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sleep training a 6 month old? should I or shouldn't I? help!!

(20 Posts)
mamabgood Thu 17-Feb-11 11:30:54

My 6 month ds has been co-sleeping in 'side car' cot and bed up to now, he wakes several times a night. generally goes like this -
sleep at 7/ 7.30 after good bedtime routine. sometimes falls asleep after feeding, sometimes falls asleep by self in cot. wakes between 10.30-12.30 for feed, then between 3 and 1 hourly after this depending on the night ( teething, wind etc)usually asleep wen is returned to cot.

Had been planning to move him across our room, with 4th side of cot up at this stage and then gradually into his own room - v close by.

Have read in snatches, no cry sleep solution and various other websites etc. inc dr jay gordon site.

have been trying to not feed to sleep for several weeks now, by noting time of waking and not feeding unless was 3 hours from, last feed. trying to get ds to return to sleep without feeding isn't really working though, and so we'll just end up waiting it out until the 3 hours are up and feeding him. which i am thinking may be perpetuating the problem?

having read the dr jay site I am now wondering whether this is the right time at all and whether I should wait until he's older before thinking about all this.

I am using baby led weaning and so he isn't really getting any solids yet - so I wonder if he could potentially be hungry at night. although he doesn't always have big feed, and doesn't cry for food when he's held ( just wont return to sleep - possibly because he knows the food will come in the end?!)

anyway, sorry for long post, would really appreciate any words of wisdom from anyone who is further down the line with their little one and anyone who might be in a similar boat.

I don't return to work until aug and would like to have moved him into better sleep pattern by then for definate. am happy to bf during night on demand but don't want to make a 'rod for my own back' as they say!? thanks

Chil1234 Thu 17-Feb-11 11:50:13

I don't think 6 months is too early to try to get a baby to be more settled at night - but I don't think that it's necessary to employ drastic measures. From my own experience I would suggest looking at the weaning process. I certainly found that a nicely full tummy last thing at night meant a much longer period before waking. You know yourself that milk is calorific but not necessarily filling. So if you spoon-feed you may find he drops the 10.30-12.30 waking and can run through until 3am....when some milk might make sense until he gets the hang of sleeping longer. 3am will become 4am and 5am and so on.

I would also suggest that sleeping in his own room might also be a good thing straight off, rather than a half-way house. Some families can all sleep happily in one room - others (like mine) just end up waking each other up all night long and sleep much better when they have a bit of space.

Good luck

IMissSleep Thu 17-Feb-11 14:32:36

My boy is the same. He has been on solid food since 4 months and breast ed till 5 months. One day just refused breast!
He goes to bed no problem. 7-8 and will wake at 11-12 for a feed. Then another feed at 4 then up at 7:30-8. In between waking for feeds he wakes but only for his dummy maybe 2 times. Some times he'll sleep through till 7 and miss the 4am feed, sometimes he'll wake every 1-2 hours... exhausting!

I racked my brains on how to get him to sleep better then just came to the conclusion that he is still very young and he will eventually sleep through the night! He has 3 solid meals during the day and 4-5 bottles so I know he's not waking out of hunger!

Maybe try a little solid food before bed. really helped my boy sleep fr a 5-6 hours stretch.

mamabgood Thu 17-Feb-11 19:43:35

Thanks guys,

I think you're both right the food will make a difference, but as I am keen to continue with baby led weaning I think it'll be a matter of time before this will help.

I have been re- looking at no cry book and the dr jay site and think my instinct is telling me that he needs time and that my avoiding feeding him during the night is causing too much stress for us both.

Tonight i'm going to try the plantley pull off approach and try to do this more consistently - we'll see where this gets us over the next few days!

Also I think i'll try to get him on a dummy (he refused one when tiny and haven't tried since) to get him down when it isn't food he needs really.

fingers crossed!

mamabgood Sat 19-Feb-11 23:10:22

good news!

the little man has been sleeping loads longer and going down much easier. can partly put this down to ncss but maybe its more the reduction in my own anxiety about the situation. also he seems to like having the 4th side up on his cot - although he is still next to the bed.

hope i'm not speaking too soon!?

sassymammy Sun 20-Feb-11 14:16:26

just read your thread after a tough night with my 5 1/2 mo boy! our situation is a bit like yours, except i'm also trying to get him back in the cot after a period of sleeping in our bed (started when he was sick and my hubby away = easier for me at the time)
we tried the baby whisperer routine yesterday to avoid feeding to sleep and it was ok (couldn't get him to nap longer than half hour tho) but night time was hard! went down at about 9, woke at 9.50, fed him (slight slip!) then tried pick up/put wown for 3 hours! went to sleep at half one then woke at two, hubby tried for an hour, then me for another hour, slept for FIFTEEN MINS after which i took him into bed. unsurprisingly we are both tired and cranky today and i feel quite defeated. even if he had slept a few hours in the cot after all that i wouldn't feel so bad.

now i don't know whether to keep going or maybe wait a bit til he starts solids maybe? i too want to do baby led weaning so i'd be really interested in knowing how you get on. must check out the websites you mentioned.

any advice is welcome, especially as i need to decide which path to take tonight!

sedgiebaby Sun 20-Feb-11 18:15:50

Sassymammy, have you got the BW book, I bought a second hand copy on ebay for the PUPD stuff last wk, there is masses of info on it. I think I would have done it incorrectly if I did not have this, on night one I only had to do it 4 times. For night wakings, harder but a max of 20 times. She says ave 20 mins up to one hour, i don't think hours and hours should be needed. Sounds miserable for you all - hope it gets better. Try the BW website if you don't have the bk there is a FAQ page on PUPD

sassymammy Mon 21-Feb-11 16:41:07

thank you sedgiebaby, i had a look at the website and the key thing i was doing which it says not to was holding him for too long - until he stopped crying. i see it says you hold him for a few mins only, even if he's crying.

well, after reading into some of mamabgood's methods and thinking about it alot yesterday, i changed plan a bit. i feel i was trying to change too much all at once with the little man. last night we had a wind down routine but fed to sleep rather than PUPD, getting him into the cot, and he slept in it for 4 hours, then for another hour and half - so that's an improvement! oh and he had a 2 hr nap today for the first time in months (put down by dad). when he is settled back into the cot and used to his routine i might try PUPD again to help him settle with his dad and others so i can leave him for some non-baby-orientated-socialising!

thanks for the advice, any other tips welcome!

mamabgood Thu 24-Feb-11 10:32:22

hi sassymammy,
sorry i am pretty poor at remembering to log on and keep up to date... it has been a hectic week in my defence!

it sounds like you have made progress with an alternative approach. that's fab, hope it has continued since mon for you.

we have had some mixed nights, generally improving and a few with 4 hours between each wakening, but one night he was up every hour and a half and only settled for a while when i brought him into the bed! so in terms of advice giving i don't know if i'm best placed!?

I have been using the no cry sleep solution approach of feeding when wakes unless settles fairly quickly by holding, patting, shushing etc. and this has been much better for me and him than the pick up put down type approach i was trying before ( probably was doing it wrong in a sleep deprived state). not trying to avoid feeding him for hours just makes the night time so much more bearable and doesn't seem to have the effect of making him wake more frequently as I had thought previously. taking him off before he sleeps isn't really an issue because he comes of himself, so i'm not sure how that bit of the plan is working?!

his dayime naps in the cot are far better- he is frequently ( when we are in!) goign down pretty quickly after being shushed and rocked in arms until nearly dropping off, he settles self when wakes during sleep much better. I have been trying the key words when he is dropping off and music ( as the no cry book suggests) and this seems to be gradually having an effect too.

Baby led weaning is another matter entirely- i am enjoying giving him all the different foods to try and watching him explore, but find the pressure from myself and others to think he should be eating (ie swallowing) the food by having purees is tough. he doesn't like purees though and chucks it up when i give it to him anyway. breastfeeding consultant said yest that a mix of both is her take on it ( as this is what adults have) .

anyway, sorry for long post. hope it helps somehow.

sassymammy Sat 26-Feb-11 20:00:58

mamabgood, i too haven't been online much! our situations sound so similar! i'm grateful to you for pointing me in the direction of the no cry sleep solution, i bought it during the week. i know there isn't one "solution" but am trying some of the ideas. i'm making some progress too, mainly focussing on getting him to bed (cot) earlier, i've been bringing him into the bed later (2ish) if he's difficult to settle as he invariably wakes then.

i'm definitely doing a phased approach! ditching pick up/put down for now as it was too much for him and me.

main challenge at the minute is getting him to stay asleep - if i do get him down round 8, he is sure to wake again 30-40 mins later - this is also the length of his daytime naps. going to try a sort of "wake to sleep" approach, any other ideas or experience appreciated.

re: weaning - started him on solids this week and i'm certain he hasn't swallowed a thing! it doesn't really matter though, he's still getting fed from boob and lots of mum friends tell me it took their ones a while to actually eat so i'm not worried and don't think you should be either.

keep me updated if you can!

mamabgood Mon 28-Feb-11 20:57:25

Ah great, you sound like you're doing well.

not sure what you mean by wake to sleep? Getting our little man to stay asleep is also the issue here, although we are fortunate that he usually sleeps for a good stretch after initially put down, its from 2 am he wakes more often sad!

Do you give him extra feeds before bedtime? ds has a feed every hour approx from 4 so he's well stocked up. also i think the naps in the day really help with the sleep at night. apart from that all i've got to offer is the probably obvious stuff like - bedtime routine, warm clothes and room, i'm trying the key words and music thing from ncss but not sure of their effectiveness yet?!

Have noticed sometimes dp can have more success at re-settling at night than I do grin

sassymammy Wed 02-Mar-11 21:42:05

yes i must make sure he's more stocked up! i gave him 3 small meals today and most successful was baby rice with pear in the evening so that might help! i am also rocking rather than feeding to sleep most of the time - hoping to progress to rocking in the cot as he is bloody heavy!

mamabgood Sat 19-Mar-11 11:02:00

Hi - after a long time!
sassymammy - i too am doing rocking instead of feeding when possible and have discovered he will tolerate being held while i sit to fall asleep - takes some time and protesting but has ultimate same effect and is better for the back!

how's it going? if you're still lookin in!?

sassymammy Tue 03-May-11 21:08:51

hey mama if you're still out there - i'm back on the sleep threads - not a good sign!

had some success but things have gotten worse again - he's now 8 months and i have a new "best friend" in the sleep lady - kim west. am reading her book and i'm gonna do it properly this time! waiting for a good time when my hubby is here. i think i have more tolerance for tears now as i am just exhausted so if you're still looking for solutions i'll keep you updated!

mamabgood Wed 11-May-11 13:44:46

Hi sassy,

yes unfortunately i am still out here and getting not much further!

ds is 9 months this week and had a great spell a couple of weeks ago where slept til 5am from 7pm, if woke in between would setle with little pat or hug, and fed at 5 then retured to sleep til 6 or 7 am- it was bliss! but didn't last - he got ill and then we went away and since that he is upo several times a night, screaming to be fed nearly everytime, wont return to sleep until is virtually fed to sleep! eeek! it's driving me crazy!

kim west - don't know her? is she good? yes please let me know of any success and tips!

sassymammy Wed 08-Jun-11 19:17:16

mamabgood, sorry about late reply.
i wanted to have a go at the "sleep lady shuffle" before recommending it. it has worked really well for us. it involves crying, but you stay with the baba. after 4 nights my baba was sleeping through until 5 and last night (after a week) he slept from 8pm to 7am! in his own cot in his own room, no night feeds since day 1. he is eating and feeding quite a bit more during the day. the only thing is, it's still taking about an hour of crying at bedtime but i hope this will improve.

the book is "good night, sleep tight - the sleep lady's gentle guide to helping your child go to sleep, stay asleep and wake up happy" by kim west with joanne kenen. i have to say it is good to read it all as there's lots of good advice about routines and case studies. on the other hand things may have improves and you may not need it! i hope so


ps the night sleep is bliss!

mamabgood Mon 13-Jun-11 22:37:37

Hi sassymammy,

I got myself a copy of the book after reading your original post and put it into action... it has worked a treat for us toosmile !!

we had 10 nights with waking/crying at various points , after stopping feeding him and then he started sleeping through!! He still wakes occassionally during the night but generally can get him back to sleep pretty quick. He wakes pretty early sometimes 5.30, but often makes it to 6am and a couple of times 7, which is amazing for a baby who woke every couple of hours after midnight.

For anyone else reading this I think what helped about this approach is the consistency. I tried no cry sleep solution but think that for ds the fact I was getting him into the bed if he woke after 4/5am and feeding was too confusing. This approach is tougher I guess ( for baby and mum/dad) but it has worked for us and with less crying than I dreaded. When I think about it he would have cried alot more hours over the last 4 weeks than he has done if I hadn't instituted the plan smile he is better in the day and naps better.

Hope the going off to sleep bit improves for you sassy... and thanks so much for the tip! you're dead right the night's sleep is total bliss! grin

sassymammy Wed 22-Jun-11 21:44:18

so happy to hear it! i second what you say about the consistency.

only 5-10 mins of crying this evening, he was asleep by 7.30, i didn't know what to do with myself! i have to say i have cheated a bit and do go in and rub his back after a bit of crying but he still gets himself back to sleep himself thru the night so i hope it will still go ok. i think as well as following the "shuffle" you have to step back and think about what suits your baby.

mambgood, i haven't tackled daytime naps and am still mostly feeding to sleep there! eek! have you shuffled during the day?

again, i am so pleased that we are both sleeping at night!

mamabgood Thu 23-Jun-11 16:04:24

yay! that's great... well done you must be so happy smile

I also go in and pat, pick up etc when he cries during night etc and generally ( except the last week while he's been ill) he sleeps through or goes straight back off with minimal assistance - it's a revelation!

I had stopped the feeding in the day before naps before I got your good advice on the shuffle.. so I didn't really do the shuffle, but just started feeding him either a good while before the nap or now after the nap. I was amazed that he took to it but he did and started sleeping longer aswell.

I now follow the 2 hour after wake up in morn (sleep lady advice) plan for morning nap, and 3-4 hours after wake up from this nap for aft nap ( should be 3 hours she says but sometimes he's not tired then). I put him in sleeping bag if we're at home, cuddle and shh for minute or two ( trying to reduce this this week!) and then put down and pat shhh. This has taken many weeks to become the routine but he goes with it now and will be nodding off from apparently wide awake within a few mins. I am trying to do a shuffle this week by leaving him awake in cot and it works somedays and others I go back to pat ( weak willed!) the nap times feel more precarious than the nights to just leave him to get on with it - i want to make sure he's not going to wake himself up! wink

anyway - its definately better and worth doing. you've got to be pretty strict with yourself on timings which makes having a life a bit tricky - but i've been managing , just have to miss some things I would have previously done because I'm prioritising naps... it's worth it for the night time pay off!

Good luck. You and the sleep lady will be getting daily good vibes sent your way for the rest of time grin

sassymammy Wed 20-Jul-11 21:18:06

ah thanks! good vibes back at you for all the tips. smile

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