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At end of tether with sleep-refusing 1 year old DD

(22 Posts)
delilah89 Wed 06-Nov-13 14:23:21

I have posted before with numerous calm queries but ARGH! I am at my wits end.

DD1 refuses all sleep and so it is a constant battle to get her to rest. She also plays up at mealtimes too and refuses food unless sort of tricked into eating some.

The past 36 hours have looked like this:

5.30am Up for the day (after wakings at 11.30 and 2.30). BF milk.
Lovely cheerful morning play & breakfast
9 am 45 min nap. BF to sleep and cuddled, took about half an hour.
1.30pm Taken upstairs for nap. BF to almost sleep then awake again,
scratching, pinching, screaming. Keeps standing up in cot.
Screams if left in room, screams if held (in 'baby rocking'
hold). Lots of v sad tears.
2pm Eventually to sleep after second round of BF
3.15pm Awake in good mood and lovely afternoon trip out to ducks
and walking practice at home
5.30pm Supper
6.30pm Bath & stories. BF to almost sleep then awake again,
scratching, pinching, screaming. Keeps standing up in cot.
Screams if left in room, screams if held (in 'baby rocking'
hold). Lots of v sad tears. Gave baby Nurofen as she does
have a cold at the mo.
7.30-8 Asleep after second (or even third) round of BF

5.30am Up for the day (after wakings at 11.30 and 2.30). BF milk.
Lovely cheerful morning play & breakfast
9am 45 min nap. BF to sleep and cuddled. Quite quick and happy
1.30pm Taken upstairs for nap. BF to almost sleep then awake again,
scratching, pinching, screaming. Keeps standing up in cot.
Screams if left in room, screams if held (in 'baby rocking'
hold). Lots of v sad tears.
2pm Eventually to sleep after second round of BF

HELP ME! I feel like the awful mummy as we always have such fun and she's a lovely smiley happy baby but then as soon as it is genuinely sleepy time she goes crazy. She's like a rabid cat, clawing screaming, and also such sad crying.... in the past I have let her miss naps or stay up later but it's never the answer, it only makes her more burnt out. She can look v. tired with big purple bags.... I don't know what to do. Let her stay up til she's tired? A few times I did this it resulted in nap at 4.30pm and then much later bedtime, but only still sleeping til 5.30. She isn't much better in pram or in our bed.
Should I keep forcing the naps/bedtime? I feel like I am doing that at the moment, almost like a baby guantanamo bay!Please help me, I feel so annoyed she won't eat the food I give her or sleep. She just likes BF and constant wakefulness.

prettywhiteguitar Wed 06-Nov-13 14:29:57

Don't let those tears get to you ! She's tired I would at 1 let her cry / tantrum it out

Mine did this a little but you have to feel the burn and let her cry, she needs to you to get her to go to sleep and she needs to learn to do that herself

It's hard I really sympathise

delilah89 Wed 06-Nov-13 14:35:58

Thank you whiteguitar (cool name btw). Did yours do the refusing food thing as well?

NorthEasterlyGale Wed 06-Nov-13 14:41:56

Our DS is 17 months and sounds very similar to your DD! His motto for his whole life to date is that 'sleep is for the weak'. He's always been a bad sleeper and didn't sleep through until he was 13 months (when we were on holiday and he was in a separate room - he's still in with us at home). The worst tantrums / thrashing / wrestling an octopus sessions are always at nap or bedtime. He doesn't always sleeps for naps but will sometimes pootle around in his cot for an hour and a half or so - I do insist on 'quiet time' on his own in his cot, even if he's awake; think he's transitioning from two to one naps.

The routine we have is:

> All nap and bed time have the same routine - Ewan the Dreamsheep switched on to 'heartbeat and rain' noise, into sleeping bag, give him his lovey, quick BF, same little words about going in his cot to sleep, into the cot and out I / DH go.

For me, the important things are:

> Sticking to defined nap time; either once or twice a day he'll go through the above routine. His call as to whether he sleeps or dances round his cot. He stays there either for an hour and a half if he's awake or until he wakes.

> If he cries, I can't leave him to cry - often, if I just go in and lie on the bed next to him (not interacting), he'll then calm and settle and I can go out again. When he's teething he won't go to sleep without one of us there - could your DD be teething at all? I'm sure the cold won't be helping as she probably gets even more snuffly when lying down. It's rotten.

> He must have his lovey at sleep time - absence of lovey or lovey being thrown out of cot will result in hysterics. The world is ending until it is returned. Does your DD have a comforter or anything?

> Sometimes, I have to accept that I've got to stay with him until he's asleep; either with him in bed next to me or with him in his cot. He goes through phases when sometimes he's better at self settling, sometimes he's worse. A lot worse. I've found that it's a lot less stressful if I 'accept' it's just the way it is. Probably sounds daft, but there we are.

> I know he'll be better once he's in his own room...if only I could get it finished. Good job DS2 isn't due in 16 weeks...oh, wait...grin

If all else fails, just keep repeating 'it's a phase, it'll pass' - it doesn't make anything better but it's true and it occupies your brain to help prevent insanity getting a grip. Certainly, my experience is that things have got progressively better over the last four months - we still have bad times, but overall things are a lot better.

Hope you find something that works for you.

<sits watching DS having his afternoon doze on the baby montior...he's looking out the window, twitching the curtains and playing some complex game involving passing his lovey through the bars of his cot>

Sorry that was so long blush

delilah89 Wed 06-Nov-13 14:47:53

Thank you that's very useful. She never had a lovey but I have been trying to get her to take on a favourite teddy. She does like him but usually throws him out of the cot as part of pre-sleep tantrum and doesn't need him to fall asleep. I am her lovey, is the problem!!!

She wakes so early in the morning I feel she does need 2 naps. But I like the idea of quiet cot time even if not sleeping.

My DD is in own room and it did make things a lot better!

delilah89 Wed 06-Nov-13 14:48:54

p.s. not sure if she's teething. Don't think so as she already has 12 teeth! Can't imagine any more at this stage!?

MigGril Wed 06-Nov-13 15:11:36

it is totally normal for some babies not to take much food at this age. Dont force her at all or you'll make meal times a battle ground. A good book to read on thisis 'My Child wont eat' really good book.

The naps are you sure she still needs two a day, when both mine changed to one we had a couple of months of missing lunch as they would be a sleep but may meanless fighting. As it sounds like you are trying to put her to bed to early at night at the moment, maybe when she isn't tired enough. Are you trying not to feed her to sleep? If you are trying to feed her to sleep then sounds like she just needs a bit longer and you are maybe trying too put her down to soon.

A lot of people find it works better if you try to follow your babies cues (yes even at this age) rather then trying to get her to fit into a timetable you have set. These times maybe aren't working for her anymore. follow the baby not the book or clock.

delilah89 Wed 06-Nov-13 15:21:10

I did go through a phase of doing that. It meant no sleep til 4pm then a nap til 5.30 and going to sleep at 8ish, then wake at 5.30.

Is that enough sleep for a 1yo? DD looked knackered.

Cosmo89 Wed 06-Nov-13 15:38:46

to repeat what others have said - we dropped two naps and went down to one anytime between 12 and c.1230 when DS was about 11 months. All teh books said nonsense - they need 2 naps - but DS didn't and I was sick of spending 30-40 minutes to try to get him down for a nap only to find that he was wide awake 20 minutes later. Worked a treat (the nights were still a nightmare sometimes but he's got Silent reflux, which he can't help) and he now regularly does c. 45 mins - 1.5 hours in the middle of the day. This is an achievement for us, though it's nothing compared to the clockwork 2 hour sleeps that some of his chums do at the same time.

So try dropping the morning one and go for an early post lunch nap at about 12 instead, for c. 1-1.5 hours (if she'll do it)? You might find that helps her routine a bit, makes her readier to sleep in the evening

Tbh it sounds like something is up that is beyond sleepings and timings - maybe something physical - perhaps teeth, perhaps not? or maybe you just have to bit the bullet and find a different way of putting her to sleep, which requires less intervention on your part (I say this, we still bounce our son to sleep and he's 17 months) ...but the BF might actually not be helping now she's older and the liquid in the tummy might not be helping her relax.

delilah89 Wed 06-Nov-13 15:41:48

ok, will try one nap only tomorrow, sounds good. We were doing this for a bit but she went through a phase when clocks changed of waking up super early and needing one at 9am again. Was silly of me to also insist she had pm one back.

Thanks all x

SoftSheen Wed 06-Nov-13 15:50:18

How about giving her an early lunch at about 11.15 ish, and then putting her down for a single, longer nap straight after? That way she will be more tired, and have a full tummy, so you might find it easier to get her down. If she still fights sleep, you could try sticking her in the buggy and going for a walk.

If it usually takes you until 7.30-8 pm to get her to sleep, then just shift her bedtime to 8 pm. Eventually, she may compensate by waking up a bit later in the morning.

This is what worked for DD at a similar age. We also found it helped a lot to have a really active morning, either at a toddler group or swimming etc.

prettywhiteguitar Thu 07-Nov-13 07:39:53

Mine would only eat at various points bread and then porridge. Will she eat toast ? Pick your battles, the sleep thing is the most trying as for the food as ds got older he has got better ! It doesn't last he's 5 now, still remember the porridge year, I went to sleep clinic with him and they said get him full if food and then settle by gradually moving away and the leave him

prettywhiteguitar Thu 07-Nov-13 09:29:05

Sorry wrote that with children climbing on me and didn't really make sense !

Sleep wise, I did the gradual thing with ds as he was fed to sleep but eventually I just had to leave him as he would have had me sat by him all night. We broke the back of it by having a really strict bedtime routine, porridge, ceebies nighttime, then story then sleep. Gradually left him for half an hour and then any crying after that was ignored , usually took 40idh mins to stop. After a week he settled in and stopped the wailing for both our sanity he just had to learn this was the way. At this point he was also getting up 3 times in the night and just walking about. I was crazy with tiredness.

The getting up early - 5.30 is way too early, was the same, I did controlled crying because I literally couldn't function during the day. Ds would get up 4.30-5.30 every day and then have a morning nap. I was really close to losing it so we did controlled crying for a week and it got him to 6.30, it's always been the same really he's just an early riser

mummyxtwo Thu 07-Nov-13 10:08:10

OP google 'wonder week 55' - you'll find it helpful and you'll read it going "ahhh, she does that!" Yes it's very common for them to go off eating and have poor sleep around this time. My dd2 is now 12mo and mealtimes are tricky - I often give her a plastic spoon to play with to distract her so I can feed her. She used to be great at finger food fruit, shoving strawberries and banana into her mouth, but for some reason she has gone off that and will only eat it if I mash it a bit and give it to her on a spoon. She won't be spoon fed without something to fiddle with, like toast fingers, a rusk or plastic spoons. I think it's a fussy phase that we just have to ride out, stay calm and don't panic if they don't eat. Don't let her see your stress or it will put her off eating further. I would try controlled crying for the sleep too, it's exhausting and depressing having to do what you're doing - I had similar with ds1 - and you are constantly on tenterhooks trying not to make a sound or jiggle them in a way that will wake them when they look like they might just be drifting off. All the best x

waterrat Thu 07-Nov-13 11:38:16

Ok - i agree with te others about the nap - you dont eve have to get her to 12 - my 18 month old has a nap at 11/1130 for two hours and is fine ...

It's a really annoying time going from 2 to 1 nap - probably it won't be easy for a few months more but I do think babies react to routine - look how babies will slot into a nursery routine within a few weeks .. Usually without tears ...

An if she needs a cat nap late afternoon I would do it then put her to bed a bit later ...she will grow out of that

don't think I'm mean - but I would be a little bit tougher about settling to sleep at bedtime - one bf before bed - then she needs to learn to sleep herself, honestly it's not unkind , my son is so happy now to get into his cot and fall asleep but he used to be just as you describe ...

Routine plus tucking her in, saying night night walk out the repeat repeat - don't pick her up you are confusing her and over stimulating her ....

We found singing / playing the guitar works really well to settle without having to pick up from cot ... Don't be moved by the tears she just doesn't know yet how to settle herself even when she is tired ..

If you are bf at night personally i would stop that - but you know she will probably wake randomly at night anyway my son is not getting milk at night for months now but still doesn't stop him waking and shouting ! But we try to ignore him and usually he is asleep again within a few minutes ...

delilah89 Thu 07-Nov-13 14:42:11

Ok thanks everyone - waited til 12 for nap today DD v happy. I'm now at work for afternoon but will go back at 5, relaxed dinner, then towards bed.

I will take seriously suggestions about getting her to self settle. I have always been a total weed about crying, but will try to be firm and competent and hopefully she will follow.

You know what it's like, it's a cycle. You get SO tired you bf them to sleep just because it will be easier.

prettywhiteguitar Thu 07-Nov-13 14:45:21

Oh yes ! Been there smile

waterrat Thu 07-Nov-13 19:03:39

Completely know what it's like / you will get there gradually / also agree we mentioned above about early waking / out bedtime back especially if she isn't settling / and if she wakes too early for you / just each morning try to leave her as long as possible - I never left ds wailing but if I ignored the first few shouts I realised he would calm down and spend 20 mins babbling happily / he was horrific for early mornings but I couldn't cope so have been trying everything f / later bed plus being a bit tough about getting up time has shifted him past 6am ...

LonelyGoatherd Thu 07-Nov-13 19:09:01

ds is nearly one and has given up on sleep completely over the last week. Am like a zombie, but selfishly glad it's not just us! Dreading tonight. Although he's still not gone to bed yet. Am leaving him to shout in his cot sad

delilah89 Thu 07-Nov-13 19:46:19

Ladies - a selection of the above seem to have worked! (None of the crying bits, but just moving to one lunchtime nap and slightly later bed time). In fact there was no crying just genuine sleepiness. We will see what the night holds but I thank ye heartily!!

LonelyGoatherd I feel your pain. So frustrating! Especially as they are nearly old enough to talk to and it seems they know what they're doing. In the morning sitting like a zombie at breakfast I often think how different it would be if I hadn't seen DD since 7pm... keep fighting the good fight, and have a wine

prettywhiteguitar Fri 08-Nov-13 11:39:24

Brilliant ! I am pleased for you smile

delilah89 Fri 08-Nov-13 12:19:15

Oh no! I thought it was going well but we had the worst night ever with DD waking every hour until 2am when she was awake (crying in our bed or tinkering in her cot) til 4am, then she bf back to sleep til 7.30. Napping now.

Has anyone got tips on how I could nightwean without DH's help? He is just v knackered and thinks she should go 'cold turkey' on bf hmm. I'd rather do it myself if poss.

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