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6 Months Without Sleeping Through the Night
My baby is already 6 months old and I was hoping that he would be able to sleep through the night now. Unfortunately he always wakes up in the middle of the night, normally 1-2 times. I thought that the reason was that he was hungry, but I read a lot about him and I think that he will get used to falling asleep on the breast.
Apparently we all wake up several times a night, but the difference between babies and us is that babies need to learn how to fall back to sleep on their own. All babies will be able to do it themselves at some point in their lives, but, because you don’t know when it will happen, it can be a good idea to try to teach them as soon as you can, or me. should say as soon as possible. In my case, my baby uses the breast to go back to sleep and my mission now is to teach him how to go back to sleep on his own.
The first thing I plan to do is to keep a close eye on my baby’s sleeping habits; when he wakes up, when he naps and how long and when he wakes up during the night. This way I will have a better idea of his sleep patterns.
My baby’s bedtime routine is a bath, read and feed before going to bed and he usually falls asleep at the breast. I decided to change this routine because it reinforces his dependence to fall asleep on the breast. His new bedtime routine will be: feeding, bathing and reading before bed. Putting the baby to bed while he is awake will help start the process of learning how to sleep on his own.
The next question is, what will I do next? I have talked to many mothers and each one has a different opinion on what is the best method to follow. I think that, like many things in parenting, it is a very personal decision, and even if there is only one right, it would be almost impossible to determine which one it is.
The “Let your baby cry himself to sleep” method. I’m not a fan of this “method”, it’s basically letting your baby cry until he falls asleep. It may work for certain parents, but I find it unnecessary cruel.
There is another method called “Ferberizing”, named after the person who suggested it: Dr. Richard Ferber. You put your baby to sleep and if he cries, you leave him alone for 5 minutes, enter the room after that time has passed, pat him and leave the room again. Next time you will let him cry for 10 minutes and continue with this technique increasing by 5 minutes the time that you let him cry until he falls asleep. I’m not a fan of letting my baby cry, I know that some people may think that I’m a weak mother and that the baby is controlling me, but I just don’t think it’s fair to him. Crying is the only way that he can communicate with us and if we ignore him when he does it, what kind of message are we sending him?
There is another method called “systematic awakening”. It doesn’t look like too much fun, but at least it allows you to avoid letting your baby cry for hours. First, you need to keep a diary of when your baby wakes up during the night for a week. Once you have an idea of your baby’s routine you need to set an alarm for about half an hour before you expect him to wake up. Once the alarm goes off, you get up (this is the “not much fun” part) and you have to wake up the baby (this is the “even less fun” part) and do what you normally do when he wakes up spontaneously. Wake him up? Poor little thing, really? he seems so quiet when he sleeps, I don’t know if I could do it. For those who can, you need to anticipate each usual awakening in the same way and gradually expand the time between wakings. In this way, in a few weeks, you will be able to eliminate them.
So after considering all the different options, I will try the method of simply strengthening sleep rhythm. The main thing with this method is that you never let your baby get too tired. I have seen my baby overtired many times and act like he is ready to party all night (my partner loves it because he really thinks he wants to play) when in fact he was ready to go to bed long ago a few hours. This method indicates that when you can anticipate your baby’s natural sleep and allow him to sleep in the right environment (in my case that means sleeping in his bed and undisturbed) he will fall asleep easily. One of the things I will need to change is my reaction to waking my baby at night, instead of feeding him, I will have answers to reassure him, but I will let him fall asleep on his own.
Good night and sleep well
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