Sleeping FAQ: 6-9 months – Settling/Sleep Associations

My 7mth daughter has started to scream when going down at 7pm. She screams so much she makes her sick

My 7 month old daughter has been going down in her cot very well since birth at 7pm but for the past few nights, she screams when put down into her cot. She will scream and scream until she vomits up all her tea. I then have to clean her up and rock her to sleep fearing that she might be sick again when put down in the cot. She now sleeps at 9:30-10 and 12:30-2:30. She refuses to have any afternoon naps. She’s fed 6oz at 7am, solids at 11am, 6oz at 2:30, solids at 5pm and then 4oz at 10:30pm. My reason for not feeding her milk at 6:30pm is she usually vomits that up too therefore I give the dream feed. I don’t want to use the controlled crying method because I know my daughter will vomit after crying so hard. What else can I do?

My daughter takes 6ozs at 7am,
11am, 5 tsp rice mixed with 2ozs formula, 2 cubes of vegetable 2 cubes of chicken or cod and 2-3 cubes of fruit. 1oz juice with this meal.
2.30pm, 6ozs,
5.00pm 4-5 cubes of thick soups using Gina’s recipes, 1.5cubes of fruit and ½ -1 tub of yoghurt depending if she is hungry or not, 2ozs water with this meal. 10. pm 4ozs formula.

Around this age separation anxiety can start to take place, which could be the reason for your daugher’s screaming at bedtime. Also, now that she does not have an afternoon nap and is probably beginning to be quite active with rolling over and sitting up she may be over tired by 7pm.

Having a very calm and relaxed bedtime will help. If you do not already have a routine of looking at a few books or singing one or two songs before you settle her then begin to put this into place. Your daughter will begin to learn that these parts of the day are leading up to bedtime. Begin to use the same words every time you settle her. Keep it short such as, “It’s bed time, time to go to sleep”.

Try moving your daughter’s bedtime earlier, to around 6.30/6.40pm and see if she is happy to go down in her cot to chat to herself before falling asleep. Use a lullaby light or music box with a light show so she has something to watch before settling to sleep. If she does not already have a comforter of some kind find a soft teddy or toy, which is not too large, so she can be snuggled into bed with it comfortably.

If, despite being put down earlier, and with the changes to her feeding as explained below, your daughter begins to cry go in to resettle her before she becomes hysterical. Say “Good Night”, repeat the phrase, “It’s bedtime now, time to go to sleep”, and leave the room. If she begins to cry again, call to her from outside the room, to reassure her, and go back in after 30 seconds. Use the same short sentences as before to reassure her before she gets too worked up. By always using the same short phrase in a reassuring voice she will come to associate it with falling asleep. If you can very gradually lengthen the time you leave the room by 30 seconds before going back to reassure her she should not become so distressed and will start falling asleep after a short time of chatting.

Looking at your daughter’s intake of food during the day, the problems you have been having with her vomiting after her bedtime bottle could be due to over feeding. Having a bottle before she settles at night is another way to calm her down and get her ready for sleep. By dropping this bedtime feed and replacing it with a dream feed later she is losing this cozy time of day.

At lunchtime offer your daughter a protein meal of 3-4 cubes of chicken or fish and 2-3 cubes of vegetable. If you always use some kind of carbohydrate, such as potato or sweet potato mixed with another vegetable, you should have no need to offer her rice cereal as well. If she still seems hungry after her main course then offer her some fruit puree and natural yoghurt.

Cut back a little on her 2.30pm feed, offering her 4ozs of milk.

Continue to offer her the thick soups at teatime but reduce the quantity to 4 cubes, along with appropriate finger food. Try cutting out the yoghurt and fruit after this and offering her milk again at bedtime. With the reduction in her 2.30pm feed, and a smaller lunch and tea, you may find she is far more willing to drink 6-8ozs at 6.30pm. Using yoghurt at lunchtime instead of rice cereal mixed with formula will help her daily milk intake.

Once you have put all these changes into place begin to offer your daughter a small amount of breakfast. If she has been really hungry by 11am she is showing that she is ready for this meal. Introduce a small amount of cereal at 7am/7.30am. If you feel this is filling her too much and she is losing interest in her lunch then replace it with fruit puree and yoghurt. By this age she should be beginning to push her lunchtime on to 11.30/11.45am which is also more likely if she has a small breakfast.