11 month old waking up and wanting to play at night

(3 Posts)
malteser17 Tue 18-Feb-14 05:04:54

Hi all

This is the first time I've posted and I really am out of ideas not to mention exhausted.

My 11 month old son has only ever once slept through the night and that was pure luck. I am still breastfeeding at night and weekends but whilst I am at work during the day he is at nursery and has a couple of bottles of formula plus meals and snacks.

Anyway, my issue is not getting him to sleep first of all as that's the easy bit (after breastfeeding of course) but like tonight he went to sleep at 8.30pm, woke at 10.30pm for a feed which is fine, and then woke at 2.30pm and is STILL awake! He fed for half an hour and then sat up and started "chatting" and reaching for his books. We still have a double-bed in his room from when it was a guest room so I tend to feed him in there and then it doesn't disturb my dh who doesn't cope as well on broken nights as I do.

Once he's properly awake I never know what to do for the best. I've tried just cuddling him and patting his back but he just cries. I've tried turning the light on and reading lots of books and then feeding again but often he just doesn't seem tired then. And now we're downstairs where he was playing with his stacking cups quite happily until I started typing this message and now he's crying and trying to get my attention - but is still not nearly ready to sleep!

He generally has a two hour nap at nursery during the day although yesterday was almost three hours because we had a repeat of this last night :-( So other than telling them to limit it to two hours again I really don't know how to break this cycle. I know ultimately I want to stop the night time feeds but I can cope if he just feeds and goes back to sleep straight away - it's the waking up and playing that I can't do, especially as if I do manage to get him to sleep soon (it's now 5am) I have to be up at 6.45 to get ready for work.

I really don't want to have to do the cry it out method as I don't think it's fair on him but I can't continue with only 5 hours of broken sleep a night.

Any suggestions would be appreciated xx

BotBotticelli Tue 18-Feb-14 20:50:55

I would say don't give him the option to play - don't give him any toys in the middle of the night. Don't turn the lights on. If we wakes up and you need to feed him, feed him and then put him back in his cot in the dark, after a big cuddle and a kiss. Whisper quietly sleepy time now and walk out. Repeat ad nauseum until he gets the idea and goes back to sleep. This is not 'crying it out'....sure he might grizzle a bit but you can go in and reassure him every few minutes will a little rub on the back/tummy. But: lights off, no talking, no toys. After a few nights he will should get it. Just like you have to teach him that the buggy is for sitting in, the high chair is for eating in, you also have to teach him that the nighttime is for sleeping! He might not like it at first, esp if he has been used to playing at night, but you will all feel a lot better for it in the long run.

We have a strict 'never bring him out of his bedroom' rule between 7pm and 6am btw (ok so we have caved a few times and brought him into our bed when he has been ill etc, and we have spent some time lying on his bedroom floor in the dark with our hand through the bars of his cot waiting for him to fall back to sleep) but we never bring him into the living room before 6am. That's one of our unbreakable rules. Anything beginning with 5, 4, 3 etc is the nightime and is treated as such: lights off, minimal talking, no toys.

Also, I FF'd my son (and he stopped having formula altogether at 11mo, so what do I know?!) but if he's eating 3 meals per day he might not need feeding at night any more?? have you tried settling him any other way? Cuddles, shhhh pat etc etc.

malteser17 Thu 20-Feb-14 11:20:20

Hi BotBotticelli

Thank you for your advice. For the last two nights I have done just that and when he's shown any sign of being awake we've just lay in the bed together in his room and cuddled until we've both fallen asleep. He does complain at that and last night it took about 20 minutes of me gently stopping him trying to sit up and in the end he gave up and went to sleep. It's not ideal in that I've ended up co-sleeping for 2 or 3 hours but trust me, that's better than both of us being awake for those 2 or 3 hours instead!

I like the thing of not getting up when the time starts with 3, 4 or 5! I think my only exception to that rule is 5.45 onwards as I reason if he's managed to get to then without too much disruption during the night then I'll let him get away with it.

I have tried to get away with not feeding DS; however, it doesn't very often work as even if I don't interact with him at all verbally and just put him over my shoulder and pat his back, he recognises it's me and then tries to get at the milk! I'm determined to break the link though so I am going to continue to try and not feed him - it's just getting the balance right as if I'm not careful he wakes up properly and then I'd have no chance of getting him back down quickly.

Hopefully eventually he'll stop waking up completely!

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