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9 months of pitiful sleep - need ideas...!

(42 Posts)
DDYJ Mon 04-Mar-13 15:50:56

Hi all

I've never posted on a forum before... But we've run out of ideas as to how we can help our 9.5 month old son sleep. I'll try to keep the background brief.

Various, not uncommon ailments (mostly digestive dis motility and intolerance to cows milk protein, but others as well) have made our son a very very fragile sleeper. He normally can't manage more than 2 hrs in one go (cot, held, co-sleeping- no difference) and in his 9 months so far has only slept beyond 3 hours a handful of times. It's been tough going.

We've tried all the techniques recommended including: cot wedge, probiotics, using music, sleep aids (he won't take a dummy), car and buggy (he can't fall asleep/stay asleep in either). Many more. He has never fallen sleep by himself in his cot.

The nighttime waking is still primarily due to discomfort so controlled crying isn't realistic even if we were prepared to go down that route, which we're not (unless there's no other option).

The Docs don't really know what to do beyond riding it out. All very well but there have been few signs of progress in nearly 10 months. We're consulting a homeopath, even though I've never been convinced about homeopathy.

Has anyone been through anything similar / know someone who has and could perhaps offer some thoughts?

My main concern as a stay at home Dad (recently taken over from my Wife) is how to get him to sleep by himself in the day. Because of his difficulties we could only get him to nap for a decent time if we held him. Now he won't let us put him down no matter what we do. I love the cuddles but he needs to learn to nap in his cot by himself and, eventually, to go to sleep by himself.

So far I've tried introducing a routine for naps which has helped him understand when it is time to sleep... but doesn't help when it comes to putting him down.

Again, any tips or ideas would be really helpful. There must be something we haven't thought of yet. Happy to provide more details if that would be useful?



FierceBadIggi Mon 04-Mar-13 17:24:47

Sorry don't have experience of your particular issues regarding food intolerance etc, but am also owner of a 9.5 month old who didn't get the memo about sleeping through! In my case he wakes from desire for me to feed him, or just general warm-body-closeness I think. He sleeps 3 hours usually before waking, but does have a good nap in his pram in the day.
There's nothing wrong with posting in this section: but if you find you don't get many replies would be worth looking in two other places - there is a section on "breast and bottle feeding" where folk might know a lot of intolerances; and another one 'sleep' that might help more as well.

DDYJ Mon 04-Mar-13 18:05:57

Thanks. Probably should have looked through the subjects a bit more before posting :-) I'll re-post in the sleep section for sure.

HearMyRoar Mon 04-Mar-13 19:11:32

Hi, sounds almost exactly like my dd who is now 11 months. She also rarely slept longer then 2 hours at night is held for naps. Like yours she has terrible belly issues, awful wind that wakes her up and means she general needs sitting up and or feeding. It's so tough when you have a baby that seems to barely sleep but you're not alone. Feel free to come and moan on the 'misery loves company' thread in sleep.

We cosleep, not because she sleeps longer but just because it allows me to stay in bed when she wakes up which is less exhausting.

She is also off dairy and we have recently stopped gluten at the gp's suggestion. I am cautious about getting hopeful these days but we have had some better nights since.

DDYJ Tue 05-Mar-13 03:02:13

That does sound very similar. It is something of a relief to know that there are others out there with such severe sleep problems (our NCT friends get worried when their little ones wake twice during the night - that would be fantastic for us...!).

I had wondered whether there might be other foods we should try avoiding. Going gluten free as well as dairy sounds tricky for meal planning. But if it might help, it would be worth it.

I like the sound of that thread. It can be frustrating and having somewhere to discuss/ vent at 3am (I.e. Now) while my son sleeps on me on the couch, might be helpful. I'll look for it.

Many thanks.

Snowfedup Tue 05-Mar-13 03:37:32

Hi does he sleep in pram if out walking during the day? My first ds slept better in the pram (it was one that converted to a flat pram) so we actually took pram upstairs At night and gradually moved him from pram to crib then cot ( he was younger though so font know if would work so well with 9 month old ?)

Xmarksthespot Tue 05-Mar-13 04:45:00

Hi, I'm sorry but I can only say you're not alone except I dont have any digestive reasons for the lack of sleep - just a super duper active 12mth old who has rarely slept longer than a couple of hours. I thought that this was normal...We also co-sleep for the same reasons as mentioned by Hearmyroar. Im riding it out....let me know if you find any answers.

Softlysoftly Tue 05-Mar-13 05:09:37

I have a 9 month old who c still wakes sporadically in the night (like now) but it is better than it was.

2 months ago she was Ealing every 45 minutes, bf to sleep had speed working age was massively overtired as was my poor suffering 3 y r old who she woke. End of tether I knew she needed to learn to get herself to sleep without feeding to sleep as she couldn't get back to sleep at the end of each cycle.

I did pick up put down which did involve very limited crying but not a lot as I can't do cry it out methods.

I feed her to drowsy, or her down and she cried. Picked her up and cuddled to drowsy and put her down. Repeat and repeat! I did let her cry for up to 2 minutes (clock watching warning its the longest 2 m of your life). Abs I only picked up if she was distressed crying not winging (you need to be able to tell the difference. I also used a dummy.

After 35 minutes of cuddles and a bit of crying she snuggled her face down into her bed (being on her front helped) and went to sleep shock. Next time it v took 15. Now if she's full and clean is instant. She has regressed a little recently but vi think it's 9 month growth spurt and she needs the feeds but she's also trying to sneak bank into our bed so I'm being consistent.

I know you said no crying at all but i believe for 2 minute bursts in between cuddles she has cried less this way than crying walking in the night and styling to sleep. She is a happier less tired baby. With better less sleep deprived parents and a happier elder sister. So its for the greater good.

Daytime btw I push to sleep in pushchair. It's easy and my mil can do it when she will have her as I work.

Good luck hopefully that helps, I did give baby a kiss on putting her down and whispered I loved her and that I knew she could do it. It helped me mentally stay strong!

Softlysoftly Tue 05-Mar-13 05:11:19

*waking not Ealing

*stopped bit speed

*and not age

Probably a dozen others stupid new phone you'll figure it out sorry!

Flossbert Tue 05-Mar-13 05:19:28

I can't remember how much 9.5 month olds weigh, so this might be a complete non-starter, but have you tried a sling? If it might help him sleep a bit longer during the day (or at night - many was the night I spent pacing our living room floor wearing the Baby Bjorn) it could help him a) become more accustomed to sleeping for longer periods at a time and subsequently b) make him less 'wired' at the end of the day.

You have my sympathies - sleep deprivation is torture.

HearMyRoar Tue 05-Mar-13 13:16:07

Here's a link to our lovely thread It really does help to have somewhere you can let it all out and it's helped keep me going through some tough times. We have been known to laugh with abandon at people who moan about their babies waking once or twice a night, though personaly i have always suspected that some nct types might rather exagerate a tad when it comes to the amazingness of their dc's sleep. grin

DDYJ Tue 05-Mar-13 16:19:54

Thanks or all these ideas. And no worries about smart phone typos. Those pesky phones just try to catch us out and it happens to me a lot!

Sadly, the pram solution is a non starter with our little one. I did manage to get him to sleep in his pram once. Every other time we put him in it, or made a sustained effort to get him to sleep in it, he screamed his lungs out sometimes til he went purple.

Same in the car although he does now manage to sleep occasionally on long journeys, with music and some coaxing.

I like the short term crying, up down idea. I think we might try that although we will need to pick our moments and find a time when he is waking from habit rather than discomfort.

He's always hyper alert so rejects any effort to get him to sleep other than being rocked to music (modern folk music oddly seems to be his preference). The baby bjorn worked well when he was smaller but not for a while now.

I shall visit the sleep thread during the night, when I'm inevitably up with Junior! I think he woke after every sleep cycle sat night...

Thanks again for taking the time to read my post and suggesting ideas.

ZuleikaD Tue 05-Mar-13 16:22:11

To be honest, waking every two to three hours at night still is pretty normal at 9 months. Both mine did it and so did all our friends' babies. Solids haven't really kicked in and they still want to feed at night.

During the day is trickier - I would second the sling. However this is also top age for separation anxiety so you may just need to hold him till he goes to sleep. DD certainly wouldn't be put down in her cot at this age unless she was already asleep. It's age-appropriate and if possible, you should go with what he needs.

blindlyovertherainbow Tue 05-Mar-13 16:37:59

Have you tried loud white noise ( as in Hoover/hairdryer loud)? My 6mo sleeps much better with it on - we got a recording of a hairdryer from iTunes and play it on loop all night. It's very soothing for babies after being in a noisy womb, plus stops disruption from other household noises.

DDYJ Tue 05-Mar-13 18:19:27

To be honest, we'd be perfectly happy if he could manage 2-3 hour chunks fairly consistently. At the moment he sometimes gets to 2-3 hrs for his first stint each night. But it's then usually followed by waking every 45-50 minutes, in discomfort, for the rest of the night. We're not expecting him to sleep through, as nice as that would be. But we would love to get to a place where we can take turns with wake ups and both manage more than 4 hrs broken sleep a night.

I think the noise suggestion is a good one. It tends to be music that soothes him so I might try putting something soft on repeat while he sleeps to see if it can help him through his light sleep phase.

ZuleikaD Tue 05-Mar-13 18:21:17

Death metal is nice and grungy to have on very low as a soothing sound (really).

stargirl1701 Tue 05-Mar-13 18:56:23

Have you read 'the no cry sleep solution'? We are trying some ideas from there at the moment.

Similar situation. 6 month old DD. Silent reflux diagnosed but suspected CMPI. Very unsettled both napping and overnight. I'm on the High Needs Baby Thread - lots of support there too grin

Dr Tanya Byron has a TV show (I think it starts tonight) about sleep. Maybe some ideas there.

noblegiraffe Tue 05-Mar-13 19:21:40

I had a nightmare sleeper too, the 45 minute wakings all night is an absolute killer. Mine didn't have any food intolerances but he did have constipation and the lactulose he was on made his tummy uncomfortable, until we figured out not to give it to him in the evening.

We used to rock him to sleep, but when he got too heavy we found shush patting worked (pick up put down was a non-starter). He was sleeping on his front by this time, with his bum in the air, we would firmly pat his bottom rhythmically so it rocked him a bit, while going shshshshshshs. It calmed him down and he would eventually fall asleep. Although it could take a while, it was a billion times better than rocking. When he got older the patting went, then the shushing was replaced by a musical cot mobile. Night wakings gradually got better and better.

He's now three and a better sleeper than many of his friends. It was a long time getting here though!

PeggyL Wed 06-Mar-13 17:07:46

I wouldn't totally reject homeopathy, my 2.5 DS is seeing one and it's working so well, she is also treating my 7 week old DD for colic and it's virtual disappeared (fingers crossed!), good luck anyway.

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 07-Mar-13 18:15:17

Sorry am a bit late to this thread and haven't read it all so sorry if I'm repeating.

9 months is a classic sleep regression. Things will get better smile.

We've also been through similar, our DS had various medical conditions which made his sleep a nightmare. In my experience he doesn't need to learn to be put done or to sleep in his cot, what he does need to learn is that you are there for him. It is really tough when you are sleep deprived but go with the cuddles or even go for a nap with him in your bed. It really, really won't last forever. My DS is nearly 9 now, asks to go to bed if he's tired, sleeps around 10 hours a night and only wakes us if he's ill. You will get there.

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 07-Mar-13 18:16:19

Just read about the Dr Tanya Byron show, which channel is that on!

tethersend Thu 07-Mar-13 18:25:30

DD is alarmingly similar, and I was referred to the sleep clinic. It turns out that she seems to have sleep apnoea.

It may be worth asking your HV for a referral to a sleep clinic and/or getting his adenoids/tonsils checked out.

stargirl1701 Thu 07-Mar-13 19:16:40

I want to say Channel 4 but, tbh, I'm not sure. I read an article about it in The Times.

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 07-Mar-13 20:28:24

Thanks star, will have a look. Even though mine are both older and sleep well, sleep or rather lack of has dominated our lives for so long that I still find it interesting. I would probably watch Dr Tanya Byron do the ironing too, she is fab smile

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 07-Mar-13 20:29:55

Oh yes and do ask your HV for a referral to the sleep clinic. We did this and it did help a little. Just don't expect miracles, especially as your sleep issued seem medical based.

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