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Help me please! 6 month old won't sleep!

(4 Posts)
lootie Mon 15-Sep-08 12:11:38

Sorry - this is very long!!

My 6 month old was born 4 weeks early. He was a good weight, but lost a lot of weight after birth and was jaundiced. I was desperate to breastfeed, and persevered despite a lot of pain, but ended up having to supplement after SCUBU issued me an ultimatum - supplement or we admit him (which meant I felt majorly guilty about starving him). I'm happy and amazed to say I'm still breastfeeding now, and he has probably 1/3 formula, 2/3's breast milk. I've also started solids.

The big problem (or is it?) is his sleeping. He's always been the kind of baby that needs lot of physical contact - I carried him in a sling for weeks and have never been able to put him down awake without manic red-faced screaming. He has not once just 'dropped off' to sleep on his own - now this is partly because I always fed and rocked him to sleep so I wouldn't have to hear him cry, and partly just his personality I think. My mother in law has been putting a lot of pressure on me that this is a problem, and health visitor has also suggested controlled crying. So, after a particularly bad few days waking 5-6 times a night, endless feeds and spending 20 minutes rocking him back to sleep with terrible backache, only to have him wake again the second I lay him in the cot... I decided to try controlled crying.

It now works quite well in the daytime for naps - I can spot when he's tired, put him in his cot and he cries for 5-10 minutes before he sleeps. First question - after 2 weeks, should he still be crying at all? Will he always do this?

At night time though, I'm delirious from lack of sleep. We have a good bedtime routine - bath, feed, story, putting him down awake at 7.30. He does one long sleep of maybe 6 hours, but wakes then every 1-2 hours after that. I've tried introducing a formula dream feed at 10.30, which he takes, but it makes no difference - if I don't feed or at least rock him, he'll cry, grizzle, fall in and out of sleep through until morning (yes, I did try it - for 3 nights, and I can't tell you how racked with guilt I felt). So - am I starting this too young? Should I stop night time feeds yet or not? Any tips on controlled crying from people who've tried it? I really can't see any other sleep methods working, because he just won't lie in his cot without crying, regardless of me singing, patting, sitting next to him, etc.

Sorry this is so long, but I really don't know what to do, or even what to expect - am I being unrealistic? My husband isn't able to help me at night because of his job. I don't want to mentally scar my DS, but neither do I want to store up sleep problems for the future.

lauraloola Mon 15-Sep-08 18:32:24

My dd is 3 months old. She too would only ever go to sleep if we rocked her or rocked her in her pram. For the last month I have been trying to get her to 'self sleep' for her day naps which she is just starting to do really well.

At night however she still needs to be rocked. She wakes about once a night and I just put her dummy back in and she goes back to sleep.

I wonder if she is unsure of the dark so am going to try letting her get to sleep on her own at night with the bedroom lamp on and then turning it off when she is asleep.

Do you think this is the same for your ds? I have spoken to people about this they agree that it does take time but to persevere with it. If you start giving in then they will keep playing up as they know it will work.

Smee Mon 15-Sep-08 20:40:10

I'd go the opposite way personally as he doesn't sound like CC is for him. My son didn't sleep well either, waking like yours 4/5 times a night. In the end I put a bed on the floor next to his cot so I was there the minute he woke. I immediately found that as I was so near, he was easier to resettle. After a while he stopped waking as much and didn't need me to pick him up either. I'd just put a hand on his chest and hum quietly to him or talk softly. Basically the more I was there, the more he slept, and then after 3 or 4 months he was like a different child because he'd relaxed and so was sleeping deeper. You have to break the cycle somehow, for your own sanity as well as for him - so I vote absolutely not persevering with cc. Just be there for him, and he'll relax - honestly it really does work.

lauraloola Mon 15-Sep-08 21:25:40

I didnt mean persevere will cc. I tried it with dd and hated it. She just wound herself even more and then took ages to settle again.

Does your dh do the nights at weekends so that you get a break? Dp used to and one night a week he would do a feed so that I got a bit more sleep.

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