I have a 5-month old daughter who started out as a great sleeper. By 2-3 weeks old, she would sleep 5 hours, wake, eat, sleep about 4 hours, wake, eat, sleep. We had the day/night thing figured out really well. My husband and I actually slept! We thought we were so lucky. Somewhere around Thanksgiving (about 3 1/2 months old), she began the 4-mo sleep regression and beginning of teething AND in the midst of traveling and visiting family, which I know threw her sleep routine completely off. Now we are past the holidays, and trying to retrain. My problems are:

  1. She can fall asleep on her own for naps - sometimes, literally every other day is perfect. The other days - not so much. The routine is the same every day. Get up at about 7am, play, eat, play. Start being put down at about 11am (yes, I know, 4 hours of awake time - she will NOT fall asleep any sooner, even if I nurse her - I have tried in the past just so I can establish timing but nothing doing). So now we don't nurse within an hour of the nap since it didn't matter. I put her down in her crib and turn on her music. Within two rounds (10 minutes), she is either sound asleep for 1 1/2 hours or bawling. No predictability day-to-day.

  2. Bedtime routine is 6:00pm get a bath, lotion, nursing, song and rocking, then into the crib. Most of the time she falls asleep while nursing so either I have to wake her slightly to put her down in the crib awake, which leads her to thinking it's time to be up and she is then awake for another 1-2 hours cranky OR I put her down asleep and she sleeps solid 3 hours.

  3. Nighttime wakings are 9:30pm, 12:30-1:30am, 3:30, 5:30am, then with the alarm at 7:00am. The times she wakes are fairly predictable, and she nurses on both sides just about every time - seems to be always hungry. Most of the time, she will go right back to sleep, I lay her in the crib, walk away, with no problems. The 12:30am one is the hardest. Again, like the naps, every other night, even if I nurse her, rock her, whether she's asleep drowsy or awake when she goes in the crib, she cries (we've gone an 1 1/2 hour of 5-10 minute checks and settling before I give in and just pick her up). Unless my husband holds her for an hour or I pull her into bed, there's no end.

I know she is also teething right now (her first tooth came in about a week ago), but this started before Christmas. It's not so much my sleep I'm too worried about, but more figuring out how to get her back on track with her good sleep. We've tried the 5-minute checks, I've tried fading with sitting in the room, just rocking her until she's completely out and laying her down - each one we tried for at least 2 weeks, seeing no progress, just the same above weird pattern.

I should point out, at no time do we let her sob or truly "cry-it-out". I won't let her sob. Fuss, yes, cry some, sure; sob, can't and won't.

How do I break the pattern? Or do I need to just wait a while, roll with this, and try again in a month...

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    Have you read all the questions/ answers you see listed on the right? – WRX Jan 20 '17 at 19:26
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    We are happy to help, but there have been many questions and answers on this issue. If you have read them and still have questions, please help us to understand what you are asking. – WRX Jan 21 '17 at 16:20

We use co sleep. It worked for us because child happy. Our mattress on floor with baby on pad beside mommy.

First things first: infants' sleep patterns change very often, with my daughter it was sometimes as often as every 2 weeks. Don't get too worried and to happy about how your child goes to sleep. It will change. There may be ups and downs, but, in general, it gets better with age.

Waking 4 times at night seems a bit too much for a 5mo to me; have you tried eating less often but more? Have you considered formula for the pre-sleep eating? It takes longer to digest it and your daughter might not wake hungry so often.

Putting your baby to bed as she is asleep some people might consider a bad practice; for our daughter it was the only way to go for a long time. See my question from a few years back How to put a newborn/infant to sleep to bed without waking her? . If you are comfortable putting her to bed already asleep, do it. You may attempt to change the way you put your baby to sleep later on. Our daughter resisted going to sleep alone until she was around 2.5yo. Before that we tried teaching her that every few months for a few nights. At one point she was, apparently, ready, and we succeeded. I think it's important not to force the issue, because then your daughter may start fearing and avoiding going to sleep (more than children usually do), because she dislikes it so much. Make the process as comfortable to both sides as possible.

Enforce a day-nap routine. Go to sleep at the same time (+-15 minutes), sleep for more or less the same time. At 5 months she should have, I think, at least 2 naps, if not 3, during the day. The first nap is usually the longest, the other may be shorter, around 45-60 minutes.

A favourite hugging-sleep teddy or sheep goes a long way. The same boring long song sung to sleep can help too. A dim, ambient lamp may help at night, though I wouldn't introduce it unless it was necessary and your baby stated that she needs it (the darkness -> sleep association is, I think, important).

And, as a final note: all children are different. Something seemingly abnormal might actually be just a person's quirk... My friend had a 3mo girl who would have only one single 30 minute nap during the day, but would sleep an entire night without waking. My other friend had a son who would fall asleep on his own always at the same hour during the day and slept for exactly the same amount every day until he was around 1yo.

There are a few things I think you can do relatively soon that have very little risk.

1. Try a cradle swing. They're popular because they work. Most brands max out at about 10 kg, but it can at least get her back on track.

2. See a pediatrician. There are some common medical problems that can affect sleep.

3. Supplement with formula. She might still be hungry after nursing, or you can do a few planned formula feeds a day, like when it's dad's turn.

4. She might be afraid of the dark. You can try a nightlight.

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