Sleep train at 5 months??

(25 Posts)
clairehen33 Tue 11-Apr-17 08:49:14

Hi ladies!
Can anyone help? I'm at the end my coping abilities with chronic sleep deprivation πŸ˜₯
5months old EBF DS2 just does not sleep and I don't know what to do. I feel he's too young to sleep train but then on the other hand I feel I'm left with no option as we can't go on as we are.
He naps ok- only 30-50 mins but naps frequently, whether in cot/pram/car and goes to bed no probs around 7pm (dependent on last nap give or take half hour).
I feed him in darkened room with white noise until he is very drowsy but not asleep then put him in sleepyhead in his cot with his dummy, and he goes to sleep. Sometimes a bit of whinging but that's all. He is still swaddled. All good.....apart from 45 mins later he wakes and basically screams unless I feed him back to sleep...this goes on every hour all night long. Sometimes he does 2 hour stretch from 1-3 but that's it. He used to settle at some wakes with his dummy.....and DH could help....but he's getting worse and worse and now will only settle for boob. I know he's not hungry as he settles on the boob before milk has even let down fully!
He's in a snuzpod attached to my bed.

clairehen33 Tue 11-Apr-17 09:16:53

Toddler pressed post πŸ™ˆπŸ˜‚
I'm considering controlled crying?? Not sure if I can do it but it seems a lot of people have had success with it?
Although I'm a bit confused as to how it would work because the initial 'going to bed' isn't the problem? It's the waking hourly after that is! And obviously at 5 months EBF I expect to still feed in the night...maybe twice I would say is reasonable that he might be hungry...not hourly!....but how will he learn if I feed him sometimes and not others?? Is it a bit cruel and confusing? If so, any other suggestions please πŸ™πŸ»

Shutupanddance1 Tue 11-Apr-17 09:32:40

So I've a 9 month old and she's EBF. Basically I had to break the cycle by getting my DH to do nights for few nights in a row. Obviously baby may still need 1 feed during the night but by 6 months they should be able to go through the night without a feed.

We do BF in the sitting room with mum and dad, wind down for 20 mins in her bedroom (darkened and with white noise). During this time we do baby massage, songs, read a book. Then we rock her until she's nearly asleep then put her down. During the night, DH would get up and rock or sing to her calm her down and put her back down. I do a feed around 4.30am.

Obviously this may not work for everyone but if you can try it so you can get your head down and get a few hours sleep - it's best done on for example a Friday night so you have the weekend to get it done

clairehen33 Tue 11-Apr-17 09:47:15

Hi! That sounds like it's working well 😊 The problem I have is DH goes to settle (and up until a month ago he could do this with dummy and shushing) but now baby just screams and screams until I feed him to sleep. He basically is still screaming despite DH cuddling him, rocking, shushing, offering dummy?? Or me for that matter?!
So maybe I could try feeding downstairs instead of in darkened bedroom to further disassociate the breast and sleep?
I was thinking feeding him at 7pm, 10pm, 2am and 6am (roughly obviously) was a reasonable amount of milk through the night...but you think just one feed probably enough?? He's 5.5months, chunky and feeds well in the day x

FATEdestiny Tue 11-Apr-17 12:41:03

The first thing to consider is if baby is getting enough calories over 24 hours? This means frequent, big daytimes feeds that baby gets most of his calories during the daytime.

I was formula feeding by 5 months with my youngest (although was EBF 2 of my older children at this age, so have experience of both). But this meant I was able to actually see how much baby was drinking, in a way you can't when breastfeeding. My DD was taking about 6oz (so this is a full feed, according to recommended amounts on the formula tin, not a snack-amount) every 2 hours from 7am-11pm. I cannot overstate enough that this is a lot of milk, very frequently, throughout the daytime.

So if baby isn't getting the calories he needs in the daytime, he'll need them at night.

Next is to completely disassociate feeding and sleeping. Feed downstairs and after the feed have a bath or whatnot, so that baby is awake when going into the cot.

You can also disassociate feeding and sleeping in the daytime by feeding when baby first wakes up from a nap, rather than when going to sleep.

Then al all sleep times (bed and naps), do your settling in the cot with the dummy. Given you are using a dummy (and assuming baby does take the dummy for comfort sucking), no need to rock in your arms. I would just keep a firm hand on baby's chest/back/side and keep shushing and reinserting dummy.

clairehen33 Tue 11-Apr-17 17:39:26

That's gr8 thank you. I will try tonight and feed him after his bath, but with all the lights on etc and then settle him in cot with dummy. I expect there will be a lot of tears but hopefully if I stay with him and reassure him he will forgive me πŸ˜•
Not sure what to do about the frequency of feeds overnight? He does feed 2 hourly most of the time, but I'd be doubtful if it will be 6oz each time?! Unfortunately he will not take a bottle, ideally I would like to combination feed but he clearly feels otherwise lol!
I'll maybe just see how it goes? Even feeding 2hourly instead of hourly would be a start I suppose!

gemsparkle84 Tue 11-Apr-17 21:48:35

I would be very very confident if I were you that your sleep deprivation problems will disappear almost immediately when you begin weaning. smile

mrsdane Sat 15-Apr-17 19:26:49

claire, you have just described my life right now down to the minute. How's it going? What have you done? Am desperate for any tips.

clairehen33 Sun 16-Apr-17 11:05:54

Hi! Well...I've made a bit of progress...I say a bit lol! Managed to stop feeding to sleep which has helped a lot. So I now feed him in nursery...dimmed light, not darkness, until he is drowsy but still awake when I put him in cot. He more often than not cries when I lay him down but settles straight with his dummy.
To get to this point I did have to do a little bit of CC but honestly it was not as bad as I thought...3 nights...and each time he was asleep within10mins...most of which was whinging/crying...no screaming like I imagined. I timed it on my phone and went back in at 3min intervals..not tough enough for the 5min then 10min proper CC! Thankfully didn't need to!
It has helped the bedtimes definitely and he no longer wakes after each cycle πŸ˜¬πŸŽ‰ however!....still wakes 2-3hourly after 10pm and will only settle for boob...so work in progress πŸ˜‚

mrsdane Mon 17-Apr-17 20:26:34

That's great progress, well done you! I just tried to put DD down for a sleep having fallen asleep on the boob into her cot. She woke up and then screamed like mad for 40 mins until I gave in and gave her boob to calm her down, as she was so worked up. I think she'll end up sleeping in her snug pod with us until she's about 12. I feel so helpless.

robyneHet Tue 18-Apr-17 07:30:16

Honestly that's where I was! At my wits end and thought we would be boobing to sleep and sleeping in snuzpod until he went to university!
In not even a week he is now going to sleep independently with his dummy, no crying, in his own cot πŸ˜€
Last night he went to bed at 7pm...dreamfeed at 10pm (yes dream feed!! No evening wakes!) then I fed when he next woke which was 3am!! Then he was up for that day at 06:30 πŸŽ‰πŸ˜€ He honestly was waking 1-2hourly all night long and would only settle for boob. He is happy as larry this morning and milk supply all good.
U can do this!...unfortunately you need to stop feeding to sleep 😭 It's lovely...and I miss it already...but so worth it for some sleep! I'm like a new woman today!! X

NEmum Tue 18-Apr-17 09:46:25

Hey everyone, sorry you are all experiencing this but I am too & pleased I'm not alone!

Robyn what did you change?? My baby won't even go in his co sleeper anymore, so so close to calling in a sleep consultant but that seems ridiculous!

Also feel like (well meaning) friends are attributing his wakefulness to my breastfeeding, so demoralising after all the effort I put into establishing that in the first place sad

FATEdestiny Tue 18-Apr-17 10:31:26

Decent progress needs you to completely disassociating feeding and sleeping.

Could you do the bed time breastfeed downstairs, while still in daytime clothes, before bath and everything.

So feed, then go upstairs, have bath, (brush teeth, if relevent), into PS, into cot. Then go from full awake to fully asleep with dummy in cot.

You may need to sit by the cot with a firm hand on baby's chest, patting, shushing and reinserting dummy as needed.

robyneHet Wed 19-Apr-17 08:54:43

Well I maybe spoke too soon πŸ™ˆπŸ€£
Fate is correct- I think the key is to completely dissociate the breast feeding and sleep...which is a real shame coz it's so nice!....lovely to have a little cuddle before laying a peaceful sleeping baby down...however it doesn't last 😒
So now I bath baby and feed him and read story (to toddler really) Then I swaddle him in darkened nursery with white noise on. He goes to sleep in his cot with his dummy...sometimes straight away, sometimes he fusses for 5mins but never real crying. Sometimes I have to pop back in and reassure for a minute but that's all 😊
It now means we get a settled evening back and he has been sleeping 7-10pm when I dream feed. The previous post when he then slept until 3am might have been a 1 off as the last 2 nights he has reverted back to 2-3hourly wakes πŸ˜• Not sure why it's so frustrating. I always replace dummy first and if he settles gr8...if not I feed. Just hoping once we get going properly on solids he might sleep better overall??

robyneHet Wed 19-Apr-17 09:06:29

Ps NeMum I know exactly what you mean about all the hard work we put in to establish breast feeding, then baby doesn't sleep and everyone blames it on that and says things like "you need to give him a bottle with some baby rice in at bedtime"...I mean seriously?!...so annoying πŸ™„πŸ˜‚
...although is does seem that breast fed babies don't appear to sleep like formula fed babies?...but that could be just coincidence in my circle of friends?
1 mum at my local breast feeding support group has employed at sleep consultant for similar issues to ours...for Β£400 the advise is basically to feed 2hourly through the day and never feed to sleep..ever...not even for naps. This particular sleep consultant won't allow dummy use either as she believes that's just another sleep association. Personally I would rather do a few 'dummy runs' through the night than have to feed to sleep every wake...but I take her point...I do have to replace dummy a lot which is still disturbing sleep..for baby and me/DH. Without a dummy would mean a lot of crying that I just don't feel comfortable with...however...this mum has seen her baby going from hourly wakes to sleeping 5-6hour stretches in 5 days!! So maybe it's worth paying for the advise??...I don't know?! X

NEmum Wed 19-Apr-17 09:30:51

We've changed the last night feed now to my partner giving it to him & never putting him down asleep...but last night I just crumbled! After 2 days of it I was exhausted, when he started crying at 11 again I brought him into bed & fed to sleep...he then stayed with me all night & fed all night again. I'd stopped feeding every time he woke up but I was just too exhausted last night & completely gave in.

Thanks for your comments, will start again today X

mrsdane Thu 20-Apr-17 11:49:33

robyn I agree - I seem to be the only mother in our NCT group whose baby has not slept through the night (now 23 weeks), and she's the only one who is bf. Everything says formula doesn't make them sleep longer, but having seen it in action, I have to think it does.

Will try the guidance you gave FATE, thank you. My DD has started going down at 8pm into her cot and sleeping until 1am. Unheard of previously, and we have had an evening for three nights in a row now. It's incredible, and I don't want to jinx it, but it's made me feel sane again.

NEmum I got phone guidance from a sleep counsellor and it was essentially Gina Ford's routine in the day and PU/PD throughout the night.

Landy10 Thu 20-Apr-17 13:01:30

Just butting in here with my experiences - I have just over 5 month twins and it's very interesting seeing the difference in their sleeping. They've always been bottle fed (expressed BM for 4.5 months then mostly formula since) - their sleeping is totally different. One is really good and wakes usually once in the night (post dream feed) sometimes twice and I settle her back to sleep. She has slept through the night 3 times in past 2 weeks. My son is a whole other story wakes so many times I usually lose count, sometimes back to sleep in 10 mins and sometimes 2 hours! They've both been treated EXACTLY the same since birth, (full term, similar weights, same routines etc) and one is cr*p at sleeping the other is good. I don't feed in the night anymore. Daughter has always just gone to sleep herself and son has always needed help. I've come to the conclusion some babies are good sleepers and some bad. I reckon bad ones can be taught to be good sleepers I just don't know how to go about it! Until now I've just gone with it but it's getting too much to handle so I'm trying to make some changes.
What I'm trying to say is maybe you just got unlucky and had a bad sleeper (but it's horses for courses and they'll be good at something else smile)!

robyneHet Thu 20-Apr-17 17:04:34

Breast might be best but not for mental sanity πŸ˜‚ I keep laughing to my friends saying it should come with a disclaimer when you give birth 'please note we will help you to establish breast feeding but you will never sleep again for the foreseeable' 🀣🀣
Personally I feel the trouble is it's hard to sleep train when you are EBF as you can't really be sure baby isn't hungry...as you have no real idea how much milk intake they've had??
DD1 was formula fed after failed attempt at breast feeding and honestly she slept 12 hours/night from about 3months and never looked back! Minor blip with 4 month sleep regression but nothing major and easily sorted as I knew she wasn't hungry x

riddles26 Thu 20-Apr-17 20:46:31

I have had similar problems and did resort to a sleep consultant (although didn't pay anywhere near Β£400 thankfully)!

So my one slept through the night (despite being ebf) and refused to nap until she was 4.5 months then the night sleep fell apart after the 4 month regression and I didn't know where to turn. After having her in my bed and letting her feed all night for a couple of weeks and still not napping no matter what I tried, we decided something had to change and used a consultant.

As a few others have experienced, the consultant gave us a 7-7 routine and discussed all the methods of sleep training with us. She also discussed sleep associations, environment and props. When turning to a consultant, they do teach you to put baby to sleep without relying on a dummy - as my one never accepted one to start with, we did not have to wean her from it. We picked what we were most comfortable with in terms of her crying. Since implementing, she has mainly whinged/cried rather than screamed in distress (but nowhere near as often as I expected her to). A key part of the training is separating feeding and sleeping so she is never fed to sleep and also putting her down awake so she goes to sleep in her cot herself. Persevering is tough in the first 10 days, especially when exhausted but paying a sleep consultant and answering to them everyday does push you to continue and give it the best possible shot.

She now consistently naps twice daily and I aim for a third nap but that is not always successful. In terms of the night, she goes down at 7, usually sleeps until 3-4am, feeds then goes back to sleep until 7. She does occasionally wake up more often in the night but goes back to sleep without me or the breast. It is honestly a hundred times better than it was before - I was so worried for her development prior to this because of how little sleep she was getting that I couldn't be happier with where we are at now. Am just hoping and praying it continues (illness and teething aside!)

robyneHet Fri 21-Apr-17 07:19:01

Riddles that sounds gr8 and well worth the investment. Same as the mum i was referring to previously, she also said that having to answer to sleep consultant every other day made her implement the changes...like not doing your homework at school lol!
Can I ask how you settle DD without dummy? I've managed to disassociate the feeding and sleeping but he relies on dummy now. So even though sleep is massively better...last night slept 7-7 with feed at 10 +2, i do still have to insert dummy a couple of times at other wakes. Can't imagine how I would put him down without dummy without a lot of crying πŸ˜•

riddles26 Fri 21-Apr-17 08:34:45

Yes you are totally right - it is embarrassing saying you didn't follow through because you couldn't be bothered. Plus you are paying for the course so you want to follow through to make the most of what you've paid for.
Mine never took to the dummy when she was younger and I tried giving it to her, it just made her cry more so I never had to wean her off it. Some of the literature the consultant gave me briefly touched on getting the baby to use an alternative comforter to dummy such as a soft toy. I didn't get more information because it didn't apply to me but I imagine there would be more focus on it for those it was relevant to.

robyneHet Fri 21-Apr-17 09:18:24

Thanks. My baby has always taken a dummy and uses it to nod off for naps in car/pram etc. He never used to have it overnight (because I fed to sleep πŸ˜‚) but now he's very dependent on it. Fear I've swopped one sleep association to another πŸ˜• Although would rather he needed dummy than boob as at least DH can help through the night!! X

riddles26 Fri 21-Apr-17 09:38:01

To an extent you have, but in my eyes, a dummy isn't such a bad sleep association to have as long as it's only used for sleep at the time they are starting to learn to speak. You can then wean it at sleep time when they are old enough to understand they don't need it.
I would happily have let her take it but she just decided it wasn't good enough substitute for my nipple confused

Landy10 Fri 21-Apr-17 22:55:16

Riddles - who did you use for sleep training
I really need to do something as I sit here rocking the pram to try and make one of my 5 month olds go to sleep !

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