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20 w/o fighting sleep

(6 Posts)
spottywelly Thu 25-Apr-13 06:14:41

20 w/o DS has never been a great sleeper, but we have now reached a point where we are really struggling to get him to go to sleep.

At the minute the only way to get him to sleep is to loosely swaddle his arms and rock him in his rocking crib until he gives up. Even this only works 70% of the time. He won't feed to sleep or be cuddled to sleep and won't take a dummy. He used to co-sleep as a last resort, but now even that doesn't work. Some nights he is awake for hours and we are losing the plot.

Once he finally gives in, he doesn't sleep too badly. The problem is definitely with getting him to settle. Although recently have been struggling getting him to go back down after night feeds too. It is now 5.50am and he has been awake after his 11:30pm feed - despite 2 further feeds, changing, winding, white noise, temperature checking and hours and hours of rocking. He starts to nod off, but then after a minute or two starts thrashing about and squirming himself awake. Over and over again.

He is exclusively BF and has reflux which he has been weaned off meds for. They didn't help the sleep, anyway.

He is similarly difficult in the daytime, but can generally get him to sleep in the car or pram if all else fails. He will generally wake as soon as you stop, though.

I won't do CC, but any other ideas gratefully received. We also have a 2.9 y/o DD (who mercifully sleeps through all this!) so can't catch up on sleep through the day, and can't function like this! Help!

TheFallenNinja Thu 25-Apr-13 06:25:09

First of all, this will pass. We had exactly the same with DD. we tried this, that and the other which I suspect was probably confounding the problem, so rather than focussing on the sleep we focused on the routine to bring about the sleep, bath bottle and bed, regular as clockwork, it gave us some respite in so far as we knew what to be doing next which helped us. Eventually DD took to the routine and everything improved.

Good luck, it will improve.

Sleepybunny Thu 25-Apr-13 07:38:26

I agree with ninja too. Also what happens when DS is in the cot and you're trying to settle? Is he crying, whining or just thrashing around? My DD wakes very early and after a feed moans and groans a lot. I've noticed that this type of crying magically stops when I appear, so I've just been shushing her and then moving away when she is quiet. I'm hoping that she'll learn to self settle eventually this way.

I hate the idea of controlled crying but I guess this is a similar method. I know her cry isn't in distress, she is fed, warm, dry and not in any pain and I don't let her grumble for more than a few minutes.

Could a version of controlled grumbling work? I think babies know when you are stressing and overtired yourself can you try getting some help when you're completely frazzled?

spottywelly Thu 25-Apr-13 09:37:44

When he is first put down he is generally quite content and quiet. Within minutes this turns to grizzling and thrashing. I leave him to grizzle a while as sometimes (rarely) he does just go to sleep. If that doesn't happen, the grizzle turns to a cry and he very quickly works himself up so much he's sick. If we intervene with the rocking as soon as the grizzling starts to shift up a notch, he will settle quickly, but the cycle starts again a few times before he finally falls asleep - even on a good day.

I guess I should have known this was coming. DD wasn't a great sleeper and wanted to feed every 90 mins-2 hours for the first 6 months at least, but she did reliably feed to sleep, so I never worried about getting her to sleep, just keeping her asleep! She is a great sleeper now, though, which slightly helps me keep the faith!

He ended up finally going to sleep at 6.25am, and then was woken by DH's alarm at 7. Argh! He's back asleep on me now, but only after half an hour of screaming in my ear and ripping out my hair while I tried to cuddle him. And he isn't sleeping peacefully - has a bit of a writhe every 10 mins or so. He does all the classic overtired things, but settling him earlier doesn't work - just gives him more energy to fight for longer so that by the time he does get anywhere near sleep he's back to overtired!

In DH's defence, he does help out with the rocking in the night, so I do get a bit of a break. I'm just really struggling with the frustration of not being able to settle him. Fear I'm turning into a shouty mother with a short fuse, and poor DD (who is generally such a good kid, but is still a 2yo, so can be endlessly frustrating) is bearing the brunt.

MoroccoBorocco Thu 25-Apr-13 10:40:42

Oh dear, sounds like you are having a really tough time. My DD is going on 7 months and I too have tried everything. I hate the CIO theory but I'm resorting to it this weekend when my DH is off so he can help me keep my sanity!!! She too will take a while to settle & we have the routine which doesn't make a difference, the only thing we have noticed is when it is completely dark outside she tends to nod off so think I shall invest in some black out curtains!!! But I don't think that's your issue as he's up a lot at night? Do you keep the light on? Is he still sleeping in the same room as you? Have you tried allowing him to sleep next to his favourite toy or dropping a few drops of breast milk on his sheets so he thinks you are nearby?

Have you taken him to a GP to get checked over? Could he be teething & in pain? Try giving him calpol or rubbing a bit of teething gel on his gums to see if that makes a difference.

Poor little fella, I really hope he settles soon. X

spottywelly Fri 26-Apr-13 09:14:35

Argh, I had a whole reply typed out to this, nodded off for a sec with my finger on the touch screen and I must have reloaded the page and lost my whole reply! Sleep deprivation at its worst!

He sleeps in our bedroom - his crib is pushed up next to my side of the bed so he can smell/hear me all the time. The lights are off, but he sleeps ok in the evening while it's light, so don't think that's an issue.

He has previously been checked out by GP and hospital paed, and other than reflux and eczema, he seems healthy enough, and he's gaining weight consistently, so they weren't worried. I'm taking him back to the docs this morning because he is a mess. He's blotchy and rashy, he's scratched his head to bits, he sounds snuffly despite not having a cold and his reflux is awful. I really think he has something like an allergy (it's in the family), but the docs just keep telling me that babies are scabby and pukey and giving me prescriptions for emollients.

I wonder if that is why he can't sleep well, because he is itchy?

Thanks for all advice, and MoroccoBorocco - I hope you can get your DD sorted too! Poor babies.

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