Confessions of a Sleep Consultant: The Jett Diaries; Six Months

Ok…. So I know I said I was moving Jett into his own room. Well I did. What I failed to mention though, is that I am now sleeping on a mattress in his room. Not out of necessity, not out of habit, not out of (his) separation anxiety. Nope; for no other reason than that my heart felt so sad and empty ending our co-sleeping journey so soon. I still yearn for more time with his squishy little body pressed against mine, his yummy smell, his sweet milky breath on my chest, the convenience of not having to get up out of bed for overnight feeds…and if this is my last baby, I’m making the most of it!

Yep; I’m the perfect candidate for any sleep consultant!

…It’s not all roses though. There’s the wriggling, the worming, the grunting, the little baby cries (which don’t warrant any attention), and the 5am blowing of raspberries and screeching which if we were sleeping apart, I would be blissfully oblivious to (well, mostly). And of course, I am not going to lie… there’s a fair bit of breast sleeping going on; which I am mindful of, as this can be a challenging habit to break as time goes on!

6 months is a tricky age. The good news is; daytime sleep patterns are more consistent as our babies spend less time overall in a lighter stage of sleep (REM), and more time in a deep sleep state (non-REM). They can effectively stay awake for two hours at a time, and so long as we haven’t established bad habits with getting them to sleep (e.g. rocking, feeding, holding or patting) – they are far more capable of sleeping up to 2hrs at each sleep (rather than the notorious 40 minute catnap).

The bad news however, is that we are dealing with growth spurts, teething (most babies cut their first tooth between 6-7 months), establishing solids, and developmental leaps; all which can wreak havoc on sleep patterns. As I have said before, sometimes it is difficult to know where one thing begins and the other ends!

So… what’s new with us?

  • We have started solids. He’s not overly impressed, but we have made a start! I have chosen to do a mix of baby led weaning and some mashed foods
  • We have kicked the catnapping habit for good – now sleeping at least 1.5-2hrs at a time. Much of this can be attributed to his new room being much darker, and away from the thoroughfare of the noisy zoo animals (aka Miss 4 and Mr 2)
  • Not rolling (yet) – although I know from previous experience not to tempt fate, so floor (rather than bed or couch) is always safest if left unattended!
  • Still no teeth (?) but thankfully teething symptoms have been significantly alleviated since I began using a teething necklace
  • Being out of our normal routine over Christmas/New Year, I am copping the brunt of my lax ways. Usually a great little self settler, he has progressively become more difficult to get to sleep at the end of the day. 80% of the time we will have a 1-2 hour long battle; having him fall asleep, only to wake wake 20-30 minutes later. This usually ends in me feeding an overtired baby to sleep, which ensues a vicious cycle of him waking shortly after, expecting the same royal treatment to get back to sleep. He’s also not fond of being put down to sleep on his back lately (I usually attribute this to either pressure from head cold or teething discomfort)…Not the best fun I have had this Summer! Enter all the above mentioned factors (leaps, growth spurt and teething), plus heat waves, home renovations, and mild cold, and it’s no wonder things have been a little challenging. With due respect, he has coped incredibly well considering!

For further information on what you can expect developmentally in the first 12 months, click here

Note to self:

  • Don’t let him sleep longer than 5 hours during the day or he will sleep less overnight – usually waking between 4-5am in the morning ready to start the day!! (capping naps at 4-4.5hrs works much better)
  • Don’t let him sleep too long or too late in the afternoon (this encourages bedtime resistance)
  • Don’t let him sleep longer than 2 hours at a time (as tempting as it is!) you know this only ends in (your) tears as he resists subsequent naps, becomes overtired, and hence needs more assistance getting to sleep at bedtimes!
  • Breathe and be patient. He can self settle, so there is a reason he isn’t presently – even if you don’t know exactly why at the time. There has been a lot going on! It will pass with some consistency and persistency.

Note: babies don’t ‘unlearn’ how to self settle; we just create other habits that they learn to rely on temporarily instead. If they have self settled in the past, they will be capable of doing it again; usually with some consistency, space, and a little less intervention from us over time 🙂

…So, my goal for the coming month is to get back into a solid regular day and night routine, and to try (just try) to make the transition to sleeping in my own bed again. Wish me luck, and stay tuned!

 

Until next time, with love,

Sophie & Jett xoxox

**UPDATE** We have officially cut our first tooth (the very next day after posting this article!). This explains the bedtime resistance, frequent wakings after bedtime, increased desire to feed (breast milk is an effective pain relief), and dislike of being flat on his back! Poor little guy 🙁

More tips, routines, and recommendations for 6 months and beyond here

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