Sleepless 9 month old - at wits end

(51 Posts)
delilah88 Sat 20-Jul-13 20:00:15

Hello,

My 9 month old DD is a terrible sleeper. I need some advice, please, I am going crazy.

We always have a lovely time in the day and she is a very happy baby, but when it comes to bedtime (bath, story, song by 7pm, BF to sleep) she goes crazy. She hates having her night babygrow put on, hates the BFing always frantically pinging on and off the breast, and then screams like a wild thing when I put her in her cot. I have tried leaving her a bit but it's no good as she immediately gets into crawling/sitting position. She screams so much and becomes red and v hot/sweaty, sometimes it almost looks like she's having a fit. It doesn't stop until I fish her out. At the moment she sleeps in her pram from 7.30ish (whenever I give up) to nightfall when it is dark enough for her to be (again) BF to sleep in our bed and then carefully carried over to her cot. She only ever lasts a few hours before she's up screaming again, and it only ever really resolved when I pop her down between me and DH, where she sleeps like a rock.

Things have got worse and worse. She always used to go to sleep at 7 just being BF in bed and carried into cot. I didn't notice it escalating and now she's so crazy and miserable in the run up to bed, can't get drowsy and always furious and worked up. It's so sad for me that such a nice day again ends like this. She's now in her pram happily cooing and yawning, happy to go to sleep in the light. I have to try and stop her bucking all over the place while she gets dressed, while I feed her -- I worry she'll hurt herself or I'll hurt her trying to keep hold. DH and I never see each other in the evenings or at night as baby rules the roost. I need help, fast!

I don't think I could do controlled crying as when I do leave DD she just gets up hanging onto the sides of the cot then crashes back and whacks her head, then gets up again. I should have done it when she could only lie flat.

Please help me mumsnet!

Twattergy Sat 20-Jul-13 20:27:42

A lot of sleep advice would start with you stopping feeding baby to sleep as this provides a reliance on your milk for them to sleep. Could you try the bf say half an hour before bed time routine? Make whole routine a bit quicker? Then when you put her down in cot stay with her while she cries ( ie its not cc as you are not leaving her alone aft any point). When she sits up calmly place her down, repeatedly. Keep a hand on her back or tummy. She will calm down but it may take an hour the first few times, but should then reduce. This is based on the Andrea Grace approach which is worth looking at. Good luck.

You're going to have to stop the pram madness - yes you'll have pain but that's the first thing to go. So routine half hour earlier then keep going until she's asleep. (sounds like you're only going for half an hour normally?). Be prepared that it might take time, just get her to sleep by any means necessary.

Also she might be overtired hence the flip outs so an even earlier bedtime might be needed to avoid the madness?

What are her day naps like?

delilah88 Sat 20-Jul-13 20:45:58

She usually has two naps -- one at 9.30-10.30, and another 2-3.30
Perhaps I should stop afternoon nap?

Nicknamefail Sat 20-Jul-13 20:58:08

Leave the pm nap, if she is over-tired it will be worse.
The above 2 posts give good advice. I was similar to you am in the middle of gradual retreat and in 2 weeks my life has turned around.
Yes it is hard to start with, but you sound like you are having a bad night every night.
Mumsnet can always support you through it if you need.
I'm sure you already know this but thinking of it on 2 ways helped me. Dd was always fed to sleep, then transferred. This meant that when she woke up in her cot she was confused to be there and thought she should be in my arms feeding. Also, my dd always came into bed at around midnight as she resisted the cot then, and this a habit. Habits can be formed, and also be broken!
My dd is now in the cot all night and last night woke at 2, gave one cry, then rolled over and went back to sleep without me. Unthinkable before we started gradual retreat 2 weeks ago.

delilah88 Sat 20-Jul-13 20:59:24

Hm that does sound quite good. I will look up gradual retreat but if you have a good link to it then let me know.

Nicknamefail Sat 20-Jul-13 21:01:28

Oh, and as first reply said, good idea to move final feed. I now do this before bath. This means they finish the feed and you don't have to pull them if the breast. It is good good for teeth as you can brush them in the bath and not feed after.

delilah88 Sat 20-Jul-13 21:03:11

p.s. Nickname, did your child always flip over onto front / sit up like mine? That's partly why it's so hard to get her to sleep.

delilah88 Sat 20-Jul-13 21:03:51

Oh yes good idea about feed too. I think we will sort out her room tomorrow and then start this gradual thing.

delilah88 Sat 20-Jul-13 21:04:04

Her cot is still in our room at the mo.

Maisie55 Sat 20-Jul-13 21:47:18

Hi all, I am in a very similar position with DS 9 months and think I will need to try gradual retreat as well. Nicknamefail - I am encouraged by your story, would you mind sharing the steps you used to get your DD from feeding to sleep to settling in the cot by herself as I don't really know where to start! Thanks for your advice (sorry for hijack!)

Nicknamefail Sat 20-Jul-13 22:52:12

Yes my dd sits up and flips around. I don't bother lying her down as she immediately gets up again and when she is ready she lies down of her own accord. She now tends to sleep on her front, which is fine for babies who can flip confidently.

Maisie, this is my schedule.
Starting with breast feeding to sleep monster several times per night plus ending in my bed.

Day 1-7. Change bedtime routine to feed before bed. The first night she took slightly less but got the hang of it from the next night.
At bedtime cuddle until sleeping in your arms, then WAIT TEN MINUTES and place in cot. This is to ensure deeply asleep.
Cuddle to sleep for each wake up until 4 hr after previous feed. At that point, can feed. (Time how long feeds last on average. ) Then cuddle to sleep at each wake up until 4 hr after last feed. ie max 2 night time feeds if last pre-bath feed 6.15. Up at 6.15 in the morning. Must stay in cot all night. (Therefore must get help preferably day and night as the first couple of nights are long. )
The point of this week is to start learning not to feed to sleep.
Then from week 2 onwards reduce the duration of the feed by a minute every 2 nights until you drop them.
Night 8-10. Place in cot awake and lean into cot and cuddle until asleep. We bought a travel cot with a zip down side for this which worked well. Cuddle in close but if you get a zip side like us don't actually lie down next to dc.

Night 11-13. Don't lean into cot but pat/stroke dc until asleep.

Night 14-16. Intermittently pat.

Night 17-19. Occasional light touch.

Night 20-22. Sit by cot don't touch.

Night 23-25. Sit in middle if room.

Night 26-29. Sit by door.

Sounds awful but we are at sitting by cot stage at bedtime with light touch and she took 15 mins to go to sleep and I don't think she will wake up tonight. We actually dropped the feeds more quickly than this plan as dd initially woke lots on the first 4 hrs and then not so much overnight weirdly, and in night 6 I sent dh in at her 4 1/2 wake up ( when technically she could have fed) and she settled with him well thus confirmed to me that she didn't need milk, which really helped.

The 10 minute thing us really helpful although it feels long it is better than the awful put down dc to immediate cry. Prepare for arm burning in the first week!

If that's not clear ask anything you like. Seriously changing my life. Today, dh and I talked about going out for dinner and leaving dd with a babysitter. Would have never been possible before.

Maisie55 Sat 20-Jul-13 23:00:31

Thanks for this Nickname, will read and digest and possibly come back with questions tomorrow, must sleep now as no doubt up in a few hours! Thanks again!

Nicknamefail Sat 20-Jul-13 23:07:05

Should also say that I have just looked at the sleep diary I kept (do this, it is encouraging to look back at it and see how you have improved) and I the first night it took dp 20 of cuddling before she was asleep. This is on case you are thinking your dc will never sleep without bfing as I thought this too she did protest, but did sleep eventually. If you can get dp to do the first few times that it is a good idea as dd fought me a bit more as she knew I would give her milk.
Key is also consistency, and not rewarding them by taking them into your bed. Good luck!

Nicknamefail Sat 20-Jul-13 23:08:34

Delilah, think your plan to move cot is a good idea too, so no chance if waking dc when you go to bed!

Twattergy Sun 21-Jul-13 07:41:01

Great advice here. They will definitely sleep without a bf at this age. Be confident in your childs ability to adapt. Be prepared to have up to an hour of protest for first bed time but after that it is quicker.

utopian99 Sun 21-Jul-13 07:59:07

This is really useful and exactly what we need too! Ds issstarting to drop feeds to sleep sometimes so we're vaguely on the right path but will use this as a strategy now.
Nice to find an approach that doesn't involve crying at last!

MissOtisRegrets Sun 21-Jul-13 08:25:17

Thank you for sharing the detailed outline Nicknamefail. DS is only 5 months, so we're not sleep training yet (still bf every 2-3 hours & cosleeps), but when it's time roll on 9th month! this sounds like a really reasonable way forward. May I ask where you happened on this technique? I've copied your posts into a note and have titled it Nicknamefail's Sleep Plan!

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 21-Jul-13 09:58:53

Not read the whole thread but do you think it could be the 9 month sleep regression?

There is nothing wrong with letting her sleep in the pram in the evening and taking her to bed when you go either. My lovely DH used to take my dd out for a walk in the pram and we then left her to sleep in the hall till the next feed. She slept with us as it was the only other place she would sleep. When she was older she happily moved to her own room and slept all night.

If you do want to make changes, have a look at isis. Its full of evidence based information and is a great place to start.

See if your library has got the book Sound Sleep by Sarah Woodhouse too. It too is evidence based smile

Nicknamefail Sun 21-Jul-13 11:28:24

Used millpond. Expensive and worth it. Good luck to those trying it.

minipie Sun 21-Jul-13 16:53:56

<takes notes>

thank you nickname. Can I ask how much your dd naps in the day, and what times?

delilah88 Sun 21-Jul-13 20:02:42

Ok, have been trying tonight. Baby has woken up every ten mins or so crying, gone in and patted/cuddled her back to sleep.

Nickname, did your baby cry a lot during this (i.e. a bit like a tame version of CIO), or not really? When you got to the 'sit by cot but no patting' stage was it a case of watching her cry for 10 mins or was she just wriggly then sleep?

delilah88 Sun 21-Jul-13 20:13:47

p.s. This is turning out to be (for me) the most helpful mumsnetting ever!

Nicknamefail Sun 21-Jul-13 20:15:51

Well done Delilah.

My dd did cry for quite a while during the first going to sleep and about 5 minutes for other wake ups. I know you said a tame version of CIO but I really don't think it is even a version of CIO, as I think the baby cries in CIO as they are on their own, in gradual retreat they cry for the breast, which although both are crying babies, the first is upset and the second cross.
The crying for each progressive wake up got less and less very quickly and then she mostly stopped waking up.

minipie our naps aren't great- I have decided that I don't want to fight her for naps yet as she definitely sleeps better at night if she napped better in the day, so I am going to crack night sleeping before I try to get her to sleep in her cot in the day, with a shortened version of what I have done at night.
That aside she varies a bit. She usually naps at 9 for 45mins and 2 for 1 1/2 hours. Sometimes the long nap is on the morning. Saying that yesterday she had 2 long naps and today 2 short ones! I strongly feel that sleep begets sleep, as this longer nap has only started since she has been sleeping longer at night. A few weeks ago she would sleep for 30 mins twice a day. I could almost set my watch by a 30 minute waking.

Nicknamefail Sun 21-Jul-13 20:21:12

Oh and delilah forgot to answer your second question. I am at the stage before sitting not touching (starting that on Tuesday night). So I am doing occasional light touch. She does cry when she is put into the cot, and constantly cries for about 5 mins then lies down and intermittently cries with longer stretches of not crying until suddenly she falls asleep. Then one brief self settling night wake when I haven't gone in. I think some children do go into cots and never cry, but reading things and talking to people, some children need to cry before they go to sleep as part of their routine. I hope my dd won't always do this bit we 'll see.

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