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All kinds of sleep issues - 6 month old

(5 Posts)
BananaRhumba Tue 09-Apr-13 21:01:08

OK Mumsnetters, I need your help!

My son is 6 months old and I haven't exactly had an easy ride of it so far. He has never settled well for naps, at bedtime, or come anywhere close to sleeping through the night, and I've struggled to get him into any kind of routine. He was very colicky from around a week old to 20 weeks, often crying inconsolably for 4 or 5 hours in the evening.

My day / night looks a bit like this:

Wake up between 6am to 7.30am and BF.
Nap 1: usually he's getting tired around 90 mins - 2 hours after waking, so goes down sometime between 8 and 9.30. Settles well and sleeps for 90 mins (this is major, recent progress!)
BF: around 10.30/11am
Nap 2: usually gets really cranky around 90 mins after he wakes, so often he is down for his second nap by 11.30/12. If I leave it any longer he is overtired and can cry for 2 hours before sleeping! Usually only sleeps for 40 minutes, so sometimes we are done with the first two naps by 12.30 and have a long afternoon to get through until bedtime...
BF: around 2ish
Nap 3: I never know when to put him down in the afternoon, sometimes he's tired at 3, sometimes 4, sometimes 5. Sometimes he is too overtired to settle at all. He only ever naps for 30 mins and will NOT nap in his cot in the afternoon so I have to go for a walk (in the rain...)
BF: around 5
Bath, massage, story, - around 5.30 /6
BF: 6 / 6.30
Bed by 6.30 / 7, depending on how tired he is.

By bedtime he is usually very grumpy and grizzly and if he gets like this before I get him down, he can cry for a couple of hours before sleeping. I have tried a 4th catnap (like the Baby Whisperer suggests) but he refuses to take one - cue 2 hours of screaming, no nap, and a delayed bedtime! If I feed / rock him to sleep at bedtime he wakes after 40 mins wanting to be fed / rocked, so I try to get him to settle himself to sleep. Often this means going in and out every few minutes to comfort him until he goes off to sleep. It's so distressing for everyone!

On a good night he wakes every 3 hours. On a bad night it's every two hours or even every hour. I try to feed him only about every 3 hours but sometime it's impossible to settle him without feeding.

This has been going on so long that I can no longer sleep between wake ups and lie there awake all night even if he is sleeping. I am so tired and feel as if I can't cope with this any more.

Does anyone who has been in a similar situation have any advice for me, about the daytinme routine or the night waking? I would love him to have a longer lunchtime nap so that he is not overtired in the afternoon and evening, and obviously I would love a bit more sleep at night myself!

Also I would like to start the day at the same time each day, so that we can get into more of a routine. However if he wakes for the day at 6 I'm never really sure whether to get him up for the day (in which case his first nap is at 8, second at 11.30, and then he's overtired by bedtime) or try to get him back to sleep until 7am, but he's screaming and hungry and by the time I've fed him it's nearly 7 anyway!

Sorry for the long rambling message and thanks everyone for your help xxx

woopsidaisy Tue 09-Apr-13 21:22:11

Ah * Banana*, you're having a tough time. Can I suggest that you post this in the 'weaning' board too, always loads of advice there about feeding routines and sleep/ lack of it!!
I don't have much advice I'm afraid with my older DC I can't remember what routines I had- I did all the books! With DC 3 mo I do whatever. He currently wakes every hour or so all night. In his room first then co sleep from about 2 ish. He has a wee bf each time then back asleep. Bad habit!! But I really don't want him to cry and he will grow out of it!
We go for a lovely snooze in my bed at 10 am. He might do 2 hrs- with a few sips from boob!!
I just cuddle him, go with the flow and try to relax. He will not be 21, bf, sleeping for an hour a time, right?!
( I'm hoping I am right)!!! [ grin]
Try the other board too. I'm sure lots will have better than my useless rumblings. Tis very hard with the first. Could he have reflux causing the crying when putting him down?

woopsidaisy Tue 09-Apr-13 21:23:40

DC 3 is 7 mo!
And have you started weaning yet?

BananaRhumba Wed 10-Apr-13 09:42:32

Hi woopsidaisy, thanks for your reply. Yes I started weaning last week although I'm not sure he's actually eaten anything yet! But hopefully this will help.
I'm not sure whether to try to cut out the night feedings somehow and get him eating more in the day. Sometimes I'm sure he can't be hungry as he has a bottle (8oz) at around 10pm, then wakes 2 or 3 hours later! Not even sure how to go about doing this though - if I don't feed him he just cries and cries! So difficult!

MatriarchalDreams Wed 10-Apr-13 21:43:48

I think at this age, when he's only just started weaning, lots of babies still need feeding at night - sometimes multiple feeds - so IMO he's too young for night weaning. You could try feeding him a bit more during the day but it sounds like he finds it difficult to settle himself back to sleep if he wakes briefly between sleep cycles wihtout a bf. This is totally normal and i you're happy to keep feeding him back to sleep, then do so, but it sounds like you're not so might be worth trying to change something, I think lots of people find that if they just accept that their child is going to continue waking frequently at night for a while yet and go with the flow, maybe co-sleeping if it gets them all more sleep, then it's easier than trying to fight it. If that's not for you, have you had a look at the No Cry Sleep Solution? It gives advice on lots of different sleep issues, including how to gently break your child's sleep associations, such as feeding to sleep. I haven't actually read the normal one but have the nap one, that might be useful for your daytime naps, I haven't got anything useful to say about daytime, just that we had a hard time at about six months when our DD was transitioning from three to two naps so you have my sympathies! My DD has never had two longer naps a day, she's only had one longer nap and the others shorter, lots of my friends' babies have been the same.

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