Bath & Bed / 8 July, 2019 / Sarah Norris

My 5-Month Old Baby is Refusing to Sleep… I Need Help!

I’m absolutely done in today. I had to leave my five month old baby with my mother in law and go and sit in the car and cry. We’ve had every 30 minute wake-ups from midnight last night. She’s refused naps today even thought I’ve been extra vigilant about awake times. This has been going on for weeks and I’m beyond exhausted. She is waking 4-5 times per night and having 10 mini naps during the day. Please help! 

This is absolutely classic behaviour from a baby this age that is ready for weaning. I know the current advice is to wait until 6 months, but regardless of the ever changing policy advice, babies always have and always will be ready to wean somewhere between 4 and 6 months. (They don’t read the memos!)

Weaning early

A baby this age is totally capable of going the whole night without feeds but not when her body is telling her she is ‘hungry’ even if it is different nutrients she is needing, or bulk in her system rather than calories.

It also sounds like she has lost any napping or sleeping patterns she may have and is unable to settle herself. My advice would be to get the baby started on purées immediately. Hopefully this will start to help. I would also suggest an overhaul of her routing to see if the balance between feeds, sleep and play can be tweaked.

Controlled crying

At this age I would expect a baby to be having 3 naps a day, of various lengths. After two weeks on solids your baby will be about 6 months so I would start to think about sleep training.

My preferred method is controlled crying, and I customise this totally to what the parents and the baby can deal with, so they can start the length of time baby is left to self settle at 30 seconds if needed. If parents are consistent, the worst is over in 3 nights. It has not failed so far, and all the desperately sleep deprived parents say they wish they had done it earlier. Once the night is sorted, the day sleeps often improve too, and these can be worked on further.

Advice by Sarah Norris, The Baby Detective 

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