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How can DH settle a hysterical 13mo old?

(12 Posts)
RubyrooUK Wed 05-Oct-11 02:05:00

Please help. It's 2am and my DH is trying to get our 13 mo DS back to sleep. He has been hysterically screaming for 50mins so far. I mean terrible high-pitched shrieks, not just bog-standard crying.

He can continue this for up to 3 hours if I don't bf him back to sleep. When he was younger, DH would sing him back to sleep but now he is older, this doesn't work at all.

Please can someone tell my DH some tips (the baby co-sleeps, won't use a cot or a dummy or take a bottle) that might help with a very bf-obsessed baby?

We need to wean him off his middle-of-the night feeds to ttc and it really isn't working so far.

The screaming kills me and my DH just shouts at me for undermining him when I try to suggest his techniques that worked for a 3-month old don't work on a 13-month old. If he doesn't sing, he just says shhhhhh loudly or tells the baby to calm down in a frustrated way.

Part of the problem is that we rely on breastfeeding at night because DS has never slept well at all. And so DH hasn't really settled him much as I've done it with bf. Because DS is at nursery all day and clings to me at night too, this has seemed easiest to survive.

I want to let my DH handle this but I feel we will kill each other if this continues. I'm working full-time and almost as stressed as the baby at this point - does anyone have any tips?

I need to give DH some more ideas than pacing and singing/shhhhhing so I don't have to think he is crap at this and he doesn't feel I'm an interfering cow (I am)......

Any suggestions gratefully received.

TanteRose Wed 05-Oct-11 02:19:53

Vigorous bouncing and swinging?


ride in the car?

will he lie down to sleep with DH? you may have to do separate rooms for a while...

your baby is going to need a drink though...sippy cup for water? (you and your DH are going to need a drink too, by the sounds of it..whiskey?? grin)

I would normally say just feed him but if you are TTC then I guess you are going to have to grin and bear it.

RubyrooUK Wed 05-Oct-11 02:31:24

Yep, he has now tried Waybuloo and a cup of water but 1hr 15 min later, the baby is still hysterical.

God knows why we are ttc when we can't settle this baby we already have and we are too tired/annoyed to feel sexy in any way....:-)

spiderslegs Wed 05-Oct-11 02:46:41

I remember exactly this with DS, still BF, co-slept until about 12 months then in a cot in our room - he used to stand in his cot, looking at me & screaming for three hours from about 1am onwards.

You're not going to like this, but in the end we put him in his cot & shhs'd him until he slept. It sometimes took an hour or so. But he always slept in the end.

I conceived when he was seven months old by dropping the bedtime feed & letting him have a bottle of EBM.

By the time DD was born he'd settled down & has been a brilliant sleeper ever since.

Stick togther, don't kill eachother & know this is just a phase, it will pass, although at the time it feels as though it may go on forever.

RubyrooUK Wed 05-Oct-11 20:21:05

Thanks all. After 1.5hrs, DS was nowhere near sleeping and still screaming hysterically (he has had a hoarse throat all day as a result). I fed DS in the end as both DH and I had big days at work ahead; he fell asleep in 10 minutes. We are all still alive for now. Till later.....hmm

thisisyesterday Wed 05-Oct-11 20:25:03

hmmm i would have suggested just going with the flow as well tbh.

would it be plausible to wait a few months and give it another go? just because he screams now doesn't mean he still will when he is older?

otherwise, are you there? does he know you are there?
what normally happens when he wakes? is he in your room still?

RubyrooUK Wed 05-Oct-11 20:50:29

Yes, he knows I am there when he wakes because he likes to spend all night squiggling about in our bed.

Last night, he woke at 1:30 (after a breastfeed from 8-9pm and another from 11-11:20) when I actually fell out of bed because he had been wiggling around, taking up my personal space and I fell onto the floor. hmm

Cue the next 90mins of his dad trying to settle him. And him acting like he was being dunked in boiling water despite constant cuddling and singing.

It's the same when I go out. Best case scenario - 2 hours of crying till point of exhaustion, quick sleep then awake again by 10pm to carry on crying. Worse case scenario - projectile vomiting in fury and not going to sleep at all till I return home.

He is a very happy, sunny boy during the day. Super affectionate and very sociable. Loves playing jokes for the crowd. He has just always been on the stubborn side and bad at sleeping but this is terrible.

Maybe we should wait as you suggest...but the hospital has referred me to the fertility clinic as for various reasons (I'm not good at having babies) and the message is if we want more kids, we have to get on with it. I'm trying to cut down feeds at night enough to make a pregnancy possible.

Sorry, too much information, too little sleep. smile

thisisyesterday Wed 05-Oct-11 22:59:06

hmmm so you don't think that you sleeping somewhere else would help then?

have you read the pantley book? the no-cry sleep solution? might be worth a read. we introduced a dummy and comforter to ds2 at 9 months because he was still waking every 45-90 minutes all night and it was killing me.
would rather not have had a dummy but tbh it worked and that was all that mattered at the time.

my other thought was whether you could try (and you may need to really persevere with it) and get him to take a bottle. I only suggest a bottle because it's maybe a bit more comforting and snuggly to drink from than a beaker. if you can persuade him to take one during the day (if he doesn' already) then daddy may be able to settle him with it at night too if you are also not in the room?

RubyrooUK Wed 05-Oct-11 23:23:09

I read the No Cry Sleep Solution (must work on getting DH to read it) but I note that she had to make a personalised book on stopping breastfeeding to encourage one kid to give up! Argh! Is that what awaits me????

Tried dummy but it never worked. He has consistently spat it out.

DS has not breastfed in the day from 7 months old in preparation for nursery and never taken a bottle (and believe me, I tried and tried). He just eats normal meals all day (he eats really well - likes almost any food) and breastfeeds at night.

He has gone to nursery for five months now and never taken a single bottle (he was offered two a day until recently when the staff gave up as he is over one now and happily eats yoghurts etc). I would love him to take a bottle - I offered them from six weeks but he has never been keen.

This child has stubborn printed through him like a stick of rock.

Thanks for all the support. We might try buying some more barriers for his bed to try and leave him in his own room more (also failed on ever getting him in a cot).

Cheers for letting me rant.

ZhenXiang Wed 05-Oct-11 23:23:59

I breastfed to 22 months and can really understand the need to wean off night feeds especially if time is ticking on ttc.

I decided to nightwean (and fully wean in my case) in three stages starting at 18 months, first get DD used to a bottle of EBM, then slowly switch to cows milk (by starting with 50/50 then increasing cm %) then eventually to water all given by DH.

With the feed I actually cut out the dreamfeed (11 o'clock ish) first as if it all went wrong it wasnt the middle of the night. I found that once DD started having cows milk at this time she went longer to the next feed naturally. Did have problems with cows milk at first with wind and painful belly after feed so switched to lactose free and she has been fine since.

Next I cut the middle of night feed(s) (Dh slept in her room for a few nights to establish this).

Lastly I cut the bedtime feed.

I did however stop the co-sleeping a while before we started this as she would smell the milk on me and wake more often in our bed.

I do have to warn you that nightweaning doesn't necessarily mean no night waking. I waited until after DD was fully weaned to ttc and now 5 months pregnant. DD (2.4) is still waking in the night with wet nappy or having had a nightmare. She does go back to sleep in under 10 minutes unless very bad nightmare though.

Good luck.

Trillian42 Thu 06-Oct-11 12:16:48

Rubyroo you sound just like me. DD is now just 16mths and we have the same sunny, happy baby during the day who hates sleep and treats DH like a leper during the night. She only wants me, and a feed. No bottle, no cuddles from DH and definitely no cot. We've just gone with the flow as not TTC and many and various attempts at sleep training didn't work. We have got her into a cot where she sleeps from 7.30 until any wake up after 11, but I feed her to sleep on the bed and we transfer her. When she wakes any time after 11 (sometimes not til 4 on a very good day!), I take her back into our bed to feed her to sleep and DH moves into her room.

The reason I'm giving you our history is that feeding to sleep is still working for us... but only sort of. She now takes an hour plus to settle during the night. She'll feed on one side and seem to sleep restlessly and then look for the other side. Cue lots of tossing and turning until she eventually drops off enough that I can move away and get under the duvet. I really wish we had stuck out the sleep training at the same stage you're at. I couldn't take hearing her cry for hours - I could hear her in the room across the hall with both doors shut and earplugs in so I couldn't sleep, and DH obv couldn't sleep and it got to the stage where we were all like walking zombies so I caved. Now that feeding to sleep isn't working either I'm back to walking zombie and square one. Stick it out and good luck...

RubyrooUK Thu 06-Oct-11 15:05:24

Oh good god Trillian, you mean your only sleep weapon - breastfeeding - no longer works? I'm not surprised you feel knackered.

Thanks for your story. I think there needs to be some sort of international support group for non-sleepers. "Happy sociable child by day; demon rejecting all but their mother at night? Come on in!"

The worst thing is that I didn't sleep till I was FOUR. My mum breastfed me till I was two at which point I was bribed to stop feeding but still didn't sleep.

So my mum has no useful advice apart from feeling sorry for me. Interestingly, my brother always slept fine using the same approach and stopped feeding at 13mo, so she says she has come to believe some babies are just tricky at night. And she says that comparing parenthood with a sleeping baby versus having a night demon is just an entirely different experience - she found only other parents of night demons really understood that special version of hell. So that cheers me up a bit. Although I blame her for my son's bad night gene as it seems to be a direct inheritance!

Maybe I will find the sleep secret and make millions. Or my husband and I will simply bumble through life bickering and talking about sleep in the awed manner once reserved for a really special night out...

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