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the incredible non sleeping baby - help

(19 Posts)
mrsjammi Mon 22-Jun-09 09:10:01

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mrsjammi Mon 22-Jun-09 09:11:46

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bigeyes Mon 22-Jun-09 09:18:15

Controlled crying worked for us and it doesnt have to be extreme just firm and consistent job done after 3 nights.

mrsjammi Mon 22-Jun-09 11:57:45

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meandjoe Mon 22-Jun-09 12:28:49

I could never stick to controlled crying either, it was just too hard on our ds and everytime I went in to soothe, him he ended up getting more and more distressed each time I left. The 2 nights I tried it both ended up with him vomiting all over himself and I just couldn't put him through it again. It got to the point where he was so upset and so wound up that he'd have never gone to sleep, just got more and more tense and distraught. It doesn't work for every baby, similarly it doesn't work for every parent. As a mother my instinct is to go to him when he cries and settle him, not leave him to scream pointlessly (which it is pointless for my ds but I am not against others doing it if it works!) It just didn't work for us that's all.

All I can suggest is cutting his nap to an hour instead of 2 and maybe rejigging the time when he has it until you find something that works. Maybe let him have his nap quite early on say 11am ish so he is tired come 7 or 8 pm.

I have to say my ds was never a bad night sleeper but he just had no self soothing skills and had to be fed to sleep til about 14 months old. Everyone kept telling me he needed to learn to settle himself or he never will etc etc... well he's 23 months now an settles every night beutifully, no screaming and no controlled crying needed, he just did it one night on his own.

What I'm trying to say is that they all go through phases of little sleep or needing help to get to sleep etc, it will sort it's self out but I know it's no use to you now!

Is the room he sleeps in darkened? With my ds it has to be blacked out. Have you tried a very strict bedtime routine so he is very clear on when bedtime is coming? It's important for reluctant sleepers to know what to expect and get tired signals from certain activities. We start our bedtime routine at 6pm, ds has a warm bath, then he's taken upstairs to his darkened bedroom where either me or dh dry him and put pjs on, he has milk and story time, then cuddles and bed by 7pm. I am sure someone will have better advice soon tho!

bababelle Mon 22-Jun-09 12:35:36

sorry you're having all this stress and the hv doesn't sound too helpful! we're having some of it with a non-sleeping and still-breastfeeding 18-month old but at least without the pregnant bit. cc is all my hv could suggest too. have you seen 'The no-cry sleep solution for toddlers and preschoolers' book? Lots of helpful advice in there which deals with specific problems eg naps, night-time routine and I also found the general discussion of children's sleep really helpful.
Lots of sympathy!

ExplodingBananas Mon 22-Jun-09 13:05:04

Could you keep him downstairs with you until he starts to look tired and then take him upstairs and do a strict routine ie book, bath, feed and put him down. If you could make this work when he is tired (even if that's quite late) then maybe you could then start to move the time earlier each day until he is getting to sleep at a more reasonable time?

nannynz Mon 22-Jun-09 15:38:53

Perhaps try bed time routine earlier, say 6pm. Perhaps he's overtired and finding it hard to wind down. Also maybe do the BF while in a darkened bedroom while lying down and sh sh sh him to see if he settles. I would try for at least five nights.

Also if he has two two hour naps you could drop them down to 1.5 hours so he is more tired at night.

Or he may just grow out of it.

iwantitnow Mon 22-Jun-09 19:03:53

If he is going to bed so late - try moving his bedtime 30mins earlier every few nights to reset his body clock

Mawgan Mon 22-Jun-09 19:35:45

I would suggest that yoy try not to feed him and then put him down as he will associate food with sleep. With our son, we feed him at about 6.15, then quiet bath (no toys), lying down in a dark bathroom for just a few mins, straight into bedroom, dress, snuggle, bed. He's in bed by 6.45 so the whole routine only takes half an hour and he's asleep by 7 until 6.30 the following morning.

The bath really does the trick. The dark room and the warm water combine to release sleep hormones and if you stay quiet afterwards and keep his room dark while you're putting him down then his brain should be winding down. BTW, DS is 16 months and this has worked for the last 6 months. Before that he was a nightmare!

Supercherry Mon 22-Jun-09 20:15:43

MrsJammi, I'm having the same 'problem', DS 16mths is resisting sleep at all costs, but I too just cannot do the whole controlled crying thing. We usually end up taking DS for a drive most nights to get him to sleep. Once asleep, he sleeps fine usually but still has one bottle in the night. I am hoping he will grow out of it. He has never been a self settler but then again I have always rocked/fed him to sleep.

I'm sure they won't need mummy or the car to get them to sleep at 15, ha ha, therefore, in theory, they will at some point learn to self settle without the need for controlled crying. That's my attitude anyway

hairygodmother Mon 22-Jun-09 21:37:53

Similar situation here too, in fact logged on tonight to see if anyone had any suggestions! 15 month old, as I write, still wide awake and chatting away, has been in bed since 7.30, that's two hours for goodness' sake! Although we are very lucky in that she's not crying about it, perfectly happy throwing herself around in cot and making silly noises, but will NOT go to sleep. And yet she seems tired, sucking fingers furiously (which she only does when tired) even before bath time.

This has only just started for us though, in the last couple of weeks. Before that, she took maybe 20mins or so. She has one nap a day (one and half to two hours), usually around 1ish. In fact, dropped the earlier nap she was having (around 10ish) about two weeks ago, bizarrely. Maybe she's not getting enough sleep, yeah right.

So can't really help you I'm afraid mrsjammi, just sympathise, and maybe try what others have suggested and drop it down to one nap earlier in day. I would if I could but have to go and collect dd1 from nursery at 11.30 so can't do long nap in morning. Feel same as you all do about controlled crying, just can't do it to her, if she cries for too long and refuses to nap at all in the end I give up and get her up. Can't do that at night of course. Think the suggestion of leaving it till he's tired and establishing a routine and then just bringing it back bit by bit is a brilliant one. Esp if you want to get him sorted before next one arrives ... Good luck!

amberflower Mon 22-Jun-09 21:52:15

I really feel for you...you must be exhausted. I guess at the end of the day there is always a way forward, but at 15 months the bad habits are deeply entrenched...of course you will be able to change them, but it will take time and effort. He might just sort himself out - he might not - and you have a baby coming. If I were you I would be tempted to sort it out sooner rather than later...

My suggestions would be....

1. Start getting him ready for bed nearer to 6pm with the aim of having him into the cot for 6:45/7pm. He sounds as if he is completely and utterly and absolutely chronically overtired, rather than needing very little sleep. I would imagine he desperately needs the sleep, but is too wired up to manage it. An earlier bedtime might just help avoid such chronic overtiredness.

2. Have you read the Baby Whisperer by Tracey Hogg? She recommends the pickup-putdown method of sleep training which is much much gentler than controlled crying and means you never leave baby to cry...I could never have done controlled crying either, but this felt like a sensible halfway house. Basically you would follow a nice calm bedtime routine, put him into cot sleepy but awake and basically remain with him until he falls asleep. Pick up if he gets distressed, put down as soon as he is calm. The aim is that over time the number of pickups would lessen and eventually you would be able to leave the room and he'd fall asleep on his own.

I did this with my DS and it only took 12 'pickups' that first night and we cracked it within 3 days, from which point he settled himself to sleep beautifully - but I did it at 14 weeks. Be warned, it will take a lot longer with a 15 month old but it will work if you are consistent. Try a lullaby light, or some calm music on CD that you put on at each and every sleep time so that your DS comes to associate it with bedtime.

3. When you say you co sleep what exactly do you mean? If you move him to his cot when 'zonked' do you basically mean you lie with him till he is in a deep sleep and then move him to his own room? If at all possible, start to settle him in his cot at the beginning of the evening not later on...it sounds to me as if he is treated the early part of the evening as a bit of a game, over-exhausting himself in the process, and perhaps by changing your routine to get him into his cot once he has had his milk that might just break the cycle.

4. If you hate the idea of that too (I know some people still see pickup putdown as sleep training and are therefore opposed on principle) then can you at least give up the breastfeeding, particularly if your little one will take milk from a cup? If nothing else, it would reduce the stress on your body and make you less tired.

I appreciate that co-sleeping and extended breastfeeding is a lifestyle choice for many, and can understand if you are reluctant to give up either. Both are great, if they work for the family concerned. But from your post it doesn't sound as if your current set up is working and you're all exhausted. It does sound from your posts as if you are going to either have to bite the bullet and make changes, or simply accept the tiredness. Unfortunately at this stage there are no 'easy' solutions...

Good luck...I am currently pregnant and am exhausted and that's with having a 4 year old who sleeps 7-7 without a problem...I cannot even begin to imagine how tired you are. I hope you find a solution that works for you all.

mrsjammi Tue 23-Jun-09 13:08:45

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amberflower Tue 23-Jun-09 13:18:53

I am glad the suggestions were useful...

Just to let you know, Tracey Hogg also wrote a follow on book called something like 'The Baby Whisperer solves all your problems...by teaching you how to ask the right questions' or something like that. I do have the book but have lent it to someone so can't recall the exact title! But definitely worth trying to get hold of a copy from the library or something - it is written specifically for parents who for whatever reason have fallen into a certain pattern of managing sleep, feeding, behaviour etc with older babies and toddlers, and want to try to change. I like her approach because it is very gentle and softly-softly as well as being pretty sensible too.

Good luck!

preggersplayspop Tue 23-Jun-09 13:19:05

Hi mrsjammi, I can really sympathise with this. My DS is hard to get to sleep of an evening and then up at 5am bright as anything. We co-sleep (for most of the night)and I am still bf him at 25mo, not out of lifestyle either but just how we ended up.

There is light at the end of the tunnel though - my DS recently slept through for the first time after I had given up on it ever happening and has done it regularly since the first time.

I read the no cry sleep solution for toddlers (having done bits of the baby one as well) and its a fab book.

I tried cutting back naps but it didn't work - he sleeps so much worse when he doesn't get the rest during the day. 'Sleep begets sleep' I think in the saying and it is true for my DS.

What has worked for us was re-instigating a relaxing nighttime regime (it sort of went to pot when DS started staying up later as I though I would keep him up later to tire him out - it didn't work). Bath, books (lots of), cutting out evening telly and quiet play in his room have all worked. Also, a snack and milk before bedtime seem to have improved things.

He still goes to bed later than I would like but its definitely improved and I notice the difference is the routine goes off for some reason. I think the summer evenings make it worse as well - even if the room is dark I think they know its light outside!

mrsjammi Wed 24-Jun-09 11:03:36

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preggersplayspop Wed 24-Jun-09 22:01:02

Oh dear sorry about your night, it does sound like he is overtired. My DS is so grumpy when he is overtired.

I start my DS in his own bed and then when he wakes (usually when I go to bed as he seems to have a 6th sense that I'm upstairs) then I normally scoop him into our bed for the rest of the night. I tried gradually keeping him his own bed for longer and longer but it didn't seem to work. Last night though, when I went to bring him in he said he wanted to stay in his own bed! He was there the whole night shock....for the first time ever! shock shock

Can you try gradually getting him used to associating sleep with his own room without trying to do it all at once? Its probably quite unsettling for him to have a change of scenery - going to bed in your room is part of his routine which has been established for a while by the sounds of it.

I hope tonight goes better anyway. I was naughty and let DS watch telly before bed but it didn't throw us too much luckily. Here's hoping we all get a good nights sleep!

Pennybubbly Thu 25-Jun-09 04:08:20

Mrsjammi, oh how I sympathise. I, too, have a terrible sleeper n my DS, 17 mths. I was totally unprepared for it as DD,4 was and still is a total angel when it comes to bedtime.
I can't offer anything extra really, other than lashings of sympathy, but echo what others have said re him probably being chronically overtired.
Having had one easy baby, I was reluctant to accept that my DS wouldn't just sleep when tired and really needs a strict routine. We've made extremely small improvements and very slowly over time. Improvements nonetheless though!
FWIW: Try to get him to have a nap during the day (or two, or whatever his 'norm' may be) so that he isn't overtired at the end of the day. With my ds, this came about when he started day care (I went back to work when he was 16mths) - they give him lunch around 11:30 and he's asleep by 12:30 (the little sod!) - goes voluntarily to his own futon (we're in Japan, it's not a funky day care!) and just closes his eyes. (BTW, he's NEVER done this at home).
Evening bedtime the same. Get into a strict(ish) routine (difficult for me cause I don't get in until 5:15, have to make dinner, and take care of the 4yr old too, but you know what that's like if you've got teens in the house!), dinner, bath, pyjamas, boob, and into bed.
Going to bed was the turning point for us. I make sure he's awake after boob and we say goodnight to dd and dh if he's around (difficult if he is, as he wants to play), then I put him in his cot and lie down by the side in our bed. First 3 nights he screamed, I had to repeatedly lie him back down, but then he cracked and now he lies down by himself, with no tears. It takes around 40 mins on average for him to fall asleep and I usually need to have my hand/arm through the cot bars on his back/tummy. But it does mean that when he's asleep, he's asleep. Usually. (!)
He wakes up around 12am and then he's in bed with me for the rest of the night, has a feed around 3 or 4 am and is up for good anywhere between 5 and 7 am. A distinct improvement (believe me!) on what we had before, but still room for improvement.
I've heard - from my extensive moaning research on the topic that miraculously, they usually crack it on their own and inexplicably start sleeping one night and every night therein.... (holds breath and waits...)

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