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5 mo old still won't sleep thru night!

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
I am at my wit's end right now with lack of sleep. : DS, who just turned 5 mo old this past Tuesday, STILL will not sleep thru the night. According to his ped, she says he should be sleeping for at LEAST 4 to 5 hours at a time. On average, I am up every two hours with ds, however, there are several nights where I am up with him as often as every 45 minutes!!!

His ped originally thought the waking might be due to reflux so she prescribed him some Zantac. We gave it to him for two weeks but the only thing it seemed to do was make his gas worse as well as causing him to spit up all the time. Since we stopped the meds, the spitting up has disappeared but he still has problems with gas at night. I'm thinking his constant waking has something to do with the gas as he keeps straining really hard and curling up. He used to do this when he was constipated but since we've started him on prune juice daily, it seems to have cleared up the chronic constipation. However, I'm now wondering if maybe the prune juice isn't causing stomach cramping/gas?

We've tried co-sleeping, putting him in his crib in our bedroom as well as putting his chair in his crib and allowing him to sleep in that (thought maybe propping him up would help) and nothing, he's still up every two hours.

It might not be so bad if he'd take longer naps during the day but he's now down to three naps a day, both of which are never longer than 30 minutes at a time, whereas he used to nap sometime around the middle of the day for about a couple hours. Dh takes ds on the weekends so that I can catch up on missed sleep but I'm getting more and more burnt out with not being able to get any sleep. This morning, I was sooooo tired. Ds was refusing to go back to sleep and was being especially whiney and I actually yelled at him. Of course it scared him and he started crying and I felt like a world class loser, not to mention a horrible mom. I'm just so tired!

Does anyone have any solutions on how to get ds to sleep for at least a four to five hour stretch? (FYI, I'm not big on letting him cry it out as it's just terribly hard for me, to the point of being almost physically painful, to hear him crying and not go to him.)

Any help or suggestions are appreciated! Thanks!

post #2 of 43
Hey Kfowler,

First of all.....big Before I get going, it WILL get better. IT WILL. I promise. You will not be nutsoid from lack of sleep forever. I promise!!!

do you have a copy of the No Cry Sleep Solution by Eliz. Pantley? has some good ideas in there that were very very helpful to us.

I have been to that place of sleep deprivation more times than I care to recall and it was totally hell...for lack of a more exact term. So please, be as gentle with yourself as you possibly can in your very sleep-deprived state. It is awful! It is used as a form of torture it's so bad! if possible recognize for a moment the level of difficulty you're at right now. Undergoing torture and compassionately parenting the coolest kid in the world at the same time. No need to pulverize yourself for yelling. I yelled, broke glasses on the floor, pulled my hair, cried uncontrollably; crazy stuff. I was nuts when it was really bad.

OK, here is what our experience was like. My kids did not sleep 4-5 hour stretches till after age 1. However I wasn't insanely sleep-deprived for that entire time. Mostly just in patches. Around 6 months was my lowest point with the first one....he was in developmental overdrive and getting lots of teeth and it woke him up a LOT. Then it would ease off. The teething went in cycles as did the personal development stuff. But it was hard at that time. I remember.

It was very helpful to toss out the "shoulds" from any "experts" and to focus solely on whether what was happening and think about whether it was working for me. If I could get 3 hours at a stretch that was good. Something about my sleep cycle.

If you are an attached household the kids are closer by & nursing, and they wake up more frequently. Finding ways to get to YOUR sanity zone could be a helpful way to approach this. Sleep experts, unless helpful, can go fly a kite! they are not up with my child in the middle of the night! (hey! a poem!) So, by doing this--I am closer to my goal already! my sanity returns nicely at 3 hour stretches. 5 would be nice, but not necessary to get me back from the brink.

Is he eating anything yet? (not pushing! Just curious) interested in food? My older one was dying to eat when he was 4 1/2 months. Some aren't ready till later than 6 months. It might be something to consider. (he's getting plenty of goodies from your milk, of course, but it might be worth looking at!)

could dh take him in the middle of the night for a day or so during the week just to get you / keep you back from the brink?

big hugs, hang in there. Things are going to get better, I promise, promise, promise. Good luck finding the tools that work for you this week.
post #3 of 43
Are you nursing? DS is a mess (like that - crying... legs curled up) when I have either dairy or soy. Have you ruled out food allergies like that?
post #4 of 43
Your ped is wrong. Five months is way way too young to expect sleeping through the night, IMO.

At that age they are starting to get so curious about the world, possibly teething - night waking is very normal and very common. I know it stinks to be up, but this is not a problem with your baby. It's a matter of deciding how to cope.

Prune juice is probably not a great idea. The AAP recommends breastmilk only until 6 months. You didn't mention if you're nursing, but if so, I suggest that you bring him in your bed with you, or pull his crib up to your bed, and just nurse him back to sleep when he wakes. Will he nurse lying down?

It will probably be a lot less frustrating to mentally accept the waking and expect that it will continue for some time.
post #5 of 43
Thread Starter 
To answer everyone's questions...

Fiddlemom - No, I haven't read that book but will definately check it out! Thanks!

There are times when ds will sleep up to 3 hours at a stretch but those times are VERY rare right now. However, those times it has happened, I definately felt more rested.

DS has just recently started solids. Right now he gets (sugar-free infant) applesauce at least once a day. He's been having that for about three weeks now so we're probably going to start trying some other foods as well. Some people have said that it might help ds to sleep better at night if we gave him some solids at bedtime. Have tried this and it didn't help at all.

D_McG - No, I am not nursing. I really REALLLLY wanted too but, due to latch and supply issues, turned out not to be able to. So, as a result, ds is formula fed. He's currently on Enfamil Lactose Free. The ped had originally thought that the spitting up and bad gas/constipation could be due to lactose intolerance. (I am lactose intolerant.) The spitting up stopped but the gas/constipation stayed pretty much the same. Other than possible lactose intolerance, no mention of food allergies has been made by his ped.

PancakeGoddess - As I mentioned above, ds is formula fed due to problems w/ bf'ing. I pumped for the first month, month and a half but after that my supply started to dwindle (despite more frequent pumping as well as working with a lac consultant) and I stopped. Since then it's been only formula.

Ds sleeps either in bed w/ dh and I or in his crib which is only about a foot and a half away from my side of the bed, so he's always right nearby. If he wakes in the middle of the night, I usually try holding him and gently rocking him back to sleep. If that doesn't work, and it usually doesn't, then I give him a bottle which usually does the trick.

The reason I give the prune juice is because it's been the only thing so far to help with ds' constipation problem. It got really bad there for awhile. The poor thing would strain and cry until his face turned purple. In addition to that, I would usually have to help him poop at least once a day just to ease his discomfort somewhat. Since the prune juice however, he's been going on his own a couple times a day now and it's normal consistency. I'm not opposed to another solution. It's just that, so far, the prune juice has been the only thing that's worked.
post #6 of 43
Thread Starter 
Oh, forgot to mention...I'm pretty sure ds has started the teething process because he's drooling like crazy and has been chewing everything he can get his hands on, including his own hands! LOL So, that could be part of the reason as to why he's not sleeping through the night. Of course, he's been doing this from day one. It's not something that only recently started. He's NEVER slept more than two hours at a time. (Well, aside from the maybe three or four times he's slept for three hours at a time.)
post #7 of 43
I have to agree with PancakeGoddess. 5 mos is VERY young to be sleeping thru. I have a 28 month old and an 8 mos old. The older one did not sleep for long stretches consistently until closer to a year. The younger one is sleeping about 5-6 hrs, but not consistently. They've got so much going on at this age that it's no wonder they wake up a lot at night. I agree with PP who said to make the best of it, try to cosleep or sidecar if you're using a crib, and hang in there. It will pass much sooner than you can imagine, particularly if you're not dwelling on it. The, er, "experts" know only about "average" babies. Your baby's special!

post #8 of 43
kfowler--sorry to make the assumption about nursing! you went through such an ordeal. sorry to be so obtuse!: I hate it when I do that! OK, back to the discussion at hand.....
post #9 of 43
If your babe recently started solids, I wonder if that could be causing the nightwaking? Maybe the solids are upsetting his tummy...it's very possible he's not ready for solids. It's recommended to wait until at least six months for solids anyway. What if you cut out the solids and see if that helps?

I agree with pps...five months is way too young to expect him to sleep through the night. Hang in there, it does get better!!
post #10 of 43
For some reason, I misread your ds' age as 5 yo. I was thinking there must be something wrong with the poor kid because even my 5 yo ds is up to 4-5 hour stretchs! Anyway, just another mama agreeing that that is a high expectation for a babe. I remember a lot of up every hour nights. Sometimes, I'd nap on the couch while dh held the baby in the evenings, or while dh took ds for a walk. I ALWAYS lay down with ds for naps and got whatever sleep that I could during that time. It was grueling and you have my greatest sympathy
post #11 of 43
Hi there,

You've gotten so great advice so far, but I just wanted to tell you I know where you're coming from! I'd say sleep deprivation has been my/our greatest challenge with ds. When he was your son's age, his sleep was just awful. I was up at least three times in the night, often for 40 minutes at a time, and he had a really hard time napping during the day. So I was exhausted, to say the least. I felt bleak and hopeless about the sleep thing. I was crazy in love with ds and our little family, but I just couldn' see how the sleep would ever get better.

No Cry Sleep Solution did help some, if only to help us understand more about infant sleep and have healthier expectations. BTW, there's also a ncss support group on Yahoo! which is really great. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NoCrySleep2/

I do second the pp about 5 months being too early to be expected to sleep through the night. And our little guy had constipation issues, too, although much later, and that upset his sleep. Teething still messes him up.

All I can say is it does get better. There may come a time when you want to implement measures to help your baby get better sleep (learning to fall asleep on his own, nightweaning, etc), but honestly, I know lots of babies who go through this stuff and still wake up a lot. Some babies are just lousy sleepers. What was key for me was getting the naps under control, because then I knew I could rest as well. By six months, he was napping fairly regularly, twice a day. We worked hard to establish routines, keep him active enough to tire him out and find optimal ways to encourage sleep (like in the winter, he loved to fall asleep in his stroller on a long walk; I kept him asleep in the stroller once home in a cool room and slept if I could). And as you'll read in NCSS, sleep begets sleep: a baby that is well-rested in the day will sleep better at night, odd as that sounds.

I could go on and on. For what it's worth, ds is 18 months and still wakes up 2-4 times a night. But the good thing is we have never let him cio, he always goes to sleep peacefully, the wakings at night are much briefer, and I can always count on his nap. So in that sense, it's much, much better.

Hope this helps and good luck to you both!
post #12 of 43
There is a great post on the kellymom message boards that talks in general about sleep problems. I hope it's OK to post a link? If not let me know and I'll remove it.

post #13 of 43
s I know how hard it can be... I normally just lurk on the Family Bed forum because I don't have sleep answers but I did feel compelled to share my thoughts on this one.

Most babies don't naturally sleep thru the no matter what the peds or other mommy friends may say and certainly mine does not.

Maybe his system is reacting to the formula, prunes, etc...Have you considered taking away his solids and trying a different formula or looking in goat's milk which digests more easily and possibly adding a probiotic to support his gut flora? Solids are not necessary at this age. (There will no mistake when the baby's ready-he'll show you plus he'll be sitting unassisted abd have a developed pincher grab).

Maybe ds needs a different kind of care: Chiropracter or CS therapy?

just my 2 cents... s
post #14 of 43
sorry to hear your little guy is having so much discomfort. my stepson who I have been caring for since he was one went through several brands of formula until we found one that did not constipate him and give him tummy troubles. we were always massaging his tummy to help him. you may want to switch brands, I think Enfamil is the one we had the most trouble with. The applesauce is high in fiber, so should help his BM. also I noticed when my babies were teething, it hurt them more when I layed them down, I guess because all the blood would rush to their teeth. I would recommend that you take nap(s) when your son naps, I know its hard to do, but it is also very important that you get plenty of rest, especially if you are not getting a good night sleep! so start napping! If i imagined i was in his shoes, i would imagine being constipated and gassy, and that my teeth hurt more when i layed down, and even though i'm really crabby, i would like it most when i'm comforted one way or another. You're doing a good job, this will pass quickly.
post #15 of 43
Five months old? I definitely would not expect sleeping through the night at that age. Seriously, that's like three years too young to even think of such a thing, in my experience. Someone is feeding you a line.

I have no idea how to do it without nursing, that would be really hard. Would a pacifier help, or is that a no-no when a baby is already formula fed? I would be tempted to find out about relactating, just because nursing makes everything so easy by comparison to not nursing. But if that's not an option (and I have to admit total ignorance on relactation beyond hearing the word) I wonder if having a pacifier would work, or even just letting the baby "nurse" without milk to help with sleep?

I think cosleeping would make things much, much easier, too, so long as the basic safety precautions are met. I don't think sleeping in the chair sounds safe to me.

Good luck. I would really give up on the fantasy of sleeping through the night, and just surrender to the idea that sleeping through the night almost never happens in real life at five months.
post #16 of 43
I'm commiserating with you here! My nearly 6 mo. old is going through a rough patch sleep-wise. Teething, I'm sure. However, I wanted to suggest a couple of things that helped us early on with him. He was very much like your DC during the first few months, but when we started him on probiotics it helped tremendously. Cleared up his intestinal discomfort entirely. Also, we had good luck with gripe water, fwiw. Another thing we tried when we were in the thick of his pain was craniosacral therapy, which a PP already recommended. Right after he had treatment there, a chiropractor cleared his valves or something like that, but he filled several diapers immediately and has been fine since. All three in conjunction really REALLY helped us.

And your pediatrician is WRONG. No one can say with certainty what any child SHOULD be doing. They are all unique and right on track where ever they are.
post #17 of 43
I don't expect my kids to sleep throught the night consistently until they are FOUR YEARS OLD. I've been where you are at though with my first child (a very colicky high-needs baby) and if someone had just told me that some babies sleep through the night but in reality most won't, it would have saved me a lot of worry and guilt and if my husband had understood this more perhaps he would have been more flexible and supportive during this time. Of course check out possible medical concerns, but really it is far to young to even think about sleeping through the night. Soon you will have teething and then there will be separation anxiety, then exictement over being able to walk... All these things affect sleep. Temperment also is manifested in the baby's sleep needs. My daughter is an "easy" child and goes along with most anything, it is no surprise then that she wakes up the least at night. What helped me get the most sleep was just going with the flow... "OH. here we are again reaching a developmental milestone or cognitive shift and lots of night waking for the next month or two...". It seems that the babies go through times when they will sleep and so you think they should from that point on, but there will be plenty more times when they won't sleep through the night. I "still" wake up at night. I just know what I need (like going to the bathroom, or change position) and have the ability to fix the situation and then go back to sleep. As parents we help our children learn these pretty amazing skills. One of my children just gets thirsty a lot at night. She is old enough to tell me this and can get a drink of water if needed. It is hard knowing what is going on for a little baby who can only cry.

This too shall pass
post #18 of 43
It can be so rough when they aren't sleeping. It can definitely be personality based. My 17 month old has only slept a 4 hour+ stretch about 3 times in his whole life. We are nursing and cosleeping and that doesn't afford me anymore sleep. For most of his first year he never slept longer than 40 minutes ever. He is now starting to sleep reguarly for about 2-3 hours at a time. My first daughter was very similar and my second child slept through the night the night he was born. I parented them all very similarly but two weren't sleepers and one was a great sleeper. I take naps when I can, get dh to get up with him on the weekends so I can sleep in and just don't plan a lot when things are really bad. It does get better. 5 months is so very young and they really need us especially at night. It is always good to investigate and try to find solutions but sometimes it is just their personality and not much can be done.
post #19 of 43
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Fiddlemom
kfowler--sorry to make the assumption about nursing! you went through such an ordeal. sorry to be so obtuse!: I hate it when I do that! OK, back to the discussion at hand.....
No worries Fiddlemom! With so many people posting here, it can be hard sometimes to keep everyone's stories straight!
post #20 of 43
Ok first, I feel your pain! I am a total zombie, my daughter was 5 months old on Monday, one day before your babe. I nurse her every HOUR at night sometimes. The other night she woke up at 4am and wouldn't go back down until 6am, wanted to sit up and play and scratch her nails on the surfaces around her to hear the noise. Funny right? NO! :

Its been gradually getting worse since about 3.5 months. Up until then she'd sleep like 10 hours, wake up and nurse, and then sleep another 3. I noticed that the nightwaking started with the drool and they increase simutaneously.

I'm going to my naturopath this week to ask if I can give her Hylands Calms Forte, so I'll let you know what he says.

A big change for me was when I just started accepting it. I no longer resent it because I just expect it, and I love her so much, so I just do it.
That being siad, I know I can't go on like this forever, because I feel my body getting REALLY run down. And its taking its toll on DH who bounced her back to sleep last night SIX times in addition to all my nursing. It's gotten so bad that she leaks out of the 3 layered cloth diaper that usually has always held her through even a bad night because so much nursing=alot of pee!

I agree with the PP's though that 5 months is way to early to expect a baby to sleep through the night, and usually ped's say silly stuff like that. Only you can really know your baby and what is right for him/her. That "advice" is only an approximation.

Anyway, I'm going to let you know if I find anything that works, and you should do the same, because I'm so tired ........:
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