Naps sorted - when will the night wakings stop??

Hi ladies. Hugo is now 6 and a half months and since he was 4 months old, he wakes repeatedly through the night - sometimes every hour and a half! Before this he would wake once, twice at the most so he has gone backwards. When he wakes, he cries and will not settle or go back to sleep without me breastfeeding him.

I have recently ditched the dummy and made a firm resolve not to feed him to sleep (he is breastfed and we've just started weaning) as I thought perhaps that having a dummy/nipple in his mouth when he fell asleep and finding it gone when he woke may have been the problem. That has meant allowing him to cry a bit and grizzle when I put him down for naps but that has only really been a few times as he is now used to falling asleep by himself. I have found that he actually sleeps for 90 minutes when he falls asleep by himself, but only 45 mins if he is fed to sleep (which I have done twice since starting the new 'regime'!)

So he has a 90 minute nap in his cot in the morning, a shorter lunch time nap as usually we're out in the pram and he doesn't sleep so well then. Then depending on whether we're out or at home, he'll have another 45 min/90 minute nap in the afternoon. I don't let him sleep longer than 5pmish and we have his bath/bed routine beginning at around 7pmish, depending on how tired he seems and whether daddy is home from work. Before this new regime, he would maybe have 90 minutes sleep throughout the day in total, so it's a massive improvement and his mood is much better!

But so far, it has made NO DIFFERENCE to his night time wakings. AT ALL. On the days he has had better naps than others, he still wakes as often as others.

I haven't wanted to do controlled crying at night because it's so hot at the moment that I can't rule out that he wakes thirsty and also it's a bit hard on the neighbours as his bedroom window is right next to theirs. I was just hoping that by sorting out his daytime naps and getting him used to falling asleep by himself, he would self settle when he woke at night. But as I say, so far it's not working and if I don't breastfeed him, he will cry and cry and work himself up to screaming.

So can anyone offer any advice here? For those that did sort the daytime naps first, did it have an immediate effect on night time wakings or did it take a few weeks?

Thanks in advance!

Peeptoe and Hugo (28+4)

Posts

  • I went through a similar thing back in Jan when my lo was 6-7 months.It went on for 6 weeks until finally I did CC. He was waking hrly and literally as soon as I fed him he went back off. I did quite a bit of research and like you sorted the naps. My lo had always been self settling or so I thought but at night he would fall asleep on the boob which I didn't think was a problem as he self settled during the day.

    A 6 months old their sleep cycles change and this developmental change can really upset some babies and you almost have to reteach them to self settle as their night and day sleep is different. My OH tried going in a few nights, we tried offering water but lo would just get so agitated as he was tired and wanted to go back to sleep but couldn't. In the end we did CC and after the first night there was a big improvement and very quickly he was sleeping through or just waking at 4ish. I made the decision not to feed him unless he was unwell as I was still giving a dreamfeed so I knew he wasn't hungry.

    Oh and just remembered that if I CC the first waking which was usually 9pm ish then he would sleep a good stretch and be much quicker to settle each waking after that. If I went in and cuddled him to sleep he would definitely wake 1-2 hrly overnight.

    Hope this helps...At nearly a year old he has been sleeping though for ages and I honestly cannot remember the last time he woke at night...that's it I've gone and jinxed it now!

    Katstar x
  • Thanks Katstar. The frustrating thing is that when he wakes at night and I feed him, I don't know if he is really feeding or whether he has fallen asleep and just making sucking motions, so it's hard to know when to stop and put him back in his cot so I can be sure he is awake.

    I didn't know that night time sleep and daytime sleep was different though, that's really interesting. Perhaps I need to think about waiting for this hot spell to pass, then braving CC.

    The other thing I have wondered about is feeding during the day. Hugo has always been a snacker and tends to feed, even now, every 2 hours or so, rather than 4 hours or more so I wonder if this affects his capacity to go for longer periods at night? Although upon saying that, when he was between 10 and 16 weeks, he did sleep well, only waking once during the night.

    Oh god, I've lost the capacity to think straight now!!
  • Have you started weaning yet? I found that the feeding really got into a proper 3-4 hrly pattern once I started weaning. When we were on 3 meals a day (about 7 months) my routine was something like below:

    wake 7am (I actually started to wake him so that I could fit everything into the day!)
    BF once awake - even if fed at 4-5ish as I topped him up to start the day.

    8am breakfast

    8.30ish nap

    10.30ish Milk

    11.30 ish lunch

    12ish Nap

    2ish Milk

    3.30 a short cat nap

    4.15ish milk

    5.15 tea

    6pm bath

    6.30pm Milk

    7pm bed

    10.30 dreamfeed/ night feed

    I found that as he was being topped up quite a lot milk/solids from 2pm til bedtime that it really helped him go through the night - similar to cluster feeding.

    Check out the Baby whisperer website for fab advice on sleep cycles:

    http://www.babywhispererforums.com/index.php?topic=52878.0

    http://www.babywhispererforums.com/index.php?topic=64274.0
  • Thanks Katstar, the links are interesting.

    With the feeding, Hugo has reflux and I was advised not to overload his tummy too much but to feed him little and often so perhaps this is the problem. We have just started on solids after a rocky start as it seemed to have aggravated his reflux more. I'm taking it slowly so not sure when we'll make it to 3 proper meals a day but it may be that things will settle down then. I just need some unbroken sleep before then though!

    Thanks for your help
  • Hi P

    As you know Toby's all over the place at night still but just thought I would say that it has always been like that regardless of his daytime sleeping. From about 3 weeks to 5 months he was a brilliant daytime sleeper but never slept more than a couple of hours unbroken at night. Now his daytime sleeps have gone to pot COMPLETELY and I'm lucky if he has two 20 minute naps in the day - night time sleep is unchanged, ie it is still cr*p. Actually it is worse than ever, he is feeding more in the night than he used to which is killing me. He's also feeding more frequently in the day which doesn't bother me so much (gives me an excuse to hide in the bedroom from MIL, lol!) but it is a change. I am sure he is ready to be weaned and this is why everything is going wrong but as you know I am a bit stuck at the moment! Bring on Sunday!!

    Will let you know if there is any improvement once weaning is underway, whether with day or night sleeping.

    I guess I can at least be thankful that I'm not having to deal with the heat as well...it's freezing here!

    C image
  • Hi Charlotte, poor you I can feel your pain - and I don't even have the added frustration of the MIL on tap. And I'm guessing no central heating for all those middle of the night wake ups?

    I just felt so sure that if I could get his daytime napping sorted and lose the dummy then the nighttime sleeping through would follow - I had read this so many times on this forum and other sleep expert forums that I thought it was the LAW.

    Good luck with your move this weekend. Hope you get settled in quickly so that you can start with the weaning ASAP
  • Hmm... Peeptoe, I think I could have written your post!! Ollie used to sleep through the night and then at 5 months that all came to an abrupt standstill! I too am now feeding him near enough every 2-3 hours during the night and it is absolutely killing me!!!

    He sleeps so well during the day and is so active that he doesn't really go any longer than 2 hours during the day without a nap so I'm worried that maybe he has too much sleep during the day? But if he doesn't have naps, he is a NIGHTMARE and becomes a screaming mess!!

    Let me know Peeptoe (or anyone else for that matter!) if you do find a solution cos me and my under-eye bags are starting to feel the strain now!! xxx
  • Hi,

    Just a suggestion but when he wakes at night is he using the milk feed to help him get back to sleep? I wonder if he is using it as a prop to self settle during the night? With my DS I was finding he did this as when I'd feed him he would only drink 2oz max which I knew definately wasn't hunger especially as his morning bottle would always be affected. So, I decided to re-settle him using the Pick up/Put down method so he eventually learnt to self settle at night which resulted in self settling well for naps. You could offer water when he wakes at night?

    xxx
  • Hi,

    Just a suggestion but when he wakes at night is he using the milk feed to help him get back to sleep? I wonder if he is using it as a prop to self settle during the night? With my DS I was finding he did this as when I'd feed him he would only drink 2oz max which I knew definately wasn't hunger especially as his morning bottle would always be affected. So, I decided to re-settle him using the Pick up/Put down method so he eventually learnt to self settle at night which resulted in self settling well for naps. You could offer water when he wakes at night?

    xxx
  • Hi Gichu, I think that is exactly right - he is only feeding very briefly before falling asleep. I try to take him off the breast before he falls asleep and put him back down awake but that doesn't seem to help in terms of the wakings.

    I have tried with just offering water and he screams and screams and at the moment I just can't do that to the neighbours as all the windows are open due to the heat.

    I just thought though that now that he can fall asleep by himself with no props (he does that for all naps and when I put hiim down initially at night), he would do it when he wakes during the night. I can't understand why it's different!
  • You are very considerate......once you're ready to, I would just persevere with settling without feeding. I found that the PU/PD (sometimes with a few minutes cry down) always settled my DS within 15 minutes max. I'd cuddle and rock him gently until he was calm then lay him down. If crying resumed, I just kept repeating the process. He soon understood that night time was for sleeping and not feeding and as a result fed better during the day! There's still the odd time he wakes and sometimes (other than when he's teething) a cuddle will get him back to sleep.

    It does take perseverance especially when you know the quickest way for them to get to sleep is through feeding. I have heard also that babies use a different part of their brain for napping and their long sleep, I tackled his night sleep before I did the naps xx
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