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I'm losing it, and not sure what else to do

(20 Posts)
kveta Tue 23-Nov-10 12:53:26

DS is nearly 14 months old. He has never been a good sleeper, although with the introduction of a decent routine, and solid foods, we thought we'd got him on the path to sleeping properly. He got up to 8 hours some nights between 8-12 months, and DH and I were starting to feel almost human again.

Then around the time of his 1st birthday, his sleep suddenly got awful again. It took hours to get him down for the night, then he'd wake an hour later, and only settle in a weird position (preferably one which was desperately uncomfortable for both DH and I) in our bed, and wriggle all night long. For the past 2 months, he's been averaging 5 hours sleep a night. We've had a couple of right through the nighters, but more often than not, he's up and wriggling. He tends to get his longest sleep at the moment just as our alarms go off - so the alarm goes off at 6, and he is normally dropping off by 5.45 am, then I have to wake him at 8 for breakfast, then rush out of the house.

A few weeks back, his sleep was so bloody awful I took him to the GP, and she diagnosed an ear infection - 2 days on amoxicillin, and he started sleeping 3 or 4 hours in a row, it was bliss. but he's back to his old tricks again now. We got so fed up on satruday, we let him scream (with us in the room) - he took 4 hours to finally fall asleep. Sunday he took 2 hours, but only slept for an hour, then spent the night kicking me, until just before my alarm went off, when, predictably he conked out.

Las tnight he was so knackered, he was asleep before I'd finished his bed time feed, so I put him down in his cot - he slept for 2 hours, then woke up screaming and took 4 hours to get back down. for an hour. usual pre-alarm clock nodding off.

DH and I are broken with tiredness. We both work 5 days a week (I only do 9-3, but obviously still need to be out the house early, and I do all the cooking/washing/cleaning, so am not swanning around with a coffee as my colleagues seem to think).

Our routine is the same EVERY day - wake up at ~6.30 ish (DH has to get up earlier for work), breakfast, get dressed, clean teeth, then out the door on weekdays, and more oftne than not at weekends too. DS has a brief nap in the morning -~30 mins or so. Without it he doesn't eat lunch. We try and run him around in the morning too. Lunch is at 12.30-1 ish. He normally refuses it all except a yoghurt (although nursery have had limited success with fruit at lunch). afternoon nap is at 1.30, although often takes hours to actually fall asleep. 1.5 hrs afternoon nap. feed/snack when he wakes up. he then runs around scavenging food until dinner at 6ish (which he sometimes eats). bath, feed, bed by 7.30. He's rarely asleep before 8.30, more often than not runs around his cot yelping until 10. Up and down like a bloody yo yo all night long.

He's seemingly stuck in a loop of endless tiredness/hunger, but is still bouncing off the walls like a free electron all the time.

I just don't know what else to do. He's going into his own room in january when we move house (no space now).

I'm seeing the GP this afternoon (about unrelated stuff, but will be mentioning sleep), as I'm sure there must be some reason behind him just never sleeping. But I'm worrying that it's just lax parenting. We are totally at our wits end though, and haven't got a scooby what to do.

sorry this is so long, I fully expect it to be ignored! but needed to write it down between hits of caffiene

Owlingate Tue 23-Nov-10 13:45:55

Have you tried dropping the morning nap, then early lunch 11ish and afternoon nap by 12? Then stick to one snack when he wakes up, dinner at 5 and bed by 7. Sounds like he is going to sleep too late in the pm which makes his bed time tiredness too late iykwim.

I think he sounds overtired and hungry, DS1 had an awful phase like this when he was dropping the morning sleep. What do you do when he wakes up in the night? Mention the eating to the GP too, there may be more to it than just being fussy.

kveta Tue 23-Nov-10 14:18:18

we've tried losing the morning nap - it's horrendous, he just screams at lunch, no matter how early. dinner is at 6 because I get home at 4, and normally have conference calls until 5 or 6 (I collaborate with a lot of folk in the US, and 4-6 is the only time to conf call with them, sadly), so then start cooking it - on the rare occasions we do eat earlier than 6, he still refuses to sleep in the evening.

I think you're right about the afternoon sleep being too late though. we'll try and insist on it being immediately after lunch, and try to gradually drop the morning nap.

I just don't think I'm very good at this parenting thing tbh. especially not in conjunction with work.

kveta Tue 23-Nov-10 14:18:33

and thanks for reading my epic, it's much appreciated

StealthPolarBear Tue 23-Nov-10 15:05:21

ohhh kveta no advice from me on the sleep thing but it sounds hard and you are a good parent - some bits are just harder than others.
Oh and btw it sounds like you work 9-6, not 9-3 which is a long day!

smallwhitecat Tue 23-Nov-10 15:21:55

Message withdrawn

amijee Tue 23-Nov-10 15:28:17

what exactly is happening from 6pm onwards? is he fed? when does he go into your bed? how do you put him to sleep at night?

NapWhatNap Tue 23-Nov-10 16:22:10

I don't have any experience of this but can offer sympathy. Food/hunger does seem to be an issue as you say- that's what stands out for me from your post.

If I were you I'd get a stock of really easy finger foods- recently I've been giving my dd pittas with cream cheese, and sticks of avocado, which takes less than minute to prepare. That way you can get it on the table pronto at dinnertime with no actual cooking, and bring bedtime forward a little.

The Baby Whisperer (sorry if you hate her!) also suggests that with chronic snackers you withhold snacks for a few days and just give meals. Apparently it's fairly hellish for a day or two but it works and gets them filling up at mealtimes.

Have you also tried giving him toys in his cot? That's what we do with dd when she wakes up at 5am- there's no settling her, it's just her pattern at the mo, but if she's playing we at least get a bit more sleep,and sometimes she drops off again too.

Owlingate Tue 23-Nov-10 17:39:34

Kids that don't sleep well make you feel like a rubbish parent, but its not true - if you were a rubbish parent you wouldn't be trying to do anything to help him sleep better. Agree with napwhatnap's suggestions of easy dinner - don't know what he eats but just defrost something you cooked yesterday, or hot sandwiches or omelette or something.

Trying to change sleep habits is can be a very gradual process - sometimes it just 'clicks' and it may take at least week of trying the same thing iykwim. It took me 4 weeks of trying the same thing to stop DS2 waking at exactly 5.10am every day but I'm so glad I didn't stop trying.

beachavendrea Tue 23-Nov-10 18:30:51

Just adding to what everyone else has said sleep deprivation is a killer and it makes you go insane when my ds wasn't sleeping I thought I was the worlds worst mother.

We had problems with our ds and we used a sleep consultant, his sleep has really improved (from waking 4-5 times a night to sleeping through) we still have some bad nights like when he is teething but all in all the best money we ever spent. Basically i had read all the books but was too tired to make any sort of plan and realised that we needed help!

Maybe something worth considering but it did take us about 6 weeks to implement all the changes. And Owlingate is right one day it just clicked for him and for me!

stickersarecurrency Tue 23-Nov-10 18:52:30

A few suggestions ... DS is 3 and a rotten sleeper so more ideas and sympathy than solutions I'm afraid!

Call your HV - some are better than others but most will be able to offer some help and support. They will (hopefully!) have had enough sleep to help you make a plan!

Forget balanced meals. Feed him things you know he'll eat for now. Spaghetti hoops are the staple "tired tea" in this house. I rely on bananas, yogurt and Soreen to top up if DS hasn't had much of his last meal.

Have you tried getting more napping into the day? Seems counterintuitive but for us it helped stave off the overtired mania at bedtime. Some kids just need a ton of sleep and without it they're seriously hyper - I know this for a fact because I've got one!

What about arranging a more comfortable cosleeping setup? Cotbed sidecar, mattresses on floor, single bed so one of you can get some sleep if he's fidgety? I really resisted this sort of thing but you'll get nowhere unless you have caught up a bit. These days I cheerfully tell people I don't care who sleeps where as long as we're all asleep!

I really hope you get somewhere. I so identify with the feeling of total defeat and despair. It will get better

stickersarecurrency Tue 23-Nov-10 18:55:31

In RL I'm capable of ending a sentence without an exclamation, honest.

Teaandcakeplease Tue 23-Nov-10 19:01:34

With both of mine I've spent a lot of time referring to this book as I've found it invaluable. However I tended to use baby whisperer sleep training methods not CC but all the authors advice I found helpful.

I think he is stuck in an over tired state and you'll need to jig things gradually. I think moving him into his own room in January maybe hard but ultimately he may sleep better. Perhaps a gradual move into his own room where you move the cot further and further away from your bed and then into next door will work? I haven't read the whole thread though. I think for now it's about survival though in many ways and maybe taking turns on who kips on the sofa for a better nights sleep between you and your H? But that book is hard to read in places but informative imo.

stickersarecurrency Tue 23-Nov-10 19:08:19

Also, "free electron" is a genius description of an overtired toddler grin

kveta Tue 23-Nov-10 19:49:21

thanks for all the suggestions! went to the GP, who took one look at his ears and immediately prescribed more antibiotics - he's got a bad ear infection again it seems. longer course of ABs this time. GP was lovely too, and said to consult HV if he's not sleeping a bit better by the end of the AB course - and if HV can't help, come back to GPs.

He's asleep now, after totally refusing all his dinner except 2 beetroots and a yoghurt confused

anyway, ear infection plus a bit of a cold, plus he's apparently teething - I don't blame him for not sleeping. Poor little boy, I feel so bad getting frustrated with him when he's feeling rough. Oh well, this too shall pass. right?

ChutesTooNarrow Tue 23-Nov-10 19:53:03

Oh god kveta I was thinking of writing out my own sleep woes epic too but you have saved me the bother grin Always take comfort that you are not alone, and fgs don't go blaming yourself. I keep on losing sight that this won't be forever and it is grim and destructive when you can't see things will ever improve. You have to believe it will get better <whimpers slightly>

I am clearly not qualified to give any sleep advice though, I shall instead step back and watch this thread for a miracle 14 month old boy sleep cure

Acanthus Tue 23-Nov-10 19:54:06

Your routine sounds pretty solid to me, so it's reassuring in a way to hear tht he is ill, ie there is some out-of-the-ordinary cause for all this. Keep an eye out for repeated ear infections if he's had two now, DS2 had 4 or 5 within 12 months and nearly had grommets fitted after various hearing tests, but a long low-dose AB course saw off the problems in the end. (He's 9 and has fine hearing now, btw.)

kveta Wed 24-Nov-10 12:10:00

aww, chutes - they will both sleep one day, and when that day comes, we can celebrate together with copious quantities of wine

thanks acanthus - i'm hoping the antibiotics will knock this on its head for the time being, DH has bad hearing after repeated ear infections as a child (and no treatment for them). just wish he (DS) would sleep for a wee bit longer at night...

AngelDog Wed 24-Nov-10 22:28:09

Glad you've had improvement. The initial problem may have been to do with the 13 month sleep regression, which hits around 12-13 months.

More info here and here

AngelDog Wed 24-Nov-10 22:29:14

Sorry, I didn't mean improvement - I meant clarity as to what the problem might be.

Hope he's better soon.

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