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6 month old waking at night

My son is turning 6 months in a few days. He is not sleeping through the night. Right now he sleeps from 7pm to about 7am. He has had a consistent bedtime routine since 3 months. Going to bed isn't the issue, it's staying asleep. He is placed in his crib awake and can put himself to sleep, however, when he wakes during the night, he will rarely go to sleep without being fed. He usually wakes 2 times to eat, and multiple other times that I give him his paci and then he falls back asleep.

While he is almost old enough to “cry it out”, I don’t think you will need to. He seems really close.

You need to eliminate the middle of the night feedings. He is dependent on these calories and will likely continue to wake up if these are continued. Offer the pacifier and any other forms of comfort first. Any shifting of these feedings toward waking hours should be seen as progress. Less ounces and moving a feeding later should lead to less caloric need and therefore less waking.

How often does he eat during the day? He should be able to space out his daytime feeding to at least 4 hours. If he does not make it 4 hours between feeding, slowly space out the daytime feedings.

You could try to wake and feed him prior to your bedtime. Many families have success with this technique.

The pacifier may quickly become your best ally. Usually between 6 to 8 months children develop the ability to put a pacifier in their own mouth. Try placing multiple pacifiers in his bed. With a little improved fine motor coordination, he may soon be calming himself down.

While 7PM to 7AM sounds good, the goal is 6-8 hours of sleep without the need for parental invention. Focus on a few quality hours and he should extend his nighttime sleep with time.


Follow up 2 months later (posted June 2011)

He is now almost 9 months and sleeping great!!! He usually sleeps from 7PM to 5-5:30 AM and then has a bottle and goes back down until about 7 AM.


Written April 2011 by
Dr. Gordon, Orlando Pediatrician


 is intended to help parents understand the needs and behaviors of children. The information presented in the site is the opinion of Gregory Gordon, M.D.and does not reflect the opinion of his partners. This website is owned exclusively by Doctors insights LLC. The advice in this site does not apply to all children. Always consult your healthcare provider for your individual needs.

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