Babies: 3 - 6 Months

Sleeeep help (sorry, long, tried to include all the gory details.)

Out (otherwise) healthy and happy (almost) 5 month old has had a terrible time sleeping lately and we could really use some help.

Here's what we do (for the past month or so):

  Last nap ends at 5 at latest (all naps in his crib with drawn shades)

  Nursing at 6:30 followed by bath/massage, story, song, and white         noise machine

  In bed awake (but tired) at about 7

  Dream feed at 10 or so 

  Room is at 68 degrees and he sleeps in medium weight pjs and a      medium weight sleep sack 

Here's what he does:

           Cries the minute we put him in his crib and for about five minutes before   he falls asleep.  (same at all of his naps)

        Cries about every half hour to an hour for about five minutes until 2, then every hour to two hours for longer.

Our doctor suggested that we may have been over-responding, so we don't go in there if he's only been complaining for 5-10 minutes. Sometimes he will go back to sleep on his own, but sometimes it takes an hour. Comforting him only seems to make him angry. My husband and I take turns checking on him if it's been a long jag. I try not to nurse him before 4, but the doctor says (since he's a good eater and gaining weight fine) that he "shouldn't need to nurse before 6 am."  

Have read:

Wonder Weeks

What to expect the first Year

American Academy of Pediatrics caring for your Child

Dr. Sears


Baby Whisperer

Happiest Baby on the Block 

My friends and bumpies who have tried extinction/controlled crying say that it is better or fixed in 3 days. He used to sleep 7-8 hours at a time, but this has been going on for two months. Last month, we tried co-sleeping and a no-cry method. Made everything much worse and he wouldn't fall asleep without nursing (even if only a minute.) 


Help Wanted! 

? BFP 10/3/11 DS born 6/14/12 at 40 weeks exactly ?

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Re: Sleeeep help (sorry, long, tried to include all the gory details.)

  • If I am reading your post correctly it seems like you are trying too many things and not trying for long enough. Some things take time. If something isn't working after a few days and you just switch to a completely different method of course it is going to confuse him. Especially if you tried cosleeping and then put him back in his crib. My advice is pick a method you and DH are most comfortable with and stick to that for a while at least.
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  • Sorry if I didn't make it clear- the browser deleted the post so I had to rewrite it three times!

    We have been trying the same approach for the past three + weeks pretty solidly which is why I would love some help.


    ? BFP 10/3/11 DS born 6/14/12 at 40 weeks exactly ?

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  • I'm by NO means a sleep pro, but I thought I might give a shot at thinking outside the box with you. For one thing, you might want to try dropping the dream feed. It could be interrupting his sleep cycle. Also, have you ever tried laying him on his side for sleep? I noticed DS was rolling onto his side a lot at night, so I started putting him down like this for naps and he protests a lot less. (FWIW, we don't swaddle his arms in.) It helps him hold his paci in, and he can curl up in the fetal position, which seems to be his preferred way to sleep.


  • My LO will be 5 months next week.  I was having "trouble" with her waking every hour, like clockwork, for 3-4 weeks. 

    I started doing two things - laying down with her for an hour or so when I went to bed, snuggled in close or just holding her in my arms at her usual bedtime for an hour or so.   She's now gone back to sleeping long stretches without crying, and it is wonderful.  My theory is that she was starting to experience some separation anxiety and couldn't get in to a deep sleep, so she was always waking out of each cycle, and that by keeping her really secure and comfortable for that first cycle, it allowed her to enter a deeper sleep.

    Don't know if my theory is bunk or not, but it's working wonderfully for us.  I get extra snuggles with my sweet baby girl, and she's back to STTN.

  • The only thing I have to suggest is make sure LO's arms aren't swaddled. This way LO can sooth self with fingers, hands, paci. If swaddled there's no way to do any of that.
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  • Honestly, I think you are doing pretty well!  We were just like you guys about 3 weeks ago and we stuck with it.  We eliminated the dream feed, he's up to 5-6 hours from bedtime to next breastfeeding and then he gets up at 5:30-6 am w/ us and nurses right away.  We reduced the umber of feeding first and are now just working on helping him fall asleep alone.  (We coslept  until 4 months). Last night he slept 7-2:30, nursed and fell right back asleep and then got up and cried 3-10  minutes at 4 then we got up at 6.  

    One thing that helped the second half of the night go better is that I make sure he gets a full belly when we nurse in the middle of the night. Sometimes I even start with a quick diaper change so he doesn't fall asleep at the breast.

    If he decides not to nurse in the middle of the night that's fine but I won't work to eliminate it because my boobs cannot handle it! Good luck!

  • Do you have a white noise machine? That helps DD when she is having an off night.
  • I hate to break it to you but it sounds like he's started teething!

    My son was a great sleeper until he was about 3 months when he started teething and since then I haven't had even close to a full night's sleep. (He slept for 8+ hours at night before teething, woke up maybe once to nurse. Usually I woke him up to nurse though because I couldn't stand it.)

     Have you noticed him putting his hands to his mouth more often or drooling more? Maybe being a little rougher when nursing?

    The teething crankiness and sleep disruption is actually worst (at least it was for us) before the teeth break the skin. When he's awake and there are interesting things to see or do he probably isn't as focused on the pain which is why he might not seem more fussy throughout the day.

     Good luck! 

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