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11mo - back to atrocious sleep and possible terrible reflux - help! at wits' end

(10 Posts)
Cosmo89 Mon 20-May-13 20:40:18

Posting here, not in sleep as there are other issues involved and I could do with some hand holding and advice on those.

DS is 11mo. Has always been atrocious in the sleep department.
at 7mo got diagnosed finally with silent reflux, we started on meds.

Things improved slightly, and gradually. We started meds in Feb, then he got ill for the entirity of March. However, we have noticed an improvement - more so in the last few weeks. For the last 3 weeks I thought we'd cracked it, or at least he'd grown out of his disturbed sleep. He started sleeping much better. Before, on good days, he'd wake 2 or 3 times before 10, when we 'dream feed' then twice afterwards, taking 1hour - 90 minutes to get back down sometimes. Recently, he started doing 7pm - 7am, with a few little wake ups but generally self settling. It was amazing.

For the past 3 nights his sleep is back to being atrocious. Last night he woke 4 times before 10, then at 230 he woke up and wouldn't go back down until nearly 5. We'd given him painkillers, so I very much doubt it was teething, so it seems to be that his reflux is worse again. I've eliminated all the foods we thought were problematic (tomatoes, fruit mainly). And now I'm completely lost as to what the issue might be.

I feel so depressed that we're back to square 1. He's 11 months old and we're still going to be sleep deprived and miserable, when by this point so many people's lives are better in that way. I am going back to work full time next week and I really need my brain. I just feel so low tonight. It's not helped by DP going away tomorrow, so I have all this to deal wiht by myself.

I'm so sick of trying to find solutions and coming against walls all the time.

mummy2benji Mon 20-May-13 22:12:37

Happy to hand hold - I can totally empathise as my ds1 suffered with severe silent reflux which developed into a phobia of feeding and he was in and out of hospital. He didn't start on solids until he was 15 months and he would only 'dream feed' too, so I was up loads at night with him. I found it particularly depressing around the time that you are at right now, as specialists had been telling me he would improve around the age of 1, and it just wasn't happening. He did however suddenly start to improve at 15 months and life became a whole lot easier - I know in a way that may not sound reassuring to you as your lo is 4 months off that age still, but equally I am sure there is a light at the end of the tunnel for you too and it won't be too long before it gets better. Try not to feel too despondent - you've noticed an improvement lately, so although you've just had a few bad nights, there's no reason why that improvement won't return and continue to improve. He could have anything going on right now - teething, a virus, something he ate - all likely short-lived. Try not to lose sight of the bigger picture and the fact that noticing a recent improvement is really positive. It's also great that he's eating solids and hasn't been totally put off food in general. Also, has he been weighed recently and had the doses of his meds increased accordingly? The doses do need to be increased fairly often as they grow, or they will cease to be as effective. So it might be worth getting him weighed and see your GP to recalculate doses if necessary. Sending you a hug x

Cuddlydragon Mon 20-May-13 22:39:29

Happy to handhold. I've been in your shoes, but not quite so badly. I second what mummy said above. Have you had him weighed recently and the meds increased? I'm not sure what meds you are on but ranitidine is notorious for being incredibly weight sensitive. losec, not so much. Cucumber was a major flare food for us, as was raw tomato. On the other hand avocado really helped calm tummy down. Really sorry about your struggle. More hugs from me. If it makes anything better, the right medication on the 4 th or 5 th attempt along with weaning and sitting really helped. Mostly the right meds though. Good luck.

silverangel Tue 21-May-13 06:57:03

I rthink you might just be hitting the sleep regression, exactly the same happened with DTs. I agree to get him weighed and dosage checked although if weaning is going well you may actually be ablse to start reducing the dosage.

Have you tried nurofen / calpol in case its teething?

It lasted about a month for us and was hell (also just as I was going back to work), but it did pass. Good luck.

Cosmo89 Wed 22-May-13 16:13:04

Thanks everyone - I'm really struggling to be honest.

Last night was awful - DP was away. I really wanted to be able to cope no matter what happened but I couldn't. After DF a 10, DS wouldn't go down. I tried everything and I feel awful that I'm his mother and I cannot soothe him to sleep. DS can self settle, but not when he's feeling bad - when he's disturbed, there is something wrong with him, usually reflux related. DP is strong enough to hold and slightly bounce DS for long enough to get him into a sleep and get him into the cot without waking him up. I am not.
I tried rockng him in his cot, rubbing his back, patting etc, cuddling him in bed, cuddling him on chair. But at 1240, when I'd tried everything and everything I was doing making it worse, I left him. I feel utterly ashamed. I went into my room, shut the door to his and mine, put ear plugs in and waited. I obviously kept taking the ear plugs out to check - but he settled within 20 minutes, finally. I'd tried this before at about 1130 and he'd got into such a state within 5 minutes I had to go back in. This time he was obviously so exhausted it worked. I then spent most of the night worried about him. I'd turned the mnitor off in his room, but I couldn't go back in so I spent ages outside his room listening to him breathe. When he coughed at about 230 I went to bed.
I feel utterly despondent. DP needs his breaks - he does so much at night, more than me now, and he deserved a night away. And I called him twice, once at midnight shaking, sobbing and extremely upset/angry. I just felt such a failure for the whole situation and I needed to talk to someone and have some company and he was the only person I could go to. I feel such a bitch for ruining his break.
And I have just proved to myself that I can't cope. Yes - I managed to feed him, get him to bed, send him off to nursery and go to work this morning, but all I feel I've done is prove to myself that I will fall to pieces the minute something goes wrong. It's not that I couldn't settle him necessraily that bothers me - it's that I fell to pieces because I couldn't.

mummy2benji Wed 22-May-13 16:46:50

You found it difficult because you're his mother and you love him and you are innately programmed to find the scream of your own child the most stressful, awful sound in the universe. Because if we didn't react that way, we wouldn't go running to them when there was a problem, and we wouldn't care enough to rock them and cuddle them and push them about in buggies at midnight to try to settle them. There is nothing shameful about losing the plot because your baby kept screaming for hours. Even though I am far more relaxed with dd2, I still find the sound of her crying like fingernails being raked down a blackboard. I have to let her cry sometimes when I'm doing ds1's bedtime and I try to stay calm but can feel my blood pressure creeping up and up and up! I have lost it on occasion and shouted at ds1 for faffing about a bit at bedtime while she is crying. Then felt very guilty. And yes, I have certainly left dd2 in her chair crying once or twice and retired to the far corner of the house and put a pillow over my head. Only for a couple of minutes, just to regain a shred of sanity. What you're describing is normal! It does get better, and easier, honestly. You learn new ways of coping and strategies for dealing with stressful situations. Try not to see what you did as 'failing' - you managed him fine, you just got very stressed in the process. You are certainly not a bad mum! Just keep going and take it day by day, it will improve.

Cosmo89 Wed 22-May-13 20:08:45

Thanks, Mummy2benji.

Rationally, I realise everything that you're saying. His cries (loud, insistent) have really got to me since he was very little. I know that they're meant to, but I thought I'd get used to it and (as you said) develop coping strategies, but I haven't. I just put him down now and I came out shaking- I know it's off the back off a bad stretch and I'm knackered.

I need to do something about my reaction but I don't know how- it's such a physical thing, even though its full of emotion- it just wells up inside and I can't stop it. The really upsetting thing is I get so angry at DS who I ADORE. I wanted to get CBT but I'm still on the waiting list- every time I address it with the dr I get told o have pnd and I should go on antidepressants. I honestly think I don't - I'm happy and sorted apart from in this one arena of mine and his life to do with sleep and reflux- I feel like an entirely different person there. Stupid, huh.

I was eavesdropping on the conversation a newish mum was having with a friend in a cafe the other day and it was just remarkable how they talked - for them, some days were a bit 'tough', you know- going on the tube with a baby, cluster feeding.... I saw a friend of mine with a 3 week old, whose baby was so docile and happy. I wouldn't change DS for anything - but I do feel robbed if what was meant to be a lovely experience (and yes public transport and cluster feeding are tough, but ... I don't know...)

OddBodd Wed 22-May-13 22:23:16

Cosmo89 I don't have any experience in the reflux department but your posts, especially your last one has struck a chord with me so I couldn't read and run. DS2 was a horrible sleeper for months and months and so grouchy in the day. Turns out he was milk intolerant so was reacting to dairy even through my breast milk. I'm not saying this is the case with your DS but I just wanted you to know you're not alone in the way your DS's crying affects you.

DS2 is 17 months now and sleeps through the night (horaay!!) BUT is still very hard to please in the day times. His crying affects me like nothing I've ever experienced. I feel the same level of failure and anger as it seems like you feel. Whenever he whinges I want to cope but I find myself floundering and being desperate just to make the noise stop! I can not stand it and when DH is at work I always feel like I SHOULD be able to cope better. Like his crying shouldn't make me feel so tense, but it does...which obviously doesn't help the situation. DH seems to be able to deal with him so much better than I ever have. I keep thinking mybe CBT may help.

Crying babies and toddlers are maddening to listen to, especially when it's YOUR baby and you feel such a huge sense of responsibility to just 'fix' it!!! I'd definitely go back to paediatrician and get reflux meds assessed. As someone else said, it can depend hugely on weight and also any new foods that may be triggering it. Could it be separation anxiety? Both our sons at this age have woke up in the night and seemingly lost all ability to self does get better though.

mummy2benji Thu 23-May-13 09:59:48

Never ever get sucked into listening to other mums' conversations and comparing! When ds1 was little I tried to go to a mums and toddlers group for support but it just made me feel worse, as the other mums talked about what sounded like trivial little problems with their infants while ds1 wouldn't drink and just screamed when I tried to feed him. I felt like other people's babies were easy and 'normal' and no-one understood what I was going through. In hindsight I think it was a shame that I got so worked up, those mums may not have understood what it was like for me but they would have been kind and supportive if I'd let them, I'm sure. All babies are challenging, at the end of the day - even easy ones! And what they are like as babies has no correlation with how they will be as school-age children. Ds1 is now 4.5yo and a lively, sociable, happy boy. I wish he ate better, and sometimes listened a bit better, but I think he is wonderful and I wouldn't change anything, despite that awful first year. Some of my friends who had 'easy' babies are now having issues with their older child at school - one hits other children. You're having a difficult time right now, but you may be the one with the 'easy' child in a couple of years time, you never know.

I've found a couple of parenting books really helpful for trying to reassess my parenting and learn to take a deep breath and relax a bit more - my problem is that when I get very stressed with dd2 crying, I am liable to snap or shout at ds1 which isn't fair. The Mumsnet book 'Why did nobody tell me?' is good, although not specifically for this particular issue, just parenting in general. I've just started 'How to talk so kids will listen' which seems good. I've noticed quite a lot of people on MN have recommended 123 Magic' - I haven't read it but I think it might be more relevant to helping you maintain calm and not take things personally. I sound like a self-help guru! I'm not at all... I just feel like I need a bit of help! Getting support and talking to others helps a lot too - have you tried a mums and babies group? Or just having a chat with your health visitor? That is what they are there for, and I have found my HV helpful.

The other thing that helps me is reminding myself that my baby is not unique - others cry too, and some are awkward with feeding. Therefore, other mums are out there dealing with the same thing, at the same time as me. I try to think to myself "what would the calm, unstressed mum do?" and then try to make myself calmly put dd2 down, give her a kiss, leave the room - and try not to flap and get wound up and start to lose the plot. Then I give myself a mental pat on the back for managing to be calm about it! And reward with chocolate. wink Sending you a hug

Cosmo89 Thu 23-May-13 14:18:43

Honestly, Oddbodd and Mummy2benji - you can't grasp how much I appreciate your responses. Your perspectives have made me readdress how I'm feeling and forgive myself (well, a little bit!). It feels absolutely wonderful to know that I'm not alone and the physical/emotional responses I'm having aren't just my own!

Thanks for offering ways forward - I'll have a go.

You've made me feel an awful lot better.


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