I really need sleep help. Should I get a professional ?

(47 Posts)
SkinnyDecaffGiraffe Sun 21-Jul-13 14:53:24

My almost 9mth old is driving me crazy. She won't sleep unless on me ( bf) or in car/ pram. This is ok ish if she went off easily but recently she hasn't. So far today since 7am I've spent 4hrs trying to get her off for naps. Tonight's bedtime will be similar.

I really don't want and can't let her CIO. I think I need some professional help as I'm on the edge. My marriage is suffering not helped that she screams blue murder if my husband attends her at these times

Can anyone recommend anyone to help me ( like the bAby whisper woman ) ???

I've tried dummies pantley pull off and other things. I am not inexperienced as I have another daughter who is seriously suffering with no time with me.

I need help before my marriage fails and my PND gets worse pre return to work.


JuliaScurr Sun 21-Jul-13 14:58:39

I and friends found this v helpful
It's controversial, apparently
no idea why


UnicornsPooGlitter Sun 21-Jul-13 14:59:35

Andrea Grace is lovely. Phone consultation, sleep plan (we used gradual withdrawal), support phone calls for a few weeks afterwards. Best £300 (IIRC) that I've ever spent. It was still slow and hard work, but we got there smile. Good luck. X

SkinnyDecaffGiraffe Sun 21-Jul-13 15:03:56

Unicorn - how long did if take ?

Thanks Julia. I have that book but it invokes a lot of crying (baby!)

ladypop Sun 21-Jul-13 15:37:08

We have been recommended millpond - you can find them online. Not used them ourselves at it isn't desperate, but have read many good reviews x

UnicornsPooGlitter Sun 21-Jul-13 18:37:14

I can't exactly remember Giraffe - I think the sleep plan that we were given covered 6 or 8 weeks IIRC. We had a lot to change though (stopping DS falling asleep while BFing every night, getting him to stay in his cot all night, night weaning, transferring naps from pram / car to cot...). And of course gradual withdrawal takes a while anyway.

SkinnyDecaffGiraffe Sun 21-Jul-13 19:07:36

Thanks unicorn.

I seriously need some help before I go crazy. I can't think straight anymore !

pinkpanther79 Sun 21-Jul-13 19:11:16

A friend of mine had trouble until she got a nursery worker to babysit and to her amazement came home to find her LO asleep. Babysitter showed her how to do it (all very kind - she does not use cry it out) and things have been loads better since. May be worth a go before you fork out hundreds, and you get an evening out!

JuliaScurr Sun 21-Jul-13 19:58:59

We never had crying. when does yours cry?

BikeRunSki Sun 21-Jul-13 20:03:46

Cranial ostropathy really helped us.

RonaldMcDonald Sun 21-Jul-13 20:10:03

I had a great time with two of mine and a dreadful time with another
It is awful ( hug )

Tbh my d eventually got with the program. She has been much more sensitive than the others over most things as time has gone on.
I thought I'd never get through it.
She's a 10+ hrs a nighter now

LouBeee Sun 21-Jul-13 21:20:50

I have used professionals from this site www.greatvine.com/browse-experts/parenting a couple of times with DS1 - to cut a night feed and to deal with separation anxiety at 18 months. It's been very effective and good value - you pay per the minute so a half hour call is about £60 but you get a lot of advice in that and you can have longer or shorter calls if you want.
Read the bios of the professionals carefully to pick someone who matches your parenting style - there is something for everyone from help with cc to very gentle style.

JoinTheDots Sun 21-Jul-13 21:36:09

I found 9 months to be the HARDEST time for sleep. DD would fight it like it was the devil, just dropping off only to realise and scream and scream (even if I was trying to feed her or rock her, which used to work like a dream and quite quickly).

There is a famous (for those who have suffered) 9 month sleep regression point which is caused by huge development in the brain which makes it really hard for a baby to switch off or fall asleep easily.

They grow out of it pretty fast (for us it was about 3, possibly 4 weeks) but I totally understand if you cannot cope for that long because it is just horrible when you are depressed and suffering from sleep deprivation and feel like it is all on you.

I hope one of the suggestions helps - or just knowing it is a phase which should be pretty short lived.

SkinnyDecaffGiraffe Sun 21-Jul-13 21:45:45

Thanks everyone.

It's good to know there is a possible reason for the worsening at 9mths.

Unfortunately she's been like this since she was born. She clusterfed for months in the evenings and a usual good night is her taking 40mins to breast feed to sleep. She then will wake though the evening unpredictably only resettling on the breast. She won't self settle (and never has done for naps)
I've basically been unable to do anything in the evening since she was born. She won't take a bottle or dummy or be settled by my husband.
I can never relax as I expect her to wake at any time. E g she was asleep this evening from 8 (1.5hrs of settling today). Got in the bath at 9 and no sooner had I got wet she was off again......

To Julia... Crying..... ? Well that's what does when she wakes or i put her in cot to self setttle. If I leave her she gets hysterical. I cannot let her cry it out as a personal s preference.

SkinnyDecaffGiraffe Sun 21-Jul-13 21:46:05

Just back in bath to type this. She is off again .....

UnicornsPooGlitter Sun 21-Jul-13 22:22:20

Giraffe, we were in a really similar situation (DS also wouldn't take a dummy, couldn't self-settle etc.). We read all of the relevant books, but by then we were too sleep-deprived to decided which method to use, and how exactly to apply it. We knew that we didn't want to use controlled crying, so Andrea designed a plan based on gradual withdrawal for us. It was really detailed, and we could also phone her once or twice a week (I can't remember which, but I think twice) to ask her random grin questions.

SimLondon Sun 21-Jul-13 23:02:03

Dont worry - you dont have to do controlled crying. Has your HV been any good?

SkinnyDecaffGiraffe Mon 22-Jul-13 07:59:14

Thanks Sim. That's what I need to hear as I have a feeling people are of the opinion that its my fault for not leaving her to cry earlier. hmmhmm

HV was ok. Gave me some worksheet and said she'd call me but she didn't. I need to call her again really.

JoinTheDots Mon 22-Jul-13 08:10:28

Oh no - it is never your fault! Some babies (children/people) are just not good at getting to sleep, but it is something we all learn, and it just takes some people longer than others.

I am sure you will have it cracked with a little bit of help (un mumsnet hugs being sent your way)

SkinnyDecaffGiraffe Mon 22-Jul-13 08:25:21

Thanks Join. Good to be reassured.
It feels totally my fault!

NoComet Mon 22-Jul-13 09:04:26

I just don't get why babies taking an hour plus to feed to sleep is a problem.

You just record something you want to watch, put on subtitles so the baby doesn't turn round, sit on the sofa and enjoy the best part of the day.

DD2 did it for about 6 years! (Yes she could fall a sleep if I went out, but 6 nights out of seven I fed her).

SkinnyDecaffGiraffe Mon 22-Jul-13 09:29:15

Star have actually read my posts?

SkinnyDecaffGiraffe Mon 22-Jul-13 09:29:29

Have you obviously

BeenieBaby Mon 22-Jul-13 09:33:21

Why doesn't pantley pull off work? I found that of you persists with it, even the most stubborn dc will give up and it's annoying to them. But all it does is reduce their night waking from every 1-2hrs to about 2/night for me. It didn't stop night wakings but got them to a manageable level. Also combined with pantley pull off I tried rolling over and letting her root for a couple of mins and she eventually have u and slept beautifully after that. But mostly I worked on her going to sleep by herself during the day without bf and that really improved night sleep.

JuliaScurr Mon 22-Jul-13 11:17:22

you aren't doing it wrong
we were lucky to get a sleeper
in spite of my confirmed opinion, apparently my genius childrearing skills had virtually nothing to do with it
though I don't really believe that
loads of people will be delighted to tell you that they know much better than you
they probably don't
we all use guesswork, then pass on hopefully helpful tips

SkinnyDecaffGiraffe Mon 22-Jul-13 14:58:12


Pantley pull off probably needs more effort. At the moment and on previous tries it makes her cross.

Julia - my first one was and is a sleeper so it makes it doubly hard as we know how it can be! She is a model child tho we didn't know it at the time!!

A lot of friends believe in CIO so it comes up a lot in chats. "Just let her cry"

LovelyWeatherForDucks Mon 22-Jul-13 18:02:02

We've just used Andrea Grace for our 9 month old who was waking hourly. He now (usually) sleeps from 6/7pm til 5-5.30am. I can thoroughly recommend. Nothing she suggests is rocket science but having a 'plan' to stick to and having someone to answer questions / reassure was invaluable.

SkinnyDecaffGiraffe Mon 22-Jul-13 19:06:21

Thanks lovely
Good to hear positive reviews!


Chocolateyclaire76 Tue 23-Jul-13 15:50:19

Oh I so feel for you! My LO is 8 months and has always been an awful sleeper. I have spent days on end with my NCT friends whose little ones would fall asleep so easily and thought 1 night waking was bad. I sat there and just thought, and still do, why me! I spent 4 months walking my LO to sleep in the pram all through the winter, even in heavy snow and rain which was so depressing and exhausting. She would wake if the pram stopped so it was non stop walking for hours on end. Nights were terrible as well as she would wake every 1-2hrs.

The nights got better when I tackled the day naps, which meant more walking! I know this would be tricky for you if it takes so long for her to drop off. The real breakthrough I had during the day was lullabies. I went to a Baby Sensory lesson and they played rock a by baby with the lights low and for the first time in her life my LO began to nod off on my lap. That's when I decided to recreate it at home and bought a CD by CRS Players called Baby Lullabies. First of all I would put her down in her pram, rocking her to start with and then laying her down, it took a whole but eventually she slept. I then transitioned to cot and it gradually started to work, and she also started to take the dummy. I rocked her in a darkened room to try and relax her before putting her down.

Having said all of this we are now going through the 9 month sleep regression slightly early and she is back to waking every 1- hrs2 at night - when will it ever end! I literally can't imagine sleeping an entire night ever again.

Take care....

BrightFish Tue 23-Jul-13 20:15:54

Haven't had chancw to read whole thread OP but i really sympathise with you, have been in that situation with my DD, and I remember months 8 & 9 being particularly tough. I'm sorry i haven't got much advice, just to say trust your instincts. I refused to do CIO despite a lot of well meant pressure advice, simply because I strongly felt that technique wasn't right for her, that her problem was something other than not knowing how to self settle. She was later diagnosed as having a cows milk protein allergy and when we took steps to help her with that, her sleep improved massively. She doesn't need me or continual motion to stay asleep! I was very lucky to have DH full support, if you're struggling with pnd & marital stress too, perhaps your Gp could review situation and see if there is any medical reason for the sleep probs.

SkinnyDecaffGiraffe Wed 24-Jul-13 21:07:44

Thanks for the latest posts and sympathy. It would be ok as occasional issues but not every night.

CabbageHead Thu 25-Jul-13 11:52:03

Hang in there my ds has always been an atrocious sleeper, every day was unpredictable even tho i tried to stay in routine ( and got so much criticism for it from my DP!!!) i thought i would die from sleep dep... But finally 2weeks before his 1st birthday he finally got it and started STTN!!

He doesn't sleep thru always cos he is still a terrible napper which then affects his night wakings ESP is daddy has put him to bed too late (happens all the time), but majority of time now he will actually self settle after i spend time calming him first.

Night weaning def helped, but he has a dummy and security toy which have helped immensely too... It will get better but that 8/9 mth period was horrendous!!!!!!

bigkidsdidit Thu 25-Jul-13 12:16:14

I used Andrea Grace too, she was fabulous, after a month DS started sleeping through and has done ever since smile

Although some children can just sleep and others can't, I do think things we do can make them worse sleepers. Eg I ALWAYS fed DS to sleep and by 6 months plus this became a real bind as he woke every hour and could not get back to sleep without feeding again. We gently taught him to get to sleep on his own (no CIO) and it worked a treat.

Good luck. Go to Andrea!

capecath Thu 25-Jul-13 13:19:04

Hi there, soo hard when you're not getting much sleep. Strain on everything. What are you current nights looking like (do you feed during the night)? What is your bedtime routine?

I'd suggest, if she is getting plenty of solids and milk during the day, you need to break the habit of night feeds. When she cries during the night go through to her, try to not pick her up, rather stroke her head, encourage special soft toy or comforter or dummy and shush-pat. Controlled crying would be when you say good night and leave at this point, even if still upset, returning and repeating every 2-5 mins. This worked wonders for us within a few days for both our boys, however it sounds like you may not be comfortable with this. Gradual retreat is when you do similar but stay in the room rather than leave. This does take longer since they can see you there but has similar effects.

It is going to be tough trying to break any sleeping patterns or feeding habits for her without any crying at all.... Try to remember, teaching her healthy sleeping patterns is for her good and you own sanity in the long run.

If she is not napping well during the day, she is probably overtired at bedtime which will probably mean she takes longer to settle. I'd suggest similar shush-pat/gradual retreat method in quiet dark room for nap times, with first nap attempt about 2 hours after waking in the morning. Aim for nap 2 after lunch. If you can, aim to at least be home for nap 1 in the morning.

MiauMau Thu 25-Jul-13 19:17:18

Millpond really helped us. Our DS is now 17 months old, asks us to go to bed and (most nights) sleeps 11 hours and he used to be a terrible sleeper.
If you need help don't be afraid to ask for it, it doesn't make you a bad mum smile

Lovetobrowse Fri 26-Jul-13 05:48:55

I feel for you too! At around 9 months I was despairing with my DD. We used a local sleep nurse and to be honest it wasn't rocket science, I knew a lot of what she taught me already, but it gave me the confidence to tackle sleep in a calm manner. We were also breastfeeding to sleep, waking every hour and only napping on my lap.

A couple of tips - my DD was taking so much milk at night she wasn't eating properly during the day. We had to tackle food (not giving as much milk) as part of the training. It was a progression from not feeding before say 2 am, to completely cutting out night feeds, but very gradual. I had to use other ways to get her to sleep - first rocking, then patting in her cot, then just a hand on tummy, then leaving the room entirely. I was also opposed to CIO but did have to realise that there would be some crying involved.

The sleep nurse wasn't a magic over night solution for us but I did feel more confident and having a structured approach was comforting. I could chat to her and spare my husband some of the fussing. It's just so hard when you're really tired. Hope you get some respite soon, it won't last forever.

MistyB Fri 26-Jul-13 07:09:11

Sleep consultant was money very well spent for me, twice! I used the Baby Sleep Clinic, Naturally Nurturing nearly seven years ago and Natural Sleep Solutions in Leeeds nearly four years ago.

The big things were breaking the link between feeding and sleep, so feeding before bath then shush patting and gradually reducing intervention (we had a lot of intervention!!! Shush pat sounds so tame compared to what we had to go through!!)

Next was stopping night feeds leading to better eating during the day and more routine feeding / eating and day time napping which was very hard.

I must also say that DS2 has a very unsettled constitution, had terrible eczema, horrific bowels and produced a lot of mucus. We are still unraveling a lot of this and it has a huge impact on sleep. Cutting out food triggers, identifying products (most recently his swimming costume and most bizarrely, toothpaste) all helps with his sleep. This may not be at all relevant to your DD but sometimes sleep is not as simple as setting a routine and being firm though the sleep consultant did give us strategies that were successful.

Rockchick1984 Fri 26-Jul-13 11:47:52

I contacted the HV and basically said I was at my wit's end, they referred me to a sleep specialist free of charge although it took a couple of months to come through. DS was 13 months by the time we saw them, and it was amazing! I told them from the start I wasn't willing to do CC or CIO so was offered different solutions, and a weekly appointment to see how it was coming along.

capecath Sun 28-Jul-13 15:20:55

rockchick interested to hear more about the methods you used?

SkinnyDecaffGiraffe Mon 29-Jul-13 19:56:24

I've got an appt with andrea grace tomorrow. Just as well because I'm at my wits f'**king end.

We are now teething to add insult to injury.

In a heated discussion my H told me it was my fault she doesn't sleep because i go to her when she cries. hmmhmm

rowtunda Tue 30-Jul-13 22:23:58

Ok ready to be completely flamed here but why the aversion to using CC?

You are at your wits end, your relationship with your DH is at breaking point and you sound seriously sleep deprived which is not good for you or either of you or your children.

If you are consistent it takes three nights and you will all be a lot happier - including baby

White noise helped both of my rubbish sleepers to settle. I would also go in and lay my hand on their backs, but not pick them up as it made them worse. So I felt I was not abandoning them, but still teaching them that they weren't going to get taken out of the cot every time they cried. DS (3) still wakes about once a night, but usually just for water and is good at settling again.

Adding my sympathy! Your LO sounds just like our DD was.
We used the child sleep company, (i would recommend them) started about three weeks ago, now have regular naps with no stress, and one feed over night (my choice to keep it for now)
It's all so much less time consuming now. It was basically a gradual withdrawal technique, I couldn't do CIO, but we were seeing big results after two nights.

It helped me to remember that what crying there was, was mostly protest - of course she'd rather snuggle on boob, but I honestly felt I was holding her back by not letting her learn to get to sleep herself, as she was sleep deprived too (she has about two hours more sleep every day now, and is happier for it).

So I treated it like I would a toddler screaming for chocolate for breakfast, or vaccinations: DCs don't always like our choices, but we have to do what's best for them.

DomesticGoddess31 Thu 01-Aug-13 20:19:27

If she's waking up crying I would consider cranial osteopathy if I were you. Fixed my DD's sleep after 22 months of hell.

SkinnyDecaffGiraffe Tue 06-Aug-13 08:54:32

Hi - thought I would update this.

First domestic - we've had regular cranial treatments which hasn't helped really though it definitely does something. smile

So the update ..I had a session with Andrea Grace. She confirmed what I knew which was that the feeding to sleep was the issue. She did a plan for me to sit with her until she went to sleep and to not feed to sleep any more.
First night - with my constant attention she took an hr to go to sleep. Then a further hour for one night waking (that was tough as she was mega cross).
Second night - asleep in 20mins. One night waking for 15 mins
Third night - asleep in 40mins. A few waking after that during the evening but all v short. Nothing else til morning
Fourth night - asleep in 10 mins. No night waking except very brief stir when I went to check her at 10.30pm. Woke at 5.15am. So basically 7pm-5am

I've also stopped feeding to sleep for naps and she is doing great with that too.... so far.

It's still v early days and the next step is leaving the room whilst she is awake but its been surprisingly un-stressful for all of us. In fact the nights of unsuccessful feeding to sleep were dreadful and much worse.

Still not out of the woods but a massive improvement since Friday. smile

annaK72 Tue 06-Aug-13 14:27:42

I have an eight month son who didn't sleep more than two and a half hours at a time. I was absolutely exhausted. This was my second child and I felt I should know what to do. Eventually, by complete chance, I bumped into an ex midwife who now is a private maternity nurse and I got her help. I couldn't carry on any longer not sleeping. She came for three nights and transformed my life. Worth her weight in gold. Now my son sleeps for eight/nine hours at a time.

Don't suffer like I did. Get some help now. Maxine has a wealth of experience. She's affordable, thoroughly trustworthy, totally dedicated, calm, relentlessly positive and most important of all - she'll get your baby to sleep. I promise.

Check out her website: www.peacefulbabiesmaternitycare.com or contact me for a personal recommendation.

Shnook Wed 07-Aug-13 13:40:11

Not got long but couldnt read and run. Cannot recommend the Baby Whisperer enough. Like you, I was a prop for my baby getting to sleep - had to bounce her for aaaages to get to sleep , then she'd wake up crying not able to go back to sleep because the only way she knew to get to sleep was bouncing (or pram/car movement).

Get the BW book - cant remember exact title but subtitle is "Tricks to getting your baby to sleep through the night". It's a v short book. Day and night sleep is linked - it will explain how. Give yourself time to read and understand it, especially the section about Pick Up Put Down method and props. Also read about the importance of having routine/order to their day. Then, once you feel prepared, do PUPD and DO NOT GIVE IN. It's not harsh like CIO but neither is it a namby pamby method. It us no overstatement to say it changed my life. Within 3days, I had a 6 month old who could nod off by herself and have loooong,quality sleeps. It teaches your baby independence while knowing that mummy/daddy is there if they need them.

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