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  1. #1
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    Question Any suggestions? (long post)

    Hello.
    DD is about 5 and a half months and isnt a terrible sleeper but can use some help and I want to change things so in the long run they are better...
    A bit of background...
    DD sleeps only 30-40 minutes about 4 times a day, this ISNT really a problem (apart from me not being able to do much at once during the day!) as she wakes up wide awake and is happy, she generally lasts about 1.5-2hrs awake before needing a nap.
    She goes to bed at 10pm, (her last nap is around 8pm) she just wont go any earlier than that. As the night wears on probably around 9-9:30 we calm things down (dim the lights) and read some books until she lets us know she is ready for sleep (starts to grizzle or snuggle into me). I do a dreamfeed most nights around 11-11:30pm.
    Overnight she wakes probably twice for a feed, i to try to settle her without a feed but it doesnt work. She doesnt wake in the mornings until around 8:30, sometimes a little earlier (8) sometimes longer (9:30).
    She is currently sleeping in a portacot in our room next to my bed which she has done since birth. I used to have her in there all night then i started bringing her into bed for her second feed (breastfed) in the early hours of the morning and we would fall asleep there. Now she is waking a little earlier and she ends up in bed with us for half the night... while I love this time DH doesnt like it (he is a heavy sleeper so i keep him away from her) and i dont want it to always be like this and realize that i am getting her into the habit.

    my problem is that i have become to realize that i am doing things now that i dont want to continue as she grows, such as her in our room and co sleeping, i mean i LOVE it but i really want her to be a bit more independent, i know-i know she is a baby but she is really becoming to rely on me and wont go down for others, she is also waking more in the night while in her cot, she is fine in bed with me though... she is also having trouble gong down at night... she will go to sleep then either wake when i put her down or wake minutes later. i try to re settle in her cot but she just gets more upset and cries. She will not go to sleep herself (she just cries after a while)..

    I do plan on moving her to her room at some stage in the next month or two, we just have to install an outdoor blind to make it darker. I have to start her in there for her daytime sleeps first (they are currently in her swing) then i will work on the night time ones.


    What can I do to help her self settle and sleep without me? I have heard of putting a top of mine i have been wearing in the cot but i worry about her suffocating on it or something (SIDS does recommend nothing in the cot even though i know DD is very strong in her movement and neck etc).

    Please help...
    Last edited by nicoleE; 28-03-2008 at 21:05.

  2. #2
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    Hi Nicole,

    I know how you feel, your story sounds very similar to mine, but my daughter is now 18 mths and still sleeping with us however we are just starting to make slow progress in getting her into her own bed. Co -sleeping is a great thing to do if it works for all of the family, and you need to be prepared to go the long haul if you contine the practise because it gets harder to move them into their own bed. I can only suggest a few things to try, which you may have already tried. Also, Pinky McKay an Aussie author has some good tips for no cry sleep solutions.
    ]
    1. I would be careful about putting things in the cot, as you mentioned, the sids risk.

    2. Have you tried massage, warm bath, music?

    3. Are you prepared to put a mattress on the floor in her room, where you can lie down whilst trying to comfort her.

    4. Increasing level of activity during day.

    I know this is pretty standard stuff, all babies are different and at the end of the day you have to go with what will work for you and baby.

    I hope you find a solution that works.

  3. #3
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    Do you have a flannelette cot sheet of hers? Sleep with it, scrunch it up roll on it whatever you have to do and get your smell on it then when you have made her bed tuck it over the top of the mattress so its tucked in just like a her other sheets so its nice and safe, its just doubling up really and if its tucked in correctly then its safe.

    All mine have slept with me except this bubs, (she likes her own bed) the only other thing i could suggest is putting her back to bed when she wakes and getting her used to her own bed, its hard though, i dont like babies crying so i tend to prefer them to sleep with me if they are happier and more content

    Could you push her cot up next to your bed so shes close but shes got her own space? (not the porta cot another cot if you have one that you can take the rail off?)

  4. #4
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    Hi Nicole

    Just read your post. I am definitely no expert but here are my thoughts for what it is worth.

    1. Bedtime needs to be much earlier. I know you mentioned she won't sleep earlier but its worth trying to enforce an earlier sleep time gradually, perhaps by 15 minutes each day. (easier said than done, I know). Let her last day nap (no more than 45 minutes) start no later than 4.30pm. Enforcing an earlier bedtime may also mean that she will wake up earlier in the morning.

    2. Activity time for a 5.5 month old should be around 2 hours. So you might want to try to keep her up for longer between sleeps during the day.

    3. Introduce a "lovey" or some sort of toy or blanket that she can associate with you. It could be a favourite soft toy that you can progressively introduce by having the toy with you when you have cuddles with her so that (1) it has your "smell" and (2) she gets used to associating it with her time with you

    4. Try to discourage the middle of the night feeds (other than the 11pm dream feed which she probably still needs at this age) by shhh/patting her back to sleep instead. This was an invaluable piece of advice which a lactation consultant gave me early on when I mentioned that my baby would always get up at 4 am for a feed. She said that this is sometimes just habit rather than hunger. This will involve some crying / fussing unfortunately but is part of the training for independent sleep. Once you have got her used to her "lovey" this part might be become easier.

    Just some suggestions which I hope may help. I don't think anything about getting babies to sleep independently and stay asleep is easy but I do think that consistency helps a lot but is no guarantee!) - you need to do what works for you. Good luck.

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    I would suggest

    - getting up to feed her...you may lose out on a bit of sleep, but then you can put her back to bed.

    - I would do the gradual earlier bed time and have no naps starting later than 5:30. And keep her up for minimum 2 hrs during day. (my DS is a cat-napper too)

    - Put her to bed, with a similar routine each time, before she falls asleep, as soon as you see her tired signs, so she sees where she is and she can learn to self settle (with your help at first..patting, reassuring, etc.)

    - Do day sleeps in her cot - I did this with DS to get him used to his room as a sleeping place.

    We started all his sleeps there 2 wks ago at 7 months. We've had alot of getting up in the nights just to put the dummy in and a quick kiss to reassure him. Last night was the first time he slept thru again. Was 2 wks of not much sleep for me & DH, but I think DS is happy in his new bed now

    I think night feeds are ok - if they have gone several hours without eating they may honestly be hungry. Their tummies are still small and they will go through growth spurts...you know your baby best.

    Good Luck!

  6. #6
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    I also have a 17 week old cat-napper but she sleeps great through the night. This didn't start to get better until we moved her out of our room. And better yet when I started leaving the monitor off at night. (Of course I always remind myself that this could change any day, but we've kept it going through two growth spurts so far)

    I didn't want my baby to cry, so the minute she made a noise, I'd be up soothing her which always led to feeding to get her back to sleep.

    I started by keeping her night feeds quick and boring. Not even looking at her. After a few days of this I could feed her, put her back in bed awake, and she'd fall asleep. Then quickly the feeds stopped.

    As she got more active during the day, her bedtime started getting earlier, then I started doing the routine earlier and earlier. Now she goes to sleep around 6.30-7pm and wakes between 6 and 7am. I do BF her to sleep (for night sleep only), but I'm working on that! Also no naps after 4pm.

    Many nights she still stirs at the times she used to wake for a feed, sometimes she even calls out for maybe 10-12min, but she only ever properly cries when somethings is wrong (leaked nappy/too cold etc). Babies apparently go through sleep cycles through the night which include some awake time as this helps their brains develop.

    I know it's hard to stop the lovely closeness of co-sleeping (we used to have morning nap together) and it's just so so easy to flop the boob out when you're tired rather than getting up. But now she sleeps well and I have more energy for lots of cuddles and playing all day. And since she only has little naps during the day, it is a looooong day!

  7. #7
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    Hi there

    You seem to have gotten a lot f good advice and here goes mine...
    I have a GERD baby, undiagnosed until 7 months of age so we went through hell! Someone put me on to Tizzie Hall and her book 'Save our Sleep'. She gives a complete breakdown of all routines and expectations and doesn't necessarily believe in controlled crying. No word of a lie, within 3 days of her routine, my son was sleeping 10 hours a night and had 2 good naps during the day. You just need to make sure you stick to it and it's hard to hear your baby crying, but in the lobg run, everyone benefits.
    Hope that helps.
    Last edited by xkwzit; 09-05-2008 at 12:06. Reason: breach of forum rules

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    Hi there, you sound exactly like me! My daughter is now 5.5 months old, was catnapper, in bed with us for 2nd feed etc, etc... My main prob was day sleeps - Even tho she would go to sleep by herself quite easily it was never more than 45 min and only 3 a day - Not good for a 10 week old (did mean she was so knackered she slept well at night!)! The local helpline recommended a type of controlled crying and I even went to a day sleep school, although they called it something different it was essentially the same thing - when she woke after 45 mins I was to leave her to re-settle (or cry herself), back to sleep leaving her for at least 20 mins b4 going in. After 1 week of this she was worse - down to 20 min sleeps, screamed as soon as I put her in the cot and I woke dreading each day and became very angry with her, which made me angry with myself and so depressed etc - it was awful. (I also have a dd 2 1/2 yo who would cry for me at the bottom of the stairs while I spent most of the day in and out of dd2's room!) - Anyways I couldnt take anymore, it wasnt working and I was not enjoying my gorgeous girl who is the happiest wee thing as long as you are not trying to make her go to sleep! Someone on Bubhub recommended a brilliant website called the sleep store (its an nz one), there was loads of fantastic advice and also listed a book (I hope its OK I mention it) - called 'The no cry sleep solution' by Elizabeth Pantley' - I love her! Her ideas are so gentle & loving and nurturing I cannot recommend this book more highly, tho it is essentially for night sleeping it has helped with day sleeps which has the knock on effect to night sleeps and its all very attachment parenting... she also advocates co sleeping and has great suggestions on how to gently wean them (and you) off this as well if and when you want to do it .... I am now thoroughly enjoying my beautiful baby again and all the ups and downs are just a wonderful part of being a Mum! I hope this helps a wee bit, hang in there!

  9. #9
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    Everyone here has given you some pretty good advice. The main thing I would add is that you need to get her daytime naps extended - rather than having so many short daytime naps, try for fewer naps but for longer times. This will mean you will have to try resettling techniques and may mean she will cry until she gets used to it.
    I would also get her out of the swing for daytime naps. She is never going to learn to sleep during the day in a cot if she has only ever been used to a swing .... and unfortunately, when she is older and bigger she is not going to be able to go in the swing for a nap but she will still need her daytime sleeps. I had to take my little boy out of the swing altogether once he learnt to use his stomach muscles enough to lunge forward (even though strapped in) and almost tip the swing over.
    Anyway, apart from all that, I would definately start getting her bedtime moved forward. You can do this gradually over months and months if need be.
    If you put her down for a nap after about 5.30pm, try resettling her as though she had woken during the night rather than treating it as just a nap and getting her up. This also worked wonders for me and my boy.
    Good luck and remember every baby is different so what works for me may not work for you.

  10. #10
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    I had three babies who weren't settled sleepers - for the first two we ended up at residentials at sleep school. The third one I b/fed to sleep, co-slept, wore in a pouch etc and my partner kept saying I was making the same mistakes and would have the same problems. But, when the bub was 5 mths old, I started wrapping her and putting her to sleep in her cot, we got into a good routine and everything was fine. I was determined to let her sleep on her own before she could stand up, well, before she could move around too much and it worked. I didn't want to go through teaching a child to self settle when she could wriggle out of the wrap, stand up in the cot and cry for mum - so much harder when they are older. But I just had to have her close to me those first few months.

    So, my advice is, if you want your child to sleep alone, do it now, because it will be more difficult later.

    Good luck.


 

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