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Help - 6 month old won't sleep!!

Hi ladies,

I really need some advice regarding my son's sleeping (or lack of!). He's never been a great sleeper and when i was breastfeeding he would wake every 3-4 hrs for feeding. At 4 months i switched to formula feeding (not in the hope he would sleep better, more for personal reasons) and he would wake for 1-2 feeds in the night still.

Since 5 months his nighttime sleeping has gone out the window and I'm really exhausted now. Initially he had a cold for a few weeks so he wouldn't settle and we put him in our bed to settle. Then at almost 6 months we started weaning him but he started waking virtually every hour and would cry whenever he was put back in the cot. My HV told me to increase his portion sizes and we've quickly moved onto 3 meals a day but none of this is helping him settle and sleep.

He just doesn't seem to be able to get in a deep sleep, and then takes ages to resettle. One night last week he only woke twice in the night but that seems to have been a fluke.

Any advice would be appreciated.

P.S i don't agree with the cry it out method - we tried it one night and DS got really agitated and was coughing and almost being sick so that's not an option.

Thanks x


  • we are just getting on top of 2 hourly wakings and have had a 11pm to 6am which was a shock to the system! although my toddler made sure i didnt get a lot of sleep!

    with our eldest we co slept and then used the retreat method. although we have had to re do this a few times. with my 6 months old i sit next to the cot and put my hand on her chest to settle her, sometimes it works and sometimes i have to feed her or bring her into bed with us, she does settle well initially but doesnt have the nack of staying asleep,

    does he seem to have problems with wind or reflux? have you tried a light show?

    it may be a development phase, if he is learning a lot sleep is often disturbed as they process things, or teething?
  • Hi,

    I can't be a huge help other than to say our 5 month old is going through a very disrupted sleeping phase & Health visitor says it's normal. I've just ordered book called the Wonder Weeks which sounds interesting - looking at how babies learn & develop. I lso read the NTC guide to sleep which covers lots of different options & methods whilst helping you understand sleep patterns in babies better.

    Good luck

  • we went through this as well, started aroun 12 weeks (he slept really well before that) and only ended about 3 weeks ago when he was 20 weeks. had some decent nights in between but had numerous nights where hed wake every 2h or so, even though he wasnt hungry. 2 things changed for us: 1, he got his 2 bottom teeth within days of each other and 2, he started rolling himself onto his belly to sleep. both these things happend over new years and since then weve had 1 night where he woke up 3 times, 2 nights with 2 wakings and all other nights hes slept 6-8h stretches, feed (hes breastfed), and straight back to sleep. i have the wonder weeks book too and were now at nearly 24 weeks and hes def going through the leap. wont go to bed unless i take him where last week hubby took him without trouble. guess well have a few worse nights again now but hoping its not too bad. x
  • Hi I have a 4 month old who has been a nightmare sleeper too!

    Cry it out was a very unappealing option to me too.

    Have been reading a book called french children don't throw food which is quite interesting. That combined with a few realisations of my own is helping me get a bit more sleep!

    Firstly- I am the mummy and whilst my crying baby thinks that what he needs is to play/sing/be hugged, I know that his REAL need is to go to sleep. So not responding to his perceived need may make him cross in the short term but actually I am better parenting because of it!

    Crying- there is crying because of being cross that you are not running in to him and then proper terror screaming that is a confused baby unable to settle. You can ALWAYS tell the difference I ALWAYS respond to the latter. If I always respond to the former he will never have the opportunity to learn to settle himself.

    I genuinely believe my baby understands a lot more than people think. I always tell him it is sleepy time and explain things to him even though he is only tiny- he deserves respect. I honestly think it helps!

    When he is overstimulated he needs help to settle. I try to put him down before this happens and if I succeed he usually settles himself. If he needs help I avoid eye contact and say shhhhhh calmly until he falls asleep- sometimes I hold his arms or hands too. If he is really upset I look him in the eyes and tell him that i love him until he calms and then I move to shhhhhhhhhhhh!

    In the night when he wakes he does not always need to be picked up or fed. I leave him for a little bit to see what he needs. sometimes he goes straight off after a min or two moaning. Sometimes I have to say shhhhhh. sometimes he is hungry and sometimes he wants to sing for 20 mins and then sleep! When I was going to him every time immediately I was actually making it worse.

    Since I have been doing these things the night wakings have reduced.

    (I assume you have already got a good bedtime routine and time... we do 2 stories, a bath with another story about a duck image a song while I get his pjs on in low light and then a feed in the dark. He is usually in bed by 7ish)

    Hope some of this is useful to you xxx
  • hi ladies

    not much to add im afraid except i really feel for you, it definately doesnt sound food related but related to him being unable to settle himself. my LO has always been pretty good (sorry, not trying to rub it in) he seems to enjoy his sleep and wake ups are usually due to a cold, needing to eat, needing to fart (he does struggle with pain when he needs to do this bless him!) I always give him a warm bath at the same time at night, baby massage, pjs on and sometimes a story if he isnt too cross. Then he has about an hours bf till he has fallen asleep on me and i gently lift him into his cot.

    I have asked the question on here as im a shift worker, going back in may and i worry about working the late and night shift that ive only settled him via a breast feed and if someone needs to settle him what to do. Some techniques were suggested like shhh pat which might help with your LO. I too dont agree with crying it out - as a mummy i just cant bring myself to do that!

    wifeymnm can i just say what a lovely mummy you sound - your LO sounds like he gets absolute 5 star treatment - its lovely the way you talk about him deserving respect and thed relationship you have with him - made me feel a bit teary lol!

    jvl with bean good to hear you're doing ok, if sleep deprived! The time's gone fast hasnt it! Fab to hear you're still feeding, me too. henry is 23 weeks and will be food time in 3 weeks - am excited but also sad his lovely breast feeds will cut down rapidly. Linds how are you doing? I remember chatting the week i had henry, we were all moaning about our aches and pains - now look at us!! x
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