9 months of pitiful sleep - need ideas...!

(42 Posts)
DDYJ Mon 04-Mar-13 15:50:56

Hi all

I've never posted on a forum before... But we've run out of ideas as to how we can help our 9.5 month old son sleep. I'll try to keep the background brief.

Various, not uncommon ailments (mostly digestive dis motility and intolerance to cows milk protein, but others as well) have made our son a very very fragile sleeper. He normally can't manage more than 2 hrs in one go (cot, held, co-sleeping- no difference) and in his 9 months so far has only slept beyond 3 hours a handful of times. It's been tough going.

We've tried all the techniques recommended including: cot wedge, probiotics, using music, sleep aids (he won't take a dummy), car and buggy (he can't fall asleep/stay asleep in either). Many more. He has never fallen sleep by himself in his cot.

The nighttime waking is still primarily due to discomfort so controlled crying isn't realistic even if we were prepared to go down that route, which we're not (unless there's no other option).

The Docs don't really know what to do beyond riding it out. All very well but there have been few signs of progress in nearly 10 months. We're consulting a homeopath, even though I've never been convinced about homeopathy.

Has anyone been through anything similar / know someone who has and could perhaps offer some thoughts?

My main concern as a stay at home Dad (recently taken over from my Wife) is how to get him to sleep by himself in the day. Because of his difficulties we could only get him to nap for a decent time if we held him. Now he won't let us put him down no matter what we do. I love the cuddles but he needs to learn to nap in his cot by himself and, eventually, to go to sleep by himself.

So far I've tried introducing a routine for naps which has helped him understand when it is time to sleep... but doesn't help when it comes to putting him down.

Again, any tips or ideas would be really helpful. There must be something we haven't thought of yet. Happy to provide more details if that would be useful?

Thanks

DDYJ

CabbageHead Thu 07-Mar-13 23:11:11

DDYJ* yes as stargirl says come join us on the high needs baby thread. Lots of high needs babies have medical conditions (or certainly started that way) and combination of being super sensitive or super strong temperament (all of the above fit my DS!)

It is the settling that does my head in too.. Yes we have a hyper alert LO too... So...very... Annoying....!!! The extent and range of things I have tried is mind boggling and I know all my Inlaws think I am crazy but I'm sure you know me better than they do already! 

What has worked in the past... Happiest baby on the block cd of white noise. ($10 I think off eBay or happiest baby website) we still use the rain off the cd and I combine this with the lullaby music I got from sleep school (!!) ... So i actually have 2noises at once thats hiw bad he is in settling because he is so very noise sensitive 

I used to use a recording of our washing machine during the day, the way I see it, these LO,s love motion to help soothe them to sleep and forget their pain, so washing machine is audible motion, which is why the rain isn't as effective .. On really bad days when he was crazy unsettled the only way I could get him to sleep was with the crazy womb music off the cd, it was weird sounding but switched of the screaming and calmed him quickly. 

If screaming is an issue (cos then they go into next non sleep hypo phase takes longer to settle) diversion tactics... Changing light nightlight and mini optic fibre Xmas treeE to distract while I shushed, rocked woteva.. 

Now music had to be LOUD... I mean the washing machine was cranked up so loud t was embarrassing! But it worked.. My DH and step kids think I'm mad, but when u r desperate for a rest andnu know ur bub is OT you will try anything! The washing machine actually sounded like a diesel boat engine cutting across the ocean, used to lull me to sleep in his room too! Then I wld get really p...d of when he DS wld wake early and I'd just started nodding off..

Roomhad to be super DARK... I mean i had to make it darker and darker the older and more aware he got... Cor blimey..

Even now I place sheets over the cot front and then remove them when he is asleep... Extra dark... Sigh..

Then I had to add my hand on him to shush and comfort he wld never be patted and just shushed, I used to sing Maori war canoe songs, then that wore off, tried classical etc, just had to change things whenever he developed negative association with woteva I was using... (bright kids cotton on fast!)... 

So around 6mths I was using withdrawal technique where unit by cot, hand on them, shush them woteva, then eventually get further and further away... Of course I could never get further away ha ha! To the point where if I removed my hand, the ol eyes wld open...grrr! So I started weighting his body where my hands wld be with heavy rolled up cloths, and then remove them later.. I was even going to make fake hands out of rubber gloves and cornflour! I am so ridiculous! I can just see everyone rolling around in laughter at this! (I'm an artist with a fairly decent imagination!)..

Oh I could go on... Anyway ff now at 10.5mths, am still shushing, but DS MUST stay in cot, tried PUPD worked for a while, but had to get strict and consistent is the key.. So stick in sleepbag, roll him over to face cot wall (boring no distractions), rock him gently hand on shoulder, hand on bum, hip...while shushing... Then if necessary I tell I his bedtime story which is about sailing to dreamland.. I'm going to make it into a book actually when I get time! Daddy tells him he sailing on the seas of cheese over and over... Cute. 

Then if nothing else works I go out of room, a coupes of times if necessary.. Now that DS can stand p in cot, this is less effective. I now have to resort to sticking him hinder very tight sheet to stop him popping p like meerkat, until he gets that he needs to lie down... (firstly I repeat lie down nicely QUITE a FEW times)... He eventually gets the message or tires from fighting... Little tyke!

At the moment he has a cold, so although he is waking much more, he is easy to settle cos he is too sick to fight yippee!

If all esle fails I find shouting oh FFS JUST GO TO SLEEP!!!!! Helps... Heh just kidding...

Sorry that was lengthy... There is so much more I could add tee hee hee... We basically renovated our entire house twice to accommodate this noise sensitive alert creature...

Oh the best thing i ever bought .(in desperation)was an air filter machine for his room. I got the only one they had which was medium size, so way too big for his room, hence VERY NOISY sounds like truck, and I kiss that thing EVERYDAY! So many times he,s gone off to la la land because I've turned the air filter on.. It just drones away but blocks out so much noise.. I esp use it early am if he wakes and cannot get himself back to sleep and use it for day naps and bedtime for a while until he is in good deep sleep. Too many noisy birds, traffic, dogs, helicopters near our house.

U could also try Bowen therapy or cranial therapy or osteopathy. DS sleeps really soundly after a session just wish I could go everyday! Check out RISA reflux website, ESP about eustachian tube dysfunction article, or see my posts on high needs thread..

Ok i better go and sleep... Ps bottle of wine does wonders for coping! Take care.

CabbageHead Thu 07-Mar-13 23:13:10

I can't believe I just took up an entire pAge... How embarrassing...

High needs Baby support group (thread V)... FYI

CabbageHead Thu 07-Mar-13 23:15:46

Have u had his ears checked? My nurse friend worked with babies in
ENT speciality and most infants ended up having grommets which made huge improvement to their sleeping... Just a thought...

DDYJ Fri 08-Mar-13 10:13:58

Hi all. Apols for the delayed response to your comments and suggestions. Really appreciate everyone.

Part of me wishes this was a sleep regression. The sad fact is that our Ds has always been a very poor sleeper, going several months where he could not manage longer than 1 hour asleep and never sleeping longer than 4hrs (except for one miracle, unexplainable night).

We haven't been in touch with our HV for a while. That's worth a try. We were put on a sleep course a few months ago. According to HV we were the first time it failed to improve the situation... I put that down to the continued discomfort (sleep training is surely pointless if the little one is in pain).

A work colleagues child had problems with their adenoids. I'll ask our consultant how wevcam get these checked.

I've looked up the TV show. Definitely C4 but might be a little while before its on. They were still looking for people to take part in mid-Feb. I'll watch out for it.

Today, I tried to start sleep training properly. It was a bit of a disaster. I rocked him to music until drowsy then put him in his cot. He immediately became hyper, started kicking and rolling. I let him go for a few mins while I sat close by. Just before picking him up he lost it and it took me 30 mins to calm him back to sleep!

I won't give up. Don't think shushing and patting will work though, unfortunately.

Thing is, I can't give up. He's now over 9kg and too heavy for me to rock for a ling period. Something is gonna have to give and soon. It might not be pretty and I imagine he won't be best pleased...

Thanks

DDYJ Fri 08-Mar-13 10:19:07

Oops - pressed send before finishing. And have seen more responses. Will read this now.

The other update was that we tried some biochemic remedies (a kind of homeopathy, I understand). Possibly coincidence but as did manage two better nights (4-5 wake ups rather than 6-10).

I've almost given up trying to work out the cause and effect of it all. Just keep going round in circles...

Anyway. Thank you for the responses. I am reading every one and am very grateful for your thoughts.

noblegiraffe Fri 08-Mar-13 10:19:13

If you can't rock him as he's too heavy, could you get a rocking chair and sit and rock?

DDYJ Fri 08-Mar-13 10:26:40

I'm in a rocking chair just now :-) he's asleep and it helps keep him that way for sure.

It's the getting him to sleep that's the main problem. He knows when you are sat down and kicks against you. Stand and rock usually with music is the only option. I don't even gave the buggy option. He loves his new buggy, just will not go to sleep in it.

DDYJ Fri 08-Mar-13 10:47:52

Cabbagehead. That's an immense post. Thank you for taking the time and there are some good tactics (maybe not the right word) I will definitely try. Much appreciated.

I think we have that CD. We have most books and DVDs on sleep and naps including the Pantley 'No Cry...' books which I'm reading at the mo.

Our DS does seem to be quite particular about sleeping to music (Lisa Hannigan is his favourite - good job my Wife and I like her stuff too!)

But we haven't tried white noise for a while. Worth a shot. And I think mixing stuff up has some potential also.

And I'm definitely going to ask our consultant about getting his ears checked.

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 08-Mar-13 12:21:06

Yes do get his ears checked. I once spent a week shouting at DS for not listening to me before o realised there might actually be something wrong. Turned out he had an ear infection blush.

I really can't see the point of sleep training if his waking is medical. Me dd is 5 and unwell, I certainly wouldn't let her cry at this age never mind when she was younger. If he's unwell he needs a calm and loving you. I'm glad that cabbage has found something that works for her but my DC got there without any of that. It doesn't seem worth the bother if the sleep course didnt work either, best to go with the flow for now.

One thing all reputable sleep trainers agree on, don't do any sleep training whilst the child is ill or in discomfort.

Rocking might seem hard now, but you really won't be rocking him forever smile

noblegiraffe Fri 08-Mar-13 12:32:32

Does he sleep on his front? That helped our DS with his tummy discomfort to fall asleep in his cot (didn't help with night wakings though!). I remember him needing to be manically rocked to sleep, and I remember him falling asleep in his cot being patted really very firmly on the bottom and shushed, but I can't remember how we got from one to the other! (front sleeping is fine once they can roll themselves around btw)

DDYJ Fri 08-Mar-13 23:35:37

Spent 30 mins of trying to settle the unsettlable at 10:30 tonight. As a last effort before handing him to Mum for nursing I tried gently turning him on his front and patting his bottom. He settled instantly!

I don't want to overplay it just yet. He's been squirming around on the monitor for the last 40 mins and clearly isn't still completely comfortable. But... That's 30 mins I would otherwise have been holding him or his Mother nursing him. A small victory and he even seems more settled now. Thank you Noblegiraffe for the suggestion.

CabbageHead Sat 09-Mar-13 02:36:05

Yeh baby steps as they say!!! Yay celebtation for you... Small successes are big successes !

I find that what works one day won't always work the next so keep trying and maybe make little improvements slowly... Yes I was always trying to get DS to sleep on his tummy because I was sure he wld sleep better but he didn't liked sleeping that way for a long time unfortunately he does now which def helps..

I also do back rubs and the body rocking, in the cot.. sometimes one thing will work better than the others.. Trick for you is to ensure he feels safe and secure being in the cot rather than on you... Do u warm th sheets up first? We use wheat bag in winter so whe u put their head down its not such a rude shock transferring from warm arms.. Also we use a lovey, so a cuddly safe transitional toy ESP made for sleeping with that smells of mummy..

Does he sleep upright on you or horizontal as well? Thinking of the ear fluid build up behind ear canal again..

If he has motility probs, does nursing him to sleep exacerbate the problem? I know when DS was younger with reflux issues, the more I fed him The worse it made the reflux symptoms so catch 22.. Does he use pacifier? DS used to spit his out a lot, but using it a lot at moment I think because currently teething..

CabbageHead Sat 09-Mar-13 02:43:40

Oh and I agree until you fix any medical issues which I'm sure is the issue if he looks uncomfortable squirming etc rather than just wailing for company.., sleep training is pointless or at least irrelevant as doesn't help LO cope with the pain. Sleep training I think, is ok if medical issues are fixed but you are left with the sleep behavioral problems which was our case, as they don't want things to change.. But if you are calm and persistent and consistent change is def possible, although also depends on temperament.

Good luck for sleepy time today... I'm on my own tonight as DH plays in band and is out of town playing gig tonight... But the weight of DS is a major issue for me just getting him in and out of cot, etc as I have abdominal separation so imin pain a lot of the time so I really get what you mean by rocking is no longer an option.

I just had to rock DS last 2days while he had his congested nose from cold as he couldn't breathe.. So now i have to get him out of being rocked again! But all ok so far thankfully just excruciatingly OT! So then night waking is more of an issue and trying to get him back to sleep, as when they are OT then harder to fall back asleep (I know all about that myself!!!) grin

DDYJ Sun 10-Mar-13 23:03:21

Sorry for the delayed response.

We used to try warming the cot when he was very little (seems an age ago now) but haven't recently. Might be worth trying again.

He won't use a pacifier. He doesn't reject them as such. Rather he just doesn't seem to know what to do with them, or simply isn't interested. At nearly 10 months our instinct is to avoid going down that route now.

It's a combination of upright and horizontal when he sleeps on us. Usually dictated by him. He seems to know what he wants. Hard to tell whether anyone position exacerbates the problem. Is one meant to be worse for the ears?

In the past I thought that breast feeding was possibly adding to the problem. But with consistent rejection of anything resembling a bottle and no possibility of dummy use we really didn't have any other option. Now I only think it might be an issue if dairy has got into my Wife's diet either directly (as a test) or indirectly.

Yesterday he had dairy himself - our fault for missing it on the label.. And tonight he's in a terrible state. Front sleeping hasnt this time. I'm anticipating a few hours on the couch helping him through sleep cycles... Oh well. We've at least had a bit more sleep this weekend.

Thanks again for your thoughts.

CabbageHead Mon 11-Mar-13 02:50:33

I hate that when u create a post then lose it.. Grrr...

Ok some websites and apologies in advanceif I hav already suggested these..

http://www.reflux.org.au reflux, but more importantly the article about eustachian tube irritability (ear fluid issues)

Www.fedup.com.au food allergies/intolerances, amazing success stories from parents with fussy babies..

I'll find the tongue tie one too..

Ok, dont apologies for delay, we r all busy trying to make our babies sleep and trying to lead a semi normal life!

Horizontal for fluid in ear canals is a big problem for bubs, that's why all reflux bubs want to sleep upright... (as well as the burning oesophogus for some) So ur bub could have silent reflux or it could be to do with motility, still wldnt rule out the ear issues tho...

If no bottle or pacifier could there be a tongue tie issue? Now that I've researched it, I am positive a lot of our earlier issues were linked to tongue tie, as he has mild case of it, paed advised us when he was born but they didn't think it wld cause issues... When I think of all the bf issues I had, it makes sense in hindsight...

Have u tried bottle intermittently? I found with DS things that didn't work a month ago might work now... I'm so glad we implemented one bottle at bedtime from 3mths, as he was really hungry and also used anti reflux formula so was a godsend.. Also meant he alternates between bottle and bf easily so that has been a major relief..

I introduced the lovey at 8mths when SA become an issue, this has worked really well in comforting him in the cot..

So I'm guessing a milk protein intolerance? This has such repercussions.. See fedup website amazing what affects them... I was looking into this because every time I feed DS cheese he seems very difficult to settle for nap afterwards, gets very hyper.. So wondering if it's the additive in cheese who knows..

CabbageHead Mon 11-Mar-13 02:59:23

Tongue tie very Interestingting read...

http://milkmatters.org.uk/2011/04/15/hidden-cause-of-feeding-problems-however-you-feed-your-baby/

Apologies for my annoying word prompt on my iPad btw.. Grrrrr

Mehrida Mon 11-Mar-13 10:16:36

We had terrible trouble with DS, now 9m. I did what you did re letting him sleep on me for daytime naps to get him in the routine. Our problem was more that he went down ok but then kept waking. It was hell.

I can totally recommend the white noise. We use a track on youtube called 'baby got colic' and downloaded it from itunes so we could put it on a loop. It's a horrendous sound but he'd go off to sleep within 2 mins tops with it.

We also raised the top of the cot a bit as he was diagnosed with reflux. That seemed to make him a bit comfier and once he learned to roll over to sleep on his tummy that helped.

We also went through what most others here have described already so won't repeat it and give your sleep deprived brain more reading to do!

Good luck, you're not alone.

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