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Can't sleep, won't sleep- have I created a monster?

(9 Posts)
paintyourbox Wed 15-May-13 21:09:15

Hoping some more experienced mums can help me out here as I seem to have exhausted all the options I can think of.

DD (10 and a half months) is really unsettled when we are trying to put her to bed. She's never been that great at sleeping (reflux, colic, teething etc) but recently she's getting worse.

I have a strict routine, 7pm bath in dimly lot bathroom, story in bedroom with nightlight, bottle in her cot (which she never finishes) then down to sleep.

Everytime I try to settle her a tantrum starts, kicking and screaming, pulling at her clothes. She gets really upset.

I don't have a clue where I am going wrong. I don't engage with her in terms of chat- I just sssh her gently and lay her back down.

Got a blackout blind which helped for a few nights then same again.

Tried giving her more food in the evening incase she was hungry- she didn't eat much more than usual.

The past few nights I've tried Calpol before bed as she's been red cheeked and biting so I thought it was teething.

The doctor can find nothing wrong with her and I am at a loss. She seems to be quite a strong willed little girl, she's starting to tantrum if she doesn't get her own way.

If you havent given up reading- Where am I going wrong??

MoonlightandRoses Wed 15-May-13 22:37:49

Don't think you're going wrong at all - sounds like you do just have a small baby who knows their own mind. It could also possibly be a growth spurt as there does tend to be one around the 9 - 10 month mark.

You could maybe try gradually moving the bedtime a little bit later (by say ten mins a week) to see if that helps?

Hope you get it resolved soon.

DewDr0p Wed 15-May-13 22:44:04

Perhaps a bit counter intuitive but could she be over tired? Sometimes bringing bedtime forward a little can help.

It could also be teething though. We had a terrible time of it with dc3.

How is she for the rest of the night?

You say she kicks off when you try to settle her - tell us more about what you do and how she responds?

BrainGoneAwol Thu 16-May-13 09:30:40

This may or may not be relevant but my ds has never slept well except on me. He always bucks and fidgets when I try to transfer him. I think he has silent reflux and is really gassy. He's also teething.

I've recently had a breakthrough on the gassiness by stopping my breastfeeding supplements. Weird, but he hasn't had a huge back arching episode since I stopped.
I also use a radio set to quiet static for all naps and night time.
I've tried to set up sleep triggers: Same book last thing at night. A grobag for naps as well as nighttime. A teddy who he holds during pre-nap and -night feeds who then goes in the bed with him.
I've also recently raised one end of the bed as his drool is making him choke (lovely!)

Night sleeping is now often 5 hours at a stretch. Naps are still a bit hit and miss but can be 1.5+ hours which was unheard of before.

I think there's a growth spurt sometime around 9 months?

He's 9 months. Hope something in there maybe helps. <hugs> it's tough, hang in there, it will pass.

megandraper Thu 16-May-13 09:48:38

Despite all the 'baby should self-settle' advice from baby gurus, I think that quite a lot of them just don't, and need to be helped to sleep.

All mine needed to be helped to sleep until they were well over two. At 10.5 months, I was still breastfeeding them to sleep, then transferring to the cot asleep. If DH was doing it, he would rock them to sleep on his shoulder or on his lap, then transfer them. If we tried putting them in the cot awake (even dozy) they would scream and cry and work themselves into a state. When they got older (about two and a half I think), it became possible.

My personal take on it is that it's much better for going to sleep to be a pleasant process than to be a battle. 'Sleep associations' like feeding/rocking etc. can be changed when they get older. Being distraught is more damaging. My eldest two are 5 and 3 now, and go to sleep by themselves in their beds no problem. My youngest is nearly two and still being bf to sleep

No criticism of those whose babies do self-settle perfectly. That's great. I just don't think it's because you persisted in putting them down to do it - it's because they were willing/ready to do it.

Bumpsadaisie Thu 16-May-13 14:38:30

You're not going wrong OP. Your DD has separation anxiety, totally normal at this age. She will be v unsettled if you leave her in a cot. She knows now that you leave her (she didn't realise that when smaller). She isn't yet mature enough to understand that you will always come back and you won't abandon her.

IME they don't naturally self settle till about 18 mths or 2 yrs. By that time they're less anxious as they can understand that you will return.

Of course you can train them to self settle by leaving them to howl. But in doing that you are really just teaching them not to bother protesting as you won't respond.

You could try the gradual withdrawal method which helps them to settle without leaving them.

Bumpsadaisie Thu 16-May-13 14:42:02

Ps she's not having a tantrum, she's anxious. It's totally normal at this age smile

paintyourbox Thu 16-May-13 21:04:45

Thanks for your replies everyone. Will try to answer all your questions-

In terms of the rest of the night she's up at least once, sometimes two or three times. Each time she just wants a cuddle then she'll drift off.

Brain it's interesting what you say about reflux. Her reflux was so bad she was seeing a paediatrician an on several meds. It's lessened when we weaned but I do sometimes wonder if there is a degree of silent reflux still there. She's no longer sick with it bit she does tend to be a very gassy baby.

Feel so much better having read your post Megan all of my friends seem to have those miracle babies who go down in 5 minutes and sleep 9 hours! I don't really believe in letting her cry it out, mostly because she's never been much of a "cry baby" so I figure if she's this upset there's at be something troubling her and she needs mummy.

Tonight I let her fall asleep on me- she was down within 10 minutes. There's so much conflicting advice about "making a rod for your own back" but tbh it's quicker and easier to let her cuddle in and it saves the stress of a battle!

BabiesAreLikeBuses Thu 16-May-13 22:44:21

Sometimes you need to make a rod for your own back to save your sanity, we all need sleep! Fwiw i found all bad sleep habits could be broken in 3 nights of persevering, so if it suits you to settle her right now, fine, go with it... When it stops suiting you expect two nights of drama and night 3 will be fine...

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