My 9 month old will not sleep through the night!
Shelley Zintl and Cherin Abdelaal Selim replies:
My 9 month old will not sleep through the night. I have got him to do it 3 times, but now he wont sleep for more than 3 hours at night. I will get up, give bottle, change nappy, and settle him down but as soon as I put him to bed he wakes and screams, throws his dummy out then wants it. This will go on for the rest of the night the only way he will sleep is in our bed, but I don't sleep when he is in our bed so I am living on only 2 hours sleep a night.
I have tried to get up give him a cuddle then back into his cot but he just starts up again till he finally gives up at about 7 in the morning.
He is not having a big sleep during the day - only 30 ish min in the morning and maybe 1 hour in the avo if i am lucky.
Can you help?
Thanks for your enquiry about helping your baby sleep through the night.
With this situation, there are several things that are likely to be causing your baby to wake in the night:
1. He's not able to self settle at bedtime
2. A lack of appropriate structured routine in the day
3. Sleep associations that need you, such as giving a bottle or dummy
4. Cold or movement in the cot.
So to get him to sleep through, you need to address any of those which are relevant to your situation.
Self settling: For starters the key is to choose a technique that you and anyone else who settles him can agree on, as you MUST be consistent using it for all settling for day sleeps, bedtime and any night waking.
Routine: This is absolutely key to getting an older baby to sleep well. Babies of that age need to know what you expect and when you expect it. An effective routine will also make your days much easier, as you can plan when to go out, know when to have him into bed, and ensures he is feeding/has solids at the times that are most helpful with sleeping. As above, it will also ensure that you separate feeds from sleep times, which can cause night waking if baby falls asleep while feeding or needs a feed to get drowsy.
Sleep associations: Sleep associations are basically whatever your baby thinks he needs to fall asleep. The key is to use sleep associations that don't need you, as otherwise your baby will always need you to give him the association to get back to sleep (eg feeding, putting dummy back, rocking, cuddling). You can start to build some positive associations for your baby, so when he sees/hears particular things, he knows it's time to sleep (and stay asleep). For example sleep music -Try leaving a baby sleep CD on repeat quietly during the night. Sleeping bag - the process of getting zipped into a sleeping bag every time you sleep quickly forms a clear message to babies it's time to sleep, and also fixes the problem of waking from cold. Make sure you use a sleeping bag for all sleeps. Comfort blankie - A little blankie or special toy is a great association with sleeping, and baby can cuddle or suck it to help him get back to sleep. Dummy - these are great for self settling IF your baby can put it back in himself. If he can't, then get rid of it. Put several in his cot, but do not get up to put it back in, he must learn to do this himself if you want him to sleep through.
Sleeping environment, movement in the cot & cold: I absolutely recommend that you do not put your baby into your bed during the night. This makes teaching him to sleep through the night far harder on you all, and gives him very confusing messages. Put him to bed in his cot for all sleeps and resettle him in his cot if he wakes in the night. Also address any movement in the cot or cold, as these are both common reasons for babies of that age to wake in the night. Cold often wakes babies between 3 and 5am, as that's the coldest part of the night. Babies also wake up fully from both cold and movement, such as crawling or pulling up, which may be why he is hard to resettle.
I hope that information is helpful.
Answered by Louise Tanguay from The Sleep StoreAnswer by:
Shelley Zintl and Cherin Abdelaal Selim
PG Dip ChFamPsych, MEd, MNZPsS