Can somebody help before I lose my mind?!

(17 Posts)
youaremychocolatecake Sat 26-Jul-14 21:15:58

My baby is 9mo - he 'was' a little angel, so laid back, slept through from 2 weeks, fed like a pro, lovely happy little chap.
The good sleeping stopped at 4 months, that's fine - I can handle broken nights.

I was planning to stop breastfeeding by 6 months but this hasn't happened as he is a bottle refuser. He was taking a dummy but also started to refuse that a month ago.

This past week or so he seems to have turned into the devil child (is that harsh? Maybe.) The first thing is he's become incredibly clingy. I'm not talking getting upset if I leave the room clingy. I'm talking getting HYSTERICAL if I even sit him next to me on the sofa, he goes mental and claws his way on to my lap. However he is not content with just sitting on my lap, he has to be facing me. I think if he could climb inside me, he would. GOD FORBID I put him down on the floor to play, he throws himself forwards, smashes his head on the floor and has a general hissy fit. Let's not even discuss if I need to leave the room. Car is a nightmare, pram is a nightmare (tries to throw himself backwards out of it) he won't even sit in his highchair now to eat. He's throwing his arms up at me constantly and trying to throw himself out. Do we see the theme here?

All of the above would probably be manageable (just!) but I also have a 5 year old and my partner works away, alot. So I'm basically a single parent, just not officially.

It is now 9.12 and he's upstairs in his cot screaming because after more than 2 hours of feeding him to sleep, laying him down and him waking up and going hysterical - my poor 5 year old has watched the same peppa pig dvd 4 times and has basically been neglected all evening. He is supposed to go to bed at 8 himself but I've not even had a chance to bath him, let alone read him a story and put him to bed, besides it's a bit noisy upstairs. I just about managed to give him dinner earlier (cooked during a screaming fit because I wasn't holding the baby) I have tried a sling but it's so hot, we both just end up boiling and miserable.

I don't know what to do? Wits end. Literally. I don't believe in crying it out but this is where we are at this evening sad

youaremychocolatecake Sat 26-Jul-14 21:22:13

Update, he has fallen asleep after 25 minutes of screaming. Please tell me I haven't scarred him for life sad

EssexMummy123 Sat 26-Jul-14 21:27:33

I'm sure you haven't scared him for life. I once had to leave my baby crying in the carseat as i was doing a phone interview for a job stood outside the car.

I think there's a Gina Ford routine for parents of new babies and older toddlers that you might find useful - i've read her books and i know some people think that she recommends CC for babies - but i honestly didn't get that impression, just that she thinks everything can be solved with a good routine.

EssexMummy123 Sat 26-Jul-14 21:28:48

Oh - sorry on a practical note, wind?colic?noise?light? any of those bothering him whilst he's trying to get to sleep

rootypig Sat 26-Jul-14 21:32:26

Sounds like a horrendous bout of separation anxiety and it will pass, but in the meantime you are really suffering, you poor thing. Some practical thoughts:

Can you do some food prep in the evenings once they're both finally asleep? make something / a few things that can be reheated and stick it in the fridge? Batch cook and freeze? Cooking was always the nightmare flashpoint of the day with clingy DD and the days we had leftovers / something in the fridge were SO much easier.

Re sleep, it sounds like feeding to sleep isn't working any longer - and means that when he wakes in the night he needs to feed back to sleep. I weaned DD from night feeds (bottle though) at about this age - ime you don't need to do cry it out in the sense that you leave him to cry, you can hold him - but it might be an idea to grit your teeth and resolve to get him to sleep another way. You'd be in for a tough few nights, maybe a week, but with DD, once we started offering water instead of milk (she was most displeased) she was sleeping through after three nights (with bouts of crying at her usual wake up for a bottle times, when we refused to give her milk - we stayed with her and held her for these, and she was certainly cross, but went back to sleep fairly quickly. I think the worst night of screaming with rage she managed about 45 minutes). At 9mo he almost certainly doesn't need to feed overnight - and will be perfectly capable of guzzling away in the day to make up for it. If you do go this route, I'd say set yourself a target for the time each night that you will feed him, and hang onto it grimly. So first night it might be 3 or 4 am, next night it might be 5, then you could settle on 6am for first feed. You should see a rapid improvement.....

Even if you don't do this, I would resolve to put DS1 to bed before DS2. Let DS2 snooze / BF on your lap while you do stories with DS1, supervise bathtime, put DS1 to bed. Once he is soundly asleep, go into battle with DS2 over the cot. I know that must sound utterly wearying to you but is probably easier than what you had tonight.

Lastly, when your partner is home, hand DSes over to him and go and have some time on your own. Even if it's just a couple of hours because of BF. Or you will go insane.

rootypig Sat 26-Jul-14 21:36:07

Cross post. You definitely have not scarred him for life. But I do think you have unwittingly started sleep training, and if I were you I would grasp the nettle and carry on. Don't feed to sleep. feed, by all means, but stop as you would in the day and put him down tired but awake. Stay with him, pick him up when he's upset and soothe him, put him down calm (even if he starts crying the second he hits the cot!), repeat (and repeat and repeat) - he will eventually fall asleep. The next night it will be easier, and he will also wake less.

DrJuno Sat 26-Jul-14 21:41:35

I agree to continue with the sleep training.

If he's not sick, or hot, or cold, or hungry or thirsty then he has to sleep. Put him down after his usual bedtime routine and leave the room. Go back in if he gets hysterical, lay him down and say "sleepy time now" or whatever works for you. Then leave again.

Them's the breaks. Your other child also needs you.

rootypig Sat 26-Jul-14 21:47:26

We didn't leave the room - CIO theory says you need to, so they will fall asleep on their own. With DD we didn't, I was so certain she was just bloody fixated on milk - anyway we stayed, held her (she didn't like that much), and left only when she was asleep. She was sleeping through within three nights of this.

Give him a nice long BF before you start (not to sleep) and offer water, to set your mind at rest that he is not thirsty. He will shout so much you will think he's dying of starvation! he is not. He's just desperate to sleep and doesn't know any other way to do it.

youaremychocolatecake Sat 26-Jul-14 21:57:03

Thank you for the kind advice everyone, tonight is the first night in a long time he hasn't fallen asleep at the breast so maybe you are right and I should continue this in some way. I seem to remember using pick up, put down with my first but i don't remember it clearly. This one doesn't stop crying when I pick him up so not really sure how that works? He will only stop crying when he's put to the breast.

Does this separation thing pass? Is there anything I can do to help it? My first was a (more) difficult baby but he wasn't clingy, the opposite infact.

I can't help feeling it would be so much easier if he were bottle fed and I could just put him to bed with a nice bottle of milk. Wahhhh, I don't want to regret breastfeeding but bottle fed babies just seem easier to me, or am I looking at them with rosy glasses?

todayisnottheday Sat 26-Jul-14 22:01:52

9 months seems a pretty normal age to go through a separation stage and it will pass so please don't worry. I do agree that, having got through day 1 of not feeding to sleep you might as well carry on. See if you can spend a bit of time tonight looking at different methods so you are prepared for tomorrow night with a plan. Best of luck smile

rootypig Sat 26-Jul-14 22:04:47

DD didn't stop crying when she was picked up. We picked her up anyway, and then at a certain point she would push us away, so we would lie her down. I felt instinctively that being with her while she cried was better than her crying alone (and seem to recall reading something that corroborated this) - anyway, it's your choice to make. But I feel a misconception about CIO is that you have to leave the room, so I'm always at pains to point out that many parents don't and it works fine.

re separation anxiety - DD went through a few phases, most notably at 12 - 13mo ish, for about a month. I didn't have an older child to deal with so easier in that sense, but I still needed to shower, cook and so on. I took the view that the more I could do to help her feel secure, the better later down the line. So I have always gone to her when she has cried in the night for example. I am hardly an attachment parent, but I think if she is alone and afraid, that will exacerbate things. It seems to have worked, she is an incredibly independent toddler (everyone comments) though of course it's hardly a huge statistical sample.

I would put some thought into how you can make the days just easier for you. Eg can you invite a friend with a child for DS1 to play with round, then sit (holding DS2) and watch them play. Cooking in advance. DS2 bedtime after DS1. Anything else that occurs to you.

Out of interest, will he still go to his father?

As for bottle - DD woke up screaming for the breast and then seamlessly transitioned to waking screaming for the bottle grin so it's definitely not a magic bullet, no. Forget trying to get him onto the bottle, work on eliminating night feeds.

youaremychocolatecake Sat 26-Jul-14 23:47:14

Thank you everyone so tomorrow I think I am going to try some sleep training but stay in the room. Under normal circumstances I know I wouldn't have the heart to leave him again like I did this evening but I was literally at my wits end and didn't know what else to do. My poor 5 year old had been desperate for my attanetion all evening, well all day really with the added clinginess issue.

I have managed to get some housework done and some jobs that I otherwise would have done tomorrow so feel a bit more prepared for the day ahead.

Baby appears to be in a VERY deep sleep now! He would have normally woken at least once by now but he's not even shifted position. Must have worn himself out.

Thanks again for your helpful responses. Sometimes it helps to just vent and know you're not alone. Being a mummy is so blinking hard at times isn't it. I totally underestimated it smile

strawberrybubblegum Sun 27-Jul-14 15:52:44

You poor thing: 9 months is a terrible time for separation anxiety and sleep regression. I felt like I was going out of my mind too, and I don't have an older one - can't imagine how hard that must be. There's a book called 'bed timing' that talks about how development stages impact sleep training. Sorry to say this but 9 months separation anxiety makes this a bad time. In desperation, I still did - but had much better and easier results when I tried again a month or 2 later. What I did manage to get to at this stage (with a lot of angry crying from DD) was no night time pickups from the cot. This led to her night weaning, which definitely helped. A couple of months later we did CC, after reading the excellent Millpond sleep book (really recommend it). It doesn't have to be painful, we never had to leave DD more than 3 mins between comforting her, but there are a few key things to do: consistently increasing the time between comforting (doesn't have to be long - we started at 1 minute and increased by 30 secs each time, but you must increase it each time ) , comforting with voice not touch, and leaving after a few minutes of comforting even if they are still crying.
Good luck. It's really hard, but it will get better.

ShineSmile Sun 27-Jul-14 15:54:16

Has he had something new to eat that he hasn't had before? Like eggs, nuts or fish?

rootypig Mon 28-Jul-14 10:30:01

How are you doing OP? I hope the last day or two has been a bit easier.

3littlefrogs Mon 28-Jul-14 10:33:34

Please get his ears checked, just in case he has an ear infection.

Ear infections cause excruciating pain when horizontal, but the pain improves a bit when vertical. He is just at the age when they are very common.

Bumpsadaisie Mon 28-Jul-14 13:52:02

Sounds like the 9 mth sleep regression and general everything going tits-up phase?

No advice really apart from it won't last for ever. If your elder one needs story and bed and your little one won't settle you could sit little one on your knee while you get on with what the elder one needs?

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