Baby Care: Colicky Babies & Sleep
About 20 percent of parents experience an extremely fussy or colicky baby as described in my book, Your Fussy Baby. During the first three to four months, they have irritability, fussiness or crying for more than three hours a day total and this occurs on more than three days a week and it lasts for more than three weeks. Additionally, and to the point of your question, they have difficulty learning how to self-soothe to sleep.
Here's a sleep solution that should not take more than three to four nights and days. To avoid a second wind and to get better quality sleep (sleep in synch with circadian rhythms), the bedtime is temporarily moved to 5:30 PM. Extinction is used until about 6 AM. This quickly eliminates fragmented night sleep. Because there is more net night sleep and consolidated sleep, he awakes better rested in the morning. Now he's able to take better quality naps in synch with his circadian nap rhythms at about 9 AM and 12 to 2 PM. Once the naps are in place at these times, watch his behavior between 4 and 5 PM to determine whether the 5:30 bedtime should stay as is or whether he can now go to sleep between 5:30 and 6:30 PM because of better quality day sleep. Seven o'clock is too late for your child.
More baby-care advice from Dr. Weissbluth:
- When toddlers climb out of their cribs
- Twin sleep issues
- Getting babies to fall asleep earlier
- Sleeping through the night
- Getting kids to stay in bed
- Crying at bedtime
- Keeping kids in their own rooms
- Teaching kids to fall asleep on their own
- Naps for fussy babies
- Crying it out
- Putting kids back to bed