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PLEASE HELP! 6 month old DS woke up 15 times last night and spent most of the night on the boob! I'm exhausted.

(11 Posts)
Kalikaroo Fri 06-Nov-09 10:16:45

DS is 6.5 months old, BF and co-sleeps with us for most of the night (because he refuses to sleep in his cot after about 11pm...). He used to sleep not too badly, but since he turned 5 months his sleeping is getting worse and worse. He hasn't slept for more than 3 hrs in a row for weeks now.

He has a bedtime routine and after he's been fed I rock him to sleep (he's stopped himself being fed to sleep in the last couple of weeks). I then put him in his cot around 7pm and then take him into bed with me at around 11pm (he often wakes up a few times between 7 and 11, but I can get him back to sleep in the cot with rocking sometimes). I've tried putting him to bed while he's still a bit awake, but he cries and eventually becomes hysterical.

During the night he will sometimes settle back to sleep if I carry him and shush him, but often he screams his head off until I give him the boob. He then usually settles quite quickly after being fed.

He's currently waking up 5, 6, 7 plus times a night and last night was a corker sad. He was up over 15 times (I lost count after 3am) and wouldn't settle without the boob. He spent most of the night feeding and whinging. He often falls asleep on his front and then wakes up when he rolls over. He then cries until I sort him out. His bottom teeth are nearly through, so it is possible that he's teething. He sometimes has 2 short naps in the day, but it's getting more and more difficult to get him to have a nap unless I take him out in the pram.

He's on 2-3 solid meals a day with milk inbetween, so does he actually need all this night milk too?

I'm totally and completely exhausted and have to go back to work in January, so need him to be sleeping better by then. The nurse (and my Mum!) say I should let him cry it out in his cot and stop the night feeds, but we live abroad in a small flat and don't know our neigbours at all, but they all seem VERY quiet people...I'm also very reluctant to try CC on a 6 month old and his crying shreds my nerves to bits. Maybe I'm just making excuses and being too soft???? (but I really feel VERY reluctant about letting him cry). I'm getting desperate now though.

DH has tried helping by picking him up instead of me, but DS gets completely hysterical and then takes a long time for me to settle back to sleep.

Any words of wisdom, advice or help would be really appreciated! I'm a shell of my former self at the moment and it's making life very hard to be so tired constantly. sad

eggontoast Fri 06-Nov-09 10:28:03

If you are co-sleeping, can you not feed him on your side and go back to sleep whilst he suckles? This is what I did with my first baby who woke in the night many many times for comfort feeds.

Kalikaroo Fri 06-Nov-09 10:43:31

Hi eggontoast. Thanks for your reply. I do feed him on my side and I sometimes manage to get back to sleep while he's feeding, but it's more of the constant sleep interruptions that seem to be getting to me. I've been trying to cut down his night feeds a bit by rocking him instead of feeding him, but I'm too tired now to do this as it means getting out of bed and picking him up.

I'm starting to have problems getting back to sleep myself after DS has woken me up. I sometimes end up crying because I'm sooooooo tired but can't seem to drop off again for ages, which makes me more anxious so it can be a bit of a vicious circle.

row78 Fri 06-Nov-09 10:49:10


Have you tried calpol before he goes to bed and then every 4 hours through the night? Actually nurofen works better for us, it gets us 6 hours when he is teething. At least then you may be able to rule out teething. Also my son hates co-sleeping as gets uncomfortable with us in the bed when he is trying to turn around the various ways he does. I used to wait until he had been asleep for a while and then sneak him back into his cot.

Also re the settling, I used to rock him until his eyes were almost closed and then put him in the cot and then pat him down until he was asleep. Then I reduced the patting slowly, then no patting, then putting him in the cot slightly more awake until he could self settle fine. Took a few weeks as each step took a few days but him actually being aware of going down in his cot at the beginning of the evening really did seems to help and made that first wake up a bit later.

Hope some of that helps, lack of sleep is so horrible and no one can really understand it unless they have been through it. It will get better at some point.

eggontoast Fri 06-Nov-09 12:43:25

Kalikaroo - I would try what row78 has suggested.

You can alternate paracetamol and ibuprofen or give both at the same time if necessary. If you give it and see no improvement, then like row says, it may not be teething so you can stop giving it. But, if it is the teeth waking baby, the pain relief will keep him asleep longer between wakings.

In my life, I have always found that stress exasperates problems. It is very difficult not to stress out when things seem hopeless.

You could try running positive thoughts through your mind at regular intervals through the daytime, write lists - 10 things I love about... 10 things I am extremely grateful for etc. (no negatives at all!).

Also, try thinking of something small and
achievable that will make you feel relaxed, ie. going for a walk, run, swim, bath with lavender oil, massage, listening to relaxing music etc. and try and find the time to have 30 mins doing that for yourself each day.

Then when you are woken in the night, try and stay calm, remember, it is a phase and will not last, your baby needs you and you are there, being a wonderful mother responding to its needs.

The worst thing for not being able to get back to sleep is trying to and hating not being able to. Just run through some of the good things in your mind. Even if you don't manage to get back to sleep, you will have triggered feel good hormones in stead of negative ones.

This is what I do anyway, when I am stressed.

Kalikaroo Tue 10-Nov-09 09:20:27

Thanks for the advice everyone! grin I've given DS calpol for the last 2 nights and there seems to be a slight improvement - he's only been up 5 or 6 times! Still wanting lots of feeds but I think that's because he's feeling poorly due to teeth.

I've also been trying to tire him out as much as possible during the day so he's physically tired before going to bed.

Next stop - trying to get him to drop feeds and seep in his cot....ho hum.... hmm

MadameStripes Tue 10-Nov-09 22:19:16

Kalikaroo- you are me 10 months ago, when my DD was 6 months old! It all sounds so horribly familiar: the multiple wakings every single night, the hysterics when DP tried to settle, the insomnia...

If I could go back in time, the advice I would give my former self would be to trust your instincts (rather than listen to each and every crackpot theory going, which I did for a while, sad to say). I wish I'd bf'd her and both got back to sleep in a few minutes rather than spending 45 minutes or more shushing her several times a night, thinking she shouldn't need another feed. I think this might be what destroyed my sleep, actually.

My theory, now, is if a feed settled her quickly it was nature's way of saying "Well that's what you should be doing, isn't it?" At 6 months she was still very small - too early to night wean, I think.

I remember it well and it was truly awful. Hope things improve for you soon.

Try not to worry about it though, worrying won't help either of you sleep better.

jeffily Wed 11-Nov-09 08:05:30

Hi Kalikaroo
I also could have written your post, in fact think I probably did write something similar 3 weeks ago! DD is 7.5 months now and until a couple of weeks ago had never slept longer than 3 hours, day or night since she was born. The thing I found so annoying was that I could cope with 3 hour stints, but they were unusual, it was more like 2 hours and it was the nights, like you describe where she was up every 5 minutes and I barely got back to sleep in between...

We were also co-sleeping and she was BF. I got to breaking point though (over some lumpy gravy!) and we came up with some changes.

We spent a week getting her to sleep most of the night in her cot. I thought this would be horrible (crying, awake lots all night) but actually she seemed to sleep better in there than she did in with us. All I did was pop her back in there every time that I had fed her. If she then got all noisy and wriggly I tried for 5 mins to settle her in there, if she didn't settle just got her in with me. Usually she did just drop off to sleep by herself after a bit of snuffling. I would then get her in with me at 5 for our cuddle and catch up (I just can't give up being able to hold her little hand while we are both snoozing! grin).

Then we moved her into her own room. Same thing applied with the coming into our bed, and for the first few nights she did end up in our bed from 11, but gradually I got used to her not being next to me and the periods of sleep lengthened for both of us- I guess as we are not disturbing each other. I also decided to leave her unless she was really crying, rather than just talking herself off to sleep. i realised that when she was in with us I would pick her up then and get her in with me- just to get her to be quiet, probably waking her up in the process and I don't think she is actually awake at those times. This lengthened the period between feeds as well to about 2.5/3 hours.

Then we introduced a bottle of F at her 9.30/10 wake up. I really struggled with this one as I love BF and don't want to give up, but I needed to get a life back and be able to go out in the evenings without needing to be back by 9 just in case. It took a while and there were leaps forward (6 oz one night!) and slides back (none another) but she started sleeping a long stretch after that bottle- 6 hours once! Now it is regularly until 2/3am. I then BF her and she sleep again till 6/7 am. DH often stays up and does that 10pm bottle so I can go to bed at 8 and get a decent stint of sleep till the 2am wake. The last week or so she has gone to bed at 6.15, woken at 10 (bottle), 2am BF and then 6.30 BF. I feel like a new woman!

I also didn't want to do any kind of sleep training, or to have to listen to her cry at night, just like I wouldn't in the day. I am really glad now that I didn't and I just did what felt right to us in our family, and did and still do, just feed her when she wants feeding.
I may regret that if she slides back into old habits! wink

Long post, sorry! Hope it gives you hope!

Kalikaroo Wed 11-Nov-09 19:40:35

It's very encouraging to hear that others have had the same problems with their DCs and that they managed to improve the situation by going with their gut instincts rather than using any sleep training techniques as such.

It's so hard sometimes to not be influenced by what others say (e.g. your mother(!) or children's nurse) especially when they give you the impression that you're doing everything wrong! grin

DS seems to have improved slightly over the last few nights, though I'm not getting my hopes up too much yet (he's still waking 5 or 6 times, but it's no more than that). I've also manged to get him to sleep in the cot for a few hours, which is also an improvement. I think it'll just take time.

I've been told by so many people that at 6 months I should drop the night feeds, but it still seems a bit early to me going by my gut feeling. My nurse told me to give them up now or it will be a nightmare to stop them at a later point! hmm May be true, but I think I'll just play it by ear and take each night as it comes. I now realise that there's no other way and that getting stressed over it all just keeps me awake even more!!!! grin

"This too shall pass....." smile

ShowOfHands Wed 11-Nov-09 19:55:17

You've had a lot of advice on here that's very good. Have you read the NCSS?

Just to add to the reassurance. DD was the same, exactly the same. Co-sleeping, bfeeding, constant waking, only milk would do. I trusted my instincts, went with it, made everything else I could easier (sleeping whenever she slept, accepting help, bugger the house etc) and it got so much better so quickly. All that teething and growing and changing and interest in the world, it's so disruptive to their sleep.

6 months is a baby and I just told myself that if feeding worked then at least I had that. Some babies won't settle for anything so I tried to see it as a positive. Plus, I was very keen at that age to carry on responding to her needs. I thought her understanding that her mum responded to her cries was a better lesson than a few more hours sleep, just for a few more months at least when her comprehension had increased.

She was never a napper either and gave up all daytime sleep at 13 months but as a toddler she sleeps well, in her own bed, never feeds to sleep, is night weaned and has never, ever been left to cry. She did it when she was ready.

It's tough isn't it?

fruitstick Wed 11-Nov-09 20:19:48

I came on here to post exactly the same thing. DS2 is 9 months and slept really well until he started getting his top teeth, coupled with a stomach bug. When he wakes in the night he comes into our bed and I feed him until we both fall asleep.

The problem is he is now refusing to sleep during the day as I think this is what he wants then too.

It's really affecting the whole family as I'm not getting time to spend with DS1 as I'm either trying to get DS2 to sleep or carrying him round because he's shattered and grisley.

It's getting worse and worse.

Do I need to stop feeding and sleeping with him in the night?

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