Daughter (almost 16 months) keeps waking through night(12 Posts)
I sympathise completely. My 16-month-old stills wakes once most nights and often wakes very early, but she is sooooo much better than she was before we did some sleep training with her (aged about 13 months). It was hard, but very much worth it. I was lucky that Andrea Grace came to one of our local Children's Centres and gave some free individual advice to a group of parents (all of whom were at their wits' end as well). She was excellent and her advice worked, unlike other sleep training I had tried before. Part of that was that I carried it out more confidently and consistently after talking to her in person. Her website is www.andreagrace.co.uk
She basically said that no healthy baby of a good weight needs a night feed after 6 months and that we should drop them immediately (I was feeding every 2-3 hours). Also to move DD out of our room and in with her big brother (3.5yo at the time). We had been delaying moving her to avoid waking him up, but he actually sleeps through most of her crying. He slept in our bed for the first part of the 1st 3 nights we did the sleep training so that he could get to sleep ok.
Then we were to have a very consistent bedtime routine, not to let her fall asleep while feeding and put her in her cot awake. Then say goodnight and leave even if she stood straight up and started screaming, which of course she did. Then return every 2 minutes, staying for only long enough to lie her down again and say the same couple of phrases each time. I say, "snuggle down now, it's sleepytime. I'll be back in a minute" and then leave again - this should only take 10-30 seconds. It's very important to be lovely smiley mummy and interact as normal. Don't avoid eye contact and don't get cross/grumpy as then you'll freak her out.
The first night it took 3.5 hours for her to fall asleep (just remember eventually she'll fall asleep through exhaustion and she's just cross because she wants to be asleep, but doesn't know how to get there), but she slept until about 2am. Then I had to do the same thing again - took about 1.25 hours and she slept until morning. 2nd night took about 1 hour to fall alseep I think and then quicker the 3rd night.
Hasn't fixed all problems. Still cries if I don't stay with her while she falls asleep. Still wakes sometimes in night, but usually goes back to sleep quite quickly with no feed if before 4am. After 4am I give in, bring her into our bed and feed her to sleep so that I can get a bit more sleep before alarm goes for work at 6.30am. Probably need to tackle this some time!
There are several different ways of sleep training - try until you find the one that works for you or you're comfortable with. Whatever you decide it can't make things much worse, so give it a go! I hope things improve for you soon.
I feel your pain. I still co-sleep with my nearly 5 year old because of his night waking. I have just got used to it now as I won't entertain any form of controlled crying.
You've got to do whatever works best for you.
How much is she eating/drinking during the day?
Four bottles is a lot for a 16mth old, even if she were going through a growth spurt. No wonder you are exhausted.
I am not a fan of sleep training, but we had to do it eventually with DS as he was still wakening every night when he was almost 2yo for a bottle.
What about watering down the bottle until it's just water?
BTW - is she walking yet? How is her speech? They very often have a sleep regression just before a new spurt of development, it's like their minds are overactive and they just can't sleep.
Hi Annakin31, you have my sympathies. I understand exactly how you feel. My DD is 18 months now but until 13 months she woke on average 6 times through the night and would only settle with a (breast)feed.
What changed for us was that we decided we wanted her to have a sibling and the night feeds, as well as being absolutely exhausting for me, were inhibiting our ability to concieve.
So this is what I did: At 13 months, instead of offering milk the first time she woke, I would pick her up and walk about with her to comfort her (this was the only way of stopping her from becoming hysterical and vomiting) It took about half an hour to settle her this way to begin with.
Soon she realised that milk would not be forthcoming and responded to being cuddled in the bed for comfort. I chose a time that she would be given milk through the night, and gradually this became later and later until only a week after the start of the process she woke only once (at about 4am for milk)
I also switched from breast to expressed milk in a bottle, then began diluting it with water. Five months on, she still wakes once most nights for a drink of water and goes straight back to sleep.
The week you decide to do it is incredibly hard but you have to be strong and not give in however shattered you are or it will not work. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Best of luck to you.
Another option is to gradually cut the amount at each feed, so she gets used to not having a full tummy in the night. Eventually you can then cut the feeds out one by one. I think both this method and watering the bottle will be slower than just going cold turkey and cutting all the night feeds in one go, but they may be easier on you and DD.
From what I've read I think the key point is that whatever you decide to do, you have to stop feeding DD to sleep. This is really hard, especially when you are exhausted, as you know this will work and you just want to go back to bed! However, if she is always feeding to sleep she doesn't know how to get herself back to sleep when she wakes up and has to shout for you to come and help her. Sucking is her way to get back to sleep and, especially if she is teething, a lot of sucking can be needed to achieve this.
As an aside, my 16-month-old DD is also teething for Britain (although only her 5th tooth - can't believe you're on molars already) and I've slipped back into bringing her into bed and feeding her to sleep around 3-4am in order to get enough sleep to function at work, so sleep training doesn't make them perfect. It did make a massive improvement for us though.
From what I understand, teaching them to sleep seems to involve letting them cry until they are so exhausted that they can't stay awake. This can take 10 mins or several hours (3.5 hours for my DD first night) and can be done with you next to them, with you popping in and out every couple of minutes, or by leaving them for longer periods (up to 15 mins with controlled crying I think - not sure about timings for this). Don't ever just leave them for ages in case they have got into some other difficulty. I personally found it too stressful to stay all the time - my DD has a v loud cry. And felt too guilty to leave DD for long periods, so found that popping in and out worked for me.
When they have done this a few times, they get the idea and then know how to go to sleep by themselves without crying. At this age I think they wake up about every 1.5 hours - does this correspond roughly to your DD's waking schedule? This is normal, but when they know how to go to sleep they should just resettle and go straight back off without needing your help (most times anyway).
The most important time to get it right is the start of the night. If they are not settling without a feed at the beginning of the night, you don't have much chance of them doing it for the rest of the night.
Sorry - another huge post, but I did find this issue enormously stressful myself, so I wanted to give you any info I could that might help. Whatever you decide to go for, do let us know how it goes - I'll be thinking of you!
Also, do you have any local Children's Centres? If so, it's worth asking them if they are hosting any advice sessions on sleep problems/training. I've been to a couple and they were free and excellent.
I've also had it suggested to me to ask your Health Visitor for advice. I suspect that this could be a positive or negative experience, depending on your Health Visitor.
And, if you can afford it, you can consult a sleep specialist (such as Andrea Grace) and get a sleep training program tailored specifically to your family. This is quite expensive though and how easy it is may depend on where you live.
Join the discussion
Please login first.