Desparate for help/support - 7.5mth old terrible sleeper, not sure I can cope much longer(24 Posts)
I apologise in advance for what will probably be a long post/rant, but I really need some help or just some wise mummy's to tell me it will all be ok!
My 7.5 month DD is and always has been a terrible sleeper. She has never STTN, not even close. I won't bore you with the details but day and night sleep has always been a fight with her - she is very sensitive to overtiredness and just cannot switch off.
At around 6 months we started to turn a corner and up until 2 weeks ago I was getting most days 1 to 1.5 hrs of napping in the morning and afternoon all in the cot (night sleep was still rubbish).
Now that has all unravelled and I don't know why. She is not napping for more than 30 minutes at a time again and night sleep is going from bad to worse again. Even her morning nap which I could always rely on has now shrunk to 30 mins. I cry every day, I feel like I'm never going to have any sort of routine with her and I'm destined to never sleep again, she is fussy and cranky all day long. Does anyone have any advice please, maybe I need to try and change the routine?
Example around 6 months ish before it all fell apart was:
Awake between 6am and 7am (not STTN, I am still ff her twice along with resettling her for at least another 2 wake ups)
Nap at 9am for 1 to 1.5 hrs
Nap again at 12.30pm or 1pm for 1 to 1.5hrs
Bed between 6pm and 6.30pm (she likes an early bedtime so I really try to respect that, some days she has gone to bed at 5.30pm if she wants it)
And then yesterday:
Awake 5am! Fed her and tried for an hour to get her back to sleep, eventually went back at 6am only to wake at 6.20am
Nap 9am, 30 mins
Nap 12.30pm 30 mins (have also tried, 12.15pm and 1pm, no difference)
Nap 3.15pm 30 mins (she was beside herself by this point and screamed for the rest of the afternoon until bed)
Bed 6pm but didn't settle until 6.30pm, millions of nightwakings and awake again at 5am still exhausted.
Sorry this is so long and thanks for reading!
My first bit of advice is to find someone who will have her for the day or the night or (even better) day+night so you can get some rest. It is very difficult to tackl this when you are so tired.
She is very young still and maybe too young to get into a proper routine, but what most babies that I have known do at this age is 1/2 hr nap at about 9ish, 1-2 he nap after lunch, bed at 7ish, up again at around 6.30am
with lots of waking up in between.
I feel your pain. I think I hit my lowest point at about this stage. I coped by going out of the house a lot, drink many cups of coffee and by telling myself over and over again that it would get better. And it did. Honestly.
you poor thing - it's a nightmare not getting proper sleep.
my dd (now 3yrs old) was similar at that age. we never got proper naps and she was waking through the night. i was beside myself - as i imagine you are now.
things will get better, she will learn to sleep and you will feel like your old self again.
things only really started to get better for us when dd was about 12 months and we night-weaned and did a gradual retreat method of settling her. by about 2yrs she was sleeping through or waking only once most nights except when she was ill. now she is very reliable. i know that sounds like a long way off but i hope it's of some comfort to you to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. you are not doing anything wrong and there is probably not much you can do to make her sleep right now.
my advice to you is to be kind to yourself as much as you can. this is a stage and it will pass. don't worry about getting her into a proper routine - she is still young for that. do what you can to get rest for you and her. have you tried taking naps together in the day? i resisted doing that because i didn't want to get into "bad habits" but i now think that's nonsense and wish i'd done it sooner because dd slept longer and i got a rest too. not to worry about what you should be doing, just do what feels right now and the sleep will come eventually.
i hope tonight is better. good luck.
Thank you both for replying and your words of encouragement, it means so much to me. I know I have to keep believing there is light at the end of the tunnel but it is so hard - I'm probably not supposed to say this but I find it really hard to enjoy being a mum, she is so cranky and fussy and I really struggle to go out with her as she doesn't like interacting with other people as she is so tired and clingy all the time. I feel like a total failure and that I'm letting her down as I'm not reading her correctly when she is tired. I'm so obsessed with sleep, me and DH argue all the time about it as I do everything I can to protect her naps, and have near panic attacks when she is napping around the dreaded 30 minute mark - I just feel pathetic! Would be helpful if he got up with her in the night but that is another rant...
Sorry to pour my heart out but it's nice to know people have been through the same thing and survived it. I could accept the sleep deprivation if she was a happy baby on such little sleep but we are both miserable and it breaks my heart. The first 3 months of her life she had several overtired hourly screaming fits every day, I have blocked out so much of that time as it was so painful and I'm worried I'm going to look back and not remember anything about her babyhood.
Dare I say it - 4 wakes at 8 months isn't THAT bad - there will be lots of other mothers doing the same. Forget STTN - DS1 was well over 2 before he got close, and nearer 3 before he was semi reliable.
Do you think she may be getting ready to drop the morning nap? It would be quite early - mine were more like 12 mths before that happened, but its possible?
Coping strategies - you need to try and find a way to get a 4 hr block of sleep most nights. For us, this was me going to bed at 8pm, and DH staying up til 12 and dealing with all wakes - and you've got the added advantage of bottles, so he will be able to feed as well.
I also spent most of one morning at the weekend back in bed (got up at 5 whatever was deemed morning, had breakfast with DS1, and then about
8am, got DH up from his lie-in, and went back to sleep til lunch)
It does get better, and you do get used to it. Hope it starts improving soon
Have you tried a dummy? It alo helps them to get attached to a transition object (teddy, muslin, dolly, whatever!). Give it to your DD every time she goes to sleep. Before you know it, it will become their cue for sleep
and you won't be able to wean them off it when they are six, but hey ho
i hear you about not enjoying things. i really did feel the same as you do. i felt like a terrible mother and wife. sleep deprivation over many months is awful and clouds everything you do.
i also had fears about not having nice memories of what should be a wonderful time but i do. when she starts to sleep better you will enjoy yourselves more and those times will be all the more special because you'll appreciate them so much. the joys to come will overshadow the trials you face now.
it's a challenge for all of you at the moment and no one is to blame. some babies are just bad sleepers. it's definitely not your fault and you are not a bad mother or missing tired signals or anything like that.
i know you probably don't have much time for reading the the mo but two books i recommend are "the no cry sleep solution" and "what mothers do even when it looks like nothing" both were like supportive friends during the tough times.
I've been there - we finally coming out of that dark, sleep deprived place at 8.5 months. I know how it feels to be obsessing about naps and feeling frustrated. And having the grumpy, tired baby at groups and outings. I literally could have written your second post a month ago. We've recently been using a sleep consultant who gave us a tailored sleep plan to get us on track - the sleep deprived fog meant I couldn't focus on improving things and needed the motivation! (Feel free to PM me if you want any more details). Not quite there yet but a much happier mum and baby so far.
How do you get her to sleep at the moment? Does she settle herself or do you feed/rock etc?
Wow I don't feel so alone now reading all the responses, thanks for the support everyone.
I have always had to rock her to sleep, I try now to rock until just drowsy and not totally asleep but I'm thinking she may be more asleep than I realise. I have tried to put her down awake but she just cries and cries even with me rubbing her back, singing, holding her hand etc until I pick her up - then she completely stops crying and falls asleep. On the rare occasion DH goes to her and picks her up to settle her she still cries until I take over when she stops again so I can't help but feel trapped by it all. I go back to work soon so I honestly don't know what will happen then.
2cats, she used to have a dummy but I took it away in case it was causing more problems as I was replacing it so many times. I just ditched it cold turkey and actually her sleep improved slightly then before getting worse again (this is when I started to get longer naps, unless it was just coincidence). She has a lovely as well (that I carry round down my top during the day to give it my scent - I'm sure people must think I'm mad!).
I hear you on the four times not being so bad nextphase, as this is a significant improvement on when it used to be hourly. However during some of those wake ups she will be awake for 1, 2 or even 3 hours in the middle of the night with me trying to settle her back to sleep. Sometimes I'm almost falling asleep with her in my arms which makes me so nervous. Co-sleeping doesn't work as she just thinks it's time to play in our bed.
Fish & Ducks thanks for your words and sorry you have had these experiences too. Would def be interested in the sleep consult, would you mind pm'ing me the details please? Not that we can really afford it but I will try anything and sacrifice if needs be - I asked the HV if she could refer me to the NHS sleep clinic we have here but she told me DD needed to be night weaned first!
Again a huge thanks for listening - I give up talking to DH now about it as his answer is always 'just let her cry'.
When it was DS1 awake from 2am-4am, I got all the spare duvets, and made a tempory bed on his floor. In the morning I rolled it all up, and left it at the foot of his cot so it didn't get in the way. When he woke, I would unroll the "bed" snullge down as best as I could and doze with my arm through the cot bars for him to play with my fingers. Not the best couple of hours sleep, but better than nothing.
Going back to work is great - you can sit down for over 10sec, and drink hot cups of tea!
Hi there. Sorry to hear you are struggling. It is so common for these little ones to battle with their sleep and you are doing really well to keep on hanging in there. She is clearly very secure with her mummy and looks to you for comfort and that's a big fat massive tick!
I was wondering what she was eating during the day. Do you think she may be waking up because she's hungry?
Gab I could have written your post. In fact, came on here to write a post then chanced upon this. Total nightmare, 7 months of sleep deprivation has just about nobbled me, and I'm back to work (full time and then some) a week on Monday. I feel like we've tried just about everything, and am coming to accept that I've just got a shit sleeper. Doesn't stop me looking for the magic solution though.
In the meantime, I'll just sit back and wait for someone to post the miracle cure
Might you be able to get her to nap longer in her pram? My DD was a nightmare sleeper at that age and I found making sure we went out in the pram for one of the naps (usually the lunchtime/ early afternoon) helped. I'd walk for 1-2hrs and she'd sleep throughout it. The fresh air and exercise helped me and although I didn't get a sit down rest I was at least getting some head space to myself. Plus the afternoon was that much nicer for her not being too overtired.
Good luck! I know it's awful but it will get better.
Hey op sorry you're having such a bad time of it :-( loads of good advice above but also just wanted to say about the naps: my DS is a chronic cat napper too, and now at almost 7 months frequently has four 30 minute naps per day. I put him down for a nap every 2 hours religiously cos I figure he probably can't stay awake as long as another 7 month old baby who's had a lovely 2 hour nap like they say in all the books (which you should burn/ignore btw...DS has never once done anything approaching what the books say is normal for daytime sleep for his age!).
If your LO is only having half hour naps, then maybe give her them more frequently? If she sleeps. 9am-9.30 then I would recommend another nap at 11.30-noon. And then one from 2.30-3 and then one from 5-5.30...and then bed at 7.30. This is what I do and it seems to work, in terms of makin him less miserable. I have accepted the fact hat he is probably never going to 'do a Gina' and have a 2 hour nap after lunch and you know what? Who cares? His many frequent cat naps make my days a little harder to plan, an I frequently have to leave baby groups and take him for a walk in the buggy so he can have his 30 mins sleep, but that's just the baby I have been given
and hopefully next time I will have a more conventional sleeper
I am telling you this in the hope that you can come to feel like doing an odd non-routine of frequent short naps does not make you a failure, if that's what your baby needs.
DS woke up at 5am today so he is now currently on his 5th nap of the day, which is happening at a totally different time to anything that happened yesterday. And is nowhere in any routine books. But it keeps him happy - try putting you LO down every 2 hours and see if that helps during the day? It might not make her nap longer but at least she might be happier in between them??
I'm sorry if this is off topic but just wanted to mention something I didn't realise until I was on DC 2 if not 3. Make sure you are giving your dc a ton of environmental cues for sleep. Always turn all the lights down all over the house and be very quiet at the time (s) you want to signal sleep. Close the curtains and especially do all these things at night. Apologies if you are already doing all this, I don't mean to imply it will work miracles but you want to help set your baby's internal clock. If they do by some miracle sleep (and you are not passed out next to them) you can go back out to the living room and still watch some TV in the half light.
You can also do the warm bath to relax them, don't do anything stimulating - talk quietly, no sudden movements etc you need to brainwash that brain!
Hi gab u r def not alone..!!! Sorry for the long reply but i could rave on for ages about sleep naps etc.. So many of us have these wonderfully alert overtired beasts that refuse to sleep! It WILL GET BETTER just NOT RIGHT NOW! So you have to do aNYTHING you can to survive this period.
My DS is now 15mths and is a dream compared to how he was. But he still struggles to wind down to sleep, but is slowly working it out for himself. I thought he wld never ever STTN EVER, to the point that we wld be terrified that something terrible had happened when he first started STTN because we were so used to being woken up early everyday.
I also have a DP who has made it 100% more stressful because he refuses to support any of my ideas or methods (argued with me about using white noise, darkening room, putting bub to bed earlier etc etc)
If DD is doing 30min naps, could be 2common possibilities, either naps now need to start a little bit later, as her awake time might be stretching now, or it may be that she is constantly overtired from the lack of sleep. I agree with prev posts, do more 30min naps of thats all she can manage. Its just a rest not a deep sleep so they dont feel rejuvenated hence the cranky clinginess. Also is she crawling or rolling?
I was also obsessed crazed with DS sleep from 5-7mths.. I was so stressed and sleep deprived and just not rested myself that i ended up with bad case of shingles cos i was so run down.
I ended up doing many diff strategies over the months as DS sleep patterns changed, whispering, patting, rocking shushing etc etc.. If he had a 30min nap i wld immed try and go in and pat or rock him back to sleep. I used to get him to sleep then when i knew he was in that first 20min deep sleep, i wld sneak out, do stuff (eat drink) then sneak back in before the 20min mark, cos i knew he wld stir then, then put my hand on his belly until we got past the 30min mark, and thats how i got him to sleep past 30mins.. Sometimes i wld replace my hand with a rolled wrap, or something heavy but not too heavy to replicate my hand.. I even dreamed of making fake hands that other stressed parents could use, cos at that stage it was the only thing that helped! And i was so sick at the time, so i just started lying down in his room and resting in there while he slept
DS didnt STTN properly until 2weeks before his 1st birthday! He did start STTN at .10mths but then we went on hols...had to start all over again.
My DS is high needs so still finds it difficult to settle to sleep (baths unfortunately do not relax him but gets very very excited instead so bathtime cannot be directly before bedtime!). I have come to accept that now, he just needs much more help to wind down. Also his morning awake time is very short compared to other bubs, can only manage 2or 2.5hrs before needing to nap again ( he is almost 15mths now!), so i find that if the first nap is too late then usually he wont sleep for long and then that affects his other naps. Also if he has bad night sleep, usually his first nap will need to be slightly earlier than usual.
I took him to sleep school at around this age, but i had managed to get his napping ok around then, sleep school didnt help for that they didnt teach me anything i wasn't already doing, also he just wasnt ready for 2naps when other bubs were.. But what did help a lot was meeting other stressed out mothers with 'normal' non sleeping bubs and we all supported each other and laughed and cried together that was worth it, also having nurses on hand 24/7 so you could have a break, and not have to make your own dinner etc, so to actually have a mini holiday of sorts!
Mainly you need to find a way to get some rest, your OH needs to help in some way with night feeds even if you goto bed really early and he stays up to do last evening feed, wotever works for you, because sleep dep is so hideous and you cant afford to get sick. Esp as your DD is also picking up on our stress which makes them worse as well..
And concentrate on getting as much sleep into DD as possible during the day.. I would have days where it wld be my sole focus to break the sleep cycle (like today!) and early bedtimes (all the while arguing with DP about it) and then everything wld come right again
until the weekend
There is so much more i could say, but just hugs to you, just look after yourself as much as you can because no one else can look after your little one as well as you can, and no one else knows her like you do, so be proud of how well you have managed until now, and dont beat yourself up about it, some bubs are just crap sleepers, but they are supposed to turn into wonderful kids so thats what i used to think about, that DS might be a pain now but hopefully will grow out of it!
I adore him now, but honestly took a long time to feel that way about him because of the constant battles, fussing and whingeing, and in hindsight i swear it was all down to his lack of sleep. He is such a funny communicative bright loving character now, but when he is fatigued (like today) he is clingy, whining, annoying, naughty little sleep warrior..
Sorry i havent posted back here for a little while to say thanks for all the support and advice, really have been sunk in a desparate hole the last couple of weeks. So i will really regret saying this but i think she is starting to sort herself out with naps again, today she napped a dream at 9am and 1pm for 1.5hrs each time (and put down wide awake, she was actually smiling at me throughout our nap routine). However i have already had to resettle her twice and feed her once since she went to bed so i fear im in for a rough night - i thought good naps meant good night sleep!
I honestly feel i have tried everything - she now will only nap in the car for a short time, refuses point blank to sleep in the buggy, she wont sleep on or next to me (we bring her into our bed when she wakes in the morning for playtime so if i bring her into our bed at night she just tries to get us to play), i have tried soft white noise, jumbo jet loud white noise, no white noise, dim lights, no lights, blackout blinds, dummy, no dummy, lovey, no blanket, extra blankets...i guess i just need to give up worrying now and accept she will sleep like crap regardless of what i do.
I just feel so sad that she is so grumpy ALL the time because she is tired. I really lose all patience with her when i just have to spend my days practically walking on my head to keep her from whinging at me.
Cabbagehead your post was amazing, you seem to know exactly what im going through. I dread the weekends with DH as we argue constantly about DD and im getting to the point where if i hear from him "you put her to bed way too early" i am going to flip.
Sorry to moan on anyway, i speak to friends about this stuff and they think they can empathise as they have a 'bad sleeper' because they wake at 6am - i want to scratch my eyes out when i hear stuff like this! Thank you everyone for your support and advice, really it means so much to me x
DS is 21 months. It took me until he was 15 months to realise that I could "tweak" his sleeping but never really change it. He's a bad sleeper and that's it.
Every so often I'd get really depressed/annoyed/exhausted and try a new technique. We'd battle it out for a few days then I'd give in and a week or 2 (or 3) later DS would improve of his own accord.
Also, with hindsight, I can now look back and attribute some of his really bad sleeping phases to development phases. They were hell to live through but it has gotten better.
Now I'm looking for a way to stop co-sleeping but it's hard because when we co-sleep he almost always sleeps through the night. But it's a battle to get him into his bed, and even when I manage he wakes up at least twice a night.
Hmm, maybe I should take my own advice and go with the flow!
Hi Gab just wanted to say good luck and it will get better.
My ds was a very poor sleeper and his first year was a nightmare because of it He would wake several times a night and between the age of 4-12 months he would also be up for about 2 hours in the middle of the night, almost every night
After a year though things started improving. I gave up reading about babies sleep and trying different things that never seemed to make any difference to him.
I went back to work part time and for some reason even though his sleep didn't improve that much, my sleep did (as I also had insomnia during his first year, but got over that once I went back to work). I just didn't feel as tired anymore. I just went to bed early every night and thankfully managed to get to sleep without suffering from dreaded insomnia.
He is 2 now and even though his sleep routines have been destroyed as we have had major disruption as a family over the last few weeks, he had improved a lot between the ages of 15 and 23 months and was sleeping more deeply and usually waking only the once at night and went back to sleep pretty quickly afterwards.
I am confident that I can get him back to that once we move into our new place.
My advise to you would be to stop worrying about it.
Focus on doing all you can to ensure you get sleep.
Accept that he will get better as he develops as sleep changes and they do start to sleep more deeply with age.
Also we plan to start ttc again in the next couple of months Our fingers are crossed that dc2 will be one of those good sleepers
Also when he was one years old I made a decision not to discuss his sleep with anyone, dp included. This also made things better as it stopped all the advise and sympathetic looks that didnt help anyway.
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