Sleep issues for 6 month old(11 Posts)
I'm re-posting this from another board at another mumsnetter's suggestion, as we have just started weaning so it might be that the sleep issues are caused by food intake (or lack of).
My son is 6 months old and I haven't exactly had an easy ride of it so far. He has never settled well for naps, at bedtime, or come anywhere close to sleeping through the night, and I've struggled to get him into any kind of routine. He was very colicky from around a week old to 20 weeks, often crying inconsolably for 4 or 5 hours in the evening.
My day / night looks a bit like this:
Wake up between 6am to 7.30am and BF.
Nap 1: usually he's getting tired around 90 mins - 2 hours after waking, so goes down sometime between 8 and 9.30. Settles well and sleeps for 90 mins (this is major, recent progress!)
BF: around 10.30/11am
Nap 2: usually gets really cranky around 90 mins after he wakes, so often he is down for his second nap by 11.30/12. If I leave it any longer he is overtired and can cry for 2 hours before sleeping! Usually only sleeps for 40 minutes, so sometimes we are done with the first two naps by 12.30 and have a long afternoon to get through until bedtime...
BF: around 2ish
Nap 3: I never know when to put him down in the afternoon, sometimes he's tired at 3, sometimes 4, sometimes 5. Sometimes he is too overtired to settle at all. He only ever naps for 30 mins and will NOT nap in his cot in the afternoon so I have to go for a walk (in the rain...)
BF: around 5
Bath, massage, story, - around 5.30 /6
BF: 6 / 6.30
Bed by 6.30 / 7, depending on how tired he is.
By bedtime he is usually very grumpy and grizzly and if he gets like this before I get him down, he can cry for a couple of hours before sleeping. I have tried a 4th catnap (like the Baby Whisperer suggests) but he refuses to take one - cue 2 hours of screaming, no nap, and a delayed bedtime! If I feed / rock him to sleep at bedtime he wakes after 40 mins wanting to be fed / rocked, so I try to get him to settle himself to sleep. Often this means going in and out every few minutes to comfort him until he goes off to sleep. It's so distressing for everyone!
On a good night he wakes every 3 hours. On a bad night it's every two hours or even every hour. I try to feed him only about every 3 hours but sometime it's impossible to settle him without feeding.
This has been going on so long that I can no longer sleep between wake ups and lie there awake all night even if he is sleeping. I am so tired and feel as if I can't cope with this any more.
Does anyone who has been in a similar situation have any advice for me, about the daytinme routine or the night waking? I would love him to have a longer lunchtime nap so that he is not overtired in the afternoon and evening, and obviously I would love a bit more sleep at night myself!
Also I would like to start the day at the same time each day, so that we can get into more of a routine. However if he wakes for the day at 6 I'm never really sure whether to get him up for the day (in which case his first nap is at 8, second at 11.30, and then he's overtired by bedtime) or try to get him back to sleep until 7am, but he's screaming and hungry and by the time I've fed him it's nearly 7 anyway!
Sorry for the long rambling message and thanks everyone for your help xxx
Haven't got much advice sorry, hope you've found some in the other boards. Just wondered why you try to only feed him every 3 hours? Is this something you feel you ought to do? Have you tried feeding him every 2 hours in the day instead?
As for the sleep, have you seen the Isis website or read 31 ways to get your baby to sleep or the book Sound Sleep?
I think though the thing behind all of this is feeding more in the day and cracking the naps. Have a look in your local library to see if they've got Elizabeth Pantley's No Cry Nap Solution.
Thanks Jilted. I try to only feed every 3 hours at night because he goes longer than this in the day between feeds (around 3.5 hours) so I figure if he's waking every hour or two at night it can't really be because he's hungry. Also I want him to sleep longer than an hour at a time as I find it really hard to get back to sleep in between so if he wakes hourly I generally get no sleep at all :-(
I've read and tried Pantley (and Tracey Hogg, and Gina Ford, and Dr Sears, and Alison Scott-Wright!) and nothing has really made a difference. I haven't seen the ISIS site though - this is useful because it provides some reassurance that frequent night wakings are still normal at 6 months. I think perhaps I'm just surrounded by people whose babies have been sleeping through for months and I feel as if I must be doing everything wrong!
Some advice I've read says to try to maximise the daytime feeds but increase the periods between them. Do you think that it would actually be better to feed more often in the day, even if it gets him into a snacking habit?
I'm not sure how useful I can be, but I just wanted to reassure you that your baby is not the only one who has done this. By 6 months my DD was waking hourly through the night and I had to take her out for a walk in the pushchair or for a drive to get her to nap. My DS had been sleeping since he was 10 weeks so it was a bit of a shock!
When DD was about 7 months old we hit what I would describe as 'rock bottom'. I was on my knees with exhaustion and DD herself was very unhappy and overtired all the time. We did controlled crying using advice from a few different websites and it had an almost immediate effect. It wasn't perfect, she still woke up about every 3/4 hours through the night, but she was able to get herself to sleep and had naps without so much crying. She has just turned 1 and seems to have turned a corner, regularly only waking up once at night and usually having two fairly regular naps during the day.
And yes, food does seem to have played a bit of a part, but she just wasn't so interested in solids (finger foods and purees) before and when we switched to bottles at night we could really see that she was having 7oz - sometimes more - and did then go back to sleep.
I hope that helps a little. You're not alone and I promise it will get easier even if he doesn't sleep through the night immediately.
Yes I really think feeding more in the day could well be the answer and if he's only feeding every 3.5 hours in the day, he could well be waking through hunger in the night. I don't think feeding more often in the day will lead to a snacking habit. In fact I've never heard of anyone discouraging daytime feeds before, most sleep experts (at least the ones who are parents and give evidence based information) seem to advocate more bfing in the day, not less.
I'd try offering the breast at least every 2 hours in the day. Do you bf about an hour before offering the solids too? The BM is more calorie dense than most foods.
Do you also offer each side at least once during each feed and have you tried breast compressions too?
Oh and you are not doing anything wrong either. Don't ever forget that some parents lie
I'd second JJJ with the mire feeding during the day and also Elizabeth Pantleys No Cry Nap Solution.
My DS really struggled with naps around 5-6mths and I followed the advice in the books and he now naps really well.
I can't quite remember, s this around the age they start moving the second nap later to after lunch and going to 2 naps a day or have I got it terribly wrong?
Thanks all. I will try more frequent feedings during the day and see if that makes a difference to the night wakings xx
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