General Question

dragonflyfaith's avatar

Do you believe in sleep training for infants?

Asked by dragonflyfaith (1996points) February 24th, 2009

Have you done sleeping training with any of your children? What have you tried? What worked or didn’t work? Do you believe in crying it out or something else?

Max is sixth months old right now. He is able to sleep through the night (upwards of 12 hours) but has been getting up several times a night again. I have sleep problems of my own and am unable to sleep during the day. The night waking is increasingly difficult on me. My husband is willing but unable to help on weeknights. I just don’t know what to do anymore, but I can’t function like this.

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23 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

I think babies are different and you just have to learn what works. Our older child was quick to sleep, and if he cried for more than a few minutes we knew we’d made a mistake: he wasn’t ready for bed. The younger one had to make a whole lot of noise before he settled down, and if we didn’t leave him to it, he’d have been up and down all night. We used to refer to his behavior as “shouting himself to sleep.”

elijah's avatar

I didn’t run to my baby the minute he cried, but I didn’t let him scream for hours either.
It’s ok for a kid to cry. Try to keep a set bedtime, if that isn’t working cut back the naps by a little bit.

dragonflyfaith's avatar

He’s usually ok about getting to sleep the first time. I think the problem though is that he expects to be fed everytime he wakes up. Within a minute of eating, he’s ready and able to go back to sleep. Some nights though, he’ll wake up twice within an hour and expect to be fed each time. If I try to put him back to bed without eating, we have a struggle.

I hate to hear him cry. It makes me feel like I’m not there for him, that he thinks I’ve just abandoned him. I know the difference between his cries. I know what means “I’m bored”, “I’m lonely”, “I’m hungry” and “I’m pissed”.

I try to let him whine/fuss for 15 minutes before going to him. Normally he’d go back to sleep, but it’s just not working anymore.

Thanks for your replies!

Jeruba's avatar

Is he getting solid foods during the day?

augustlan's avatar

Jeruba’s probably on to something. When’s his last feeding? When does he go down for the night? My babies were all good sleepers, and went down at 7:30pm or so… but I woke them up just before I went to bed (around 11pm) and nursed one more time. I’d check/change the diaper between feeding on one side, and switching to the other. Once they’d nursed on the second side, right back to sleep they went for the rest of the night.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Sounds like 12 hours is too long for him to sleep at one stretch. Is he napping too long during the day? Try keeping him up longer in the evening, and putting him down later. Also, make sure he has some cereal in his tummy before he goes down for the night.

dragonflyfaith's avatar

He nurses throughout the day, with his last feeding just before bed. He has fruit for breakfast and veggies around 5 but does not like cereal (doctor said not to bother with it if he won’t eat it).

He takes a nap mid morning for 1–2 hours and then a short nap around 2. Bedtime is between 7:30 and 8:30 with him up for the day between 6–8. All of which is set by him. I never force him to go to bed or sleep longer.

@augustlan He normally falls asleep during the first side. He hasn’t nursed on both since he was a month old.

I’m also thinking his window and bedroom might be a problem. He has only shades and we live in a large apartment complex with lots of traffic. His bedroom is also under the stairwell (we’re first floor) so he can hear people going up and down. He does have a white noise playing throughout the night.

elijah's avatar

If you try to “soundproof” his room it will only make things worse. Every little noise will wake him up because he only knows how to sleep in total quiet. A few footsteps or traffic noises shouldn’t be keeping him awake. At 6 months he should eat cereal. It will fill him up longer. Try mixing it in with the fruit to make it sweeter. Even if he doesn’t seem to like it keep trying. It takes a bunch of tries before he will develop a taste for it. Never give cereal in a bottle, and never put a baby to bed with a bottle (I’m not saying you do).
I hope you get a good nights sleep soon :-)

dragonflyfaith's avatar

@elijahsuicide I’ll give that a try. Thanks!

Jeruba's avatar

I started mine on some very thin, watery cereal mixed with a favorite fruit and spoon-fed. Rice cereal is the mildest, but barley cereal is nice too. Over time I gradually let the cereal thicken and reduced the proportion of fruit.

My mother, who raised four, always said: “You can get a baby used to anything as long as you do it gradually.”

dragonflyfaith's avatar

I found that rice made him very gassy. We’ve been trying oatmeal, he just makes an awful face everytime. I’ll try adding more to it though.

Jeruba's avatar

Do try the barley cereal. I hope Gerber’s still makes it. Mmm, I still think it’s delicious!

dragonflyfaith's avatar

Hmm, I’ve only seen rice, oatmeal and mixed (rice & oatmeal) in the stores.

casheroo's avatar

More food does not equal more sleep. That’s a common misconception.
I do think some sleep training methods work, but they are something you need to do much research on.
I really love http://www.askdrsears.com/ because I agree with a lot of his parenting philosophies.

Jeruba's avatar

No, but if he is waking up because he’s hungry, more food means less hunger.

casheroo's avatar

Okay, well she can try feeding him more, which is more chance of vomiting since their little stomachs can only hold so much.
If he’s waking up at night, at six months old, it might be from teething, separation anxiety, or hunger. At six months old, and still breastfeeding, it should be done on demand. Even with formula feeding. If a baby is hungry, you feed them, you do not deny them food because it is inconvenient.

elijah's avatar

No one is suggesting denying the child food, in fact I believe most of us are suggesting offering more food. No one is suggesting force feeding either. It’s a natural step to offer solid food. Not many children (no matter what age) like a food the first time. That doesn’t mean you don’t keep trying.

dragonflyfaith's avatar

Here’s an update:

We hadn’t been doing very well in the past with solid foods. That was more our fault with his. So I tried changing the cereal up by making it really thick and adding fruit to it. He seems to like it a lot better. I think it was too thin in the past and didn’t have enough taste to it. I also started him on more difficult foods (actual chunks rather than a liquid relative) and that seemed to make him more interested as well.

Since then, I’ve gotten him down to one feeding in the middle of the night. The other times, I can soothe him pretty easily and he goes right back to sleep. Separation anxiety?

He does have a cold right now though, so I think that this week is not a good example. He’s very snotty, so I think it might be keeping him up.

Thanks again for all the advice. It’s good to have some BTDT moms around.

casheroo's avatar

Aww, if he has a cold then his sleep will definitely be screwy. My son is teething right now, and sometimes he wakes up screaming uncontrollably because of it. It’s hard to watch them suffer.
Some babies never like the cereal, mine liked the oatmeal more than the rice stuff (have you tried it? it’s gross!) So we stuck to the oatmeal for him, and he liked it thicker also.

elijah's avatar

Yay! I’m glad you are making some progress. I hope the little guy feels better soon.

dragonflyfaith's avatar

He slept from 7:30 – 6:30 this morning! Woohoo! **Happy Dance!**

@casheroo Yeah the oatmeal tastes much, much better!

dragonflyfaith's avatar

I think he slept because I told him yesterday that he’ll get a new toy if he sleeps everynight for a week. 6 months old and already greedy.

casheroo's avatar

You’re lucky! Mine didn’t start sleeping through the night until umm I think 16 months. He coslept the first 14 months, then two months of transitioning to the crib. It was a long process. He still wakes up every so often, but usually because my husband makes too loud a noise…if he wakes the baby, he has to take care of him! That’s my rule lol

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