Apr 26, 2012

baby sleep. advice?

I know all babies are different. I know.
I'd still like your advice, though. we are coming up on 6 months in a few weeks, the age at which many books say most babies are old enough to sleep through the night and understand how to learn to sleep better.

Henry will usually go to sleep pretty well between 7-8pm. We put him down in his crib and he will fall asleep in 5-15 minutes after a little singing or belly patting or shushing, and after a lot of re-putting in his paci. So I think we're doing pretty good in that department. But it's the staying asleep that's getting us right now. He typically wakes up around 11pm, and then between 2-3 more times throughout the night, and often has trouble getting resettled.

At 6 months, I'd like to help him learn how to sleep through the night, just waking up once to eat. I know he can do it - he does it occasionally, and it's awesome when it happens. Also, when he wakes up, I typically only feed him 1 or 2 of the times he's up, so I know he only needs the 1 feeding.

I'm also not ready to let him cry it out for too long, mainly because I feel like it wouldn't work for him. He's very high spirited and I am pretty sure he'd just cry all night long, and I just couldn't do that right now.

How did you get your babies to start sleeping through the night? I'm reading a bunch of sleep books, but none of them really make sense to me. I feel like everyone is the world must be sleeping better than me and Mark and I can't believe we've made it almost 6 months on minimal sleep. When I think back on what I used to think tired felt like, I just laugh at what a wuss I was. I didn't know tired.

Help?

13 comments:

Jen Evans said...

Sister o mine. Lizzie would wake up about the same amount during the night and I would always always nurse her. And I went crazy, if you recall. My doctor laughed at me and told me to stop waking up with baby during the night. So I did. If she was really upset, of course I would help, but usually my brain would shut off at night and I'd ignore the fussies. So the only advice I can give is let him cry it out. What's good for Mom is good for Babe. You can't afford to have a nervous breakdown.

Laura K said...

I have had both the best sleeper in the world and the worst. I don't know why elijah was so horrible but I blame it mostly on the fact that we would bring him into bed with us as a baby so he would sleep. After that big mistake I never brought evie into bed with us. Not once ever. And I never made a big deal of sleep. Meaning we put her pjs on, and laid her down and left. No soothing or bouncing. Lay down, go sleep. Them if she woke up, pick up soothe until quiet, put back down and leave. Though she rarely wakes up. I know. It still baffles me.

communikate. said...

No advice.. but man, he's cute!

2nd said...

I didn't want to let mine cry either and was sure he'd not go back to sleep that way. I was really reluctant but when I finally did it made it so much easier. He learned quickly that he prefers to go to sleep anyway. He loves night time and bedtime and naptime. It was when he was around 6 months. I still fed him once a night until 10 months though.
But even when I let him cry I would go comfort him every 15 minutes.
Anyway, they're all different and I'm sure you'll figure it out. He's a cutie!

nomadic gnome said...

why can't babies just be reasonable? i don't get it. ;)

thanks for the advice. and laura, you really struck gold with baby evie and her sleeping habits. henry usually ends up in bed with us around 5am every morning so he'll sleep another hour or two. he's getting so snuggly!

The Sullengers said...

Hudson was pretty bad too but Roxie has been the best sleeper. We tried multiple times to let Hudson cry it out but it didn't work but I also couldn't stand it after an hour of screaming bloody murderer. I dud cuddle with him a lot though being my first. With roxie I refused to go through the same thing so I don't cuddle with her at all. She has been sleeping through the night since a month old. Some if that has to do with her but I think a lot of it was teaching her from the beginning that bedtime is not for cuddling but sleep. Even when she does wake up its a quick feed or calm down and back to bed. But really I never could figure out what to do fir Hudson. So maybe you will have better luck with your second :) shut your door and wear ear plugs that way you only hear him when he really needs something. My kids talk a lot in their sleep and wake up and move around so not hearing the little things helps. I don't use monitors either for that purpose. Now I'm rambling.....

Josh and Leslie said...

Your first is always the hardest. I'm pretty sure Sawyer didn't sleep through the night on a regular basis until he was 18 months old. It's just so hard to hear them cry and you think they are hungry, what if something is wrong, are they in pain...etc, etc, etc!! After I had my 2nd the "letting them cry it out" was A LOT easier. You have to, because you need your sleep. The first night is rough...not going to lie. You stand by your baby's crib for a LONG time...patting, holding fingers, rubbing foreheads, but seriously it is SO worth it! Finn maybe cried for like 10 mins..super easy, but Miss Reese was 2 nights of super, super TOUGH LOVE!! They need it, you need it and you both will be much, much happier sleeping through the night. I know it's hard to hear them cry, and honestly I cried a bit with Reese. It's tough to hear them cry, but you have to be strong for them. They will learn to go back to sleep on their own and you will be much happier (and restful) people!!

modestmuse said...

Let him cry it out. If you can't handle the noise, make Mark check to be sure he is indeed OK, but put music on or whatever you have to do to tune it out. He WILL be OK. He WILL learn that he has to deal and just go to sleep. We let Nile cry it out from the beginning, and she is the most awesome sleeper now. I thought she would cry all night too, but I remember when she was only a few weeks old, Neil made us time her crying. If she cried longer than 15 min., I could get her. She cried for like 12. Then every night Neil would say "you can get her if she cries longer than X minutes." 10, then 7, then 5, etc. And every night she never cried to the limit he set -- it seems like forever, but if you time it, it really is a short time and he WILL fall back asleep. Nile now sleeps 12 hrs. from whatever time we put her to bed. She has learned to just go to sleep, she is fine and she isn't going to be "rescued". On weekends we keep her up or out with us till 9, 10, 11 ... and guess what? She sleeps in the next day till 9, 10, or 11!!!! I have NEVER woken up before 7 on a weekend since she was tiny. I knnnoooowwww all kids are different, but I think the crying it out really is what kids need. Otherwise you are training them that all they have to do is cry, and you will rescue them. Don't worry, I wasn't always such a hard ___ about it, I have gotten this from Neil who luckily was strong enough to force me to let her cry it out and now I am SO GLAD we did, and I feel bad for folks with kids Nile's age and older who still have them wake up at night, come into bed with them, etc. Oh, by the way, Nile wants to meet Henry. We are going to be in VA on the 11th-26th!!!! I'll e-mail you to set something up.

Clint and Jinger Miller said...

I believe in the crying it out method. If he is waking up around the same times then he is in a habit now. He is not waking up because he needs to eat. It is just a habit and the feeding is soothing him. You have to break the habit. LIttle by little you stop going in the room to soothe. Babies need to learn to calm themselves. I am a firm believer in Baby Wise and used it on both my children with amazing success. I don't know how I could live without it.

Lars said...

Oh Julie, I am feeling your pain. David still isn't sleeping through the night, though after a year I think my body is just used to zombie mode. Crying it out hasn't worked for him. We tried that for about 3 weeks and he was still waking up 2-3 times a night, crying for 20-45 minutes each time. Now, sometimes he sleeps through the night, other times not, and I have no idea why. On really bad nights, we just bring him into bed with us, because otherwise we're both exhausted. David is a horrible napper too, only taking two half hour to 45 min. naps during the day and he's usually a complete mess every
afternoon.
Are you still nursing? It seems like lots of babies sleep better if they are on formula-just a thought if you want to add a bottle of formula right before bed.

Sorry this isn't much advice, just lots of sympathy for you because I know it's horrible. Good luck! Good thing he's cute, right?!

nomadic gnome said...

thanks for all the advice everyone! it really helps to hear other peoples experiences, rather than just reading everything in a big book. you're the best!

Jennifer Fox said...

Oliver has been sleeping (mostly) from 9 -6:30 pretty regularly for a couple of months. I attribute it to a few things: letting him cry it out (we're down to less than 5 min a night now), pacifier, formula, a blankie http://www.angeldear.net/cuddle/1111_puppy_c.php (we would DIE without this, we have two), the electronic sound of the ocean and complete luck. I don't know what will do the trick for Henry but I hope you two get some sleep soon!

Eliza said...

ahhhhh...sleep...

Lars is 11 months old. He's a so-so sleeper, borderline good. My experience is this: Theo woke up at night once or twice until about 10 months, at which point he cried it out (for like 20 minutes I think, if that) and he slept well from then on. He was an amazing napper too--napped until age 3 1/2.

Ida, we made her cry it out at 6 months. She was a pretty good sleeper from then on (although she still woke up when teething, sick, etc. and then once those episodes were over we'd have to do the crying it out again) but--here is my warning--I had MAJOR milk supply issues from then on and barely made it to a year nursing her. I don't think it was even a year, it was like 11.5 months.

Lars, we had cry it out at about 8 or 9 months old, pretty gradually, like taking away one feeding at once and eventually he would go to bed at 6 p.m. and sleep until 4, then nurse and sleep again until 7. Somewhat recently we have let him cry--our rule is not before 5:30--and that took a night or two.

Lars is by far my best nurser, and he loves to nurse and refuses bottles while I'm gone (I work 1 morning and 1 afternoon a week). I have had plugged ducts/borderline mastitis several times, and whenever that happens I let him nurse as much as he wants and that helps. Also I nurse him at night if we are traveling or he is sick.

Anyway, the point of all of that anecdotal stuff is to say, no child is the same, I personally think that "CRY IT OUT AND NOTHING ELSE" is a little extreme for me, but I have done it in some form with all of my kids.

The thing to remember is that it will only work if you are really ready for it. If you're so tired that you are ready to let him cry, then it will work. If you go in a bunch of times or finally give in, it probably won't work. And keep milk supply in mind. And...it will pass sooner than you think. I only add that last part because I am not an old lady. Old ladies always say that and it's like "yeah yeah, I'll blink and they'll be graduating college" but really...before you know it, Henry will be sleeping great and you will look back and laugh at the sleepless nights.

Long comment...sorry. Solidarity. It sucks and we've all been there. He's your kid and whatever you do for him is right because you're the boss. :) I remind my kids often that they're part of a family. Sometimes there's some crying in exchange for the greater good.