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5 month old still waking every 45 mins advice please?

(16 Posts)
cantthinkofaclevername Mon 21-Jan-13 22:46:12


I'm new to this forum and have done a bit of browsing but can't seem to find a thread to answer my question, so apologies if this is repeating many others but I really need some advice and don't really know where else to turn.

I have a 2 year old who sleeps very well. I fed him on demand, which included frequent night feeds and feeding him to sleep but it was all manageable and I just went with it and let time do it's thing.

The wake ups reduced gradually and by about 4 months he was only waking 2 or 3 times between 7 and 7 and that dropped to once by about 8 months and then I think he was about a year when he stopped waking for milk entirely.
This was all quite manageable and fine so when our second arrived I just thought I'd do the same thing.

It started as expected with very frequent feeding but by 12 weeks we had a couple of nights with only 3 wake ups so 4 hour blocks of sleep so I thought all was going very well.

However since then things have gone really down hill, with the wakes ups getting more and more frequent rather than less. I can't blame growth spurts because it's been constant for months. So we went from a few weeks of 4 hour blocks of sleep to 3 hours, then 2 hours and now he will wake either every 45 mins, or 1.5 hrs all night from 7 till 7. He goes to sleep very easily on the boob and will always drop off again after 5 mins, so it's not going to sleep that's the issue, it's the staying asleep.

I am feeling slightly at my wits end because I can't really see an end in sight. He is 5 months old now and when he wakes up I go to him and put him on the boob. He'll suckle for 5 mins or so and drop off again, then I put him back in his cot and he'll sleep for 45 mins and wake again etc... i feel like he is so in this routine now that time is just cemeting the habit rather than going to lead to positive change. So I need to do something.

So can anyone give me some advice please.

some info which might help:
- i have tried to give him a dummy almost every day since birth and it's still a firm no from him. He spits it out and/or cries.
- likewise we have tried a bottle with both my, and formula milk and he just chews it, regardless of what time of day or who gives it to him.
- he naps happily in the sling and more recently in his cot and usually has three 45 min naps a day
- i have tried playing heartbeat noise in his room but he still wakes as usual.
- his room is dark and quiet, but we have also tried him in the sitting room with family noise, co-sleeping with me, and in a cot in his older brothers room. all have led to same outcome.
- he sleeps most happily in his cot on his side, propped by a rolled up blanket. on his back has always led to screaming, so does on his front. He is comfy on his side but when he wakes up he thrashes about a bit and ends up on his back crying.
- at the moment i get up and feed him in a chair by the cot. I tried co-sleeping and feeding him lying down in the bed but it wasn't comfy for either of us, and the sheets ended up soaked. I think my nipples point the wrong way?!
- I don't rush in but listen to chuntering noises in the hope that he'll go back to sleep, which if it's not the end of a 45 min sleep cycle he will, but if he's coming round he always revs up and wakes himself up properly and then cries till I get to him.
- I am not going to do controlled crying so don't really require any information about that thanks. I know it works but I don't consider it a good idea longer term so am looking for other ideas.
- he is currently just on milk and I don't plan to give him solids until 6 months.

I can't think of anything else that may be relevant. If you have actually got this far through this very boring essay, and have any ideas, I would be hugely grateful for any advice.


lucylookout Mon 21-Jan-13 23:02:29

My 6mo DS doesn't wake at regular intervals but does wake up about 9 times a night. I've just read the no cry sleep solution and can recommend it. It gives examples of how to make very small changes to how your baby falls asleep without upsetting him. Once your baby is comfortable with one small change you make another small change (I guess it's a kind of very gradual retreat!) until baby can go to sleep and stay asleep by himself. I have written myself a sleep plan (laid out by book) and I think ds's sleep has improved just a little. It also has helped me feel I am doing something constructive and it has encouraged me to be consistent and patient to wait for the changes to take effect.
Other than that, commiserations! It is exhausting and frustrating. But it won't last forever smile

stargirl1701 Mon 21-Jan-13 23:04:22

Have you read 'the no cry sleep solution'?

cantthinkofaclevername Mon 21-Jan-13 23:21:10

Thank you both. I did read it years ago and had forgotten about it, so I have just dug it out so will read it asap.

birdofthenorth Mon 21-Jan-13 23:32:43

That sounds like torture, poor you! Have you sought advice from GP/ HV? I only ask as you have tried everything I would recommend already and whilst frequent night feeds are to be expected at that age, every 45 mins sounds like an utter nightmare. Hugs!

cantthinkofaclevername Tue 22-Jan-13 21:22:51

thanks for the commiserations. it is torture actually. I got really angry with him for the first time last night and I found that a bit scary. Nothing out of hand, but I was really rough with him when I picked him up, and thinking about it this morning I can totally see how people end up losing it and shaking their babies.
So I have got the book out, but haven't had a chance to read it yet because he has already been up 3 times since 7. Ridiculous.

lucylookout Tue 22-Jan-13 22:45:41

It took me about 3 weeks to read it, 20 minutes at a time in the bath!

belindarose Wed 23-Jan-13 18:27:30

Hi OP,

I read your post with interest as my 6 month old is exactly the same. Can't find my copy of NCSS so if my friend doesn't have it I'll get it on kindle tomorrow.

My DS sucks his thumb and can get himself to sleep sometimes. Much better than DD at this age who always needed rocking and holding for hours. But just like you say, he wakes every 45 or 90 mins through the night and needs BF to get back to sleep. I am now SO tired that my brain doesn't work.

I'll make a sleep plan at the weekend when I've reread the book.

monkeysmama Wed 23-Jan-13 18:38:25

My 6mo is the same. Imo most of her wakings are for a cuddle and security suckle rather than actual feed. If you have an iPhone there is an App associated with the "What to Expect" series where you can time their wakings. I am on night five of doing that tonight and am starting to see a pattern. I'm hoping that if I up how long I feed her for when she wakes around 1 it might cut out the next one or two so I would be getting two hours clear sleep. Which would be bliss. She is co sleeping and I'm breast feeding so she just rolls over and starts to feed but I still wake up. It's torture. My eldest has chicken pox at the moment and was awake for three hours in the night. I feel like death warmed up today and have sprouted a cold sore and two ulcers. Good luck!

BabiesNeedInstructions Wed 23-Jan-13 21:36:23

Maybe he's not having enough milk at each waking? If he falls asleep after 5 mins he could easily be hungry again an hour later. Could you try waking him more fully with a nappy change and see if you can get a proper feed down him? Then you'd know he couldn't possibly be hungry until 2 hours later, say, and if he wakes before then try to settle him without milk. Easier said than done I know, but sounds like you have nothing to lose and it might break the cycle.

sedgieloo Wed 23-Jan-13 21:52:17

He is needing to suckle to go sleep. I stopped feeding to sleep and used shush pat to settle baby. This broke the association. Then as time went by I started putting baby down more and more awake using the shush pat thing and continuing to comfort this way in the cot. I focused my efforts on nap times rather at night. The nights got better on their own. Once she learned to self settle she started doing 8 hr stretches. I used the NCSS and baby whisperer ideas, the latter is also no cry in its advice. I also did play time in the cot so she saw is as a happy and comfortable place to be. HTH

freelancegirl Wed 23-Jan-13 22:11:47

I could have written that myself OP, every 45 mins or less throughout the evening with the occasional 2 hour stretch around 3am Ish. It was going well until 12 weeks and like you it all changed. He's now just over 6 months. Oh and he won't go in his cot so we are co sleeping and trying unsuccessfully to break the feeding to sleep association. Our good to hear that second time nuns go through it too as it just goes to show its down to the individual baby, not something we are doing wrong. I feel such a failure sometimes when faced with Babies That Sleep.

I do have a copy of NCSS and I guess I should try pay if more attention again as the first time I read it I didbt find it helpful at all.

And always great to know I'm not alone smile

Sharksandfishes Mon 28-Jan-13 11:37:55

I also could have written your post, and actually came on for some advice!
I have a nearly 4 year old who slept amazingly well so it's all been a bit of a shock to us!
Will see if the NCSS book is in the library tomorrow

cantthinkofaclevername Mon 11-Feb-13 21:29:15

Hi Guys who posted and others

To other posters, you prob won't see this, but I wanted to reply just in case, and to others who have found this thread by searching and wanted to give encouragement to all those in same boat.

I read the NCSS and have been following advice and things have really improved. I still feed to sleep but always take him off the boob when he stops swallowing, and now he may still complain once or twice (so I put him back on) but in the end he does lie happily in my arms not suckling. then I move him into cot while still awake but v snoozy and then keep my hand on him and breath very deeply and slowly. then remove hand and keep breathing, then I leave. Whole thing takes no more than a few mins from when the feed stops. Now in the night when he wakes I don't pick him up but resume the hand on and deep breathing. He still wakes fairly often but no where near as much eg last night was bed at 7, then wake ups at 12, 2, 4.30, 6 then up for day at 8.

the only one which is a proper feed is the 12 and then a bit of a feed at 4ish. the rest I don't take him out the cot and each other wake up now only involves a minute or so or quiet reassurance. The wake ups have reduced from once every 45 mins and I know that they will reduce further.

so maybe not a quick fix, but it is working and he hasn't had to be stressed out at all, so I have no fears for his secure attachment to me and no worries about long term consequences of messing with it.

So to anyone else reading this I would recommend NCSS book and urge you to persevere with the slow but steady methods. It's a bit tortoise and hare. Seems harder to start with, but really does work better in the long run.

topsmart Thu 14-Feb-13 23:11:37

Thank you canthinkofaclevername! I was just searching through the Sleep topic as my 5 month old dd2 is very similar to yours; found your thread and its given me hope!

lucylookout Sat 16-Feb-13 23:00:09

Cantthinkofaclevername, glad the book has helped and that things have improved for you

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