Question:

I have a 6-month-old baby that will not sleep on his own.

I have to rock him to sleep and walk up and down before he falls asleep. When he is finally asleep he is very restless and I have to pat him to calm down or keep his hand still until he stop being restless. It’s really tiring because all through the night I have to change his position from his back to his side then his stomach.

He hardly sleeps at the creche ‘cause he wakes up for every sound and I don’t think they have the patience to rock him to sleep. So when he gets home in the evening, he is very fussy. I sometimes don’t get to bath him because he will either fall asleep while I feed him or on his own and wake up an hour later full of energy. He will then be awake for an hour or two and become restless again, but by this time I have to hold him down tightly and rock him to sleep thus will go on for a half hour sometimes an hour until his sleeping. I really need help as I am always exhausted at work.

 

Meg Faure answers:

You sound like you are having a tough time and your little one is understandably as exhausted as you are. Firstly you need to make some changes to his sleep routine and I suggest you do this over the weekend so that by the Monday you can tell the crèche how you want it done.

You need to set up an age appropriate sleep schedule for him:

Wake your little one by 7am

9:00 am settle him to sleep by rocking him briefly and then putting him awake in his cot. Keep your hand on him and sit with him for as long as it takes for him to fall asleep. He will probably wake after 45 minutes – this is normal. If he sleeps for longer, let him do so.

12pm settle your little one to sleep in the same way: in the quiet dark nursery and put on a white noise CD so that he will sleep for as long as possible. Let him sleep as long as he wishes.

4pm If he is tired – for instance if he slept for a short time over midday, let him have a cat nap now but wake him at 4:45 if he hasn’t woken.

Bedtime: 7pm is the latest he must go to sleep for the night. Settle him in the same way as you did for all the other sleeps in a dark quiet room: rock to drowsy and put him down awake.

Use white noise to keep him in a deeper sleep.

Be very consistent and he will learn to sleep independently.

Once this is established, ask the crèche to follow these times exactly. He must be put down separate from the other kids if he is such a light sleeper.

At night do not change his position, leave him to sleep. Don’t watch him as many babies are restless but sleep better if their mom does not interfere.