Struggling with a spirited 5 month old

(32 Posts)
Chocolateyclaire76 Mon 29-Apr-13 10:05:46

Some days are OK but today, a Monday morning, was spent crying for at least an hours as the thought of a whole week entertaining a highly spirited 5 months old who will only nap when pushed in the pram became too much!

She was very hard as a small baby and it has got marginally better the older she has got but her demanding screams, constant struggling and sleep fighting are so tough.

I have to walk her at least twice a day for her naps and even then she usually wakes and screams for a bit. I keep meaning to start sleep training her to go in her cot but I just don't think I'm mentally strong enough anymore! I attempted it a few weeks back, going in at 5, 7, 10 minute intervals but she just screamed and screamed for over 45 mins. I gave in then and put her in her pram and went for a walk.

She can be very giggly and happy which is lovely but then the slightest thing happens - like me leaving the room to go to the toilet - and all hell breaks loose!

Can anyone offer me advice on coping mechanisms or let me know when the light at the end of the tunnel may be visible!!

Chocolateyclaire76 Thu 02-May-13 09:51:20

amazingface - thanks for showing me the glimmer of light! I'll try the rocking of the pram at 25mins, that's a good approach. What happened when you transitioned to cot though, did she eventually sleep through the 30 min barrier?

Eskino Thu 02-May-13 10:31:53

She isn't "spirited". She needs you.

Take her with you when you go to the toilet.

I promise you, keeping your baby by your side until she is ready to venture away from you is the secret to having a well-adjusted, non clingy, independent happy, secure child.

amazingface Thu 02-May-13 10:42:34

Yes, she did. I did it all really gradually. So, once she had 'learned' how to sleep through that first cycle and onto the second (by me resettling her with the gentle rocking) in the pram, I stopped the rocking completely. Sometimes she would still wake slightly and protest, but if I held my breath long enough she would usually go back to sleep.

After a while of that, I transferred to the cot. The key for that was, I think, being incredibly consistent with the lullaby and routine. Once they start associating the lullaby with naptime you're almost there - it becomes a really powerful association. smile So by the time I transferred dd to the cot I think she knew what the drill was. I sat by the cot and just shushed her and held her hand till she fell asleep. It really didn't take long at all - was sorted within a week.

Two other things really helped with this. One was that I got dd a little teddy comforter, and that was also part of the routine - me putting the teddy in beside her face so she could snuggle into it. (If you're breastfeeding keep it down your top before you introduce it!). The other was white noise. The white noise really really helped to keep her zoned out enough to enter into another sleep cycle, IMO. You can get it free at www.simplynoise.com
I used to play the white noise all night at one point when she was about 5/6 months old - and I swear by it.

But like Poppy said - you're just around the corner from solids, and the routine of that WILL really help. Your dd will soon be at an age where the length of her naptime naturally increases.

amazingface Thu 02-May-13 10:49:29

Not that she slept all night at that age without waking with the white noise, I should add! Just that the white noise let her sleep in proper chunks of 3,4 or 5 hours, so that she would wake up when she actually needed to (i.e. for a feed) instead of every 45 mins just because she didn't know how to go back to sleep.

<shudders at memory of 4-month sleep regression>

Chocolateyclaire76 Fri 03-May-13 12:17:24

Amazingface - what about when you transitioned to her cot, how did you cope with the 30 min sleep cycle then?

amazingface Fri 03-May-13 12:52:46

Hmm - can't fully remember, but I think that she had probably mostly adjusted by then (from the pram trick) to naturally going into a second sleep cycle, so she was more ready to do it in a cot. I do seem to remember that for the first few days she did wake after 30 mins. I think I just made myself not get stressed about it and just got her up from the nap if that happened.

For the first while, I think I also played the lullaby AND white noise on repeat (on my phone!) for the entire duration of her nap. (N.B. if you do this text your OH first and tell him not to ring or text you for the next while!). That helped.

It goes without saying (or maybe not - took me ages to figure this out!) that the single best thing you can do to get your dd to nap well is to not let her get overtired. I think at 5 months her maximum awake time should be no longer than 2 hours. 1hr 45mins might even be better. according to this link. So you should aim to have her ready and in nap position (sling, pram or cot - wherever) & lullaby by that time.

Honestly, that is the BEST advice I ever got. Being overtired makes babies of that age insane.

Chocolateyclaire76 Fri 03-May-13 13:03:38

Amazingface - sorry for posting same question twice, for some reason it didn't show on my iPhone. I think I'm doing exactly the same as you - I've got the lullaby on constant on my phone but my OH called me the other day and I nearly hit the roof! I'll try rocking pram at 25 mins next week whilst crossing fingers - small steps and all that!!

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