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6 month old - how to stop feeding to sleep and co sleeping

(16 Posts)
ToftheB Wed 13-Jun-18 01:51:39

Hello, I wonder if anyone has any advice. I’m at the end of my tether. My lo has never been a good sleeper, and I’ve resorted to co sleeping and feeding to sleep to keep my sanity.

He used to sleep for a couple of hour stretches (if he was in with me - less if he’s in his own cot) which was tiring but manageable. The last few weeks have been really difficult, I don’t know why but he’s now waking every hour and the only way I can settle him is to feed to sleep. I’m absolutely exhausted and I know something has to change but I don’t know what to do.

I’ve tried to teach him to self settle, but he just gets more and more worked up. If he’s put into his cot without being fast asleep he just cries, no matter if I sit with him and shush or keep a hand on him. He gets more and more worked up until I pick him up. I’m now having to go to bed with him at 7.30 and then get him to sleep by lying (in an uncomfortable position) next to him - and then do the same every time he wakes up in the night.

For daytime naps I have to take him out in the pram or get into bed with him and feed and cuddle him to sleep.

I’m absolutely exhausted and I’m worried it’s affecting my relationship with my baby and with my husband. I feel like I’m failing everyone - I should have taught him to self settle by now but I just can’t seem to do it.

arbrighton Wed 13-Jun-18 18:35:53

He's not old enough to self settle, it's developmental

Whatever else anyone here says

He also still needs those milk calories overnight I'm afraid.

I'm sure someone will be along shortly to say I'm a soft hippy and to do controlled crying and night wean ASAP, probably with a dummy but that won't be me

There is a lot going on developmentally and probably teething which means sleep is difficult

BTW, I'm still feeding and cosleeping at almost 12 mo, starting to consider gentle encouragement to night wean

Oly5 Wed 13-Jun-18 18:41:37

You’re doing everything I’m doing with my seven month old and I’m very relaxed about it. Why? Because he’s my third and I know this is a phase.
Babies don’t self settle at this age, regardless of what the books say. Feeding to sleep and co-sleeping is entirely normal.
You could try putting him back in his cot after every night feed rather than co-sleeping but the feeding to sleep thing is fine, honestly.
With my other two, I tackled their sleep when they were around 14 months old. Shush patting and putting them into their cot drowsy but awake. It’s fine, they got it eventually and are both now good sleepers.
From about 7/8 months you could try and encourage your baby to sleep nap for daytime naps in the cot. Feed him til he’s really, really drowsy, pop him in the cot and then pat his back until he’s asleep. So he has the feeling of being in the cot.
Will he take a dummy? That also helps with lessening hours of night feeds.
But honestly, this will pass. I think it’s normal to still feel exhausted at this age.

StinkySaurus Wed 13-Jun-18 19:30:31

flowers for you OP. Well done for keep going. Lack of sleep is really tough. Try to look after yourself when you can. Sorry I have no advice, I still feed rock/ push chair to sleep.

So I’m interested to know What age the PP think babies can learn to self settle and how do you teach them?

Oly5 Wed 13-Jun-18 19:51:36

Well, with my 7mo I’m just starting a gentle process of making him aware of his cot. So I feed him at nap time until he is very drowsy, pop a dummy in and put him in his cot. He’s aware he’s in there and I just pat his back and shush him for a minute until he’s asleep.
That’s the beginnings of it. When mine hit around 12/14 months I stepped it up and shushed th to
Sleep with me in the room or holding hands for the final
Minute, gradually reducing this until they were happy with me just being in the room, or just outside the door.
Look up gradual retreat online.
I’ve never done controlled crying, it seems cruel and uneccessary to me

StinkySaurus Wed 13-Jun-18 20:15:27

Do you experience any crying or grumbling at all when doing that Oly5?

Oly5 Wed 13-Jun-18 20:31:59

Not if I get him in the cot when he’s really drowsy. If he’s too awake then yes so I wait until he’s really tired or keep feeding until he’s really tired.
When they’re older they do cry a bit with gradual retreat to start with but the beauty is that they can also understand you by then so they know it’s time for sleep. And you do it so gradually that they get used to it. You’re also hot just leaving them alone and walking out of the door. It’s completely different to controlled crying. The idea of leaving a baby crying alone in the dark is just horrendous to me

Oly5 Wed 13-Jun-18 20:33:00

Not... not hot!

StinkySaurus Wed 13-Jun-18 20:34:07

I feel the same! That’s very helpful thank you!

Ary2017 Wed 13-Jun-18 20:37:12

My DS is the same. From day one would wake at least hourly to feed and won't sleep in his cot. I tried for 5 months repeatedly to put him down and exhausted myself so resorted to co-sleeping. I felt like I was doing something wrong or that I should be sleep training etc but I just didn't want to do that the thought of controlled crying upset me.

I'm now content with it, if he feeds it's because he needs milk, if he needs me to sleep then I'll be there for him for his comfort. And he will learn to settle and sleep through when it's right for him. He's 10 months now and he's just got to the point of wanting a bit of his own space, settling himself if very drowsy and has been sleeping for 3 hour stints

The association of breastfeeding mothers posted an article recently on twitter about all the great benefits of night feeding, made me feel better

Ohyesiam Wed 13-Jun-18 20:39:58

Get Elizabeth Pantly The No Cry Sleep Solution. It’s for breast fed babies.

Baubletrouble43 Wed 13-Jun-18 22:17:42

Don't think you're letting anyone down. One of my dds needed cuddling to sleep and night feeds up to 13 months. She was ready to sleep through then and has done since. She was later than my other two, they are all different. Do what you feel comfortable with, noones opinion matters but yours and your babies. I know it's exhausting!

InFrance2014 Thu 14-Jun-18 14:48:46

So sad that many people feel like failures from the outset for responding to normal baby needs. Waking frequently and needing to be close to you to sleep are normal and protective behaviours in young babies. That's why you're advised to keep them in same room until at least 6 months.

Saying you're "resorting to" co-sleeping and feeding to sleep is getting it totally backwards- these are the easiest ways for everyone to get sleep because most babies are wired to need them. They're blessings to help you, not failures on your part.
Nobody has to teach a baby to "self-settle", they all learn to get themselves to sleep eventually, even if it takes a long time and they need help.

I totally understand being exhausted, mine woke often too, but the second time around I was wiser and didn't try to second guess it, and just went with it, trying as many ways as possible to get comfy sleep with the things the baby found easiest- nursing and being in a sling.

I would really advise for your sanity that you try this approach, forget "should" in how the baby sleeps. Why do we treat sleeping so differently to being able to use a potty, for example? They're both biological and take a long time to develop, and they need our help, not forcing. My now 4 year old took over 3 years to sleep through and now she's like a log, but I still enjoy chatting with and cuddling her for 20 minutes after stories until she sleeps, and she'll stop that too soon enough I'm sure.

arbrighton Thu 14-Jun-18 15:19:39

Following on from InFrance post, could I maybe suggest you get hold of the Gentle Sleep Book by Sarah Ockwell-Smith

It explains the biological norms for sleep and helps you realise what's the kindest thing and what is a realistic expectation or isn't

ToftheB Thu 14-Jun-18 15:49:47

Wow. Thank you all. I’ve been scared to come back to this as I wrote it in the middle of a fairly miserable night and I was sure you’d all be telling me to get a grip. It’s such a relief to read that some of you have been in similar positions - and that your babies sleep improved naturally as they got older.

I’m happy to carry on with the feeding and cuddling if that’s what he needs at the moment. I’ve just been worried that the poorer sleep over the last week or two is somehow down to my laziness or failure to stick at (or really start!) any gentle sleep training. It seems like all of my friends and relatives have been more ‘successful’ at getting their babies to sleep well - but I do understand that that could be partially down to luck and partly people quickly forgetting the struggles they had.

The last couple of days have been a bit better - he’s had a few naps in his cot, and last night he did a few longer (2hr) stretches between wakings. It just goes to show that nothing about him is permanent at the moment, every time I think he’s broken he changes again.

Thanks again. I’ll look into the book that was suggested too.

arbrighton Thu 14-Jun-18 17:26:47

SOme of it is genetics I think. Family friend grandchild sleeps through- The mother of said child did too

I was AWFUL- like stopped napping by 10 mo awful so really DS is far better than me

It's also dependent on the child too. First nephew was EASY and clockwork, second made SIL and BIL work a bit harder

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