Ask Judy: How Do I Help My Baby Sleep?

Dear Judy, I have a question regarding sleep. Ok, my daughter is six months old and is now on solids. We are up to breakfast and lunch with the oatmeal cereal. I still breastfeed her 7 times a day. We have been going through sleep training for a one week and 2 days. I have noticed at the beginning of the night she wakes from a dead sleep whinning and flopping around. It is always between 8:43 and 8:56 pm. She is going down around 8 pm. Based on my charting of her sleeping patterns she does better going to sleep between 8 and 8:15 pm. At first it took her 40 mins to return to sleep on her own. Now it about 8 mins.

Regarding the swaddling, she took herself out over a week ago. I would swaddle her and she would get out and sleep fine. So, I put her in a sleep sack now. Her day time sleep has improved greatly. She is able to deal with the startle responses while asleep. For some reason at night now she wakes between 8:43 and 8:56 PM . Its been about a week of her spontaneous waking. If I go in to pat at night, and shush her, it actually agitates her. I can do it during the day, which is interesting. At night, she does go back to sleep its just that the during the time she is up is anxiety provoking for me. Her poor little cheeks have rug-rash and she has rubbed out her hair in different places trying to get back to sleep.

My concern is the abrupt waking as well as flopping around. I know she’s not hungry because I feed her right before bed. Could it be gas from the solids? I am baffled and want to help her find another way to go back to sleep as oppose to flopping everywhere.

If your daughter isn’t having solids past lunch, it is unlikely to be gas caused by the solids as that would happen closer to when she ate and you would notice her discomfort during the day as well. It may just be her sleep pattern and she needs to slowly work her way out of it. It is probably a phase that she will out-grow. Many babies will respond positively to someone going in to their room and rubbing their back or shssing her and then letting her fall back to sleep. It doesn’t sound like this will work for your baby, however. You mentioned she was flopping around – she may be going through that difficult time between swaddling and not swaddling. My son did this – he couldn’t sleep without being swaddled, but didn’t want to be swaddled – it was a two month adjustment period for him to get his sleep patterns straightened out again.

I would say give her some time. She is adjusting to being in the sleep sack vs being swaddled. You may want to swaddle her at night – even if she gets out of it, that’s OK – but it might help her get through this “difficult time” better. Don’t worry about her moving about – she will do a lot more of that as she gets older. I used to worry because my son would turn over onto his belly to sleep, but once they are able to turn, they can pretty much sleep whichever way they want and it is OK. Give it some time and see how she does. Just keep in mind – “this too shall pass.” — Judy


Dear Judy, I just wanted to give you a wonderful update. I took your advice and swaddled my daughter again and she is sleeping better. The first night I forgot, so she woke up I swaddled her and she slept longer. Our schedule was a bit off the next day, but she bounced right back. I also discovered that I made the cereal too think for her. The proof was in the poo. So, I adjusted that and she is able to pass gas easier if there is a such thing. Her poo has slowed down as well, which tells me she is adjusting. So, as usual thank you so much. I’ve learned through this introduction of solids process that breastfeeding her before her cereal works great. I feel better about her on solids knowing she is getting enough milk which means the continuation of a good supply (yay!).

Did your little one have sleep issues? What techniques worked best for you? How long did you swaddle your baby? Leave us a comment to let us know!

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