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6.5mo screaming before sleep

(6 Posts)
Cuppaqueen Wed 25-Oct-17 03:37:14

Once again turning to the lovely ladies at MN for help: my 6.5 month old DS has been wailing and screaming at every naptime, bedtime and night waking (multiple) for the last 36 hours straight. What on earth is going on?

For context; he's been EBF since birth, still BF but now on 3 good meals a day as well. Good routine and up until a couple of days ago, solid daytime naps. Usually an hour in the morning and 1.5-2 hours in the afternoon, sometimes an extra catnap around 5. I would settle him by walking with him in my arms, cuddle and into cot drowsy then leave once asleep (maybe repeat 2-3 times). At night, not so good - BF to sleep around 6.30-7, into cot and then reasonable sleep till 10pm, dreamfeed and fitful night waking every 2-4 hours. We are trying to move BF before his bath and stop night feeds other than dreamfeed which is a work in progress. However, he usually only cried in the night and was comforted with cuddles/rocking. But just recently, aaaarrrghh! Screaming at every sleep time and all through last night. He wailed from 7-9pm, short sleep to 10.30pm, BF to sleep, awake screaming at 11.30, 1.30, 2.30, 3ish - then I gave in and brought him into bed with me so DH and I could get some sleep at least. Still had to boob him to settle him where normally he'd settle pretty instantly beside me.

Naps the same. For example, this morning: awake just before 7am (after very disturbed night but last few hours asleep in bed beside me). Seems happy, has a BF, normal poo, and later at 8ish eats all his breakfast - about 3tbsp of porridge with full fat milk and raspberries. At 8.30 I take him into our bedroom, close curtains, put on white noise, into his grobag and usual pre-nap routine of walking round with him, big cuddle and into the cot with taggie. I sit nearby. He rolls around a bit then starts fussing so I go back to pat him, re-tuck in, and sit down again. Same again. I pick him up, repeat wind-down and put him back in the cot, holding him. Normally he would start settling to sleep by now eg getting drowsy lidded in my arms so I can get him down just awake and he'd go to sleep. Not any more! Fussing escalates to wailing, to full-on yelling for over an HOUR. This was with me in the room, going back over every minute or two to soothe. I even rocked him in desperation but as soon as his bottom touched the cot, ping! Awake. Eventually he looked so tired I thought he might give in, so I stayed by cot side and held his hands and knees - he settled at last, closed his eyes, fell asleep. Only to startle awake 3 mins later and start crying again. I held him again and it finally worked; he's been asleep about 40 mins as I type.

What is going on? Calpol had no effect so I doubt it's teething. Separation anxiety? (But I was right there at naptime) He's learning to sit up/crawl at the moment but has been for weeks. What can we do to help him?! And get some sleep before we lose our minds?!

readyandwaitin Wed 25-Oct-17 04:48:53

Your situation sounds similar to mine.

I’ve noticed that my DS (5 months) behaves like this when his daytime naps are disturbed. I have 2 older DD’s who are currently off from school this week so my DS’s daytime naps have been disrupted due to noise and being out and about.
He is also very easily startled and can wake up distraught 2 mins after going down.

From what I have read the following seems to be the general advice;

1) Good daytime naps are essential for good night time sleeping.

2) The waking/disturbed settling along with screaming is trouble transitioning from 1 sleep cycle to the next.

3) Usually at 6 months babies need about 3 naps a day and can only be awake for up to 2 hours. (Some may need to sleep before this especially if they are going through a developmental milestone)

Cuppaqueen Wed 25-Oct-17 06:50:05

Thanks ready - food for thought. I don't think his naps are disrupted (other than by his own bad sleeping) as they've been consistent for a while and he's our only child so no sibling noise wink He is easily startled though hence the white noise.

I do wonder if I'm keeping him up too long especially if this is developmental in nature. I usually do roughly 2 hrs then 2.5 then 3 hrs awake time which has been fine until recently (by fine I mean happy baby who went to sleep easily). He's just gone down for his afternoon nap after 2.5hrs awake (started settling after 2) - this time only 10 mins of crying. I stayed with him, hands on him, the whole time. Maybe it's been some kind of protest at not being rocked/ fed to sleep any more?

FATEdestiny Wed 25-Oct-17 10:50:53

I usually do roughly 2 hrs then 2.5 then 3 hrs awake time

Is that assuming 2 naps or 3? If 2 naps, it cannot be enough sleep. You have 7.5h of awake time there, with your 1h+1.5-2h daytime naps, that's 10-10.5h days.

I would do 3 nap days every day, all with 2h awake times. Then flexible bedtime depending on how naps go.

● Say 7am wake

● 9am nap until baby naturally wakes
● You mention 1h first nap, so let's say 10am wake up. But time the next nap according to this wake up time, 2 hours later.

● 12pm nap until baby naturally wakes
● You mention 1.5-2h first nap, so let's say 1.45pm wake up. But time the next nap according to this wake up time, 2 hours later.

● 3.45pm nap. Limit this nap to 1h maximum.
● Allow for 1h nap, so watch the time. In this example it would be wake at 4.45pm

● Bedtime 2h from waking, 2.5h maximum, so in this example 6.45pm bedtime. The idea being that bedtime is entirely flexible and could be as early as 6.30pm and as late as 8.30pm, depending on the lengths of the daytime naps. If you get two 2h naps then this would mean an 8pm bedtime.

I'd also always do hands-on touch reassurance throughout going to sleep.

LapinR0se Wed 25-Oct-17 11:49:43

If it is sudden I would take him to the GP to check for any ear or throat issues

Cuppaqueen Thu 26-Oct-17 06:44:10

Thanks for the latest replies. At the moment, touch wood, the problem seems to have gone away as quickly as it came - with the added bonus that we have now definitively ditched rocking to sleep. Last two naps a breeze - walk, cuddle to drowsy, into cot and hold/stroke arm until asleep. Maybe 10 mins each time and little grumbling. Good point about the hands-on reassurance FATE - I've gone back to that.

Re awake times, I had read 2-2.5 hours was fine at this age. We were trying to keep to a 7pm bedtime (selfishly I admit so we get our evenings together) which meant with bath etc the last awake time sometimes got stretched. Eg if he woke around 2.30pm I would try for a catnap 4.30-5ish, but if he woke after 3pm and he'd already had two long naps, then I would rely on the bath (which he loves) to relax him and go down 6.30-7. I suspect that's where the problem may lie. Will try for the third nap tomorrow and push bedtime back towards 7.30 instead. I don't want it any earlier than 7 or he won't get time with my DH after work.

In the morning/afternoon, I've tried settling earlier than 2 hrs eg after 1h40 to go to sleep by 2hrs, but no joy whatever. He just wriggles in my arms and giggles at me. Settle after 2 hours to sleep after 2 and a quarter hours seems to be his sweet spot to just drop off. Incidentally he's started to wake earlier in the mornings at times, say 6.10-6.20am ish, which is probably also telling me he should have a later bedtime.

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