My 5 1/2 month old, who had been waking only 1-2 times a night since she was 3 weeks, recently began waking much more often, sometimes once an hour or more. We use a combination of placing her in an arm’s reach co sleeper and our bed. She is used to being nursed to sleep, except for naps, which are now only about 30 minutes long. She gets very wound up and overtired around 6:30 p.m. and I nurse her to sleep around 8:00 and put her in the co sleeper (any earlier and she wakes up 15 minutes later). She wakes up rolling around and grunting; if I don’t pick her up this escalates into screaming. I nurse her lying down and either keep her next to me or sometimes put her back in the co sleeper. She usually goes back to sleep after nursing a few minutes, but then wakes up again a while later and the whole thing starts over. I guess she could be teething, but doesn’t seem to be in much pain. She doesn’t seem very hungry either--she’ll nurse right away but not ravenously. I have heard all kinds of advice--that she needs to eat solids, that she needs to be in her own room, etc. Am I reinforcing her night waking by making her dependent on the boob? I have read some articles that suggest I’m ruining her sleep patterns for life by giving her a “sleep association.” But I don’t know what else to do. I just can’t walk around with her for two hours singing when she wakes up at night; my husband can’t either--he works a very physically demanding job and needs his rest. I’ve tried the whole “put her down drowsy but awake” thing and it very rarely works--she has always been extremely active and does not lie or sit still for a minute, even when tired. I guess my question is, is this some kind of developmental phase or will she be like this until she’s 5 if I don’t change the routine somehow? Should I see if giving her solids helps? I don’t want to doom my baby to a lifetime of poor sleep habits, but I refuse to do CIO--she would just cry for 6 hours anyway. I’m a first time mom and am just so overwhelmed with all the conflicting advice. I went back to work part-time and I could really use just two consecutive hours of sleep to keep my sanity--I don‘t expect her to sleep the entire night.
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9/9/08 at 5:04pm