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Terrible sleeper 5 months. Desperately need encouragement!

(11 Posts)
LittleGift Sun 26-Oct-14 08:39:55


This is my first post although I have been reading them in the small hours for months!

My little boy has slept really badly since we stopped swaddling at 2 months (slept like a dream swaddled). He's now 5.5 months and, although very recently we've had the odd night where he's managed 2.5 - 3.5 hours, usually he wakes every hour (sometimes more). The last two nights have been horrendous and I just need to hear from others that have been through this that it will (please say it will) get better.

My husband is incredible and we share nighttime parenting as much as possible but we are both utterly exhausted and I feel like it's tainting everything.

My son is exclusively breast fed and we started some finger foods at 5 months on GP's orders.

Thanks so much in advance!

Pootlingalong Sun 26-Oct-14 11:04:43

Sorry you are going through this. Does he wake for feeds or settle without feeding? How does he go back to sleep? We had various sleep issues with both DCs and yes, it does get better! It completely took over my life for a while as I tried to work out the magic solution to get them to sleep so I could too. He shouldn't be so hungry at his age that he needs frequent feeding at night from a physical point of view. Do you think he is able to soothe himself back to sleep?

ktj88 Sun 26-Oct-14 19:09:35

Sorry to hear this too - it really is terribly hard being a mum! Well done so far.

Unfortunately I have no experience with an EBF baby so I'm not sure my theory is valid in this situation but the best thing I did was introduce a E.A.S.Y routine around 9 weeks (when we also stopped swaddling!!!) You may have read about it or even tired it (so ignore this if so!!)....but it is really good for encouraging baby to not need food/comfort to go back to sleep during the night, and stops unnecessary night wakings.

My DD (17weeks) does eat, play/activity and then when she is tired (yawning, rubbing eyes, getting fussy) I take her up to her cot, put white noise on the radio (again, HIGHLY recommended) and walk around until her eyes go droopy, then I lay her down and she falls asleep. It's a loose routine that she does 4 times throughout the day with the last one being 'bedtime' and then she is down for 12hours. Don't get me wrong we have our fair share of crying when I miss the cues/naps or mess around with the schedule due to baby classes or (essential!) supermarket trips but on the whole it really has changed our lives. Ignore the timings to start with if easier, just concentrate on NOT feeding baby to sleep as she will need help/comfort every time she wakes up during the night...I read online that their sleep changes a lot around 4months (regressions etc.) and they no longer have as much DEEP sleep as they did as newborn-3months.

Best of luck with whatever you choose to do, you're doing great!

LittleGift Sun 26-Oct-14 19:35:52


Thanks for the response!

He is very distracted in the day so sometimes I feel he does need to eat at night. I would be fine with waking to feed every three hours or so if necessary but he can wake every hour (or less on a really bad night). He doesn't always need to feed and my husband and I both manage to get him back down without feeding (although I sometimes do feed as a shortcut when I am desperate).

My instinct is that mostly he doesn't wake because he's hungry, he just wakes.

We have never, ever been able to put him down "drowsy but awake". Daytime naps are tough too. He fights sleep in the day and if I try to put him down anywhere his eyes ping open immediately. I end up holding him or taking him out in the buggy rather than putting him down and interrupting his already short naps.

I have seen him wake and settle himself a few times at night now so I am hoping that is a positive step.

Anyway, sorry for rambling on. On the positive side he is generally well and happy so I really shouldn't complain but, as you say, it has completely taken over my life and I am dreading bed time more and more as the weeks progress.

I expected having a baby to be hard but had no idea it could be as brutal as this. I think above all it makes me feel sad that I am not able to enjoy my beautiful little man as I should.

LittleGift Sun 26-Oct-14 19:52:33

Hi ktj didn't see your post when I wrote the above. Unfortunately we haven't ever been able to put our little one down drowsy. Eyes just fly open. Plus he gets so distracted during the day he seems to forget he's hungry sometimes!

Thanks so much for the words of encouragement though.

Going to bed now to try to make the most of the extra hour we have today!

Pootlingalong Sun 26-Oct-14 20:13:55

It sounds to me as though he is struggling to get himself to sleep, and that is true in the day as well. My DS was like this, always rocked or fed to sleep until in desperation at nearly 6 months we did controlled crying. I know it isn't for everyone and there are other solutions to the issue but it worked for us. After 3 days he just rolled onto his side in his cot and went to sleep, it felt like a miracle. Loads of info on here about the pros and cons of sleep training and people will have had very different experiences to ours.

ktj88 Mon 27-Oct-14 08:53:50

It is really hard, but don't forget your raising a person and we all know how difficult other people can time you'll both just work out your groove and he'll know you and you'll know him inside out!! If he's happy during his awake time I'm sure it's just a phase.

I do highly recommend white noise though if you find he is waking lots, we tune our radio to static noise (i know it sounds awful but there is loads of science behind it!!) plus is drowns out the rest of the house noise so my dd stays asleep as I crash around with pots and pans!!

All the best.

LittleGift Mon 27-Oct-14 09:00:30


Thanks for the suggestions everyone.

I'm not comfortable with controlled crying and I'm afraid to say that we have tried just about everything else including white noise. I am sure (in daylight hours!) that it is a phase. I was just hoping someone might be able to tell me when the phase ended for them - light at the end of the tunnel.

Thanks again for the support.

Bubbleberrie Tue 04-Nov-14 21:19:04

Our 5 month old little boy is the same. Never slept more than 3 hours EVER and lately it's a phase where he wakes hourly again. I am exhausted, over tired, over emotional. I struggle more and more with lack of patience when trying to get him to have day time naps as I am more an more over tired. I EBF and am sure he uses me as a dummy but also sometimes think he is genuinely hungry. I don't know how to end this cycle and my husband wants to try cc but I just can't - I find it heartbreaking (although I appreciate it works for some).
I am currently trying to introduce a 'lovey' (teddy) to build and attachment as I feed so he hopefully settles with that, not nipple!
I feel guilty moaning as I am so thankful he is happy and healthy.
You are not alone though x

BendyMum15 Wed 05-Nov-14 02:40:44

DD is 6 months and has been waking every 2 hours or less since about 3 months. Sometimes we are able to settle her without feeding but mostly we have to feed to sleep.
Like your DC she hardly naps in tje day which am sure contributes to the nighttime wakings as she is over tired but there is little I can do to get her to sleep for long enough.
I have a 3 year old who is very energetic so am exhausted.
I've decided to speak to HV to get some suggestions as I feel 3 months is too long for a phase and want some alternatives to controlled crying as I don't like it and also don't want her waking DS (two overtired children would not be fun).
DH is about to take her out for a drive as we are on waking number 2 with no sign of going back to sleep. However, sometimes it doesn't work and she wakes up as soon as they get back.
Hope you get some more sleep soon!

MaMaPo Wed 05-Nov-14 02:50:48

Hi OP. I feel your pain!

My DD was very, very similar - I never ever saw her 'drowsy' until she was about a year old and she fought fiercely if I ever put her down awake. I used to feed or rock her to sleep and she woke often throughout the night. She was EBF until we started solids at 6 months, and she was breastfed until about 17 months. She never ever settled herself for nighttime or naps.

We used controlled crying just over 6 months. It was a bit awful but only for about 3 days. We also introduced a 'lovey' and she is very attached to it now.

Her sleeping really improved after 6 months as she could self-settle and she began sleeping through at about 7 months. Sleep went backwards a bit from 9 months as we went travelling for a few months and we were often in different rooms, lack of bedtime routine etc and I went back to feeding/rocking to sleep. However, when we were back in a home routine I was steeling myself to go through the controlled crying thing again but she didn't need it - started sleeping through beautifully without crying at all.

She's now almost 2 and loves her bed. She often asks to go to bed and she still has her 'lovey'.

It may not be for you, but so much about your OP rang true for me, so I thought I'd share my experiences.

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