Help w sleeping longer at night — The Bump
May 2016 Moms

Help w sleeping longer at night

Hi everyone.  So my 18 week old has never slept all night.  I don't know if I'd label her a difficult sleeper--during the day she often falls asleep for naps on her own, and at bedtime will fall asleep pretty much by herself.  Sometimes we go in to give her back her pacifier, but that's it.  During the night though, she's waking up about every 3-3 1/2 hrs to eat, and sometimes once or twice just to play.  She's noisy during the play points, but can usually just occupy herself.  

So, I'm not sure what to do to try and help her realize how fun more than 3 hours of sleep can be.  Also, as a brief vent, having people ask me if she's sleeping through the night, like, all the time (plus my mom asking 2-3 times a week how long she's sleeping) certainly doesn't help.  

Any advice, feedback, etc is much appreciated.  Thank you all in advance!!

Re: Help w sleeping longer at night

  • I think it might be the naps. My son doesn't sleep through either, but he doesn't stay up to play. If he's wide-eyed, my husband just holds him. The lights are off and only a dim light is on. We do not smile at him, we don't talk to him and definitely don't play with him. It's mean, but that's how he recognizes that it's night time and not play time.

    It also helps that he's at daycare though. He naps over there, but it's so busy that he never takes more than 1 hour sleeping, so he gets home TIRED and he's out by 8pm. That sucks because he only pulls 6-8 hour stretches and that puts it around 3am. Again, when he does wake for bottle, he usually falls back asleep.

    Talk to your doctor.
  • lalala2004lalala2004 member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    edited October 2016
    I can relate. I don't usually advocate lying, but you don't have to tell anyone how she's sleeping. It's really uncommon for babies to sleep through the night. 

    I think you can try to encourage her to eat more during the day so she isn't as hungry at night, but night feedings are often for thirst as well. 

    For a baby this age to sleep longer than even 5 to 6 hours at a time is quite rare. I really don't know why people expect every baby to do this.
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  • Thanks both of you for your thoughts!  It's validating to hear of similar challenges, and i appreciate the suggestions.
    lalala2004
  • My daughter is 18 weeks and we've been sleep training her. I was also feeding her about every 2 - 3 hours and with sleep training, I now have her down to one feeding a night after about 8 hours of sleep, and she goes back to sleep after it.  Talk to your doctor first, but ours assured us she could go through the night without feedings.    Sometimes when i put her down after the feeding, she's awake and i can see her "playing" on the monitor, but she goes back to sleep on her own within about 10-20 minutes.  It was NOT easy to listen to her cry, but we got through it.  She eats more during the day now and is a super happy baby in the mornings. I think it's because she's sleeping more.   Sleep training is not easy, so I don't want to pretend it is, but I think it was totally worth it.  I agree with the post above- to not talk or play with her in the night at all.  At most, I hum a lullaby to her while feeding, and I only turn on a night light when I go in.  Hang in there!  And i hear you on the "how's she sleeping" question.  When people ask me now, they get my full sleep history and training story - whether they want it or not :) 
  • I appreciate your response!  For sleep training, did you do the let her just cry method?  I've heard that works, and i think I'd really struggle with that.   Plus,  she sleeps next to the bed so it may be hard for  practical factors.  But it is helpful to know it works.

    And do you find feeding her more during the day helps?  I've heard it does, though i also got info from the doctor saying to try and feed less frequently to get them used to less frequent feedings.  That contradictory info is the best.   

    Thanks again everyone for your feedback!  And there's maybe hope...she slept 6 hours the other night!   Last night was regular, but it happened once so maybe can happen again!
  • Hi @judither1983  We did the cry it out method.  I didn't think I would be able to do it, but a friend insisted it worked but warned me it was hard.  It's hard!  BUT that being said - it forced me to actually listen to her crying - and I learned she definitely has different cries.  During sleep training, most of her crying spells were tired cries.  SOOOO different from her angry "feed me!" crying.  So I found that part helpful.  I realized, ok, she woke up, is super tired and is crying because she wants me to put her back to sleep.  And the training is about them learning to soothe themselves back to sleep.  Now sometimes her cries were angry, and that was tougher to listen too, but the angry crying never lasted very long.  It took a couple of weeks.  We didn't have that magical "by the 3rd night it's over" success, but it did work.  For the past week she's been sleeping 8-10 hours straight without crying at all.  Right away she started eating more in the mornings. In those couple of weeks when I was getting up to feed her every 2 hours, she didn't eat much in the morning - likely because she'd been eating all night.  And now I realize, she wasn't even hungry all those times, she just was crying because she was tired.

    Ok - now, all THAT being said, she is in her own room.  I had moved her into her room at 9 weeks and didn't start the sleep training until around 14 or 15 weeks.  I don't know how it would work to let her cry if she's right next to you.  She can smell you and your milk.   On some of the longer crying fits, my husband did go in and put a hand on her.  We only did that a few times - but I never went in because I knew she'd want to nurse.  Do you have plans to move her to her room soon?  If so, maybe don't try to sleep train until she's been in her room for at least a week so she's used to the room.  That worked well for us.  If you plan to keep her in your room longer- I don't know how sleep training works... But good luck!!  And if you do cry it out - google extinction bursts!  It's basically when you have a few good nights, think you've won, then they cry again for a few nights.  I was ready to give up, but then reading about extinction bursts made me realize it was all normal.  And also - any method you choose, it seems everyone agrees consistency is key.  Just stick with it :)

  • Thank you so much for all your feedback and detail!!!   All of that makes a lot of sense and is really helpful to know,  especially the part about the different cries.   I can definitely see how that's an effective strategy.  It's also helpful to know it's not an instant magic fix.  I think that's the hardest for me sometimes, reading something is one way then it's a totally different experience.

    And she does have a crib in another room.   My thought was to move her when she started sleeping longer to avoid getting up or waiting until 6 months.   But we just got a baby monitor so maybe sooner is the way to go. 

    Again,  thank you so much.   I really appreciate your thoughts and you taking the time to respond.
    lwcbrooklyn
  • I don't know how helpful this will be, but as somebody who's baby is sleeping the whole night (usually--and sorry, I know how hard it is to not sleep--I don't sleep but 5 hours even though she's asleep the whole night), we give her a small bottle before bed. She nurses, then 2 oz, then nurses. Her nap schedule during the day really varies though, at least at home. She's not sleeping hours and hours during the day. We have a night time routine and if it gets messed up, she def doesn't go to bed until way later.

    She also sleeps in her crib (and has for months). We have a video monitor. Also, once we made the room pitch black (no nightlight), she definitely started sleeping way longer. And I second the whole "no playtime"...I wouldn't interact with her at all but to feed. No eye contact or talking. No holding unless she was really crying. Good luck.
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  • @lwcbrooklyn I am desperate for help too! I need to figure out how to cut down on night waking s for comfort nursing and stop bed sharing in the middle of the night.

    My son will be 6 months on Nov 5th. We've got him pretty much sleep trained when he first goes to bed; sometimes we have to go in once at 5 mins, then he settles down and falls asleep. We have a clear bedtime routine that we've been doing since week 12. When he goes down at 6:30pm, he usually stays down for 3-5 hours. Then he wakes up between 9-12. I usually nurse him, and put him back. I think he nurses a decent amount, but it's hard to tell. After that, he's up every 1-3 hours or more often wanting to nurse! He can't possibly be hungry that much? My doc told me he doesn't need it. But I know how much he's getting at daycare - 15oz - where my nanny is frequently pissy about short crappy naps. 

    Around 1am or sometimes later I always wind up just keeping him in bed with me where he lazily nurses on a whim. It became easier than constantly getting him every 30-60 mins in the middle of the night. When I put him back in his crib, he cries within minutes. He gets up at 6:15am to leave for daycare by 6:45am. 

    so my question is really 1. How can I tell if he really needs to nurse? And 2. Do we let him cry it out in the middle of the night? How do I reduce the night wakings to just an actual need to nurse? How do I stop bed sharing out of desperation? I've read so many websites, and yet I'm so lost :(
  • Victoria52516Victoria52516 member
    100 Love Its 10 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited October 2016
    Madelyn sleeps in her packnplay in our room still. She would be fine in her crib I just can't yet lol We put her to bed somewhere between 8 and ten and she sleeps till 6/ 7 We dont have a set bed time because depending on the day sometimes shes just not tired at 8 and trying to put a baby to bed thats not tired is frustrating because she will do the fall asleep because I just ate but then wake up every 1 - 2 hrs cause im not tired now that I napped nonsense. Its tricky to catch that before exausted but sleepy baby sometimes but usually when she starts yawning and not "talking"  as much we know its time for diaper, jammies, a book and then feeding. We bf and supp with formula so at night I feed her then give her a bottle since about 3 months when I went back to work. She also only naps 3x for about 20 min each. She sleeps longer at night on the days we spend time outside strolling or wearing I have noticed. Also lots of activity during the day. We do tummy/ roll around time 2- 4x sometimes I play with her and sometimes just let her do her own thing while I put away her clothes. We have a big rubber mat in her room for her to play on. Bouncy jumper thing 2x and she plays with her toys in her high chair while I do dishes/ bottles and sing to her or put the radio on. Keeping her active during the day with different activities is big. I have GI issues and on the day or two a month Im really bad we laze around because I'm not feeling well she will usually wake up early or in the middle of the night to play more. If shes really awake and not sleepy I play with her for a half hr or so then nurse and she usually goes back down till the morning or if shes tired I will just pat her till she falls back asleep or nurse her depending on how shes fussing. You know your baby best and every baby is different just try different ways and listen to your baby for what works :) Sorry its so long Good luck! 
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