Babies: 6 - 9 Months

6 month old-growth spurt or sleeping habit?

My little one has been sleeping through the night up until 2 weeks ago when she turned 6 months old. She started waking up maybe 2-4 times a night just wanting to roll all over the place & now practice crawling. I keep her naps & wake windows pretty consistent, even with traveling. I can get her to sleep on my chest but once she hits the bed she starts playing lol the only way I can get her to sleep is with milk & she drinks a lot including solids throughout the day but I’ve been reading that she should have stopped night feedings by now. Is this just a growth spurt or is this an habit? If so how can I break it? Any suggestions? 

Re: 6 month old-growth spurt or sleeping habit?

  • complexitycomplexity member
    edited November 2023
    Check to see if she’s teething. My 6 month old granddaughter is an excellent sleeper, but started waking up at night. Her two bottom teeth are coming in and it’s causing her some sleep difficulties. Plus, she’s always been great about falling asleep, but she’s had a little more difficulty with that, as well.

    I have a strict rule that she is never to be put in her crib when she’s already asleep (my husband used to rock her to sleep, but she always woke back up crying). She must always be awake. Learning to soothe themselves to sleep is a skill babies can learn, and if you put them to sleep by feeding, rocking, laying them on your chest, etc. you not only prevent them from learning this skill, but you thwart any progress they may have made in learning it. Consistency is important so she doesn’t get confused.

    When my granddaughter was younger and even now if she wakes up at night, I first wait to see if she’ll go back to sleep which she often does. However, when she doesn’t, I go ahead and give her a bottle, but it’s all done very quietly. I have a dim nightlight in one corner of her nursery that allows me to walk without tripping. Other than that, the room is very dark. I pick her up, feed her, and put her right back down. No playing, no talking, no singing, no rocking, nothing.

    I wouldn’t worry so much whether she should have stopped feeding at night as much as how she’s going to sleep. If she wakes up, but doesn’t know how to go back to sleep, she may not actually be hungry, but is using what she knows to help her go back to sleep.

    Having a bedtime routine is important. Mine is very small:

    • change diapers
    • close the door
    • lay out her sleep sack in her crib
    • turn off the bright light
    • turn on her music (a playlist of soothing songs I started using when she was only a couple weeks old)
    • turn on her stars (a projector of calm stars on the ceiling)
    • lay her in her crib
    • put on her sleep sack
    • give her a pacifier
    • pat/stroke her shoulder/face to tell her goodnight
    • turn off the dim light (now the room is very dark)
    • leave, closing her door behind me

    I repeat the exact same steps for naps and bed at night. It only takes 5 minutes at most, but it clues her in that it’s time to sleep.

    Once I’ve put her down, she normally goes to sleep within 5 minutes. Sometimes she’ll let out a cry for a couple of seconds, but I’ve learned to leave her be. It’s as if she’s releasing her tension (saying, “finally, I’m in bed!” 😂). If she continues to cry for 5 minutes straight, I go in, make sure she has her pacifier, pat/stroke her arm/back/face and talk very softly to her, then I tell her goodnight and leave. That usually does the trick, but sometimes I have to go back in 10 minutes. I never pick her up (I’ve learned that it only makes things worse), but I calm her down and let her know everything’s alright.

    The only exception is if she gets very worked up to the point she cannot put herself to sleep. This happens if she gets overly tired. Then she goes from fussing to crying to screaming pretty fast so there’s no question she needs help. I’ve read that when a baby gets overly tired, their bodies release cortisol which prevents them from falling asleep. At that point, my husband and I do whatever it takes to help her sleep, even if it’s only for a short time. This can last from minutes to hours. Once she’s calm again, she can go to sleep like normal. We’ve learned to not keep her up to the point of becoming overly tired.

    So I recommend teaching her to soothe herself to sleep. Always put her down awake, but sleepy. It will take a few days for her to learn the new routine, but once she learns it, it’s a godsend to you and her, both.
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