a DC3 I will ignore all advice and not read any 'baby books' as they all made me feel like I was doing it wrong somehow.

BearsLikeMarmalade Tue 05-Feb-13 20:12:00

7-9 months was absolutely the worst point for our DS in terms of sleep, you have my complete sympathy, but you and your baby are not weird. DS didn't sleep more than 2 hour stretches during this period. There were a few things going on at the time, including a couple of illnesses that threw things, developmental stuff (the beginnings of separation anxiety) and several teeth coming through. DS really seemed to struggle with teething, but we never knew it was teeth until after the buggers had popped through. We tried to stop BF so much at night during this period by DH going in instead of me but actually this just made the whole thing much, much worse. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish we'd just co-slept. It was clearly what DS needed and everyone would have been much, much happier.

Maybe 2 naps instead of 3 might be helpful, sounds worth a try. I think my DS needed a bit less sleep than other babies. I also found it very difficult that everyone else's baby seemed to be sleeping except mine (or they were lying) and people used to give me this hmm look a lot, and I generally felt utterly haggered.

I did use the No Cry Sleep Solution, liked it a lot, and things started to change for the better around 10-12 months (when we were down to waking once or twice), but I think this was a lot to do with developmental stuff (i.e. he was ready to not be feeding at night by then). Please throw away the baby whisperer book. DH cheered when mine went in the recycling.

Incidentally, DS is now 3.5, mainly sleeps through for 11 hours unless ill/nightmare/teddy fell out of bed etc, and goes to sleep beautifully (even asks to go to bed sometimes!). DC2 is imminent and I've bought a co-sleeper cot that she'll fit in for at least a year!

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 05-Feb-13 20:14:19

grin at ineed.

Op if you like information based on research have you read baby calming by Caroline deacon, sound sleep by Sarah Woodhouse or Helping your baby to sleep?

MoreSnowPlease Tue 05-Feb-13 20:43:13

I think you are doing well,my son is 7.5 months and wakes very frequently, when going down it might be every half hour then every hour in middle of the night and back to every hour in the early morning. Also he needs to be breastfed every time in order to go back to sleep and we are bed sharing and always have. I'm pulling my hair out over it!

I know he can settle in the buggy and has 2 naps a day in it of about 1 hour each at around 10am and 3/4pm,if he wakes in buggy he self settles back again.

He had suspected silent reflux as a small baby so I'm currently investigating whether this could be the cause of night wakenings because of lying flat.could this be a problem for your LO?

Anyway, the fact that you can get him to settle himself in bed is pretty impressive, I'm not sure we'll ever be at that stage!I get through it by celebrating very small victories, like when he stirs at night, turns over and goes back to sleep himself,it happens rarely but much better than having to vigorously rock a crying baby multiple times a night!

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 05-Feb-13 20:48:38

more we suspected silent reflux with our ds but it turned out to be upper lip tie and tongue tie. Silent reflux is often diagnosed when it is infact tt. Have a look here, does any of that sound like what is happening?

MoreSnowPlease Tue 05-Feb-13 21:04:33

Jiltedjohns....he had a severe posterior tt which was snipped at 4d weeks, i have still never had a pain free breast feed but it's much better than it was, I have actually been looking into upper lip tie, and it looks like he might have this too. Maybe the TT has grown back, but I don't know that this would cause him to wake frequently?

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