Apologies for the loooong post. I thought sone background was necessary.
DS2 has been a cr@p sleeper since day one. He wouldn't even sleep in the crib at the hospital - not once! We did have an improvement once he was diagnosed and treated for reflux (when we could finally lie him down for sleeps instead of sitting upright all night). We stopped the medication about 2 months ago and his reflux is no longer an issue.
So some history - Between about 10 weeks - 4 months he was fairly reliably sleeping from 6pm - midnight with only 1-2 wake ups after, sometimes nothing until 6am (and a couple of random sleep throughs 6-6). A brief sleep regression around 4 months, mainly due to rolling over in cot, then back to waking 2-3 times a night, which I was fine with as he is breastfed and otherwise happy.
He goes down at 6pm every night, has a consistent bath/bedtime routine at the same time every evening. I put him down in his cot (in his own room) awake and he happily self settles without protest - he is excellent at going to sleep. His room is temp controlled and has been the same temp (22) for months. We have white noise on a low volume all night. He has a comforter which he loves and cuddles.
About 2 weeks ago he started waking early about 8-9pm. Each night is completely different, but more often than not I am finding he wakes every 1-2 hours (3 at a stretch) after that. We do leave him initially as he has resettled (without getting worked up) a few times. But more often than not I need to go in and assist. His wake ups are inconsistent, there doesn't seem to be a pattern at all, other than we are no longer getting 4+ hour stretches - 3 hours is about the longest.
He has started on solids so I am questioning whether this is contributing. He doesn't seem to be in any discomfort and isn't constipated or windy. Just WAKEFUL. Really alert, active, wriggly bubba. Always looking around. Rolling over (and then getting upset on his tummy) is happening again although only causing maybe 1 of the wake ups.
So far the only thing that works to get him back to sleep is feeding. I don't feed to sleep - he is still awake when I put him back in the cot but it does settle him after he has been crying and he will generally go back to sleep soon after I have placed him back in the cot.
He will not take a dummy. I have tried patting him without picking him up (gets him more worked up), also tried giving him a cuddle (wants to scratch my face off), etc. I have had maybe one occasion where I have successfully put him back down without a feed and he has gone back to sleep. I keep trying but end up having to feed as he gets really worked up.
I know he doesn't need feeding every 1-2 hours a night, and he certainly doesn't have a full feed each time. But it's the only way I can get him back to sleep lately as I need sleep myself and my DH works away (not that he is much use overnight). I am worried I am creating a bad habit.
So I am wondering if it sounds like a phase he is going through (ie do I continue to ride it out) or do I start trying to sleep train? He is only just 6 months this week. I am not against CC (we did this with DS1 when he was 9 months old to night wean), but do feel like he is a bit young to night wean - he isn't an overly chubby bub and we are still working on a good solids routine.
Happy to hear suggestions of 'gentle' ways to help train him to go back to sleep especially when his last feed was only 1-2 hours before. I am not wanting to let him CIO. I don't expect him to sleep through but 4 hours between wake ups surely isn't too much to ask?! I know he is capable!
Feeling really over it, I want to enjoy my maternity leave as he will prob be my last baby but right now I am a Mombie!