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Any advice on 8.5 month old night wakings?

(5 Posts)
Liskee Tue 08-Sep-15 22:18:59

My 8.5 month DS has started waking up in the middle of the night screaming for what appears to be no reason. Since 6 months he's been an excellent self soother and I always give him a short minute or two to see if he'll go over himself, then go into his room to see if there's anything wrong. 9 times out of 10 there doesn't appear to be anything the matter but the screams/cries can sound like he's actually hurt. During these screaming fits I find him up on all fours rocking back and forth and banging his head against the side of the cot. He's learnt to crawl in the last month and very quickly after to pull himself up and stand. He will do this in his cot, again screaming loudly. Soothing him in his cot with patting and shushing doesn't work. Because I'm so scared he'll hurt himself I end up picking him up and rocking him back to sleep. As he's been such an excellent self soother and sleeper in the past I'm concerned about developing poor sleep associations. Obviously though, his comfort and wellbeing come first and I don't want him to hurt himself. Any advice on why he's doing this (I suspect it's developmental) and suggestions on how to manage it would be welcomed. Thanks.

FATEdestiny Tue 08-Sep-15 22:26:36

How did you used to soothed him if he woke, before he started pulling himself up?

Liskee Tue 08-Sep-15 22:32:16

At around 6 months we tried controlled crying and it worked like a dream within 2 days. From then until about 2 weeks ago he hasn't woken in the night hardly at all, and if he has he's gone over himself within a minute or two. I'm not averse to doing it again, but I am concerned that leaving him to rock on all fours banging his head, or leaving him to stand and potentially fall could hurt him. i have several friends who reassure me that as long as he cant fall out of the cot (he can't) then he's fine. I value their advice, as it helped in the past with my DS sleep issues, but I'm always open to hearing other suggestions...

FATEdestiny Tue 08-Sep-15 22:51:16

I did wonder because you seem to have no established way of soothing baby. So really you just need to establish what you do to sooth him when he wakes and needs you.

You mentioned patting and shushing in the cot doesn't work. It won't work if it isn't established as a way to give comfort. But what's the alternate? If you don't want to sooth baby while he stays in the cot then the alternate is to pick him up - which you also aren't keen on.

Personally I find soothing baby in cot without picking up better in the longer term, than picking up and rocking to sleep. But it won't 'just work', you will probably have to work at it.

My advise would be a firm hand on baby's chest - which involves soothing him in the cot. Many babies go through this stage where they get too mobile in the cot when they should be sleeping. I found that a firm hand placed on babys chest/back, with occasional patting and shushing , helps to teach baby that he needs to be still and lie down in order to sleep. Similarly holding both of baby's hands does the same - reaffirms that baby shouldn't be moving and needs to still and relax in order to sleep.

Liskee Wed 09-Sep-15 07:40:55

Excellent, thank you. That's constructive advice and definitely worth trying.

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