This Week’s Question for Batya:
Frustrated? YOU BET! Batya, I was spoiled until now and didn’t realize it. My 6 month old baby was a dream sleeper from 7 weeks of age, giving me 7 hour stretches every night. Now, however, he has started fighting naps and barely sleeping during the day (sometimes just 20 min or so the ENTIRE day), fighting bedtime, and waking 3-4 times to nurse. I never thought this would happen because he was doing great and then all of the sudden just decided to become a bad sleeper. I feel like a ticking time-bomb…super tense and ready to explode!
First of all – take a deep breathe. I realize that it can be beyond frustrating when a baby isn’t sleeping, but your own tension level directly affects all aspects of your baby’s day (especially his sleep). If you want to read a bit more about our stress levels with our babies click here.
It is not uncommon at all for a baby that was once sleeping well to suddenly fight sleep and wake more frequently in the night. There is a typical sleep regression that occurs around the 4-5 month age, and even though he’s a bit older than this, this regression is usually caused by the need for a new routine.
Because he was sleeping so well and “suddenly” stopped – then offering predictable naps will drastically help! Pay attention to his sleep cues and when he seems tired. From there you can begin introducing consistency when he sleeps, where he sleeps, and how often he sleeps. Keep a log for a few days to track your findings and to help you determine what his needs are. (A baby his age need approximately 3-4 hours of day sleep and 11-12 hours of night sleep).
Another possibility is that he is going through a growth spurt. Instead of nursing him so frequently now in the night, try upping his intake during the day. Ask yourself: “Am I offering solids? If so, is it enough for him? Maybe he needs another nursing thrown in also that I didn’t realize?!”
Following his cues is the biggest and most crucial step to help guide you in the right direction with all of his needs.
And most importantly, make sure you have time for yourself to unwind so you won’t feel like a time-bomb!