Please please please could someone help me - my baby WILL NOT go to sleep without crying and crying EVERY night :(

(52 Posts)
Debzarella Wed 19-Dec-12 22:57:49

Hi, I wonder if anyone could help me please as I am at the end of my tether sad

My baby is 5.5 months old and is a lovely happy little girl generally. She sleeps very well through the night and has done from birth but our problem is actually getting her to sleep in the first place.

We have tried:
>feeding her to sleep - works sometimes, sometimes it doesn't, she tends to wake the minute her head touches the mattress
>rocking her to sleep - used to work pretty well (would take about 45 mins to an hour) but is not working anymore, infact I think it makes her cry more now
>putting her down sleepy in the cot and using all sorts of mobiles, light projectors, Ewan the dream sheep etc, these all appear to wake her up more (and certainly don't sto the crying)
>putting her down sleepy and singing lullabies to her
>putting her down sleepy and then sitting by her and holding her hand / stroking her head (doesn't stop the crying at all)

We have tried leaving her to cry for a while once and it made both my husband and I really upset and our baby even more upset so I never want to do that again sad

Our routine is read books and sing some songs at 5.30, bath at 6, put her pjs and sleeping bag on, settle down to breast feed for 45 mins or so (she keeps nodding off as I feed so I stir her and get her to continue as she seems to sleep through the night better when I do this). She tends to fall asleep doing this so at about 7.30 we then put her gently down in her cot but 9.5 times out of 10 she wakes the minute her head hits the mattress and that's it then - she cries and cries for anything between an hour and 3 hours. Once she finally goes to sleep (usually from pure exhaustion) she sleeps beautifully.

Sorry it's so long but I really really don't know what else to do and its really starting to affect my sanity and I'm constantly taking it out on my Hubbie which is mean sad

Thanks in advance xxx

Impatientwino Wed 19-Dec-12 23:32:56

I know this sounds silly but when she cries do you try and feed her again? I only ask because my DS nods off alot too and sometimes ill put him down and as soon as I do he wakes and gets upset because he wasn't finished?

I put him back on the boob and he will then feed a little bit more then go down no problem (only for a while though but that's a different thread!)

Sorry if you said that you already try this I can't see your post now I've started typing and I'm VERY sleep deprived!

Debzarella Wed 19-Dec-12 23:38:07

Hi impatient, thank you for your reply! Yes, I have tried feeding again but she just keeps pulling off and looking around and crying so I give up. After she has cried for an hour or so I then try feeding again and that sometimes does the trick (tonight she finally went down at 10pm with another token feed) but rarely works without her having a good crying session first sad x

aimingtobeaperfectionist Wed 19-Dec-12 23:40:45

Does she have a dummy?

mamasr Wed 19-Dec-12 23:41:28

could it be the temperature difference from you/cot.. try a warm hot water bottle on the cot which you can move off before you put him down? This helped us when our DS was younger.. We also always used the same lullaby every time we put him to bed (still do) and although this took a few weeks it definitely helped in him settling to sleep.

nkf Wed 19-Dec-12 23:44:55

When you say "we" do you mean you are both doing it together? If so, then I would suggest you take a night each. And that way, you both get some sleep.

It's hell I know. My second child did this waking instantly so I can relate to the frustration.

Is it colic? I think that happens in the evenings.

God, I'm useless. Try to get some sleep yourselves.

aimingtobeaperfectionist Wed 19-Dec-12 23:45:03

My DD keeps changing routine on what helps her fall asleep so whenever we have a 'sure fire' way of getting her to go down she changes and we have to play all sorts of games to find what she wants now. Not very helpful I'm afraid but it's not just you if that helps?! probably not

Debzarella Thu 20-Dec-12 03:51:13

Thank you aiming - that does help (in a weird way :-))
Have tried a dummy a billion types (and different types) but she will not take it.

Haven't tried warming cot up mama, will do that tomorrow. We play the same lullaby cd every night but she appears to be oblivious to the music.

Nkf, yes we have started doing it together as the one downstairs feels guilty listening to the other struggle upstairs! Also, feeding seems to be the only thing that ends up working atm which only I can do as she is bf (and won't take a damn bottle!)

re the colic suggestion, she doesn't appear to be in pain - she suffered from colic when she was newborn and did the whole drawing up her legs etc then and that's not happening now.

X

Flatasawitchestit Thu 20-Dec-12 03:58:23

No cry sleep book?

Not a fan of parenting books but this has good reviews

belindarose Thu 20-Dec-12 04:05:08

Have you tried giving up, taking her downstairs, and trying again later? My DS is the same age and on the evenings he doesn't fall asleep easily, I find this far preferable to being with him while he cries. I have a 3yo DD too, who would hate to hear him crying for long.

We use a white noise app on the phone when he needs help to fall asleep. Have you tried something like that? Also, DS sometimes cries, writhes etc in my arms when he WANTS to go in his cot and in holding him.

Hope something works for you soon. My DD was a very difficult sleeper as a baby. This one wakes frequently, but at least is quite easy to get there.

JollyGolightly Thu 20-Dec-12 04:21:37

What are her naps like in the day? Is she overtired by bedtime? This can result in awful crying like this. My ds is only 15 weeks but needs putting down for naps in dark quiet places in an organised way, or we have a horror show in the evening.

She's over-stimulated. You'd be amazed at how easily a small baby can get like this. Take her into a completely dark room, and hold / rock her in silence. A dummy would be useful too.

MrsLyman Thu 20-Dec-12 04:38:16

Do you put her down as soon as you've finished feeding? DS1 was similar to this we had to keep him upright for at least 20 minutes after he had finished feeding and only put him down when he was totally asleep.

No cry sleep solution worked for us, I liked it be ause it gives a range of things to try rather than one magic cure.

Debzarella Thu 20-Dec-12 07:39:30

Thanks so much for all these suggestions smile

Flat, I have not looked at the no cry sleep book, will look for it today.

Belinda, we have tried all sorts of white noise but she ignores all sounds unless its me! (and even then I can't get her to sleep by singing / talking etc). We haven't tried giving up and going downstairs as I guess I'd feel like a failure and would be teaching her that if she cries too much she gets to come downstairs?

Jolly, I have always struggled with her naps sad she started off having 3 per day, one at 10, one at 1 and one at 4. These times are when she started showing tired signs. She will only sleep for 45 mins max though - I have tried helping her sleep fir longer but its not happening! Also, she will not nap in her cot - the same as bedtime happens. She naps in either her pram or the car. Yesterday I tried her having only 2 naps, one at 10 and one at 2, she slept till 3.10 which was great but by bedtime she was knackered and miserable.

Long, whilst we are trying all this the bedroom is pitch black and we don't talk - although we have her lullabies on - do you think we should turn that off? She won't take a dummy sad

Mrs l, its difficult because the longer we keep her upright the more awake she becomes! Perhaps we could try that rather than feeding to sleep but I think we will still have the crying as I don't think its discomfort crying.

X

megandraper Thu 20-Dec-12 08:01:28

Is she just more of a co-sleeper baby? All 3 of mine still slept on my lap / in sling downstairs in the evening at that stage. And in bed with me at night. They needed that body warmth to feel secure I think. They moved gradually to sleeping in the cot in the evening somewhere between 8 and 12 months and to sleeping all night in cot around 18 months. Some people would be aghast at this but you have to find what suits your baby. That howling cry can be a call for comfort/security I think.

Sympathies - you sound like lovely parents and all will be we'll in the end.

tsetohje Thu 20-Dec-12 08:14:42

My daughter was hard to settle at that age, it went on for a few weeks I think but we stopped trying to put her down upstairs and did car/pram/my lap instead. I'm with bedhopper, I think they're still very little to be alone in the dark.

I understand what you're saying about taking her back downstairs but honestly such a little baby isn't going to learn anything by you taking her back down again and it would save you and DH a lot of hassle and give you a bit of an evening back?

Hope it will be some consolation to tell you that I had totally forgotten my DD did this till I read your OP, she's only 2 and a half! It will pass but is v stressful in the eye of the storm.

BertieBotts Thu 20-Dec-12 08:15:58

Will she sleep on you? If so you might be able to get her to sleep that way but transfer her to the cot when she's deeply asleep.

Or if she falls asleep ok in buggy in the day, you could try putting her in the buggy and pushing it back and forth, then again transfer when in a deep sleep.

My suggestions would be

- try putting her down wide awake
- overtired so earlier bed
- bring her down for a bit to change the scenery if she is over crying - we do this occasionally and worry she will never go to bed again buy that doesn't seem to happen

Hope something works! Brief typing as bf

Earlier bedtime! Her maxium stay-awake time will be about 2 hours at this age (still is for my 8 month old!), so if she's awake at 5pm, she needs to be in bed by 6.45pm. Put her down awake, not sleepy, so go for 6.30pm if she seems sleepy then.

aimingtobeaperfectionist Thu 20-Dec-12 08:27:16

I second tse you won't teach her bad habits at this age so it might be worth just taking her downstairs and giving yourself a break.
How do you feel about co sleeping? If done properly it might just give you enough sleep to feel more 'normal' to be able to deal with things.

TeamBacon Thu 20-Dec-12 08:29:54

Do you use sleeping bags? They're good when babies need cuddling to sleep and then putting in the cot, as they're already nice and warm.

Sounds like she might be a bit overstimulated to me. I'd get rid of the music and lights and everything else, and just go back to basics. I think at that age we used the rocking chair and I just hummed to DS a bit, and he'd calm down.

The other thing that worked was standing in front of a plain wall with him so there was nothing for him to see or to distract him - that really calmed him down when he was overstimulated and fighting sleep.

TeamBacon Thu 20-Dec-12 08:33:12

Oh god, that's brought back memories. I remember rocking in the chair with DS until he'd fall asleep and then I'd have to count to 300 (about 5 minutes) before I could move and put him in the cot, because otherwise he'd spring awake again. Anything over 5 mins and he'd be just about safe to put down... but had to do it soooo slowly.

He's 5 now. One day this will all be a dim and distant memory and it will make you smile

NigellaTufnel Thu 20-Dec-12 08:34:16

Hate to say this but this may be just a stage you have to grit your teeth and accept that she will grow out of it soon.

Lots and lots of us have been there and feel your pain. But you WILL get through it.

Belmo Thu 20-Dec-12 08:35:41

Mine just slept on me downstairs at that age, not a great solution I know but might be better if it stops her crying?

noblegiraffe Thu 20-Dec-12 08:38:46

I seem to remember that they have a sleep cycle of 10 minutes after first falling asleep, my DS would always wake up if we put him down in the first 10 minutes after falling asleep but if we waited till after this, his eyes would flick open around the 10 minute mark then he'd be good to put down.

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