Posted in Babies, Behavior, Sleep

How to get 6 month old to sleep on a schedule and stop fighting sleep?

C

My 6 month old is terrible at sleeping. He fights sleep even though he's sleepy, by rubbing his eyes as if he can rub off whatever is making his eyelids heavy. He will rub and rub and rub, forcefully and every few minutes. He needs me to rock and cuddle him to sleep, but it takes forever because again he fights sleep, only for him to wake up an hour later or as soon as I've put him down. Either way I have to start all over again. Since he's at the age where he still needs 16-20 hours of sleep, I'm literally wasting entire days just attempting to put him to sleep. He won't stay down for the night until after 11pm. Now he's taken to playing late at night when it should be sleep time. It's 1am as I'm typing this, and only now has he quieted down. He should be asleep by 9pm, or 10 at the latest. The things I've tried give inconsistent results. Swaddling works only sometimes. Crying it out has worked less often and is the most stressful route. White noise and "womb sounds" no longer have effect on him. I've tried cosleeping as well as giving him his own space, but neither seem to make a difference. I've let him decide when he will sleep (not like I have much choice) but when given the choice he will keep himself awake until he's so exhausted that he will be crying and cranky, yet he won't sleep. He used to fall asleep to feedings, but not anymore, even though he's drinking more at this age. Tiring him out buys me only a short pause. How do I get him to stop fighting sleep and go down on schedule? Neither of us can go on like this and the crying is pissing off the neighbors.

  • Anonymous
    Mar 06

    Do you have a solid night time routine? I didn't do this with my first and I had the same problems. My second has been so much easier, but I think it's also his personality. He is also 6 months old, he has a lot of trouble taking good naps , but sleeps great at night. Lots of people do bottle, bath, books, bedtime. We do bath every few nights, lotion ( I think the lotion is the key to him signaling it's time for bed, pajamas, sleep sack, bottle, bed. Bottle some times comes first. I have to sound machine in, the room is dark, I take him in and lay him down and leave. If he gets upset I come in, hold him for a little then do it again. Naps are a different story, and he likes napping in his stroller outside the best ( it's been warm out)

  • K
    Mar 06

    It sounds like he is extremely overtired. You have to break the cycle. Good day sleep leads to better night sleep. At 6 months he should only be up about 2-2.5 hrs at a time. His bedtime should also be adjusted, 7 pm or so being the latest. I would calculate from the last nap. So if my babes woke up from second nap at 4, bed would be 6:30. My first, a boy, had sleep troubles early on, but after I read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child things improved tremendously. Sleep begets sleep. I know have twin 16 mth old girls who happily go to bed between 6-7 depending and wake between 6:30-7 am. It will get better!!

  • Hannah
    Mar 06

    I was definitely in this position. Honestly, I bought a little ones sleep program and slowly implemented the tips and my baby has gotten so much better. He’s not the greatest sleeper in the world but it’s honestly night and day how different. Cry it out didn’t work for him either and all other methods. I was at a loss. I really recommend it. ❤️

  • Laura
    Mar 06

    Does he sleep when you wear him? At that age our daughter took a lot of her naps in a wrap or Ergo/Beco.

  • C
    Mar 06

    He does sometimes sleep when I wear him. When he does it's instantaneous. Taking him out of the carrier is risky though, I'm not sure how to do it without waking him up. I'm going to have to try these books and programs everyone suggested! I've started googling them. I'll check my library for copies or see where I can buy for cheap online. I'll also try putting him on a more rigid schedule. There's been no real schedule because he used to be a natural at keeping a sleep schedule, but somewhere along the way that changed. He finally fell asleep by about 1:30am last night, likely he'll sleep right through past noon unless I wake him...

  • Gen
    Mar 06

    The book, Precious Little Sleep by Alexis Dubief, really helped me.

  • Heather
    Mar 06

    If you are doing the “cry it out” or Ferber method it needs to be very consistent! Basically as soon as you decide to do it there is no going back. Usually takes a good 3 days and for some up to a week, but after that your baby should be used to that routine. I was skeptical too. My son was the exact same way and I was rocking him to sleep for hours every day and up a couple times at night. I did the Ferber method and he has been sleeping 12-13 hours a night ever since. It is definitely worth the hard week of sleep training. It actually worked for my son in 3 days. I also recommend doing it for naps and bed time at the same time.

  • Jason
    Mar 06

    My wife put us on a schedule. 6:30 and that boy is in bed. For us, it’s all about schedule. She has done wonders with our son. He has slept in his crib since he was 4 months and sleeps through the night.

  • Anonymous
    Mar 14

    At 7mo a baby should have about 12 hours at night and about 4 hours of naps. Maybe you're trying to make him sleep too much?

  • C
    Mar 17

    So, update: Turns out he sleeps 16 or so hours a day - twelve hours at night, and about 3-4 hours of naps during the day. It just felt like 20 to me, because the hours between his sleep times were spent with me trying to get him to sleep. All those hours in a day, just about his sleep. UGH Things have gotten better though. I've taken everyone's advice, read the reading material some of you suggested, and put it all to use. Thanks everyone, it helped. He's now put on a schedule and gotten better at not fighting sleep, so there's progress, but we still can't get him to fall asleep at proper hours. As I write this, it is 2:35 in the morning, and he finally fell asleep, after hours of lying silent and still, eyes open and alert, the occasional tossing and turning, but otherwise patiently waiting for sleep to come. Now since he fell asleep late, it pushes tomorrow's sleep schedule back, and the next day unless he can fall asleep earlier. So now that he's not fighting sleep but still can't fall asleep, how do we fix that?