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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My DD is 5 months old. She has always been a fairly good night sleeper but her naps are all over the map. She definitley falls into the high needs category and because of this I spent the first 4 1/2 months letting her sleep when she wanted, etc. Then a friend recommended the Weissbluth book and I caved and tried CIO for 2 days. (I know that this is not really welcome on this forum but I did it because I really thought that my child was suffering from not getting any rest during the day. It was a tough decision and in retrospect not the right decision - please don't flame me. I feel bad enough as it is)

We quit after 2 days because I felt like she had quit communicating with us in other ways (cooing, squealing, etc). So the last week or so we have been back to letting her make her own schedule and she is sleeping worse than ever! She is like a newborn again. Will scarcely sleep unless one of us is holding her. She had been sleeping 10 hours at a stretch at night (even before the CIO) and is now waking up 6 or 8 times a night.

She has slept with us the last 3 nights and it has ceased the night crying. The problem is that DH and I both sleep horribly with her in our bed. I am not even convinced that she sleeps better...she seems to wake and wiggle more often in our bed...but she does not cry. She also does not seem to wake as rested when she sleeps with us. Much fussier after waking, etc.

He thinks that we should try CIO again. He is, however, a reasonable man. He does not want her to cry anymore than I do. He is not adverse to co-sleeping if that is the only thing that will work for her. I feel like I have 2 choices: either let my baby cry or have a well rested child.

I know this is like a novel. I am just exhausted and frustrated and feel like my inconsistency is hurting my daughter. Any advice? Should I just buy a king sized bed and prepare for a year or so of no sleeping?
 

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Co-sleeping worked and works for us. We have a king-sized bed and sometimes my husband does sleep in the guest room (though not usually). I did not sleep well at first but now I do. My baby sleeps wonderfully and nurses in the night without waking up. I love co-sleeping and I think you should give it a shot (at least a week). Admittedly, I think a king-sized bed is essential, though I have known no other arrangement.
 

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It seems likely to me that something developmental or physical could be going on. Is she teething, for instance? Is she working on a major milestone? You said she was sleeping through the night and then stopped very recently-- I wouldn't jump to conclusions that you have to co-sleep if you don't want to, or that no one will sleep for a year.

I wouldn't let her CIO under any circumstances. I would try and address any problems that might be underlying her sleeplessness. Be prepared to give it some time.... my DD has changed things about her sleep patterns many times so far.
 

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Co sleeping also works wonders for us- not b/c she sleeps through the night but b/c I can get more rest by sleeping through her nursing. She gets more rest too since she does not have to fully wake and cry out for me...she can just nurse when she needs too. It took probably a good month or so to get comfortable cosleeping. We started when dd was about the same age as your dd. Now I cannot sleep unless she is in bed with me! Babies that age still do need to nurse at night and will for a while, so my best advice would be to get comfortable at night so you don't have to really wake up every time she needs to nurse.

As far as naps go, the only thing that helped my dd was time. She was a horrible napper until she probably 7 months and then each nap got a little longer and now at 10 mo she usually takes a 1-2 hour nap in the morning and a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon. I didn't try to "make" her sleep or keep her up ever. I just trusted that her body knew what it needed and she would nap when she was tired. As she got older her naps got longer and that was the only thing that helped.
 

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I'm sure you've seen this book mentioned in these forums as many times as you've seen Britaxes recommended for car seats.... but the No Cry Sleep Solution really is great.


A lot happens at 5 mo; teeth may start coming through, baby is more aware, plus a growth spurt....

Routine may help your baby.... a dark room, soothing music, nursing and 'cuddle time'.

My 6 mo old son sleeps in a crib, although our last baby co-slept. Carl sleeps better in his own space- after he has fully relaxed and is ready to fall asleep. He takes a long time to unwind.

The biggest trick for me is going upstairs to our bedroom and being patient with him during the time it takes him to relax. That means not thinking about the kitchen I'd like to be cleaning, or how I'd hoped to weed a few rows in the garden. I have to change my thinking to have the patience for a long routine. I usually have a book to read, because I'll set him in his crib to look at his mobile for awhile, pick him up when he fusses, do the 'shake jiggle pat' stuff he likes, nurse, shush, etc.

The great part about really setting aside time for a routine is that after you learn how to do this (and baby learns) it will take less and less time. But to get going, you'll need to set aside at least a week to 'learn.'

I hope that helps...
Meg
 

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I'd like to add that for naps and sometimes (though rarely) to get my son to sleep, I put him in the mei tai and walk around. This combination of closeness, cuddled in tight, and movement relaxes him like nothing else. It works for Daddy, too. My son is 5 and a half months ol and has two teeth coming in. His naps are shorter now, but his night time sleep is the same. I sometimes lie down in bed with him or on the couch, depending, for a nap and that helps him fall asleep too. The mei tai is really for when he is tired and fighting it or just can't sleep for whatever reason.
 

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I didn't like cosleeping at first, either. The wiggling kept me awake (and fear of smushing him). I've over the fear, and I have gotten used to the wiggles. We did get a cosleeper bassinet, so if he is really moving around, I just put him in that for a couple of hours. He is right there, so I know he is safe and happy (and I can pull him into bed whenever one of us needs/wants it), but there is a buffer so our movements don't wake each other up.
 

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Don't know if any of this will help, but we keep several methods in our arsenal:

For naps, when she starts whining, rubbing her eyes and yawning, I hold her and bounce her or rock her until she looks either sleepier or she gets even fussier. Then I put her down in the co sleeper on her tummy (I have a monitor), make it dark in the room, put the noisemaker on, and do one or more of the following: pat her butt, rub her back, put my hand on her back, sing to her, say shhh, hold her head down gently so she can suck on her thumb. If that doesn't work, I lay down with her in our bed (then she's on her back), and I either just lay with her until she's asleep, or I nurse her to sleep. Of course, if none of this works, I bring her downstairs and start over. I found that trying to get her to sleep before she was really tired usually made her pretty mad. Sometimes, if she started screaming after almost falling asleep, if we shushed her really loud in her ear, or sang pretty loudly, she would quiet down and sleep.

A couple weeks ago, she started to fuss and whine and scream before falling asleep, and it turns out she's an early teether (3 1/2 months), so that's what was making her cranky. Now she likes to sleep on her back better, so for naps, I put her down on her back and hand her a little stuffed bunny, and that usually does it.

When she was uber fussy, we took her out in the stroller or just out walking with her up and down the block until she got really sleepy and tired (or if we were lucky, just plain out)

At night, we usually put her down in her crib which is close to our bed, and that way I can sleep the first part of the night without baby disturbance, and then when she wakes up (anywhere from midnight to 4), then I bring her to bed with me and fall asleep with her latched on. I have to get up to feed her a couple more times through the night, but she usually sleeps and is quiet until 6:30 or 7 in the morning. I get pretty good sleep this way, and this is really important, because I have a hard time napping during the day.

Well, that's all I can offer right now.
I know it's kind of long, but I find it's always nice to have a bunch of ideas on hand.
 

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Frankly CIO won't work. Not really. You're only teaching your babe that parents don't respond to cries and that can be kind of a dangerous thing.

My DD at that age did not have regular naps. I would take her into the bedroom whenever she showed signs of being sleepy, and in her case I never waited longer than hour and a half between naps. DD was always a short napper too so she'd catnap throughout the day. Only now (9 months) does she have an occasional hour nap. Most are 40 minutes.

I think cosleeping is the best. You said it yourself - your babe did not cry. You might consider safe cosleeping practices to relieve your tension. Babe goes between mom and wall or railing and you also might position your babe so that her feet are on your belly. A lot of my friends co-sleep in this position because that way the baby's head is away from the mom's body.

We sleep on a king size bed, and DH sleeps in the guest bedroom every now and then. I think he's started to enjoy having the room in that bed to himself more than that there is really a need for him to sleep there.
DD doesn't wake up at night routinely any more. She flops over to me and looks to nurse but that's about it. Past two months or so, I have been able to walk/nurse to sleep and then set her down on the bed and nurse a few more minutes and then sneak away and leave her sleeping. She's learned that I come in and nurse her as soon as she wakes up so she's not crying when she wakes up anymore. This is a vast improvement over me having to be right there next to her for the first 6 months.

Sorry for the long post, I just wanted to tell you that it does get better. For those who haven't tried cosleeping before, sometimes it takes some time to get used to it because your intellectual side keeps you awake. But consider your babe and how she didn't cry - that's gotta make you feel good.


 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks to all of you for your great replies. I am going to read them all more thouroughly this evening when DH is home to help with her and give me a little research time.

I think that we may try co-sleeping for a couple of weeks and see if it gets more comfortable for us. If nothing else that will give us time to formulate a plan/figure out any underlying physical or developmental causes for the new wakings.

I am so happy that I found this forum. I really appreciate all of your advice.
 

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You've already received lots of great advice. I just wanted to add that I also have a 5 month old dd and that I still wear her for the majority of her naps and have since she was 3 weeks old. We do sometimes nap together in bed in the afternoon, and I've found that what works best for us is to keep it low pressure. That is, I pretend to myself and her that we're just "hanging out" in bed together. So we lay down and play a little, cuddle, nurse, and then I usually read next to her until she falls asleep. She almost always does fall asleep, but for some reason if I'm doing all that to TRY to get her to fall asleep she won't. Some weird reverse psychology thing I guess! And I think your idea to stick with co-sleeping for a few weeks is a good one - it took us a few months to get used to it but now we all sleep great.
 

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That's a REALLY hard age with sleep. I didn't know what the heck was going on with my DD and why she was waking even more than she did when she was a newborn. And I thought for sure I had done something to cause her increased nightwaking.

I found these two articles really helpful.
Wakeful 4 Month Olds
What are sleep regressions anyway?

Oh, and the only way I could get her to nap more than 15 minutes at that age was to wear her in a sling, mei tai or Ergo. At around 9 months, she started to let me lie her down for naps. But until then, the carriers really saved us! And I found that the better she napped during the day, the better she slept at night.
 
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