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13 month old not sleeping - never has but it is time I did!

(8 Posts)
bubbababybearsmum Tue 02-Oct-12 20:30:26


So, I am a single mum with the perfect 13 month old son. Right from the beginning he has been a bad sleeper. I still breast feed him and can only get him to sleep with a boob in his mouth (not that I have ever really tried anything else). Here is our night:
6pm - bath
7pm - bed will settle in about 30 mins falling asleep in the boob
8pm - 1st wake, give boob and he will settle in about 15 mins
10pm - 2nd wake, give boob and he will settle in about 15 mins
12pm - 3rd wake, bring him to my bed as I am too tired to stay awake to settle him so will give him a boob lying down
3am - 4th wake, vaguely aware that he has woken again and give him another boob and we fall asleep
5am - 5th wake as above
6am - keep boob in his mouth to try and keep him asleep until 7am

I know that I cant expect it to change unless I change but please can I have some advice. What worries me is how tired I may get. I dont have any reserves of energy and no, there really is no-one to help me, so I need to find as good as fix as possible and unsurprisingly, I dont want to do controlled crying because if I could do that I would have done it already!

There is no magic answer is there......

kirrinIsland Tue 02-Oct-12 20:45:33

No expert but my DD was similar at 13 months. She didn't wake quite as much as your DS but it was still exhausting.
Difference was, I was bottle feeding by then, so she was waking for milk but not feeding to sleep IYSWIM.
I tackled it 1 feed at a time, offering water at the first waking and milk as normal for the others. It took 2 nights for her to drop the first waking, and about 2 weeks to drop all but the 5.30 one.
It seemed to me that she was waking out of habit, rather than because she actually needed milk so hence it was relatively straight forward to cure.
I appreciate that this is more difficult if you are BFing, I'm sure someone more knowledgable than me will be along in a minute!

KnockedUpMell Tue 02-Oct-12 20:51:03

Read the no cry sleep solution! It really worked for me. DS got to a point where he would wake every hour and want a boob to settle him. He was about 13m then too. It's all about breaking bad sleep habits (feeding to sleep), and helping them to fall asleep by themselves when they enter a light sleep cycle (every couple of hours).

DrLockhart Tue 02-Oct-12 21:02:07

Agree with reading No Cry Sleep solution. Can probably get it from the library or second hand on eBay. Some useful tips to put on place.

Also have a read of Dr Jay Gordon's sleep pattern. I did this on my own (do have a DP but I needed to settle DD at night without his help). Over 3 weeks, we saw massive improvement without that much effort as the idea is you carry on bed sharing, and doing everything you can to settle little one without feeding for a 7 hour period of your choice. I wrapped myself up in my quilt and repeated "no milky until morning". DD was 12.5 months at the time.

Now at nearly 14 months, DD has had a handful of "sleep throughs" so not an instant fix but sleep 'blocks' are getting longer (4-5 hours rather than 1-2, v similar to your DS), she has increased her solid intake and milk feeds (also still bf'ing) are more meaningful during the day, rather than on/off/on/off like she was doing.

Good luck

RedHelenB Wed 03-Oct-12 07:10:00

DS stopped bf'ing of his own accord at 14 months. Really though, a 13 month old shouldn't need that amount of night feeding & is using you as a dummy - have you tried a dummy? (ds never took one)

NarcolepsyQueen Wed 03-Oct-12 07:21:34

I had a similar problem with my DS using me as a sleep prop/dummy. I know how tired you are, but it really is a case of short term pain for kong term gain. I had 2 nights of hell - then he slept through the night and has done ever since (except the odd cold etc) and he is 17 months. I stopped the night feeds all together - cold turkey style - at 13 months. You CAN do it - but it IS hideous for a couple of nights. Just reassure him and pat him etc, and say 'no milky 'til morning'. Good luck!

SminkoPinko Wed 03-Oct-12 08:02:49

I think I would want to try and teach him very, very gently that going to sleep doesn't have to happen via breastfeeding, lovely as that is. I would try and slowly cut out the night feeds one at a time. So night 1 at first wake 8pm I would do anything other than feed him to settle him- rock, sing, shh, pat etc. I do think he might not be pleased about it so you might have to endure some crying. If it is unbearable after a few minutes/he's getting too distressed, I would give him a tiny bit of milk but try and put him back down before he is fully asleep. If this works after giving it a few days, I would do the same for the 10pm wake, then the 12 etc etc. As others have said, at the moment he doesn't know how to go to sleep without having you and milk in close proximity as he drifts off so he expects that every time he wakes up (which happens to all of us many times per night). When he learns to settle himself you may notice a massive improvement in the number of wakings, even if it isn't a miracle cure.

YesThisTime Wed 03-Oct-12 08:46:50

Is he walking yet? My DS went from pretty much that pattern to a marginally better one (wakes at 11 and once in the small hours) as soon as he started walking. Think he is just too physically exhausted to wake in the evening now!

<ignores this morning's 4:30am wake up call>

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