Hello Annie. Help! I need a good night’s sleep! I have a baby boy who will be 6 months on Jan 31 and he is my first child. My question is to do around sleep and not sure if you deal with babes this young? My husband and I have read every book possible, Baby Whisper and Baby Wise are the two we are following. We have stuck with the E.A.S.Y. method (Eat, Activity, Sleep and You time). Our issue is our son does not sleep through the night. I have charted his sleep and in a 24hr period he does get 14 hours daily but during the night he only sleeps an average of 3 hours at a time.
My husband is more frustrated by this than me as I feel maybe that is his pattern and I am not willing to let him cry it out because as far as I can tell it makes him more upset (hyperventilate and real tears).. oh and his night starts around 10PM otherwise we are up at 6AM and this way he will stay sleeping till about 10AM..
Our issue is he does not sleep through the night. I have charted his sleep and in a 24hr period he does get 14 hours daily but during the night sleeps an average of 3 hours at a time. My husband is more frustrated by this than me. I feel maybe that this is his pattern and I am not willing to let him cry it out because as far as I can tell it makes him more upset (he hyperventilates with real tears). Oh and his night starts around 10PM otherwise we are up at 6AM and this way he will stay sleeping till about 10AM.
He is always happy and in between sleeps during the day he is always up for 2 hours and then he starts to get crabby and goes for his nap and getting him to sleep can be a huge task at time too! He always sleeps in his swing and we are trying to figure out how to get him off this prop!
Part of the problem is we still have to swaddle him as his arms are out of control and he cannot fall asleep without being in a tight cocoon! So when we put him in his bed he flips around getting the blanket lose and gets out and then is angry and we start all over. Everyone just keeps getting more frustrated.
He is a very strong baby (20 lbs) and it also worries me that we’re swaddling him and putting him in his crib as he rolls onto his stomach and he cannot get back. Being like that with his arms pinned to me seems to be a set up for suffocation.
Maybe you can tell me where we can get help from (if this is not your speciality) as reading books is great and all but I think I we need an intervention. My husband thinks we need to have Baby boot camp around here and well lets say I am the softer one and it is not going to happen!
We have not started solids yet although it has been recommended several times. We are both shift workers so to get a better sleep would really help everyone’s mental health!! Thank you for your time,
Your son sounds like a normal little guy although I quite understand how tiring it gets when no-one in the family is getting a good night’s sleep! I don’t usually like to answer specific questions when children are this little as there are often medical influences at play. However, what I can do is give you the big picture of where you’re at, which I hope will help you out. I certainly do offer a behaviour intervention service and you can find out about it by clicking on the link provided.
Find the optimum time
Everybody understands that newborns have their own innate sleeping cycle and that it’s simply best at that point to work around your baby. At some point however usually between three and six months your baby, if shown, can learn the benefits and joys of sleeping like everyone else ie. going to bed at a certain time on their own, sleeping through the night and waking at much the same point every day.
I think from your letter that a schedule like that would appeal to you so the question is how to get from where you are to where I’ve suggested. I’ve many letters that explain the approach (just search my archives under sleep) but the more important fact I want to get across, is why it’s important to sleep train your child and why you may want to persevere even if it means ‘real tears.’ Right now, your son doesn’t know what a decent sleep he could have because you haven’t shown him. He has no experience. You try but he cries and then you stop which prevents him from ever travelling past his initial discomfort to see the benefits.
Understand the rationale
Sleep training is not cruel and you are not being mean to your baby. What I’m really getting at is if you let the prospect of your son’s anger/tears/upset deter you in teaching him how to get a good night’s sleep, you may find it increasingly difficult to teach him many other things because he will use those same tears to prevent you. Listening to a screaming two year old is no easier than listening to him cry now and at that age, he will have a lot more tenacity and staying power.
Ask yourself how you want to bring your son up? No decision comes in isolation. The decisions you make now will impact both your future and his. Do you want to centre things around your son or do you want him to fit in with the rest of the world? Do you want to rock him to sleep every night or have to sleep with him or do you want to him to be able to sleep on his own? These are decisions you should make as a couple and I would very much suggest that you sat down together to discuss your approach. Being on the same page, backing one another up and staying consistent are the foundations of good parenting.
If you want him to learn to appreciate a normal schedule ie. sleep all night and wake up for the day at a reasonable time in the morning then if I was you, I’d start now. The problem with swaddling and the swing are that they are only symptoms of a larger issue. Once you have helped your son learn to sleep on his own without aids he will not need swaddling or a swing. (I certainly wouldn’t restrict his movements in his crib at his age.) He will know that when you put him in his crib it’s time for sleep and he will have learned how to get himself there on his own.
Make a plan and use each other for support
If you do decide to sleep train, then appreciate that it will be a difficult couple of days. Concentrate on bedtime and just follow through the same procedure at naps. I know you’re both shift workers but don’t attempt this unless you can do it together, as you will need to rely on each other both for support and to get extra rest during the day. I would also suggest that you follow the recommendation to put your son on solids. I hope this has helped. Again for specifics, go to my archive and the whole approach is laid out or indeed follow one from your book. Irrespective, you should check with a medical practitioner before implementing my advice because there may be issues surrounding your child that I am not aware of. For more help with your parenting, please visit my parenting services page.
All the best,