SLEEP > General Sleep Issues

HELP! My "spirited" baby won't stay asleep!


Carys' mom:

Here's our problem caused by accidental parenting: our beautiful 5.5 month old girl (Carys) can not get herself to sleep without either me or my husband rocking her while standing up for several minutes or rocking in her swing. And now, since we tried to Ferberize her, which obviously didn't work, she cries every time we put her down in the crib if she's not into deep enough sleep. Last night, she woke up every hour and I had to rock her back to sleep. Needless to say, neither me nor the baby got any quality sleep last night. I'm not sure how to get us out of this pattern.

As a sidenote, I did manage to get her to go on the EASY routine pretty easily. She used to fall asleep eating sometimes, but I've managed to break her of that for the most part.

Can someone tell me step by step what we need to do to remedy this situation? I can't take much more of this sleep deprivation...


Well, she could be going through a growth spurt, which would explain the nighttime wakings.  How long has that been going on? If it's just a day or so, make sure to feed her a little bit extra during the day and do a dreamfeed to see if that makes a difference.

Also, has she passed any new developmental stages (sitting up, rolling over) or maybe teething?  These things may be reasons for the nighttime waking, though it's most likely a growth spurt which would mean she needs more food.

As for the crying whenever she is put down, are you sure she's crying and not whining or doing a mantra cry?  That could be her way of trying to settle herself into sleep. Since you did the swinging in order to get her to sleep in the past, maybe you missed the fact that this is one of the ways she's able to 'unwind' in order to sleep.  My DS whines (or sometimes cries) just before most of his naps because he draws in so much when he's awake that he exhausts himself mentally and physically.

If she's doing the mantra cry, let her do that for a little bit while she's trying to settle into the nap.  If she's out-and-out bawling, I'd suggest the pu/pd method as discribed in Tracy's sleep interview.  Before you start that, though, I'd suggest you get a 'game plan' together to make sure (1) your consistent in your approach and (2) you and DH are on the same page and both doing the same thing.

A few more questions:
- What is your DD's temperament? Sounds like maybe touchy or grouchy?
- Are there other 'accidental parenting' things that you are trying to break concurrently?  (for example, you mentioned you don't feed her before bedtime; did you break her of that habit before or during the attempt to break her of the swinging-to-sleep?)  Breaking the nurse-to-sleep habit is very hard on certain temperaments so you want to make sure that is done before working on anything else (my DS STILL wants to nurse; that's how I know he's ready for his nap... his head makes a beeline for my bustine.  :lol: )

I hope you're able to get a little more sleep tonight.  :(

wanted to give you some more suggestions as well....

good for you for breaking the eating-to-sleep association.  that's a really hard one.

as a result of the Ferberizing, she has likely lost a little bit of trust in you & dh; that is why she cries when she goes in the crib.  i think the first thing you want to do is to work on rebuilding the trust & getting her to like the crib again.  you can do this by putting her in there when she's fairly happy & letting her play for a bit.  be sure to take her out before she gets unhappy - at first this may be only a minute.  as she gets used to the crib you will be able to leave her in there longer & longer. 

the rocking habit will likely have to be broken using pu/pd.  there is an entire board devoted to this, so you may want to have a look at it.  there are step-by-step instructions on what to do & common pitfalls, etc.

be aware - this will take time; it will not happen overnight.  but if you do formulate a plan & stick to it every time, your lo will be sleeping beautifully!

good luck & HTH  :D

Carys' mom:
Hi Georgia and Jaime,

Thanks so much for responding. Since my post, my husband and I quickly went out and bought Tracy's newest book that they are advertising on the homepage of this site. I had read through most of her first book, but it didn't go into the detail I needed for implementing EASY and doing PU/PD. The new book is great! We have already started trying to get her on the 4 hour EASY plan instead of the 3-hour one. It seems to be going OK so far. She is a Spirited baby, so it will probably take longer than some of the other types of babies to do it. Wish us luck!



--- Quote from: Carys' mom ---I had read through most of her first book, but it didn't go into the detail I needed for implementing EASY and doing PU/PD. The new book is great!
--- End quote ---

I agree!  I kept reading parts of the first book over and over because I couldn't find the info I needed. I'm SO glad she wrote that follow-up book!


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