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6 month sleep - help/reassurance needed

(15 Posts)
OctopusLimbs Thu 23-Mar-17 08:38:33

My little girl is nearly 6 months. Her sleep deteriorated at the 4 month mark as expected, but we were not surprised and just going with it assuming it would improve over time. I have lots of friends whose babies went through the 45 minute waking thing, so I was prepared this might happen. However, about a week ago she started to wake at some time around 3am and just not go back to sleep. It started nearer 4am, but over the week it has been edging closer to the 2am mark. She will lightly doze in my arms on and off, but that's it. She definitely won't sleep in her cot, she won't really co-sleep, she has to be in my arms and even then it is a very light sleep.

I don't really know any one else whose baby has done this, and I feel like I must be doing something wrong but I just don't know what. We are coping at the moment as my husband is very supportive but it clearly isn't going to be much good to any of us long term. We are in the midst of a developmental leap so don't know if it's related, but it seems like a very strong reaction. Has any one else had anything like this? Did it just resolve itself or should I be doing something to make it better? I'm worried it's just going to keep getting earlier and earlier, as it's already moved from 4am until 2am.

Her bedtime is about 7pm. We use a dummy for sleep, although she has recently had a bit of a love/hate relationship with it. Nap wise, she has two long naps (about 90 mins) and one or two 40 mins naps (more often 2 since this has been happening). Naps are sometimes in her cot, but sometimes on me. She was very gassy as a tiny baby but this seems to have resolved itself. She's a reasonably sicky baby but it's never seemed to bother her.

I guess if it is just a phase I can live with it, but can't shake the feeling it is something I've done that I need to resolve!

LapinR0se Thu 23-Mar-17 16:22:31

What is her milk intake like?

FATEdestiny Thu 23-Mar-17 17:13:16

Do you feed at this wake up?

OctopusLimbs Thu 23-Mar-17 18:37:13

So she is bottle fed, and during the day she has about 180 mls every 2-3 hours from 6am - 7pm. I usually offer it to her after 2 hours, but it is usually nearer 3 hours before she is interested. When she wakes, if I can't quickly settle her, I always offer her milk. So when she wakes for this long wake up it is always offered to her after approximately 5mins but she often isn't particularly interested straight away. Once she has been awake a while and I am having no luck getting her back to sleep, I offer it to her again and she will usually have some then. So she is only having one night feed, but that seems to be all she wants. She's not going to sleep after she eats so I don't get the impression it's hunger keeping her awake.

FATEdestiny Thu 23-Mar-17 19:11:57

Have you tried a dummy?

OctopusLimbs Thu 23-Mar-17 19:16:13

Yeh she has a dummy - our settling routine is rocking with the dummy until she is pretty much asleep then put her in the cot. She wakes up when placed in the cot, but usually will settle herself again with the dummy. If necessary we also stroke/cuddle her as she drifts off. Currently works at bedtime and nap time, but not at 2/3/4am.

FATEdestiny Thu 23-Mar-17 20:24:49

As, I see. You probably need to work on the settling to sleep happening in the cot. With a dummy, that is more easily done.

Don't underestimate the value in going to sleep in the same place baby will stay asleep.

I'd also consider upping milk intake in the daytime. Any early weaning foods are low calorie (fruit, veg, lean meat) So shouldn't replace milk. In fact because of the development of gross motor skills, it is not unusual that milk intake post-weaning increases compared to pre-weaning.

Figgygal Thu 23-Mar-17 20:28:14

I've no suggestions but my 5.5mo has 3 40 minute naps a day (2ish hours after waking, 11/12ish then 3ish) i know you can't stop her sleeping but is she sleeping too much in day as what you've described sounds a lot

CatsCantFlyFast Thu 23-Mar-17 20:35:31

I'd say you're not doing anything wrong and babies are on the whole crap at the sleeping thing. It's why there's a billion books and websites devoted to the subject. 6 months is still tiny in the scheme of things - my 6 month old (dd2) is waking every 2-3 hours all night. I know she'll sleep longer eventually so I'm just trying to maximise sleep for all of us.
I personally don't think changing how she goes to sleep at the beginning of the night will help so much as if it were that then repeating the same rocking with dummy would get her back off in the middle of the night I reckon. Don't compare either as they're all individuals and have their own quirks - I've known people where the 4 month regression has had no impact and others where the effects lasted for months and months.
Anyway, solidarity for crap sleeping babies!

RedLemonade Thu 23-Mar-17 20:38:25

Any chance she's got a bit of a virus or something?

My DD (7 months) did just this recently and after a few days starting running a temp.

I just rolled with it and held her in my arms to sleep a LOT. Kept offering her milk, trying to put her down etc but usually an hour or so in I'd just hold her and let her sleep while I dozed propped up with pillows.

Not ideal but DH took her from 6am so I could get some rescue sleep and it did pass (took about 2 weeks though). May not be what you're dealing with but just a thought!

Whattodowithaminute Thu 23-Mar-17 20:57:12

We have a 7mo old who was waking/light sleep all night unless cuddled last month. Ultimately it was a self settling issue which we have resolved (controversially!) with sleep training. We dropped the use of a dummy as we found it wasn't helping with staying asleep.
For comparison purposes our DS feeds at 7, 11, 3, 6 ish is breastfed, and has two naps; wakes at 6:30 ish, naps at 9:15 for 45 mins then second nap at approx. 12:30 for approx 2 hours.
Good luck is rubbish when you're getting such disjointed sleep

evensmilingmakesmyfacehurt Thu 23-Mar-17 21:10:48

Is she teething? DS (5 months) wakes regularly when teeth are on their way & is hard to settle again.

Also, we have 2 x 1hr naps in the morning / lunchtime and a 2hr nap in afternoon but I don't let that last nap last after 4pm or he tends to wake more & harder to settle at night

CluelessMummy Thu 23-Mar-17 21:19:10

That happened to us at 4.5 months - our DD had to be held all night as she would wake every 45 minutes around the clock and wouldn't even co-sleep. Me and DH slept in shifts to survive but it did pass after around 10 days. I would say also though that your DC sounds like they are sleeping for quite a bit of the day. I know after a rough night the temptation is to leave them be, but at 6 months they should only be having 3-4 hours of nap time max. Our DD usually goes on 2 x 45 minute naps and, if we're lucky, a longer midday nap of 1.5-2 hours. Most days she'll just have 3 x 45 minutes and copes fine.

OctopusLimbs Fri 24-Mar-17 08:43:30

Thanks everyone!

Fate I did wander if that was part of the problem, but she does seem to properly wake up when I put her down so I thought that would be OK. But perhaps she doesn't wake as much as she appears to? I will see if I can work on removing the rocking element. She just squirms so much when she is drifting off to sleep, she kind of wakes herself up by punching herself in the head or slamming her feet on the mattress, and getting her most of the way to sleep in my arms seemed to help with that. She woke at 11pm last night, and rather than just resettle her my husband fed her and we did have a much better night. So perhaps we could introduce a 10pm feed when he goes up to bed (I am already tucked up by then!) but I am a bit reluctant to wake her at 10pm in case we can't resettle her.

Figgygal and Clueless Perhaps you are right that she is getting too much sleep. I had been trying to improve daytime napping because she was getting really cranky after about 4.30pm. But perhaps I have now gone too far the other way. I will try and limit to two shorter naps, and a longer one which would be about 3 hours sleeping per day, and definitely no naps past 4pm. She did end up having a late nap Weds and that was a particularly bad night so that's a good idea.

Merkin Yes you are right, comparing is never a good idea! I guess I had emotionally prepared myself for frequent wakings, and would have found it easier if that had happened to think it's just normal baby behaviour, it will slowly improve. I wasn't expecting hours awake in the middle of the night, so it made me feel more like I must be getting something wrong!

Lemonade She did have a cold about 10 days ago which did seem to be the start of things deteriorating. But the cold improved and she continued to sleep worse and worse! But perhaps it is still affecting her more than I realised. I think it was unfortunate timing to get the cold just as we entered a developmental leap!

Minute How long was she sleeping like that before you decided to sleep train? I don't think I would want to sleep train before a year, but I'm sure most people set out thinking that! Definitely not something I want to do just yet, but certainly not something I judge anyone else for trying. To be honest though, she is much more strong willed than me so I can't see it would work!

evensmiling no sign of any teeth yet - but she is very rosy cheeked! So not impossible, but I don't get the impression it's that. We'll probably just get through this phase and then the teething will start!

Whattodowithaminute Fri 24-Mar-17 13:32:23

Everything went down hill for us at about 4 months old. Have very strong willed children but sleep training has worked for us exceptionally well. We follow it to the letter though and he's our third. It took me 15mo to do it with my first! I took the easy route of settling the quickest and easiest way I could until 7 months as I have the older children to look after during the day and DH doesn't help overnight (which I'm fine with.)

You will do what you are ready to do at the right time for you though.

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