Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sleep Training a 6 Month Old

We were lucky parents. Liam started sleeping through the night very early (as in 6 weeks old), without much effort. I remember the first night he slept 7 hours straight, I woke up on my own and was so scared that something was wrong since I hadn’t been woken by a fussy baby. But he was fine, sound asleep in the Pack ‘n Play in our room. He also went to sleep easily. At nap and bed time, we would lay him down  for sleep and he would be so content and would fall asleep without much effort. It was so easy. 
 

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Shortly after Liam turned 4 months old, we decided it was time for him to start sleeping in his own room, in his crib. I can’t even tell you why we made that decision then…it just kind of happened. I wanted to “see” if he could sleep the night in his room. When he did, without any complaints the first night we tried, we put the Pack’n Play away and never looked back…(actually I was very sad about this and cried). My baby was growing up. 

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For about 2 weeks Liam slept in his room with no issues. It was great! All three of us were getting better sleep and life was perfect. Oh were we in for a rude awakening. 

In early September, Liam started showing signs of teething. LOTS of drool, gnawing on EVERYTHING…he especially loves fabric, increased crying/fussiness, but worst of all waking up MANY times during the night. He would wake up screaming and there seemed to be nothing we could do to calm him down. Nursing didn’t even seem to sedate him. I can’t even count how many sleepless nights we have had this past month, but it has really been wearing on us. Not only was he waking in the night, he also wasn’t falling asleep. He HAD to be held and rocked at all times and would take literally hours to fall asleep. We were exhausted and frustrated. I could not do anything for myself in the evenings, I was a slave to Liam. I finally was understanding what many parents go through when they talk about having a colicky baby. 

Teething


tried just letting him cry, hoping he would fall back asleep. I would last maybe 5 min or less before I ran into his room to comfort him. It got to a point where we didn’t even try to put him to sleep in his room. He just came into our bed at night and when he would start fussing I would try to calm him with nursing. This worked sometimes. But other times he would just scream and then we were all up at 2 am. Then I tried sleeping in the nursery with him. He would fall asleep nursing. Fearful I would wake him trying to move him into his crib, I would fall asleep in the rocker. When he woke up, he would just go right back to nursing. This left me with killer back pain and NO milk to pump for that day. 

Stan also slept in the nursery with Liam many times too… 


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Then we had a well-baby check-up at 5 ½ months and received some great advice from the Pediatrician. Liam is obviously capable of sleeping through the night. All babies are capable of this by 6 months old. They don’t need to nurse in the middle of the night. We just needed to get him back on a schedule. It might be rough at first, but within a few days he should be back to sleeping through the night. 


Here are some suggestions she provided:
 

1. Mommy (aka milk supply needs) to stay away at bed time, go in the other room so he can’t see, hear or smell me.
2. Establish a bed time routine (i.e. same song/story every night, diaper change and jammies)
3. Daddy should put baby to bed
4. It is OK to let them cry (within reason) and learn to sooth themselves
 

This past week we have been working on these things…and I can honestly say they ARE working. Last night we got Liam to sleep around 9:30. He slept until 12:30 am, at which time we let him cry for 5 min before I went in to sooth him. I ended up nursing him for a few min and then put him back in his crib. A few times during the night I heard him fuss on the monitor, but he then fell back asleep. I then woke him at 7 am when it was time to get ready to leave for daycare. 
 

I am optimistic that we are back on track to getting him to sleep through the night again.  We agreed that the teething probably started the bad sleep habits, but we perpetuated it by not following any routine. As any parent can attest…you are constantly learning and adapting to fit the needs of your child. I hope we figure this out soon so we can all get some sleep. 


What did you find that helped get your baby to sleep?

3 comments:

  1. Liam is such a cutie! People have told me how lucky I am that my kids are great sleepers and I quickly say no!, Its not luck but sleep training! I got all of mine on a schedule very early on (Baby Wise). And a few things that have helped with us get our three to sleep well are a routine, white noise, and black out curtains. My older two had pacis when they slept. We took my youngest child's away when he was 5 months old and I had to do the cry it out method with him. Hardest yet best thing I could have done for him. He went from constantly waking up and me having to stick his paci in, to being able to put himself back to sleep. Good luck...I can tell you are a wonderful mama!!

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  2. Hoping to get Liesl sleeping through the night ASAP, I bought the "12 Hours Sleep By 12 Weeks Old" book, and I'm really excited to try it out. She's 6 weeks old today, and I think I'm going to start the training within the next week or two. The concept is similar to Baby Wise, and applies what your doc recommended to you guys. I just figure that an entire family getting enough sleep equals a happy life, right? :)

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  3. I am so glad that the tips worked for you. I will keep them in mind. it can be really frustrating to try and do anything with a baby who is crying for your attention. It helps when everyone in the household gets a good night's sleep, so they can think about productive ways to spend family time.

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