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Sick baby not sleeping, desperate and don't know how to cope any longer

(14 Posts)
HJBeans Sat 22-Feb-14 04:29:46

DS is 6.5 months and has been a bad sleeper since about 3.5. Prior to that he slept great.

What changed three months ago is I went back to work and he started nursery several days a week. He's been I'll essentially nonstop since then, with a succession of viruses which pick up one after the other. There has been no break.

I've been to the GP a trillion times and an doing everything to help with sleep - tilted cot, humidifer, saline, etc etc. The last three weeks it's less stuffiness than a cough that's keeping him up. He also may be teething.

He's gone through various phases if fighting sleep for many hours each evening to waking every hour (or more) during the night. The past week, it's all together.

We start bedtime routine (bath, feed, story/calm time, put down in cot next to our bed) at 6 and try to get him down by 7. He might finally drop off and stay asleep by 8:30 or 9. Then he's up again at 10 or 11 and needing resettling. Which can take hours.

DH and I take turns, but there's only so much he can do as I'm feeding him and only BF will settle him at some times. Last night I had three hours sleep. Tonight I'm looking at two stretches of two hours. I'm demented with exhaustion and I can't think of anything more we can try.

I'm also catching everything DS does but much worse. I have an autoimmune disease, and exhaustion plus lots of bugs makes it worse. I also have issues with anxiety, especially when exhausted, so I waste precious energy worrying every new fever is something deadly.

At the moment I'm trying to cosleep with DH taking a turn in the guest room. DS still wakes frequently but is easier to settle. But I lie awake cold and in an uncomfortable position, worried about DS smothering on duvet/pillow/me or rolling out of bed.

I've begged HV to come speak to me, but, though she'll come in a few weeks, she's all but said she won't be able to help. GP was sympathetic and said to try some Gaviscon, but again can't do much. Family is all far away. Friends have kindly offered to take DS for a night, but while he's unwell and needing so much attention I don't feel it's fair on then or him.

I feel like I can't go I like this, but can't think of any alternative. It's been three months, it's getting worse, my DH has broken down in tears twice in the last week and I'm literally shaking with exhaustion during the day to the extent I worry about holding DS safely.

It feels healthier to have gotten all this out, but don't really know what I expect anyone to be able to suggest. Any tips on cosleeping safely? Any sources of support I've overlooked? Anyone been through this and now out the other side? Thanks.

Pinter Sat 22-Feb-14 04:39:42

Oh Beans, you poor thing sad

I know you seen the GP about your DC, but have you spoken to her or him about how you're feeling too. Might be more help than the HV

If he's settling better with co-sleeping, that's probably the best bet for now

Your instincts will protect you from rolling onto him unless you're on some medications, or have been drinking alcohol.

With our DD, she's in vest, babygro & sleeping bag & I'm under our duvet with it tucked under my back. I have pillows, but there are non near her she could get caught up in

Could you try it with daytime naps to start with, so your DH can be on hand to check you're safe?

A humidifier has helped us all when we've been under the weather

Hope you all feel better soon thanks

Onepactupac Sat 22-Feb-14 04:40:28

Oh dear, OP, this sounds dreadful. I'm very sorry for you.

I never co slept so no practical help on that, and tilting the cot and using a menthol humidifier in DD's room always worked for us. Have you tried sleeping with DS propped upright? Basically, you lying at 45 degrees and holding DS so that his airways stay clear?

Longer term, I can only suggest (1) finding new childcare. Maybe he just doesn't agree with the place he is at. Constant viruses doesn't sound normal. Sounds like a drastic solution, but maybe hygiene isn't the best where he's at? (2) is there any way you or DH can take some time off work? Send DS off to nursery and you take a week off to sleep during the day and catch up?

Those early months can be really dreadful, but they do pass. The nights can seem so long, but they will get better and so will you. There's not a lot else to say, other than that you're not alone. It's shit, but it improves. Don't forget that if you were better rested you wouldn't be feeling as hopeless as you are now; it's the sleep deprivation talking to a large extent.

Good luck.

humblebumble Sat 22-Feb-14 04:51:43

You poor thing. You sound exhausted.

My DS1 was not a sleeper. I remember he was a wonderful happy baby during the day and then he essentially was awake off and on throughout the night. I didn't get a full nights sleep for the first 9.5 months of his life. I was a desperate mess. I did co-sleep which helped me get through it. I do sleep on my side and I had my lower arm stretched out so I felt it was impossible for me to roll over and smother my child without breaking my arm. I dressed my child in a sleep suit/bag and slept under a duvet myself.

It wasn't the best phase but I got through it. I remember feeling so wretched though. I am glad your DH is supporting you, sadly I didn't have any of that support.

You will get through it. Please find support and accept it where you can.

Wishing you the best

HJBeans Sat 22-Feb-14 05:01:46

Thank you, both. I can't tell you how much it helps to have someone else up and willing to try to help.

Thanks, pinter, for the suggestion of daytime trials of cosleeping. That's a brilliant idea and we'll do that today. Will also talk to GP about me. Don't know practically what she can do, but perhaps there could be help for the anxiety side of things?

And thanks onepac for practical longer term thoughts. We love his nursery and think we've just been unlucky in terms of viruses. Certainly no one else in his room is suffering like this. Re break from work, DH can't really at the moment as he's still trying to get back on top of things after taking a lot of time off to look after DS while I finished my current contract. My contract ends next week, though - another factor in the perfect storm of stress - so I should be able to start catching up then. We're keeping DS in nursery two days to keep his place. In current state of mind I've been worrying about how I'd manage to look after him three days while so tired and overlooking the fact I won't be so tired if I catch up on sleep during the days he's in nursery.

Do realise my perspective has gone screwy, helps so much to have some input from outside my sleep deprived head. Thanks again.

HJBeans Sat 22-Feb-14 05:08:34

Thanks, humble. I cannot imagine not going stark raving mad without support from DH - that you managed it is an inspiration!

Can I ask whether your child slept on too of or to the side of your duvet? Like pinter, I've now got it wrapped under me, but DS keeps rolling into me so I can't get it over my waist without him burying his face in it.

HJBeans Sat 22-Feb-14 05:21:47

Thanks, humble. I cannot imagine not going stark raving mad without support from DH - that you managed it is an inspiration!

Can I ask whether your child slept on too of or to the side of your duvet? Like pinter, I've now got it wrapped under me, but DS keeps rolling into me so I can't get it over my waist without him burying his face in it.

PoppettyPing Sat 22-Feb-14 12:09:01

As far as you being cold, have you tried wearing a warm jumper/cardigan so the duvet can stay around your waist? That's what I do, something I can breastfeed in easily.
I wouldn't worry about smothering him, as other posters have mentioned, it's highly unlikely if you're not drugged/drunk etc. if you lie on your side with baby at nipple height your pillow shouldn't be an issue either.
You poor thing, I really hope things get better for you guys soon!

HJBeans Sat 22-Feb-14 20:44:53

Thanks, poppety. I've got a top that would be good for this and will stick it by the bed in case for when he ends up coming into bed with me again.

Shouldn't jinx it but tonight might be off to a better start with DS asleep by 8:30 after only an hour of shushing. And we have a plan for what to do when he wakes up. Fingers crossed.

TwirlyCat Sat 22-Feb-14 21:38:24

When I co-slept with DD I used a really light weight single duvet round my waist but dressed warm. Socks, jogging bottoms, high neck button down top over stretchy vest for easy BF. Make sure you are not wearing anything with a cord or long tie on it.

I found it hard to relax when I started, but soon got used to it. I stopped cosleeping because DD has become too mobile and fidgety, but while it lasted it was the best chance I had of getting sleep. If you can feed lying down you barely need to wake up.

I hope things improve for you soon.

RalphRecklessCardew Sat 22-Feb-14 22:03:09

Please take up your friends on their offer. Warn them they might get no sleep for a night, but accept.

itsbetterthanabox Sat 22-Feb-14 22:07:02

This sounds horrible. Maybe it would better to bottle feed so that you and DH can share the nights. At least you will each get sleep some nights.

BB01 Sun 23-Feb-14 17:04:19

Massive sympathy to you. We're in a similar position here. With the co sleeping you do get used to it and after a while the worry subsides. And at that age it's much less likely for anything bad to happen I would have thought. If you Google safe co sleeping or bed sharing there's lots of advice on how to do it safely. La Leche has info on it as does Dr Sears.

Superworm Sun 23-Feb-14 22:56:45

My DS is a bit older now (nearly two but we were in a very similar situation. I feel for you, it was tough.

Firstly, have you ruled out allergies? DS is allergic to dairy and soy which cause our main sleep issues. I'm still BFing so eliminate these from my diet.

A knock on effect was that he was permanently ill for the first year of his life. Got one bug after the other. Turns out he has an IgA deficiency which is common with allergies. It effects the mucous lining of the chest and intestines and makes them
more susceptible to illness.

I also have an auto immune disorder which could effect the IgA too apparently.

Honestly, I would rethink the childcare and look for something more one to one so there is less exposure. I really wish I had done this as he has suffered hmm He is much more robust now but still ill regularly and more severely than the other kids.

I also would continue co-sleeping to max out the sleep. A onesie with a cardie worked well for me. There is not point trying to sleep train a sickly child as it gets undone too often as I discovered!

Really hope things get better for you soon, sleep deprivation is pure torture.

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