"Sleep training" a 7 month old?(4 Posts)
Hi, this is my first time posting, and was wondering if anyone can offer some advice? My daughter has just turned 7 months old, and has never been a great sleeper. She is an early bird who goes to bed between 6.30 and 7pm and wakes generally between 5.30 and 6.30, and has always woken between 1 and 3 times during that time, generally I would feed her (she is EBF) and she'd go straight back to sleep. I have been trying to stop her feeding to sleep for a few weeks now by using the pull-off technique from the "no cry sleep solution" with some success, she now goes into her cot drowsy/half-asleep and generally settles herself from there into a deep sleep.
The problem is that over the last week or 2, her night-time sleep has become awful! She is waking all night, between every 1 and 3 hours, and I am more tired than when she was a newborn! When she wakes, if I feed her she will feed for 5 mins or so and then go back into her cot drowsy or even fully awake, then settle herself back to sleep. If I refuse to feed her, she will scream and yell, wriggling and crawling around her cot in a sort of "half-awake" state, on a few occasions I have been able to settle her from this by shushing and patting/cuddling but generally I am a bit soft, worry about the noise waking my DH/neighbours and just end up picking her up and feeding her!
She has had a lot going on developmentally in the past 2 weeks, she's started crawling and babbling and is nearly sitting up, she's had some tummy problems with constipation and she still has no teeth yet but is drooling a lot, so I've been tying myself in knots trying to think of explanations and excuses for why this could be happening, but the bottom line is that I am exhausted and also I fear I am doing her no favours by feeding her every time she wakes up, she is a big 7-month old who is eating loads of solids (and plenty of daytime milk) so really doesn't need 4 night feeds! I am worried I'm setting her up for chronic bad sleep by not helping her to learn to self settle now.
Sorry for such a long post, does anyone out there have any advice or similar experiences? What did you do?
If you will do any sleep training, it will have to be your DH going in to soothe her when she wakes in the night, since you are BF and you will smell of milk to her. So you need to first convince your DH and choose a time (long weekend?) when this can be done.
This is a good time to do it, because once she actually starts cutting teeth, she will wake up in pain. You would want her to have learned to go back to sleep without a feed when that happens.
I would pick two times when you will feed her (11pm and 3am for example) and then every other time she wakes your DH goes in to settle her. Maybe get him to do bedtime too. I think it is too distressing/confusing for a breastfed baby to have mum go to them but then refuse to feed - the comfort of the breast is a big part of her relationship with you. She won't be expecting boob from her dad so will be more likely to accept a cuddle.
Once she's only waking for 2 feeds you can work on dropping them.
My 6mo did exactly the same for about 3 weeks and then suddenly he's sleeping all the time (to the point where I'm worried about that now!). But in the context of lots of developmental stuff going on, disturbed sleep is to be expected, no? Which means sleep training is probably not going to work while she's bang in the middle of her 'phase' and probably not going to be necessary once it's over. Give her a couple of weeks...
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