Have I set up bad habits already for my 6 mo old?(11 Posts)
I'll try to keep this brief but I'm prone to rambling...
My ds is now six months. For the first three months he slept amazingly well, in some cases getting up to seven hours at a time. Then he hit the four month growth spurt. He is FF and was so hungry during that period that he would wolf down one or even two bottles during the night. He would wake every hour or so. Now we have settled in to a 'routine'. He goes to bed at roughly seven thirty-eight after his bath, settles with a bottle. Sleeps till eleven or so and then wakes every two hours or so. he settles with a small amount of milk. I don't take him out of his cot. I tried switching to water but he wasn't too thrilled with that. At about half six he is properly awake and we get him up. He never wakes up properly at all.
He sleeps in a cot in a room next to ours. I have tried co-sleeping but he wakes for the same amount of time and I just get less sleep. Currently DH and I are sharing night duties depending on who is working. He naps well during the day and his night wakings don't seem related to how long/many naps he's had.
So after all that, should I just suck it up and accept he'll cry? offer only water? Or just accept that this too will pass and he just has his own sleep pattern? the reason why this is such an issue now is that I am back at work part-time (finance reasons), I work very long shifts and have a long commute. I NEED MY SLEEP!
My DD was waking every couple of hours and taking small amounts to take the edge of her hunger, then falling to back sleep. It turned out that she wasn't waking properly, as I would get into her room and feed immediately. By letting her grumble for a few minutes and wake up a bit more she takes a longer feed at 11.30pm but still settles back to sleep straight afterwards (goes to bed at 7pm), then the same at around 3.30am, before waking for the day at 7am. She is 14 weeks.
See that probably is my problem. I think I need to try going in later and seeing if he'll take more of a bottle. Tbh last night was awful so need to try something new.
What happens if you don't feed him? I experimented with not feeding my DD at 5 months (her wake ups increased so much that she was barely hungry in the day). She was totally fine and slept through (12-13hours) within 3 or 4 nights. Now she only wakes when teething, so maybe 3 nights every 3 weeks.
Does he feed to sleep/fall asleep on the bottle?
Lots of people have this issue - if the baby needs bottle/breast to fall asleep, then everytime they come into a light sleep phase in the night they need they teat/nipple in their mouth again to get back to sleep.
I would try working on bedtime - at this point I switched the bedtime routine around so my ds had his last feed before his bath and went into his cot awake. We did some pick-up/put-down so he got the hang of self-setting, then when he woke in the night he could put himself back to sleep without a feed.
Once he has teeth you'll need to brush them after his bottle anyway, so it's worth teaching him to fall asleep without a feed.
He still had one nightfeed at 11pm until 8 months though.
Yeah he sleeps on the bottle, which is another reason I need to find an alternative. During the day he'll fall asleep in his carseat/pram whilst walking/driving.
Can I ask Dials what you did when she cried during the night at the beginning?
Bit of a vicious circle I think - he is waking and is used to having a bottle so he keeps doing it and therefore will maybe decrease his milk intake during the day as he doesn't have to get all of his milk intake in the day as he gets it at night.
Perhaps you need to water down the feeds and gradually wean him onto only water and then off altogether? TBH it sounds like habit. Presumably he is weaned now so getting solids during the day so not as hungry generally?
I had to do this my my daughter to get her to sleep through as she just got used to having a feed then. I watered it down and then stopped it altogether and she slept through.
If he isn't properly waking have you thought about leaving him if he just grumbles and he might self-settle? Not advocating that is the only way to do things but it is certainly one way to go. I would be going mad with unbroken sleep after 6 months! (But I am a bit pathetic about sleep).
Obv only you know your baby and whether you are prepared to do a bit of controlled crying etc. It would also be good to break the "having to fall asleep whilst having a bottle". Well, it would make your life easier anyway!
I went in and offered water (she had a quick suck on a bottle but always stopped when she realised it wasn't milk). If she seemed to be teething (she has been for months!) I gave Bonjella/Neurofen, shushed and patted, picked her up until she stopped crying then put her down and left the room. She whined for a minute or two. A couple of times had to go back in and pick her up again. She the went back to sleep until morning. The wake up got later and later over then next few nights until she slept through. I was not expecting it to work, especially as she is BF so everyone said it shouldn't be me that went in. But DP works away and is so completely enthralled by her that he couldn't handle her even whimpering!
I decided at the outset that if she woke again in the same night I would feed her as I wouldn't leave a baby hungry but she never did. I was as sure as I could be that her wake ups were habitual and they were getting worse. But she did sleep through intermittently before the 4 month regression and could self settle. I would work on self settling at bedtime first so you know he can get to sleep by himself. He may well just sleep through then or just need minimal help to break the habit then.
Incidentally since I regaled you with tails of my sleeping DD she has woke up screaming twice this evening and she is 7 months now!
Right well last night was a real impetus to change things. Normally I get up if my dh is working but last night he was waking so frequently that dh got up a few times.
Plan for today, encourage milk as much as possible and not too long naps. For tonight, water but self settling as much as possible. The main problem with this is I leave at 5am for work and then DS has to go to CM again in the afternoon after a long break (on holiday) so I'm sure tmrw night is going to be even more shaky. Oh well!
But the way things are can't continue. Thanks for the advice!
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