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6 month sleep problems

(22 Posts)
Jellybaby13 Sun 05-Apr-20 04:48:08

Hi,

My daughter is now 6 and a half months old and she's always had trouble with sleeping. She slept through for about 6 hours when she was 2 months old but that's been it.

She's still in the room with us at the moment but most of the time it's just me and her because my husband works away from Monday to Friday. She wakes up almost every hour (if I'm lucky her first sleep will be 2 hours) and won't go back to sleep unless I breastfeed her. Then it gets to a stage in the night where I try and put her back in the side cot and she won't go back to sleep at all, the only way she'll sleep is if I put her next to me and feed her on my side.

Tonight I put her back in the side cot and decided to ignore her (been trying to put her back from 2am to 4am but she kept waking up and crying). I ignored her for. 20 minutes but she cried the whole way through and then I caved and moved her next to me.

She won't nap during the day unless I've taken her out for a walk in the pram (as soon as I stop she wakes) or I breastfeed her and she falls asleep on me. I try to move her off me and into the Moses basket but she wakes up and cries.

I've tried offering water to her in the night instead of a breastfeed and this doesn't work. I want to keep breastfeeding her until she's 1.

I also want to move her into her own room quite soon but I'm not sure how to do it when she wakes up so often. I'm also scared she'll see it like her Moses basket and scream as soon as I put her down. Her room also isn't very big so there's no room for a chair to feed her in so I'm worried I'll be back and forward between our rooms all night.

I'm also going to bed at the same time as her because I'm afraid on missing out on sleep because her first sleep is usually the longest so I'm missing out on a little 'me' time too. She watches me during the day a lot and can sometimes be a little clingy.

This whole lockdown thing isn't really helping either, my mum normally comes over in the evenings after work to help me but she can't with self isolation going on so it's really full on at the moment with just me and her on our own (my husband also self isolates on the weekend too as he's a key worker and is afraid of passing anything on he might of caught while away).

I know I've probably caused this damage by letting her sleep on me during the day after a breastfeed and I'm actually feeling like I've messed her up big time with sleep 😔

Any personal experience help, tips or advice would be great. Sorry for the huge post.

severalboxes Sun 05-Apr-20 05:11:45

Hey OP, poor you, you must be exhausted and it's really hard if you don't have DM and DH to help.

I would say though - this doesn't sound that unusual. You use words like 'trouble' and 'clingy' and 'messed up' and 'damage' - that's a really negative way of viewing fairly standard baby behaviour.

She's tiny and she loves you, of course she'd rather sleep with a warm milky safe mummy than a bare cot by herself. This phase doesn't last forever, it might seem that way now but it'll be over before you know it.

I'm not trying to say this isn't hard, I've been there (DD was over a year before she slept through). It's really hard, especially if you're on your own a lot. But your brain does adapt a bit and it becomes easier to survive on less sleep.

I think either work out how to accept co-sleeping and do it safely (knowing it's not forever and won't mess her up) or do sleep training - but if you do that, you need to fully commit to a plan and follow it otherwise you end up with a few awful nights then giving in and feeling demoralised.

Do you have a sling to use during the day? That might help with clinginess. Are you in touch with other mums?

So overall message: this is hard but you're not doing it wrong so don't beat yourself up. TV that shows peaceful babies loving their cots and sleeping through from a few weeks is massively misrepresenting the reality for most people.

Piglet89 Sun 05-Apr-20 08:55:43

I think @severalboxes post is really balanced (mentioning both the options of co sleeping and sleep training) and some good tips there.

OP, it must be so so hard in lockdown with just you and her. We sleep trained our son early with a sleep consultant’s help (not a lot of people’s cup of tea, I know, but it worked for us). However, without my husband and I both supporting eachother, I would definitely have caved. I also wasn’t breastfeeding which I think made things a little easier.

PM me if you think it would be helpful and I can give a few more details.

Piglet89 Sun 05-Apr-20 08:58:08

Not about the sleep consultant obviously - just anything I might be able to help with remotely. I really feel for you and please don’t beat yourself up - the sleep conundrum had me tearing my hair out! As @severalboxes says, little babies’ sleep patterns very rarely match adults’ early on; that is just the way it is and you decide either to go with the flow or stage an intervention, as it were, via sleep training methods.

Montgomerystubercles Sun 05-Apr-20 09:19:56

Why not try to reframe things so you don't feel like you are missing out on me time but instead set yourself up in bed with a book/craft/iPad and headphones/whatever you miss doing. I found once I accepted that my evenings were going to be different for a while I was a lot less stressed about it than when I felt like my daughter was 'ruining' my evening. And honestly, gradually she will get better at sleeping by herself, sleep is developmental, it will happen whatever you do (or don't do).

severalboxes Sun 05-Apr-20 09:55:39

Other thoughts OP - if DH self isolated at weekends, would you be better off staying with DM or she comes to stay with you and DH stays at her house temporarily? Is DH able to be with you at weekends at all or is he just tucked away in the house?

The other thing that saved me with DC2 is kindle app on my phone - I could read books when up in the night or feeding in the day, made it much less boring!

This is a shit situation but if you can try to stop fighting it and go with it, it might be easier to cope with. To be blunt, babies pick up on stress so if you can take care of yourself, the baby might chill out too. That's easier said than done though!

Jellybaby13 Mon 06-Apr-20 07:39:32

Thanks for the advice everyone, makes me feel a bit better knowing that this is normal and that it's not me that's done something wrong.

DH and I have discussed the possibility of me self isolating with DM but he then wouldn't see her at all cause he wouldn't want to come back to their house and possibly spread to my parents, he self isolates from us when he's home by keeping a distance/sleeping in a separate room. He has insisted i self isolate with parents before but I feel cruel him not seeing our daughter, plus my mum is also a key worker so although I'd still see her in the nights she'd also need to keep her distance, only difference is I might get a little help from dad.

I may just have to weather the storm, last night she only slept for the first stretch (which was 2 and a half hours, not too bad) and then wouldn't go back into her side cot so I just gave in.

I do enjoy the closeness and the cuddles, I just worry it might effect her ability to sleep alone. I had the same problem with me and my mum when I was a baby and it took until I was 8 until I could sleep on my own. My dad used to work nights so I'd stay awake until he went to work at 2am then sneak into my parents' bed. Just didn't want the same for her...more for her sake than mine!

I might give her nursery a go in the next few weeks, for now she still fits in the side cot so will use that for the convenience until I can't.

Thanks all.

OdinJax Mon 06-Apr-20 09:44:43

I can't offer any advice, just sympathy. Please know you're not on your own OP. I know exactly how you feel. I'm in the exact same situation. My 6 month old DS fights sleep all the time.
He sleeps in a side sleeper next to me, on a good night he'll wake twice, on a bad night up to 6/7 times !
When he first goes to sleep at 7 I have to rock him to sleep but after that, any night waking he drops off after a feed.
He has three naps a day, all rocked to sleep, if I didn't he wouldn't nap at all. He has the same routine every day but seems to make no difference whatsoever to his night time sleep. I keep magically expecting it to get better, that he'll grow out of it or something. I'm also in the same boat re: cot, he's almost too big for his sleeper, I wonder if it would make any difference but am yet to try.
Fingers crossed for you x

Russell19 Mon 06-Apr-20 10:51:04

Hi OP, not read the previous posts as I am in a rush (clingy baby too) but thought I'd let you know that 4 months ago I was you exactly and now things are very very different.

It must be so hard during a lockdown and I really feel for you but let me tell you what happened with me. I moved my baby into his own room at about your little ones age. It reduced the wakes slightly but I still fed to sleep (in his room on a chair which I appreciate you cant do) but I feel the moving to their own room is big step to self settling. Could you start the night in the cot to get used to it then move over? I then carried on feeding to sleep in the night but focused on settling at the start of bed time and naps in another way. This was a game changer and let me know if you want details of how I did it (very little crying involved).

Last week I took the plunge and night weaned off breastfeeding but made my husband go in for the night wakes (1 or 2) and unbelievably he settled with no crying in about 2 mins each time! In a few months could you do this on a weekend when your husband is home?

ClaireHolland77 Mon 06-Apr-20 11:00:04

Has anyone used Littleones sleep app? I have a 6month old who I have been using the app with for just over two weeks and I don’t seem to be seeing any results. Is this normal? Help please, sleep deprived mum asking 😊

Russell19 Mon 06-Apr-20 12:18:46

@ClaireHolland77 funny you said that because that's exactly what I used! Message me if you like? I'd recommend it to anyone now but it wasnt instant x

Jellybaby13 Wed 08-Apr-20 02:08:00

Just had a look at the Littleones app and the sleep programs seem expensive!

I read somewhere today that gradually moving the side cot further and further away from my bed might help to move her to her own room so I might give that a go. I'm waiting for my husband to adjust the cot in the nursery to a lower level before I move her.

She seems worse this week, won't settle after the first sleep at all. I used to be able to pump one breast in the night because her first sleep used to be 3/4 hours but can't do that anymore because it's turned into way less. Making me worry about the supply I have now too!

Also worth noting that I was giving her calpol every night due to teething until I realised last week it had become routine! I'm wondering if me taking her off it has worsened things but I don't want to give it for the sake of it. She doesn't seem to have much teething symptoms before bed these days. Used to have red cheeks and dribble lots but no red cheeks and less dribble these days.

Russell19 Wed 08-Apr-20 08:09:25

How long has she been 'teething' for? Had she actually got a tooth or any other signs in her gums?

A lot of people confuse teething for other problems.

And please don't give calpol every night....

Spanneroo Wed 08-Apr-20 08:36:09

OP my DD2 was an atrocious sleeper. She woke every hour at least for the first 10 months and would not sleep in the day. I had her 3yo sister to look after too, and I was so exhausted that I collapsed and was admitted to hospital on two occasions. Thankfully, the 3yo knew how to use my phone to call daddy for help.

I'm not saying this to scare you, but I want you to see that it's important you don't let yourself get that exhausted, even if it means your DH sadly has to Skype your DD during the lockdown. Having your mum around may make all the difference.

We had two different sleep consultants give up with her sleeping, suggesting she was unable to sleep for longer for various reasons.

She started walking at 10 months, when her sleep started to change and, before her first birthday she went from hourly wakings to doing 6-10-2-6. By 15 months, it was 6-2-6. She has slept through since 18 months. I feel satisfied we did what we could to improve her sleep, but ultimately what she needed was exercise. She's almost 3 now and incredibly high energy. I think sometimes we beat ourselves up for this stuff when really it was always out of our control.

I really feel for you having to do this alone in lockdown. Don't forget to take care if yourself.

36Ames Wed 08-Apr-20 09:42:24

I could’ve written this post myself, to the tee. It’s so hard, and at the moment with partner being key worker it’s me and my little one 24 hours a day. I love him to bits but the frequent night wakings worries me that he’s not getting quality restorative sleep.
Since birth he’s been a frequent waker through the night (usually 6 times at least) x

Jellybaby13 Fri 10-Apr-20 01:02:07

For some reason her new routine is now to sleep for an hour, feed, then won't settle back in her cot. As soon as I put her next to me she settles down.

I tried a dummy (doesn't really use a dummy but will fall asleep with one in the pram or car seat if I need to buy time) and all she did was spit it out and scream.

I tried dressing her in less seeing as the weather's gone warmer. I've cut out the short sleeved vest under her sleep suit and sleeping bag...but that didn't work either.

Tonight I tried walking her around the room in my arms then I breastfed her standing up but as soon as I put her down in her cot she screamed. I moved her from the cot to my bed and she carried on screaming until I lay down next to her.

Any sleep resetting advice or what you did would help so please feel free to message me what you did!

Also...she had no calpol in the day, as said above, I did stop it once I realised it was a routine and yes she was teething cause my health visitor investigated.

She was constipated last week after starting solids and seemed to need extra comfort so I made the error of giving her extra night cuddles.

The co sleeping doesn't bother me, it's just I worry cause this is how I was as a baby. I was my mum's first baby, she suffered two miscarriages before having me. So when I was born she molly coddled me basically, began co sleeping and then I grew dependant on it. My dad worked nights from 2am so I used to stay awake and wait until I heard him leave the house then crawl into bed with mum before I could actually sleep. This went on until I was 8 and I just don't want the same for her.

Jellybaby13 Fri 10-Apr-20 01:06:47

Also, just to add, I make sure the co sleeping is safe. No blankets/pillows surrounding her, sleeps same side as the side sleeper, I sleep in a 'c' position. I'm also an incredibly light sleeper.

Russell19 Fri 10-Apr-20 08:25:05

I think you need to get her to settle at bedtime without breastfeeding before you move onto the night wakes.

If you put her down drowsy but awake and keep going to her when she cries to hush her and pat her back etc she will eventually fall asleep. It might take 20 times the first night but it will work.

Spanneroo Fri 10-Apr-20 08:48:34

@Russell19 that's not necessarily true. Some babies just do not respond to sleep training, no matter how consistent you are. We had sleep trainers come to our house with DD2 as our own sleep training wasn't working. The first have in after 11 nights of no improvement. The second, after 5. Besides which, OP is exhausted and on her own. She may not be able to cope with several nights of next to no sleep in the hopes her daughter takes to it.

OP, all of my kids co-slept. My first eventually slept on her own in the co-sleeper cot at around 8 months, though only a couple of hours between 7-9pm. She moved into her own room at 2.5, no problem. She sleeps like the dead. My second (the really difficult one) still sleeps in our room at 2.5, but sleeps through and deeply. The youngest are twins and only 4 months but already sleep without me in short bursts as they have each other.

Co-sleeping won't make your daughter clingy. But if she's that way inclined, forcing her to separate from you so young when she is not ready, could make her less secure, not moreso.

Russell19 Fri 10-Apr-20 09:47:19

@Spanneroo I said to only do it at bedtime to start with....so it wouldn't mean nights of no sleep.

I'm offering what worked for me so ignore if you wish but the op is asking for help as what she is currently doing isn't working.

Jellybaby13 Mon 13-Apr-20 17:01:13

Hi!

I've tried the whole putting her to sleep drowsy but awake but as soon as I put her down anywhere she just jumps awake and wide-eyed! She won't sleep anywhere during the day apart from on me or car seat/pram. I've even tried leaving her until she's in a deep sleep and then moving her to a Moses basket but she sleeps for around a minute and then wakes up.

I also tried the whole turn her on her side and pat her on the bum rhythmically but that did nothing but annoy her 😂

The last two nights she's actually gone back to her side sleeper until 4-5am and her first sleep has been between 2-3 hours then wakes up a couple more times before refusing to go back into the side sleeper.

I've kind of just thought about going with the flow at this point, maybe she was just going through a growth spurt or maybe it was weaning away from calpol or perhaps because it's just been me and her in the day times and no one else she got super clingy?!

I'm not really going to stress about it anymore. What will be will be I guess! If she needs to co sleep with me for me to get some sleep then that'll be it, won't last forever.

I have however had the cot level lowered though so it really has come to the point where I'm going to try her in her own room on the weekend (eek!)
Xx

Jellybaby13 Sun 26-Apr-20 08:55:27

Hi everyone!

Thought I'd provide an update. I'm now a week into her being in her own room and it's going great! First couple of nights were rough but her sleep stretches have been getting longer and longer!

The night before last I put her down and she slept for 7 hours and 10 minutes!!! Then went back to sleep for another 2!

Last nights she was asleep for 6 and a half hours and then went back to sleep and she's now 4 hours in and I'm still waiting for her to wake up.

When she wakes up I do need to breastfeed her to go back to sleep and it takes roughly an hour of this with fussing too for her to go back but I thought I'd take it one step at a time! She's also not doing any daytime naps unless she sleeps on me still, have tried to put her down in the cot once and failed but again, one step at a time!

I also have a comforter for her that I've been trying to get her attached to since she was born, over the last week I've carried it around under my top during the day times hoping it would get my scent on it to help her at night. It looks like a growth on my belly but if it helps it helps! 😂

Feeling a lot better about everything. I guess maybe she didn't have enough room in the side sleeper and maybe moving her arms around was waking her up? I can only think of this as being the problem cause she sleeps with her arms all over the place in different positions during the night!

Going through a MAJOR clingy phase at the moment but I'm working through it with peek-a-boo games and I've heard that it's normal for them to get extra clingy/upset when you leave the room at this age (7 months 1 week now). So that's the next thing I'm working on!

Xxxx

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