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How can I get my 5 1/2 month old baby to sleep consistently at night?

My husband and I are very much at a loss for how to get our baby to sleep. He will be sleeping fine during the night one week and the next week, he won't go to sleep until 5 am all week long. It has turned into a cycle that happens every few weeks since he was 9 weeks old. This is what happens. He will be on a schedule of going to sleep between 8 and 9 pm and sleeping until 6 or 7 am. Then, one night, he will go to sleep at his normal hour, but then wake up 30 minutes later and be WIDE AWAKE until midnight. I know we shouldn't take him out of his crib, but we do because he is wide awake and will roll around and end up on his tummy and then start fussing. So, after a few nights of going to bed at midnight and sleeping until 9 or 10 the next morning, he will suddenly start going to sleep at 1o or 11 and only sleeping for 1 hour and then staying awake until 4 or 5 a.m. Once he starts this, he stops sleeping for long stretches and only sleeps for a total of 6-8 hours in a 24 hour time period. He will only nap for 30-45 minutes during the day, twice a day. So, it's not like he has his days and nights mixed up. It's almost like he's on a sleeping strike. Three nights ago, my husband and I finally decided to try the cry it out method because today marks 2 straight weeks of him not going to sleep until at least 4 am. We put him down awake (which is something our pediatrician has told us to do all along, but our son just won't fall asleep on his own), and went in to comfort him every few minutes without picking him up and then extending the time we went in by a few minutes each time. The first night, he fussed for an hour, but still didn't go to sleep. After the first hour, he didn't cry, but he didn't sleep. He rolled around in his crib, sucked on his fingers, sucked on his feet, messed with his sleeper. He did everything he could do to keep himself occupied, except sleep. (We have a video monitor, so I was watching him). He did this until 5 am, when I finally fed him and allowed him to fall asleep on my chest. Two nights ago, it was the exact same thing. Last night, he was very tired. We put him down at 8:30 (awake) right after a feeding. (Not sure if it matters, but he is breastfed). He ended up falling asleep at 9:50, but only slept for 50 minutes. Then he was up until 2. I fed him again, and put him down, but he stayed awake. At this point, I just wanted my child (and myself and my husband) to be able to sleep. I gave him to my husband and he slept on my husband's chest from 2:30-3:30. Then he was up until I fed him again at 5:30 and he fell asleep on my chest at 5:45-10:15. So, there was some slight progress last night with him initially falling asleep on his own, even though it took him over an hour and then he only slept for less than an hour. But, we are just at a loss. It doesn't seem like the cry it out method is working for him. It seems to me that it gets him even more awake because he focuses on anything but sleep while he is in his crib alone. I feel like it makes him over tired. You wouldn't believe how active he is in his crib and how much he rolls around in there at 3 a.m...

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Asked by jkovacs at 12:47 PM on Feb. 26, 2011 in Babies (0-12 months)

Level 2 (4 Credits)
Answers (6)
  • do u feed him each time he wakes up? with my dd i had to feed her each time or she would never go back to sleep! i bought this video projection thing that put shapes on the ceiling! my dd loved that she would watch it for 15min and then b out!! i found it at walmart! my dd is one now and she still wakes in the middle of the night sometimes once sometimes twice! i feed her and then rock her back to sleep! the only time i ever lay her in the crib awake is when she goes down for naps! sorry im not much help!

    Answer by Caroline2010 at 3:14 PM on Feb. 26, 2011

  • Yes, I do feed him during the night. When he is on a regular schedule and sleeps from 9-7, he will wake up once or twice to eat. However, when he is up all night, I feed him every three hours. They say he doesn't need a nighttime feeding anymore, but like you, that's the only way I can get him to sleep. :( Thanks for the suggestion about the projector though. I think I will try that because he loves staring at the tv and things that move, so he would probably love that.

    Comment by jkovacs (original poster) at 3:21 PM on Feb. 26, 2011

  • Honey, you can't. It's the nature of a baby to change the schedule. He has to grow into that consistency. YES, he needs the nighttime feeding now.

    Answer by gdiamante at 3:27 PM on Feb. 26, 2011

  • The pediatrician told me he doesn't need a nighttime feeding's so hard to know who to listen to. I mean, as his mom, I don't feel like he NEEDS it for nutritional value, but I do feel like he still needs it emotionally, I guess. And at this point, it's the only way he will go to sleep. :(

    Comment by jkovacs (original poster) at 3:32 PM on Feb. 26, 2011

  • Sorry, babies sleep when they are ready, not when parents want them to.

    Answer by rkoloms at 7:33 AM on Feb. 27, 2011

  • my 2 mo old is like tht. ive tried alot even pushing for her to be awake during the day. you cnt change it just gotta deal

    Answer by Rachelxbby at 1:31 PM on Feb. 27, 2011

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