Sleep training?!?

Ok, I'm trying really hard not to cry right now, because me and my boyfriend haven't slept properly for nearly 5 weeks.

I know she's still only little (20wks 2 days) but she was sleeping through from 10 weeks, being completely breast fed. I've now had to stop feeding her as it has been every two hours, on a good night, so completely formula fed now, though she'll go three hours or so between feeds during the day.

I've tried giving her food, cuddles, dummies, more milk, having her in bed with us, Calpol, teething stuff....everything. 😒 she wakes up screaming, so she's in her own room, she settles back down after a feed, but why is she feeding this much? Its so out if character. I've tried leaving her to cry it out, but it breaks my heart. The health visitor says I've just got to be tougher, but I'm really struggling.

Please, any suggestions on how I can reduce how many times she'll wake and feed would be great. πŸ™ˆ xxx

42 Replies
oldest β€’ newest

hi LottyB, this sounds tough given that previously she was sleeping through :( however i dont agree with your health visitor - i dont think you sholuld be tougher with a 20 week old! everyone has different opinions and i dont mean that as a criticism of you in any way. But at 5 months she is not trying to manipulate you, she is just telling you she needs/wants something. As you know they do go through growth spurts, this could well be an extended one? It is also the classic age for 'sleep regression' - where they wake a lot in the night after previously sleeping through, thought to be connected to some major brain development. I know a friend of mine spaced out the feeds during the day so that baby got used to going longer stretches without milk, so that she wasnt just waking for milk out of habit in the night. Do you think your little one has a feed-to-sleep assocation - does she fall asleep AT the bottle? Or does she feed and then roll over and get herself to sleep or do you rock her back off? I was a bit of a wuss and didnt sleep train until Matilda was 14 months, up untul then she woke me every 2 hours (or more) for milk - i definitely would NOT recommend doing what i did, it drove me to insanity. But at the same time, if it feels wrong leaving her to cry then listen to your gut instincts. Have you tried putting her in a different posiiton to sleep? I know they dont recommend babies sleeping on their front but maybe when she is a teeny bit older and able to roll over easily, you could try putting her on her tummy to sleep, i know this has worked for 2 of my friends who went through somethign similar at 5 months. Sorry lots of ideas being thrown at you here, hold in there!! xxx

She's great at going to sleep on her own, we do bath, story, bottle, kisses and cuddles then put her down sleepy and she'll be asleep within 10 minutes. But getting her to stay asleep is so hard. She rolls into her tummy or side to get comfy herself and very rarely cries to be moved. I'm so glad I'm not the only one thinking my health visitor is wrong! She's still so gorgeous and little.

Funnily enough, she slept from 10.30 to 7am last night. And has just settled back after her bottle. Though I didn't sleep at all (I'm not even exagerating! My work are being very unhelpful with my part time working request, basically saying I have to go back full time, so that's stressing me out!) but hopefully we'll get back to normal now. Fingers crossed.

Thankyou!! Xxxx

Hiya - so glad she was better last night, shame you couldn't sleep though :( is there some business need that means your employer cannot support your change to part time hours? Make sure they have specific grounds for refusing, otherwise you may be able to get support from your union or take it higher. The good news is that you have obviously taught your little girl good sleeping habits, so when this regression/spurt ends she will (fingers crossed) return to being a good sleeper. So well done you. The danger with these phases is that we start breaking sleep routines/habits and confuse them, so that once the 'problem' passes, they are used to being rocked back to sleep and then you don't know when the actual problem has passed!! But it souns as though you wont have that problem. Remember Lotty that even though the doctors say that babies CAN sleep 'through the night' at 6 months, most babies in fact DO NOT do anything close to sleeping through the night until much older. I'm not saying you should accept being woken every 2 hours, but don't feel like you are doing something wrong if you don't achieve that magical 12-hour stretch! also in medical terms 'sleeping through the night' is classed as sleeping for a solid 5 hours or more. Just one more thought - have you recently started weaning? Because sometimes starting them on food can temporarily give them discomfort as their digestive system adapts. Also if you REPLACE the milk with fruit/veg purees, this doesn't fill them up as well, contrary to popular belief. So don't be in a rush to get her eating purees at every meal! xx

I tried giving her baby rice with fruit purees last week thinking it might help her sleep, but it didn't, so I stopped. Going to properly start in a couple of weeks when she's five months or so.

I'd be happy with one wake up, but every two hours is hard. We'll get there.

Yeah, work say there is too much work for part time hours and job share wouldn't work as there wouldn't be the continuity. 😒 I'm an accountant and love my job, but I didn't have a baby for someone else to look after her. I've asked them if there are any areas I can work part time but they didn't sound hopeful. But it means I'm worrying about finding a job now.

What will be will be. Xxx

wishing you luck with the sleeping and the job xx

It's a growth spurt my lovely and a sleep regression. There's lots of these phases, it's really tough first time when you don't know about them. I'm currently going through one with my 18 month old. It's completely normal and will pass. Big hugs, nap/rest during the day when she sleeps. Give her lots of cuddles and hold her tight, she will be through it in no time and a grown up toddler, then preschooler, then school! My eldest baby is 3 1/2 now, she still comes in our bed now when she has a bad dream. Both were being difficult last night so I'm missing a good two hours sleep this morning. The joys of parenthood. X

As I've just said to tazmania, she slept through! Haha. Little bugger knew when I was about to give her away I think. Joking, obviously! πŸ™ˆ xxx

babies test our patience, endurance and emotional strength more than anything else. I think we've all had moments when we jokingly talk about giving them away!!!

It's so hard when they sleep through for a few nights or weeks and then give you a broken night, it really throws me! It will happen again, be prepared and know that it's nothing you're doing right or wrong, it's normal. Humans aren't really designed to sleep for 8 hours solidly each night, it's a myth we've been fed and have adjusted to for modern life. This is good reading about having realistic expectations of baby's sleeping All sorts can disturb it; developmental phases -rolling, sitting, walking, talking... Teething, illness. Sleep is for wimps! Health visitors advice should be taken with a pinch of salt. I have had different ones tell me different things or heard stories from friend's where the health visitor has said one thing to me and the opposite to her, because that's what she read in our body language we wanted to hear! I met a lovely Health Visitor at a wedding once who told me co-sleeping safely is fine and to do it if that's what works for me, so I did with my second because I needed sleep and that was the best way to get it!

Hope you get things sorted with work. I wanted to go back part time and they wouldn't let me, so I did the three months to keep my maternity pay and left, fortunately my husband got a new job as I quit which paid the difference between my income and nursery fees, so we were no worse off financially and far better off as a family (I think my husband and I may have divorced if I hadn't given up work, I was a teacher and it was so stressful trying to get all my marking done on the weekend with my gorgeous little girl around wanting my attention). I hope your work can come to a sensible solution for all of you.

I love Kellymom, such a great resource!

Please be reassured this is normal baby behaviour. As you've discovered formula doesn't make babies sleep so you could breast feed if you want in fact studies show BF mums get slightly more sleep, did you ever lie down and feed her so you could sleep at the same time?

please don't give her food their tummies are not ready before 6 months and food doesn't make them sleep. If it did toddlers wouldn't wake up in the night! :)

At about 4 months babies go through a sleep regression. If you giggle this you'll see tons of people going through the same thing. My baby went from sleeping about 4/5 hours in a row to waking and screaming every 45 minutes.

Every baby is different some will go back to sleeping longer periods over the course of a few weeks and others will take a few months or more. Mine didn't sleep through til 13 months. So we had 9 months of walking every couple of hours I just got used to it to be honest. It will pass eventually.

I'm afraid it's just part of having a baby that people don't tell you about! please don't try to sleep train a 5 month old. It should never be done on a baby younger than 6 months and even that I think is far too young. Waking in the night is a mechanism that helps to prevent SIDS if that helps you feel better. So don't fight against that if you see what I mean.

You could download the wonder weeks app and see if your baby is in one of those, they go through periods of huge development and this can keep their brains whirring at night. Their sleep cycles also change at 4 months. And things like growth spurts keep them waking for food. This is normal. I would say just be glad you had those weeks of sleep because some people don't even get that so at least you had some respite :)

We had a few weeks of good sleep from about week 6-12 and I know it's awful because your body gets used to more sleep again but you'll soon get used to waking lots again.

Going every 3 hours in the day is normal a BF baby often does that too around 4 months. If you think as an adult how often you eat or drink throughout the day it's probably every couple of hours.

She just sounds like a normal baby to me. You can do this!

I think there is another recession at 8 months and 12 months so just get sleep when you can! X

She's at the end of a stormy period according to wonder weeks.

Thanks for your advice. I am just so completely exhausted. Just got to survive until the weekend then the boyfriend can have his turn at night feeds. Haha. Xx

There you go then! :) we had an awful leap at 16 months after 3 months of sleeping through she started waking every hour!! These babies like to test us. I know when they're first born you're counting the weeks or months til they sleep well but now I know if I ever have a second baby don't get my hopes up lol and just appreciate any good night and don't think about the rest or you'll go mad :) x

definitely agree that sleep training a 5 month old is not wise - I don't think they have the emotional or cognitive capacity to deal with it, so it is fruitless and hard on both baby and mum. there is a reason you're not dealing well with letting her cry - it's your maternal instinct kicking in to protect her! equally I agree that waiting until theyre a bit older before weaning is no bad thing at all, I think I waited until she was nearer 7 months and did a quasi-Baby-Led Style, don't think I ever made a single puree. However if you want to start earlier it wont do her any harm xxx

When I've been cooking for me and the boyfriend I've been blending little amounts and putting them in the freezer just to have handy. I'm going to try a mix of purees and baby led, but we'll see what happens! X

that's a good idea :) it's an exciting time!

I love this site the responses are always so good !! I completely agree with EVERYTHING Claire 16c says! I breast fed my now 2 year old to 16 months and she'd wake every couple hours! Then she decided to sleep through! You do get used to it and it does get easier. My son- now 6 was different and didn't sleep through til about 4 years old!

Women are strong we cope and it's always worth it to see them grow and develop.

Yup my toddler got to 13 months and suddenly just started falling asleep herself and sleeping through and I'm happy she did it of her own accord x

This sounds like you could be describing my daughter! She is 21 weeks! She has been waking every 2 hrs since early September & in the last week she wakes every 45mins! I don't feed her every time anymore, I have tried all of the things you have tried too! I've read a book by the Baby Whisperer on sleep & tried the daytime routine to improve her naps, though it's not happening for the nighttime yet! I'm also on he verge of tears every morning when my husband goes to work! I can't nap in the day as she only sleeps in short bursts & I struggle to drop off before she wakes again! I really hope that the phase ends soon!!! Good luck & fingers crossed she carries on sleeping through like last night! X

Please don't worry that baby whisperer book made me feel so stressed. Some of the advice in it is awful! X

Its so horrible isn't it!! She's just talking to me at the moment and giggling which is adorable. Niamh is the same, only the past couple of days she's napped better. I've been putting her down to nap the second she rubs her eyes. I give her a cuddle and kiss and whisper how much I love her, and she falls asleep for around an hour. Walking her in the pram helps, even if its just rocking it in the kitchen. 😊 like I said getting her to sleep isn't the problem, its staying asleep.

I'm sure we'll survive. Its what we are made for. 😍 xxx

If you're stressed about your work have you considered looking for something else? It never fails to amaze me how many companies train women and then as soon as they have a baby they don't let them come back part time when there is probably loads who would do a job share! So they end up leaving and then having to spend thousands training new staff. It's crazy! I left my old job for the same reason. There were barely any women in their 30s working there! X

I'm looking for other work now. My maternity pay doesn't finish until the middle of February but I wanted to start back in January. And because my employer when I was pregnant was ok with part time ideas, my childminder is booked fir two days a week, and every where else is full. There's always supermarket jobs and things.

I might talk to them again and see if we can at least try part time and if it doesn't work, then we've tried.


Yeah you never know if they were open to it before they may come round to the idea if you can persuade them x

I know how you feel, my first child had terrible colic and screamed for 10 weeks ever night from 5pm-5am.

Now my second child is currently 16 weeks and feeds every single hour during the night, 4th night in a row! She's never gone for less than every two hours, which is so so exhausting :-(

I also don't agree with your HV. I know it's a really really tough time and sleep deprivation makes you feel absolutely crap, emotional and exhausted but your little one is still that, little. She might still need a bit more 'you' and might sleep better with you in your room. I personally don't think it's a solution to ban her from your room because she cries, she's still a small baby and needs comfort. With my first child I was worried I'd create bad habits as he slept with me in a bedside crib for six months, napped (whenever he did...) in his room during the day. Then we moved him over into his own room and had no problems whatsoever!

When they are little they want to be close to you, so she might get better again closer to you.

Also, as someone else pointed out, they go through phases and growth spurts where they need more milk. I think you've been very lucky that you already had a period where she slept through! But of course it makes it harder now that she doesn't.

If she's is your first try and nap with her during the day and try and go with the flow, this phase won't go on forever. And try not to be too hard on her or yourself, she'll grow older so so quickly and soon she'll also eat and things change all again. It's a shame you've stopped breast-feeding already because of her requesting it too much but that's obviously also a personal choice. But maybe a bit more skin to skin to give her the comfortable feel if being near you, smelling you etc. My HV once suggested I go on a 'babymoon', by which she meant taking two days just you and her in bed like the very early days, cuddling, chilling etc and it can help you both feel better - worth a try ;-)

But all in all, it's a phase, it'll come and go! My son is two next month's, he now sleeps through all nights but they get sick, the get teeth, get constipated, have nightmares... It's never-ending, but ever-changing, you'll need to go with the flow to an extent!

Sorry, must run, little one crying for another feed as well!

We're having a babymoon today. Haha. Skin to skin snuggles.

I love being a mummy, but it is definitely the hardest job ever! Xx

It certainly is!

Enjoy the snuggle time, so hard to do with a second child!

Not having any more babies. Lol. Never again. πŸ™ˆ xxx

You may eat those words :) I said the same around 5 months with mine - now I'm ridiculously broody and would totally go for number 2 now but alas my fertility has not returned (for most people this is a perk of breastfeeding but starting to get impatient!)! Even my husband who initially hated the change in our lives after our baby arrived, said he would have lots of children if money wasn't a factor because it's so much fun now! xx

Not sure! Haha. We're already talking vasectomys. Lol. Xx

Was the same with me ;-)

Ahhhhhh! πŸ™ˆ

You lot are brilliant! 😘 xxx

I opened this earlier to tell you about sleep regression, growth spurts etc but it seems in the last hour everyone already has it covered! Well done everyone and LottyB I'm so glad she got a better night last night, lets hope she gives you a repeat performance tonight and you manage to improve your own sleep too! ;)

It's definitely hard work raising babies and there are very testing times, so important to spend time bonding and loving your little one after a tough night/rough period. I'm now 10 months into this journey and baby is driving me up the wall at night, he's an angel during the day though which does help the overall picture. Trust me it gets better, personally I'm still waiting for the sleeping to get better, but once they start doing more and developing their personalities, it's the best thing in the world :)

Hi, I'll be shot down for this probably but by that age my son needed more than just milk. I started giving him finely sieved apple puree and baby rice made with formula, just a couple for spoonfuls at noon and that made a difference to his naps and sleep. I did sleep training at 12 weeks as I'm told they are old enough to recognise a routine then (again, shoot me down, but it absolutely worked for us). I gave him a bath, then a bottle, then waited until he was showing signs of being tired (eye rubbing for our baby) then put him in his cot awake, read him a story, always said the same goodnight sentences to him 'mummy loves you, sleep well' etc. so he knew what was coming, then I turned the light out and left the room. He would cry and I kept a clock with me just outside the room. As soon as he'd cried for 5 minutes (it seems forever, so a clock is needed), I would go in and pick him up but not talk or engage with him. When he was calm I'd put him back to bed and leave the room. I sat at the top of the stairs outside his door and timed another 5 minutes. On the first night, I went back in about 12 times over 3 hours (he would drift off to sleep and then wake up and cry - a whiney cry, I never left him in a distressed state, he was clean, dry, fed and cosy). On the second night, I went in three times. On the third night I went back in once. By the 4th night he was confident enough to let himself go to sleep as he knew he was safe and that if anything was wrong I would come. You learn a lot about types of crying doing this. I always rush to attend to urgent crying that may indicate pain or hunger or discomfort from a wet nappy, but I now recognise the cry that means I want to be up and with you, the cry that will lead to a tired, unhappy baby and tired, stressed parents. I truly believe that teaching a baby to sleep, if your baby has reached an age where he can (they are all different), is a huge help to the whole family, although the few days you are doing it, it is heart-wrenching and exhausting! Our 13 month old sleeps through most nights now from 8pm to 7.30am. There are blips of a few days here and there for developmental leaps and bugs, but I would do it all exactly the same again in an instant. All babies are different and this worked for us. Good luck with whatever you try.

As you say, every baby is different and if it worked for you then that's great. I know people with 8 week olds putting half a rusk in the bedtime bottle, which is way too early I think. But I totally understand if it needs to be done. We do want to sort of try a gentle version of sleep training but haven't the energy at the moment. Really glad it worked for you. Sounds like a good way of doing it. 😊 xxx

That's awful that's a choking risk! :( and their tummies can't process it properly plus risk of allergies because rusks contain gluten. Not to mention filling a baby up so they sleep is a SIDS risk. And food before 17 weeks puts too much pressure on their kidneys. I can't believe people do that in this day and age :( they may as well put a digestive biscuit in there rusks have similar levels of sugar!

I sleep trained my second daughter when she was 3 mo and it changed her life and our life as parents. She started to nap longer, she was able to fall asleep on her own without crying. It just must be the right method. I think the best one is by Susan Urban. The method is without CIO so no harm for the baby. I've read her guide in an hour or so because it's in a nutshell and i knew exactly what to do with step by step instructions. After 3 days my LO was able to sleep all night long without eating every hour and she started to nap longer so she finally wasn't exhausted. The method must be great because I had like the worst sleeper in the history of babies.

You just must do it step-by-step like the author says. So I wanted to encourage everybody who is interested in sleep train a baby to first of all try Susan Urban's method and follow her instructions and I bet any other method especially with CIO won't be necessary. I've found instructions on what to do and how to do it in the guide "How to teach a baby to fall asleep alone" from I think the author's website

I just regret I didn't sleep train my older son with this method but I can't turn back the time can I

I have just finished sleep training my son with "How to teach a baby to fall asleep alone" ebook. The result ( 3 days ) speaks for itself! I am shocked that it went so easy. I LOVE this guide! Thank you!

Thank you MummyHappy for telling your story becasue I’d been trying for months to teach my daughter to fall asleep on her own and we never could get it. After reading your post I decided to get the guide you were talking about and we did it! my little girl doesn't need to be rock to sleep anymore! How awesome is that!

"How to teach a baby to fall asleep alone" guide is PERFECT! I searched many times on google to get help like this guide! My son finally sleeps!!!!!! Thanks so much for sharing the title

I'm one lucky mom to see this post! a week ago I got 'How to teach a baby to fall asleep alone' guide and I'm loving it! A few days ago my daughter turned 9 months and the method from the guide has worked extremely well! I don't want to speak too soon but it looks like my big girl is finally able to fall asleep on her own in her crib! niiice :)

You may also like...