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Five month old
sleep issues.

10 replies to this topic

#1 Kay1

Posted 12 January 2013 - 09:14 AM

I have posted in here before but things have got worse. DS3 has always had pretty erratic sleep patterns. We did have a period of 9 hour sleeps overnight so only one wake up, which was heaven. However since just before christmas he's gone back to more often waking every 2-4 hours. At first I assumed 4 month sleep regression and that was not really a problem as he would have a little feed and go straight back to sleep (even if still awake when I put him back in his cot) but we are now having a string of shocking nights that I am struggling to cope with.

He has started settling well during the day (after much work to get to that point!). So I put him in the cot and he just goes to sleep by himself more often than not (Yay, I just gained about 2 hours in my day!).

This is his sleep at the moment:
He has been napping at about 9am and then again at about 1pm. The morning sleep is usually a good length, 1.5 hours - 2/2.5 hours. The afternoon one varies from 45 mins - 2 hours.

If he has a shorter afternoon nap he really needs a third nap but he will not have one (unless we are in the car etc). So he is really tired at 6.30-7pm. He has a few feeds in that late afternoon period and feeds well. Then I get him down about 6.30pm-7pm (later if he did have an afternoon nap).

Sometimes he'll go down easily but often needs resettling/feeding several times between 7 and 11pm.

Generally he'll then sleep til about 2am - that's where the trouble starts. He feeds and will fall asleep on the boob but if I remove the boob or try to put him down he either starts crying straight away or plays, coos, gurgles and whacks his legs on the cot for ages before crying. He wriggles out of his wrap and then flaps his arms around. He is not rolling yet but is close.

I try everything I can think of, nothing settles him. Feeding him does settle him but we just go round and round and he gets windy and more upset (I can feel massive bubbles of wind in his tummy as I'm patting/rocking him). He is pretty much awake and crying then until 5 or 6am. Cosleeping doesn't work either, unless I am feeding him in which case I can't sleep and anyway he wakes the second the boob falls out.

I am shattered, functioning on about 4 hours broken sleep (I have to work when my kids are in bed at night and DH can only take over for an hour or so in the morning before he has to go to work) and I am at a bit of a loss. I don't want to do CIO or anything but nothing else is working and I don't know how I'll cope when school etc is back.

Is this just a phase (hands.gif be a phase!)? Any and all tips really appreciated.

#2 Dylan's Mummy

Posted 12 January 2013 - 09:27 AM

Is it possible that the heat at the moment is keeping him up, I know that I find it hard to sleep in the heat.

#3 Kay1

Posted 12 January 2013 - 09:55 AM

I don't think so although its probably not helping. He and I have been sleeping downstairs where its quite cool and have the ceiling fan on. Plus its warmer during the day and he sleeps well.

#4 AntiBourgeoisie

Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:17 AM

Hi OP. Hang in there! It does sound like a phase. All babies go through awful patches of unsettledness, especially around 'Wonder Weeks'. I know people say that wonder weeks are 100% accurate - personally I find they can be off by a few weeks either way, and the real take home message is that a a developmental spurt can lead to late night unsettledness (so 2-3 am onwards) for a few weeks.
How 5 months is he - just five months or closer to six? What is your parenting philosophy? How much do you need him to sleep?
Regardless of the answers to those questions, now is not the time to do sleep training. I suspect that the reason many parents/kids 'fail' at a new technique/routine/whatever is it is instigated at the wrong time. People muddle along with average sleep for a while, something acutely gets worse and so they have a knee jerk reaction to try and fix it NOW. The problem, though, is the acute deterioration usually has a cause (teeth, development, whatever) even if the cause is never identified (because babies can't tell us how they feel). So I don't think anything should be done in the midst of an acute deterioration. These sorts of weeks happen even to the most champion well adjusted independent sleepers, it is not a failing on the part of baby or mother, and it just means bub needs some extra support while this period passes. Personally, I'd suggest you just give panadol, feeds and cuddles for a few weeks. Many babies settle into a new pattern after usually no more than two weeks. (Babies rarely 'revert'). If this new pattern is acceptable to you, great. If its not, then try to change it then. I your child is only just five months now, give it until he is close to six months before trying anything. And in the meantime, try and get sleep for you and bub by any means necessary, even if your partner has to go for a long walk or car drive. These 'habits' do not become permanent as long as you stop them after this phase has passed, so don my stress about 'starting new habits' - the aim of the gamein these unsettled times is just getting by by any means necessary!
If after a few weeks you baby is still waking and refusing to settle after 2 am, you may need to undertake your choice of 'sleep assistance' based on your own philosophies and the temperament of your child. There are a variety of approaches out there from 'close the door and walk away' CIO type methods (which I personally do NOT advocate for ANY child) to gentle frequent reassurance/sitting in the same room type methods. I disbelieve that there is any method that involves NO noise on the part of the child, but at six months I would never advocate long periods of crying (generally my upper limit at this age is 2 minutes before offering some sort of comfort), and my upper limit by 9 months and beyond is 5-10 min depending on the child). Maybe have a think about how your child responds to comfort and what you are happy to tolerate/provide over the next week or so, in case you need to implement something.
Good luck OP... Hope it improves for you by itself!

#5 Kay1

Posted 12 January 2013 - 12:33 PM

Thank you A-B. original.gif You said everything I already know and believe but was just doubting myself and wanting some reassurance after another horrible night last night. I know I should trust him more, he has been through these phases before and come out the other side in a week or two. So far he's been spot on with the Wonder Weeks.

How 5 months is he - just five months or closer to six? What is your parenting philosophy?
He's a week over 5 months and was born a week early so I guess by edd he's 5 months exactly.

I have been using very gentle methods with him so far, sitting in his room (he almost always cries and fusses) to settle him for naps etc but this week I was distracted by my other kids when I had just put him down and had to leave him and he fell asleep unassisted WITHOUT ANY CRYING!! He's repeated this enough times now that I now believe he settles better without the distraction of me in his room. I am sleeping in his room most nights atm so its possible that's not helping, but if I sleep in our room he keeps my DH awake and he has to get up for work. We do have another spare room that I can send DH to so maybe I'll try that so that I can get out of DS3's room. I know my second son's sleep improved dramatically when we moved to this house and he got his own room for the first time. All my kids seem to do much better in their own space.

I have been to sleep school with my other two several times so I do know all the methods. But I will wait til he's 6 months before I implement any of them and with a bit of luck by then he will not need them. original.gif

What is your parenting philosophy? How much do you need him to sleep?

I am 'strict' with sleep in the sense that I prioritise it. We stay home as much as possible for naps etc and always make arrangements for his sleep if we are out. I guess I need him to sleep as much as he needs in order not to be miserable/overtired. But he's also a third child and has to be a bit flexible at times as do I.

At night obviously I want him to sleep so I can sleep.

Thanks for the encouragement and I will try not to cry the next time my friend with a baby born the same week as DS3 tells me in horror that her 'sleeping through the night since 5 weeks baby' was up for a 'whole hour!!' one night a few weeks ago and how she had to get her DH up to help because she was just too tired.....argh!! laughing2.gif

Edited by Kay1, 12 January 2013 - 12:35 PM.

#6 AntiBourgeoisie

Posted 12 January 2013 - 09:06 PM

QUOTE (Kay1 @ 12/01/2013, 01:33 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have been using very gentle methods with him so far, sitting in his room (he almost always cries and fusses) to settle him for naps etc but this week I was distracted by my other kids when I had just put him down and had to leave him and he fell asleep unassisted WITHOUT ANY CRYING!! He's repeated this enough times now that I now believe he settles better without the distraction of me in his room. I am sleeping in his room most nights atm so its possible that's not helping, but if I sleep in our room he keeps my DH awake and he has to get up for work. We do have another spare room that I can send DH to so maybe I'll try that so that I can get out of DS3's room. I know my second son's sleep improved dramatically when we moved to this house and he got his own room for the first time. All my kids seem to do much better in their own space.

Good to hear!

Like all people, babies are so different. My eldest never slept in arms from the day he was born and slept fitfully in our room until we moved him out at six months. He still despises anyone so much as lying in his bed, and abhors the thought of sharing his sleep space with anyone. He has never ever slept in the same bed as us, except once at age 3 when he was sick. The younger likes sleepy cuddles, but prefea his own sleep space also. He'll fall asleep with me, but will sleep fitfully until i move him. So you're not alone in having kids with a preference for their own space! Pantley's sit in a corner method would have been disastrous for me - but I concede that it and co-sleeping work for many as well!
Hope you've turned the corner and it gets better from here!

#7 Loz07

Posted 12 January 2013 - 09:12 PM

Hi Kay1

I think there must be about a week difference in age between your DS and my DD. No advice, but since aboout a week or two before Christmas, DD's sleep has become a bit more erratic too (not to the extent to your DS, but still off for her).

This has also conicided with her starting to consolidate her naps. In fact, possibly the worst night (well, morning) she has had in a long time came the night after she did the 'perfect' nap schedule of 2 x 2hr and a 45 min catnap... So I'm wondering if part of it is her body adjusting and figuring out how much sleep she needs now? Also the wonder weeks stuff and I can see outlines of teeth on her gums now ...

I'm just hanging in there at the moment and hoping that 'this too shall pass'...
Can you take a break/leave from the work you do in the evening? Or can you do it during his morning nap (set the other kids up with activities/baby sitter / play date?) Or can you nap then to catch up?

Good luck original.gif

#8 Kay1

Posted 13 January 2013 - 04:34 PM

Thanks Loz, yes, I guess it could just be their bodies figuring out what they need as their naps consolidate.

Yesterday I ensured he got a third nap by taking him for a walk in the pram. That way he was able to stay up til nearly 8pm. He was still hard to settle and woke after 45 mins but this time I refused to feed him (makes his wind worse and he really didn't need it). He wasn't happy but I managed to settle him fairly quickly. I went straight to bed and got some sleep before his next wake up at 12.30pm. I fed him and he settled easily. Then instead of sleeping in his room I went back to my own bed. He woke briefly at 3am but went back to sleep after one little call out!  Seems like me not being in his room does help. He then slept til nearly 6am, massive improvement and I feel so good today! He is now napping in the pram again and I am hoping to have a repeat tonight.

#9 Kay1

Posted 18 January 2013 - 07:07 AM

Well its all gone even further south. sad.gif Last night he was up til nearly midnight after 45 mins of sleep at 8pm (had been settling him since 7pm).

He then slept two hours twice and was up bright eyed and bushy tailed at 5.30am.

I'm at a loss. Just so tired. Think I'll try and see the nurse next week. Sigh.

#10 minidiamond

Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:54 AM

sorry posted in wrong section !

Edited by minidiamond, 21 January 2013 - 01:08 AM.

#11 3mummy3

Posted 21 January 2013 - 11:55 AM

Hi there, just wondering if maybe your ds could be teething? My ds is the same age as yours and his sleep has deteriorated over the last couple of weeks, but yesterday morning i felt a tooth through! The one next to it looks like it will pop through soon too so i am hoping that his sleep will improve after that!

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