Q & A: In Need of an Independent Sleeper

Dear Rosemary,

My son is turning seven months old in a week and I would like to change his sleeping/napping habits so I am hoping you could help advise me as I have to start working again in the next month.

He has been on a pretty consistent routine, unless he experiencing a growth spurt or is teething, where he goes to sleep at 8:30 pm in his crib. From there he wakes up every three to four hours, the first two sessions, and then every hour or two. I have given in to the bad habit of letting him breastfeed back to sleep every time.  He use to wake up at at almost 8 am, then 7 am and lately he has been waking up at 6 am. When he wakes up, he eats solids at 8 am, breastfeeds at 9 am, followed by a nap falling asleep on the breast. He then wakes up one and a half to two hours later, eats solid food at noon followed by a nap at 1 pm.  He wakes up for about one to one and a half hours, then feeds and naps again at 5 pm for one to one and a half hours. His next solid meal is at 7 pm before going to bed at 8:30.  I would like to change some of theses habits:

1.  His night sleep sessions to last longer than two to four hours and for me to stop giving into breastfeeding him back to sleep.  Can I sleep train him?  My family keeps telling me to let him cry it out but I don’t have the heart to do that and I can’t sleep if I hear him cry.
2.  His waking up at 6am.  I would love to get him to wake up at 8am as both my husband and I are late wakers.
3.  His napping in his crib.  I have tried so many times but when he naps in his crib, he wakes up anywhere between five and 30 minutes.

Any advice, would help,
Thanks Rosemary,
Julie N.

 

Hi Julie,

If I understand correctly, you are returning to work soon, so you need your little guy to be a more independent sleeper. It sounds like he is always with you when he sleeps. At some point, you will have to decide if you want to continue co-sleeping, or if you want him to sleep on his own in his own crib. If you’d like to stick to co-sleeping, then you can try soothing him, rather than feeding him each time he wakes up. If you would like to teach him to sleep in his crib, then it”s a good idea to come up with a plan and to try to stick to it as much as possible. This means that all naps are in his crib as well. This will take time and the new plan will be tough for both of you, but if you take little steps, you can do it! Either way, you need to create some distance between you and your son if your return to work is imminent.

Rosemary


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