My girl is almost 7 months old and has been a high need baby and very difficult sleeper since about 4 weeks. She has always had to be nursed to sleep (or worn in the wrap for naptime). When she hit 6 months it got even worse. Now she will NEVER fall asleep on the first try at night... even with a consistent bedtime routine. We cosleep and I nurse her like usual, and she will sometimes even look *thisclose* to finally snoozing, but she inevitably just starts to become active again and starts crawling around the bed. She will still rub her eyes and yawn and look tired, but nothing will get her back down and she'll stay up another 2 hours. When she finally goes to sleep, she's then up every hour thereafter and has to nurse back down. Many nights she will thrash and squirm in her sleep so that I can't sleep even when she's out.
I tried Pantley's method, I tried PU/PD, I even became so desperate that I tried CIO. Nothing works. I can't nurse her down and then transfer her to her crib, because she's such a light sleeper that she wakes up when I try. I started to worry she might have some kind of sleep disorder, but I think maybe she's just a high need baby with an iron will! I want some kind of happy medium... I don't expect her to sleep 12 hours a night but I haven't had more than 2 continuous hours since before she was born.
Adding to my worry is the fact that we're traveling cross country in October... I'm terrified of how she'll deal with jet lag and all that.
So I hope that all made sense... any advice would be appreciated.
Maybe this will give you hope. My baby was pretty much the same until the eve of his 7 month old birthday! Then he gave us a miraculous 4.5 hour stretch, and a 2.5 hour stretch the next night. He was up ever 20 - 30 minutes this evening, so I'm hoping I can help him find the groove he had a few nights ago. It was SO NICE to have alone time with DH for the first time in forever :)
Do you know much about the sleep regressions, teething, and growth spurts? I found reading up on those helped me explain away a lot of what DS does sleep-wise. My theory is that DS just finished the 6 month growth spurt and is giving us a brief reprieve before the 8 month sleep regression. We're also taking him through three new time zones in the next couple of months, so I can't really expect him to sleep well for the next little while! Poor wee mite.
Have you had her checked out at the ped's? We had the exact same scenario with our DD since day 1, pretty much except for some glorious rare nights when I got a 2-3 stretch at a time, but never twice in the same night. When I brought our DD in, then at 15 mos, our ped (who's reasonably crunchy and open) said that it sounds like a classic case of low iron. We had her iron tested (blood test - they'll cry) and sure enough, her iron was low. Our ped said that in his years of practice, when a baby came in with chronic sleep issues, it was usually an iron deficiency problem.
It's worth checking out. If it's not that, then you know that factor is eliminated. I don't know how open your ped is, but maybe they'll have some ideas that don't involve sleep training at your DD's young age...
Good luck, mama! I do know how miserable it can be... Our DD is 22 mos and we're still working through it. Sleep deprivation is a bad thing.
I'm not sure I understand... Our DD was given the iron supplement directly based on her bloodwork results which were dangerously low. I don't believe that our Ped implied that it had anything to do with breastmilk vs. formula... He's been in practice for probably 40 years and is very crunchy. He even went to Whole Foods for me because he remembered that there was an all natural iron formula (composition not baby food) that was available there but he couldn't remember the name. Our DD did not respond to certain chemical compositions of iron so we've been working through that but it doesn't really have anything to do with breast vs. formula fed.
In our DD's case, she is unable to absorb iron from food so she has to grow out of it and in the meanwhile be supplemented.
Also, from what I read on kellymom.com, mom getting more iron in her diet will not help with baby's iron deficiency. The baby actually has to get the iron him/herself.
DS has recently been having issues nursing down at night, kind of like what you describe with your DD. He could easily keep himself up for an hour crawling and playing around in bed. Recently I have done two things that have helped make it easier for him to nurse down - making sure that there was no nap anywhere near bedtime (usually his last nap ends at least 3-4 hours before bed) and we moved bedtime a bit earlier. Not sure if this will help you, but for us, it has pretty much gotten rid of the wakefulness at bedtime. He still wakes up constantly at night, but if I can get him down the first time, he will nurse back to sleep all the other times he wakes up.
I have never heard the iron thing, that is fascinating!
Claire, book reading, tree loving, coffee drinking wife to K, and happy SAHM to ds G Feb '09 home birth, dd C ~ free birthed June '11, and now a new lil surprise due October 2012