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How the hell do I get him to sleep?

(34 Posts)
LotteryWinnersOnAcid Wed 06-Jul-11 22:19:02

I'm sitting here with the hairdryer on (it's probably about to explode actually) in a futile attempt to get my DS to sleep. He is almost 6 months old. Admittedly he doesn't have much routine as our household is a little... spontaneous, with dogs requiring walking at funny times due to behavioural issues (a whole 'nother thread for a whole 'nother section) and my DP working erratic hours. He still co sleeps although I'd rather give this up as I'm not getting any sleep, but side-carring the cot to the bed hasn't even helped - he wakes up as soon as he realises he's not RIGHT next to me. Still breastfeeds through the night, how often depends on how hungry he is, although I suspect it is mostly for comfort. Won't take dummy or bottle. Has to be fed to sleep every night. I am losing the will to live slightly as DP and I never have any time to ourselves!

Thoughts and tips graciously received.

Maelstrom Wed 06-Jul-11 22:21:37

Spontaneously is not going to happen, at least not at any time soon. You need a routine.

LotteryWinnersOnAcid Wed 06-Jul-11 22:57:41

I know. FWIW he has a vague routine which consists of him sleeping when he feels like it. Normally that is two naps a day at 11am and 3pm and then going to sleep at 9pm and going through, bar a couple of dream feeds, until 7.30am or so. Lately though he has been preferring to "stay up", no matter how much I feed him or try to soothe him. Really, I guess, I just don't know how to get him to sleep without feeding him. What can I do to comfort him and lull him to sleep that isn't having my boob in his mouth? It's hard. I feel like I'm fucking him up or something.

HollyFP Wed 06-Jul-11 23:00:14

Have you read The No Cry Sleep Solution? lots of gentle suggestions for getting to sleep without relying on boob.

CoteDAzur Wed 06-Jul-11 23:01:58

I don't think you are fucking him up, but you need to find a solution to this for your own sake. Nobody can function without sleep. Several feeds in the night are not "dream feeds". And you will have a much harder time of getting him used to sleeping on his own and through the night once he is able to get up and throw himself over the edge of the bed if you don't immediately feed him.

tigana Wed 06-Jul-11 23:04:14

oh lord, are you me five and a half years ago?? Dog with issues and DH with weird work hours....

never did formally 'give' ds a routine, he slipped into one though (sort of). Late to bed, (sometimes came out dog walking in buggy at 11pm, already asleep or the walk would send him off). He was a pretty good sleeper though (comparatively).

Other ways to comfort other than boob =
the wobbles ( sit down, baby in your arms, arms on your knees. relax. start jiggling one leg up and down, like you're nervous) - worked a treat for ds.
singing, stroking, patting, bouncy chair...

Maelstrom Wed 06-Jul-11 23:06:46

Hey, that does sound like a routine. He may be having a grow spurt or not feeling very well, but it should pass. I noticed that the best thing to do when I was trying to get DS to sleep earlier was... to wake him up earlier in the morning.

Do you think that may help?

LotteryWinnersOnAcid Wed 06-Jul-11 23:08:34

The reason I called them dream feeds is because he doesn't wake up for them, but just sort of snuffles around seeking out my nipple, suckles for a short while (5-10 mins) and then breaks away, all the while still asleep. Is that not dream feeding? I thought it was. blush God I didn't think of that - him throwing himself out of bed when able to if I don't feed him.

Holly, no, ordering on Amazon now, thanks.

tigana Wed 06-Jul-11 23:09:39

You're not fucking him up.

If behaviour has changed recently then, yep, it's one of those 'phases'. Teething? Growing? No particular reason other than to challenge your sanity?

tigana Wed 06-Jul-11 23:11:02

i think the nighttime sucking isn't feeding, it's comforting himself back to sleep.

LotteryWinnersOnAcid Wed 06-Jul-11 23:16:18

Tig - it's hard isn't it? We walk the dogs late, one has DA so can't walk then on my own with DS and DP works until late at night - which is the only time we can walk them locally anyway! One of us wears him but problem is he always wakes when he is taken out of the sling. Thanks for the reassurance though - if you're still here and sane 5 years later that's a good sign!

Mael, will try this. Have not previously as I won't have slept much as I always wake up when he breastfeeds in the night and can never get back to sleep so I try and sleep for as long as possible, but is worth trying. He does have a bit of a cold. Or maybe it's hayfever? Is coughing and sneezing a bit but no temp and fine in himself. Maybe it's that. So hard when they can't tell you what's wrong. sad

LotteryWinnersOnAcid Wed 06-Jul-11 23:19:48

Tig yes I am 99% sure it is comfort as opposed to hunger. But how to break that comfort and leave him be? Beats me. I feel cruel denying him that because it is me who had allowed him to become used to it, and also, if he doesn't get boob, he screams himself into hysteria, waking the entire household (including dogs!), and it takes ages to settle him back to sleep again - always ends up with boob in mouth because I have no idea what else to do.

LotteryWinnersOnAcid Wed 06-Jul-11 23:20:58

* can't walk THEM, not then, two posts ago. Typing on phone if other weird typos.

tigana Wed 06-Jul-11 23:26:41

yep, still here, as sane as is reasonable to be, and DS is almost 6 and totally absolutely fine and with no memory of his late night trips to the local rec.

When DH was out working alll night, I remember taking 2 dogs on walks around the streets on leads, with ds is pushchair asleep, one dog on each side, because I couldn't handle them off the lead in the dark on a field with ds just in case than loopy one played up ( fear aggression towards strangers). must have looked like a mad mother!

You will muddle through. Especially with a bit of MN support and advice. I think that's the best anyone really does.

tigana Wed 06-Jul-11 23:30:44

not a fan of dummies, but have you tried popping one in in the middle of the night when he wakes and snuffles himself towards your boob? Of course, the next thing will be weaning him off dummy...hmmmm.

I did lots of patting, stroking and singing when ds woke in middle of night. LOTS.

OnionEyes Wed 06-Jul-11 23:38:21

Have you got a white noise CD? It'd give your hairdryer a break!

tigana Wed 06-Jul-11 23:41:23

good idea.
bet you can buy some white noise online for an mp3 player on some site somewhere..maybe even just listen online to see if baby reacts positively <<wonders if she is over-estimating white noise availability>>

off to bed now...school night after all...good luck tonight!

LotteryWinnersOnAcid Wed 06-Jul-11 23:41:45

Babies + dogs = much harder than I ever expected. Relieved to meet another 'mad mother'. grin I'm sure people think I'm horribly irresponsible when they see us walking the dogs at 10pm with a baby strapped to one of us. Another thing I think about and wonder if I have my priorities totally screwed... DS is my main priority but I have a commitment to the dogs too. I have never been in the 'had a baby so must rehome my dogs' camp. Sort, tangent. Have tried dummy but he is very wise to it! He is sometimes ok if I put my knuckle in his mouth but that still involved me waking up, and him not self-settling! He's the same with his dislike of teething toys etc - much prefers flesh, be it boob, knuckle or arm. Little cannibal. ;)

LotteryWinnersOnAcid Wed 06-Jul-11 23:43:04

Thanks Tig and Onion - DP downloading White noise onto iPod as I MN! Night Tig, cheers.

differentnameforthis Wed 06-Jul-11 23:49:33

Why can't DP walk the dog by himself? That way, once your ds is settled, you don't have to disturb him.

OnionEyes Wed 06-Jul-11 23:53:11

At our hardest time my DD slept with a white noise CD on loop all night, continuously! It allowed me precious hours sleep, but when she finally stopped needing it I found that I'd got so used to sleeping with it on that I struggled to sleep without it hmm !

Has he got a comforter? Both of mine have needed the comfort of something with them. One has a teddy and one has something like this. I know the books say not to rely on sleep props like dummy or teddies or whatever, but it sounds like you are at breaking point like I was. Try a million things and one might just work.

LotteryWinnersOnAcid Thu 07-Jul-11 00:06:17

Differentname, he does on some nights, but one dog responds to me better and is easier to walk and less jumpy when I'm there. She is very nervous. They were my dogs before I was with DP so she still only really feels completely secure with me and when DP walks them alone she is constantly looking behind her, tripping him up and irritating the other dog. In theory, either of us could walk them alone, but it is safer to have one person per dog for various reasons. It's a whole different issue really.

Onion, he's not particularly interested in any one toy in particular, but will bear this in mind. He has found his thumb recently - not sure if that's a good thing in the long run but seems to be helping him settle a bit during the day so maybe that's his preference.

CoteDAzur Thu 07-Jul-11 07:21:32

Why don't you put him in his cot for sleep?

LotteryWinnersOnAcid Thu 07-Jul-11 15:17:14

We do, he screams the house down if he is not already asleep. If he does go in when asleep, it isn't long until he wakes up having realised he is alone.

We have decided to try and tackle the night feeds first - assuming he is only latching for comfort - by DP comforting him when he wakes, then going to tackle the co sleeping. Think if we fix the comfort feeding it will be a fluid step to get him to settle in his cot.

friendcat Thu 07-Jul-11 15:26:40

tigana - grin at 'the wobbles' - honestly that works for my ds who is the same age.

Hey...Wow i just found 'sticky keys', Now i can do capitals one-handed while said Ds falls asleep to The Wobbles!!! (press 'shift' key five times!)

I knew my time on here wasn't wasted!

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