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Mindee very difficult sleeper!

(35 Posts)
gardenpixies32 Fri 10-Jun-11 10:22:33

I got some good advice with my previous post (thanks) that I thought maybe some light/advice/support could be shed on this problem that is slowly driving me mad!

I have 3 under two, they are 12, 13 and 14 months. 2 are brilliant sleepers and are happy to be put in the travel cot awake and will go to sleep on their own. These 2 sleep for an hour in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon. I am so happy they are such easy babies when it comes to sleep.

However, this is where I am really struggling and just want to pull my hair out some days...The other baby, who is 13 months is not a good sleeper at all. He has to be rocked to sleep or he will not sleep. I have tried so many things and all are very difficult! I know rock him in the pram in the lounge once the other two are in their travel cots. It has taken him up to an hour on many occasions to fall asleep while being rocked in the pram despite him being exhausted! His eye are droopy and he struggles to stay awake but each time he is about to drift off he wakes up and starts crying, an angry cry! He will do this up to ten times before finally falling asleep! Once he is asleep he NEVER sleeps for more than 30 minutes! I have to rock him back to sleep for a second time and he will then sleep for another 20-30 minutes. So he has a total of an hours sleep a day. I can see this in not enough as he is whingy and moany a lot of the time and rubs his ear (which is a sign that he is tired). Also, when he wakes up, he cries/screams, sometimes quite hysterically until I go to him (which is always within a minute or 2).
On Wednesday, I spent 2 a total of hours rocking him to sleep! Surely this is not right!? Do other cms do this?

It is make me really on edge during nap times and I find it all very stressful. His crying often wakes the other 2 and I am just at a loss of what to do!
I have spoken to his mother and she rocks him to sleep at night and he sleeps in mum and dad's bed and she says he is an awful sleeper at night too, waking ofen in the night and needing to be rocked backed to sleep! Sometimes up to 5 times a night.

Please help! I am thinking maybe I just cant care for him anymore but his mother is lovely and I dont want to let them down.

gardenpixies32 Fri 10-Jun-11 19:24:49

Bump!

spiggy Fri 10-Jun-11 19:44:30

Not a cm but my ds was a terrible sleeper so I co slept. This caused problems when he went to nursery at 6 months as he just wasn't used to a cot. After several experiments nursery found that a soft dog basket was the answer. The feeling was more like a proper bed, felt more secure to him and the nursery nurses would sit next to him so he felt someone nearby while he dropped off. They have since used it several times for other troublesome sleepers including my dd. They were a bit worried when the ofsted inspector came round but they actually got praised for it as they were responding to individual needs!

hope you find something that works soon.

HavePatience Fri 10-Jun-11 21:41:58

I'm not a cm... But, could you just rock with him in a chair while the other two sleep? Perhaps let him just sleep in your arms? Only put him down when he's really deeply asleep? Or turn on TV or MN on your phone/laptop wink for a bit of a break while they are all asleep?
Or just take him to read some books quietly in the other room while other 2 are asleep so he doesn't disturb them... or music?

My DS used to be a horrible sleeper but now he's brilliant (2.5 years). Please don't give up on him would be my advice smile Keep trying different things - something will work out eventually.

AMYJ1234 Sat 11-Jun-11 08:38:05

HI, I'm a CM and ive never had children/babies who have slept a total of 3 hours per day, maybe he's just not tired enough to sleep? Instead of focusing all that time rocking him etc I'd be in the garden or playing with him so that in the afternoon, after his lunch he is much more tired to have a nap without as much resistance. An hour may be enough then and he will sleep better for his mum? Has he got a special blanket he likes which he ONLY gets at sleep time?

misdee Sat 11-Jun-11 08:43:46

not a childminder but a mum of 5.

4 good/average sleepers, one awful until she was 2. now sleeps a couple of hours in the afternoon 3 times a week.

she didnt have long naps, maybe 15mins every few hours instead even as a newborn.

i use to carry her in a sling around the house if i could see she was tired and needing sleep but not giving in. almost always worked. still worked in the last fortnight when she was having a tired tantrum mid afternoon, chucked her on my back, went to fold laundry, one fast asleep toddler in 15mins.

purepurple Sat 11-Jun-11 08:48:52

The fact that it takes so long to get him to sleep but he only sleeps for 30 minutes is telling me that maybe he doesn't actually need this sleep.
It would be good for you to have all the babies asleep at the same time but we all know that all babies are not the same.
I would be tempted to let him stay awake to see if he falls into his own sleeping pattern. He might be ok with just a short nap after lunch.
DD only had 1 short nap in the afternoon from about 12 months.

nbee84 Sat 11-Jun-11 08:50:51

spiggy - my mind is boggling at how they discovered a dog basket worked at nursery grin

gardenpixies32 Sat 11-Jun-11 09:25:06

Thanks for the replies.

3 hours napping in the day is the norm for a child of that age. He mum wants him to nap well as she says he is so overtired that he wont sleep well at night. His gran looks after him on a Thursday and his mum says that he only sleeps for 20-30 mins a day with the gran and he is tearful and clingy on a Friday.

I have spent so much time thinking about what to do to help him. I check very carefully for his tired signs and he rubs his ear and cries a lot when he is tired, however, like I originally posted, he cries when I put him in the pram for a sleep. I can see he is exhausted and wants to sleep but he seems to have a thing about sleeping! He fights it! When he is about to nod off, he jerks awake crying over and over. I have tired letting him fall asleep in my arms, however, he wriggles and wriggles and wants to play instead. Then, the few times he has fallen asleep in my arms and I move him to the cot/pram, he wakes up and cries hysterically! The other 2 who sleep for 3 hours in the day are brilliant sleepers at night with their parents because they are well rested, which makes a happy baby!

Amy - I have a new 14 month old and looking at his diary from his old childminder (who is moving away, hence me now looking after him), he slept for 2.5-3 hours with her too!

gardenpixies32 Sat 11-Jun-11 09:29:39

Amy - I am aware that they need less sleep as they get older. I have tired cutting out the am nap, what tends to happen then is he is exhausted by 11:30 (he is up at 5:30am at home)! When I have tried putting him to sleep at 11:30, he cried and cried for around 30 minutes, which I realised is because he is hungry! I then tried feeding him lunch at 11:30 and putting him straight to sleep but the problem was the other 2 who were crawling and walking around the room and the little one couldnt get off to sleep because he was wanting to watch the other 2 playing instead! So he cried and cried and cried! Argh!

purepurple Sat 11-Jun-11 09:38:52

Are you confined to just one room or can you use another room for sleeps? I am not sure about what happens in childminding with regards to using other rooms.
Sounds like he is worried about missing out. If he can see/hear the other babies then he may be distracted.

gardenpixies32 Sat 11-Jun-11 09:42:47

He sleeps in the pram in the kitchen or hall. It takes on average 20 minutes for him to fall asleep (shortest has been 5 minutes, longest time has taken an hour) and I dont think leaving the 12 and 14 month old alone in the front room for that long is a good idea. If I stop rocking the pram, he cries!

The other 2 sleep upstairs in travel cots.

ruddynorah Sat 11-Jun-11 09:50:17

My Dd only ever slept 30 mins at a time, 3 times a day reducing to 2 times by 1 yr old and none at all by 2. At nursery they just let her play while the others slept.

Ds on the other hand did the long nap thing you are aiming for.

A montesorri nursery we looked at and a friends baby goes to only has the soft dog baskets now and no cots as the babies preffered them and those that could crawl/walk often take themselves off and sleep in them apparently!!

My son is 9 and 1/2 mths and has been at childminders for 2wks and did once a week settling in for a month and he would only sleep in car seat for her rocked initially but would sleep for good period of time and now he will go down in travel cot for her and slepps for 45-60mins once or twice a day. Whereas at home for me rarely naps in cot but will sleep in pushchair or car seat if we have been out for 90mins once in morning and once in afternoon.

If a child doesnt fall asleep within 10-15mins I tend to think they are not tired and the screaming is due to a mixture of boredom and get me the hell out of here!!!

I would try the rocking for 10-15mins and if no sucess play with him or give him some toys to play with and if he seems tired later on try him again for a nap

you say he wakes the other 2 with his screaming so would be inclined not to try for too long as at least the others sleep -let them sleep and let him play.

many toddlers ie- over 12mths start to only need a nap after lunch around 12/1ish and often only for 1 and half -2hrs

As a childminder would be great if they all napped at same time so you had a break but while they are sleeping he could be playing alone while you had 10mins to self for cup of tea over seeing him.

Also when you only have 1 awake surely its a nice time to have some 1:1 time with a child.

Iggly Sat 11-Jun-11 13:23:00

It's probably taking him so long to get to sleep because he's massively overtired (speaks from experience).

Do you rock him in a dark room? Maybe with a bit of white noise or something? Does he have a nap routine (only has to be short - sleep bag, song)? DS would never nap in a room that was even dim - had to be black out blinds!

Or when you rock him the pushchair, can you get a blackout cover for it? We've got one like this

with his early start, he probably needs a nap around 8.30/9am. Can you engineer an outing so you take them for a walk (not sure how with three so 2, but you must go out?) at this time. He'll probably drop off then.

DS is 20 months and still likes a short morning snooze on ocassion. I've read that around 18 months is the average time for toddlers to drop the morning nap.

spiggy Sat 11-Jun-11 13:37:16

nbee84- desperation was the mother of invention I think grin I talked to his key worker about where he slept at night and they had the dog basket as one of the toys so she thought she'd give it ago as it was more bed like and she could snuggle next to him. Once he could crawl he used to take himself off to it, like eastmidlandsnightnanny said (am glad other nurseries use it and it is not just my odd children who like them.)

Just remembered another trick I used with mine. When they are clearly fighting sleep I'd lie them on their back and lay next to them. I'd put their hands up next to their ears (in the classic fast asleep baby pose) and just gently hold them there. Not pushing down but just enough to stop them thrashing round. It is hard to explain but it seemed to help them drop off. Usually takes a minute of crying, 5 mins of fussing and then they would fall into a proper sleep. I could then sneak off and they would stay sleeping for much longer than if I'd got them asleep elsewhere and then put them down in the bed.

HavePatience Sat 11-Jun-11 21:03:42

If he wants to play and not sleep, could you engage him in some quiet play while the others sleep? Maybe he'll start sleeping better at night if he's not getting naps and then it won't be a problem if he only sleeps 30 minutes? Maybe it will just take some time.

Also I meant rock him then keep holding him for his sleep (don't put him in cot or pram).

My DS hasn't had this problem at cm but I do know a few babies who dropped all naps by 13-15 months. They just eventually learned to make the most of night sleep smile

AMYJ1234 Sat 11-Jun-11 21:06:21

Hi - Ive looked after loads of children over years - I thought I knew everything and was the best childminder in the world!I had a great routine then I got a 9 month old baby. I could tell him till he's blue in the face that he needs a sleep cos he's so tired! I rocked him, sang to him, took him for a walk, really did everything I could. I still had a very angry, screaming tired baby! I nearly gave the parents notice because of this and I felt stressed and wondering what I was doing wrong! He was never going to sleep so I would do my routine of playgroup with the other children etc and then put him down for a sleep after lunch.I put him in the buggy for a sleep- (he screamed - had 10 mins sleep then screamed more), but he was safe and I needed half an hour to have my lunch and even go to the loo!! I had the most difficult year and some how we've got through it and hes an exceptionally clever boy - has 30 mins sleep now but that does him fine! The beauty of you being a childminder is that you can treat the children as individuals and although it would be lovely to have 3 hours off every day - you can use that time to have one to one with him which he would enjoy?

Ive never heard of it being normal for 3 hours a day - and I think you are wrong to expect that. In fact I think you are REALLY WRONG-this could be half the problem. You are not a baby sitter! However Its my opinion and I'm giving it to you with the best intentions. I'm not saying it for any reason other than for you to reflect on your practice and maybe change it?? We are Early Years Professionals remember that.
Childminding is a tough job and if you come on here for advice then obviously you care x

HavePatience Sat 11-Jun-11 21:18:39

Amy -sadly I know someone who had to switch from cm to nursery because cm said that she couldn't deal with her 1yo not napping enough.
She was very upset because preferred the cm setting. But didn't feel she could place her trust in another cm sad
This makes me sad because I am very pro-cm.

AMYJ1234 Sat 11-Jun-11 21:34:33

Yep, I can understand that! Im going to be really honest - this thread made me feel really angry! The child in question TBH is prob better off not in her care unless she changes her attitude. Maybe the c minder is inexperienced and might have a think and change? You cant beat a good childminder but when bad practice happens I can see why someone would lose confidence and go to a nursery x

gardenpixies32 Sun 12-Jun-11 10:15:22

Thanks for the advice Amy, I do appreciate it. It isnt about having 3 hours off, I still have a 3 year old to look after when the babies are sleeping, meals to prepare etc. I do not expect him to sleep for 3 hours, I want him to have the sleep he needs that will keep him refreshed and happy. 20 minutes is just not doing it! His mother is at her wits end and is so happy that I am trying help him sleep rather than just give up, which is what his nan does on Thursdays when she cares for him. So according to mum, he is even worse on Fridays (luckily, I dont have him then). I came here for support and advice, but I guess, there is always one!

Amy, perhaps you could appy to train as an Ofsted Inspector with your experience? As clearly the one who did my inspection lacks your instinct and critique! She applauded how I tried to cater for his needs rather than just give up!

gardenpixies32 Sun 12-Jun-11 10:17:27

One more thing Amy, I have been caring for children for 10 years. I have a degree in Educational Psychology, I would be a VERY expensive babysitter : )

HavePatience Sun 12-Jun-11 14:14:40

sorry gardenpixie, I only shared the story of the mother I know who switched to nursery because you said:
"I am thinking maybe I just cant care for him anymore but his mother is lovely and I dont want to let them down"
So I wanted to encourage you to keep trying at it (I'm glad to hear that you are! smile ) because I know how awful this mother felt when cm gave up on her. But her cm, sadly, didn't even try to work around it, just gave notice because she said she couldn't handle her dd not sleeping enough sad

gardenpixies32 Sun 12-Jun-11 15:29:31

Hi Patience, I took no offence to that whatsoever, thanks for your reply. I have tried so many things. My main aim is that mother and baby are happy. In this stituation, sleep is what he needs. We do lots of playing (7 hours of it) and it is the sleep that is where i am lost with what to do. It is a lot of pressure when parent collect a child who has slept for 30 minutes all day as they know they are in for an evening of crying with an overtired child!

It is easy for some cms to say I should focus my time on playing with him rather than rocking him to sleep, this is what annoyed me to be honest! And judging my ability as a cm when they do not know me or my setting is extrememly unfair and rather unprofessional imo.

HavePatience Sun 12-Jun-11 16:20:03

Could you just hold him for his whole sleep after he's been rocked so that he doesn't wake if you put him in the cot? I understand you have other things to do... but gradually maybe you could put him down?
Or, if the mother is willing to try some sleep training with a bit of crying while you do... but that is another can of worms, isn't it! I'm sure I'll get told off for that in a few minutes blush. I don't believe in Cry it Out, btw. Just for the record before anyone pounces!

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