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Help with 6 month olds sleep

(21 Posts)
Humv Tue 14-Nov-17 08:54:11

Hi, this is my first post. I’m currently really struggling with my 6 month olds sleep patterns, they’re so erratic! We used to be able to roughly guess how his sleep would be, but over the past month or so it’s all gone to pot and I’m at my wits end- completely exhausted! Hoping someone can help or provide some insight into what on earth is happening.

He’s never been the best sleeper, never slept through the night. FF since 8 weeks due to mastitis, from 4-5 months would usually wake once or twice for a feed, up at 7am, multiple wakings for dummy replacement. Weaned him off his dummy and for a couple of weeks all was good- woke a couple of times for feeds, usually around 12 and 3 and then wake between 6 and 7. For the last couple of weeks it’s been anywhere from waking once for a feed and then waking at 7am (happened twice) to waking every hour, refusing milk just crying then self settling about 10 minutes later until around midnight where he’d take around 4oz and then chatter to himself for a couple of hours, doze off then up at 5am again for the day. I’m exhausted and don’t know why he keeps waking if he’s not hungry. Has anyone else had experience of this or know how to stop it? I’m worried about how little sleep he’s getting during the night as he must be exhausted.

Nap wise he does really well and it’s very structured- first nap at 9am, I wake him after 45 minutes, 2nd nap at 12 for between 1.5-2hrs and 3rd at 4 for 45 minutes. On nights like last night I let him sleep longer for his first nap as feels he needs it.

Sorry for the long post, any advice or reassurance would be greatly appreciated!

crazycatlady5 Tue 14-Nov-17 12:08:38

I hate to say it but it’ll be a phase. I had a rough patch at 6 months for a while and then she went back to waking only a few times (which is good for her!) - it doesn’t sound erratic it sounds normal x

Humv Tue 14-Nov-17 13:34:14

Thank you crazycatlady5, it’s reassuring to know it won’t last forever- it just feels like it will! When did your dc grow out of it?

crazycatlady5 Tue 14-Nov-17 14:16:53

for me each phase like this usually lasts almost bang on 2 weeks but I think all babies are different x

help1978 Tue 14-Nov-17 14:22:29

Remember this vividly....thought it’d break me so got advice from sleep trainer

Can you drop the 4pm nap and extend the after lunch nap? Fewer but longer naps were recommended to me....as well as loads of other things (most of which I was doing anyway as I was a woman on a mission)! X

Humv Tue 14-Nov-17 15:57:14

You read my mind help1978, I emailed Jo Tantum today to ask about sleep packages, I’m so desperate. I don’t sleep well at the best of times so this is like torture. Poor DS is exhausted so I don’t get why he doesn’t just sleep at night but babies are a mystery. I’ll try extending his lunch nap and maybe pushing it back by half an hour so the afternoon doesn’t seem so long. Thank you both of you for your help!

FATEdestiny Tue 14-Nov-17 20:35:04

Since dropping the dummy, what are you offering as an alternate way to comfort baby?

Babies/chikdren do need that comforted/safe/secure feeling in order to go to sleep. The dummy is amazing as a tool because it allows baby to get that comforted feeling in a very hands-off way.

I would not have dropped the dummy and my recommendation would be to bring it back pretty damn quickly. The cot will need to be next to your bed because you're still in the dummy reinsert phase. By 7-8 months baby's can usually learn to reinsert dummy themself - thats the game changer. That's when independant comforting from a dummy really is at its best.

But if you're not doing that, then your problem sounds like an incorrect assumption that self settling means no comforting. It doesn't. It means baby being able to feel comforted without your help. At 6 months (in fact before 12 months really) babies don't have the manual dexterity to coordinate their movements enough to do that themselves. So you need to help. Pat, shush, rock, feed to sleep, whatever you choose. But you'll need to proactively do something, not just leave baby.

Humv Tue 14-Nov-17 21:09:52

He has a comfort blanket which he strokes to get to sleep and has taken to sucking his fingers too. The problem with the dummy is he was spitting it out and waking himself up every 20 minutes or so all night- his sleeping was really good after we took it away, for a couple of weeks until these problems started. I’m hesitant to reintroduce the dummy unless absolutely necessary as I don’t feed he needs it anymore and feel it would be taking a step backwards. Surely if he was okay for some time without it he can’t have suddenly decided he wants it again? Especially as the wakings are so erratic, sometimes he can go half a night without crying, it’s just that the crying is happening much more frequently than not.

Humv Tue 14-Nov-17 21:15:11

Oh also forgot to mention, we’d struggle to put the cot in our room as the room isn’t big enough. Thank you for taking the time to reply, I’m going to see how tonight goes and talk to DH about maybe reintroducing the dummy. So far so good tonight, he’s been down since 7 and not heard a peep since.

FATEdestiny Tue 14-Nov-17 22:23:33

What is baby's pinccer grip like? Passing objects from one hand to the other? Placing objects with precision?

These are all skills that usually develop around 8-12 months and are confident movements past 12 months or so. This is when comforter toy/blanket objects can be usefully used. Until then, most children don't have the fine motor skills to meaningfully self comfort with an object (and even past 12 months it's no guarantee a comforter object will be bonded with).

I would establish a feeding and sleeping routine in the day - ensuring lots of daytime calories and milk. (This is what a sleep trainer will tell you too). At 6 months that would be:

6-7am wake
7am milk feed
8am porridge breakfast with fruit
9am nap (I would aim for 1-2h)
11am milk feed
12pm dinner - protein, carbs, high calorie fruit/veg. Increasing portion size with age and include a drink
1pm nap (aim for at least 2h)
3pm milk
4pm dinner - protein, carbs, high calorie fruit/veg. Increasing portion size with age and include a drink
4.30-5pm nap - wake after 45 mins
7pm - porridge supper if not eaten well.
7.30pm - milk feed
8pm bed

help1978 Wed 15-Nov-17 05:12:05

I’d get professional advice from a sleeptrainer as I’ve been in your shoes and posted on here when I was close to jumping off a bridge with sleep deprivation and as much as people’s advice can be good and well meaning it can often make things worse......and you feel totally overwhelmed . Go with your gut , I promise you it does get better but that doesn’t help you right now! X

Humv Wed 15-Nov-17 08:04:57

Fate destiny- His pincer grip extends as far as picking up a piece of toast cut into halves then triangles and trying to get it to his mouth but just ending up with his fingers in his mouth and the toast dangling there. Definitely nowhere near placing anything with precision yet! Ah right, I wasn’t aware a comfort blanket wouldn’t be useful until that age- it seems to soothe him to stroke it but it’s mainly his fingers in his mouth. Thank you for the suggested routine, I don’t think he’d make it until 8pm, he’s usually exhausted by 6.30 but we’ll give it a go. He’s gone off his milk recently and is only drinking around 20oz per 24 hours, I’m guessing due to teething so hopefully when that improves his sleep will too.

Help1978- thank you for understanding! I’m so tired it’s unbelievable and it’s all well and good for everyone to say to rest when he does but by the time I drift off he’s awake. Did you use a specific sleep trainer? I’ve heard good things about Jo Tantum, could you recommend any others?

help1978 Wed 15-Nov-17 08:33:37

Yes I’ve used a private lady from city I’m from.....although I no longer live there anymore we did it remotely .....my sister and a lot of our friends used her so I knew 90% of what she was going to say . I showed her a lot of the comments on here when I posted a similar thing on here 6 months ago and she did say how counter productive some of the suggestions were.
You’re at a really tricky phase.....I was told to decrease milk intake which therefore upped solids....and NO protein before bed.....plus bedtime at 6.....no naps after 3....and if so just 10 minutes......
If you’re off the dummy, don’t go back to it, that would be my advice and hers!
In addition to that I just ignored him a lot during the night.....occasionally offering water etc at night but gradually we broke the habit and it did improve massively x

Humv Wed 15-Nov-17 08:39:33

Ah help1978 thank you! The protein thing really rings a bell because I gave him some chicken before bed a couple of nights ago which he sucked and spat out but it was the worst night he’s had in a long time. Last night I gave him a bit of fruit purée as his evening meal instead and his night was much better. Thank you for all your advice, I don’t think he needs the dummy anymore and we worked hard to wean him off it so I don’t think we’ll reintroduce unless absolutely necessary. I’ll look around for a sleep trainer too, if it gets him sleeping through the night then it’ll be money well spent. Thank you again, I’m gonna start making some changes today, determined to find what works for us!

help1978 Wed 15-Nov-17 08:43:29

He might not sleep through the night....but it’ll improve massively.
Carbs are ok....I promise it does get better you’re at the worst stage. I was googling night nanny’s and adoption agencies at your stage! Chin up and whatever you find that works just stick with it. 3-5 days it takes to make/change a habit I was always told x take care

Humv Wed 15-Nov-17 09:20:39

Haha I can relate to the adoption agency searching too- I keep making ‘jokes’ when anyone says how cute he is that they can have him.

I’ll try it for a week and see how it goes. I’m not too worried about him not sleeping through the night as I don’t mind getting up to feed him if he’s hungry, it’s all the nonsense in between that’s soul destroying.

Thanks again all, you’ve been a massive help

FATEdestiny Wed 15-Nov-17 17:48:57

He’s gone off his milk recently and is only drinking around 20oz per 24 hours

Is he smaller than average? How is solids weaning going?

I suspect lack of calories is a significant issue affecting your nights.

Humv Thu 16-Nov-17 07:37:32

He was born at the 9th percentile as he was 2 weeks early, but has been following the 50th percentile for a few weeks now.. actually last night was one of the best nights in a while. We ended up cutting out his last nap and extending the first two, so he had one at 9.30 until 11 and one at 1.30 until 3.15 and none at 4. We put him to bed a little earlier, at 6.30 so he could have his milk and he was a little unsettled for half an hour or so but then slept until midnight, cried but stopped within a few minutes without a feed and then slept through until 4. At that point he cried for a few minutes so we offered him some water in the hope that he’ll take more during the day if we offer less during the night and he had a couple of ounces then slept until 6.45. He still only had 4oz for his first feed which is a little worrying but I’ll give a couple more in his porridge for breakfast and see how he gets on during the day.

Thank you for helping

help1978 Thu 16-Nov-17 14:13:32

Well done. Keep at that for at least 5 days and stay strong!!! X

help1978 Thu 16-Nov-17 14:16:04

Ps I’ve just realised you are the same person who posted a couple of really nice posts on my “do other mums feel like this” .....thank you. That was kind.
Don’t let me pull you down in enjoying this bit (if you can?!) . A few more hours sleep seems to let you get through the slog! X

Humv Thu 16-Nov-17 16:47:21

No need for thanks, you’ve been so helpful. Your little boy is very lucky to have a Mummy like you.

Gonna keep persevering with the new routine and hope it sticks in a few days! Although Sod’s law has it that as soon as baby gets it, some growth spurt/wonder week/regression comes up ha!

Thank you aswell FATEdestiny, I’m going to keep an eye on his milk drinking during the day to make sure it doesn’t drop!

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