Screaming, biting, headbutting at sleeptime

(28 Posts)
TheHubblesWindscreenWipers Sat 03-Sep-16 09:00:07

Ds is ten months and physically very strong. He's a terrible sleeper and the (medical, actual doctor) consultant we saw this week told us to stop feeding to sleep as he's drastically underweight and needs to stop filling up on milk. Previously, feeding is the only way he's slept. We've tried everything else including cc. Nothing worked.
When I try to get him to sleep without feeding him I'm getting hours of screaming, biting, vomiting and headbutting. He's already split my lip twice, made my nose bleed and chipped a tooth (mine) so he must be hurting himself too. Of course I'm trying to restrain him gently but he's incredibly strong - I told the consultant he was doing this, she told me 'well just hold him' so I got her to try to during a tantrum. She struggled to. He is scarily strong despite being skinny.

Anyway, any tips on stopping these epic meltdowns? I'm depressed already and four hours of screaming and nosebleeds isn't helping.

He won't sleep in the pram
He won't sleep in the cot
Yes we've tried white noise
Won't take a dummy
Won't be rocked
I have no help, family or childcare nearby
I can't use a sling

golfmonkey Sat 03-Sep-16 09:06:20

Can you feed to sleep but give less milk in the day? He needs 350-500ml of milk a day but that could be just in the morning and night/just night or something? Then you could give more snacks/meals in the day?

I'm pretty sure you shouldn't be getting physically injured.

TheHubblesWindscreenWipers Sat 03-Sep-16 09:10:15

Consultant has told us to try to stop feeding to sleep full stop. He's waking every twenty minutes some nights and underweight possibly because he's filling up on milk.
He's already getting two breakfasts, lunch, dinner and two snacks a day. Why he's so underweight I don't know sad

I just can't take the hours of screaming and thrashing. I'm so tired, so down.

5madthings Sat 03-Sep-16 09:10:46

Rather than stopping bfeeding to sleep I would be making sure the food he does eat is high in fats and calories. At his age the majority of his nutrition should still come from breastfeeding.

He sounds like a very physical, active baby so will be using calories that way.

How much does he weigh and what did he weigh at birth? When did concerns over his weight start?

friendlyfoxes Sat 03-Sep-16 09:11:34

What would happen if you put him in the pram and left him? flowers

friendlyfoxes Sat 03-Sep-16 09:11:46

Cot I meant to type not pram.

5madthings Sat 03-Sep-16 09:11:53

Oh so he is eating its not that he is filling up on milk and then won't eat solids?

TheHubblesWindscreenWipers Sat 03-Sep-16 09:24:49

He was 2.5kg when we left hospital. He's 8kg now at almost 11 months. Average height. Looks very thin - extremely noticeable at baby group for example - he looks like a little Dickerson urchin next to all the fat happy babies.
All his food is enriched - cream in his porridge, cereal has cream on, butter and oil in everything we can get it in.
He's extremely physically active. Not quite walking yet but hopefully will improve once he does

If i put him in the cot and left him he'd scream for as many hours as it took to come back. We tried cc and it just resulted in a week of him scratching till he bled and throwing himself around the cot in a frenzy.

He doesn't have food allergies (we excluded milk, soy etc for a month and no improvement.)

I just don't know what to do. I'm so tired

5madthings Sat 03-Sep-16 10:02:15

Babies should double birth weight by six months and treble it by a year?

8kg is on the smaller aide for his age but it's not tiny. Not all babies are chubby. If he is meeting developmental stages etc then I would be going by the baby not his weight

Sounds like he eats well? And the breastfeeding as well is good!

What tests have they done to rule out any underlying causes of slow weight gain

Some babies are just higher needs and cc crying won't work.

Where does he sleep, if you feed him to sleep is he happier?

5madthings Sat 03-Sep-16 10:06:50

Just looking in red book, he started out under the 2nd percentile and is now at eleven months above the second percentile, heading up to the next line. So he has followed his growth curve... . And actually gone up a bit. Yea he is small but growing consistently and following his curve, why is that a problem?

TheHubblesWindscreenWipers Sat 03-Sep-16 10:13:44

He's skirted the bottom of the weight curves - he looks thin though, not just healthy skinny but thin. Hard to explain but visible.

He sleeps in the cot for the first part of the night. It takes a long time to get him in there (I know all the stuff about object permanence and putting them down awake etc but in practice it's impossible to put him in the cot awake.)
He then sleeps till midnight in twenty minute bursts, needs constant resettling, will not settle himself. We always try to resettle without milk but he cannot go more than three hours without food (again, I'm aware of the 'they should be able to go all night' but ours can't.)
From midnight he just wants to get up so its a Battle to keep him resettled. By 3-4am no resettling works at all and one of us gets up with him. Daytime naps are generally in our bed or very occasionally in the pushchair. He won't be transferred in the day. I've never managed it and he never seems to hot that really asleep stage. One sleep consultant suggested having daytime naps in the pushchair. After a week of doing that he refused to sleep in it at all. If he ever does fall asleep in it he wakes as soon as he tries to turn over and can't - usually ten minutes.

I'm so tired. I've been having thoughts about ending it all. I won't of course, that'd be irresponsible and cruel but it's a symptom of how bad things are.

5madthings Sat 03-Sep-16 13:28:37

So sleep is the issue really.

Have you looked at jay Gordon? Gentle night weaning techniques.

Can I ask if he has any tummy issues? The frequent waking and slow weight gain.

What happens if you just Co sleep and let him nurse on demand. You say you try and settle without milk but does he settle better with it?

I think if you can sort your sleep issues you will both be happier

I don't think it's his weight meaning he won't sleep and I don't see how if he eats well cutting g down bfeeds will help weight wise.

But you need help. You need to see your gp for pnd maybe or it could be your mood is just through exhaustion. Can you go away for a night to get a break. If you are not there what does dh do to settle baby? Does,he sleep in car? Sling? Tbh if he is so unsettled I would want medical cause ie silent reflux etc ruled out.

5madthings Sat 03-Sep-16 13:30:15

And yes he is towards bottom of chart but some babies are.

I know you say he looks skinny

What does he eat in an average day, portion size etc.

ElphabaTheGreen Sat 03-Sep-16 13:40:01

<Waves in solidarity at Hubbles>

I'm perplexed when doctors advise reducing breastfeeds to increase weight. You won't find much else as nutritionally dense.

Developmentally, I would say he's not ready to stop feeding to sleep. Neither of mine were until well past a year. The doctor can tell you not to do that until she's blue in the face, but she may as well put Green Eggs and Ham in front of him and demand a moved reading. There is no way of forcing it, he's not ready, and he's telling you that, very clearly.

Are you able to put a double mattress on the floor of his room and cosleep there? That helped things along considerably with DS2, I found. He got very comfortable sleeping in his room with me and was totally fine when I started to withdraw around 18 months. I think any attempts to put your DS in a cot are completely counterproductive. I did CC with DS1 and, when that didn't work, (God forgive me), CIO and it made him ten times worse, because it gave him so many negative associations with his cot. I physically removed the cot from the house and he turned a corner.

Which sleep consultant did you use, out of interest?

FATEdestiny Sat 03-Sep-16 14:05:51

Hi again Hubble

I remember from your last thread that the best way to get him to sleep was feeding lying down.

Did you try going to bed with him and just going with that, not transferring to cot and giving free acess to boob? As pp says, you could move your mattress into the floor to make it safer.

Hubble - have you talked to your doctor about yourself? Does your doctor know you have thought about ending it all?

You need to talk to your GP about your mental health - as a matter of urgency

TheHubblesWindscreenWipers Sat 03-Sep-16 14:11:42

waves back knackeredly at 5mad and elphaba

The sleep consultant was one attached to our local hospital (we aren't in the uk.) they didn't really suggest anything we hadn't tried - honestly, I am not impressed with sleep consultants in general. There's nothing there we didn't know from t'interweb.

I think you're right about him just not being ready - he is a very clingy, very sensitive little guy, despite being quite active and forward. He really panics if alone.

Food wise, he eats what I think is quite a bit! Bfs quite a bit then in terms of solids:
Brekkie - about 150-200ml oatmeal, mixed with cream.
Second breakfast - cereal soaked in cream, bits of fruit
Lunch - chopped up roast chicken from last night, along with last nights roast spuds, veggies etc (I usually plate him up a little dinner from teatime for lunch the next day.)
Afternoon snack - slice of bread and butter, fruit
Dinner - homemade lasagne, veggies.

Plus as much milk as he can do.

TheHubblesWindscreenWipers Sat 03-Sep-16 14:22:48

Hi fate. I did try a few days of just getting him in bed with me and feeding him back down. Mixed results really. He either wakes constantly for a snack but sleeps a bit or goes into these huge tantrums and doesn't want to lie down at all. Poor thing - I wish he could tell me what he wants sad
The in bed with free access was what the doc thought was contributing to the constant waking (you can't win can you?)

I have been to our equivalent of a GP - they gave me sertraline but it's not helped at all. They didn't seem too concerned - I got the usual 'now dear, all this is normal' spiel. Social services in this country are very quick to be involved. As a foreign mum I don't want to be on their radar to be honest.

We can't put our mattress on the floor but I could certainly get a cheap IKEA one and put it down. That's our next thing to try I guess.

We think he may have reflux. He's on nexium but it's only been a week. No improvement yet. I certainly think there's something wrong physically. I just can't put my finger on it but I've thought since birth there's something a bit odd. Of course that could just be my tiredness and depression wanting to find an external cause.

It's difficult. There probably are no answers. Thank you all for your kindness though flowers

5madthings Sat 03-Sep-16 14:27:17

I think the advice to cut down on bfeeds is bullocks. As others said it contains more nutrients/calories.

What chart is your Dr using. On the UK charts your baby has gone from 2nd percentile to just under the ninth percentile. petite yes but some babies are. Sounds like he eats brilliantly.

I think you have a sleep issue yes. How you'll deal with that is up to you. I tend to go with it, Co sleep and let them nurse on demand

My five month old is asleep in my lap at the moment and just sleeps in my arm at boob in night. It is hard but it doesn't last forever...

But your mental health is important so you need to prioritise your sleep, do you sleep better if you Co sleep? Can dh take him in the day so you can nap?

He sounds like a high needs baby and int can be a case of just getting through. It will get easier but in the meantime you need to prioritise yourself a bit.

ElphabaTheGreen Sat 03-Sep-16 15:02:08

He's eating plenty. I have yet to encounter any scenario where cutting breastfeeds increases solids intake. It's doctors assuming boobs are equivalent to bottles - they're not. Breastfeeds are for a gazillion other reasons. Milk is only one of many.

I would persist with the reflux theory. I was on a long-running thread at the height of my non-sleep horror show. One of the posters on there had silent reflux diagnosed in her sleep-dodging twins when they were over a year old and it was a game-changer for one of them. IIRC, the combination of ranitidine AND domperidone was the solution. Each works on both the top and bottom sphincters of the stomach so that both filling and emptying is controlled. An exclusion diet was also essential - usual suspects of cow's milk proteins and soy, intolerances to which are more common with reflux. I saw on another thread you've done the exclusion thing, but how did you do it? No egg, dairy and soy (ALL at the same time) for a minimum of a month, then re-introduce one at a time? This is the only way to do it as CMPI and soy particularly can mask each other, and are present together in 40% of cases, so you can't just cut out one at a time.

If he's awake every 20 minutes in a cot, he's going to be awake exactly the same amount or less in bed with you. That's more cock and bull from the doctor that being in bed with you makes him wake up more. How long does he nap for in bed with you?

If you can get a mattress on his floor, and be with him on the floor, getting rid of the cot entirely, that may help change sleep associations for him. Try and do naps with him this way as well so his room=safe place to sleep, not where he's left by himself to do something he doesn't know how to do. Play lots of silly games with him in his room also during the day. Get him really giggling and laughing in there to overload positive associations. Play lots of peek-a-boo - leave the room for a nano-second then make a dramatic and hilarious reappearance so he knows you always come back to his incredibly cool, desirable and above all safe room. Do peekaboo games with the bedding and lying on the mattress/es you get for all the same reasons.

I may come back with more thoughts but neglected 2yo is trashing the house, soz.

5madthings Sat 03-Sep-16 15:18:38

Yep I think there is possible reflux or something physical going on.

I have got out my baby's red book. Your son has actually gone up from 2nd to 9th percentile if I plot him as 11mths and weighing 8kg. Is he just 8kg? Anyway yes he is small but his growth is consistent percentile wise....

The sleep is the bigger issue. I would try Co sleeping and agree re making positive sleep associations etc.

But I do think you need to do what you can to get a break and a rest.

TheHubblesWindscreenWipers Sat 03-Sep-16 16:10:55

He was up at 50th percentile for a few months which is why we got referred - he lost weight from one weigh in to the next. Now he's heading back down the percentiles again - he was two weeks early so actually ok for weight.

We did co sleep ( and still do when things are v bad) but the problem is that he can fall off the bed in seconds so unless he's in the cot I can't leave the room - I left to pee when he was apparently fast asleep and surrounded by high walls of cushions once and I only just caught him before he fell out - he's a good climber! It's really for the safety aspect I need him in the cot (or I suppose mattress on floor.) he's still in our room - he freaks out of left alone so we keep him in with us. Dh is happy for him to be in with us (big culture of bed sharing here) and I don't mind either but I do need to be able to leave the room to pee! grin his room is our junk room right now !
We are easing him back into the cot ( he had a period of a couple of months when he was quite cool with it then one day... Not so cool.) that's going ok - we can just about do it say 30% of the time.

He is definitely a high needs baby - I hate the term! It sounds a bit special snowflakey... grin he is a lovely, very alert, very smart little kid. I think if we can ride it out it's going to be ok - I was talking at his age so probably less frustrated all round. We are a bilingual household so he's maybe going to be slower to talk?

Dh has been a star today and is going to take him most of tomorrow so I can chill a bit and sew.

Hope the house isn't too trashed!

FATEdestiny Sat 03-Sep-16 16:16:47

I have been to our equivalent of a GP - they gave me sertraline but it's not helped at all. They didn't seem too concerned - I got the usual 'now dear, all this is normal' spiel. Social services in this country are very quick to be involved.

PND leading to an unfounded and irrational fear of social services is well documented around the world. Its just a fear though, its not true.

No one will think you a bad mum for seeking help with your mental health.

You need to seek some help.

TheLegendOfBeans Sat 03-Sep-16 16:20:10

Just a quick one - are you in NL?

My friend is a paed nurse who may possibly know someone/something etc - anything to help x

5madthings Sat 03-Sep-16 16:25:05

So he started on 2nd percentile,climbed up to 50th and then lost weight and us now stable on 9th percentile.

When he lost weight had he been ill orbecome more active? As his diet is great so maybe he is just settling back to his natural growth curve? It's very common for bfed babies to pile on the weight then slow down and yes maybe even lose a but once mobile.

Sleep is your issue so try and make a safe sleeping space, mattress on floor etc or just have cot side car to your bed so when you need to leave him you have somewhere safe

Glad dh is helping you get a break. I got my dh to take my baby this morning as I had had enough, just 45 mind in bed on my own made me feel more sane then saw a friend for a bit. Getting out each day, seeing friends etc all helps.

How long have you been taking meds for re pnd and what makes you think social services would be concerned? I have had ss involvement after I had ds4 due to pnp. Have since had dd and now ds5 and been fine.

What country are you in?

ElphabaTheGreen Sat 03-Sep-16 16:31:26

I used these on the bed I co-slept in, if that's any help?

But co-sleeping on the floor of the junk room bedroom with the mattress up against the wall and him between you and the wall is your best bet for getting sleep associations in the room that will eventually be his. If you get him sleeping in your room, then try to move him into the other room that he's never been in, you'll just have to start all over again (unless you want him sleeping in your room, long term, which is fine too if you're happy with that arrangement).

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