Your six-month-old baby may have suddenly stopped sleeping at night or started waking up several times in the middle of the night. You might feel helpless as your kid resists naps. All these can be the result of overstimulation caused by growth and development taking place in him. Sometimes, lack of routine can also be an issue. Since kids like to establish their newfound freedom their way, controlling bedtime can be one of those many methods. You may doubt if there is something wrong with his health, but you don’t need to worry yet.
As per studies, nearly 20 to 30% of babies and young kids encounter sleep disturbances. Hence, you can expect this to be a common sign for his age. In some cases, the nighttime awakenings can occur even in someone more than six months old. If your baby can sleep comfortably at night or stay up without feeding for a long time, you don’t have to do anything. However, when he shows symptoms of troubled sleeping, you may consider sleep training him. There is no perfect age for this, but a six-month-old can respond better to the arrangements. Different people use different techniques to survive 6 month sleep regression with their infants. Here is a glimpse of a few.
You can follow this in various ways, but the basic rules don’t change – check on the baby at determined intervals without trying to feed or rock them to sleep. The intention is to help infants fall asleep by themselves. You can fix a bedtime routine, which entails putting the baby in the crib, leaving the room after one or two minutes. After this, you can revisit the baby in the room and gently rub or pat his head. Avoid the temptation to lift him in your arms. Such practice can be helpful as the kid won’t feel abandoned. The gap between leaving and checking should gradually increase.
The child experts believe this method can take up about a week to produce effective results. The progress can still be noticeable within a few nights. If your visits aggravate the baby, it can be good to employ the total extinction trick.
Also referred to as the cry it out (CIO) method, this technique involves not responding to the baby’s cries. As with any other process, you will follow the bedtime routine, put them in the bed or crib when drowsy, wish them good night, and exit the room. Many don’t support this system. You need to know the stage of development of your baby and what may work for you both. For example, some parents don’t check on their babies until the morning. The only exception can be if they still feed them in the night. The first few days can be rough for everyone because some babies tend to cry every hour.
Other child specialists feel parents can avoid the first two wake-ups before entering the room. After this, if the kid still wakes up, parents can go back and comfort them for a few minutes before leaving again. While practicing this method, it is essential to schedule the nighttime feeds if still required.
Many parents don’t like this idea fearing how much their kids will cry. As per experts, while it can be challenging to see your baby bawling for the first few days, you need to wait to let this method work its way. There can be a lot of crying, but it can resolve within a short time. Eventually, they can cry less and less at night. From the third or fourth night onward, you can notice improvement. It is recommendable to use this method for at least a week to understand whether it was effective or not.
Fading techniques can be of two types – bedtime routine and bedtime hour. The first fading technique uses the same old ways of rocking or nursing the kid as they sleep and gradually reducing those efforts until they start sleeping by themselves. Bedtime hour fading is something else.
Suppose you take the baby to bed at 7.30 at night, but he cries or remains fussy for about 20 minutes or so before nodding off. It means the natural sleep cycle starts at 7:50 or 8.00 pm. You can first tap into this and then try to shift the timing to 15 minutes early. You can try to reinforce this habit in them until they begin to sleep at the desirable time. It is a bedtime hour fading technique. In this, you put the baby into a crib when they doze off and change the bedtime for a few nights before reversing it to the older time.
There are gentler methods of sleep training also. You have to choose one based on the baby’s behavior and environment to survive the issue of sleep regression in your six-month-old.
Related reading: The Baby Sleep Guide Every Mom Needs To Read
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