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Six month sleep. Am I creating bad habits?

(16 Posts)
Purpleboa Fri 08-Jan-16 12:38:32

Regulars on here will know me well by now! Apologies for what will be a long post but want to give you all the full picture soI'm not missing anything out.

In summary: DD is six months and has always been a bad sleeper. There's been ups and downs, but the norm is at least 3 wakings. It's a bit of a blur tbh! She's ebf, won't take a bottle or a dummy. She's in a Sleepyhead as will wriggle all around the cot without it. She's very active and is even trying to crawl.

During the day she'll have 3 naps, usually an hour long. First one at 8.30, second at 11.30, third at 3.30. Although it varies. Try not to go past 5pm. Bedtime starts with me feeding her to sleep at 7.30. Usually asleep by 8.

I started weaning her late December. We're trying to do babyled without much success. Started to introduce a spoon at breakfast so she's at least getting something but it's a struggle. Trying to introduce formula too.

The past 2 months has been particularly bad. She went through a stage of being wide awake for hours which was fun! Over the past two weeks she'll wake, get fed, then settle...but only on me. I sleep in her room and it's a single bed, so co sleeping is only possible with her sleeping on me. Over the course of an average night I try to put her back in the cot several times with limited success. Then I give up and just let her sleep on me. Sometimes I sleep, sometimes I don't. When I put her in her cot she'll wake up, wriggle about, scratch the sides of her Sleepyhead. I try to leave her with shush patting but she'll get more alert until she cries for me.

We've tried controlled crying but she's so strong willed!

I'm fed up. My back hurts from her sleeping on me as she's no longer a tiny baby. Goes without saying I'm permanently knackered. Having heart palpitations at night. It's affecting my marriage. And I feel like such a failure. Everyone else I know seems to have babies who generally sleep well! Their definition of a bad night is a 3am waking. I feel I've created this situation but I honestly don't know what to do next. I was hoping weaning would help but as she's not really eating anything, it will be a while. And she turns her nose up at formula!

I go back to work in May and am panicking that things won't have changed then.

Any advice or just reassurance that it will get better hugely appreciated! Please be gentle, I know I've been useless with this but am feeling very low.

Purpleboa Fri 08-Jan-16 12:40:13

Meant to say, could she be outgrowing the Sleepyhead? Maybe she wants to sleep on her side or front?

MaisieDotes Fri 08-Jan-16 12:44:06

Two naps were enough for both of mine by that age. 9am - about 45 mins and then 12 / 12.30 for about 1 and a half to 2 hours.

Then I would do bedtime at 7. Porridge at teatime can help too.

Purpleboa Fri 08-Jan-16 12:55:49

Thanks. My worry is though that she's not getting enough sleep at night to justify cutting naps. But then I guess it would help her sleep more at night? But then they say sleep leads to more sleep! So confusing.

PaulDirac Fri 08-Jan-16 12:56:54

My dd slept on her front from a young age. This helped but her sleeping got worse and worse. She took hours to get to sleep with lots of screaming and crying, and she still woke every hour. We tried everything before cosleeping but I wish we'd done that sooner. Cosleeping, with her in the middle not on top, has really worked for us. She's 18 months and still breastfeeds at night but now she more or less sleeps through from 8.30pm-6am (she may wake once in this time.) My dd doesn't really nap in the day though and even at six months slept nowhere near what yours does. I'd try cutting those down first if I were you.

PaulDirac Fri 08-Jan-16 12:57:40

Sorry that should say sleeping on her front improved things for a while but then they got worse and worse.

PaulDirac Fri 08-Jan-16 13:01:22

BTW op you've not been useless. It's hard to know what to do, particularly when you're so sleep deprived you can barely function. I know they say sleep breeds sleep but if yours is sleep fairly well at day and not at all at night I'd definitely try giving cutting down naps a go. I know when mine slept better in the day she slept better at night, but her norm was 20 mins sleep in the day so it was a bit different.

Lovemybubble15 Fri 08-Jan-16 13:13:00

Purpleboa I feel your pain. My lo is pretty much the same. And getting worse. I'm always posting for help but nothing works.

I am currently lying in my bed with lo asleep in my arms as only way he seems to sleep these days. Spend most of the day dreading night. I've a co sleep cot with a sleepy head in and once he wakes from first chunk of sleep approx 2 hours that's it, he won't go back in.

Myself and oh have a row most nights as both getting no sleep and he has work. I actually feel like going back sooner and putting lo in nursery so at least he might get some routine forced onto him.

UnplainJane Fri 08-Jan-16 13:23:35

No advice really other than it will get better, although it doesn't feel like it! With some babies you can do all the 'right' things and still have a rubbish sleeper. I think what you need to do is whatever it takes to maximise sleep for you - if that is full time co-sleeping then so be it. I'm sure someone will be along with advice soon.

Lovemy I know it is so tough - I'm on my 2nd rubbish sleeper and I hope and pray that each milestone reached means better sleep (it is slowly improving but he is nearly 2yo now!) But no matter how tough it gets I don't think putting him in to childcare earlier than necessary so someone else (a stranger) can parent him is the answer. Children need to spend their early years being brought up within the family and bonding with parents as much as possible - this will have a positive effect on sleep in the long run

UnplainJane Fri 08-Jan-16 13:28:24

Purple since you mentioned bad habits in your title, this link might help?

sarahockwell-smith.com/2015/08/26/lets-talk-about-bad-habits-and-baby-and-child-sleep/

Lovemybubble15 Fri 08-Jan-16 13:28:26

Upjane - I know I'm just venting to be honest. Tiredness is not my thing. My oh wants to put him in own room and I can't as don't want to be away from him. I'm just beyond tired now.

UnplainJane Fri 08-Jan-16 13:41:15

I know - when you are beyond tired you think all sorts of things you could do to get rest. It will get better, you will sleep again and also forget how hard it was..... Until you have another!

HannahLily2014 Fri 08-Jan-16 13:54:41

My little boy is about the same age, his naps are almost identical to your dds, have you tried without the sleepyhead? DS wriggles from one end of the cot to the other throughout the night and always seems to end up on his front x

kbro79 Fri 08-Jan-16 13:54:58

My baby is a terrible sleeper and I feel like everyone else I knows baby isn't (he is the only baby in our NCT group to sleep badly) it's isolating and hard. The only thing that has helped was advice that I got on a post natal thread which was: stop blaming yourself. It's nothing you are doing.

Honestly you are not useless so don't let yourself believe that. Eat lots of chocolate. Drink some coffee. And remind yourself everyday it's not your fault.

Pyjamaramadrama Fri 08-Jan-16 19:48:17

Hi purple, I think my ds is the same age as your dd, he was born mid June. He's been a little sleep fighter too although dare I say it its massively improved now for the most part. He used to doze off for 10 minutes then wake screaming. I put a lot of sleep problems down to overtiredness.

He still has the odd night where he will just randomly stay awake for 2 hours.

His sleeping pattern is like this now. Bed is 8pm, he usually gets up at 6.30-7.00am. Naps are 9.00am for around 30 minutes, 12.00pm for around 2.5 hours, and 4.30pm for around 30 minutes. Sleep seems to breed sleep here, if we go out for the day he won't nap well and it wrecks the night. I've read that a 6 month old can't cope with more than 2 hours awake time so I try not to let him get too tired, I've become a bit of a martyr to his naps but a tired baby is scary stuff.

Just to say I ditched blw, he just wasn't getting anything in him. Weaning isn't going too great, if he's tired he just won't eat but on a good day if goes like this.

7.00am a bottle, 10.30am porridge or half a weetabix and a bit of a bottle, 2.30pm a bottle, 5.00pm some mashed dinner and a bit of milk then 8.00pm bedtime bottle. I've stopped feeding him at night because I found that he wasn't eating as much during the day. I give him a drink of water instead.

He was in our bed but it had to stop because he wouldn't nap in his cot during the day, I was so scared to even put him in his cot but I just went for it. He sleeps on his front or side in the cot, he does a far bit of rolling and crawling around the cot before he goes to sleep. I've tried to make the cot a happy place by putting him in there briefly with toys and teddys while I potter about chatting to him. It's also right against our bed so that he can see us.

I did a bit of cc too but I didn't really time it, I just did his bedtime routine popped him down then pottered around and kept going back in to resettle him, if it goes on too long sometimes a muslin over his eyes helps obviously I stay with him stroking his face and holding his hand although he turns into an octopus.

Sorry that's long I hope that it doesn't sound preachy but I wanted to share some of the things that have worked for us.

You really are doing a great job. All babies are different my ds1 was very different to this one it's definitely nothing you're doing wrong.

September60b Fri 08-Jan-16 20:56:49

Just wanted to echo the above really and say that it isn't anything that you are doing wrong. I also have a terrible sleeper. She naps on me most of the time during the day. She will sleep in her cot at night but wakes multiple times. She's just turned 1 and touch wood, her sleep seems to be improving. She only really started to get interested in food around 6-8 weeks ago so whether this has had an impact on her sleep I don't know.

My dd also used to need a fair amount of sleep in the daytime. Cutting it down didn't work for us but it might work for your dd.

It does get better even though it doesn't feel like it will. I would just do whatever you need to do to get through it.

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