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Help with getting 5.5 mo dd to sleep

(10 Posts)
Cavs Wed 09-Jul-08 14:22:26

Please help! My 5.5 mo dd has never been a very good sleeper and up until now I've got her to sleep by bf her to sleep or taking her out in the buggy. The latter is getting harder to do as she is more interested in what's going on around her and is no longer a sure fire way to get her to sleep.
So for daytime naps I tend to bf her to sleep and she sleeps on my lap. In the evening occasionally she'll go down sleepy and not kick up a fuss but usually she goes down pretty much asleep. We've tried pu/pd which absolutely sends her crazy and she ends up pulling and scratching at my face. We've also tried patting her in the cot and not lifting her up but she ends up getting herself into such a state that she ends up being sick and choking (the last time we tried this this happened 3 times in 20 mins and I was in such a state I gave in and bf her)
Trouble is I've never really enjoyed bf and was aiming to go to 6 months and then stop but now I can't see how I'm ever going to be able to stop as it's the only guaranteed way to get her to sleep without lots of screaming. The only couple of times I've been out since she was born she's screamed the place down at bedtime cos I wasn't there with the boob! Tbh, I'm starting to feel a bit trapped by it all and that all the onus is still on me. If I knew that she would get better over the next few months I would happily carry on as we are but it's just the thought that I'm going to have to keep doing this indefinitely that is making me stressed.

Any words of wisdom? Either new things to try or reassurances that I should just ride it out and it will improve would be very much appreciated!

IwantYourNickname Wed 09-Jul-08 15:52:17

I remember at that age my DD was cutting from 3 to 2 naps a day. somedays she would take 2 some others 3, so that may be affecting her as well.

if in the pushchair I have noticed that bursts of strong push help her to settle. recently, going on a bus ride seems to work better but it takes a bit longer than it used to.

about sleeping in the house she also sleeps on my lap, so i don't have any suggestions.

have you tried a dummy?

sorry, I've got to go as DD just woke up, but I'll watch this thread.

ARAG Thu 10-Jul-08 09:06:30

You have my sympathy, Cavs. We're in a similar boat (I also have a 5.5 dd who refuses to nap though she gets soooo tired/fussy/miserable), so I'll watch this thread, too, to see what the infinite wisdom of mumsnet has for you. Keep the faith.... (I tell myself and you!)

pootlebug Thu 10-Jul-08 17:22:43

I have a similar problem - you have my sympathy.

I have just tried some ideas from this lady's book (there are some on the website too, though much more detail in book) . My local waterstones stocked it.

Still v early days for us, and it is a bit hit and miss. The first night was full on hysterical, sick etc and I hated it, even though we were always with her so she knew we hadn't abandoned her. But the next night got her to bed earlier (i.e. before she was as overtired) and she did settle herself. Next night heading back to hysterical so caved in and used a dummy - not ideal but figured better than bf to sleep yet again. Night 4 is tonight. I think it might take a while to get consistent improvement, but in only three days I have managed to get her to go down in cot for 1 night and 3 daytime naps...which was better than we ever managed before!

Cavs Thu 10-Jul-08 20:00:33

Thanks to everyone for their replies - it's nice to hear from other people going through the same thing and know it's not just us..

Thanks pootlebug for the book suggestion - have just got the No Cry Sleep Solution but will have a look at the Andrea Grace one too. Fingers crossed that tonight goes well for you. Let me know how you get on...

ARAG - will let you know if I stumble on the winning formula!

nowwearefour Thu 10-Jul-08 20:04:42

Just remember this is ahorrible age as they start to get hungry towards weaning/ developmentally etc. My dd2 was TERRIBLE at this age. I was at my wits end. But it will get easier. I would for now just roll with it and worry about it when she is 7/8 months old and more established on solids. It wont last forever. She is very little still and I found this age with both mine v v hard. I think it is the wrong time to worry about breaking habits etc. For me getting through each day was what mattered most. She is now approaching 14 months and i have dropped the evening breastfeed with a bit of screaming but not tooooo much. Be gentle on yourself. It is hard being the key factor in the equation I know but it will end and you will miss those times when you were sooo key in her life!

moocowme Thu 10-Jul-08 20:08:31

have you thought of introducing one bottle of formula for the evening feed?

i do think that under 6 months its fine to suck to sleep as this is natural.

i would try a bottle of formula or breastmilk and some sush/pat in cot on side and see how that goes. once they get used to it you can start to withdraw the bottle earlier in the sleep stage.

pu/pd does not really work for under 6mo.

are you following a wind down in the evenings? tv off blinds drawn? calm bath etc?

IwantYourNickname Fri 11-Jul-08 10:53:35

I don't want to sound pessimistic but at 7+ months it hasn't got easier for me yet.

I may try PU/PD (for her naps only) next week when we move DD to her own room. I have been a bit unsure about doing it because she feeds well throughout her naps but at least now I feel strong enough to put up with some crying for a few days and see if it helps her. Although I enjoy cuddling her while she sleeps I need some more time to get on with the housework and relax a little bit.

ARAG Fri 11-Jul-08 12:42:01

NowWeAre4, thanks for your thoughts (and everyone!)... found them very encouraging! But I know IWantYourNickname's 7mo+ scenario is also a possibility. This infant sleep thing really is a fine art and very imperfect science, I am learning. Not that that diagnosis is helpful, but realising it made me feel less like a (gulp)failure. There's no failure in this business... only mornings, afternoons, evenings and nights. And we do our best in each one.

I am not militantly anti-cry, but I do like how the No Cry Sleep Solution offers a menu of different techniques to choose from (perhaps in collaboration with some crying). We're still looking for our own perfect sleep method cocktail (I'd like a stiff mojito, personally), but have been encouraged to yes be gentle with ourselves, cos yes this can be real tough stuff.

God bless us every one! wink

Avascarletmum Wed 16-Jul-08 13:06:22

Have you tried getting her to nap without being fed to sleep? I found that by starting with just 1 nap where my DD wasn't fed just before hand she started to get used to the concept of not being fed to sleep. This now works for daytime. We still let her fall asleep on the bottle before bedtime. Basically we haven't the energy to change this - she's always been a difficult sleeper (doesn't get drowsy just gets more and more hyper)so I'm hoping that as this changes as she gets older she won't need the bottle and will naturally stop.

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