Author Topic: 6 mo does not know how to sleep!  (Read 521 times)

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Offline bestsmilee

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6 mo does not know how to sleep!
« on: April 25, 2018, 14:23:26 pm »
It's been a struggle and I really don't know what to do! ???

I know the EASY method in and out, the shh pat, and the whole gamut. But I can't seem to implement anything for my baby.

I don't even want to tell you all the bad habits that I've reinforced because I'm embarrassed.

The gist, though, is that I can't get my almost 6 month old baby to sleep anywhere but the stroller (for naps) and in my bed (at night) with frequent NWs every hour or 2 with me needing to nurse her back to bed.

As a younger infant, she was sleeping, not through the night, but went at least 8 hours without needing a feed. Somehow all of our progress got away from us...which probably started at the 4 month SR (probably though a little after the 3 mo mark).

My question is, how I undo all of this? She sleeps in the stroller for naps because I can't get her to sleep in the crib at all. I am traumatized from the shh-pat because my oldest screamed through his first year of life with me using that technique and I will not subject another screaming baby through it. I know the reasoning for it - but I need another method! Because my daughter will arch her back, and scream until she's hoarse, and even though she's my youngest, I can't hear the screams. I feel like I'm torturing her. All I want is for her to sleep independently.

I'm also embarrassed to say that we aren't even on the 4 hr EAS yet, more like 3 hours. But again, naps are a struggle and if I want to remain in her windows then I have to rock her in the stroller.

Part of the reason that we are at this place is because I have a 3 yr old at home. I can't disappear for hours at a time trying to get LO to sleep, while ignoring her sister. Do you think I should wait until she is at camp to really try? But I'm nervous, I really don't know how to begin again.

Pacifiers have been a no-go, too.

Any advice? I'm totally lost.

Offline J-Dad

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Re: 6 mo does not know how to sleep!
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2018, 16:39:44 pm »
So, if you look at my recent post you'll know that my wife and I clearly don't have this sleep thing down yet, but it does sound like we've been through some of the same things you have and maybe a couple of things that have worked for us will be helpful for you, as well.

Quote (selected)
As a younger infant, she was sleeping, not through the night, but went at least 8 hours without needing a feed. Somehow all of our progress got away from us...which probably started at the 4 month SR (probably though a little after the 3 mo mark).

This was us exactly!

Quote (selected)
I don't even want to tell you all the bad habits that I've reinforced because I'm embarrassed.

Yup, that too.

Quote (selected)
My question is, how I undo all of this? She sleeps in the stroller for naps because I can't get her to sleep in the crib at all. I am traumatized from the shh-pat because my oldest screamed through his first year of life with me using that technique and I will not subject another screaming baby through it. I know the reasoning for it - but I need another method!

We, too, never had much success with pat-shush. We've been big on crib-sleeping from early days, but it always meant waiting until DD was out cold then creeping as stealthily as we could to the crib and setting her down as though she were an armful of nitroglycerin. For months I said that the hardest/most stressful part of my day was transitioning our daughter from my arms to her crib.

The way I finally got her to go down for naps in her crib is like this:
  • Begin with DD in my arms singing her bedtime song. I use this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpr9rfPsIP0) because it's a simple melody and iterates, which actually gives me a measure of how long the process has been going on. (Sometimes that's encouraging...sometimes not.) Obviously a song in your native language should work just as well. I just happened to know this one thanks to my wife.
  • Our DD was fine being in her crib for changing clothes or anything that wasn't bedtime. She'd start crying, however, if the room was ready for bed and we put her in there. (Sound machine on, room darkened, etc...) Because of this, I'd set her down in the crib while still singing with the blinds up and the sound machine off. Usually she was okay with this
  • As I sang more and more verses of the song, I'd gradually make the room more ready for sleep. Pull down the shades halfway, turn on the white noise, etc. Generally, I'll pull the shades down in 3 increments until the room was mostly dark.
  • At this point, I'd sing a few more verses, then kiss her on the head and tell her "sweet dreams" and step outside of the room.
  • I'd stand immediately outside her room and wait for her to start to fuss. (She always would.) At this point I'd come in quickly so as not to give her a chance to get wound up and continue singing where I left off.
  • After she'd calmed down I'd give here a couple more verses and put her back in the crib. For some reason, this was usually enough for her to close her eyes and go to sleep! Edit: To be clear, she often goes down after picking her up once. If she doesn't, then I basically just do pu/pd, still never letting her get very upset. On this last nap I picked her up a total of 3 times.

So that's what works for my daughter (much of the time). The general principle for me is to keep all the associations with the crib as positive as possible and never let her get into a crying fit. A little fussing is okay, but no screaming if I can help it. I know this isn't in perfect step with Tracy's methods, but it's something that has worked for us. Hopefully the mods won't mind me suggesting it.

Best of luck to you. This stuff is hard, but sometimes it works!
« Last Edit: April 26, 2018, 17:59:41 pm by J-Dad »

Offline *Ali*

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Re: 6 mo does not know how to sleep!
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2018, 21:11:32 pm »
J-Dad, as long as it's respectful to the baby we are happy for you to suggest most things that aren't cry it out or spanking really :) Thanks for sharing.

Bestsmilee, there's no need to be embarrassed about anything you have done to comfort and care for your baby. Although Tracy was an advocate for independent sleeping she also respected parents' rights to do what works for their family and often said nothing's a problem until it's a problem :) Many of us (mods and users alike) on this forum do what Tracy deemed accidental parenting and have used all or part of Tracy's techniques at various ages and later stages when we felt the time was right.

So, firstly, it's really common for EBF babies to never make it to the 4hr EASY. Most babies will need more BFs than this as breastmilk is digested really easily and quickly and so they need to eat little and often. Current recommendations are to BF on demand day and night. BF research has moved on significantly since the books were written and we like to think that Tracy would have updated her BF advice inline with more recent evidence of the best way for babies to feed had she still been around to do so.

Babies have a huge growth spurt at 6mo when they need to feed more to keep up with the extra calories they need. Also, in the earlier weeks babies spend a lot of time in deep sleep, hence why they can sometimes go long periods without waking for a feed. From 4mo they spend more time transitioning between light and deep sleep in 45 minute cycles and waking more frequently.

If you aren't happy with stroller naps have you tried feeding to sleep then putting down for naps? Then you could put down just a bit less asleep over time. You could also try shush patting as you feed so she gets used to being soothed by it. Then you could continue in the cot if she stirs when she goes down. or just shush patting to sleep in your arms.

I also have a 3yo and a 5mo (and a 6yo and an 8yo!) so I know how hard it is to get LO asleep with a pre-schooler running around. We get lots of naps in the pushchair, carseat and sling while on school and nursery runs or out at playgroups. It's important to balance the needs of the family too.
Cadan Dec 2009 and Colby Aug 2011