6 Month Old Hulks Out — The Bump
Babies: 6 - 9 Months

6 Month Old Hulks Out

So, I have a 6 month old baby boy. He's amazing, super happy, eats really well, super curious and active, and since about 10 weeks has generally slept through the night.

He's outgrown his bassinet so we're trying to transition him to his crib. Because he's so active and has learned to roll over, I don't feel comfortable leaving him in his crib swaddled through the night, so we have him in a sleep sack. We have a great night time routine and he falls asleep every night with no problem.

The problem is, lately he's started waking up around 1-2 a.m. pretty consistently and then it's a struggle to get him back to sleep until morning. We start off by giving him his pacifier and usually that works for about an hour, but then he's pretty much crying every hour or half hour afterwards, until I break down and hold him and rock him and get him back to sleep (usually around 3-4 a.m.) until morning. We recently visited the pediatrician for a check up and she mentioned that it was perfectly safe to let him "cry it out" (using discretion, of course) in order to let him learn to self soothe. 

We started doing the 10-15 minute interval thing, but after a few intervals we notice that he goes from crying hard, to almost falling asleep, then jerking himself awake again and crying harder. He flails his arms around and rubs his face, which I think also keeps him from settling down. It's almost as if he "hulks out" with his crying where the more he cries, the more intensely he works himself up. Because of this I have yet to see him tire himself out. Usually after about 30 minutes of this (3 ten minute intervals) I can't take it anymore because I feel like he'll never calm down.

Anybody experience this and can offer any kind of advice or validation? Should I continue working the intervals even though he is pretty much scream crying? I know he's going through some stuff (development, teething, etc) but I know outside of that he's perfectly comfortable, no dirty diaper or hunger. First time parent pulling out my hair in frustration, here. Halp.

Re: 6 Month Old Hulks Out

  • Hey girl hey! Miss you from Oct! So many questions I guess...do you rock him before initial sleep, too? What's his schedule and naps like? 
  • hi @chopchop25!!! hope everything is going well with you!!! miss you and the october board a ton!

    I do rock him for a short period before initial sleep and oftentimes we have to rock him before naps. During the nighttime routine we have a bedtime song so he gets rocked for the length of the song, about 4 minutes, then he goes down and pretty much falls asleep immediately. 

    So his schedule is pretty static, it goes something like this:
    • 6 a.m. wake up, change, 4 oz bottle
    • 7-8 a.m. play, socialize
    • 8:30 a.m. nap 
    • 9 a.m. change, 4-6 oz puree and 4 oz bottle
    • 9:30 a.m. - 12 play, socialize
    • 12-12:45 p.m. nap
    • 1 p.m. change, 6 oz bottle
    • 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. play, socialize
    • 4:30 p.m. 4-6 oz puree and 4 oz bottle
    • 5-5:30 p.m. change, nap
    • 5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m. quiet play
    • 7 p.m. night routine (change, bath, 4 oz oatmeal, 7 oz bottle)
    • 7:45 p.m. - 8 p.m. asleep for the night
    His naps have been getting shorter and shorter. If we can get a half hour out of him it's pretty great. Usually his longest nap is around noontime where we can maybe get an hour out of him but usually it's more like 45 minutes. His also just SUPER active when he's awake so I'm shocked he doesn't tucker out more easily. 
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  •  Couple things that stick out:

    -wake times are way too long for a six month old...should really max out at 2.5 hours for wake times. His lack of day sleep may be hindering his sleep at night because he is overtired. Even if he’s a low sleep needs baby, that five hour wake time during the day is reeeeally long. 

    -the first round of CIO often lasts over 30 minutes, sometimes over an hour the first time. It sucks, but the subsequent times are shorter. After a couple nights, it’s all good. His “hulking out” was probably just his “angry burst” before getting to sleep. Both of my kids got angry the first time, but then did pass out at the one hour mark. It sucks, you feel guilty, but honestly, one hard night benefits him in the long run. I promise. 

    -he seems to have lots of sleep associations (pacifier, rocking, etc), that are probably hindering his ability to fall asleep independently. When you sleep train, you should stop doing these things to get him to sleep. Rocking to get drowsy and relaxed is ok, but not ok to get him to go completely to sleep. He’s now used to the rocking and dependent on it. 

    It sounds like you are trying to do all the things right, but what it probably boils down to is committing to STing all-in. I would work on night sleep first and then work on naps next. I had good luck with Ferber method with both of my kids and highly recommend it. Good luck!
  • chopchop25chopchop25 member
    edited April 2019
    Am I reading something different? I don’t see a five hour wake time...

    so many more questions, haha!

    Has the sleep pattern changed with the food introduction at all? And presuming you didn’t decrease milk yet with the added food? If so, milk quantities shouldn’t decrease yet so could be a hunger thing.

    Are you putting down for nap based on cues, or just trying to maintain a schedule? If schedule, that could be part of the problem.

    Totally agreed with PP on sleep associations. A few of us have gone with Precious Little Sleep and had great success in their SWAP method, which is mild adjustments to work on these associations. Then turns to SLIP (basically CIO), if needed or just appropriate from the start. I really found the info in the book super helpful, as Margot was looooving her swing. I loved PLS and the Facebook group w it was a huge help.

    edit to add - some others on our BMB have done Ferber w current or previous kids with good outcomes, too, I believe. Not familiar so can’t comment there!
  • I see a nap that ends at 12:45 and then the next one doesn’t start til 5. With two feedings and three straight hours of play time in there. That’s a lot for a six month old! 

    PLS is a great resource. Many people from my BMB swear by it as well. I use their website for ideas for wake times, but I’ve heard good things about their book and FB group. 
  • @Wishilivedinflorida ah, yeah, I misread that wake time! Def way too long for between naps. 
    OP, does baby show any signs of tiredness or any chance of bumping that nap closer to 3?
  • So update on this, thanks you guys for your insight!

    He sometimes takes a nap around 3ish, but it isn't always. He really drives the nap schedule, for a while I was trying to get him on a stricter routine and it just wasn't working. This kid resists sleep like the plague. If we can get 3 naps out of him during the day they are usually around 30 minutes (45 if we're lucky), but I think now that it's been a while I may retry to see if we can get that extra nap in there.

    With the sleep training: About a week ago we tried the Ferber method. I was not hopeful because as I mentioned when he starts crying he just gets more worked up over time, BUT, we were desperate and exhausted so we kept with it. After about 50 minutes of intervals (we did intervals like 5 minutes, then 7, then 10, etc) HE FINALLY FELL ASLEEP. I was expecting him to wake up a few hours later for the pacifier but he didn't!!!

    The following night it was about 37 minutes, then 25, then around 10 minutes for a couple nights, and last night HE FELL ASLEEP IN HIS CRIB AND DIDN'T WAKE UP UNTIL WE WOKE HIM UP IN THE MORNING. Sorry for the all-caps but I'm just so excited. Not to mention he's been waking up smiley and happy and he's still teething so it's even working during that. I've noticed (because now I'm not used to sleeping all night) that he might wake up during the night, babble or roll around, and then just go back to sleep!! 

    Thanks so much for all the suggestions, knowing that it could take over 30 minutes the first time helped me a ton. After about 15-20 minutes I just couldn't take it but powering through that first night really made a difference!!! 
  • Ahhh that's so awesome! Congrats mama!
  • Yay! Awesome! Glad it worked for you guys. 
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