6 month old problems with sleeping

Hello, My little girl has had a bedtime routine since about 7 weeks old. She's also had a dummy since about this time also. She used to be able to self settle without the dummy up until about 2 and half months old. She was having 2 bottles (formula) a night for about first 3 months then went down to one bottle a night from then. She goes to bed between 7 and 7.30pm normally and used to sleep until about 3.30am when she would wake for a bottle. She would normally wake once before this but would always settle with her dummy. After her feed she might wake another once or twice for her dummy. Because she was in our room it would be easy enough to pop it back in without too much disturbance. She loved her bedtime routine and never complained going to bed so I considered ourselves lucky! She's been on reflux milk from early on so we got into the habit of sitting with her upright for at least 20 mins after giving her a bottle. As we planned to put her in her own room at 6 months we decided we would try to stop her use of the dummy and see if she could self settle again without it. We stopped it for 8 days just before she was 6 months. She struggled more so in the day time as found it hard to settle for her naps without the dummy. Nightime wasnt as bad to begin with as she often fell asleep without her dummy after her bedtime bottle and in the night she babbled alot instead of crying. But over the course of the 8 days it just got worse and worse. Sometimes we would try a bit of controlled crying, sometimes a pick up and put down and sometimes we just rocked her to sleep. By the 8th night she had caught a bit of a cold and was just really unsettled and we tried to comfort her to sleep for 3 hours to no avail so we gave up and give her the dummy back and she instantly fell asleep! She had been in her own room about 3 nights by this point (we moved her during the 'no dummy' period). I was sleeping in the room with her to begin with. However, things have got worse since then. She now goes to sleep without her dummy generally (falls asleep after her bottle), but wakes about 10- 10.30pm the last 3 nights and its very difficult to settle her even with her dummy. If I hold her she stops crying but cries again as soon as I put her back in the cot. This NEVER happened before we messed around by taking her dummy away. In fact I never used to have to pick her up out the cot, I'd just put the dummy back in and she would go back to sleep. No she's spitting it out, or she's crying and its falling out or she's playing with it with her hands and it comes out. Last night I decided I would try and just sit with her and hold her hand or have my hand on her chest but not pick her up. This lasted 3 hours until she went to sleep! She didnt cry continuously but it was constantly on and off! I just kept putting her dummy back in. I feel like I've lost her trust and confused her. before, she always knew I'd go to her if she cried she'd just go back to sleep with her dummy. If she didnt , then I knew there was something wrong, like she had soiled her nappy or was in pain. Now I dont know if there's something wrong (doesnt appear to be as she stops crying when picked up), or if she's just crying to be picked up. I feel like she may have felt abandoned before and has lost her ability to sleep with confidence that I'll always be there for her :-( . Have i messed everything up by trying to take her dummy away too early? Or could she just be going through a growth spurt thats disturbing everything coupled with the move to her new room? She was well used to the room as we always did bath time and got ready for bed in there from very early on. She's 28 weeks this week (was born 2 weeks early). I've just purchased a bunny to hold her dummys in the hope that might help! I've tried other comforters to no avail. Please help!!

One answer to “6 month old problems with sleeping

  1. Thanks for your post and sorry you are having a tough time.

    There are several reasons why your baby could have suddenly got unsettled
    a) teething – the fact that she intermittently cried over a period of time could be indication of pain such as teething. She is at the right age for teething and babies can be well in the day as they are distracted and put things in their mouth and then be unsettled at night. If you have this situation again where you get lots of brief wakings or intermittent crying over a period of more than an hour try some pain relief and after 20 mins if she is more settled then it was a pain issue.
    b) sucking to sleep association – although your baby settled well as a young baby she is developing and having a bottle right before bedtime can become a sucking to sleep association. Try and change the order of her bedtime routine around so that she has her bedtime milk before the bath and then use cuddling or patting to help settle her to sleep. This will also help with any reflux issues. Initially you will find that she needs lots of assistance but each night try and do less and less to encourage your baby to self settle.
    c) dummy – these can also become inappropriate sleep association if a baby needs a parent to put it in several times in the night. If a baby has a dummy on a regular basis then they should not be removed before 6 months of age in line with SIDS guidelines. The sleepytot is a great tool to use with a baby as their hands can easily find the dummy on the rabbit and pop it in their mouth. Do lots of practice with her in the day time to encourage self settling. Also limit dummy to sleep time only and if you want to remove the dummy then any time after 6 months you can gradually remove it.
    d) Behaviour – the fact that your baby did stop crying when picked up shows there is a bit of a behavioural issues and learnt behaviour. When trying to settle a baby do try and be very consistent i.e.. use the same approach each time you go to her otherwise it will confuse your baby. Gradual retreat would be the best approach.

    Hope that helps give you some tips and that things improve soon.

    Best wishes


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