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Let sleeping babies lie?

(15 Posts)
MetalMidget Tue 17-Jan-17 08:49:42

I was wondering what people's opinions were about waking baby in the morning? My son is nearly six months old, and is still a bit erratic in his sleeping patterns.

I've been trying to get him into a routine - he normally starts a nap between 10.30-11.30am, although it can sometimes be a bit later. Usually this nap is 40-60 minutes long. He has a second nap normally starting 2-3pm, which is usually a bit longer, ranging from 45 minutes to two hours.

This is where it gets awkward - in the evening, I'll do his bedtime routine. Bath, gentle songs and story, feed and to bed. However, even if he goes to sleep, he won't stay asleep. He'll wake up within twenty minutes of having been put down, or if I leave the room. He won't sleep soundly until past 11pm - then he'll usually sleep until 3-5pm, have a feed and drop back off. Sometimes he'll feed and sleep intermittently until about 6.30am...then sleep soundly until past 9am. I'm not sure whether I should be waking him at 7/7.30am - at the moment I let him sleep until he wakes up himself, as even with the 'lie-in', he's still short of 12 hours sleep overnight.

He has a co-sleeper cot that he used to sleep great in, but since he's hit four months, I usually end up with him in the bed with me, anything so we both get some sleep! He has a dummy and a blankie, and sometimes drops off himself, but generally needs nursing or movement to sleep. I don't begrudge him that, as he's obviously still so very young (and at the moment he has a snuffly cold) - I'm just wondering if there's anything I should be doing routine - wise to help him sleep in the evening so that I can have some time with my husband? As it stands, I'm currently spending up to five hours a night battling to get baby to sleep!

A few friends keep on saying that we need to let him cry it out, but I'm not willing to do that (the one was saying that their baby cried for four hours the first night, two the second, but was fine by the fourth - I can't stand to hear our baby cry for more than a couple of minutes! sad)

FATEdestiny Tue 17-Jan-17 13:21:57

I was wondering what people's opinions were about waking baby in the morning?

There is no problem in waking baby in order to manipulate the timings of naps. Mums who do school runs have to do this as a matter of course.

However I don't believe this is your issue.

From what you describe, your 6 month old needs more daytime sleep, not less. An over tired baby is usually a fretful sleeper - finds it hard tp get to sleep, light sleeper or wakes more frequently.

If you want bedtime earlier then yes, morning wake up will change. But that's fine by changing the timings and lengths of naps not night time sleep.

I would wake from morning nap at 11am. The aim would be for that nap to be 10-11am but until morning wake up moved, then it might be 10.30-11am half hour nap.

Then make the afternoon nap earlier. I'd go for 1pm and wake at 3pm. That wpuld be conducive with a 7pm ish bedtime.

If the two naps together are less than about 2.5 hours, I'd probably add in an extra teatime power nap from about 4.30-5pm. That may move bedtime back to 8pm but will stop baby being so over tired at bedtime.

MetalMidget Tue 17-Jan-17 15:12:33

Thanks! I've been a bit worried about his lack of daytime sleep and getting over tired, he can be a bit awkwardly nap resistant!

Kariana Wed 18-Jan-17 15:33:36

I started waking my baby everyday between 7 and 7.30. It worked wonders for getting a routine going and also helped the night sleep get better eventually. It just takes a while, they don't adjust the first few days of you doing it.

MetalMidget Tue 21-Feb-17 11:09:17

OK, an update. Mixed results so far!

I've been getting him up at 7.00/7.30am, and popping him down for his first nap at 9/9.30. He'll usually sleep pretty well, normally around 1.5 hrs. He goes down for his second nap around two hours after waking, and again will often sleep 1-2 hours. I try to get him to have a shorter power nap in the afternoon, so he doesn't have a massive stretch until bedtime, which is usually a bath and story, followed by bed at 7/7.30pm.

Now the issues are as follows:

His daytime naps go well... if he's in bed with me. I'll try popping him down in his cot, but he often wakes straight away, or wakes after 10 minutes. So for example, today we got up at 7.15am, had breakfast, sang some songs, came up at 9.10am, fed him to sleep (I know...) by 9.15, popped him in his cot at 9.29, where he slept until... 9.39. He didn't wake crying, just wiggling around. I tried soothing and shushing him in his cot for 20 minutes, but ended up taking him out to get back to sleep. 30 minutes after that, he's sleeping next to me with his bear blankie and dummy in his mouth. I'm not sure if I should have persevered in getting him to nap, or if we should have got up and tried again later.

Night times are a similar story, but with more crying. He wakes a lot, especially if I'm not in the room with him. I'm trying to get him sleeping in the cot, so I'll feed him/cuddle him until he's snoozing again, and pop him in the cot. The problem is that once I get to 1am, I'm shattered and I end up bringing him into bed so he can have snoozy lying down feeds on tap, and we both sleep better (although in my case, not as well as I would with a bed - and my boobs - to myself).

I'm worried because I'm back at work full time next week, so he's got to get used to napping in a cot at nursery. I'm worried he won't sleep there, and will be even worse at night. I want some time with my husband (I'd quite like to return to our marital bed at some point...), or even to myself - the house is a bombsite, and I'm spending up to 16 hours a day in bed, but not sleeping as I find it hard to sleep during the day.

I just don't know what to do. My husband keeps on making noises about controlled crying, saying that otherwise our baby will just constantly cry to be brought into bed/fed, and linking posts from people who say it works. It may work, but I really don't want to do it - it just feels a bit cruel to our baby, who's only 7 months (not to mention to me and the neighbours!)

FATEdestiny Tue 21-Feb-17 12:44:42

I'll try popping him down in his cot, but he often wakes straight away...

That's your problem. It is really important that baby goes to sleep where they will wake up.

Humans sleep in cycles with a deep sleeping phase and a light sleeping phase. This is an evolutionary left-over from caveman days when humans (especially babies) could get eaten by of editors whilst asleep.

The light sleeping phase allows for a brief 'environment check' that you are safe and secure. In adults that might mean a change in position, turning over and unconsiously glancing at the clock, a shuffle and back to sleep.

Imagine you fell asleep in your bed and during one of these environment checks between sleep cycles, you realised you were travelling in a car. You probably wouldn't just turn over and go back to sleep. You would probably be wide awake very quickly thinking WTF happened?!

A similar response is seen in babies. Your DS goes to sleep in your arms, with a part of you in his mouth, hearing your heartbeat and having you right there close to him. He wakes up alone, in the dark, and doesn't know where you are. So he freaks out.

If he got used to going to asleep in his cot, it would be less likely for him to freak out and wake up between his sleep cycles.

You say "I know..." with regards to feeding to sleep. So I assume you know this is a problem? It's doesn't have to be a problem though, as long as you have realistic expectations. You could always just embrace cosleeping full time, all night, every night. You'll be there then for his environment checks between sleep cycles.

If you don't want want to do this though, you need to seperate feeding and sleeping so that baby goes from awake to asleep in the cot.

MetalMidget Tue 21-Feb-17 17:42:16

Yeah, I've tried getting him to sleep in his cot - it's worked a few times, so I know that it's doable, it's just when he can't quite get to sleep then gets distressed because he's tired, and I end up caving because I want him to nap,and then feel guilty because a) he's been awake too long and I should have caved earlier, and if he's overtired in the evening it'll be my fault, and b) I shouldn't have caved, because he'll never learn to sleep on his own. Although sometimes I don't feel guilty, I just think, "Meh, it won't be forever, whatever it takes for us both to get some sleep". And sometimes I don't think at all, because I'm knackered.

I currently sleep in a bed next to his cot (and so does he, generally!), I'm hoping that I can get him reliably sleeping in his cot with me next to him, then eventually go back into my room. Co-sleeping is just a bit uncomfortable as it's a single bed (sometimes I end up in odd positions as my son is doing a Jesus impression). We did have a Co-sleeper cot, but he eventually wouldn't sleep in that either very often, and also managed to roll out of it, onto the bed, then off the bed when I foolishly took a shower while he was snoozing. sad So now we have a new proper cot.

FATEdestiny Tue 21-Feb-17 18:11:27

Is there any reason you don't cosleep in the marital bed?

Kariana Tue 21-Feb-17 19:12:02

With regards to daytime naps have you made any sort of plan for these once you're back at work? You won't be there to 'cave in' so you need to think about what will happen. Either he will realise you aren't there and will settle for someone else in a different way of he's going to end up going through 'cry it out' sleep training without you in an unfamiliar environment just because you will be at work.

I don't mean to sound harsh and I'm not particularly advocating you do controlled crying if you aren't comfortable with it, I'm just mentioning what might happen. It's difficult because of course he might actually settle fine if he realises you aren't available. Could your husband try settling him to sleep at night as a sort of trial run to see how he is if you stay away completely at sleeptime?

MetalMidget Tue 21-Feb-17 22:17:52

Is there any reason you don't cosleep in the marital bed?

A few reasons - firstly it didn't seem to make much sense to disrupt my husband's sleep and make him knackered for work when there wasn't really much he could do due to me breastfeeding. Secondly we couldn't fit a Co-sleeping cot in our bedroom, and we have drops on both sides of the bed. Thirdly we thought it'd be easier if our son was already used to his room for when the time came to sleep on his own. (Plus I never planned to actually have him in the bed with me!)

With regards to daytime naps have you made any sort of plan for these once you're back at work?

That's what I'm worried about. sad The nursery say they do whatever they can to get babies to nap, whether that's rocking them for half an hour or more, cuddling etc. I'm hoping that'll work - he does respond to motion and will doze off in his buggy if we're happen to be out a walk or in the car when he's due a nap (which I've been trying to avoid, going a bit stir crazy as a result!)

He has slept for my husband in the house before (as he takes over when I go off riding on the occasional weekend) - although again, he wouldn't settle unless he was in the bed next to him. Generally my husband pops him in the buggy and takes him and the dog out for a walk if he wants him to sleep!

Anyhow, tonight I've tried not to cave and tried to settle him in his cot awake but sleepy. There was some moaning, so I'd pick him up as soon as it started to escalate, settle him, then pop him back down. Repeated this several times and he's now been sleeping in his cot for over twenty minutes!

I'm sure we'll get there eventually! Although at the moment it feels a bit like that bit in Pacific Rim where they're watching the clock for the next kaiju to attack!

FATEdestiny Tue 21-Feb-17 22:27:12

With you saying it's uncomfortable cosleeping in a single bed (which I can understand), I figured it would be much better for you and your sleep to cosleep in the marital bed.

When you go back to work your husband is going to have to step up to the mark and assist with nights any way. But if he/you don't want that, surely it's better for the single sleeping adult to be in the single bed, and the cosleepers in the double bed.

Jenniferb21 Tue 21-Feb-17 22:54:41


I'm in this exact same position!!

DS is 9 months I go back to work in April and very worried about his naps when he's at nursery. More often than not he naps next to me or on me because he fights it so badly I end up giving in. He has never gone to sleep at night time in his cot by himself he's always had to be cuddled or has me or DH next to him.

So the last couple of weeks I've focused on him having an AM and PM nap and non napping after 4pm. I've fed him around nursery times 9, 12 and between 4-5 and have started his bedtime routine at 7, bath, massage, books, feed. Generally he goes to sleep with or soon after his bottle but in the rocking chair with us then we'lol put him down. Sometimes he wakes up and settles himself other times he needs me to give him a dummy or he'll cry until I pick him
Up and he ends up in bed with me. If he does sleep with me he'll sleep though.

I'm considering co-sleeping every night but am worried Day time naps at nursery will then be harder for him.

However the nursery has said they find babies routines change normally and they can get more tired than when they're at home (more stimulation etc) and they'll cuddle them etc.

But definitely as a previous poster has said get DH helping through the night.

Please write how you get on wishing you the best of luck and hope you both have a good transition xxx

MetalMidget Wed 22-Feb-17 15:10:41

My husband has suggested a few times that we all sleep in the same room, or that he sleeps in the single bed (despite being 6ft 7) and we sleep in the king. I thought that might be more disruptive for our son though.

Good news is that last night he stayed in his cot for two hours, bad news is that I still ended up bringing him into bed because I could get him to settle again, and it was past midnight and I was knackered and worried about the neighbours. Still, two hours and having gone to sleep in the cot is a definite improvement.

Daytime naps haven't been quite as successful - morning one took him half an hour to fall asleep in the cot, and he only slept for 25 minutes before waking. I ended up bringing him back into bed for another hour or so, just so I know he's had at least one decent nap today.

Second nap he fell asleep in his cot very quickly, but only stayed asleep for 30 minutes. I'm pondering getting him out to try and get him to nap longer, or leaving him wiggling in his cot awake so I can sort the washing, in the hope he'll drop off again (he seems quite content)!

Oh, and his first tooth erupted. Actually think I might be getting off quite lightly, as he's still cheery.

MetalMidget Fri 17-Mar-17 11:19:16

I thought I'd update, in case anyone's interested!

He's started sleeping in his cot for several hours a night, meaning that I've been able to spend time with the husband, watch episodes and even films. He'll occasionally stir and start crying, but if I get there quick I can settle him right down. On some evenings, this can last from 8pm till past midnight.

After this point he can be harder to settle, I'm knackered and painfully aware of the neighbours, so he comes into bed with me for a lying down feed, and then he'll mither once or twice - he's normally partially asleep as he wiggles toward me, mouth open.

Sometimes I can pop a dummy in and he'll immediately settle down, other times he'll sleepily pull out the dummy and carry on advancing upon me, mouth open, like a tiny adorable Pacman. So I'll pop the boob in, he'll have a quick glug, and generally sleeps until 7-7.20am. I came to the realisation that he sleeps pretty well, as he very rarely fully awakens - he's just got to develop the ability to settle back down himself.

So, things are gradually getting better (or I'm finding it easier to cope as I'm back at work!). His napping at nursery is a bit hit and miss - he usually has one hour plus nap, but the other will only be 20-45 minutes, and the same goes for him napping with my husband, but we'll get there!

Nottalotta Fri 17-Mar-17 13:50:08

No advice from me but just to say what we did. Ds1 was a terrible sleeper and napper. Started fully Co sleeping at 7weeks as was waking every 40 minutes all night. Then once he could roll I would feed to sleep and gently transfer to the cot. Often having to go up and feed back to sleep 1-4 times before I went to bed and Co slept. We carried on doing this until almost 12 months when he stopped falling asleep in the boob. I did gradual withdrawal which works wonders, and no tears. He progressed to sleeping through 7-5 quite quickly.

He only moved into his own room last month, at 18 monthly and there has been no issue at all.

When people used to ask about his sleep they always looked horrified at the clsleepibg, frequent waking frequent bf. But actually he was and still is going to bed more easily and sleeping better than their babies do now.

No tears, no cc or cio. It's been hard at tines but actually I'm pleased as every change has been quite easy, I think because he was ready for it.

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