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My five month-old daughter is a champ at going to bed at night but almost exactly an hour after she has been asleep, she wakes up crying. As a first time, overbearing mom, I have been immediately running up to her room, picking her up and rocking her back to sleep. Well, I created a nasty little habit and bedtime turned into a 3-5 hour ordeal.  She cries, I run, she goes back to sleep, she cries, I run, she goes back to sleep, etc etc.. I feel as if I am in my own version of the movie, “Groundhog Day.”

So after getting no where with all the no-cry sleep solutions, I resorted to the heart wrenching-stomach-nauseating cry it out method which I didn’t believe in and didn’t want to do but felt out of options and out of my mind with exhaustion.  Three days into it and I am beside myself with misery and guilt. Everyone keeps telling me to hang in there and this is going to help teach her to put herself back to sleep and in the long run it is the best thing for her.

Am I doing the right thing? Is there anything I could do to make this easier for her…or me? Have any of you other mamas done this and how long did it take before he/she caught on that no one was coming to pick them up? Did they learned how to go back to sleep? Any advice to get through this, including brands of super strong earplugs, is greatly appreciated.   – Erin

8 Responses to Need a sleep solution for my 5 month-old

  • Bitsy Cazel says:

    Yes! Ferber. Get his book – "Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems". Then read it before you listen to what anyone has to say about it. You don't have to ignore her but you don't have to pick her up either. My daughter did the same thing at the same age and we "Ferbered" her and she has slept peacefully for the last 13 years! Hang in there and you will be glad you did.

  • Beth says:

    I suppport Bitsy's idea of buying Ferber. We "Ferbered" when my son was 9-months old and we couldn't take the 4am wake-up calls any more. 17-years later…he now sleeps like a champ. Anyone have any ideas on how to wake a teenager??? Good luck and just stick with it.

  • Kristen says:

    I can empathize. It is difficult to train kids to sleep but if you think long term it may help. Your daughter at five months has learned that you are coming to help her get back to sleep. It may take up to a week to try to change the pattern but she will learn that you are not coming to help her get back to sleep. Try to get your husband on board with supporting you before you go to sleep. It is difficult to make sound decisions when you are sleep deprived and exhausted. I made a list of things in my house to do when my daughter woke up crying (like cleaning my kitchen or orgainizing my CDs). I also wrote my daughter a letter. I cried through it but I told her I loved her very much and was trying to do what was best and sometimes that is very hard to do. I told her that doing what is right in the long term in not always easy and is not for the weak. I hope this helps. Hang in there!

  • kerry says:

    we have an 8 month old who is still a sporadic night-time sleeper and i've tried letting him cry it out. which he's done and gone back to sleep on some nights, but on other nights, i've nursed him or held him (after vowing to have cut him off!). since i'm a second-time mama, i have the perspective to know that this will all pass and change in due time. please know that your situation will too. as for suggestions…i'm sure if you've read all the sleep books, you know that an early bedtime is key for babies, especially at 5 months (like 6-6:30 kind of early). if you're already doing this, just ignore this! but, if not, this might help with the waking up after an hour issue. as for letting her cry it out – you and your husband need to decide what you can tolerate and what you feel in your heart is right for you all. it's so easy to get caught up in all the other "voices" out there from books, family members, other moms, etc. ignore that and listen to your heart and mind. trust that your baby will sleep just fine one day. it might take some tears and some extra time spent by her crib, but she'll do it. good luck and hang in there.

  • Tully's Mama says:

    Erin – No guilt or misery needed. Our little ones need their zzzs and I, too, was a no-cry option mama. Well, that was ridiculous. I went the gentle side of Ferber method. I started with 3-5-7-9 minute intervals then jumped to 15. I was lucky she never went past that. Never picked her up, just rubbed her back and told her mommy & daddy loved her and it's good night time. We also made sure it was the exact same routine every night and stayed true to that for 14 days straight. She was trained from day 3 until 12 mths (molars came in). If you know she is not hungry, wet or teething, this shouldn't take too many nights. We mastered it in 3 and were so pleased. Glad you're on it at 5 mths. You, your husband, and little one will thank Dr. Ferber. If you can do 26.2, you can Ferberize. :> Happy Christmas! mbj

  • Meg says:

    I have a wonderful 8 month old daughter who was a terrible sleeper. The last two nights she finally slept through the night without crying! I always went to her when she cried and took her into bed with me. As a second time mama who works I wanted to spend the extra time with her, even if it was in middle of the night. But just when I thought I couldn't take it anymore…she began to sleep better. Everything is a phase with babies so do what you feel is right in your heart. You'll get a good night sleep soon!

  • Erin says:

    Thank you all for your advice, comments and support! It's just nice to know I am not alone :-} I think the Ferber book is maybe the one book I don't have in my crazy "how to raise your child without totally screwing them up" library. Will hit Barnes and Noble tomorrow and keep you posted! Thanks again :-}

  • alanna says:

    NO GUILT! there is enough mommy guilt without this one on the list. that being said, the best sleep book that i have found is healthy sleep habits, happy baby by dr. weisbluth. i recommend it to all my new mom friends, its gentler than ferber and it goes up to age 5. i refer to it still with my 3 year old whenever things get out of whack. the best gift you can give your children is the gift of a good nights sleep, just remember this will be a few nights, or weeks of agony for many many years of lovely sleeping for both of you. hang in there and try to do other things while she is screaming (other than just standing outside her room gut clenching). good luck and hang in there!

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kelcey kintner