At my wit's end(11 Posts)
Advice needed please! I'm absolutely at the end of my tether with my son's sleep pattern and looking for any and all practical advice that might help us!
He's 8 months old, has about 20oz of formula a day plus 3 meals, 2.5 hours napping in the day (no later than 3.30pm), great bedtime routine (bath at 6.15, bottle, quiet time, puts himself to sleep in his cot by 7)
BUT every single night we follow the same pattern. He sleeps soundly from 7-3am and then we're awake every half hour or so before finally he's fully awake for the day at 5.30 and it is KILLING ME.
he's not waking for food, for a dummy... He's often crying because he's on his front but turning him over only rectifies that for a short while. He's not teething, not ill, his room is really dark and we are strict with not talking to him etc when we go in to try and settle him. Controlled crying just progressively develops into all out screaming.
I'm terrified that this is going to be his routine and we are going to spend years never sleeping for longer than a few hours.
Any and all advice very welcome (along with offers of overnight babysitters!)
I am absolutely certain it's something he will grow out of. If he can put himself to sleep at bedtime he's obviously capable of it. 8mo is prime time for separation anxiety so he could be waking and panicking about where you are. To be honest, in that situation I'd probably just bring him into my bed for the second half of the night and see how that goes - at least you'd get a coupe of nights respite to get your sanity back then you can have a rethink. We did all sorts with my DS when he was little - rocking to sleep, co-sleeping, etc. (never anything like CC or CIO though) and he settles on his own and sleeps all night now (from about 2 years).
Oh and my DS has been up for the day at 5.30 since he was tiny. Some children are just programmed that way, I don't think there's much you can do about it. Literally just in the last two weeks he's started 'sleeping in' until 6.20 which is much easier to bear.
Is there any chance little one could be cold? We had the same problem then someone told us that around 3am is when your body temperature dips. An extra blanket worked. Coincidence or not I'm not sure, only wish we knew sooner - she was over 3!!
Hope you find a solution/sleep!
I say this nicely, even though you must be exhausted. 7-3 without waking is really really good. That's 8 straight hours and would be classed as 'sleeping through'.
I did wonder if he was hungry. Mine had a breastfeed or a bottle around 4 am till they were nearly 1.
What soothes him then? If you lie down next to him with an arm on his back gently patting does it soothe him? Given that he is indeed sleeping a decent stretch and is a few hours away from waking up I would try a quiet/calm way of getting him to sleep (just gentle shushing/patting). And go to bed at 7 pm myself for a few days to maximise how much sleep I got.
I wouldn't try controlled crying at 3 am. He can clearly fall and stay asleep so controlled crying at 3 am would confuse him.
My suspicion is that at 3 am he's done the bulk of his night sleep and has come into light sleep and finds it hard to settle. I think bringing him into your bed at that time, would give you more sleep but might create a more long term habit you want to break. So if there was a way for someone to just go to his room, lie down on a single bed next to his cot, arm on his back and go to sleep; I would do that.
Sleep and needs change constantly. And he's doing really well (even if it doesn't seem like it) so I wouldn't panic.
Just re-reading your post and thinking of things - could you try a night light? Maybe he's feeling unsettled because it's so dark. I really don't think there's any harm in talking to him either - a quick 'Shhh, Mummy is here, I'm just in the next room, go back to sleep' isn't going to cause any problems.
PP - that's a good call. OP do you try offering milk when he wakes? My DS started refusing night time milk at 10 months but still one until he was 14mo though - mostly teething issues I think. It sounds like you're quite set on following 'rules' you've read/heard about but honestly they're all different and what works will change as they do.
I used to give DC Weetabix or porridge before bed from around that age, just so if they woke I knew it probably wasn't hunger. I personally wouldn't re-introduce milk again in the night, or co-sleeping. I'd be keen to encourage self settling methods.
Try and continue quiet minimal contact, and possibly begin to encourage reliance on a a comfort object, blanket etc, this was a godsend for both mine over the years. It may also be worth pushing bedtime back by half an hour or so.
I was lucky in that come 3-4 months both mine slept well, but I was quite proactive in distancing myself once the lights had gone out at night. Luck plays a massive part too!
Thanks everyone. We had a particularly bad night so was feeling very sorry for myself this morning! All seems better after a cup of tea.
I will try all your suggestions (except bringing him into our bed as we've tried that many times and he thinks it's play time) and hopefully get a decent nights sleep soon!
Would a later bedtime work - or earlier bedtime for you? I'm desperately envious of 8 hours straight (we've never quite managed that in 2 years), but clearly you're not getting the benefit of that because you're awake for a lot of that time.
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