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Forum Name: Pediatric Topics

Question: sleep issue with 5 mnth old


 Archiebald - Thu Nov 29, 2007 8:38 am

My daughter is 5 1/2 months old, she started sleeping through the night at 2 mnths old would sleep 10 hours would wake here and there but put herself right back to sleep, the past week she has become a nightmare, I put her to bed and she wakes within 1/2 and cries and will not put herself back to sleep, she then wakes all night most times she cries and puts herself back to sleep but often she will not anymore, Can you provide any suggestions?
 Debbie Miller, RN - Thu Nov 29, 2007 4:45 pm

User avatar Hello,
I know this is a frustrating problem, especially since at one time she was sleeping better. Given that information, I would first rule out any physical ailments such as teething or ear infections. Room temperatures can also affect her sleep. Ideally a baby's room would be about 70 degrees F (21.1 C) for optimal sleep. She should not be overly dressed, but wearing a blanket-type sleeper that won't cause her to become tangled as she wiggles.

Once you are content that there is no physical problem, I would recommend a couple of good books that address the problem because it can be an intense process that will require determination on your part and the knowledge of techniques that have been shown to help.

The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley and The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp are both good resource books. I would not recommend any advice that advocates strict feeding schedules, never picking up a crying baby, etc. You need to get in tune with your baby and just like adults, they have their own individuality.

As a rule babies do best at night when they have adequate sleep during the day. Don't wait until the baby is exhausted or you pass the prime moment. As soon as baby seems to be getting tired, go for the nap. Good napping makes for better nighttime sleeping, even though it seems opposite of what you would expect. Adults may sleep well when exhausted but with babies that is not the case.

I would expect your baby to need approximately 4 hours of daytime naps (most likely broken into two separate ones) and a total of 14 - 15 hours sleep including day and night. A typical bedtime based on baby's usual patterns would be around 6:30 or 7:00 PM.

It is possible your baby could be having a growth spurt and requiring more feedings. While you don't want your baby to become accustomed to sucking herself to sleep regularly, she may actually need to nurse. Put her down when drowsy but not totally asleep.

Some of these things might be helpful but I realize I cannot give you an absolute answer for the problem. Patience will be needed as you work towards better nights and it will take a while to establish patterns so don't expect immediate results. And keep in mind this is temporary. Before you know it you won't be able to wake her up to go to school (Just kidding - it won't take that long).

Best wishes.

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