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6 months old and won't sleep for longer than 40 minutes at a time

(24 Posts)
Noof Wed 11-May-16 16:01:35

Hi all, I feel like at each stage of my baby's development I'm asking for help but now I really am at my wit's end. My son was just beginning to sleep better and we hit a horrendous 4 month sleep regression. We were just coming through that when he became unwell and sleep went again.

Now he will only sleep for 40 minutes at a time maximum and often less. From what I've read that's probably 1 sleep cycle and he's unable to keep himself asleep during the transition into another cycle so he wakes up and ends up crying because he wants comfort.

He's so tired that he ends up over-tired, screaming and unable to sleep - but nothing I do seems to keep him asleep. We're co-sleeping at night just because it's less disruptive but if he's in my bed he will only settle if I'm holding him which means neither of us are probably getting good enough sleep - and he still wakes after 40 minutes and gets upset.

We've tried a dummy, a sleepyhead, co-sleeping and not co-sleeping, feeding to sleep and cuddles but not feeding, white noise, a soft toy, playing lullabies, putting my clothes in with him, warming his cot, napping up in the dark or downstairs with me and nothing makes a difference!!

I know babies wake up and I signed up to this but honestly he should be able to stay asleep longer because he clearly isn't rested enough as he's rubbing his eyes and cranky more than he is happy. Whereas before this, we'd cut down night feeds and he would sleep for 2-3hours before waking and he was a happier baby.

I'm just desperate for a couple of hours sleep in a row rather than just 40 minutes. Has anyone got any advice on how I can help him learn to stay asleep - for his sake as well as my own sanity??

Zaurak Wed 11-May-16 17:31:28

Following. My seven month old is the it's exhausting isn't it sad

Noof Wed 11-May-16 18:23:10

Yes! I knew it would be hard but I never thought I'd have a 6 month old who sleeps worse than he did as a newborn! I don't know if anyone can suggest anything I've not already tried but I reasoned I have nothing to lose!

WalkThePlank0 Thu 12-May-16 07:32:01


My 6 month old doing something similar. Very demoralising. Am not sure exactly what the answer is except my DS seems to sleep better when he can feel himself next to me - so I cuddle him when he wakes. I have vague memories of my DS1 doing something similar during the first year. I'm going to put it down to development stuff and hope it will pass.

Twinklestar2 Fri 13-May-16 20:33:33

Have you tried resettling him when he wakes up? For 2 weeks I sat in the room with my son while he was sleeping and when he started to stir I resettled him by shushing, patting or even picking him up to push him into the best sleep cycle. From then on he'd nap longer. Good luck smile

Gracey79 Fri 13-May-16 20:36:06

Could it be teeth? Mine was waking constantly when first ones came through

sugarmonster64 Fri 13-May-16 20:39:54

This is probably hugely unpopular but we resorted to controlled crying at that age as I was exhausted, mentally and physically. I know it's not for everyone but it did work for us, first night reduced to just one wake up with feed and a month later reduced that. Wasn't the nicest experience but now they sleep wonderfully so for us was worth it. Did same with DC2 and they are two of the best sleepers I know but whether that's the CC or luck I don't know

Good luck though, I remember that phase and it was horrific. I used to drive around aimlessly just so they would nap in car

Kimononono Fri 13-May-16 20:42:01

The baby sleep wisperer really helped with my dd. In fact it was a god send. When dd was doing that I had to gently disturb her about 30 mins in to her sleep so she would go in to another sleep cycle before waking up. It's called wake to sleep.

There is a lot more to it like making sure day naps are sorted first to ensure decent night sleeping.

It's good

Kimononono Fri 13-May-16 20:42:57

* you don't actually wake them just gently disturb them

HonkHonkNose Fri 13-May-16 22:26:58

My dd didn't sleep well until all her teeth were through at 20mo. Nearly broke me with the sleep deprivation!

I just did whatever I could so that we both got as much sleep as possible so for me that meant co-sleeping, bf and cuddling back to sleep. I remember often she'd go back to sleep then the minute I tried to sneak out she'd wake up screaming again.

It sounds like he needs you with him to sleep. I did that with dd as she needed me and although I was knackered and resentful, I'm glad I was there for her during that time.

It does get better, honestly, it just takes time. She sleeps 8pm until 6am ish now and I never in my wildest dreams thought it would happen.

Just do what you need to to get through it.

JennyOfOldstones Tue 17-May-16 19:25:44

My DD did this from about 4 months - we never got a nap longer than 40 mins and at bedtime she would always need a resettle 40 mins after going off. You could set your clock by her. We coslept and I would sometimes have to pick her up during the night. Never did sleep training and around 7 months she just stopped.

Zaurak Wed 18-May-16 15:15:15

Cc didn't work for us - he just cried all night, every night. It was nightmarish. I'm not opposed to it per se, it just doesn't work for everyone

The only way I'm still sane is dh and I doing shifts, basically. He gets up with him at 5 am and I sleep for an hour - at the weekend we do a couple of hours. We sort of switched the focus from trying to get him to sleep (which we can't control) to how we can deal with it (which we can,)

flowers it's absolutely shit.

WalkThePlank0 Wed 18-May-16 20:50:07

I had a bit of a revelation the other night. I do remember that DS1 started to sleep better as soon as he could move around more freely. He chose to sleep on his front rather than his back. I guess he woke a lot because he wasn't that comfy on his back. I'm wondering if that will happen with DS2 as well. Maybe applicable to you? I don't like to sleep in the same position all night so can understand why they might wake up because of it.

stellak9 Mon 23-May-16 10:04:09

Noof my ds does the same and he'll be 6 months in a few days. This has been going on for a whole month. I am hoping it's due to leap 5 and he'll be back to normal when the leap ends. It is exhausting! I never imagined that at almost 6 months he'd still sleep so awful, worse than a newborn.

FifiFerusha Mon 23-May-16 12:15:30

Just hang on in there. I know plenty of mums on here whose babies didn't start taking longer naps until after the 8 month mark at least. I tried desperately to extend naps in transitions, worked sometimes, sometimes didn't but stressed me out a lot. Then one day, after the milestone of crawling began it happened. Now we get an hour to an hour and a half. Just go with it for now if I were you x

FifiFerusha Mon 23-May-16 13:03:35

Oops, sorry just realised that you meant he only slept for 40 mins a time at night too. I hope it is a phase sad x x x x x

Noof Thu 26-May-16 12:56:32

Thank you all, just sympathy and support helps! I'm hoping when this leap is over and he's started crawling/sitting/rolling/standing - all of which he is currently trying to achieve - it will get better! We're going to try him in his own room next week, fingers crossed!!

WalkThePlank0 Thu 26-May-16 14:55:23

Keep us posted. Mine has settled to every three hours now and I feed him lying down so I manage to get enough rest. I'm hoping the feeding will reduce at some point soon. By the way, have you tried Oestopathy? I think DS1 might have struggled with his sleep because he had a ventouse birth and probably a sore head for a bit.

Zaurak Thu 26-May-16 17:20:54

How long post birth is osteopathy supposed to help? Ds was a c section birth but they had to use a ventouse to get him out (yokes!)
I'm not sure I even believe in it but frankly I'd try anything right now

WalkThePlank0 Thu 26-May-16 18:25:24

Hi Zaurak

Yes, try. My three year old has just stopped a treatment of three months, I think it helped. My six months old had a couple of weeks of it too. It's worth checking out in case there is any tenderness that hasn't been spotted. I think I mentioned before but DS1 was vontouse and really unsettled for weeks. We all had a quite harrowing time of it. I sleep trained at six months but I think the real changes came when he was able to sleep on his front and pick a position that suited him. The Oestopath mentioned that there was lots of tension at the back of his head and neck muscles.

Does your little sleep on you or in a sling? DS1 did which was a clue for us. No pressure on the head. Also he was a bit refluxy which I think is bothering DS2 now.

Zaurak Sat 28-May-16 08:52:55

He used to sleep on me - I can't use a sling unfortunately.
I don't know if I'm casting around for there to be a single 'something wrong' that can explain his terrible sleep... Maybe he's just a dreadful sleeper? There are no signs of reflux - he almost never commits of possets up milk.

Zaurak Sat 28-May-16 08:53:11

Vomits. Not commits!

WalkThePlank0 Sat 28-May-16 09:40:04

It's very logical TO search for a single cause in case there is. And certainly you should try and eliminate reasons. But it is also possible that there is no reason and he is not a good sleeper as a little baby. And you may never know why.
When my boys wake every hour, I think it's because they are overtired and they get too wired. And I find that letting them nap however they can does help.

Ds1 turned a corner about 7 months and then slept well from 12 months. He was tough in the early days but he always turned out to be very physical child and aced his motor skills milestones. The babies that I know that slept through earlier all seemed much quieter and their parents worried more about different things like walking late etc...

DS2 I think might have silent reflux, so he doesn't vomit much either but he complains about being on his back a lot, pulls a face as though he has acid reflux, hiccups and coughs. He is never on his tummy for long without being sick.

Mummyme87 Mon 30-May-16 09:29:35

My son was like this until he was 10/11months old. I enlisted a sleep coach in the end but before she started he just changed over night on his own. I had tried everything, I was about to jump out of the window and run away. He also learnt to self settle on his own very soon after this.
It's bloody awful, I hated the first 10mo this of DS life

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