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Please help...trying to work out what next move is, feel helpless with 9 month old DS sleeplessness!

(86 Posts)
welshbetty77 Mon 02-Jun-14 07:18:36

Hello...first post on here but not sure where else to turn to. Ds who is 9 months old has never been a great sleeper...he's NEVER slept through the night (yawn!) however recently, this last week things have taken a turn for the (even) worse and I'm finding things impossible. Firstly, he has a really bad cough and cold at the moment which I know is adding to difficulties but still, I'll explain.
'Routine' is something like this, tea at 5.30 (before he was poorly he was eating really well), a little play, in the night garden at 6.20 ( just on in background whilst he plays with his dad on his mat...I thought perhaps music etc may start to become familiar with bedtime) bath at 6.50 for approx ten minutes, pyjamas then book in room and breastfeed to sleep (I know, I know!). Firstly he starts to 'kick off' being dried and laid on change mat for nappy and pyjamas, we just sort of work through this with songs/chatting/ musical mobile etc, whatever it takes to get through. Usually I'd be able to feed him to sleep put him in cot, there may be a few wake ups which my partner could settle him for, then I'd feed him when he woke through the night, up to four times. I know this sounds bad but I wasn't entirely unhappy with this, he would feed for a relatively short time and I'd be able to put him back into cot asleep. He'd wake at about 5/5.30 at which point I'd bring him into bed with us and he'd feed on and off until we got up...sometimes we'd lie in til 8.30/9 depending on how tired I was!
But recently things have taken a whole new turn for the worst..his bedtime is a lot more difficult, feeding to sleep doesn't work as quickly anymore, I usually try to pull him off the breast at which point he wakes a little and I pop him in cot to shush pat him to sleep, sometimes this works, but now more often than not he pushes himself up and sits up crying, won't be placed back to lying down again and crying escalates until I pick him up and start feeding/rocking/walking/pacing again. Sometimes I'm in there an hour before he's down, at which point he'll usually wake again after 60/90 minutes again and need resettling. My partner goes in, usually tries to settle in cot (difficult as he's screaming, rolling around and sitting up etc) then more often than not I have to take over and end up feeding again. Each time this happens the more difficult he is to get back in cot, to the point that he's been in bed with me these last few nights and pretty much feeding nonstop, just so that I can get some zzzz's. Co sleeping with us both is now impossible, he is big and likes to be ON me which usually results in me balancing on about a millimetre of bed space and not actually sleeping at all, at least with dp not in bed I can move ds across bed frequently, until he decides to snake over again smile.
The thing is, I love the cuddles but it's getting to the point where I know it's not good for either of us anymore, this complete lack of consistent sleep, and to be honest the whole thing is feeling wild and out of control now...I don't know where to start to fix it. Dp thinks we should sometimes let him cry more before we go in to settle (but knows nothing about the technicalities of any 'sleep training' -cc methods of which I'm totally not into anyway) Oh and I should mention, he's not easily 'cuddled' either, arches away, kicks legs out pushes away, all resulting in waking himself up further!i ACTUALLY don't know what to do other than keep bringing him into bed with me every night, which I don't what to do for the foreseeable as it's not fair on dp having the sofa bed every night! Ds is still poorly at the moment but I just know is getting into a bad habit and when he's better will want to keep on sharing my bed! HELP.....where on earth do I bloody start?! sad

Cakeismymaster Mon 02-Jun-14 12:02:12

Hi welsh, didn't want you to go unanswered - unfortunately I d

Cakeismymaster Mon 02-Jun-14 12:04:00

Sorry! I don't have any advice for you because my dd of the same age is doing EVERYTHING you mention in your post, even down to having a cold - she is nearly 9 mths. I can literally tick off every point you listed. So am hoping someone will be along soon to offer a glimmer of hope...!

sososotired Mon 02-Jun-14 18:57:20

My DS is 9months and a terrible sleeper so we can form a club ;)
Ok so with feeding to sleep I changed our routine for 2 weeks, a long two weeks we did bath bottle story in bed drowsy first I patted or stroked him and then just held his hand and now 3months down the line I sit next to his bed while he falls asleep. Unfortunately there were tears from him and me as it's a change and babies are not good with change but I never left him to cry by himself.
It did help we do 5-6hour stretches at the moment and only 1 night feed which I'm happy to dosmile he does wake at 4ish when sometimes he moans and settles himself to sleep and other times I go in give him his dummy and hold his hand until he is asleep again usually 5-10 minutes. So there is hope
And just so that you know he has good and bad nights last night we woke every hour for no apparent reason and would only settle on my arms so ended co sleeping sad
With regards to the night feeds I was mean and cut them out one by one over a few months!

It does sound like he might be over tired though, my DS used to put up a massive fight before bed until I moved bedtime from 7 to 6:30 he gets up at 5;45 regardless so he gained half an hours sleep a nigh!
Hope that helps smile

usernameiwanted Mon 02-Jun-14 20:28:25

I may have some good advice? It might work, it might not..

Around 4 weeks ago, my 9 month old ds had never self soothed or slept through the night. The longest he had slept was 4 hours. Once.

He had to be breastfed to sleep every single time he woke up so no help from dh either. He used to wake every 2-3 hours but had got to a point where he was waking every 45 mins-1 hour. I was exhausted.

I had heard of controlled crying but absolutely did not want to try it. I still cant even think of just shutting the door and walking away with him crying and wanting me.

One very early morning after being woken at 4 (after justgetting back into bed at 3.30) I snapped. I went to his cot, comforted him (didnt feed him) but then pulled up and chair and sat down. I just pretended to be asleep. I did have squinty eyes so I could see him to make sure he wasnt hurting himself but he was fine.

He cried for 45 minutes until he layed down and went tosleep. It was the longest 45 mins of my life and I was sceptical that I was wasting my time and it might not even work. It would take a miracle to make my never slept through non self soother go to sleep. But it worked.

In the morning, he didn't hate me or give me death stares for leaving him to cry which I had been worried about. He was still so full of love and happiness and he did not seem bothered in the slightest!

When my dh mentioned doing it for day time naps I actually laughed. Surely not two miracles in less then 24hrs! But sure enough when nap time came, I put him in his cot after a feed (still awake!), he cried, he stood up, layed back down and went to sleep! All in about 20 mins.

I have since moved the chair away from his cot to the corner of the room but now sit just outside his door as he still looks to make sure I'm still there as hes going to sleep.

It has been hard but not as hard as I thought and I'm kicking myself I left it this late. You just need to be consistent. My rules are:
× Feed if he wakes before 12pm. (He did this when I was weaning his off night feeds. He has since cut this out too)
× Comfort him whens he wakes by picking up and singing, lay him down and sit yourself down.
× Bring a phone, book or actually do go to sleep whilst sitting there. (I only watched him the first couple of nights as they get so tired while crying they start falling over or banging head on cot)
× Do not move or say shush while sitting there. The idea is to enforce they need to get themselves to sleep. If you react to their crying, they will keep crying!
× When it looks like they've fallen asleep, wait 10 mins!!.Do not move straight away as they probably are not in a deep enough sleep yet or they're just tricking you!
× If you know if a pain cry, give calpol and pick up and cuddle etc but then lay him back down and sit down.
× Make it the same time every night time so he knows its coming! For naps, just make sure hes exhausted as if hes not he will scream and scream. He needs to be very tired but not over tired.
× if you do want to try this, put him to bed as normal butthen start this during the night. The idea is that hopefully he's too tired to put up a fight.

wow, this is proving to be long! My ds is 10 months now and sleeps from 7 -5.30. I absolutely recommend doing this method, buy the 3rd day he had it! Now if fifty fifty, sometimes he goes down without a sound but others he cries. I always count how many seconds he cries for and very very rarely do I get past the number 10!!

I hope you find this useful! Trust me, it is easier then it looks and it really works! I have my evenings and my bed back and it feels amazing! Feel free to pm any questions. Sorry for the overly long post!

avocadoadvantage Mon 02-Jun-14 22:34:27

I feel your pain. I have an 8.5 month old who has never slept through (by any definition).

Until recently she was breastfed until asleep then put in the cot and I'd sneak out. I decided that it was time to help her fall asleep without being on the boob and she stopped falling asleep automatically while feeding too. I put her in her cot and sat nearby. If she cried and stood up, I responded immediately but after cuddles and soothing would lay her down again and rub her back a little. She very quickly started to snuggle down and the crying was minimal.

After that, I moved to putting her down awake and immediately leaving the room. Again, I would return as soon as she started to cry- I would be rubbish doing cry it out! Lol.

Everything I've read suggests that if babies can settle themselves to sleep at bedtime they'll do the same when they wake at night. This is not the case for our dd. She always wakes shouting and now stands up and cries. She can sometimes be settled without feeding so that's progress I guess.

What I'm trying to say is, you're not alone!

AChickenNamedDirk Mon 02-Jun-14 23:02:22

If trying doing all the bedtime stuff earlier. Also could he be cold post bath?

Tea by 4.30
Tv if you have around 5.30
In the bath 6pm
Feed to sleep by 6.25.

I had massive issues with my dd2 at this age as she could only drop off to sleep via feeding. Had to use a gentle method to wean off all night feeds immediately. Fixed it 80% within 1 wk. 100% by one month. She was then waving me off
at bed time.

rootypig Mon 02-Jun-14 23:11:25

Agree with username approach, though with DD it worked that we picked her up and comforted her (with words and cuddles) then put her back down. All babies (all people, actually) rouse in the night and put themselves back to sleep - by the time you're a child, you're so good at it you don't remember the shifts in consciousness. You need DS to be falling asleep in a way that he can replicate himself in the night. He needs to feel ok about being awake and in his cot, alone. Naps are a good time to work on this, it's easier than night bedtime for some reason.

The bath in your current routine is definitely too late. A bath is stimulating, and raises the core temperature, which delays sleep. This is true for at least half an hour after the bath.

I would be doing tea, then bath, then feed, then quiet play (stories are good), then bed.

rootypig Mon 02-Jun-14 23:14:28

Oh just spotted avocado's post. Responding to crying straight away worked really well for us too. It's reassuring for them, I think, to know that if they need you, you'll come. They learn this and relax so quickly! clever babies. I reassure DD and leave while she's still awake.

welshbetty77 Mon 02-Jun-14 23:23:41

Ladies...thank you all so much for your responses and isn't it nice to know that there are others in the same boat as us?! won't bloody believe this, but I'd obviously reached some sort of pinnacle today. After writing this post this morning, and talking with friends until I was blue in the face today we tried a new approach.
We changed bath time to straight after tea so that helped with the happy/pyjama kick off, then straight after in the night garden and cuddles with dad I took ds into bedroom, put him in grobag, we closed the blinds together saying n'night to the birdies then sat in nursing chair with his 'night night' book.
Read that once, b'fed him until started to pull off/mess about (so I knew he was full) then actually dared to put him in cot wide awake, popping Ewan the musical sheep on.
He got straight up, smiling and trying to play with the sheep (bless him sad) but I laid him back down all the while repeating comforting phrases 'night night DS/ it's sleepy time now/ time to go to sleep in your cot so you feel nice and refreshed in the morning/it's ok mummy's here' and rubbing and patting his back, laying him down every time he tried to get up.
Of course there was tears and sobbing (who wouldn't be bloody confused by it all bless him?!) and there were a number of pick ups and put downs (always awake) but after only 20 mins HE FELL ASLEEP???!!! (I literally can't believe it).
Now, there's been two more wake ups since, where I did exactly the same things, the second for about ten mins and the third for about 20 again...but he's been soundly asleep now since about 8.45 smile
I don't know what was different today apart from me waking up this morning knowing something had to change...mainly because I felt the situation wasn't/isn't doing him (or me) any favours anymore and actually it's not fair to him for him to need me to fall asleep! I definitely felt calmer and more in control tonight, because I believed in my resolve I suppose and even though the crying was hideous (our own babies cry is MEANT to distress us mummies!! sad) I knew that with me talking, gently touching and soothing him that his distress was kept to a minimum and I'm not doing any stressful cortisol inducing method which for me is paramount. I definitely felt differently waking up today doni guess each of us reach that point at different times, I've no doubt that I'll be up a number of times again tonight, and I'm even prepared to feed him again, (although I'm trying to limit to set myself a target to not feed before 1am) but I feel SO much more positive than I did when first writing this this morning. Thank you again to everyone who took the time to respond today, I'm so grateful, I'll let you know how we get on in the coming week if you like? Maybe we can be one another's support team?! ��

rootypig Mon 02-Jun-14 23:27:35

Brilliant! sounds like you've made a great start. Just be consistent now, it sounds as though he's ready for it.

welshbetty77 Mon 02-Jun-14 23:30:21

Oh and I'm also going to shift feed to before book...good point. Crikey we all must have read so many of the same books/posts/forums that really we know the advice before we even actually ask it! �� thank you thank you thank
you xxx

welshbetty77 Mon 02-Jun-14 23:32:35

Hey rootypig...I think you're absolutely right, HE is as ready if not more ready than me...that's why I feel so strongly that it's the right thing I think. Just hope my resolve isn't weakened in the still of the night!

rootypig Mon 02-Jun-14 23:34:19

I had a day like you too, a real moment of resolve when I decided to do something about it. DD was so tired and so was I.

welshbetty77 Tue 03-Jun-14 02:09:40

Oh. My. Goodness. So, firstly ignore the time I am posting this but using the opportunity to log my information as well as offload/impart!
So, the babe awoke crying at just gone midnight, so I went into his room to try and settle him in cot...the procedure took ages and ages with lots and lots of pick up/put downs...and in the end I fed him because I figured it must have been about 1am (what would have been others advice in this situation by the way, seeing as I'd set myself the 1am goal?) anyway this wasn't the greatest move either I don't think �� took forever to get ddds back to sleep in his cot, through lots of upset and frustrated, confused tears AND coughing (which made me feel guilty that I shouldn't have started this until I know he's fully over this coldsad) and made me almost give up and bring him into bed! However, I didn't, and he fell asleep on his side with me patting his little bottom and Ewan the sheep going wonky as he's running out of battery! It was 2am by time I came out. Tomorrow might be a LOOOONG day

sososotired Tue 03-Jun-14 06:49:08

You did well sticking to your guns!!
If it makes you feel better my DS woke at 3 and cried no matter what (I'm cutting out night feeds) I offered water instead which p&:sd him right off sad I tried sitting next to him and almost gave in all that was going through my head was give him a bottle and take him to your bed!! But I didn't I got a mattress and lay on the floor next to his bed holding his hand he calmed down and went to sleep at 4 sad
But got up at 6;30 full of smiles smile

welshbetty77 Tue 03-Jun-14 07:29:36

Yay well done you too sososotired!! It's so hard in the dead of the night, with their little sobs ringing in your ears to not just give in isn't it?! What kept me going was to keep thinking 'I'm doing this for him, it's not fair that he doesn't get to sleep a whole full night through bless him' and that kept me going I think! He woke at 5.30, full of smiles too (yay, they don't hate us!) I fed him, and have given him breakfast and fed him again (he's still off food after being ill) but will try for a nap being put down awake...eeek!

sososotired Tue 03-Jun-14 07:34:04

Good luck for your naps!! We are down to one long nap a day (DS did this himself) so after lunch we go to bed with a full belly and he goes to sleep like an angel now I typed it he will probably protest today
Keep updating and hopefully we will get somewhere together smile
I start work in just over a week so an improvement would be awesome smile

AChickenNamedDirk Tue 03-Jun-14 09:03:05


Keep at it and be totally totally consistent.


avocadoadvantage Tue 03-Jun-14 15:24:18

I'm really pleased for you Welshbetty. I hope things continue on the right track. People have told me that day 4-5 can often seem like you're back to the start but keep going and you'll get through. Like you, I' was always against any crying methods but I am approaching this as me needing to teach her and being understanding to her confusion and frustration when I change the rules. Totally agree with rootypig that I see returning to her when she cries as proving she can trust me to return if she really needs me. Very different to my SiL's approach who said 'it takes 3 nights to break them'. Hmmm :-(

For us it's the nighttime wakes that are the issue now bedtime is sorted. She usually sleeps from 7:30-11 but will always wake around then and is usualky hungry. I feed her then as I'm going to bed but her worst time is 12-5 when she seems to wake 2-4 times. I wonder how much of her waking is habit, especially when cosleeping with boob on tap.

My resolve goes in the night and I'm quick to tuck her in bed with me rather than fully wake up myself. It doesn't help that she's in our room still I think. Have others found it easier once they are in their own room? Love the idea of a support group btw :-)

sososotired Tue 03-Jun-14 17:39:42

Good luck to everyone for the night ahead!!

sososotired Tue 03-Jun-14 18:33:15

We've had a breakthrough and DH is at work so I thought I'd share on here, DS had his bath story and bottle and I put him in bed awake with a kiss and walked out of his room, no crying nothing he has just gone to sleep smile

welshbetty77 Tue 03-Jun-14 18:39:40

Woop woop sotired...that's awesome, well done you guys! Good news here too, (please don't jinx myself please don't jinx myself!) we rejigged slightly, fed, then book then down awake (at 6.30 rather than 7) and although there's was slight protest, 8 mins in and he's fast asleep!!! Crikey it can't really work this quickly can it?!

welshbetty77 Tue 03-Jun-14 18:44:01

Avocado thank you that's really useful knowing about a possible day 4/5 regression...I will be armed with that knowledge now! Love what you say about being totally understanding to LO's confusion and frustration, that's exactly how I feel, we have gotten into these habits together but it's only me that can help break them and to teach new ones...I owe it to him to teach him how to fall asleep by himself! Good luck everyone, let's all stay strong together! Xxx

welshbetty77 Tue 03-Jun-14 20:46:38 I might have jinxed myself, he's been awake three times so far, first two were really quick in cot settles, the last one I had to pick him up as he was really breaking his heart (and mine too in the process sad) but I didn't have to feed him at all...just really want him to get it for his sake so he doesn't feel the turmoil of it all...hope I don't have to battle like this with him for very long ��

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