Even Cry It Out won't work

(33 Posts)
jenesaisquoixo Sat 24-Oct-20 16:20:51

Hey all,

My 6 month old DS has never been a brilliant sleeper. The newborn month was fairly normal. Months 2-4 he would never settle during the day. I'd rock him to sleep but he'd wake as soon as I put him in his basket, and sometimes we'd spend the entire day in this cycle. He would always sleep fairly well during the night however, waking only to feed.

More recently, this has changed, so he can be persuaded to have regular naps (he might stir himself awake halfway through and have to be coaxed back to sleep, but he's much more regular than he was). Instead, he wakes every hour of the night. Sometimes multiple times within the hour. Recently he's decided 3AM is a great time to play.

I generally get him to sleep (day/night) with any/all of: a feed, dummy, rocking, white noise. He's especially fond of his dummy.

I've been trying to get him to sleep by himself during the day, so that hopefully sleep training him during the night will be easier. I'm trying to break his sleep associations/dependencies, but it's really tough going. I take him up well in advance of his nap time (by about 30 mins), give him a feed and then lay him down. He'll cry for an hour with no end in sight, at which point I cave and give him his dummy and he falls asleep in two minutes. I really don't know what to do. I'm out of ideas. Please help.

Much love even for reading this far <3

OP’s posts: |
FATEdestiny Sat 24-Oct-20 16:29:27

Don't take the dummy away. It's the single best sleep aid for teaching independant sleep without any crying.

Rocking you could do with reducing or stopping. Dummy, absolutely not.

When, how often and for how long is baby napping during the day?

FATEdestiny Sat 24-Oct-20 16:30:06

And what's happening with feeding? How many bottles per day/night. Has this increased recently?

GeorgieTheGorgeousGoat Sat 24-Oct-20 16:31:36

Why can’t he have his dummy? confused

Nuffaluff Sat 24-Oct-20 16:33:04

Just let him have the dummy. They’re fine for sleeping.
My eldest had a dummy. He only used it for sleeping and rejected it himself. We never had to wean him off it.

unmarkedbythat Sat 24-Oct-20 16:34:48

Don't leave your six month old baby to cry for an hour.

Give him his dummy.

LolaLollypop Sat 24-Oct-20 16:35:42

He’s 6 months not 6 years! He absolutely needs a comforter (ie dummy) to help him fall asleep. I’d also suggest encouraging another type of comforter - a cuddly toy or a muslin maybe? At this age they’re just learning how to fall asleep by themselves, and how to self-settle.
My DS is 8 months and he only started really enjoying sleep about a month ago. He now goes down really easily for naps with his muslin comforter and wakes only once at night usually.


BabyLlamaZen Sat 24-Oct-20 16:37:44

Sounds totally normal op. Also don't get why removing the dummy? Don't make it harder for yourself. It's unnatural for a baby to want to sleep by themselves so dummy is something!!

BabyLlamaZen Sat 24-Oct-20 16:39:55

There are some babies who will miraculous ly lie down and sleep without anything, but I have yet to meet one 🤣 we have our comforts so change your expectations and you will probably feel much better.

jenesaisquoixo Sat 24-Oct-20 16:53:10


Don't take the dummy away. It's the single best sleep aid for teaching independant sleep without any crying.

Rocking you could do with reducing or stopping. Dummy, absolutely not.

When, how often and for how long is baby napping during the day?

He's breastfed, feeds are normal during the day but I've started to feed him a lot more at night (more a soothing feed than a hunger feed) to try and get him back to sleep.

I wanted to remove the dummy from the equation so he would start to sleep independently. For example, he's just woken up 30 minutes in to what was meant to be an hour's nap. If he didn't need his dummy/it hadn't fallen out and woken him up, the hope is that he would put himself back to sleep? Especially during the night

OP’s posts: |
jenesaisquoixo Sat 24-Oct-20 16:56:17


Don't leave your six month old baby to cry for an hour.

Give him his dummy.

I forgot to mention in the original post - he wasn't alone! I was with him the whole time, I'd try to calm him now and then with some gentle shushing, a few quiet words, but not picking him up or rocking him.

OP’s posts: |
FATEdestiny Sat 24-Oct-20 17:07:39

The dummy is the aid for independant sleep. It's what teaches your baby to sleep on their own.

As you are finding, without a dummy to suck your baby will comfort breastfeed instead. This is the opposite of independant sleep. You will have a baby more dependant on help to sleep, not less.

By about 7-9 months old baby can learn to replace own dummy. Then you have an independant sleeper.

Emmacb82 Sat 24-Oct-20 17:16:28

But they don’t always replace their own dummy! My first I was up and down all night for months because every time he lost his dummy he woke up. Nightmare.
This time round I’ve not used one. Baby is ebf and is almost 6 months. Over the last month he has found his thumb and uses that as his comfort. At the same time he has started sleeping through and napping well as he self soothes with it. For now I would just carry on with the dummy but you do run the risk of lots of putting the dummy back in, or you might be lucky and have a baby that puts in in themselves!

jenesaisquoixo Sat 24-Oct-20 17:18:28

Thank you so much for your replies! None of the blogs I’ve read have ever mentioned dummies much at all so I’m surprised that’s what every other reply has picked out!

Could you recommend a more specific course of action? At the moment he’s fairly difficult to put back to sleep at night, even with a dummy. I resort to breastfeeding as it’s quietest and I don’t want to wake the whole house.

OP’s posts: |
FATEdestiny Sat 24-Oct-20 17:26:17

Could you recommend a more specific course of action?

Absolutely, I'm a sleep consultant, it's my day job smile

So, what happens currently to get baby to go from being fully awake to being fully asleep at bedtime and naptime?

It's how he gets to sleep at sleep time (rather than night wakes) that's primarily most important.

Also - at 6 months what's happening with feeding/weaning? Because calorific need often goes up at this stage (gross motor skill development) but because early weaning foods like fruit and veg are low calorie, calorie intake can inadvertently go down. This leads to an increased need for night feeds.

jenesaisquoixo Sat 24-Oct-20 18:24:28

Thank you, that’s very kind!

Naptimes: a feed if it’s time for one, plus his dummy, or he’s in his bouncer with his dummy.

Bedtimes: He has a bath every other day, which I time before his bedtime but it doesn’t make a difference to the quality of his sleep whether he has one or not. Otherwise a dummy usually puts him to sleep at bedtime without need for rocking or a feed. He does stir about 45 mins after I’ve put him down and need the dummy again.

His sleep cues tell me he has a fairly early bed time at 6pm, but he also wakes at 6am.

I’ve started him on a small amount of baby rice, but I combine it with a feed.

OP’s posts: |
FATEdestiny Sat 24-Oct-20 18:49:40

That sounds like you have good sleep hygiene in place - which 9s much more than many parents struggling with sleep at this age. So I think you're situation is entirely solvable (and definately DONT stop using a dummy - dummies are ACE for independant sleep).

Are your daytime naps routined in any way? When do naps usually happen and for how long?

I'm a big fan of bouncy chair naps in the first 6 months - it teaches baby the vital skills of going to sleep where they stay asleep. The mistake often made is to get baby to sleep in your arms then put baby down already asleep - this creates massive problems longer term.

However by 6 months it's often time to start changing this and move towards fewer, longer naps in the cot rather than frequent, shorter naps in the bouncer. So it might be that your baby is ready for a routine change and that's the root cause of the issues now.

You mention he wakes every hour of the night. Sometimes multiple times within the hour - was this when you had taken the dummy away or with you reinstating the dummy each time?

- If without the dummy, the issue is just baby wants to comfort suck to sleep so give dummy back. If you were using the dummy at the time, some in picking is needed to figure out the reason. Likely causes:

- lack of calories. Very common around 6 months, calorific need jumps massively. Reintroduce a night feed as a short term fix, increase daytime calories significantly in the longer term.

- Over tired. This is faxed by fixing daytime naps and finding the right routine. An Over tired baby sleeps very lightly - so will be more difficult to get to sleep and will wake more easily once asleep. A well-rested baby sleeps more deeply, so it's about breaking the over tired cycle.

- settling method. If baby is used to being in your arms or with a full tummy etc when going to sleep, this will make resetting harder for baby.

- slow to respond to resettle need. If baby isn't hungry and is just moving between sleep cycles, the quicker you respond the less awake baby will be. So if you respond the instant baby shuffles, before even crying, and reinsert dummy (I also put my hand on baby's chest and say shushhhhh for reassurance) then baby settles back to a deep sleep without properly waking. As sleep mature baby needs less and less interaction inbetween sleep cycles until none is needed at all.

But if you wait to respond so baby's sleep being disturbed then instead of bring only semi-concious baby wakes up fully and totally. Then resetting is much harder. To solve this, keep the cot by your bed until baby is reliably linking sleep cycles without support. Then you can respond uber fast (and without getting out of your own bed), before baby actually wakes up.

jenesaisquoixo Sat 24-Oct-20 19:25:03

That’s so lovely to hear you say, I’ve been feeling so guilty and like I’m doing absolutely everything wrong. The positive feedback was definitely needed!

On an ideal day he wakes at 6, then naps according to 2hr wake windows (he starts giving sleep cues about 1hr 30 mins from a wake up). So the naps go 8am-9am, 11am-1:30pm, 3:30pm-4:30pm. I can’t say that every day is perfect, as he’s a very light sleeper and if anything knocks his routine off even slightly (someone walks in when I’m feeding for example), he’ll be thrown off kilter for the rest of the day. I try very hard to be regular with his naps and make sure he’s not overtired, but I’ve not seen a difference in his night sleeps whether he’s had a good or a bad nap day.

I’ve only tried taking the dummy away today, and immediately saw it wasn’t going to work which is why I made my post. He’s been waking through the night for some weeks now and it came out of nowhere. Until then he’d been sleeping in his Moses basket, but he started waking so often we’ve begun co-sleeping. When he wakes, it’s been getting trickier to put him back to sleep. A quick feed used to do it before, but as I said he’s a very light sleeper so sometimes he’ll wake as I shift back down next to him. I slip him his dummy and that sometimes works. If it doesn’t, I just keep feeding him until he sleeps as I find that easier at night than rocking him.

I’ll keep the calorific jump in mind and look for some higher calorie weaning foods I can introduce.

In terms of resettling - he doesn’t fall asleep in my arms very often. He’ll either have his dummy on the bed and I’m beside him, or I’ll lie down to feed him if he needs to feed. I rock him to sleep quite rarely at night as he’s quite heavy and I find it very tiring!

I personally think the issue is as mentioned in your last point and he’s waking up but finding it hard to put himself back to sleep. I’m a fairly light sleeper myself and do try to give him his dummy as fast as possible, but he’s a lot lighter than I am and is very quickly wide awake. I don’t think that he’s waking up between cycles, as he never makes it through a 4 hour cycle. I also hesitate to assume that he’s waking up to noise in the house/outside as his wake ups seem very random and not as a result of a passing car or creaky floorboard.

OP’s posts: |
FATEdestiny Sat 24-Oct-20 19:39:57

For babies, night time sleep cycles are 1-2h and daytime sleep cycles are 30-45m. Sleep cycles get shorter according to the circadian rhythm - so the 1-2h gets shorter in the early hours of the morning and longer when first going to bed.

Are you cosleeping?
Or are you feeding to sleep then moving baby into the moses basket once asleep?

Do you have a cot? He's probably ready for extra space than the Moses basket allows for. Can you fit the cot next to your bed? Even if that means taking a chest of drawers out of the room, I'd find a way to fit it in.

FATEdestiny Sat 24-Oct-20 19:42:11

Re: noise waking him up. Have you tried white noise?

A bedside fan is great for this, plus allows for relaxing air circulation. But you can also get apps or machines that play white noise.

The idea is to have a consistent sound to go to sleep to, which drowns out background noise which would otherwise wake baby up

jenesaisquoixo Sat 24-Oct-20 19:45:48

Ah okay, that makes sense especially for his daytime naps as if he does wake too early it’s usually at the 30min mark.

Yes, I’m currently co-sleeping and probably won’t be trying to move him into a cot until we’re well past this stage!

OP’s posts: |
jenesaisquoixo Sat 24-Oct-20 19:47:56

I have tried white noise but it hasn’t really worked. He might sleep an extra half hour or so, but he’ll still be awake before too long (this is for nighttime sleeps).

OP’s posts: |
LolaLollypop Sat 24-Oct-20 19:50:58

OP as mum to an 8 month old light sleeper, these are the things that also helped me:

I reduced my LO naps to two a day - 10am and 2pm. DS sleeps a LOT better with only two naps and for longer too. Trying to fight him down with three naps just wasn’t working for us.

He was also getting frustrated in his Chicago crib so I transferred him to a cot. He seemed to really prefer the extra space.

I also use an “Olly the Owl” (same makers as Ewan the Sheep). DS loves the white noise and it also has a function that reacts to when baby stirs or makes a noise. This really helped in the middle of the night - the owl restarts when it feels baby is waking up.

FATEdestiny Sat 24-Oct-20 20:03:06

The fact that you're cosleeping and baby is a light sleeper - you probably are waking each other up.

Is your partner in the bed too? You could do with giving baby more space to sleep more independently on your bed - as much space as you would give an adult. The idea is to get baby to sleep by lying close but then extract yourself into a seperate space on the bed rather than encroaching on each other's sleep space.

It's an expensive solution, but I have a super king sized bed. It's been great for my 4 children popping into bed with us.

Also worth considering a sidecar cot (which means removing one side off your cot and butting it up to your bed with matching matress heights).

jenesaisquoixo Sat 24-Oct-20 20:10:30

Thank you, I’ll definitely look into the owl, I was thinking some kind of gentle night projection would be the next thing to try.

OP’s posts: |

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