Sleep training — The Bump
Babies: 6 - 9 Months

Sleep training

Hi! I would really appreciate all of your assistance about this issue. 
My baby turned 6 months about a week ago. I put her to bed consistently at 8:30 pm but the biggest problem is she doesn't stay asleep and doesn't know how to put herself to sleep. Normally she feeds around 2:30 and 5:30 am (which the pediatrician says she we should eliminate since her growth is good and she should be sleeping 12 hours). Anyway, that hasn't been working. She said put her down and if she cries wait at least 6 minutes.

Last night, I would sooth her by rubbing her back and saying shhh. I didn't run to her immediately like I normally do. She fell back to sleep like once doing this. But all the other times she would cry and cry and work herself up. I ended up picking her up, rocking her and feeding her at 2:30 and 5:30 just like usual! What am I going to do to be able to get her to go to sleep? Please help! I will be going back to work in two weeks and need to have a plan. Thanks so much!!

Re: Sleep training

  • Neither of my kids stopped waking up at night until they were weaned. I wouldn't worry about your LO waking up in the middle of the night to eat at this point. Yes, hypothetically your LO could probably go 12 hours without eating but that doesn't mean they need to.

    Does your H assist in middle of the night wake ups at all? I know that when we were trying to space out feedings it helped if DH went in to soothe since they didn't associate him with feeding. I would try to soothe your LO with back rubs or rocking for a bit. But if your LO is getting upset night feedings are normal at 6 months. Good luck.
  • I feel like if she wants to feed thats okay but many times, its waking up just because and not being able to fall asleep. For instance, if she has a lot of gas, that wakes her up (just started solids). I feel like I don't have a plan and I need one...
  • Have you read any books on sleep or sleep training? There are a few different methods to look into and I think it's a good idea to read around and find one that feels comfortable for you.

    I really like Ferber's Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems because it gives a lot of good info on sleep in general. He advocates progressive checks. So going in after 3 mins, 5 mins, 7 mins, etc. the most important thing is to make a plan that works for you and to stick with it. I would also take turns on checks with YH so that one of you isn't dealing with the bulk and therefore getting more stressed out.
  • I haven't read any books because honestly I don't have time to sit down and read a book:( I can hardly get through the things I need to in a day!:) 

    So do you not go in any rub babies back and say shhh immediately? Thats what I was doing. Standing by her crib. But she cries and looks at me like, aren't you going to pick me up? Maybe thats what I did wrong. 
  • No offense but read the books. Being busy is a poor excuse IMO. We're all busy. But I think it's important to be informed in my decisions regarding my care for my LOs. So I make time.
    [Deleted User]aditigirl
  • Is your baby breastfed? My pedi has a different take than your doctor and said it is totally normal for babies this age to wake after 6-8 hours for a feed, which means MOTN feeds. 

    To me, a baby waking twice the whole night doesn't seem excessive at all.  Maybe she really is hungry? I don't think sleeping 12 hours is the norm for babies this age. I'm sure it happens, but I don't think it's the standard. 

    I have been told, but obviously don't know, that it's different for formula-fed babies (something about they stay full longer?? No idea if that's actually legit info or not. Heard it in passing.) 


    Peanutz21violet615

  • Your pediatrician is an expert in your baby's health. What vaccinations your baby needs, what that rash is, are they gaining enough weight, what should you do when your baby is sick. Those are questions that you SHOULD listen to your doctor on. They're not baby sleep experts. Sleeping through the night is not a medical necessity for your baby. That's not what their expertise is. Their expertise is also not in discipline, though they understand some of the child development stuff so they can help you figure out what is and isn't age appropriate but you do not have to take their advice as Doctor's Orders
    No, BUT, sleep experts will say that if babies are getting enough during the day, that they are growing properly and there are not other health concerns, they are very well capable to go all night without eating. So IMO, her pedi has a point. Though I agree that your pedi is the expert on your baby's health. 

    Whether or not you choose to continue feeding at night is ultimately your decision. Neither decision is right or wrong. 

    If you want to keep feeding her, you can and just follow her lead.

    If you want to eliminate night feedings, you can too. If it were me choosing to eliminate night feedings, I'd start by eliminating the first one, give it a week or two after the dust settles to eliminate the second. 
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  • I wish there was a way to consolidate the feeds into one. Instead of waking at 1 and 5, maybe 2 and 6 or maybe eliminate the first and do one at 5? Its hard to feel well rested in the morning after waking at 1 and 5. Any suggestions on how to do this? Soothing her without feeding doesn't really work - she will cry until fed. Should I give her some solid food before bed too in addition to milk?
  • macbook said:
    I wish there was a way to consolidate the feeds into one. Instead of waking at 1 and 5, maybe 2 and 6 or maybe eliminate the first and do one at 5? Its hard to feel well rested in the morning after waking at 1 and 5. Any suggestions on how to do this? Soothing her without feeding doesn't really work - she will cry until fed. Should I give her some solid food before bed too in addition to milk?
    At 6m, I wouldn't up her solid intake to fill a caloric need. Food is just for fun then, calories are provided through BM or formula. 

    If your goal is to eliminate night feeds and you don't want to go cold turkey, just work at pushing her first stretch. You can start by not feeding her before 3am and then 6am. You would have to choose a sleep training method to use if she wakes before the times you've set and be consistent. 

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    kamilasekowskaRocknroll64
  • Last night she woke up at 1 and 5 again. We tried to soothe her twice at 1am by rocking her but it wouldn't work. She wanted milk and until she got that, she kept waking up. Should I try giving her the bottle and maybe just giving a little milk at 1am? 
  • macbook said:

    Last night she woke up at 1 and 5 again. We tried to soothe her twice at 1am by rocking her but it wouldn't work. She wanted milk and until she got that, she kept waking up. Should I try giving her the bottle and maybe just giving a little milk at 1am? 

    I'm not sure extra milk would help- as your lo is used to waking at those times but could work?
    I would just continue feeding her if she is hungry, eventually she will drop one of those Feedings. Also make sure she gets enough breastmilk or formula during the day before considering cutting out night feedings.
    My LO is almost 8 months and wakes once to eat- sometimes I don't think she is really hungry but i still nurse her- gives us extra time together.
  • If it's any consolation my 8 (almost 9) month old is still on almost the same schedule. He wakes up between 2-3am for a feeding and then again around 6am for another one. Once or twice he's skipped the 2-3am feeding. He's been on this schedule since about 3 months old.

    It is manageable, but yes, I admit, there are times when I wish he would drop a feeding. I'm leaning more towards letting him self wean, (or seeing if he will), before I try to take charge and change his eating habits.

    He's my first baby, so everything is new, but I just hope I'm doing what's best for him. It's comforting to know that other people are having a similar experience with their baby, (and I'm also happy to have read the comments that the night feedings are still normal at this age). Good luck with your baby girl, I'm sure that eventually everything will work out!
  • I love nursing her and would totally do it twice a night except I have to go back to work in two weeks. UGH. Not looking forward to it at all. I get really tired waking up at night but I compensate by taking an early morning nap, which I won't be able to do anymore. What do women do that go back to work with this schedule?
  • macbook said:

    I love nursing her and would totally do it twice a night except I have to go back to work in two weeks. UGH. Not looking forward to it at all. I get really tired waking up at night but I compensate by taking an early morning nap, which I won't be able to do anymore. What do women do that go back to work with this schedule?

    Your body will adjust and you just do it.

    I've had lots of work days on three hours of sleep and 28 third-graders all day. It sucks.
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    [Deleted User]
  • I never thought I could function on this little sleep but you make do. I'm still up 2-3x a night with my 7-month-old. I go to bed early and drink coffee and try to get some naps in on the weekends.
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    [Deleted User]
  • Full time working mama here. From the sound of it my babe is a much worse sleeper than yours, and to boot I have to get up 2 hours earlier than the rest of the family to go to work, so she goes to bed a bit later and I don't get a chance to go to bed earlier. 

    You just do it. Sleep deprivation becomes the norm. I do totally miss ML though, I slept SO MUCH. 


  • Hi! Stopping by from 3-6M and reading about sleep stuff. I am not nearly as experienced as any of you - our twins are only 3.5 months old but I do have experience with going back to work and feeding babies in the middle of the night. I am really into French Parenting so I have read a lot of books about it. One of the things they do is they talk to the babies and explain to them what is going on. French parents treat babies like tiny people because they believe they understand.

    I don't know if I fully believe that but I did do this a lot when I was still on maternity leave. I talked to my kiddos and told them "Mom and dad have to go back to work in X amount of days so it's time for you to start sleeping longer. Mom can't be good at her job if she is so sleepy all of the time." Then, yes this is silly, I would give them a goal. "Let's sleep for 6 hours tonight." I would tell them these things every night and every morning and if they met their goal I would tell them how proud I was of them.

    By the time I went back to work, they were only waking up once to eat which was much more doable for us. Like I said, I don't know if I fully believe it but it worked for us. In the books, they say the babies are a part of the family so they need to do their part too - which is sleeping, I guess! :) hope you find something that works for you!
  • here is what I would do if you want to eliminate a feeding:  I would start either 1) cutting back on the amount fed during that time. So if they normal drink 4 ounces, go to 3 for a few days, then to 2 for a few days and get stop feeing or option 2) start pushing back the time.  If they wake up at 2 then maybe try the other things rock, change diaper, etc if none of those things work then feed, but that time it will be 2:30 do that for a couple of days and push it back and don't feed until 3, etc eventually the 2 and 5 feeding will merge.  Just some ideas.
    natalie559
  • khaalid00khaalid00 member
    Third Anniversary 25 Love Its 10 Comments Photogenic
    edited January 2015
    Delatl says this perfectly: "I never thought I could function on this little sleep but you make do. I'm still up 2-3x a night with my 7-month-old. I go to bed early and drink coffee and try to get some naps in on the weekends."---- Yup same here. I wish maternity leave was longer and better for moms in the US. Caring a baby is a lot of work and exhausting. I was warned by my mom, sisters and friends with kids but nothing prepares you for sleepless nights until baby arrives. Love my LO but love sleep too. We moms deal with it and adjust the new life.
  • This might help I'm not really sure. My daughter is 7 months and I leave her in her crib. She plays and she falls asleep on her own. So as far as night time feeding goes: she is in her crib with a bottle by 8:45-by 10:00pm she's asleep. and I go to the bedroom by 11:00pm and then she'll wake up anywhere from 5:30-7:30am give her another bottle and she's out again. Then she's awake majority of the day and takes naps in between
  • kat+1kat+1 member
    500 Love Its 100 Comments Name Dropper First Answer
    edited March 2015
    Maybe this is just me but if you baby needs you to feed her she needs you.... Just because a doctors says she can go with out doesn't means she can. Only you and your baby can decide what is right for you. I tried to get my son to sleep through the night and to night wean and it made him worse, he went from 3 times a night to 9, I got no sleep and he was a sad mess, this was the worst week of my life. Never ever ever agine will I do this not with any of my children.

    My son needed me and I was too selfish to see that, I felt like a bad mother for wanting to have more sleep. He needs to eat during the night and that's the facts.

    I love my son and want him to know that I will always be there for him.
  • Hi there,
    I have 2 kids. 5 yr old boy & my girl is 4 months.
    Have you tried dream-feeding your baby? I do this around 10.30pm as the last feed of the night (bottle or breast). The idea is you don't wake them but they get more food in to keep them going. You may get through to 5am that way.
    I've done that with both of mine, and had to go back to work too so needed sleep.
    Sending your partner in (as someone else suggested) also worked well for us. You may have to sleep in another room with earplugs for a few nights though (as I did!).
    Hey - whatever you decide, you're doing an awesome job. I hope you find a solution. And best wishes for the transition back to work. Just know that you're a caring mum who's going what she needs to for her family. xxx
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