Sleep Question: Tracy Spackman, my DD was a decent sleeper up until about the 4 ish month stage. Now at 5 months, she has a harder time falling asleep now, and only naps for very short periods during the day, why?
That doesn't mean you need to do sleep training now. But some gentle sleep coaching or sleep shaping can help. Previous to this, sleep is innate. Either she can do it or she can't. Sleep self soothing is a learned skill. This skill enables her to relax and organize her body to sleep when she is tired and it also helps her to better manage her emotions when in stressful situations. After sleep coaching older children, many parents tell me their child's temper tantrums stop and their child is more even tempered once they are able to sleep without a sleep crutch. So, your child is reaching this time. It's very exciting and frustrating at the same time. If you want to do sleep coaching, it's still a good idea to wait until 6 months if you are going to follow a book.
If you need better sleep NOW, that's where I can help. To do something gentle like I do, your baby still needs to be at least 18 weeks old and at least 2 weeks into the more distracted phase of the 4 month sleep regression and you would want to have appropriate night feedings as part of your plan. Until you have a plan in place that you feel confident in and can be consistent about, keep doing what ever crutch gets you both as much sleep as possible. Swings, nursing, co-sleeping, rocking etc. these are blessings until you are ready for change. Cry It Out isn't the only option.
Other things you can do right now are:
1. Catch the sleep window.
2. Try gentle white noise or rain or fan sounds.
3. Reduce the stimuli in bed like mobiles and light.
4. Try putting your baby to bed drowsy but awake but this doesn't work for everyone.
You may want to check out my website www.GetQuietNights.com and read the success stories of parents going through what you are going through. I have recommended books and a blog on there too. And if you are going crazy, call me for a gentle sleep consultation. I wish someone had explained it to me when my babies were that age.
For sleep consultations, visit www.GetQuietNights.com
Tracy Spackman is a certified gentle sleep coach. That means she will teach you how to help your child sleep through the night without doing Cry It Out. You have gentle options.