6 months - hit me with your sleep schedules and woes!

(68 Posts)
PocketRocket12 Thu 18-Feb-21 14:38:05

Hey mamas.

FTM, first time poster but frequent post lurker 👀

My little boy is 6 months old next week. Until about a month ago he had woken every 2 hours at night since the day he was born and only napped on me (begrudgingly). With some gentle practice, he now falls asleep independently happily in his cot for naps and bedtime most of the time, hurrah!

However, routines and schedules are pretty much non existent and ever changing. It’s kind of like playing Russian roulette with sleep only all the chambers are loaded and you’re also on fire...

One day he takes 4 short naps and needs bedtime at 5.30pm, other days he takes 3 longer naps and it’s a 7pm bedtime. At night he can wake once (praise be!!!) or five times (Russian roulette analogy here!) and can wake for the day anytime between 4am and 5.30am. The only regular thing about our routine is that his awake window is approx. 1hr45 (short but I think that’s due to his general lack of sleep at night).

Scary sleep people are insisting that he should be on some regular nap schedule by now by the clock with exactly the same bedtime at night and similar wake time, or at least taking the same sort of length naps each day. It’s made me question myself and whether there’s more I should be doing? Scary sleep people also insist he should be on 3/4 hours of day sleep so I frantically jump about like a mad thing doing everything possible to extend his last nap on a short nap day despite being told this should be the shortest nap of the day.

My question is... what are your little ones sleep habits at this age? What do I believe? Is this just totally normal for a 6 month old and I should just continue letting him take long/short naps until he figures out his rhythm? When you haven’t slept properly in nearly 6 months you become some sort of sleep obsessed dictator...

(If your child has slept through the night since they were four days old I genuinely think you’re a rock star but please don’t tell me that on this thread lest I drown myself in a tub of Sauvignon Blanc).

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EL1984 Thu 18-Feb-21 19:15:19

Hi @PocketRocket12. Im so glad to read your post, I think we have the same baby!
I am literally OBSESSED with his sleep, why can I not get it right!? My boy is 6m + 1week.

Still doing 4 short naps a day (30 mins each unless I hold him but I've given up doingthatnow as I can't be bothered) with the odd 3 nap day thrown in lately. The other day he woke at 4.45am and we had 6 naps uuuughh.
After a long slog I've managed to get him settling by himself in the cot for morning naps and bedtime. I have never managed self settling for afternoon ones, mainly because they always need to be finished by 5pm so if it doesn't seem like he is going to fall asleep within 10 or 15mins I just feed him to sleep. The last one of the day is always difficult, usually takes 30-40mins of feeding to get him asleep.
In the last week since the self settling he has done two days where we have had 2 hour lunch naps (well 11am-1pm). Woohooo!

Nights have a mixture of wake ups, we have had a pattern of 3 wake ups recently. Though the other night just one at 2am but then he woke for the day at 5am sad

He always wakes around 4.30am and he is wide awake blowing raspberries and cooing. It takes ages to get him back to sleep (feed) and then is impossible to put him back in the cot, he wakes up as soon as he hits the matress. So I sit up in bed with him having fallen asleep on my lap feeding and keep him asleep as long as possible. Usually make it to about 6am. He usually does a poo as soon as he wakes up so I wonder if from 4.30am it is on it's way and he finds it difficult to sleep. When he is sleeping on my lap he stirs every 5-10mins and feeds on and off.

What is your baby's mood and demeanour like? Mine is full on from the second he wakes up to going to bed. Was just feeding him and he was waving his arms about like an air traffic controller. He is in a good mood for about half an hour when he wakes up then gets quite whingy and moans a lot . I would say we have very similar wake windows to you on the 4 nap days. I feel like he is constantly tired.

I've booked a call with a sleep consultant for the first week of March so I hope she can help me whip him into shape. I dont know what to do to get into some sort of routine I read so many different things. Before I had a baby I thought I wouldn't want a routine and I'd go with the flow but I would love him to be able to sleep at the same time every day!

WutheringShites86 Thu 18-Feb-21 19:45:27

Hi, my DD is just turned 6 months. She is not naturally a sleepy baby at all and needs a lot of help to get to sleep for naps and night time - be this feeding to sleep (ebf), walking/rocking in pram, cuddles etc. We are soooooo far from self settling here. Tell me your secrets!!!

She has never had as much sleep or the routines the books suggest! We've gone through periods of either awful night wakings but day naps going ok and then the opposite but at the moment she is going through a phase of short naps and is often getting 2hrs or less during the day.

She has always been a serious night owl, until about a month ago I was struggling to get her down for the night before 10pm! At the moment she sleeps from 8.30 -9.30pm - 7.30 - 8.30am but never straight through. Wakings are really variable but typically 2-3.

She hates her cot with the fire of a thousand suns so we're bed sharing 95% of the time because this is the only way to get a decent chunk of sleep. So on one hand I'd like her to start going to bed a bit earlier but I don't want to have to be there with her any earlier than we do now.

I'm wanting to work towards her self settling in the cot but it feels like a distant dream right now. I'd be happy if I could get her to do a few hours in the cot early evening so I can have some adult time then I wouldn't mind if after I came to bed she joined me. We've got the cot set up as a sidecar to the bed so this is easy. Not in a rush to move her out of our room whilst she's still waking frequently anyway.

No set timings for things, just going on wake times and at the moment she's starting to move towards needing 3 hours between naps.

I'm not sure how we can improve things other than wait and see what happens developmentally and naturally because I don't feel comfortable with doing any sleep training tbh.

Apologies for the essay blush

Tickly Thu 18-Feb-21 19:45:40

So the sleep people are giving you the ideal but it's not necessarily what your baby will want to do.... They're all a bit different. Generally my experience has been that a rough routine does help because they learn what to expect and that 6m plus is a good time to put it into place. It's also the age when they tend to drop one of those naps which might be why it's a bit hit and miss. There aren't hard and fast rules though and the fact he can fall asleep alone is seriously impressive!
For what it's worth, we are a bit down the line with dc3 and by 7 months we had settled into a routine of up around 630/7, sleep 845/9 for 30-50; sleep post lunch from 12-230; sleep at 445/5 for 20 mins max; bed by 740/8. He'd get boobed in my bed if he woke for the day before 6. He also woke in the night at least twice to feed. Since solids are now 3 meals a day at nearer 8.5m he feeds once in the night. Nap routine is unchanged (for now). It does help having older DC because they bring structure to the day you have to follow. Baby has to fit in!
I would do what you feel works for you and your baby. Ignore the scary sleep people if they're not for you. There's no one perfect way to parent.

PocketRocket12 Thu 18-Feb-21 19:51:26

Oh I think our babies are spirit animals!

That definitely sounds like me a month ago. I had to cuddle for ALL naps / feed to sleep / I’d have done handstands on the roof of my car if it had helped him nap. So I promise you the self settling will get better.

A really good bit of advice I was told was that the last nap (3rd/4th) is an absolute nightmare for most babies and often it’s best to do it on the move in a carrier, pram, car, or to have a cuddle. I do exactly the same on the days he has four naps but interestingly when he has three longer naps he doesn’t fight the last one...... go figure.

He is an absolute firecracker, always on the go. I call him a baby of extremes because he’s either reeeeally happy or reeeeally annoyed and there’s no middle ground. Takes after his dad. I think our babies are cut from the same cloth for sure.

I do like a bit of routine but not strictly so. I just feel a bit chained to the house everyday as I never know if he’s going to nap for 1.5 hours of 30 mins and I don’t know if I’m coming or going. When I tried to be more relaxed about it all hell broke loose and nights were even worse so I’ve just decided that for now his sleep must take priority.

How do you find the early mornings? I can’t believe I actually cheer when it’s a 5.30am start as apposed to 4am! And how much day sleep are you aiming for? Through trial and error I’ve worked out about 3 hours / 3.5 hours of naps seems to result in my little one being his happiest and having less night wakings.

Let me know how you get on with sleep person and please do share any advice but I’m going to take your lovely post as a big tick in the “babies are all over the place still at this age” box.


OP’s posts: |
PocketRocket12 Thu 18-Feb-21 19:52:22

Sorry my last post was for @EL1984- didn’t see all the other replies until just now!! Xx

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PocketRocket12 Thu 18-Feb-21 20:05:23

I hear you @WutheringShites86... getting babies to like their cots is TRICKY!! We have done it slow and steady over about a month, started by just letting him play in their whilst I pottered around the room folding washing, then went to putting him down in cot when asleep, then went to putting him down in cot drowsy (a gazillion tears the second his bum touched the mattress so picked back up and rocked), and slowly but surely he doth protest less! Now he bloody loves it (apart from the last nap of the day, I daren’t even bother anymore, that’s always a motion nap).

I feel so much better that so many others are going through the sleep Russian roulette too. When I put my son down for bed I never know whether I should go to bed because he’s going to wake a thousand times or whether I actually have an hour or two to have a bath and spend time with my husband (can’t remember the last time we had dinner together).

Fingers crossed for more consistency in time! X

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soggycornflakes Thu 18-Feb-21 21:03:07

Hi @PocketRocket12 I had to reply as your post made me laugh and I can totally relate. Ergh nap management! This is baby no2 for me so thought I'd share my experience in case it makes you feel any better...
Baby no1 I was OBSESSED by all things baby sleep. I was terrified of ever having to do any sleep training so had her in a really strict routine from very early on and she was an ace napper and overnight sleeper. Although sympathetic to all of my friends with crap sleeping babies, I was secretly smug that I had worked so hard and created this super little sleeper who napped to schedule in her cot and slept all night.
2 years later baby2 arrives. Ha.. easy Ive totally got this! Errrm no. DS has very different plans. Refused to be put down for the first 12 weeks of his life. I think I actually stayed awake for 12 weeks straight holding him on my chest overnight while he slept in small burst (terrible reflux which we eventually managed to get under control). He is now 6 months and is a terrible napper despite my best attempts to do the same routine as DD. Ive given up bothering trying to get him to sleep in his cot because he just doesn't want to and I'm not into letting him cry (no judgement! That's just how I feel personally. He cried enough in the first 12 weeks of his life to last a lifetime). Sitting in a dark room trying to settle a baby that doesn't want to be settled just isn't how I want to spend my days. Instead I spend them marching the streets with the pram/sling or cuddling in a quiet room hiding from noisy 2 year old DD. These are the only ways he will possibly sleep longer than 30 minutes. It's really annoying as I get no time to do anything house related but concentrate on the fact my daily step count is 20k + and it's so lovely cuddling him while he sleeps. I also keep repeating to myself that this isn't forever (even though it feels relentless). Really weirdly I pop him in his cot at bedtime wide awake and he drifts off to sleep peacefully and sleeps all night for which i am very, very grateful. Why? Why can he not do this in the day? Babies are weird little creatures!

Anyway, what I am trying to say is that babies don't really care what the scary sleep people have to say so don't kick yourself that you're doing anything wrong. It's bloody hard! I thought I had everything to do with my DD being an amazing sleeper. Turns out it was just good luck!

WutheringShites86 Thu 18-Feb-21 21:35:43

Seems like we're all seeing a theme with the short naps at the moment so that gives me hope that it's just a phase they go through at this age.

@PocketRocket12 that sounds like what I'm trying to do with DD in terms of a staggered approach to getting her in the cot. The trouble with feeding her to sleep then transferring her though is she is such a light sleeper that even after 15-20 mins zonked out in my arms and passing the floppy arm test she will still wake up when I try to move her 9 out of 10 times. DP said she wakes up if a spider farts three doors down 😂.

WutheringShites86 Thu 18-Feb-21 21:40:49

@soggycornflakes that gives me a bit of a boost to hear that it's more about the baby than the parent in your experience. My DD sounds a lot like your youngest and as my first I haven't got any other personal experience but my gut feeling all along has been that this is just the way she is wired and the smug feckers who think they're sleep gurus just landed easy going sleepy babies by pure luck 😁

soggycornflakes Thu 18-Feb-21 21:59:37

Yep @WutheringShites86 I was that smug fecker. Karma came and bit me on the arse though don't worry!

It's easy for me to be laid back (ish) about DS's crap napping with him being my second. I can see it's just the way he is rather than it being anything I'm doing. If he had been my first I know id have been so stressed and analysing everything I was doing. I guess all I can do is make sure I stick to his awake times and try and give him the best chance of getting a decent sleep by walking/cuddling/pushing him around. It's so annoying though, especially during the weather we've had recently!

Now we've started weaning I basically feel like I spend my whole day feeding him or trying to get him to sleep. Good job he's the happiest little thing and totally adorable!

Anyway I've broken the first rule of having a baby who sleeps well through the night and that's to NEVER mention out loud that you have a baby that sleeps well. I will have jinxed myself and he will probably have me up every hour tonight.

WutheringShites86 Thu 18-Feb-21 22:07:37

Yes, weaning is adding a whole new spanner in the works here too! DD is still breastfeeding every 2 -2.5 hours during the day so timing everything so she can try some solids at a time that works around her milk feeds but also her unpredictable naps is a logistical nightmare.

Keha Thu 18-Feb-21 23:16:51

We only had a rough schedule, based on our experiences of how long she could generally stay awake for and when she was getting grouchy. I kept a diary and found the main thing that affected bed time was too late a nap. Other than that she could manage fine on one less/more naps some days. I felt better in myself when I relaxed a bit more about it. Also at that age naps were normally sling/pushchair/arms/car.

If you've not come across it, you might find this approach interesting www.mamamia.com.au/what-is-the-possums-sleep-program/

PocketRocket12 Fri 19-Feb-21 06:36:48

Morning ladies! So glad to know I’m not alone here. Who are these unicorn on schedule sleeping babies?

Had a weird night again after three nights of glorious 7-11ish and 12-4ish (it seems like he can’t do more than 3 good nights in a row). He slept 7-11 then woke for a feed then woke at 2 and was wide awake until 3.30 when he finally crashed on magic boob and slept until 6. What was that nighttime rage all about?

I stupidly decided last night was the night I would stay awake until 9 shock to watch tv so I’m knackered.

First nap due at 7.30...

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PocketRocket12 Fri 19-Feb-21 06:37:46

Meant night time RAVE... there was no rage really, he just wanted to play??

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Viola1256 Fri 19-Feb-21 07:20:25

I have found my people! My little girl's sleep is an enigma. Convinced by sleep experts that self settling was the key to all good sleep she has been doing this for naps and bedtimes since about 4 months but she absolutely cannot resettle herself when she wakes which means short naps and waking every 2-3 hours overnight. I get some totally random 90 mins naps very infrequently and the odd 4 hour stretch at night but there is zero rhyme or reason for me to link together as to what helped that happen! I've tried to implement the most common routine you read about (naps at 9ish, 12ish and 4ish) so I give her roughly 2 hours wake between naps and when she wakes at the middle lunchtime nap at 30/40 mins I rock and hold her to extend the nap to 90 mins. Probably the wrong thing to do but I'm at a loss! Also a shhh pat to resettle in this household is a game which incites squealing and leg kicking.

PocketRocket12 Fri 19-Feb-21 08:29:12

Welcome @Viola1256 - total random sleep sympathisers here! I also have no idea if I’m supposed to but have also been lengthening my son’s second nap of the day for some time and now, every other day or so, he sleeps longer himself. It doesn’t always work as sometimes he is wide awake and ready to PLAY but I think it’s good to encourage them to sleep more in the hope they get the hang of it. Who knows??

For those who are weaning... what time are you doing it? Naps are all over the place making it hard to plan. If I consistently have “food time” straight after second nap it could be anytime between 10am and 12pm. Do babies care? I shouldn’t think so.

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WutheringShites86 Fri 19-Feb-21 10:02:31

For weaning we're only doing once a day at the moment but it varies between 2PM and 4PM depending on the window of opportunity. I'm thinking next week I'll try to add something mid morning too.

We didn't do too badly last night, DD fed to sleep easily and I kept her in my arms for a long time before transferring her to the cot. She managed about 1.5 hours (30mins more than the night before!) before waking herself up by rolling over and then she couldn't resettle so I popped her in bed with me as she went back off. Woke for milk twice which is pretty good for us.

Goatsdorhone Fri 19-Feb-21 10:11:50

So glad I came across this! My little one is 6 months and it is a nightmare trying to juggle the naps, feeds and solids! She's doing really well with night time sleeping - asleep from about 630/7 for 12 hours, occasionally with a wake up around 4 so she can do some singing and shrieking grin
She naps about 3 times a day in the cot or out in the pram but rarely for more than 30 min. A strange thing has been happening since yesterday though where she falls asleep for a nap and within minutes she has a startle reflex and wakes herself up with it which never has happened before. It then takes me ages to get her off to sleep again.
Hope it's just a blip though I know I'm very lucky about her night time sleep!

rlmuma Sat 20-Feb-21 09:31:20

Ugh we're having the same issues, my first was a great sleeper, he was breastfed but responded really well to a routine and could self sooth, so I know it can be done, but my daughter is just a different ball game. Never naps for long, hates the cot, I'm reluctantly cosleeping which I HATE but so tired at least it keeps me alive. It's sad because I'm almost looking forward to her being at nursery as I know they'll get her to nap, but obviously don't want to wish it away.

I've also hired a sleep consultant, I think a few tears will be required but I'm actually okay with that I think as I don't think I can keep going as I am. Good luck!

PocketRocket12 Sun 21-Feb-21 06:33:06

Hey ladies. Happy Sunday. How are you all getting on? We had a particular tough day and night last night with about 10 hours sleep in 24 hours, overnight wakes at 12, 2, 3 and up for the day at 4.45am. That’s sort of thrown our napping off as technically he’s ready for a nap at 6.30am. I’ve read that you should try and push the first nap to as near to 8am as possible to try and reset the early wakings so I’ll attempt it today. Wish me luck! Any other early waking tips?

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PocketRocket12 Sun 21-Feb-21 06:36:23

@rlmuma oh bless you! I know how you feel, I’d have done anything to get some extra shut eye to survive but my little one won’t co sleep? Literally will just play roll about and then scream. He’d rather I physically get out of bed 17282020 times a night halo My son starts nursery in two months when I go back to work and I also hope this will help really cement a routine for him. In my head, I’ve got two months until back at work so two months to actually try to improve things so I’m not a walking sleep deprived useless zombie... at the moment I couldn’t imagine how I’d function at work?!

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Sassy14 Sun 21-Feb-21 09:22:39

@EL1984 please tell me your secret to getting your baby to self settle and take longer naps? grin my little one is 6 months old and she's so used to napping on me in the daytime. I've tried putting her in the next to me crib for her daytime naps but she only lasts 30 mins every time!! Then the rest of the day is a nightmare as she's so tired!

WutheringShites86 Sun 21-Feb-21 10:06:00

DD had a random long nap yesterday afternoon, 1 hr 40 mins! I think that is maybe the only one longer than 30-40 mins for weeks. I didn't do anything differently at all so who knows if it means anything but I'm hoping the short naps phase may be passing 🤞

soggycornflakes Sun 21-Feb-21 10:32:25

@PocketRocket12 that does sound rough!

We had a 3am party until 5am then up for the day at 6am. My 2 year old also woke at 2am because she couldn't find her bunny which was lying right next to her 🤦🏼‍♀️

Then, inspired by all of you with cot nappers I put him down in his cot for his first nap. He didn't like my idea so I then spent 40 mins cuddling him to sleep for a 30 minute nap. I've come out in search of coffee and instructed my DH to get them both ready then we will go out for a walk for his lunch nap and forget the whole cot nap thing.

My 2 year old (nearly 3) is dropping her nap so I just keep thinking only 2.5 years left of this 😆

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