To warn MNers with small babies not to make a rod for their backs

(158 Posts)
PenelopeChipShop Mon 16-Sep-13 01:11:14

I am already up for the second time tonight with ds and he won't let me put him back in the cot. He's now 14 months and has never slept for more than 4 hours at a stretch - that was twice and I thought I'd died and gone to heaven at 4 hours sleep. Average is 2-3 hours, but hourly wake ups are not unusual. This is EVERY night, when healthy and not teething, he just cannot sleep for long stretches.

I have come to the conclusion that I can only blame myself and DH I suppose for not teaching him good sleep habits / self settling etc. I didn't read any books on Baby sleep until we already had a problem so did everything you aren't supposed to do - let him nap in my arms, rocked him, fed him to sleep. And co slept for a year. At the time when friends warned me about the things I should have been doing I was relaxed about it and is it thought I want to enjoy snuggling him and not worry about the future. He hated being out down so I never pushed him to sleep alone.

Now I have a 14 month old who still won't sleep and requires constant re settling throughout the night. I am broken with tiredness. Always thought I wanted 2 dc but both DH and I are no longer sure that we could go through this again. I do all the nights though!

So if you have a new baby and thought the same as me be warned. If you don't try and teach babies to sleep before they are too old to object, well guess what - they don't just learn it on their own. It's too late for me but maybe I can save others from my fate. So so sooooo tired :-(

Sokmonsta Mon 16-Sep-13 01:24:27

You did what was best for you at the time so don't blame yourself and certainly don't listen to your friends. All of your babies are very different. I have 4 dc - 5, 3 and 17mo twins. I didn't co sleep all night but I did rock my babies to sleep or let them sleep on my chest if needed. The eldest sleeps like a log once she goes. 3yo doesn't sleep well at all and regularly needs a night time cuddle and a snuggle up to reassure himself that everything is ok. Dts are chalk and cheese. Once could sleep through the end of the world, the other can wake to a pin drop. Weirdly my two good sleepers both have a particular toy each they like to snuggle up to. The poor sleepers do not.

You have a child who is secure in the knowledge that if they need mummy, then mummy will come. It might not feel like it when you have been up for the nth time and you (presumably) have work the next day. But those night time cuddles are among the most precious as all too soon dc will be grown and not wanting mummy to cramp their style.

Wait. I had a non-sleeping Klingon. I never put her down and she didn't sleep through until she was 2. Now, she is the best sleeper of all of my friends' children. Maybe the hippies are right and she is secure and knows I won't leave her to CIO. Maybe she was just built that way.

I felt dreadful for two years though, while all my friends were sleeping.

I did what you have done with both mine. DS didn't sleep through until he was 2.5yo but is now a fabulous sleeper who loves his bed. DD was a great sleeper from the off. I'm not sure that anything I did actually made much of a difference to them. DS is a clingy worrier, DD is calm and accepting - and I think their personalities are reflected in the sleep patterns along with the rest of their behaviour.

Keep going - you will get through this in the end.

Mummysaysno Mon 16-Sep-13 01:36:35

Penelope it's nothing you've done or not done...you've just got a bad sleeper. My DC3 was like that....at about 2yo I caved in and accepted we were going to co-sleep and life got so much easier. Three years later, DC3 still gets in our bed most nights, but not every night, and I don't wake up..I only know when I wake up in the morning and there's a pair of feet in my face.
We've since had DC4 who is a very settled sleeper, and will fall asleep on own in cot, even though I've always shushed to sleep in my arms, so it's just luck.
Sorry you're having such a tough time...would you consider just going with it and co-sleeping again? For your own sanity to get some sleep?

BlameItOnTheBogey Mon 16-Sep-13 01:36:55

OP these people saved me. It's not too late to teach healthy sleep habits now. Good luck.

burberryqueen Mon 16-Sep-13 01:40:56

I really wouldnt blame yourself

wanderingcloud Mon 16-Sep-13 01:51:12

Don't be too hard on yourself. You did the best for your baby. You can't change their personality. Some child, just like adults, are heavy sleepers and will sleep through, some aren't and will wake up in the night. Understandably, if a baby (14 months is still a baby in my eyes) wakes they will want to be reassured that their caregiver is there or need a drink or help getting comfortable. I'm in my thirties and wake in the night (like now!), if I couldn't get myself a drink or find comfort I'd probably cry for help too. Fwiw my eldest didn't sleep through regularly until 15months, a week before number 2 was due. I can completely relate to the sheer hell of sleep deprivation. We also co-slept to get what little sleep we could. He now sleeps through, on his own pretty much all the time and we haven't done anything to force that except provide him a double bed of his own in his room. He now chooses to sleep there rather than in our bed. He got there in his own time and although it was hard going at times, I am glad I didn't ever leave him to cry himself to sleep. Before my second arrived I was mentally geared up for zero sleep. We co-slept from day one and still do now but he's slept through since about 4 weeks old! So, I'm of the opinion it's more down to each childs personality and needs than anything you have done right or wrong.

Kiwiinkits Mon 16-Sep-13 01:53:35

Looking around my friends (and I would never ever say this out loud on anywhere other than an anonymous forum) I do think some parents make the baby stage extremely hard for themselves. We DID teach our babies to sleep. Dh and I did everything 'right', according to the book. The Baby Whisperer in our case. And guess what. I can smugly say that I have two BRILLIANT sleepers. Mine are the kids that are straight to bed, right on cue, no crying or fussing, happily sleeping from 7pm to 7am every night. We followed feeding and sleeping routines from 1 week old. And because of this we had sleep sorted by 4months with Dd1 and 5 months with Dd2. I have never been more grateful to have sought advice from experts and followed it.

Kiwiinkits Mon 16-Sep-13 01:54:30

Do I win the prize for the smug post of the year?

poppingin1 Mon 16-Sep-13 01:58:43

I am in the same boat as you OP but it is not because of the methods you or I have used in the past. Our LO's are just bad sleepers or are simply just that way inclined.

My DD is two and is definitely getting better with her sleep. Now my major concern is the dreaded toddler tantrums!

FixItUpChappie Mon 16-Sep-13 02:07:20

well YABA bit U. Some kids are just not sleepers.

My oldest is nearly 3 and only started sleeping through consistently around 2.4 ish. We did read all the books and we did encourage good sleep habits and tried lots of sound advice to no avail. We don't personally choose to do sleep training methods like CIO etc. That is our choice and we accepted that some people who tried these methods might get more sleep than us. Regardless, we came to accept that DS1 just isn't a great sleeper. Once we did and stop fighting what felt right and worked for us...our lives became more pleasant if not more restful.

I slept on a cot in his room last night. Some might judge but it beat spending hours trying to get him back to sleep or him tossing and turning in our bed keeping us awake. We all woke rested and had a nice day. I just go with the flow now and accept it all as a phase.

my second sleeps like a treat really and has from the start. We haven't done much at all differently either.

NynaevesSister Mon 16-Sep-13 02:36:36

Oh goodness I couldn't put son down at all, had to carry him everywhere etc. I did use Baby Whisperer for big sleeps tho and he slept through fairly early on. However he has always preferred to sleep with us regardless and is 8 now!

Baby's pretty much do what they are going to do. You could have followed Gina Ford and be here now warning everyone not to citing all the same stuff!

At toddler stage we had a routine of bedtime story and lying down next to him till he went to sleep. It took ages sometimes but he always slept longer this way. Also we got a super king size bed! Room for all of us.

TheFallenNinja Mon 16-Sep-13 03:24:05

I often ask DP if when we left the maternity unit were we sure we brought home the right baby or was there a row of sleeping ones that we were supposed to pick from.

I'm up for the 8th night in a row, when she wakes, she's awake.

Just a bad sleeper for now I guess.

Kiwiin kits - congrats on having the good fortune to get two good sleepers. But it probably wasn't anything you did, so id be grateful for my good fortune and shut up if I were you... wink

BramshawHill Mon 16-Sep-13 03:58:31

Its not making a rod for your back (despise that phrase) its just raising a child however you think best. My 11 month old sleeps in my bed, has done since she was a month old and sleeps fantastically. If one day she decides actually she'd prefer her own space, fine, but I won't ever force it. Some babies are sleepers, some aren't. There's no 'right' way to do this. Sorry to hear you're so tired!

BashfulBunny Mon 16-Sep-13 04:06:05

Turned out ours had tongue and lip tie which gave him chronic wind. Didn't realise til he was 1 year old. No amount of sleep advice helped us til we found the real problem. They're all different...

Morloth Mon 16-Sep-13 04:19:27

Babies sleep best when snuggled up with their parents.

Of course they do, it is evolution.

It us trying to fight evolution that causes the problems.

We coslept and at around 3ish for DS1 and 2ish for DS2 they both wanted their own space, they changed so we did.

Any time they need a cuddle they can come and sleep with us.

'Rod for your own back' is a stinking lie. Hold them close while they want you to.

redcaryellowcar Mon 16-Sep-13 04:31:26

My ds didn't sleep well, and I used to think it was something I had done, we are due dc2 next march and there isn't a lot I would I would change in how we helped him to sleep he just wasn't one of those babies who by 6 months was sleeping 7-7!

EssieEttie Mon 16-Sep-13 04:32:43

We followed all the advice about teaching baby to sleep and had a wonderful sleeper from early on <insert smug smile>. Our son is now 10 months and for the past four months has been waking every night, sometimes for 2+ hours, due to the itching caused by severe eczema <searches for haggard, blood-shot eyed looking 'smiley'>. You have my deepest sympathy on the sleep deprivation front and I hope some of the advice offered here helps. In our case, life is like a box of chocolates and all that...

FFS YABVU. Sorry you're having a crap time but IME your children either sleep or they don't. You can 'train' them not to cry out for you to help them anymore but it's not the same. New parents will get this 'rod for your own back' BS from every corner as it is, and it's not true. But mostly I'm irritated by kiwiinkits - your children don't sleep well because you followed a magic programme and that because I didn't, mine took longer to sleep through. I'd challenge you to Baby Whisper mine all you like. My gran didn't sleep as a baby, my mum didn't sleep as a baby, I didn't sleep as a baby, no reason to expect my babies to magically sleep through.

OP you have my utmost sympathies though, as I know that desperate sleep deprived feeling and it's awful. I hope things change and you start getting sleep soon.

OP sorry, I feel like I was a bit harsh on you - don't beat yourself up as the situation you're in now wasn't causes by you doing anything wrong, despite what kiwi would have you believe. You did what you felt was right at each stage. Things will change, and when your baby is ready they will sleep better. I hope it's soon as it's just awful feeling the way you do. I just get cross at 'rod for your own back' - it stops people going with their instincts. Plus it's easy for the 'experts' as they're not raising your child.

maffive Mon 16-Sep-13 05:11:17

OP, you sound like you're at the end of your tether. You really haven't done anything wrong though.

I know people who did cc, sleep training etc and it was not always successful, but guaranteed to cause a lot of stress and anxiety.

I BF'ed both DD's to sleep, and resettled them by BF'ing when they woke in the night.

This worked brilliantly for DD1, who slept through from about 5 months until I stopped BF at 20 months. But she then needed a bit of help learning to sleep without this.

DD2 was a different story. BF'ing to sleep worked fine for a few months, but she got worse and worse at staying asleep at night, until she was waking hourly. I persevered, started co sleeping so I didn't have to keep getting up, and just hoped it would sort itself out. By the time she was 16months I was a wreck and we decided to sleep train. This involved gradually swapping bf'ing to rocking, patting in the cot, lying next to the cot with my hand visible to her, lying further away from the cot, sitting by the door etc, until I could just walk out the room and leave her to go to sleep. It took a few weeks, but was really effective.

DD''s are 7 and 4 now and are great sleepers.

I'll say it again - you didn't do the wrong thing by not sleep training from the start. You did what felt right for you and your baby. Feeding or cuddling our babies to sleep is a very natural and instinctive thing to do. It might not feel like the right thing for you anymore though, and there's nothing wrong with trying another tactic. Good luck with however you decide to tackle this, and hope you're getting more sleep soon smile

camelindasand Mon 16-Sep-13 05:23:45

Try the baby whisperer with a bad sleeper and see how that nakes you feel! We did it for 5 minths and it didn't change a thing. Yes, read thst again, after he suddenly got upset at nights from 13minths old every night for 5 months. Gave up and he eventually got better. His baby sister had no set resettling routine and sleeps 7-8. I wish I had just co slept with my son now.

VinegarDrinker Mon 16-Sep-13 05:36:44

Both of mine have been BF or rocked to sleep, allowed to sleep on us/in the sling, not had a routine til 6-9m, no fixed bedtime etc.

DS1 was a crap sleeper, we co slept out of desperation and he didn't sleep through til 15 months. Now at 2.5 does a solid 12 hours no worries.

DD is only 11 weeks but did her first 6-7 stretch at 3 weeks and has done the same pretty regularly since. She also prefers her Moses basket to the co-sleeping cot I set up assuming she would be like DS1!

No room for smuggery in baby sleep imho. It's just their temperament.

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