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7mo - How to get longer chunks of sleep?

(5 Posts)
Leedsmumof1 Fri 14-Aug-09 19:59:37

DD is now 7mo and we are beginning to make some slow progress with her sleep. Until recently I've been co-sleeping all night, as the only solution which would give all of us a bit of sleep. However, we've now decided it would be better if she spends more time in her own cot.

I can reliably get her to settle by 8pm in her cot (by singing to her and restraining her arms so she doesn't claw her face). The problem is that she is waking on average every 50 mins. I can sometimes get her to settle again in the same way, and sometimes take her into bed with me for a 15 minute feed, after which she settles again. If I leave her crying for longer than a few minutes, she ramps up to hysterical levels, scratches her face and pulls her ears till they split at the bottom (which is way beyond my tolerance for controlled crying!). I usually 'give up' around 4.30am and take her into bed with me till 6.30, when DH gets up and takes her for an hour or so.

I'd very much appreciate any advice on how to lengthen these chunks of sleep. I realise the solution is for her to self-soothe back to sleep, but not sure how we get there without cc! Thanks in advance smile

ches Sat 15-Aug-09 03:51:24

In your situation I co-slept. It was one thing after another disturbing his sleep. First the crawling/pulling up/sitting up. "Maybe when he walks he'll sleep through?" Then he walked but was working on talking. "Maybe when he's talking he'll sleep through?" Then he was talking, but the six month hell of molars/canines was upon us. "Maybe when his teeth are through he'll sleep through?" Then his teeth were through and he was learning his shapes. He's now 2.5 and about 3 months ago a switch flipped where he was sleeping deeply enough that we could transfer him from carseat/couch/etc. to bed without waking him and he went from waking 4 times a night to waking 1 or 2 times. Then back molars hit and last night he was ill and he woke 5 times before I even ventured to bed myself. I'm sure people think I'm mad that I have a 2.5 year old who wakes repeatedly and I "tolerate" it, but if he had some other special need would I deny him? Of course not!

Leedsmumof1 Sat 15-Aug-09 09:41:45

Thanks ches - I can definitely relate to the 'when she's six months/has outgrown colic/has got her first teeth/has started on solids/is eating more' train of thought...

twelveyeargap Sat 15-Aug-09 10:27:31

The clawing thing often indicates that a baby is over-tired. Overtired babies don't sleep well. They get jumpy because they are full of adrenaline to help them stay awake. The trick is for them to be fed and ready for bed before they get to that stage.

Try earlier bedtimes (honestly!) so that you are soothing her from "happy and relaxed" to sleep instead of soothing from "cranky and miserable" to sleep.

If you get the timing right, then you should be able to go from putting her down asleep to putting her down almost asleep to eventually putting her down awake. You're teaching her to fall asleep and once she cracks it, she should be able to "link" her sleep cycles.

It will probably take a while for her to get used to the earlier bedtime but it hasn't failed on my second and third children (having had to lie down with the first to get her to sleep).

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr Marc Weissbluth is a fabulous book which gives you the physiological reasons behind why children need sleep and why their bodies behave as they do. It's not a parenting manual with tips and tricks, it's evidence based on sleep trials on thousands of children. The friends I've recommended it to call it "The Sleep Bible".

The author isn't even against co-sleeping, but gives some advice on how everyone can get some sleep if that's how you decide to go.

Leedsmumof1 Sat 15-Aug-09 12:12:02

Thanks. My experience is that she seems to have to go through a crying phase before she gets to sleep; I can put her down happy, alert and smily but she will start resisting when she feels sleep overtaking her. This may well be because we haven't got the timing right though! Will have a look at that book, thanks for the recommendation.

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