YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR EXPERTS
I’M REALLY STRUGGLING TO GET MY FIVE-MONTHOLD SON TO GO TO SLEEP ON HIS OWN. HE WAKES UP THROUGHOUT THE NIGHT NO MATTER HOW CALM THE BEDTIME ROUTINE. HE WON’T TAKE A DUMMY AND BECAUSE OF THIS I END UP FEEDING HIM BACK TO SLEEP, EVEN IF IT TAKES AN HOUR OR LONGER. WHAT SHOULD I DO? Teaching baby to self-soothe can be difficult. Additionally, things like nutrition, environment, temperament, developmental milestones, sensory integration and all the rest come into play too. Try following these guidelines:
First take your baby to a doctor to rule out any medical issues that could be affecting his sleep, such as reflux.
At this age, a baby should never be awake for longer than two to two-and-a-half hour stretches – anything longer will result in an overtired baby.
He needs to sleep at least three times a day at this stage, even if that means rocking him to sleep. Try to feed your baby when he wakes up. Don’t swaddle your baby, but if you have to you can keep his hands close to his face for midline integration.
Have you started solids recently? This can cause digestive discomfort. Make sure that you start with vegetables and homemade meat stock (for proteins) to keep him comfortable.
Is he getting enough to drink? Cluster feed your little one during the last few hours before putting him down to sleep.
Start keeping a predictable bedtime routine of around 30 minutes -– no longer. Feed your baby first, then read him a book and then put him down. Do not try to put him down “drowsy but awake”, but rather put him down awake.
His dummy might have become more of a stumbling block than an aid seeing as he won’t take it, so it may be better to stop giving it to him completely. You can try giving him a different comfort object, like a taglet or blankie.
Remember that rocking can be very stimulating for some sensory sensitive children, and so sitting down and holding your baby tightly might be better. Lastly, remember that babies are very sensitive beings. If you have anxiety around your child’s sleep he may be picking up on it. Try your utmost best to keep calm if he wakes up crying and remember that this too shall pass – baby sleep usually evens out around six months.