My son is 7 mos and has never been a great sleeper (he sleeps in a crib in his room which is right next to ours - the first week we tried a co-sleeper but the sound of his breathing kept us awake). He was starting to do longer stretches at night (like 5-6 hrs when first put down, then shorter like 2 hrs as we'd get towards morning) but around 4 months that came to a screaming (ha ha) halt and now he sleeps 2-3 hour stretches max. Around 5 months was when we pulled the plug on the pacifier and that meant a lot of crying for a couple nights (we thought it would help if he didn't wake up every time the paci fell out). That was awful.
Now, though, here's what's going on: we have a regular bedtime routine starting at 5:30 or 5:45, he's down by 6:30, and usually he goes to sleep no problem. We put him down awake and he goes to sleep. But when he wakes up in the night it's horrible. He snuffles once or twice and then just launches into full-out screaming. If I get there real fast and it's early in the night (9 or 10) he will sometimes curl up on my shoulder and go back to sleep for an hour... once or twice when I've slept on the futon in his room I can verbally soothe him and he'll go back to sleep... but if he gets right into the screaming then the only solution is nursing. My husband will hold him and rock him for an hour before he'll calm down and go back to sleep and usually I can't handle hearing him cry that long so I just come in and feed him. He arches his back and pushes away from you and I really don't know if that's a pain thing or if he's just so pissed off. He never does that during the daytime (but then he doesn't usually cry during the daytime).
Usually he has a bad stretch at 2 or 3 and will be up for an hour or so. He does not nap easily during the day but we've been really trying to make naps happen... lying down with him in our bed with the curtains drawn usually works if he's tired, but he will wake up after half an hour unless someone is right there to lay a hand on him. Doing that we've managed to get him 2-3 hours of naps each day, usually.
The second thing is that I *know* he silent refluxes because I can hear him do it during the day. I hear it come up and I hear him swallow it. And sometimes (once a day?) he'll have just eaten (breastmilk or something "solid") and he has that raggedy breath that makes me think, "Clear your throat, man! Just swallow that stuff!" But he doesn't seem to mind being laid on his back except for when I'm changing his diaper... which is often right after I've fed him, come to think of it. I think he just hates having to lie there with nothing to do.
He has always been a big nurser and has been above-average in terms of weight and length. So what's going on here? Is he actually suffering at night or is he just doing what seems to be normal baby behavior and waking up a lot and having trouble going back to sleep? To be honest the sleep thing has been incredibly hard on my husband and I (last night we were all three up and crying at one point) and I may be just grasping at straws, but part of me really thinks that metabolically my kid does NOT need to wake up and eat 4-5 times every night. And he's shown us at bedtime and naps that he can go to sleep on his own.
Sorry this is so long, obviously I should have posted about this earlier! If anyone has any intuition on this I'd love to hear it. I'll probably try to get him in to the doc but I don't want to do meds if they're unwarranted. Oh, btw co-sleeping doesn't help things at all for us, so far at least (I bring to bed every time my husband goes out of town b/c I am too tired to get out of bed so many times). Thanks for making it through this if you have!
I'd say normal baby behavior. DD had silent reflux and it was EVERY time she ate and not just coming up in the throat but screamng with arching back from the heartburn/pain. I think he might be be a bit pflegmmy right after eating but reflex for me was more than just hearing it in the throat but the associated pain she had on plain 'ol breastmilk. 4 - 5 time s a night is
I napped with Maya for an hour each day at 7 months - I needed the extra sleep and it kept her asleep for 1 to 1.5 hours which made nighttime a bit better for us.
4 times a night is within normal at that age, maybe having a 9 month sleep regression a bit early? Things settled in at twice a night to feed and fall asleep after the one year molars for us if that light at the end of the tunnel helps any.
Is your babe teething?
I ask this because my girl had reflux when she was little little. It cleared up once her soft larynx hardened. After that, we didn't have any issues with reflux. Also, she seemed to handle reflux fairly well. Perhaps hers wasn't as bad as other babies, but she wouldn't scream and scream. It didn't happen every time she fed. We had issues with sleep because of it, though.
At 9 1/2 months she started to teethe her molars. At almost 13 months, the first one is popping through (has been for about two weeks and still not all the way through) and I can see part of another starting to finally make it's way to the surface. Since then, her sleep went to crap. She used to STTN in her crib in our room. I have tried EVERYTHING to get her to stay there. She now co-sleeps with us. We start her out in her crib. She'll be up anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours and I end up putting her in our bed just so we can get some sleep.
About a month before this tooth started to erupt, I noticed that she started to hiccup. Sometimes twice a day. She hasn't done this since her reflux days. Some nights she had some really funky breath. Usually those nights were ones where she didn't sleep well at all. I can hear it, too. Some nights she would wake up and cry and cry. Other nights she just wants to be held/close to me. That was how she was since birth. (I had to deal with a month of 24/7 fussy/crying/screaming baby because she had milk issues.) I believe it's all the additional acid that the teething is producing.