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Baby cries self to sleep every night

(27 Posts)
darlingbabs Mon 30-Aug-10 19:21:19

Is this normal? our 5 month year old is happy to be put down awake but sleepy at his other 3 sleeps of the day. but at 7pm he goes completely ballistic every night, from the moment you start to zip up his grobag he just screams and screams. When i go and check on him he is grabbing his teddies and shoving them in his mouth/putting them over his face and seems almost to be asleep but still crying. we have a bedtime routine with a bath and quiet time before sleep but he just seems so upset. I know its not because of hunger/nappy or anything like that. I feed him again at 10pm and after i put him down then he is completely happy (same with his 9-10am nap and his 12-2pm nap). i just cant work out what is wrong with him, its been like this for as long as i can remember and there isnt any point shhhhsing him and all that as we have tried it all. do we just assume that he needs to do this before falling asleep? the only thing that does work is if you stick the bottle in his mouth for him to give it a final few sucks or a dummy but i really dont want to keep using those (and we havent been for about a month).

knickyknocks Mon 30-Aug-10 20:19:13

How long is he crying for? Why do you not want to use a dummy?

We gave our DD a dummy in the first few months, then she dropped it for a while, then around 6 months, she felt the need for it again - it seemed to comfort her straight away. I was always really concerned it'd become a difficult habit to break and that we'd end up having to give it to her when she woke at night, but it's never really happened. I was always very careful to remove the dummy once she had fallen asleep. More often than not, it had fallen out anyway.

I think babies start needing some sort of comforter around 6 months - you may find a muslin does equally well.

I think it's normal for babies to have a little cry before going to bed sometimes, just to say they're tired - particularly at 7pm when they're really shattered from the whole day. I'm not much of a believer in controlled crying (our DD always made herself sick whenever we tried it), so find the pick up put down technique is good (just shush them and rest baby back down if they try to sit up, stay in the room but give no eye contact as they fall asleep - keep your eyes down to the floor).

Hope that helps.

thisisyesterday Mon 30-Aug-10 20:33:00

if he needs the comfort of dummy/bottle then i would do that

not really fair to let him scream himself to sleep just because you've decided on a whim that you don't want to let him have that comforter

AngelDog Mon 30-Aug-10 20:43:19

Does he have a third nap? It sounds as if he could be overtired. Most babies this age need 3 naps a day - if he's awake for more than 2-3 hours at a time, he'll be overtired and it may be difficult to get him to sleep without tears (unless you're feeding or perhaps rocking him to sleep).

Romilly70 Mon 30-Aug-10 20:43:24

I am pg so can't tell you from personal experience, but in my baby whisperer book, tracey hogg was pro dummies as a self soothing aid. she said that by sucking furiously, the baby gets rid of a final bit of energy and then the dummy just drops out of the babies mouth.

she said problems can occur when adults keep popping the dummy back in, simply because it has fallen out, rather than the baby actually needs it...

AngelDog Mon 30-Aug-10 20:44:16

In fact, some babies this age will only manage an hour and a half awake before getting overtired.

darlingbabs Mon 30-Aug-10 20:44:41

i suppose i was worried about him becoming reliant on the dummy in case he starts waking up in the night and then needing it to go to sleep (and us having to get up and give it to him each time). if people think thats it ok to let him have it maybe it is? i just dont understand though that there is only one sleep where he needs it and gets upset. do people think that he might then start needing it for all the other naps too?

darlingbabs Mon 30-Aug-10 20:47:07

angeldog, yes sorry he does have a v quick nap in the afternoon too around 4ish but it usually only for 20-30 mins then he wakes up, its been getting shorter lately so maybe he does need more, but then wouldnt he stay asleep? i do think it is something to do with being it worth putting him to bed half an hour early do you think? then he would be awake from 2pm ish to 6.30pm ish with a 30 min nap in between?

AngelDog Mon 30-Aug-10 21:19:43

Ah, yes - that does sound like overtiredness is the problem. It means it's harder for babies to both get to sleep and stay asleep, which is why he's needing extra soothing at bedtime.

A very short nap (especially if it's less than 30 mins) may well be short because the baby is overtired. Less than 30 mins means a nap really doesn't do much to reduce tiredness.

I'd try moving his third nap earlier. If you see any signs of tiredness, put him down asap, even if it's a while before his usual 4ish time. And an earlier bedtime is definitely worth a try too. I'd say that being awake 2 - 3.30/4ish then 4/4.30 - 6.30ish would be reasonable, but you'll need to experiment a bit to see what works best.

AngelDog Mon 30-Aug-10 21:25:43

Oops, and I meant to say that until you manage to hit on the right timings that stop him being overtired, I'd give the dummy at bedtime and not worry about it too much.

resistanceisfutile Mon 30-Aug-10 21:32:11

My DD has always cried before going to sleep. It's actually more like a whinge / moan than a full on cry. She still does it now and she's 3! It's just her way of going to sleep I think.

Raejj Mon 30-Aug-10 21:39:51

Do you need to bring his bed-time forward? I started at 7pm with my son but now he goes to bed at 6 otherwise he's a mess. He gets up around 6.30amish with a dream-feed between 10-11. He's just over 4 months.

FrameyMcFrame Mon 30-Aug-10 21:45:49

sounds like you've got him on a pretty strict routine there!

Why don't you cut him some slack and give him a cuddle or some comfort when he cries?

Crying to sleep every night will mean his brain will be flooded with stress hormones which will be bad for his emotional development.

AAL Tue 31-Aug-10 06:54:19

With respect, I really don't think that is very helpful. I understand completely where you're coming from, but adding judgement and guilt to the mix won't feel supportive or helpful to anyone.

seeker Tue 31-Aug-10 07:13:52

If giving him a dummy or more milk gets him to sleep them give it to him - he's still very little - that has to be better than him - and presumably you - getting really upset every single evening.

FrameyMcFrame Tue 31-Aug-10 09:44:30

Sorry to come across as judgemental AAL.

The op asked if it was 'normal' for a baby to cry to sleep every night and to 'scream and scream' as she puts it, whilst being put into a gro-bag.

well in my opinion it's not normal!!!

If a baby cries, they are trying to tell you something! It's the only way they have to communicate with us really, so I think it should be taken as a sign that they're not happy.

AAL Wed 01-Sep-10 08:45:09

I'm hearing you and agree! I just know how guilt-ridden parent hood is at times especially when you're worried sick and knackered!

seeker Wed 01-Sep-10 12:19:34

But sometimes you're guilt-ridden because you're actually doing something wrong - and being told to carry on is not what you need. What you need is someone to say "What you're doing is not good for you or your baby,even though people around you are saying that it's all for the best, and here is permission to stop and follow your instincts."

fhutts Wed 01-Sep-10 19:19:52

AngelDog is spot on. It sounds like overtiredness, my DD was exactly the same but screamed from the minute I got her out the bath to the minute I fed her. Getting her dressed and zipping up the gro-bag was awful. I think that they anticipate being fed and going to bed and are so tired they are desperate to go to sleep, I wouldn't say you are doing anything wrong at all, but indeed as AngelDog says maybe a nap after 2pm just to take the edge off.
My DD has a little power nap between 3.30 and 4.30 for around half hour or 45 mins and the screaming literally stopped after a few days of this. She loves her baths and stories now.
best of luck

darlingbabs Wed 01-Sep-10 20:23:08

everyone thanks for your comments. interestingly he didnt cry this evening. i gave him his dummy for a while, then rocked him in a chair for a bit, then gave him more milk and then shoved him in bed with his teddies. he seemed happier. although i wouldnt normally go with this tactic it does seem to have worked. as long as i am not up every night putting his dummy back in now then it should be ok. long may it continue.

i have to say though (even though i had heard about it in the media), i am surprised at some of the criticism that people dole out on here as i would have thought it was supposed to be a supportive network. i did ask for advice but not judgement on my parenting skills or the insinuation that im running a 'strict routine' which avoids cuddling and comfort. I have found that its nice to have some structure as long as you are willing to be flexible around this when needs must. I appreciate that different people look at things differently but surely its preferable to support other women who may be in similar situations to yourself particularly when being a mum is so tough anyhow. What happened to the sisterhood?! So 3 cheers for AAL, thanks for your kindness!

susitwoshoes Wed 01-Sep-10 20:35:05

OP, do you feed your DC to sleep at night? I couldn't work out if you were BF or FF (just cos I don't know how it work work with a bottle, not judging grin!). DD goes down fine awake for her naps (now, bit of a nightmare getting her there!) and for a long time I thought it would be wrong to feed her to sleep at night, but now I always do - basically DP does bath then brings her into me, he pops her in the sleeping bag then start feeding (listening to lullaby CD at the same time), she falls asleep pretty smartly whilst feeding. She will wake when I swap sides but drops off again, and again when I get up to put her in the cot, but again drops off. I just make sure that her blankie and penguin are within reach. I leave the CD on low volume for about an hour then switch it off. She doesn't have a dummy but sucks her fingers which helps her self soothe too.

I hope some of this helps, sleep training is difficult, you do worry that you're instilling bad habits but IME it's fine. Interestingly she had a nursing strike last week, wouldn't BF for 24 hours, and she still went down fine, which shows that no harm has come of it, for us at any rate!

susitwoshoes Wed 01-Sep-10 20:35:44

would work, not work work blush

darlingbabs Thu 02-Sep-10 08:48:17

Thanks Susitwoshoes, im doing it with a bottle now. But i think what you do could still work with the bottle. Im happy that it all worked out last night and I shall continue to persevere. thanks again everyone!

Raejj Thu 02-Sep-10 09:14:52

If it helps any despite getting up about 7 and going to bed at 6 my 5 month old has 3 naps a day

Orissiah Fri 03-Sep-10 09:49:34

At 5 months my DD had three naps a day too: 9am, 12pm and 3.30pm. But until she was around 1 years old she too cried for 5 mins or so before she slept at night at 7pm (though interestingly she never cried after her 10.30pm feed - just went straight back to sleep until the morning). Because her 7pm crying started fierce then lowered in intensity and got more sporadic, I did go up to her and she simply fell asleep. It was her way of winding down. Since around 1 years old, the crying at bedtime stopped. We never used a dummy (but largely because she rejected it).

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