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Can't get 14mo to go into cot drowsy

(14 Posts)
vvviola Tue 13-Nov-12 09:55:31

DD2 wakes every 2 hours overnight for a brief comfort breastfeed, is fed to sleep and is a bottle refuser.

For various long and complex reasons, I'm beginning to wean her off breastfeeding (onto special non-allergic formula), but need to get her sleep sorted first/also.

Stage one was going to be bedtime. We've introduced a routine of sorts (still working out some kinks) and I was hoping to do the "put her down drowsy and sssh-pat until asleep" idea. Except she won't go down drowsy. Even if I feed her until her eyes are really heavy and she's nearly asleep in my arms as I carry her to the cot.

The minute she's in the cot she's wide awake, playing with shadows, chatting, rolling over. It took me 45 minutes of rubbing her back the other night for her even to lie still enough to think about sleeping.

It seems she can either go into the cot fast asleep or wide awake. Nothing in between.

Any advice? My back can't take much more of the patting/rubbing/ssshhing for 45 minutes at a stretch...

Conkers32 Tue 13-Nov-12 11:09:13

I feel your pain with this one, we had the same thing and it's v frustrating sitting in a dark room trying to get a wide-awake child to sleep!

How long have you been trying to put her down awake for? I would suggest persevering if it's only been a couple of nights. My DD did this and it took us 45 mins the first night, 30 mins the second night and then 20 the third night. It now generally takes about 3-5 mins for her to conk out, so I wonder if you just need to keep going with it and get her used to the new routine?

Mine was fed to sleep etc and we would feed until drowsy, read a story to wake up a bit and then put down awake. When I weaned, I just cut the feed out and went straight to story time-I thought it might be a nightmare but she was fine. Sometimes the things you dread end up being the easiest thing to change!

Good luck, hope she adapts to her new routine soon.

vvviola Wed 14-Nov-12 05:26:34

Conkers glad to hear it improves eventually! Yes, we only started last Friday - and then we all promptly got nasty colds so it has been a bit hit and miss (mainly because I zone out a little while she's feeding & then realise she's gone past drowsy blush)

Will just have to keep at it I suppose. And try to make the room darker (heading for summer here & it's a very bright room!)

Twattergy Wed 14-Nov-12 08:18:30

I would also say persevere for a few more days. They can seem really awake when in fact they are tired, just maybe a bit confused by new routine. Also how long has dd been awake for before bed time? My ds is similar age and transitioning from two naps to one. If he has a nap that ends later than 4pm he can take over half hour to settle, based on a 7pm bed time.

Conkers32 Wed 14-Nov-12 18:37:15

Twattergy has a good point, no sleep past 4pm as otherwise bedtime is later, which cuts into my precious couple of baby-free hours before bed!

Your point about the room being dark is a good one too, I find the darker the room, the quicker she nods off, so if you can make the room as dark as possible, it will help.

Sympathy to you with the colds, I always think it's pointless trying any sleep training when poorly/teething as their sleep is so wonky then anyway, so it's not really representative of what you're dealing with most nights IYSWIM?

Hope you're feeling better and she's going off to sleep a bit quicker for you now! smile

vvviola Thu 15-Nov-12 06:00:44

She rarely sleeps past 2 in the afternoon, she has pretty much completely moved to 1 nap - 12ish to 1:30ish. If she does nap earlier in the day, she might nap from 2 to 2:30, but often she won't sleep again, even if her morning nap finished at 10:30!confused

Tonight it took.... 10 minutes gringrin

I waited til she was quite drowsy feeding and then transferred her. She lay down fairly easily with much less wriggling. And was asleep in 10 minutes. She was pretty tired as we'd been outside a lot today, but still... gringringrin

Now, the question is, do I try that for all wake ups during the night too, or just focus on bedtime? And I know I'll have to introduce a gap between feed and bed at some stage, but would it make sense to just get her used to the idea of going down awake first...?

blush you'd think on my second I'd have a better idea of this blush

BartimaeusNeedsMoreSleep Thu 15-Nov-12 11:16:59

I focused first on the bedtime, then when that was going well I decided to night wean.

Starting at 11 months I introduced a book in between last BF and putting in the cot (so DS wasn't even drowsy really - he loves books and perks right up when you read them!).

First night = 35 minutes of crying /whinging. I just cuddled him through the bars (when he was standing) and kept laying him down and singing to him.
Second night = 15 minutes
Third night = 10 minutes no crying, just lay there waiting for sleep smile whilst I sang to him.

For the first few weeks I kept BF him when he woke in the night but tried to reduce the length of the feed (so absolute max 3 minutes, but tried to do 1 minute).

The first two weeks he kept waking up every 2 hours as usual. The bedtimes were easier but the nights weren't.

Then after that, all by himself he started sleeping longer and waking less frequently.

Once he was consistently only waking twice in the night (aged 13 months) I decided to night wean, expecting many tears. Haven't had any! I still BF in the evening before his book, but now when he wakes in the night I either settle him straight back down (if he's really sleepy) or pick him up and pace the floor for a couple of minutes which calms him and then he goes back to sleep (usually) when I put him in his cot.

I always offer water but he doesn't always drink it.

It means I'm up fewer times in the night (usually once, max twice) and I'm up for less time (unless there's another problem like teething).

The bedtimes are hit and miss. He always falls asleep in his cot now, but sometimes it takes one minute (bliss!) and other times it takes up to 40 minutes if the neighbours are loud or a fire engine goes by outside etc.

He likes me to sing and put my hand on his tummy/back. So if he gets up to peek over the side of the cot I stop singing until he is lying down again. Took a few days but now he knows to lie back down again if he wants the singing.

Word of warning. When he first started sleeping better he started waking up earlier (5am angry ) as he was better rested. It was after a couple of weeks of that that I decided to night wean and oddly enough he sleeps later now (6am or even 6.30!)

BartimaeusNeedsMoreSleep Thu 15-Nov-12 11:17:14

Sorry for the essay blush

vvviola Thu 15-Nov-12 12:37:01

No need to apologise Bartimaeus that was really useful, thanks! grin

vvviola Fri 16-Nov-12 09:47:31

More success grin

Took about 20 minutes, but she went asleep by herself in her cot without my involvement at all! I had been rubbing her back, but my back was hurting so I stood up, and she didn't object much. So I just stood near the cot with my back to her for a while and she drifted off gringrin

And then she slept for 3 hours straight - which is pretty good.

Onwards and upwards grin (I know we haven't solved it yet by any means...)

Conkers32 Sat 17-Nov-12 12:49:45

That sounds like really good progress-it makes it a bit more bearable when you see some results!

Hopefully she will start to wake less-my dd was terrible for it and as soon as she started falling asleep by herself instead of on the boob, the night wakings reduced quite quickly (the non-food related ones, anyway).

Now, if only we could sort daytime sleep...currently transitioning to one nap and it's officially rubbish! grin

vvviola Sun 18-Nov-12 07:09:50

And tonight took over an hour sadsad

A slightly later and longer nap, due to a morning spent toddling around an outdoor museum seems to have been the problem.

On the plus side, nighttime wakings are slightly better - we're getting 3 hours instead of 2, and the other night we got 4.5 grin

But god my back hurts right now sad

vvviola Mon 19-Nov-12 08:56:24

Over an hour again sad

She's added singing, chanting "hello hello hello" and craning her neck to look at me, to her ways of keeping awake. And I just can't get her to stay still long enough to get sleepy.

I'm getting very frustrated now and on the verge of trying controlled crying - which I know will not work for her, will make me too upset & will generally be a disaster.

I'm under a bit of pressure now too, as my Mum is coming to visit in 2 weeks, and keeps talking about helping get DD's sleep sorted, which in her book means CC. I haven't seen Mum since January & I really don't want to spoil this visit by arguing over CC sadsad

BartimaeusNeedsMoreSleep Mon 19-Nov-12 11:03:56

How frustrating.

Sometimes I do give up when DS is motoring around his cot and just sit back in my chair (normally I'm sitting leaning over his cot).
Generally he carries on a couple of minutes then gets annoyed that I'm no longer interacting with him (even is the "interaction" was just me watching him!) so whinges at me.

Then I pick him up, lay him back down again, sit down and carry on singing etc. The moment he gets up from lying down I withdraw again and just wait. Eventually he realises that to get my attention he needs to be lying down.

In Andrea Grace's book she mentions the 3 C's (calm, controlled and I forget the other one).

Basically I just said to myself that enough is enough. DS will go to sleep by himself in his cot. I will sit by him until he goes to sleep even if it takes hours. I mentally prepared myself to give up several evenings getting this done. And I stayed calm no matter how long it took as I had already given up my evening in my head.

It's been an up and down journey. The first 2 nights were quite hard. Then it got better. In the 2 months since we started I'd say 50% of the time he's fallen asleep in 5-10 minutes, 30% in 10-20 minutes and 20% in over 20, though never more than 40 minutes for some reason.

It's hard when you have a couple of 40 minutes in a row - you get so frustrated and tired. I have noticed DS does this more when I get back late from work and only have time to give him his bath and get him into bed. I think he forces himself to stay awake to see more of me. So I'm going to test spending just a bit longer cuddling him etc. before putting him to bed even if it means he goes to bed later. Because I can't control what time he falls asleep IYSWIM?

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