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9 month old screams at bedtime, no matter what I do

(9 Posts)
ImpyCelyn Tue 12-Jul-11 20:28:42

DS has taken to screaming hysterically at bedtime. It take him several hours to really settle to sleep. But he does it no matter what. In his cot (natch), in my arms, cosleeping. Nothing gets him to sleep peacefully.

It's reached the point where I'm just putting him in the cot and going in occasionally to lie him back down and shush a bit. I swore I'd never leave him to cry, and I feel crap doing it, but he screams no matter what I do and I couldn't take having him scream in my ear for hours anymore.

This evening he was really tired at bedtime, he slept for about 20mins and since then has been screaming. But with his eyes shut.

I think he just wants to keep himself awake. Whenever he starts to drift off he seems to catch himself and start screaming again.

I just don't know what to do or why he's doing it.

Touching him, singing, musical mobiles make absolutely no difference.

I'm exhausted. He didn't go to sleep til midnight yesterday (2hrs of on and off sleep (mainly off), 2.5 hrs of solid screaming, 2.5hrs sleep, feed, 2.5hrs sleep, feed, 1.5hrs sleep). I don't think he's getting enough and I'm certainly not.

He used to nap really well, but that's out the window as well, he does the same thing.

Any advice would be very gratefully received!

PukeyRag Tue 12-Jul-11 21:22:02

What kind of bed time routine do you have? Are you able to really let him wind down an hour or two before bed? DD does this occasionally and it's definitely an "I DO NOT want to sleep right now" scream.

ImpyCelyn Tue 12-Jul-11 21:27:54

blush we don't have much of a routine as we we've generally just gone with a baby led style. So I'm putting him to bed on the basis of the same cues, but the last couple of weeks he just won't sleep.

We normally do dinner, little play, bf, shower and then song and bed. But there's no timings or anything associated with it, and sometimes it changes, but that's never bothered him.

What kind of routine do we need to have? I don't have any books about baby-rearing so I'm not sure what I should do really.

Thanks for your help smile

PukeyRag Tue 12-Jul-11 22:33:20

Well, i'd suggest trying to make some time for a nice long wind down - dim lights, low sounds, lots of snuggly soft whispery time after a bath and a feed. Some babies are just so wired and desperate to stay awake that they need a really calm (boring) atmosphere to help them drop off. Then again, you may just have a baby that just isn't tired when you want him to be.

If my DD refuses to sleep I don't try and force her because she just gets angry and then we both end up stressed.

What are his day time naps like?

The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley has some very good ideas/techniques that might help you. Pop on Amazon and order yourself a copy, it's baby-friendly, cheap and worth a shot smile

MollyMurphy Tue 12-Jul-11 22:43:05

Impy - routine is not about time schedule though they often get lumped together. I agree with Pukey above - a strong and consistent set of rituals can really help a young one wind down. Dinner, quiet play, story time, lights down, voices lower, bath, massage, bed etc.

I would suggest introducing a comfort item into the crib (stuffed animal) that your child naturally gravitates to.

That said my 9 month old used to settle really well and has been going through a recent rough patch with it as well. Sometimes we've had to take him out of the room for a "break" to just calm down so we can try again. When we do this we keep the lights low and we don't make it entertaining...just a calm change of scenery for 10min, then back at it. Its been tough but I've read about a 9month regression and that is what it feels like to us. There is a book called Wonder Weeks that people are raving about - it goes through what fussy periods we can expect and 9 months is right in the thick of one of them.

I would also suggest looking into Pick up/Put Down technique by Tracey Hogg (The Baby Whisperer) - it is an alternative to CIO and CC.

Hope it gets better soon

ImpyCelyn Wed 13-Jul-11 11:27:43

That's the thing. He used to settle absolutely fine doing it the same way. And we don't put him to bed according to time, just when he is tired. He just seems to have decided that he hates sleep, even when he's really tired.

He has a comfort bunny, he used to snuggle it, but now he screams as soon as it comes near him and throws it away, I think because he knows it means sleep.

He used to be great about naps, but they've changed at the same time as nighttime problems. He will generally sleep about 2.5hrs after he wakes up for 1.5hrs, and then in the afternoon for 1.5hrs. But he's refusing to go down for a nap, even though he's yawning and eye-rubbing like crazy.

I just don't know what to do, he's shattered but won't sleep.

On Friday I spent hours in almost darkness holding him and singing softly, and every time he was about to drift off he arched his back and started screaming again.

I'll try to put in more wind down time, but it seems like no matter how calm he is any attempt to get him to sleep sends him over the edge.

ImpyCelyn Wed 13-Jul-11 11:31:58

Sorry, also meant to say - thank you very much for your help and suggestions. I'm going to try to calm him down as much as possible smile

narmada Thu 14-Jul-11 19:43:40

DS has just started doing this too - and he is exactly the same age as your son. I have put it down to 9-month sleep regression (as his night sleep has gone down the toilet, having previously being excellent), illness, and teeth. It's frustrating, I feel for you!

Meggymoodle Thu 14-Jul-11 21:40:58

Totally random suggestion and feel free to ignore it but you could try swaddling him for a couple of weeks. We did it with our (then) five month old and it worked a treat. I spoke to our neighbour who is a child occupational therapist who specialises in children who can't "switch off". She said she tried it with a five year old (getting his parents to put him in a tight fitting sleeping back) and it was the first time he ever slept for six solid hours.

DD only needed it for 2 weeks and then was fine at bedtimes after that (not great throughout the night for a long time but you can't have it all!

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