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6-9 Month Baby Sleep Guide

If your baby is in the 6-9 month age range one of two things is happening:

1

Things are getting dramatically better!

Your baby is taking longer more predictable naps, you’re down to 0-1 feedings at night, you’re no longer wearing flannel PJ pants to the grocery, and you’re reading enough to show your face at your monthly book club meetings. WOO HOO!

2

Things are bad or possibly getting even worse!

Your baby is taking short unpredictable naps, bedtime is a dreaded chore, and you’re up so often at night you wish you could go back to the newborn phase because that was easier. (If so keep reading!)

You’re probably done swaddling your bigger baby but some older babies still need to be swaddled although I promise you you’re very close to being done with wrapping up your baby Houdini. You’ll want to continue to use loud white noise and work hard to make sure you aren’t keeping baby awake too long. Your 6-9 month old baby is hopefully taking somewhat longer and more regular naps (check out Baby Sleep What is Normal for more details on this). Most babies at this age are napping ~3 times a day. The first 2 naps are serious where the 3rd nap (which falls in the late afternoon/early evening) is generally more of a cat nap.

Teaching Your Baby to Fall Asleep

teaching baby to fall asleepYou can no longer nurse, rock, pat, etc your older baby to sleep. If your 6-9 month old baby is sleeping poorly THIS is the problem. It’s not the teething, growth spurts, wonder weeks, learning to roll over, or any of those other changes that make parenting an older baby so exciting. The problem is that they haven’t yet learned how to fall asleep on their own.

The process of gradually reducing the amount of nursing, rocking, and butt patting you do can be frustrating. But it’s REALLY important. Also? Failure to do so almost guarantees you will never ever sleep through the night. That’s how important it is.

I know it’s not easy but trust me, the longer you wait to deal with this issue the more likely it is that you’re headed towards cry it outsville. I’m not saying you can’t avoid this path, but as your baby get’s older, it get’s harder to do so. So really, now IS the time.

Further Reading

Ultimate Guide to Vanquishing Short Naps
How and Why to Use and Loose the Paci
Weaning Baby OFF the Swing
When Night Weaning isn’t Working
Bedtime What Time?
Why Your Baby Hates the Crib
Are You Keeping Baby Awake Too Long?
Sleeping Through the Night Part 1
Sleeping Through the Night Part 2
What You Need to Know About Sleeping Through the Night – Part 3
And of course the ever popular – Baby Sleep What is Normal?

 

343 Comments


  1. Hi, and thanks for all your great advice. I am wondering, my almost 6 month old goes to sleep on her own really well, she always has. But when she was 10 weeks old she started having really short naps and waking after 40ish mins after going to what used to be bed for the night. Her naps are longer now and I leave her in her room awake and she goes to sleep every time, including bed time. However she wakes frequently all night and now will almost never settle again unless she has nipple in her mouth. Some nights she only wakes once, but mostly it can be up to 10 times. I don’t do anything different on the nights she doesn’t wake much. Wondering if you have any tips for me? Thanks!

  2. Well if it’s 10 times then you know she’s not hungry right? She is looking to self-soothe on the breast. Which is OK when they’re newborns but is a bit excessive at 6 months. It also makes it really hard to gradually night wean because you have no way of knowing just how much she’s really eating because while most of those sessions are just comfort-suckling, she’s obviously getting some food in there too. So…

    I would REALLY separate nursing from sleep time. Put at least a 30 minute gap in there. So if bedtime is 7:00 PM, no more time on the breast past 6:30 PM. Same for naps. Give her TONS of soothing options – loud white noise, a lovely (preferably that smells like you, you may want to stuff it in your bra during the day when not in use), dark blinds, etc.

    When she wakes at night I would try to have your partner settle her without the breast. She might legitimately be hungry at times which can be really tough to suss out. But TRY to not give the breast more than 2 times a night. Daddies are generally more successful with this as they don’t smell like food.

    At 6 months I would also let her fuss for a while if you’re pretty confident she’s not hungry. What happens if you don’t go in for 10 minutes? 15 minutes? Push her a little to see what happens.

    • I have a six month old girl who started off sleeping about 5-7 hour stretches at night. At about 5 months she steadily declined and is now waking up 3-4 times at night. We still use the swaddle but let one arm out for soothing her since we have incorporated the CIO method (kind of). We feed her, let her hang out for about 40 min and then rock her until she is very sleepy and put her in the crib. She usually does great and goes to sleep, but only for an hour. Then we go in, soothe her without picking her up and start the CIO again. This is an ongoing cycle all night long and her stretches of sleep are getting shorter and shorter!! She does use a pacifier but we try not to give it to her at night because when it falls out she wakes up. We also use a nightlight in room because have found if she can see she is more likely to smooth herself to sleep. Any suggestions or reasoning behind this decline?

      • You’re not doing CIO, you’re rocking her to sleep. I mean yes she’s still 10% awake when you put her down but 10% is not 100%. Also the fact that you’re rocking her till ALMOST asleep can create a rock/cuddle=sleep association which absolutely explains the fact that she wakes up all night long.

        The reason things have declined is that prior to 5 months independent sleep isn’t an issue because your child hadn’t mastered object permanence yet. Now she has which is why her falling asleep TRULY independently at bedtime is so crucial.

        So remove the rocking fully and let her fall asleep 100% on her own and see what happens. Good luck!

        • Hello, my son is almost six month old. Until recently he would fall asleep on his own in his cot at nap times and bed time. Now he will not fall asleep, not even during the day I tried to cuddle him in but that didn’t work either, if anything it made him more angry. He ha started to hit him self and me when he doesn’t get his own way. He won’t hit his dad or scream at his dad or nanna but he will do it to me. I do the same as they do and tell him no and change he tone of my voice but he just gets angry and throws him self around when I do it. I’ve tried everything to get him to calm down. He’s constantly on the move during the day will not sit still always has to be on his feet or in his jumparoo.also wakes up every hour during the night we are both so tired. How do I stop these tantrums and him getting so angry with me and pulling my face? And how do I learn him to sleep on his own again

          • Also if I don’t pick him up when e winged during the day, he looks at me and coughs, I know they are not real coughs because as soon as I pick him up to make sure he is not choking he smiles at me and then squirms to get out of my arms

    • My baby used to sleep throughout the night. At 5 months of age she had to have surgery for craniosynostosis. After surgery she has to wear a helmet 22 hours out of the day for almost a year or more depending on the results. Now she is waking up 4 to 7 times at night. I used to not be there during the night and now I’m feeding her 3 times at night. I tried giving her cereal or baby food before putting her to bed and it hasn’t worked. I just haven’t been able to get her back to the routine that she used to have you don’t know what other tricks to do to get her to sleep throughout the night, especially because of the helmet. Any suggestions?

  3. Thanks Alexis. Yeah, I know she isn’t always hungry but rather now used to my nipple as a dummy. The funny/frustrating thing is that she’s never been fed to sleep. Ever since she was born we’ve done feed, play, sleep. And even times when I’ve wanted to try feeding her to sleep she hates it and it never works. So she’s always had breast, bath, books, bed. She has a lovely too. Which I wear in the day. Block out blinds and loud white noise, music.
    If I leave her she gets so upset, starts having trouble breathing and then is so awake she’s up for two hours. My partner has only tried a few times as he usually puts our 2 yr old to bed, but whenever he does she screams until I come.
    She has a pacifier which she takes successfully for all her naps and at bedtime, but when she wakes 40mins after bedtime and until the morning she just won’t take it. I’ve tried lying with her for up to 30mins and she just screams and won’t take it.
    Do you think she just needs to cry about not having breast and that’s the only way? We really don’t want to let her cry, but I am interested to know your opinion, whether you think that is the only way.
    Thanks a bunch for replying to me

    • Does your pediatrician have any thoughts about a potential underlying medical issue? Any chance of a mild food allergy or reflux? Because typically the only times babies REALLY have a hard time breathing is when they have mild reflux. And they’re not really having a hard time breathing – what happens is that when they’re upset and crying the stomach muscles compress the stomach pushing stomach contents up into the esophagus. Then the lungs close off (this is natural and a GOOD thing as it keeps baby from aspirating on stomach contents) which sounds to us like “baby can’t breathe” even though what is happening is “lungs are protecting themselves from aspirating on vomit.”

      I know it can sound alarming although its temporary and pretty harmless. But back to your issue…

      I’m wondering if there might be some mild underlying medical issue which is making her seeking so much soothing (the constant soothing sucking all night long). Because I believe what you are describing is either a) she REALLY needs soothing and is getting upset because she’s not getting it or b) the most SEVERE parental preference I’ve ever heard of (which makes me doubt that is the underlying cause).

      Being up all night is not helping anybody so if you’re 95% confident that she is a happy healthy little baby with no tummy issues then I would suggest CIO might well be worth considering. But first I would want to rule out some small issue that might be tripping everybody up. Thoughts?

      • Thanks for your thoughts Alexis. I do appreciate it. She is sensitive to wheat and yeast in my breast milk, so I haven’t been eating them since she was a few months old. I am also sensitive to those things, and my older daughter was too but seems to have grown out of it now. So I wouldnt be surprised if there was some thing there that makes her unsettled. My family has a history of intolerant guts…it’s not an allergy though. So, it will get better for her as her gut develops (if that’s what it is). My doc has said she doesn’t see a reason to get her checked, because she is mostly happy and had no signs of allergies or anything. I could get her tested if I wanted to but as I am fairly confident on what it is I would rather save the money.
        The last week or so she is settling a little longer between wanting to suck. I still am not convinced that it’s not hunger. She is settling into solids now – I have been taking it slow because of the gut thing. That may be making a difference. I have been working on getting her to have more milk when she does wake instead of falling asleep and it has helped a little I think.
        Thanks for all your advice 🙂 it had made me think and try a lot.

        • So glad to help!

          I just wanted to throw something out as you’re starting solids. Solid food has almost no calories in it. People often think they are “tanking up their kids” by starting solid foods when the reality is the opposite. I recently when to a pediatric talk on foods and got this great comparison:
          4 oz BM = 80 calories
          4 oz gerber carrots = 15 calories

          However solids are really filling. So she may seem full but not really be full (baby food is like chinese food for babies;). So if you feel she isn’t getting enough food during the day then you will want to be really careful in when/how you introduce solids as they may result in lowering her caloric intake during the day. Does that make sense?

          I’m wondering about the pacifier. It could be that perhaps her falling asleep with it is causing her to wake up disoriented (object permanence) and this is why she is having such a hard time falling back asleep during the night.

          http://www.troublesometots.com/ruining-your-kids-the-old-fashioned-way/

          Just a possibility to consider. Good luck with her gentle tummy!

          • Hi,

            I just wanted to respond because I am in a very similar situation. My 7.5 month old daughter used to nurse to sleep but I broke the habit using the “No Cry Sleep Solution” and successfully transitioned her to her crib from my bed 2 weeks ago. She also wakes very frequently at night, 5-8 times since the age of 4 months (before that she slept well) and requires nursing to get back to sleep. The best night lately would be 4 wake ups. My husband is stepping in as we speak. I cut wheat, dairy and soy from my diet for a month, no improvement, I hadn’t considered yeast. I had allergies as a baby and her tummy has been a bit funny.

            I will try nursing 30 mins before bed and naps, right now it’s in the bedtime routine, just not last. Can you give any thoughts you have on how dad should be introduced into bed time and night wakings? He has previously been uninvolved in bedtime because she gets excited and wants to play with him, but 4 months of sleep deprivation has taken a toll on me and he has taken a couple of days off work so we can have a long week-end of him putting her down and getting up with her. I did the regular routing and then passed her off to him and he insisted that I leave the room. Is there something we should do differently? I too am very uncomfortable with anything beyond protest crying. Also, my baby girl’s weight dropped recently. She is very active. I appreciate your comment on solids. Which night feedings do you suggest I leave in? Thanks for all of your great insights!

          • Wow! All I have to say is Thank You for this wonderful website..I’m glad I found it. I am going to be trying this. I do have a question though.. He keeps waking up and making sure I am next to him…How can I get him to sleep all through the night without him worrying if I am right next to him or not??

  4. Sorry, by ‘leave her (and she gets so upset she has trouble breathing)’ I mean, if I don’t go in for 10 mins

  5. My son is 7 months and wakes up like clock work at 11 or 12 wide awake we dont go in there we leave him settle himself back down to sleep. Hes on a sleep schedule since 3 months and we havent changed from it. he is teething and the bottom 2 teeth are almost out i was wondering these random night wakings will they stop or what sould we do.

  6. Oh hes 21 pounds as well he has 3 oz bottles and 3 4oz baby food andim noticing he wakes up at 5 to eat but his last feeding is at 9pm so i feed im at 5 but im scared its out of habit

  7. Yea he’s going to sleep on his own. No patting or nothing we just put him..com for his bedtime and he falls asleep. And teething it is there almost out and we noticed he’s practicing his new sitting up skills when he would wake up. And he’s been crawling since 5 months this army crawl but now he’s starting to.crawl on all 4s

    • Kayla,
      I’m a little confused about what he is doing. You say his last feeding is at 9 pm. But then he wakes up at 11-12. But you say he settles himself back to sleep without you. So – is that a problem? Babies wake up far more often than we do at night. If a baby wakes up and is able to fall back to sleep on their own I would call that a successful night. No?

      THen he’s also feeding at 5:00 AM yes? This could be a habit but it may not be one easily broken. Check this out for ideas on how to gently wean off the 5:00 AM feeding.

      http://www.troublesometots.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-sleeping-through-the-night-part-3

      The challenge I’ve seen is that lots of 5:00 AM eaters end up starting the day when the 5:00 AM bottle is removed. Which is not to say you shouldn’t try – he may surprise you! But he may also decide to start his day earlier (possibly even 5:00 AM) once that feed is removed. IF that happens you’ll have to decide if you prefer to stick with the 5:00 AM feed for a while in exchange for a later wakup. Good luck!

  8. Sorry yes he goes to bed at 6:30 pm.
    And wakes up at 9pm hungry we feed him and he goes back down for sleep. At the time of my past emails he was waking up in the middle of the . We found out 4 days ago he’s been mid night practicing. His sit up skills. Now as of yesterday he sits up now and does not wake up anymore at night for the past 2 nights. He does wake up at the usual 8am in the morning now. And your right it is consider successful ,

  9. My boys going to be 6 months soon. Bedtime is hell now. I havent changed anything. Naps are a fight. And up 2-6 times a night. Bed at 7 up at 5 am. Hes exhausted so am i. He can put himself to sleep when he wants. Some nights he gets up for a few hours to play in his crib and 80% of the time he goes to sleep by himself in his room. Why all of a sudden is it a battle? I know its warm but we have ac.

    • Jackie,
      It sounds like classic object permanence stuff a la :
      http://www.troublesometots.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-sleeping-through-the-night-part-i/

      It’s not the heat (although that would be a lot easier to fix!). I know you say he goes to sleep by himself in his room but that’s still the root cause. So either a) he’s not awake enough when you leave or b) there is something in your bedtime routine that is tripping you up. For example, you nurse until he is sleepy and then put him down. In his worldview he’ll still expect to be nursed when he wakes up throughout the night. This also holds true for rocking or whatever else is going on.

      • Thats the thing. Sometimes i put him down fed wide awake and he plays to sleep. He does it repeatedly at night..sometimes i wonder if he sleeps at night! I dont wake up unless he crys, but i have got up to go pee and hes playing then and puts himself yo sleep. Then bam its back to walking to sleep or a relaxed enough state to sleep. He will no longer eat on my lap or anything i have to feed him in a quite dark room or he screams and refuses to eat. Some nights are great some nights are a fight. He still eats three ten oz bottles in a twelve hr period at night. I try to cluster feed during the day but it doesnt help. He has the same routine every day. I just got him napping in the afternoon again after a two week strike on his part. I use white noise, he has a security blanket always in the crib with him. At night i do not allow him out of the crib or lights nor do i talk to him. Im lost and confused. I dont know what im doing wrong!!! I will not do cry it out till a year. After researching it im against it completely! Oh he goes to bed six pm up at seven for a bottle then eleven then between one and four he eats again. I dont allow him to start start his day till six am since he barely naps. He naps eight am till eight thirty. Up till eleven am then down till twelve thirty. Then if im lucky lick today hell have a nap from three too four pm. Dinner five pm with the family. Five thirty bottle. In bed ten to six pm to calm relax and be asleep by six pm. I dont think i making him overtired. I dont know whats going on!!! He is formula fed twenty one pound six month old!

        • Jackie,
          It’s fine and normal for him to wake frequently at night and it’s a really good sign that he’s entertaining himself and then falling back to sleep on his own. But I suspect there is a problem with how you are soothing him to sleep. Are you consistently putting him in his crib awake and leaving the room? Or are you sometimes putting him down awake and sometimes rocking him to sleep? As I said, this really IS the root cause of your problem. It’s also why his naps are so short.

          I’m not trying to say you have to do CIO if that doesn’t feel right to you, but you really do need to tackle the “put down awake” issue because this is what is leading to the night waking and short crappy naps.

          Also holy cow this kid is drinking THIRTY OZ of formula at night! He won’t eat more during the day because he’s not hungry. So you need to make him hungry. I would slowly start diluting his night formula with the method here:

          http://www.troublesometots.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-sleeping-through-the-night-part-3/

          This will reduce his calorie intake at night which will make him hungrier during the day. This is not guaranteed to stop the night waking (which will continue until “put down awake” is happening consistently) but it WILL get him out of the habit of eating so much at night and will help him be more interested in eating during the day.

          • Thanks!!! You have no idea how many of your tips ive had success with. I am not consistent on putting him down fully awake. Ive increased his solids during the day and only give 2 bottles at night, unless hes so hungry that he has to be fed. Slowly getting better. Ive introduced a security teddy blanket, in replace of me eventually. Ill keep at teaching him to fall asleep by himself! After all rome wasnt built in a day!!! Thanks again. Ohh and thanks to you i got 6 hrs sleep in a row last night!!!!!!!

  10. My baby just turned 6 months and she will not sleep longer then 1hr if I’m not laying down with her. We have the hardest time going to sleep at night as well we are up until 12 sometimes. We just bought her crib but I don’t know how I will get her to sleep in there of she will not sleep alone

  11. Hi Alexis,

    Wondering if you’ve heard of any sleep regression or growth spurts or such other issues that may commonly occur at around the 7-8 month mark?

    My lil angel-troublemaker, now 7.5 months, has always fallen asleep on his own since 5 months, and has done beautifully consistent 12-13 nights for about 3 months. (He did 12 hour nights at 3 months too, then had night wakings at 4 months.) He finally outgrew his short naps about a month ago, and now takes two 1.5-2 hour naps. Because of that, there is a noticeable change in his schedule: his night sleep has gone down to 10-11 hours, and he has fought the third nap tooth and nail. For about a week we forced him to take a third nap (car ride, carrier, clamping him down on daddy’s chest), then soon it became obvious he could stay awake ~3 hours at a time, so we made adjustments so he was just taking 2 long naps. I really make sure the gap between his PM nap wake time and bedtime is no more than 3 hours, because I tried experimenting with a 2-3-4 schedule following baby’s cues, and very soon realized as much as he wanted to stay up 4 hours, his body couldn’t handle it. All that is fine, I just go with his cues.

    Starting 9 days ago, he started having night wakings. At first they were at random times, although more or less between 10:30pm-midnight, and not always hungry. I thought initially he could be overtired from transitioning schedules. But for the past few days, it’s consistently at 11pm and he drains my boobs. Except, it’s now 2 night wakings (maybe 1am or sometimes 5am).

    I noticed that because he naps more now, he nurses less. Before, he nursed every 1.5-2 hours because he ate every time he woke from a short nap. Now it’s every 3 hours with solids in between. The # of feedings went from like 7-8 down to 4 maybe 5. I try to encourage him to nurse more each time, or more frequently, but little people have a mind of their own, as you know. He is also teething (popped 2 on the bottom, not sure whether upper ones will cut), but even on nights with tylenol he’d still wake screaming. And after a feast, occasionally he’d let me walk out the room quietly, occasionally he’d cry and cry.

    Is this something you’ve come across?

    Thanks!
    Tina

    • No it’s not a typical “thing” although growth spurts don’t always go lockstep according to schedule.

      I think you might be on to something about the day calories. Lots of people get thrown by solids because solid food is filling but almost entirely lacking in calories. True statistics:
      4 oz gerber carrots = 15 calories
      4 oz breast milk = 80 calories

      So it could be that he’s filling up on solid food with little calories during the day and then making up those calories at night. At this age solids are more about fun and practice than actual FOOD so make sure you give him a BIG nursing session before moving on to solids. Hope that helps!

  12. This may be slightly off-topic and I might be just looking for a place to vent a little, but why is it that some people assume that breastfeeding and sleep training are mutually exclusive? My daughter is almost 9 months. After sleep training and dropping night feedings (which ranged from 0 – 3 feeding per night, depending on the involvement of my husband), I had a dip in my milk supply. I also realized that the b-vitamin supplements I was taking included B6, which women can take to dry up their supply! (I was kicking myself over that one). I called the lactation consultant who I worked with after giving birth, who was very helpful, but BEFORE I heard back from her, I contacted La Leche League and their response was: “So long as you continue night feeding on-demand your supply should pick right back up. Our milk making hormone, prolactin, is highest at night so something like sleep training could certainly cause a dip in milk supply. Our bodies thankfully work on supply and demand though so as long as you get babe back to breast it should recover.”

    So in order to keep breast-feeding I have to night-feed on demand? I don’t think that’s true.

    My supply has improved dramatically from feeding her more during the day, adding in a 10:30 dream feed, and taking Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle. I could see that if my daughter were younger, what the LLL person said could be more on point, but at 9 months I don’t think that she needs to be fed on demand all night long. I also don’t think that NOT doing need feedings necessarily means the end of breastfeeding (or that it will soon end) – does it?

    • My daughter (now 2yo) stopped night feeds at 3 months. She was exclusively breastfed until we introduced solids at 6 months, and we successfully continued to breastfeed until she was a year old. In my experience, night feeds were unneccessary to be successful at breastfeeding. Good luck!

    • No that’s just the LLL partyline that the answer to all baby problems are:
      a) More breastfeeding and
      b) Cosleeping

      Also? Everybody’s boobs are different. As somebody who had low supply with 2 kids who were breastfed (although I had to jump through all sorts of hoops to make it happen) there is nothing that says you have breastfeed at night to keep your supply up. As you noted there are LOTS of daytime ways to keep your supply up.

      Also most people have boobs that are super flexible. I’ve known people who weaned slowly by breastfeeding only a few days a week. Literally their boobs produced on demand Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. For the most part they’re pretty amazing little parts of your body that will adjust to what you and your baby are asking for.

      • The solution to low milk supply is more breastfeeding. Whenever breasts are full milk production is suppressed, and whenever they are emptied milk production is ramped up. If you can fit in enough feeding in the day, then fine. If it works, it works.

        But for many mothers, those who don’t naturally make an abundance of milk, or those who are busy with older children during the day, night feeding makes breastfeeding easier. If your baby sleeps for 12 hrs straight, then your breasts are likely to be quite full for many hours each night. So I am not surprised that your supply dropped.

        Cosleeping and feeding night and day is the way we evolved and the way almost everyone lived until recently. But, yes, humans are adaptable, and yes most people have boobs that are super flexible, and can adapt to many supply patterns. This is especially true after the first few months. As far as I know there is no conclusive evidence that night feeding is necessary for successful breastfeeding, but from my own experience, and from what I have read, I would say that it is easier. My DS2 pretty much stopped feeding in the day at 5 months and it was night feeding that saved our breastfeeding relationship. so I have sympathy for the LLL line, but given what you have said I think that you will be fine with just feeding during the day.

  13. Alexis and Angela, thanks for your reassurance! I’m not ready to wean her, and don’t want my supply to go away, so I was concerned. I laughed reading your comment about the Mon, Wed, and Fri milk production.

    That’s the first time I’ve been in contact with LLL and I guess I was surprised that she would basically say, “Your baby sleeps through the night at 9 months? You’d better stop that right away!” Heck no! But I’m not giving up nursing yet, either! It’s just not that helpful a response.

  14. Hello! Love your blog and sense of humor, thanks for the info. Our little one is 8mos old and we realize we have a issue on our hands. Although it’s late in the game, we’ve been working on getting her to fall asleep on her own without a nipple/soother and despite taking awhile, she can do this successfully… BUT never in her crib. To get her to sleep, we must lay her down on the sofa and sit next to her (without engaging) and play soft music b/c she absolutely hates when we put her in her crib…as soon as she is lowered into it, she cries and cries. This will happen even if she is already sleepy. The only way she will sleep in her crib is if she is deeply asleep and doesn’t realize we’ve put her there. We don’t know what to do! Not surprisingly, she doesn’t nap well at all, two 1/2 hr to 45 min naps is the norm and I usually rock her to sleep for naps b/c I find allowing her to fall asleep on her own takes about an hour. Any insight is very much appreciated!!

    • Hey Mel,
      Sorry I’m just seeing this question now and your baby is now 9 months. I’m really hoping that you’ve made huge headway without my help yes?

      I’m glad you’ve had luck gradually weaning off the soother because that is a hard thing to do so YAY! But even though she’s closing in on 1, it’s just not safe for her to sleep on the couch. Yes she’s almost out of the risk of SIDS it’s still out there as a (remote) possibility. There is of course, the much more LIKELY possibility that she’ll roll off. So even though I get that it’s working, I would strongly encourage you to move to the crib.

      Because it sounds like what you’re doing is essentially replacing one soother (the nipple) with another (you cuddling with her on the couch). So in effect you’re not really teaching her to fall asleep on her own, your just swapping out one unsustainable sleep-aid for another. Does that make sense?

      And she’s waking up after short naps because you’re there with her or rocking her which leads to this problem:
      http://www.troublesometots.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-sleeping-through-the-night-part-i/

      So I believe the reason she is crying in the crib is NOT because she hates the crib per se, its that she hasn’t really learned to fall asleep on her own so when you put her in the crib she’s crying to say, “Hey – what do you expect me to do in here!”

      Is the only problem at naptime? How/where is she falling asleep at night?

      • Hi Alexis…when she would finally fall asleep on the couch next to me, I would bring her up to her crib and although this wasn’t ideal, at the time I felt like I was making some progress.
        Things are different nowadays…we now have a better bedtime routine in place that doesn’t involve the couch and she isn’t freaking out like she used to when I put her down in the crib. A month ago, it was an impossibility just lowering her down in the crib, and now she’ll go down awake, but after a minute she’ll stand up and wants nothing to do with settling down. So yes, yes I still have to rock her to sleep and then lay her down in the crib – that is where we’re at. Along ways to go I know, but on another note, napping is MUCH better! She naps about 1.5-2hrs in the AM and then another 1hr or so afternoon nap (always in the playard).
        Every night is different, sometimes she sleeps 5-6 hours straight, other nights she’ll wake 3-4 times. When she wakes, we give her a few minutes to settle down and sometimes she manages to 🙂
        I’ve read your Sleeping Through the Night articles, but I still feel stuck. It sounds silly, but HOW do I put her down awake without allowing her to CIO? This is what I’ve tried: I try to get her a little “sleepy” and then place her down (eyes open), after a few minutes she’ll cry to be picked up, I succumb, and then repeat…but it doesn’t work, I get frustrated and rock her to sleep. Thanks for your help!

        • Hey Mel,

          Getting baby to fall asleep without you is pretty much the Mount Everest of Baby Challenges. Everybody gets the feeding and diaper management part sorted out pretty quickly. But for 60% of parents, helping baby to fall asleep solo is the bane of their existence.

          Ideally this is easiest to do when they’re <4 months old. Your 9 month old baby has learned to sleep only in various scenarios that involve you being there (thus never alone). It sounds like naps are AWESOME which is a great accomplishment.

          But by 9 months getting up 3-4 times is simply exhausting. I'm assuming if you go and cuddle with her again (recreating her sleep association) she'll fall back to sleep. Probably if you were co-sleeping she would do just fine (not advocating, just an observation.)

          No cry at 9 months is really hard. Not impossible but really hard. However you've made huge progress already. I would start putting her in the crib and not cuddling with her. Maybe you just sit next to the crib and use your words to calm. Maybe stick an arm through the slots for a light backrub. Work on being less and less involved. Next week you just sit there with calm words. Next week you sit there, no words. Then you start sitting farther away. It'll take a while and I can't promise no tears, but that's what I would do if I were really committed to no crying.

          And if you're feeling frustrated & like nothing is working, you know what the backup plan would be.

        • Mel,

          I would personally never do CIO in the conventional way. None the less, I don’t have a problem with a few tears when encouraging sleep. Their is a difference in my mind between walking away and ignoring their cries, and being their, but being firm about what kind of comfort you offer. I think you just need to be really creative about other ways of comforting her rather than picking her up. Or maybe just sit and calmly acknowledge her cries and her disappointment at not being picked up, and keep repeating that it is night time now…. not easy. My approach went something along these lines, and was quite effective, but it was with a 2.5 yr old who still breastfed to sleep, so a little different.

  15. Hi ,

    I love your site and at 4 months started the sleep training in the swing. With a little patience and hard work I soon had my little guy sleeping in his crib, going to sleep on his own. Bedtime and naps were actually EASY!

    But, then along came our vacation. I honestly would have cancelled it, however my older son and I were both in a wedding and couldn’t skip out on that. At this point, I had my youngest son in his crib for 3 weeks. On vacation for the first week, he actually did good sleeping in the pack and play and still going to sleep on his own. At day 7, things got worse and only went downhill from there. I was hoping once we were home (it’s been a week now) we could get back into our routine. But things keep getting worse and for the last 3 nights he has had to come to bed with me. If I do get him in his crib, he has to be almost asleep and then I pat his tush for a while.

    My question is, even though he is six months, can we re-train on the swing? He is rolling over a lot, so that is a concern of mine, but I am still not up for CIO.

    Thank you,
    Megan

    • Hey Megan,
      Well I’m just finding this NOW which means if you haven’t already solved your “get out of vacation-induced sleep hell” problem then your now 7 month old baby is probably a bit too old for the swing. It’s not that he’s rolling over, because you’ll be strapping him in so he won’t be ABLE to roll over. And it’s probably not the weight limit (most go to 25-30 lbs). It’s that generally motion is not as compelling to a 7 month old as it is to a newborn.

      That being said there is no harm in trying. Especially if you HAVE a swing (or can borrow one). Try for a few days because anytime you change the rules it’ll take a few days to know if it’s working or not.

      Let me know how things are going – OK?

      • Hi Alexis,

        Well, we have made substantial progress. After having a major melt-down from lack of sleep and pushing off the baby on my husband for three nights, we started sleep training again (without the swing). I just stayed very consistent with our routine and after about another week he started to show signs of being able to fall asleep on his own. Now, the moment I sit in that chair, he is reaching for his bottle and snuggling in my arms. He never falls asleep at the bottle (and I wouldn’t let him). After that, we snuggle and I sing him a few songs. I rub his back for a few minutes (I am now standing near the crib) and then put him down and say night night. He is doing great for both falling asleep at nights and naps. However, one new thing has kind of thrown me for a loop — only at night, about 45 minutes into his sleep, he wakes up crying…and I mean really crying. Almost like something scared him. He will only calm down if I go pick him him up and tell him mommy’s here and hold him. After that I put him back down (sometimes he has dozed off and sometimes he is still awake but calmed down) and he goes back to sleep and is out until he wakes up sometime between 2 and 4 for his feeding. I think he is the progress of phasing out a third nap but not quite there. I really can’t figure out why only at night he wakes up crying…. Any ideas? Megan

        • Not sure why he is waking up crying. Sometimes babies have gas bubbles that are really painful but that wouldn’t happen EVERY night. If he is scared, is there anything that is changing in his environment? A timed music that turns off? Mobile? Anything that changes from what he remembers when he was falling asleep would explain the freakout. If not then it’s a mystery to me too.

        • Megan, may I ask how old your baby was when doing this? I’m having a similar (though maybe even worse) issue with my almost 5 month old. How did things turn out?

  16. About 2 weeks ago my 7 month old stopped wanting to take her third nap between 4 and 5 pm. She’s a great napper and sleeper otherwise. Now that she doesn’t want to take her third nap, I’ve moved her bedtime up to 6 pm which has been working out. But now the problem. When she started to go bed at 6 pm, she started waking up at 6 am (which is fine) but her wake up time has been shifting earlier. This morning she woke up around 530 am and wants to go to bed at 5 pm. I’m afraid if we keep continuing this trend her wake up time will only get earlier and therefore make bedtime earlier. Is there a way to push her bedtime back to 6 or 630 pm without getting her overtired? I feel there’s not much I can do about her wake up time but if that could push back an hour I would be okay with it 😉 Or is this just a phase she’ll grow out of once she’s able to stay awake for longer than 2-3 hours?

    • Hey Tiffany,

      If it were ME, I would probably do something at ~4 (stroller ride, babywearing, car ride) to get a small evening catnap in. At 7 months, as you’ve noticed, you have to push bedtime WAY up. If she’s going to bed at 6 and sleeping for 11 hours (which is normal and great) it’s also normal that she’s ready to start the day at 5:00 AM. Which is uncivilized so what you REALLY want is to have her sleep from 7:00 PM – 6:00 AM (which is normal and slightly more civilized).

      She’s just not ready to be awake that long but won’t easily take a crib nap. On the other hand she’s also not ready to be done. So for the next ~2 months you’ll need to force a catnap around 4:00 by one of the afore mentioned techniques. Doesn’t have to be long – 10-15 minutes – just enough to take the edge off so she can comfortably make it to 7:00 PM bedtime.

      Hope that helps!

  17. Hi
    So it’s 4:30am here and lo has been awake for 90mins-not crying really just moaning loudly! He also woke at 10-back to sleep with dummy (took out after ten mins) he is 27 wks-he goes to sleep on his own with no props but seems to have three good weeks thena crappy one! We had a dreadful 4 month growth spurt-I’m pretty sure he ain’t hungry now as he’s not finishing his am bottle-any suggestions?? X

    • Sarah,
      You’re not giving me much to go on here. Also the dummy is a sleep prop so it’s probably time to stop using that at sleep time.

      If he’s awake and NOT falling back to sleep in the early AM hours, he could need more soothing. He could be hungry (there are multiple growth spurts over the first year so sleeping through the night at one point doesn’t mean you’re done for good). He could be wanting to spend more time with you and is waking himself up to do so (in which case not going in is the right idea, or if you go do go in, keep it minimal).

      My best guess, with little information, is that the dummy is now tripping you up and that if you stop using it at bedtime, he’ll stop waking up looking for it. That’s just a guess though…

  18. Thanks so much for the useful info!
    My daughter is 6.5 months now and I’d like to teach her to self soothe at night. Right now, our routine is bath, lotion & pjs, and then I nurse her till she’s drowsy and when I put her down she fusses a bit and falls asleep. I’ve read everywhere that I should try moving the nursing to before the bath, but the only thing is unless she’s hungry before bathtime, she won’t nurse. But after her bath, she’ll nurse regardless until she’s drowsy (or asleep if I let her). Any advice? Should I wake her up a bit more after I nurse her??

    • I guess it depends.

      If she’s STTN then you have no problem. However I’m guessing that if she WAS STTN you wouldn’t be asking, so…..

      If she’s still nursing a ton at night and you’re hoping to gently wean off that then separating nursing from bedtime is the first step. Waking her up more after she’s nursed will definitely help. And you’re welcome to start there and see how things go. But if she has a strong nursing=sleep association (and it sounds like she does) then the separation will also have to happen.

      In fact I suspect the reason she’s “not hungry” prior to bath but “happy to nurse” after bath has a lot less to do with actual hunger and is more related to the fact that she’s looking to nurse to sleep (or drowsy). Does that make sense?

  19. Hi Alexis,

    I’ve been reading these posts and feel so confused by baby now…He has mastered falling asleep on his own, in his crib, the past few weeks and I have been so excited about this as it is the easiest thing to put him down to bed now. He’s wide awake, I say good night, leave the room and he goes to sleep! However…he wakes up quite a few times in the night and instead of repeating his new found skill, he’ll cry out until I come and nurse/rock him till he’s in a sleepy state again. each night waking is very short – 5/10mins, however I don’t think he’s really hungry 2-4 times in the night since we give him a bottle before bed to top him up.

    I try and decrease the amount of time for each night waking, but its so difficult to gage minutes when I’m half awake myself. Do you have any suggestions that I may not be doing?

    • My best guess is that your baby has an eat=sleep association and his waking 2-4 times a night is more about “eating to sleep” rather than actual hunger. (PS I’m assuming he’s at least 6+ months old and not a newborn right?).

      I would start by separating the last bottle from bedtime by a solid 20-30 minutes. So instead of topping him off just PRIOR to bed, give him his last bottle earlier in the bedtime routine.

      If you’re giving him bottles then decreasing the volume is pretty easy no? Either offer less (8 oz, 6 oz, 4 oz, 2 oz, all done) or water it down. If you’re too tired to manage this then can you put together the bottle (water + baggie of formula) next to your bed ahead of time so it’s ready to go in the reduced volume?

      Start with the separation at bedtime however as that really is the key. Everything will go more easily once that separation has been made.

  20. Thanks for the tips, your right, he is 6 1/2 months old. I thought that feeding him before bed could be the cause too except that he can fall asleep on is own regardless of when he has been fed. We only give him a nighttime bottle, other than that he is solely nursed and will cry persistently if I don’t nurse him when he wakes in the night.

    I know I need to break the habit of nursing him when he wakes in the night, however I’m not sure how to do that….cold turkey seems cruel since we wouldn’t understand what is happening. Last night I nursed him till he was sleepy and put him in his crib and gave him a few bum taps till he was calm.

    Perhaps if I stick with that routine and maybe he will eventually calm with just the bum taps and not being nursed? I saw your previous replys about gradually reducing soothing techniques but stopping the nursing is the hardest one I think 😉

  21. i have a 6 month old daughter and im starting a routine with her. she eats her solid food by 6:oo pm, at 7:00 Pm i give her a bath, then lotion, next is story time, and then i hold her a sing her the same song only once and put her in the crib for the night and she sleeps all night and wakes up at 5 or 6 am and goes back to sleep after her bottle. but during the day its really hard to put her down for a nap. i feed her a bottle, let her play for a while and then story time and song but she starts to scream her head off and i go in there every few mins to let her know it is ok but she continues to cry. what can i do to help her fall asleep on her own during nap times? i still live with my parents and im 18 and my mom is starting to get frustrated about this and its bad enough im frustrated but now me and my mom are argueing about this. she says she is to young. is six months to young to start a routine? please help!!

    • Elaine,
      It’s really hard when your parents, in-laws, whoever don’t agree with your parenting choices. Everybody feels insecure about how they parent, EVERYBODY. I can’t imagine being a parent at 18 because at that age, I was insecure about EVERYTHING to start with. So it must be really hard to have your Mom get frustrated with you.

      I would talk to her and say, “We have the same goal – to care for this beautiful baby and help her get sleep in a way that is healthy and safe. Let’s come up with a plan to make that happen, OK?” Or have her read my site 😉

      What I’m guessing is that she still needs more soothing at nap times. At 6 months you don’t have a ton of options available to you. Definitely use block-out blinds to keep the room she naps in REALLY dark. Use LOUD white noise whenever she sleeps. And put her down on her BACK.

      AT 6 months a routine is great. I think the issue you are struggling with is how to help her fall asleep, yes? You want her to fall asleep on her own but so far, at naps, it’s just not working. So you could consider:
      – Having her nap in the swing
      – Swaddling (or swaddle+swing)

      It sounds like you are playing around with cry it out at naptime. CIO is often the answer to nap problems but you want to make sure you are approaching it the right way.

      If you’re thinking that is the right answer for your family you may want to read up on it here first:
      http://www.troublesometots.com/cry-it-out/

      Good luck with everything!

  22. Alexis, I need your advice! My son will be 6 months on Friday. He is one of those babies that sleeps much better at night and take longer naps when swaddled. If he is not swaddled, he is usually still able to put himself to sleep at night but may wake up more frequently and may require more assistance getting back to sleep. Also, his daytime naps unswaddled are only 30 minutes. Although he has never rolled over when swaddled, I am concerned that it could happen. To swaddle or not to swaddle?

    • SWADDLE!

      If he’s sleeping better with swaddle then STICK with the swaddle. If he rolls over one day you’ll go – OK now we have to ditch the swaddle and take the shorter naps that are likely to follow. But don’t give it up until you REALLY need to, OK?

  23. Hi there. I really love your website and when our 7 week old baby fell asleep on my husband or myself but then woke up as soon as we put her down no matter how long we held her for, I found your website, tried swaddling and white noise and was amazing how amazing it was that it worked!. Since then we have been putting her down awake at bedtime and naps and apart from the occasional times when she has become overtired, we have had no problems. She was premature at 33 weeks (quite a surprise!) and has generally fed at night, three times then twice and then once (apart from the dreaded 4 month sleep regression where we went back to twice). At 5 and a half months we were advised to start solids to see if this helped with night waking and she went to waking once anywhere between 4am and 5am (last feed at 7pm). She has also slept 7.30pm-7.30am 4 times which was amazing! It all sounds good so far hey!

    She is now 7 months and the problem started when I think I introduced too many solids too quickly (shes loves food!) and then teething started. As a result of too many solids too quickly she didnt want as much milk and my suppy went down so started waking at other times during the night and I thought she was hungry from not getting enough milk. She then started teething. Generally speaking if she woke before 1am I wouldn’t feed her but after 1am I started feeding her and when teething gave her Calpol as this helped the pain. I have exclusively breast fed her since she came out of hospital until introducing solids. I rebalanced this and reduced solids so she was more hungry for milk again. Basically she is now going from 7am till 5.30-6am without a feed and I am confident she isn’t hungry at night but she has continued to wake up anywhere between 2 and 4am. She wakes and generally her cries just get louder and louder. We have tried going in resetting etc but she again just cries louder. if we pick her up she will generally stop crying (how long it takes depends on how worked up,she has got). I therefore know she’s not hungry as holding her stops her crying. However as soon as she is put down again once calm she cries again. We tried leaving her for 5 mins going back in calming her leaving but it just doesn’t seem to work.

    We still use white noise at nap times and bedtime and she in now in a sleeping bag. She self soothes herself by sucking her thumb which is always the clue that she’s tired and will generally fall asleep anywhere if I don’t take her to her cot quick enough! She also ahs a soft toy sheep thing but not really sure how attached to it she is. I made sure I cuddled it for a few nights before giving it to her. At night when she wakes she tries to settle herself and sucks away on her little thumb but always ends up just getting louder. I just don’t really know what to do! She’s not hungry, I’ve done the reducing minutes on the boob to get her off night feeds but she is still waking and can’t seem to get back to sleep. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    • How do you know she’s not hungry at 2:00 AM? Do you offer the boob and she flatly refuses?

      One of the big fallacies about babies is that once they go X hours between feedings you should never go back to feedings. I mean it would be GREAT if that were true, but it’s not.

      My best guess is that this is the 6 month growth spurt (I know you said 7 months but is that her real or adjusted age)? Also if you think your supply is a little low it could VERY well be that she’s not getting enough calories in during the day and now is seeking to make them up at night.

      Also while it’s cool that she digs solids, solid food = low calorie. BM = high calorie. So if buy my theory about not enough calories, you definitely want to err on the side of more BM.

      Personally if she wakes up at 2:00 AM I would feed her. Work on more calories during the day. Wait 2 weeks, then try to wean again.

      • Thanks Alexis. I have pretty much gone back to feeding her when she wakes but am timing how long she is on for and we are now back down to 5 and a half minutes (I’m cutting down only half a min at a time). She also hasn’t woken at 2am for over a week now and is waking anywhere between 4am and 5am which I’m pretty chuffed with and really not complaining about!

        I’m also now giving her an extra 4oz of either expressed bm or formula if I’ve not managed to express in the day. I really didn’t think she was hungry as she would stop crying and just cuddle in if I picked her up but maybe she was as she goes back to sleep so easily once she’s had a little feed! This whole baby thing would be so mug easier if thy could tell you hey!

        The whole calories thing makes sense too so always making sure she has milk feeds before solids and having a long gap between solids and her next milk feeds.

        And yes she’s 7 and a half months but if born on time would only be 6 months. The whole corrected/adjusted age thing really confuses me and am going to blame it on baby brain but in reality is probably me just being dense! Anyway thanks for your advice and will keep feeding! Shorter spells of crying at night is definitely more appealing!

  24. Hi Alexis,

    I think this may be a unique problem, because I’ve never heard of anyone else who has it… but my son has started to only self-settle for naps and not at night. Is that a thing?

    He’s six and a half months old now and he started pretty consistently putting himself to sleep for naps and bedtime when he was about three or so months old. He still wouldn’t sleep through the night, but still putting himself to sleep about 90% of the time. Then we went on two pretty major trips when he was four and five months old. Since we got back from the last trip (more than a month ago), he’s suddenly decided to stop self-settling at night. The only difference between his nap routine and his night routine is a bath and the fact that my husband is home at night. He has ss’d at night a couple times in the past week, but I can’t think of any causal link to attribute it to.

    Is there something I’m either doing or not doing that you could possibly think of? Since I know he can ss, is my only option to pretty much let him CIO at night until he sorts himself out or can I hope that this might be a weird phase? Any thoughts would be appreciated, because, as I said, this is an issue I haven’t heard of anyone else having and I feel a bit lost!

    Thanks!
    Ashley

    • Well it’s unusual (usually nights are easier than naps) but not unheard of. Another big key people don’t always understand is that the part of the brain that manages day sleep is different from that of night sleep. So the fact that your baby has learned something during the day doesn’t not mean that he can necessarily apply that skill at night (and vice versa).

      People get hung up on, “Oh my baby falls asleep X way at Y time so thus he can do it ALL the time.”

      Totally untrue.

      He’s learned to SS for naps. GREAT! Now you need to help him SS at bedtime. Is CIO required? Not necessarily. But that’s where you’re getting stuck.

      • Thanks for your response! I didn’t know that day and night sleep were so different, so that really sheds a lot of light on what’s going on with him. At least now I know he’s not just being silly and choosing to forget something that comes so easily to him during the day. I guess I’ll try to be a bit gentle with him for the time being and see if I can reteach him to consistently SS for bedtime.

        He’s been kind of an anomaly… his day sleeping has always been pretty smooth and his night sleeping can still be pretty disastrous, which seems like the opposite of a lot of babies. I guess I’m lucky that he at least has one side of it sorted out?

  25. Hi Alexis,

    We need help….B.A.D! My 9 month old daughter(Also named Alexis) has never slept through the night, not even once. We’ll start with naps. She naps 4-5 times per day anywhere from 30mins to 1 hr. Most usual is 30 mins. She needs to nurse to sleep for naps and at night. Generally she’s asleep within 10 mins. At bedtime, once she’s rolled over, I’m able to leave her. Some nights she won’t wake until 12:30, but other nights, she’s awake every 1/2 hr until about Midnight. After that, I normally get 2 or 3 hour stretches until 7:30 am. She’s always had the same bedtime routine since day 1.

    I have tried everything, it seems. She is a high needs girl and when she was smaller always needed to be held. Now she’s more independent in the daytime, but night is still terrible. We’re co-sleeping half the night(not by choice, but it’s the only way I get even a little sleep!). For the first part of the night, I can lay her down in her crib once asleep. Her crib is side=carred to our bed, and her mattress is on the floor. She crawls too quickly once awake to leave her on our bed anymore. My husband is sleeping in the babies room, and I’m at a loss of what to do.
    My husband works evenings (until 11pm) so he is not home to help with bedtime routine. When I’m the only one putting the baby to sleep, she expects to nurse. I’ve tried CIO a handful of times (starting around 4 months) and she gets very hysterical very quickly! She chokes on her saliva and is crying so hard that sound is no longer coming out. Things get so much worse and she is so clingy every time we try CIO. It is not my preferred method.
    I’ve tried wearing a shirt to bed and not nursing, but she screams and just won’t stop.
    She will not take bottles (with either BM or formula) and has never taken a paci.
    She nurses in the daytime every 1.5-2 hrs and has solids for lunch and dinner.
    Recently, she began having a difficult time falling asleep even with nursing. Nothing in her schedule has changed recently. She’s always gone to bed with white noise. She tosses and turns all night. I’m so exhausted. When I send my hubby to get her when she wakes late, she freaks out. help 🙁

    • Hey Kate,
      We Alexis’s need to stick together. So I’m going to take your Alexis aside and have a little heart to heart.

      Listen Baby Alexis, you love nursing. I get it. Who doesn’t? I’m sure I used to also. But your Mom is exhausted. And you are too. You’re 9 months old and you’re still sleeping like a newborn – taking 5 naps a day instead of 2-3, eating all the time, up all night. And Baby Alexis, trust me when I tell you that this is not good for anybody. It’s not good for you, it’s not good for your family. And you need your family strong so they can be there for you physically, emotionally, etc. Everybody is sleep deprived Baby Alexis, and that includes you.

      Now you’ve only ever nursed to sleep and that explains all the strange stuff. It’s why you fight sleep so hard. Why you want to nurse constantly in bed. Why you freak out when you wake up. It’s because you’re constantly being surprised when you wake up and Moms boob isn’t in your mouth anymore. Also you’ve become hyper-vigilant. And it’s just going to get worse. You need to learn to sleep without your Mom. I know you love her but treating her like a human pacifier isn’t working for anybody.

      This is fundamentally your problem:
      http://www.troublesometots.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-sleeping-through-the-night-part-i/

      Your Mom dabbled with CIO. It’s unfortunate but most Moms do. They feel guilty. They feel they are damaging their babies. But at this age there aren’t a whole lot of options left. You have a strong nurse=sleep association and it’s broken. It’s well and truly broken.

      Tell your Mom to read everything here:
      http://www.troublesometots.com/cry-it-out/

      She’s telling me she doesn’t want to do this. And that’s cool. But I’m going to tell YOU Baby Alexis that something needs to change. Because none of what is happening is working for anybody in your family. It’s time to come up with a new plan, COMMIT to that plan, and execute that plan.

      If your Mom has a plan that involves no crying than I will send her all my positive energy and wish her the best. And if she chooses CIO then I’ve put together all of what I know to help her do it the right way. Good luck Baby Alexis.

  26. Hi Alexis,

    Firstly congratulations on the website, it is a fantastic resource, I only found it yesterday after asking dr google if white noise can damage a babies hearing (we have had it on here since bubs was born) I wish I’d have found it months ago when I was really struggling with baby sleep but these days things have been going pretty well.

    My 27 week old (adjusted age 24 weeks old) sleeps through the night now and manages 2 1.5 – 2 hour naps a day. He grizzles a bit during the day time but eventually falls asleep relatively peacefully after 10 minutes or so.

    Until a few nights ago he has settled very very well at night, we worked hard to set up a good routine, solids (small meal) bath, bottle, quiet play time, story, into bed with dimmed lights and he will generally play and talk to himself for up to 15 minutes and then go to sleep. It was bliss. (He was a reflux baby that never slept for more the 30 minutes at a time and fed every 1.5 hours until 4 months so I was feeling quite pleased with myself)

    The last couple of nights he has played quietly for 5 minutes or so and then slowly works himself up into a real state, crying and kicking his legs around, eventually he has gone to sleep and then slept through still and it has only taken 1/2 an hour both times of me going into to reassure him I am there and quietly giving him a pat and a loud shhh.

    I know that developmentally he is going through a lot of changes, he is making more noises, he has just the last few days started sitting up and he is beginning to look like he might crawl soon. He is also during the day starting to get very upset when I leave the room and he can’t see me any more so I would say that he is dealing with object permanence and now I am beginning to wonder if this is his problem at night time?

    If this is the case do you have any thoughts on how to help him through this? The last few nights we have left him to cry for a bit and then periodically gone in to reassure him gently but not picked him up or turned on the lights etc to be honest us going in didn’t seem to help him much and he seemed to just need to work through it.

    Poor little guy I just feel bad for him because going to sleep used to be such a peaceful time for him.

    Ps in case it makes any difference he sleeps at night from about 7 to 5:45 then takes a 1.5 -2 hour nap at 8: 30 and 1:30. The last 2 weeks he has flat out refused a third nap even in the pram or car so I have stretched his awake time during the day from closer to 2 hours to nearly three at a time Which he seems to be coping with ok.

    • Object permanence also means he remembers you exist when you leave the room so now he is really MISSING you. I believe the bedtime crying is just his way of saying that he doesn’t want you to leave. So I don’t think there is really a way to help him with it.

      If you feel it helps to go back in and give him some soothing then go for it. UNLESS your presence is rewarding his protesting, and you’ll know this is happening if the protesting starts to get louder and go on longer. If THAT happens then you’ll want to think about not going in at all after bedtime. (Hint: it’s generally a good idea to not go in after bedtime.)

      So if he starts calling for you for longer periods of time? Well it might be time to stiffen up that lip and stop going in. Good luck!

    • Hi Alexis,

      Thanks for your thoughts.

      Little one had a screaming fit at bedtime for 6 days and then mercifully bedtime turned into the peaceful time it used to be. I think bubs probably just got over what ever was upsetting him but I have started cuddling him more before bedtime and singing to him just before I put him in the cot to go to sleep. The first night I did that there were no tears so maybe he wanted the extra closeness before bed.

      I learned that going in only made things worse, he would scream even louder the second he saw me and then even louder then that when I left the room. So in the end I just left him to it and eventually he settled down to sleep.

      Now to conquer the next issue, he has started levitating all over the cot at night and waking up crying a bunch of times because he is stuck in a bad position. I assume that he will be over it in a few days (fingers crossed anyway) but unil then I am a zombie. Sigh.

  27. Hi Alexis! Thank you so much for all the great info on your website- it’s been an IMMENSE help since I discovered it, back when my son was just a few weeks old.

    I’ve been blessed so far with a VERY easy sleeper. I’ve put him down awake for naps and bedtime since he was nearly 3 months old, and he goes to sleep with minimal fussing. He usually naps around 2 hours, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. At night, e wakes up about 3 hours after bedtime, fusses for a few minutes, and goes back to sleep until he wakes up hungry at about 1 am. It’s been great!

    BUT. (There’s always a but, isn’t there?) The past week or so, he hasn’t been napping nearly as well. I’ll put him down when he’s clearly tired, and sometime it takes him forever to get to sleep- it seems like he wakes right up a minute after he goes into the crib, and he’ll babble to himself for 30-45 minutes and then start crying. When he does fall asleep, he’s only been napping 45 minutes to an hour.

    He’s been getting fussy-sleepy earlier than usual (about 6:30 – 7pm instead of 7:30), and consequently going down a little earlier, but he hasn’t been going back to sleep on his own after his first wake-up around 10:30.

    He’s nearly 8 months old now, and your page suggests he should be taking 2-3 naps a day. He’s been taking two since he was four months old or so. Is it time to drop the morning nap? I’m hesitant, since your site has been so dead-on this whole time, but I’m wondering if less morning rest would mean better sleep in the afternoon and at night.

    Help! He’s currently in his room Not Taking A Nap again, 30 minutes after I put him down.

    Thanks in advance,

    Dottie

    • Hey Dottie,

      98% of kids are taking 2X naps a day at their first birthday so I don’t believe that dropping the AM nap is the answer.

      You mention that he’s waking up the second you put him into the crib but you ALSO say you put him down awake. So I’m a little confused about that?

      Part of this could be good old fashioned separation anxiety – he misses you and will fight sleep to enjoy even more of your company. Sadly there is no magic fix for this. It comes and goes like the tide – it’ll get better and you’ll think you’re all done and then BAM he’ll be fighting naps again.

      Sorry – no big help there 🙁

  28. Hi Alexis (AKA Baby Sleep Guru),

    I am lucky enough to have discovered this blog when my baby was very young, so in his 24 weeks of life I’ve had lots of time to put your tips into practice. As a result, I have a pretty good sleeper, and I owe a big part of that to you! So, thank you!

    One thing I have not done (I seem to have overlooked this part) is to separate nursing from bedtime by 20-30 minutes. I’m totally ready to do this, but I’m wondering if there’s a specific way to do it. Should I just start it, cold turkey, one day? Or would it be better to gradually move it back?

    My other question is regarding putting baby down awake: Exactly how awake should baby be? Do we go from playing outside to walking in the bedroom, turning on the white noise, and setting him down? Usually I take him into his room, close the curtains, turn on the white noise, and hold him until he rests his head against my chest. This is usually enough for him (although sometimes he needs more soothing and other times he’s fine if I put him down immediately after turning on the white noise). Also, on the days that he needs more soothing, sometimes we end up putting him down almost asleep. This happens maybe 5% of the time — should we refuse to soothe him on those days, or is it reasonable to have a few off days every once in a while?

    So far, we’re not having any sleep problems, but I know that object permanence is about to come a-knockin’ and I just want to be sure that it doesn’t derail his good sleeping!

    Thanks!

    • Hey Venessa,
      Congratulations on all your great work! I can tell your baby is sleeping well because you’re comment is free of typos. When people are desperately miserable it’s like they’ve written me in some ancient Mayan language 😉

      No no no – don’t go from playing in the snow to plunking baby in bed. A good consistent bedtime wind-down routine is key. This can be whatever you both enjoy and it sounds like you already have a good one. There is no magic sauce to separating nursing from bedtime (note: some babies are just fine with nursing AT bedtime, but if you’re having a hard time breaking the nurse all night habit, this helps a ton). I would try 20 minutes prior and then continue with your routine per norm and see how things go. My guess is that it won’t be a big deal.

      As for “how awake is awake” – I guess the answer is, actually awake. Lots of people rock/nurse until baby is JUST about asleep. But they count it as awake because the eyelids may flicker a little. This is cheating (these parents generally figure this out all on their own as they’re up all night). If your baby is ACTUALLY awake MOST of the time then you’re doing great. 5% is totally not a problem.

      Good luck! (Not that it sounds like you need any :).

  29. Hi Alexis
    I have just stumbled upon your website from google in desperation of my zombieness.
    My baby has just gone 8 months. He has been a pretty good sleeper until now. He would have breast at 6.30pm and into his cot and then wake for formula at 10.30pm and back to cot until 5.30/6.00 am(ish). But the last week he has woken every hour or so and only settles if I go into his room and hold him. Then back in his cot and he seems to be asleep until I leave the room and then the howling begins and when I return he sometimes seems so alert and ready for play time. After 30 mins of crying I can’t handle it for two reasons, I get no sleep and he is so upset. I have brought him into bed and this mostly helps but not a habit we want to get into. I have read that it is his age and he is going through separataion anxiety (he is actually a bit more clinger during the day also). He used to be a great self-settler too, he loves his thumb and that used to be all he needed to go back to sleep but it’s not enough, not even two thumbs! Will this pass? I am getting so frustrated with my lack of sleep. Oh and he also only naps for 45 minutes 3 times a day (sometimes only 2). He is mostly a very happy easy-going baby.
    Sarah (in New Zealand)

    • Just reading some more of your comments for people with the same sort off issues and have some answers from you so feel free to not reply to mine….

    • Is he going to bed awake? Because it sounds more like this:
      http://www.troublesometots.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-sleeping-through-the-night-part-i/

      Separation anxiety isn’t helping but whenever somebody says “Wakes every 1 hour all night long” I’m generally pretty sure it’s a “not putting down awake at bedtime” issue.

      At 8 months I wouldn’t start co-sleeping unless you’re into it. It’s a REALLY hard habit to break without tears so even though I know you’re miserable and tired, I would focus on the root issue (what is happening at bedtime) and try as much as possible not to bring him into bed with you (except in cases of dire need) OK?

  30. Hello..i need help my daughter does not wants to sleep early..she is 7 months now n her 3rd n 4th teeth is coming out..she always sleep at 3-4am n wake at around 1030-11pm..how can i train her back to normal time to sleep?if we force her to sleep at 9pm she will cry non stop..TIA..

    • Jess,

      I don’t think you can shift her bedtime up by 6 hours and have her just roll with it. On the other hand 3:00 am is NUTZO and you must all be a miserable exhausted mess!

      I would start waking her up gradually more early in the morning. Move her wakeup time up by ~15 minute every day. 10:30, 10:15, 10:00, 9:45….this should have the effect of shifting everything else up too (naps etc.) thus you can then start gradually moving bedtime up. Yes it will take a while as you’re only moving 15-20 minutes a day. But you will get there. And you NEED to get there because staying up till 3:00 AM is just going to lead to exhaustion all around.

      Good luck!

  31. Hi, I have an eight month old who REFUSES to sleep. She is still breastfed, and when she was newborn I made the habit of cosleeping and nursing her while in bed. Her issue is going to sleep and staying asleep. She will go to sleep and then a couple hours later she is awake either crying or laughing, and she always wants to stay up and play. She WILL not go back to sleep no matter what and ends up staying awake half the night. She doesnt even sleep that much during the day- in fact, im sure she is not getting near enough sleep for a baby her age. She is a wonderful baby, but if I dont start getting sleep I am going to rip my hair out. It is so incredibly frustrating. My husband works 2 jobs, and I am a nursing student so we are exhausted. Something has to change.

    • Don’t blame yourself for cosleeping and nursing with your newborn–that method WORKS with tiny babies and at that age, you do what you can to keep baby fed and yourself rested. Of course now it sounds like your baby girl doesn’t know how to fall asleep on her own. Life will be much better after she learns that skill. Breastfeeding is NOT your problem, breastfeeding baby *to sleep* might be your problem.

      Keep reading, there is all sorts of stuff on this blog that will help you! And probably 10 comments from others addressing most any question or problem you encounter along the way. 🙂 Good luck to you and your family!

  32. please help me im at my witts end with my 8month old daughter. its my fault i let her sleep with us so now she wont sleep in her own cot, also i breast feed her to sleep an rock her and butt patt, now at night time im a big blubbering mess she crys and crys and wakes all night she hasnt learnt how to self settle as i just pik her up. please help me.

    • Hey Tala,
      I don’t know if I have a good answer for you. The issue is that you are nursing and rocking her to bed and she needs to go down asleep. Apparently your efforts to do that have left both you AND her a big blubbering mess 🙁

      If you’re going to cry and she’s going to cry then at least try to have the crying accomplish something, yes? Take some time (I know you have very little of that) and read ALL of these things. How to, why, how NOT to, etc. Come up with a plan.

      http://www.troublesometots.com/cry-it-out/

      Sending positive thoughts your way,
      Alexis

  33. So my 6 month old has been putting himself to sleep since 4 months in his crib, naps and bed. He sleeps 11-12 hours at night with no night feeds. He has 3 naps a day with a wake time of about 2 hours. Bed at 7 upat 630. Great sleep routine. Last Tuesday marked object permance day. I put him down wide awake for his naps and the un holy screaming began. Today it took almost 2 hours for his morning nap. I need a cio nap help! Bedtime is a breeze still, but Help!!! I do not nurse to sleep or even drowsy. I yanked his soother at month 5, so that’s gone. I know its object permanance but how doyou deal with that at nap time????? Thanks! Love your blog, super helpful

    • Wait – if you’re putting him down awake then how do you know it’s an object permanence thing? Object permanence generally blows up on people who AREN’T putting down awake. If you’re baby falls asleep solo then my sense is something else is going on.

      It sounds to me more like the 6 month growth spurt (hard to sleep, fussy, might be super extra hungry all the time). Usually its’ not as horrible as 4 months but it’s really common so that’s where I’m placing my bet on this one.

  34. Well, he FREAKS when I leave the room! He stops crying as soon as I go back in. Isn’t that object permanence? Ha, I’m so tired and frustrated, I don’t even know if I make sense!

    • Nope that’s separation anxiety – also a huge challenge. It generally peaks at 8 months which is why I didn’t jump on it initially. But that’s what the “cry when you leave the room” stuff is about. The good thing about babies is that they’re infinitely lovable. The bad thing is that as soon as you get over one thing (sleep regression, teething, etc.) then a new thing pops up. It’s like baby wack-a-mole 😉

  35. Hi Alexis,

    I have been reading through this post and I still have questions.
    My daughter is 7 months old and is a great sleeper at night, has been for months, this is not an issue (except now it will be since I have probably Jinxed it…) My issue is with the day sleeps, more specifically the afternoon sleep. She has been a terrible day sleeper since day one, and we recently moved to a 2 sleep ‘schedule’, so she goes down at 9.30ish and 2ish, usually the morning sleep is good, but the afternoon one is iffy. As I type, she is rolling around her cot, protesting, but not too loudly, playing around and generally being wide awake. We routinely have days where no afternoon sleep happens at all, and she is up till bedtime, which is about 7pm. My question is, how on earth do I make her go to sleep when she isn’t necessarily unhappy awake in bed? And do you have a suggested daytime feeding and sleeping routine for her? She is breastfed 4x and is having 3x solids, no teeth yet and I think she is desperately trying to crawl.
    I so appreciate any input…
    Sarah

    • Hey Sarah,
      You can’t always fix the crappy nap issue. All you can really do is:
      1) Be consistent (try to anyway – work towards putting her down at the same time each day).
      2) Give as much soothing as you can (at 7 months this means nice pre-nap wind down, dark room, loud white noise).
      3) Don’t keep them awake too long (how long is she awake between her AM and PM naps? at 7 months probably you don’t want her awake longer than 2.5 hours or so?).

      I doubt highly that the food is related to her sleeping. Sometimes when babies are working on new skills (crawling) they’ll fight naps because they’re too busy to sleep. Sadly you can’t fix this. However you say she’s always been a poor napper so the learning-to-crawl thing probably isn’t a huge factor.

      Sorry I don’t have any magic fix for you. Stick with it, do what you can, hope for the best.

  36. Hi there, my daughter is 6 1/2 and was diagnosed with reflux at 14w as a result of this the only way to feed her was when she is drowsy. Reflux babes need to stay upright approx 30 mins after feeding so she still takes ALL her naps on me! This is hard. I am still rocking her to sleep and feel frustrated that it’s the only way to get her to sleep. With a change in formula her reflux is better but we are still in the dreamfeed/rocking to sleep pattern that I’d like to change. She can self settle (she wakes during the night and will go back to sleep)! What can I do? If I try to feed her awake she will not drink much (maybe 1-2oz) she is to busy looking around. We can’t go out as she won’t drink anywhere but home!! At my wits end!

    • I hear you on the 30 minutes thing with feeding (been there, done that). But she’s a little older now – I would push her to feeding her when she’s awake. Sure there’s too much to look at. Have you tried feeding her in a super dark room? Or draping a blanket over her, you so there is literally nothing to do BUT eat?

      Also if she has reflux and is being rocked to sleep that sounds like a great scenario to have her napping in the swing. Refluxing babies often sleep better upright and as you say, she loves rocking. Sure she’s a little older but refluxing kids are often napping in swings far longer then their happy-tummy counterparts. Even if it’s only for a few months, it’s worth trying to break you out of the “only sleeps on me” pattern. Because while she is little and has reflux you have to do what you need to. But eventually the “only sleeps on me” generally leads to CIO-ville 🙁

  37. Hello Alexis,

    I love your website and have stumbled on it later than I would have liked. I’m afraid my kiddo already has some issues. I’m looking for advice on where to start and how exactly to implement changes.

    James (my LO) has nursed to sleep for ages and is roughly 5 1/2 months. He’s never been a good sleeper and the longest stretches of sleep I’ve ever had came around the 3 month mark and were for a single four to five hours (just once) stretch and then more frequent wakings until morning. But since he was about 4 months old, he’s been waking 6+ times a night. I’m working full time and Dad isn’t good without sleep (not that I am, but when Dad doesn’t get sleep no ones happy), so I’m on baby duty all night long. We did try to let him cry a bit to check and see if he’d learn to settle himself around 4 1/2 months (we’d let him go for 15 – 30 min) but it just ended up with a really insecure baby who got frightened when we put him in his crib and would be wailing before we could even set him down. His day and nighttime sleep both deteriorated further and I was weepy from feeling like a failure. Perhaps he just wasn’t ready for it.

    And nothing has gotten better. Half the time or more I end up co-sleeping with him in the guest room because getting up every 1-2 hours is just too much and it’s the only way I can get any rest, but he wakes just as often then, but I can nurse him back to sleep more easily.

    I know that I need to wean him off of the association of nipple = sleep and get him to fall asleep on his own so he learns to self soothe and break him of the co-sleeping habit (I’m not entirely sure it’s a habit because some nights we do and some we don’t, but I am worried), but in what order to I do this and what are some practical steps to move in that direction. I’m a really concrete thinker and lots of times I feel like I read baby advice and then try to go apply it and maybe I’ll get him to fall asleep without a breast and then when he wakes up five minutes later I think, well, golly-gee, what now?

    Also I’m worried about crying it out and would like to use the no-cry method (the swing doesn’t entice him a bit), but I’m beaten down to a pulp and am not sure I have the stamina needed. But after the crying we did last time, I am gun shy. He’s a sensitive kid who doesn’t seem to like change or new experiences much and I’d like to respect that and try to work it in a way that isn’t too rough on him.

    Any advice would be most appreciated and is desperately needed. And thank you so much for all of the articles on this website. I wish I knew all of this when he was just a tiny tiny thing. I would have done things a bit differently.

    • Hey Melissa,
      Your question is why I wrote this:
      http://www.troublesometots.com/i-am-the-official-cio-spokesperson-apparently/

      (If you read it you’ll see a variation of your question actually IN the post).

      If you are dead set against CIO then your best bet to wean off the boob=sleep thing is to try the pull off method discussed here (it’s about pacis but the same thing applies).

      http://www.troublesometots.com/how-to-use-and-loose-the-pacifier/

      If he wakes up 5 minutes later you repeat the process. PLAN on repeating the process. It will take a LOT of time. People get frustrated because they think it’ll be a 20 minute exercise and then they’re working on it for 2 hours feeling increasingly frustrated. I feel if you go into it with realistic expectations you’ll be less frustrated and likely, more successful?

      If you feel (and I certainly would in your shoes) that you ARE ready for CIO the step by step guide is here:
      http://www.troublesometots.com/how-to-cry-it-out-bedtime-edition/

      I think the “let him cry and check on him” plan often works poorly for people. I get why it seems like the better plan that full extinction but often babies get more amped up and continue crying because you’re effectively teaching them to do so. So IF you go back down that path I would strongly encourage you to consider full extinction a la Weissbluth.

      I hope that helps.

      • Thank you so much, Alexis. The more I read your site, the more I just think that you are damn likable and incredibly empathetic. Appreciate the response and I appreciate that you exist. (Also I tend to get sentimental when sleep deprived.) I’ll read up on the posts you reference and let you know how it goes.

  38. iv been trying CIO with my 7 month old for 3 and a half weeks now and it doesnt seem to be getting any easier especially at night, it still takes me 45 mins to an hour put her to sleep but her other 2 naps in the day only take 10-15 mins, what am i doing wrong?

    please help thanks…

  39. Hi Alexis-

    Thanks for your wisdom and humor. Despite the fact that we’ve been Wiessbluth followers from day 1, it was your site that finally convinced me it was CIO time. Anyway, a month later, and my 6.5 month old goes down peacefully between 6 and 6:30,and wakes to feed at 12 and 4 (a HUGE improvement over the 8+ times Pre-CIO).

    Two issues: the first is that wakeup time has gotten earlier and earlier, from 7 to 6:30 to 6:00 to 5:30 and now, this morning, 4:40. And nothing (not even the breast) will get him back to sleep. We’ve tried keeping him up until 7 in the evening, but by then he is either overtired and wired, or has fallen asleep in my arms. Any tips?

    Then, oh man: NAPS. Jack will go down on his one for a morning nap, which used to be around nine, but now, thanks to the early wake-up, is getting earlier and earlier. But he will only sleep for half an hour in his crib. I can extend his naps to ~two hours if I lie down with him, which is pretty much what I did for the first 6 months of his life. But that can’t go on forever, can it? So I’ve been putting him in the crib for nap one, then lying down with him for nap two (which is all so erratic these days, thanks to early start to the day). Since I’ve started not extending is first nap, my normally happy kid is a whiny mess. And now the second nap is falling apart, too, even IF I lie down with him. Which means my once-consistent 9 and 1 napper is a hot mess, and so am I. How can I get him napping on his own, and regularly?

  40. Hi Alexis,
    Found this page and your site after a desperate search for help! What you are saying makes sense and wondered if you might be able to she’d some light on a crazy sleep-deprived me!
    My little girl is 8.5 months (38 weeks) and for the past ten weeks or so has had all manner of sleep problems after sttn from 3-6 months. We taught her to self soothe early on but it appears she has forgotten how!
    It started with a bad case of nappy rash that resulted in an infection (coincided with teething) so she woke in pain, then some early morning wakings which we weathered and then a couple of wakings in the night, mainly I think due to a cold snap (her room has two outside walls). We put her in an extra vest and that seemed to do the trick for a night or two. But there has been more teething, colds and it just seems one thing after another.
    A few nights ago she started screaming every 30-60 mins throughout the night. The last two nights we’ve ended up bringing her into bed with us (something we said we would never do) just to get some rest. And she sleeps fine there, although she still wakes from time to time.
    Naps are also a battle. She was never the best napper but we knew her cues and she could send herself off to sleep. Now she screams hysterically and throws herself around her cot (she’s perfecting her crawling and has just learned how to pull herself into a sitting position) and can’t seem to switch off enough without a cuddle and having her back rubbed. I’m still leaving the room before she falls asleep. Naps have gone from 40 mins to 20!! She still doesn’t have teeth and also happens to be a very active baby.
    We’re doing BLW which is going really well so I have no concerns on the food front and she doesn’t need any milk at night (believe me, we tried!).
    I’m recovering from PND so this is really starting to affect me. ANY suggestions at all would be great.
    Thanks in advance.

  41. This is a great website….Thanks! My son is a week shy of 6 months old and I am realizing we have made so many sleep mistakes and I don’t know how to get out of them. He is still napping in his swing and we put him to sleep at 11pm with his last nap usually ending before 7pm. My fear in putting him to sleep earlier was always that I wouldn’t be ale to sleep during his longest stretch. He used to wake up a few times between 11pm and 7am but putting the binky in his mouth would put him right back to sleep, no feedings in that time period. Now I just started him on solids 2 weeks ago and since then he is waking up screaming at least 3 times a night. I know he is not hungry. He will fall asleep quickly in my arms but then as soon as I put him down in the crob he wakes up again screaming and won’t actually go back to sleep without nursing or a bottle. He falls asleep for the night by himself right after a bottle, but we put him down awake. He hasnt had this problem at all until 2 weeks ago – Do you think it’s the solids that is causing this? I don’t want to let him CIO, but I have been sleep deprived for 6 months now and not sure how much longer I can take this…..

  42. But what about babies (8 mos old) who know how to put themselves to sleep but wake up a bazillion times a night? Ugh.

  43. Hello Alexis,

    This is a great website and it’s been helpful to read through all of the other posts. My baby girl is 27 weeks old, and used to be a pretty good sleeper. She was sleeping 10-12 hours a night, and then we traveled during the holidays. She would not sleep while we were traveling and the only way we could get some rest was if I brought her into bed with me and nursed her off and on all night. I was not happy with the arrangement but it was only way we could all get a little bit of rest. Once we got home her sleep never seemed to settle back into her old pattern. Her bedtime is still between 7-7:30pm, but now if she has any night wakings she will not go back to sleep but is COMPLETELY AWAKE. I have tried to put her back in crib and let her fuss it out while I stand near her or rub her back or tummy, but she goes berserk and will scream nonstop until I pick her up or nurse her again. She was waking about an hour after being put down and wouldn’t settle again for another 2-3 hours, and tonight she woke up after 4 hours of sleep and again is not completely awake and up playing until she wears herself out again. I feel completely defeated and have no idea what to do next. I know it’s not good that she’s up and playing at this time of night but the alternative of listening to her scream for a few hours just feels and sounds horrible. Any suggestions? p.s. If she is very tired she will soothe herself to sleep.

  44. Why can you not nurse, rock, pat, a 6-9 month baby to sleep? I still do this with my 20 month old, and it works really well. Yes, it is effort, but possibly less work than most of my friends who need a big wind down routine to help prepare their little ones for bed, and worry about going on holiday because it will break their routine. When he is tired, 10 minutes at the breast will usually send him off.

  45. I am probably jinxing myself big time by discussing this but.. finally a huge breakthrough with my 6 months old multiple, multiple night wakings! Cannot stop myself from shouting from mountaintops, etc.

    I have been stymied by what to do about sleep training him because he has been able to go to sleep alone from a very young age. Around 3 months he started waking up a lot in the night. Got better and then worse at 4 months. And then slowly better and just terrible after a 2 week vacation. He was waking up as often as every 45 minutes and I could not get him back down without nursing. All the sleep training materials I could find talked about the need to put him to sleep awake but since this was not a problem I didn’t know how to get him to go back to sleep. Finally, I read again something that I had read when he was a month old but somehow failed to really internalize. When babies wake in the night, even (maybe especially) when they wake with a big scream, they are often not really awake just kind of screaming between sleep cycles. This gets worse when they are overtired. You need to give them 5-15 minutes to see if they are really awake or not. LIGHTBULB MOMENT! Because he’d been waking so suddenly and with such a loud scream, I would rush to him to try to calm him before too much escalation and then I’d spend 10-30 minutes getting him back down – almost always by nursing. Perhaps he’d do better without me “comforting him?” I decided to put my 5-15 minute “wait and see” plan in place…

    So, night 1 he wakes up 7-8 times. But he self settled within 6 minutes usually and before 15 minutes always except when hungry (different cry)! I only got up to feed him twice (1am and 5am) which is totally reasonable. It was hard to listen to him cry out in the night but I didn’t feel guilty as soon as I realized he was settling much more quickly without dear ol’ mom. Night 2, he gets up about 6 times including the two feedings. The wakeups are mostly weaker.. making progress, making progress. Night 3, HE WAKES UP ONCE! The 5am feed. He totally skips the 1am feed and sleeps 7-7. WHAT? After 3 1/2 months of being up with him 3,4, 8 times a night I will gladly feed him at 5 am until he goes to college!

    So, I think what clearly happened was that he was caught in an overtired cycle. When I didn’t let him settle he wasn’t learning to do it and was also waking up more due to 1) getting more and more tired from me fully waking him up and 2) from getting used to doing so much night nursing. It’s early days yet but I am really hopeful that this issue is mostly under control now. Until the next thing hits. Now I just need to sleep train me. I was so excited that he was sleeping last night that I barely slept. Go figure.

  46. Jackie's success story!

    We had a rough go. 8.5 months of holding my daughter for all naps and she was waking anywhere from 2-6 times at night with more frequent waking happening the older she got. At one point she was even waking every hour and wanting me to nurse her back to sleep. We tried a pacifier, dad soothin her to sleep, rocking, and always ended up nursin her back to sleep. We debated CIO many times but was envisioning a big battle and couldn’t face it.
    After reading many books and this site I beefed up our bedtime routine to include a bath every night, massage, two stories and PUTTING HER DOWN AWAKE (this is in bold because this is what made all the difference). I found that I had to move nursing away from sleep which I did gradually until her last feed was before her bath. We started at 6:30 every night and she sleeps a total of 12hrs at night 7-7 and then 2-3 hrs in naps. The first night I put her down awake she cried for 10min. The second night 3min and since them not at all. She still wakes once at night to nurse but otherwise bedtime is now a pleasure. The best part is that I do a mini routine at nap time and she takes two 1.5hr naps in her room while I’m free to do other things. As a side note her room is dark and we use white noise to drown out our neighbors dog.
    I had resigned myself to thinking that was what life with a baby was going to be like but realized that i was doing more damage getting her each time he cried after i just put her down asleep because I was the one interrupting her sleep. This is finally the experience I was hoping for and we are both much happier with adequate sleep!

  47. Hi there! My little girl is 7 months old today and for a little over 2 weeks, we’ve been having a sleep problem that I can’t seem to fix.

    She goes down for naps/bedtime beautifully- bum change, story read, lights out, in crib and I leave. She’ll fuss/moan for about 5 minutes and she’s asleep. She’s napping 3 times a day-9 am (for 1.5-2 hours), 1pm (1-1.5 hours) and 4:15pm (.5 hour). Bedtime is 6:45. I nurse 5-6 times a day.

    Every night around 9:30, she wakes up. She then proceeds to moan, or we like to say she’s signing herself to sleep. She’ll moan for five minutes, then let out a cry, moan for 5, let out a cry. She’s up sometimes for close to 2.5 hours- whether we leave her, rock her, nurse her. Then the rest of the night, she’s up 2-3 times to nurse. She’s up for the morning around 6:30-6:45.

    Is she getting too much sleep during the day? Too many naps? Not enough nursing? I don’t know what to change first and how long to stick with the change before deciding it wasn’t that. Help!!

    • Kristen,

      We are having the exact same problem. Our nap times are a bit shorter but our little one seems to go down around 7pm and wake up a couple of hours after we put her down. It seems to be short bursts at a time and usually lasts for a few minutes. I believe Alexis calls it an Extinction Burst and I feel that it accurately describes what our little one is going through. Basically, it feels that she is trying to reject the thought of having to self-soothe. As I type this, she woke up at 9:30pm and it is now 10:19pm. She has fallen back to sleep. Usually we would have run to her to soothe her. We now let her work through it. It doesn’t sound like a “hungry” cry. It sounds like a burst for attention. All is well now. Hope everything works out for you. Don’t give in….keep at it.

  48. Hi
    My baby is 7.5 months now and till 7-8 days back he was sleeping fine at night.previously He woke 2-3 times during a 12hr sleep at night.

    Since of late he has been waking up every 2 hrs for food or for comfort. His on solids eating three meals a day. Sometimes he has a lot of burps after dinner and spits up a bit, I give him a two hour gap between dinner and bedtime.
    His bedtime routine has been the same since he was a month old so I don’t understand why the sudden change. I usually lie down next to him or sit next to him and do the shush pat till his half asleep. He sucks his thumb to fall asleep and when he’s asleep he takes it out himself or I take it out.

    So over the last two days I’ve gradually started not offer I g the breast during sleep time at nigt and during the day both. Ad at night, I try patting him to sleep when he wakes up offering him the breast only every 4-5 hrs.
    I don’t see any improvement yet , an I doing the right things?

  49. I just have a quick question for you. My 6 month old has been a swaddle junkie since he was born. He cannot sleep without it for naps or bedtime. He is a great sleeper. However, my question is, is it considered falling asleep on his own if he has to be swaddled? He goes down in his crib awake with white noise and dark room, all swaddled. I feel like he will be a 17 year old who still needs to be swaddled, but I know you say eventually it will end!

  50. Can someone help me! My 9 month old will sometimes have 2 hours naps where sometimes they are 20 minutes and it is IMPOSSIBLE to get her back asleep. She isn’t even crying she is so overtired she just coos in her crib but then is so fussy at bedtime (6:30-7) that it is so frustrating. She is up once in the night and is breastfed, and goes right back to sleep. I know I’m lucky in the evening, but these short daytime naps are killing me.

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