"Awake but Drowsy" — The Bump
Babies: 3 - 6 Months

"Awake but Drowsy"

Hello! I'm a new mom to a sweet five month old boy. Our only problem is sleep (I know, surprise!) I'm trying to teach him to sleep on his own (currently needs to nurse to sleep) in order to extend his very short naps, but the whole "awake but drowsy" plan doesn't seem to be working. Usually he wakes up fully and then needs to be nursed to sleep again. The few times I've succeeded he still wakes up half an hour later. I really hate risking waking him up again if it doesn't even have any positive effect! Has anyone else been through this? If I persist will it eventually work? I'm not ready to let him CIO but I do let him fuss for a few minutes to see if he will settle (but usually the crying just escalates). I've tried giving him a pacifier but he has no interest. 
Thanks for the help!

Re: "Awake but Drowsy"

  • meggymemeggyme member
    edited March 2017
    If I were you, I would try working back from nursing to sleep. Maybe try feeding him when he wakes up instead of to put him to sleep so the two aren't associated. Then try to work backward from putting him down fully asleep. Maybe instead of waiting until he is out, put him down after he has just fallen asleep. Then once that's established put him down just before he falls asleep.

    Also there are plenty of gentle sleep training methods you could try that don't involve CIO or nursing to sleep. Google gentle sleep training or search the message boards for it.
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  • First, I will say that nursing to sleep is only a problem if YOU don't want to do it anymore.  I nursed DD to sleep for 18 months until she self-weaned, and she has been sleeping through the night in her crib since she was 4.5 months old.  I would just move her in there when she fell asleep (or was mostly asleep).  Though to be fair, at daycare and at home for naps we would always give her a bottle before putting her down, so in those cases she was learning to put herself to sleep.  Basically I knew she COULD put herself to sleep without nursing so I didn't really stress too much about nursing her to sleep at night.


    4 months is still really young and there is a very common sleep regression at that age.  DD did wake up in the middle of the night again (after sleeping from about 9pm-4am starting at 12 weeks) for a few weeks around the 4 month mark.  At that stage my advice would be to do what works (survival mode) until you hit about 6 months, and then if you want to sleep train you can read up on a few different methods in the meantime and choose the one that sounds like it would work best for you.

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  • I'm a second time mom here. I agree that 4 months is still too young even if the doctors tell you most babies are ready. I agree with pp, and if it's not an issue for you, then continue what you are doing. With my first, we tried the CIO, method at 6 and 9 months. It worked for a bit but the kid ended up in our bed at 12 months!!! Babies go through different sleep phases, I've learned just to roll with it. Hang in there! 
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