Nearly 6month old hates sleep with a passion!

(31 Posts)
Ginnytonic82 Wed 16-Apr-14 19:49:29

Help please! My lovely Ds is gorgeous, but he is wearing me and Dh out. We are getting beyond the point of exhaustion.

Basically he hates sleep. The mere hint that it is time for a nap or bed and he begins screaming. He will sleep after being rocked, but not without crying and getting worked up into a frenzy. It's the same if I try to take him for a walk, put him in the sling or drive him about. He always gets upset. He also wakes from naps after 20 mins and wakes several times during the night.

We've spent fortunes on poddle pod, amby hammock, ergo cocoon, gro bags, swaddle blankets. Nothing helps. We have Ewan the dream sheep, white noise apps aplenty and have tried classical music and lullabies.

We moved him to his own room thinking we might be disturbing him, but it's made no change. We measure temperature religiously, and have blackout blinds. We bought a very expensive matress for his cot in the hope it might help. He also has a wedge as advised by our hv.

We have a bedtime routine of bath, massage, bottle, story, lullaby. But he rarely gets through bath without starting to get worked up. We thought he must be overtired and tried increasing the number of daytime naps and bringing bed time forward but it makes zero difference.

He still feeds in the night which is fine, but he's up all hours either crying or laughing. He's been seen by GP and Paediatrician and he is being treated successfully for reflux, but both Drs agree his behaviour towards sleep isn't linked as it doesn't matter how he is lying or being held.

Can anyone please help us improve things for him? We try our best to make sleep time calm and to make him feel secure but he just fights and fights. As I type I can hear poor Dh desperately trying to put him to bed. This situation is really getting us down and we know it's bad for baby as he's grizzling all the time because he's tired! If anyone has any ideas to help relax him or help him get to sleep without crying so much I would be so grateful.

Ginnytonic82 Thu 17-Apr-14 06:50:49

Bumping in sheer desperation after another night of tears on all our parts.

CountBapula Thu 17-Apr-14 07:02:38

My DS1 was like this. I really sympathise. I don't really have any advice because you seem to have tried everything we did. I do remember six months being really rough - it tipped me over into PND, so do keep an eye on your own emotional/mental state and see your GP if you need to.

DS1 did get better around the 8-month mark so he might turn a corner very soon. It will pass - DS1 is now 3.5 and yesterday announced at lunchtime that he was tired, curled up on the sofa and went to sleep all by himself grin

I know it's awful. Look after yourselves. thanks

CountBapula Thu 17-Apr-14 07:06:15

Actually, one thing I did with DS1 when I got sick of rocking a screeching baby for hours (it was doing my back in): I'd just swaddle his arms down really tightly, turn up white noise pretty loud - we used a detuned radio - and just stand there with him in my arms. He'd still scream like a banshee but he'd fall asleep after five minutes or so without all the bouncing.

Mind you, as with all things with DS1 it stopped working and we had to try something else..,

bouncinbean Thu 17-Apr-14 07:10:25

We had a similar 6 month old and everything I would have suggested (and often didn't work for us either) seems to be in your OP.
Just wanted to say that she's now 10 months and seems to have got better so it might be a time thing.
Persevere with the naps though, on the days we couldn't handle the drama so let her stay awake it really was worse. When you do find something that works then use it. She now goes to sleep on me for daytime naps and even though I know she needs to learn to self settle I'm just grateful for daytime sleep which is making nighttime better. We'll try and get her to self settle when she's older again.
Am trying to think and a couple of thingsthat struck me is you check temp - I found that she is happier a bit warmer than the guidelines - so if temp suggests the 1 tog sleeping bag - we'd put her in the 2.5 tog one. Decided it was a risk worth taking

bouncinbean Thu 17-Apr-14 07:12:27

Hadn't finished - she's also much happier on.her tummy or side. Although both are against the side guidelines we decided to do it as she was over 6 months and it meant we got some sleep...
Good luck - know how exhausting it is!

DoItTooJulia Thu 17-Apr-14 07:21:02

I know this feeling. It's awful how knackered you are and it takes it toll on your relationship too.

I normally say try everything and anything, but I can see that you have.

With my sleep adverse ds2 I thought it was milk in the end. I bf, but I h stopped at 9 mo as I needed some sleep and time out from it all which I couldn't have while bf. he went onto formula and it got worse, he went onto cows milk, got better for a time and then worse. He's 18 mo now and he has goats milk and seems much better. It might be a coincidence, it might not, but either way, I'm happier. Some nights he will sleep straight through in his cot, other nights he will wake once or twice and end up in our bed.

Good luck, I found 6 months really really hard, I hope you get some sleep soon.

Ginnytonic82 Thu 17-Apr-14 08:15:30

Thanks everyone, it's heartening to know things will get better. bouncin sometimes when he cries I pop him on his side and he settles straight off, but moments later (basically as soon as I have got back in bed) he flips back on to his back or front and cries again. Thinking he wanted to be more stable on his side we bought a special bolster pillow to help keep him on his side, but that seemed to upset him just as much as when he rolls. For some reason he won't roll himself back onto his side, even though he can.

He got up as usual at 6 today so by 7 was showing sleepy signs, so we went through 40 mins of crying, laughing, kicking, pulling my hair until he fell asleep in my arms. Two minutes later he wakes up with a big smile but now he's grizzling and yawning and I know I've got to start the whole process again.

I am on anti depressants but I think I'll ask to have the dosage increased. I try so hard to keep a good routine and make sure we do an activity every day but nothing makes a difference.

Sorry I know I'm being self pitying and I'm angry with myself because I'm very fortunate to have him. Six months of no sleep is wearing me down. I'm dreading what life will be like when I go back to work. I can't imagine how a nursery or child minder will manage him I'm so worried he'll be unhappy.

CountBapula Thu 17-Apr-14 08:24:45

Ginny DS1 went to a childminder when he was 11 months old and we worried about sleep too - we were still feeding or rocking him to sleep at that point. It was absolutely fine. He was completely different with her - would fall asleep on the sofa when she cuddled him confused

Try not to worry about that. Sleep was one reason why I never considered nursery. You just need to make sure you choose a CM who understands he'll need help to get to sleep, and trust them to find their own way.

Ginnytonic82 Thu 17-Apr-14 08:41:46

Thank you count it's really been playing on my mind.

Things have been so tough with Ds. Three months of colic and undiagnosed reflux to start. Now this. I just wish we could fix things.

TheresLotsOfFarmyardAnimals Thu 17-Apr-14 13:05:42

Some children need a sterile sleep environment which in plain English means that he might just quite like to go down into a cot in a dark room with one teddy and a blanket and go to sleep. I would personally try that along with a sleep routine at every sleep, with a longer one at bedtime.

Avoid overtiredness by putting down to sleep after 2-2.5 hours awake time. See this link which I find helpful www.mybabysleepguide.com/2013/02/average-sleep-charts-by-age.html

Make sure his room is dark, black out blinds are essential and read the same books (2 max) for each sleep.

He is likely to cry. My DS cried for every single sleep until he was about 18 months old but this got less and less until it stopped. I genuinely believe that he just needed to cry down to let off steam before he could sleep. It was a lot less if we left him to it than if we rocked or shushed him to sleep.

Lastly, be consistent! They have short memories so if you go back to sitting and cuddling them, they get confused.

TheresLotsOfFarmyardAnimals Thu 17-Apr-14 13:07:48

I don't mean to leave him to cry endlessly by the way but I personally am comfortable with 10 minutes as long as he's not wailing inconsolably for the whole time.

The baby rooms at nursery were always happy to cuddle babies or rock them to sleep in bouncey chairs etc. Its what they sign up for!

TheresLotsOfFarmyardAnimals Thu 17-Apr-14 13:10:58

Also, one last thing smile please don't dread going back to work. You will be so much better equipped to enjoy the time you have together when you have a break. I found this first sleepless stage the hardest by far so far.

Just think when people are moaning about how their toddlers are hard work you can just say that it's a breeze when you've had a non sleeping, colicky baby.

workingtitle Thu 17-Apr-14 16:20:52

Bad sleep is so awful, you have my sympathies - I really hope you're on the cusp of a big improvement.

May or may not be helpful, but we found a really short night time routine has helped with our awful sleeper (now 7 months). So now it's bath, which he loves, then straight into jammies and feed to sleep, no songs/stories/massage. I'm not suggesting the same will work for you, but you could try cutting it down slightly.

I am also trying to stop letting him fall asleep in my arms during the day as I found he only ever had cat naps. Instead I'm putting him down for naps at set times ih his cot. It can be a real battle but I have seen improvements. I put him down after 2-3 hours of wakefulness, so at the moment that's three naps a day. I have had to stay home more to try and work on this.

But honestly, it sounds like you're doing all you can, it might not be the best thing to start playing around with things now... I think they just get into the swing of things when they are ready

Ginnytonic82 Thu 17-Apr-14 16:37:07

Thanks for the replies. theres thanks for the reassurance about work, I love Ds but I admit I sometimes envy Dh as he leaves for the office. I know that's a terrible thing to say. Working I will definitely give the shorter bedtime routine a go, I'm afraid we fell in to the trap of believing it was what we "should" be doing. Today has seen a bit of an improvement nap wise, he actually managed an hour at lunchtime, with less than 2 minutes of crying, which must be a record!

workingtitle Thu 17-Apr-14 16:57:25

Well done, Ginny, that's brilliant. We also began with a long bed time and it was hellish. He's really stimulated by the bath so I thought it would be a problem to put him down immediately afterwards, but no.

Also, don't feel in the slightest bit bad about work. I wasn't meant to go back til september but have chosen to do one day a week (two half days) from May and DS is starting nursery. I thought about it a lot and I can't say I don't feel a bit guilty, but I need to have time away from him and another dimension to life, and I believe it'll help me appreciate the time we do have together more.

zzzzz Thu 17-Apr-14 17:05:13

Take him swimming and feed him a little more at every feed (ie an extra half oz tempted in or an extra teaspoon). Don't continue with a bedtime routine that isn't working or it will just prompt him to cry a the usual time.

Ginnytonic82 Thu 17-Apr-14 18:47:26

zzzz thanks for the tip with the food. We do go swimming twice a week. The first time we went he had a great sleep after, unfortunately everytime since then hasn't had the desired effectsad. But he does enjoy it, so it's more than worth it to make him smile.

Lots of things have a temporary effect, so it's a bit unpredictable and difficult to establish continuity. We've even had the odd night of sleeping through (3 times), so I know he can sleep well, he's so much happier when he does sleep. I'm compiling all your great suggestions, many thanks everyone.

minipie Thu 17-Apr-14 18:53:59

This could be a completely dumb suggestion but is it possible you are trying to get him to sleep too early? And he's not actually all that tired?

This happened with us - I was so paranoid about dd getting overtired (after horrible overtiredness in the newborn weeks) that I was trying to get her to sleep too early. Result: she protested hugely and I had to rock her in the buggy with blackout on to get her to sleep. One day I thought bugger this I'll let her have it her way and left her awake for longer until she was clearly totally knackered - result: she went to sleep much easier and slept longer.

Maybe try extending his awake times a bit and see what happens?

Ginnytonic82 Fri 18-Apr-14 16:26:19

Thanks minipie we did give that a go about 2 weeks back but all he'll broke loose as Ds doesn't seem to calm down, he just gets more frantic as he gets tired. We might try it again though as they change so fast. Last night seemed to go better until around 4 am when he wouldn't settle (he'd been up twice before but once for a feed and one for a cuddle. But it was DH's late shift last night so I hope he settles better for me tonight.

Ginnytonic82 Sun 20-Apr-14 10:55:06

Well we thought we'd cracked it two days of great naps. One night of sleep 7-1 then 1.30-4. Unfortunately it seems Ds was lulling us into a false sense of security as he has been worse than ever since Wednesday!

I just don't get it, when we figured out what seems to work like a charm for 2 days,(nap every 2 hours, wrap in blanket, soft womb noise from Ewan, put straight in cot and gently pat tummy) is now being reacted to as if it is some form of torture. Dh and I are completely at a loss, how can we crack this?

We can't keep up with him, he was up 5 times last night. What I don't get is why the things we try only work for such short periods of time. We try to keep them up but things just deteriorate the longer we persist as Ds fights against them. So we have to keep changing tactics. Poor Ds is exhausted and fighting away while Dh tries to calm him. Unfortunately he'll probably fight so much we will miss the window and then Ds will be unhappy until he naps later.

It's so frustrating, he just can't wind down at all. As he gets more tired he kicks and cries more and more. sad

Ginnytonic82 Sun 20-Apr-14 10:57:57

I mean Friday not Wednesday ! I'm going mad!

Mamabear12 Sun 20-Apr-14 12:13:08

if he cries when on back could be an ear infection. it hurts more when on back. go to gp just to check it out

CountBapula Sun 20-Apr-14 14:10:49

Ginny have you read Dr Sears' article about 'high need babies'? It really helped me with DS1 (in that it made me realise there was nothing wrong with him, and that it wasn't all my fault).

Scroll down to no. 8 on the list:

It’s frustrating to realize that what worked yesterday doesn’t work today. “Just as I think I have the game won, he ups the ante,” a baffled mother confided. High need babies are inconsistently appeased. You will need lots of variety in your bag of comforting tricks.

Ginnytonic82 Sun 20-Apr-14 16:00:55

Count just read it thank you, that totally sums up Ds, bless him. I do feel better for reading that. I suppose we need to accept that he's just going to do things his way! Well it will keep us on our toes at least.

On that note does anyone have any tips on coping on very little sleep? The past few days have been a real struggle and I'm going to have to consider what to do when I'm back at work. I have a lengthy commute and to be honest I have no idea how I would do it in my current state of zombification.

CountBapula Sun 20-Apr-14 16:32:08

How old will DS be when you go back to work? I went back when DS1 was 12 months - by then he was only waking once or twice a night.

Tbh I found being at work exhausted so much easier than being at home exhausted! I worried endlessly about it before I went back, and I was obsessed with the idea that he had to be sleeping through by then. It was actually absolutely fine. I eventually night weaned him at 18 months and he started sleeping through reasonably regularly by the time he was about 2 (though he still sometimes wakes now, he's pretty easy to settle).

My best tip for coping with very little sleep is not to look at the clock when you wake up and not to count how many times he's woken. And prioritise rest over absolutely everything (housework etc).

CountBapula Sun 20-Apr-14 16:34:23

Should also add that we just had DS2 a month ago and he's completely different so far - falls asleep easily, happy, contented - so don't let it put you off having another one wink

Ginnytonic82 Sun 20-Apr-14 21:18:28

Thanks again count. Ds will be 9 months when I go back (I'm a teacher so cheekily going back just before summer hols to get my pay). I am a worrier so I do dwell on things, I know I'll cope at work, and I'm going part time anyway, I'm just a drama queen!

In his usual unpredictable fashion, after a day of nap fighting Ds went down like a dream at 7 and we haven't heard a peep yet. Tonight it's baby Mozart on in the background which Dh insists sounds like horror movie music, but hey whatever works! We shall see how the night pans out.

Thank you so much everyone for your suggestions and moral support.

CountBapula Sun 20-Apr-14 21:42:52

Great stuff - hope he sleeps well tonight.

Good luck with everything.

OP I went back to work full time in a brand new job when DS was eight months old and still waking minimum of eight times per night - often more. I also have a lengthy drive into work and was sick with worry before going back. But like a PP said, it is actually easier to cope with the exhaustion at work than it is at home. He kept up with those wakings for almost another year and I never once had a day off sick as a result, which I was fully expecting. You really don't need to worry about going back to work and coping.

Also, DS was full time in nursery from the same age and napped better there than he ever did at home, so you don't need to worry about that. The professionals know better than we do what they're doing! smile

Ginnytonic82 Mon 21-Apr-14 12:27:58

Thank you for the reassurance elphaba (awesome username btw). Ds did well last night, 4 wake ups and slept in his cot all night! Which is a huge step.

Today, however he's not had one nap!!!!!!! He's crying and yawning but will not go. We went for a walk, driven him, rocked him all the tricks and nada! Poor Ds sad he's a sorrowful little soul today.

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