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Can anyone suggest what to do with a 1-year old who has never slept through?

(20 Posts)
sleepychunky Sun 05-Dec-10 22:05:22

Title says it all really - DS2 was 1 on Tuesday and has never slept through the night (and I mean 7pm ish until 6.30 or 7 ish, which is what I think he should be having as he sleeps for 2½- 3 hours in the day).
My problems are: DS1 was a really good sleeper and slept 12 hours a night every night from about 6 months, even when he was teething, so I haven't got past experience to go on. Also DS2 isn't well and has had a bad cough and rattly chest since September (under investigation with paeds at the hospital but no proper diagnosis or medicine). Because of this I don't want to leave him to cry as crying makes his cough worse, then he gets distressed and cries more etc. etc.
It's also not that he's full-blown screaming - it's more of a grumbling/mumbling where I can hear that he's not properly awake, but not settled either.
He sleeps fine at nap times during the day (after a few minutes of the same grumbling noises whilst he gets off to sleep), and is a gorgeous and happy baby.
At the moment I'm going for the path of least resistance and settling him back with a feed (he's FF) but I know he doesn't really need it and I shouldn't be doing it. Problem is that I have a 3.6 DS1 who is somewhat erratic with his sleep and can often get out of bed several times a night if things are bothering him. Plus my DH does shift work and is often not home overnight, so I've got them both on my own. I work full-time OOH and am basically shattered all the time. I really didn't think that I'd still be getting no more than 3 hours sleep at a time, and never more than 5 in total by now.
Can anyone give me any suggestions? Do I need to get tough or is this really not a good time bearing in mind DS is poorly? We're going on holiday in April for the first time in 6 years, and will all be sharing a room. I am petrified that I am going to get no sleep at all, all week (DH is a big snorer, but that's another issue) and really want DS's sleep to be fixed by then.
Sorry for this long post but I would love some suggestions. Will probably not be on here much longer tonight as I really need to try and get some sleep, but will check back tomorrow morning at the latest (and maybe in the middle of the night too if DS has me up...)

PeasPlease Sun 05-Dec-10 22:26:11

How about you or your partner sleep next to him and comfort him when he wakes but don't feed him.

It is hard but it doesn't take more than 3/4 nights if you are consistent and you don't talk or mess about when he wakes up (otherwise he might end up wanting you there to play with).

pookamoo Sun 05-Dec-10 22:37:10

I feel your pain, sleepychunky... my DD first slept through the night when she was 15 months old. I could tell you the exact date, if you like! And, it was a one-off, and I was back at work, too.

She's 2 now, and mostly sleeps through, so I would say "this too shall pass".

Could you leave a beaker in the cot for him to find, so you don't have to go to him every time? We do this with DD, it's cows' milk and has always been fine overnight. Once she got the idea of finding it for herself, it made our lives much easier!

sleepychunky Mon 06-Dec-10 21:14:30

Thanks for your replies. We can't sleep next to him as he is in a cotbed in his own room, which is quite small with no room for anybody else to sleep nearby.
I think I'm going to have to go down some kind of CC/sleep training with him. DH can't stand hearing DS make any kind of distressed noise at all though, so it will have to be when he's on night shifts and not around to feel bad for not going in the instant he makes a sound.
Will have to plan carefully around work and weekends, and maybe let DS1 go and have a sleepover at nanny's house so he doesn't get disturbed if things go bad.

SparklyJules Mon 06-Dec-10 21:27:08

Just wanted to say I've been there, my ds didn't sleep through until he was 2.7 and we stopped breastfeeding. I think once he knew he wasn't going to get a feed (it took a few nights) he stopped waking. Maybe its time to stop the ff when he wakes? Could you also cut his naps down? Maybe 2hrs during the day?

I understand your DH rushing in at every upset noise, I used to be the same! I hope you get some good advice and start getting some sleep soon, I remember almost falling asleep at my desk every day and feeling like I was losing the plot because I was so shattered.

Good luck x

thatsnotmymonkey Mon 06-Dec-10 21:31:59

sleeychunky I think whatever you decide to do you need your partner to support you and not be thinking you need to keep your DS quiet for his benefit. If your DS is grumbling, but not actually awake or crying out, will he settle himself back to sleep?

If your older child will go to her GPs house, then that is a good idea.

headfairy Mon 06-Dec-10 21:36:55

I feel your pain sleepchunky... dd is 1 in four weeks and hasn't slept through either. However she only wakes once a night, usually around 3am. I battled with her for ages, she was waking hourly for a while so I gave up and did what felt right and fed her. I still do a night feed most nights, but I have noticed that if I do she sleeps until 7am. If I don't then I have the night from hell. I figure it's a small price to pay. Some babies just need a feed at night I suppose.

If I'm feeling really shattered then I'll feed her while co-sleeping (would that be possible for you on the nights your dh is at work?) so I can drift off easily, but at most a feed takes 30 mins and she settles right back.

Of course I'd prefer to have uninterrupted sleep but you do what you can to survive. DD is a fabulous feeder so I can't understand why she needs a night feed, but if it keeps her happy.... Sorry that's not very useful is it?

abdnhiker Mon 06-Dec-10 21:44:37

Neither of my two slept through until after a year but it really was hunger that woke them. With DS1 at 12 months we actually used to feed him a banana at around 5am then stumble back to bed. It was a bit messy on the sheets but very easy to leave outside the door each night. Is your LO waking at the same time each night? Is in more early morning or middle of the night? If you can figure out if it is hunger, then that will help your decision...

Both boys sleep through now though and DS1 can even turn on cbeebies by himself so we occasionally sleep in until 7am - bliss.

nancydrewrockinaroundxmastree Mon 06-Dec-10 21:46:25

My DC2 ddn't sleep through at all until he was 2.

The only thing that worked was giving up. If DS woke up one of us brought him into bed with us. At 18mths we put him in a bed and told him he could come in our bed if he woke up. He used to creep in quiet as a mouse and often I didn't know he was there until morning.

He has just about grown out of it now at 4.

bumbums Mon 06-Dec-10 21:48:04

I think you've got to wait till he's well again before you do the cc. But think you've already decided this?
You know they can change very quickly at this age and although he hasn't got a good night sleep pattern at the moment you will be able to rectify this quicker than you imagine. It'll take a couple of weeks but you can do it.

Till then carry on feeding in the night and doing whatever you have to to get more sleep!

suwoo Mon 06-Dec-10 21:53:14

No idea, but I'll do you a two for one on my 16 month old who does occasionally sleep through and his 4 year old brother who hasn't.

Oh and an extra special gift of some reality to go with it.

headfairy Mon 06-Dec-10 22:05:27

A couple of things that have helped with dd (not that she doens't wake up, but at least it's not hourly!) I've put lots of teddy bears in her cot, for some reason this had an instant result. She was able to settle herself at least 50% of the time almost immediately.

Another thing that helped with settling back was turning off all distractions. DS used to love having his music light projector thingy playing, still does and it sends him off to sleep immediately. However dd hates it. I mistakenly used it to try and get her off to sleep for ages, but eventually worked out it was stimulating her too much. Ditto any kind of night lights etc.

I now put dd down in her cot awake when she's looking sleepy but I don't leave her, I just stand with my hand on her back until her breathing is deep and slow and I think she's asleep. I think that's also helped her to settle herself a bit more at night because I do still hear her occasionally whimper but if I give her a minute she'll go back to sleep. I can't bear cc so as soon as I hear her doing more than a whimper I get up, but I do at least give her a chance. I used to be out of bed like a shot at the first murmer so I didn't really give her a chance to learn to re-settle herself.

My other top tip is get an early night!!! Which is what I'm going to do now. Even if she does wake at 3am I can at least get 5 hours in before then!

ladykay Mon 06-Dec-10 22:31:47

I did a tiny bit of cc with my DS at 1 year, going back every four minutes, very perfunctory re-settling, it was all over in twenty mins - but understand why you don't want to do this at present. You must follow your instincts. With this in mind, I HAD to do it when my DH was out for the night so that I could 'listen' to my own instincts, rather than worrying who else was being bothered by it and panicing. I did it as he was actually getting worse and waking ALL the time. I was okay with a fair few wake ups as he was breastfed til 15 months and got teeth late, but I had to rein it in at a year for my sanity (also working). So without doing cc I also got some respite by having a big comfy beanbag by his cotbed - would you have room for this? I had a blanket to hand and could snuggle down with my hand stroking his head and nod off on the beanbag (or whatever comfy little set-up you can arrange - the blanket + back support is vital!).

sleepychunky Tue 07-Dec-10 20:35:26

Thanks everybody for all your messages. Will try and digest them in a little while but I'm preparing for a job interview on Thursday at the moment (DH's birthday tomorrow so we're going out in the evening and I won't have any time to do it during the day)
Will reply properly in a little while hopefully, but I'm really grateful that so many of you have replied.

scouserabroad Tue 07-Dec-10 20:45:27

DD2 was still having two bottles every night when she was a year old blush . One around midnight and one around 4 a.m. Then she dropped the midnight one, but still had one bottle every night until she was <wait for it> 22 months old grin .

I tried controlled crying but she cried from midnight until 6 a.m for about a week so I decided that I prefered doing night feeds! Plus she was a tiny, skinny little thing who ate tiny portions of food during the day and I always worried that she actually needed the milk (although the doctor said that she didn't!) I don't know why she eventually dropped her night feed, she prob just didn't want it anymore.

So, what to do... well, I don't know really, as this whole sorry tale proves! Just wanted to say that sometimes these things sort themselves out

suwoo Tue 07-Dec-10 21:49:16

Don't blush scouserabroad my DS still has up to four bottles (just moved on to sippy cups) a night and he is 4.

CoonRapids Tue 07-Dec-10 22:08:33

Sounds all too familiar, DS at 15mo still waking 2-3 times a night. In fact he'll prob wake in a minute so better be quick! I've got the HV coming this week to advise! Dreading what she will say. I'm still bf him back to sleep. We were co-sleeping, now he goes to sleep in his room in a low toddler bed (won't go in a cot) after a long period of settling. Then I end up sharing the toddler bed with him (luckily I'm short!!) after he wakes and won't settle and then bringing him back into our bed. Not good!!

pmcdonald24 Thu 09-Dec-10 13:43:46

be a horrible mum and leave them to cry. i know it goes against everything but it worked for us and our little one as been sleeping through since he was about 8 months old.

it is horrible but they get the idea eventually and after 2 or 3 nights they dont wake

trust me it works - have passed this tip to all my friends who have had the same problem

BlueChampagne Fri 10-Dec-10 13:27:42

Scouserabroad DS2 currently has 1-2 bottles a night and I really think he is just hungry because he guzzles 6oz each time. DS1 responded to CC very quickly but this one is determined to do it his way. We tried for over a week, pcmdonald24, but without success. Like you we prefer quick (ideally!) night feeds to interminable wailing.

We also like the Ashes in Australia because then DH is keen (almost) to get up so he can put the radio on!

scouserabroad Fri 10-Dec-10 19:08:08

lol after about 18 months I was embarrassed to admit to people that DD2 still had a nightly milk habit! We are in France and I think controlled crying is the norm here!

Been thinking about this and actually DD2 just gradually drank less and less of her bottle at night, until she was drinking nothing at all and the night waking stopped at the same time. Fairly painless really... which is more than could be said for the hourly feeds she needed until she was six months old grin

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