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Every bedtime is hell...help!

(17 Posts)
Highlove Sat 03-Jan-15 19:58:41

Dd is 10 months. Fed to sleep till a few mo tha ago when we started very gently putting down awake and shushing. Worked fine after a few days, could shush her from the other side of the room and she'd be off in minutes. All good.

About a month ago something went hideously wrong. Bedtime typically takes an hour or more of screaming, nodding off, waking up, screaming, etc. We're not into CC but out of desperatiom we are considering it. I've no idea what's changed or what went wrong. She did have a cold and then tummy bug but has been better a couple of weeks and I think this predated her being poorly anyway. She's an ok-ish napper - always two naps a day totally between 1.5 and 2.5 hours. Normally awake 3-4 hours before bed. Solid bedtime routine - bath, quiet play, story, bottle, story and down.

Any thoughts. DH and I dread bedtime and feel awful that she's so upset but don't know what to do to help.

Any ideas, please?!

Bigbadgeorge Sat 03-Jan-15 20:11:01

Could just be a clingy phase? My dd has dipped in and out of these depending on teething etc. Also if she's having a developmental spurt (think their little brains must be whirring and they can't shut down). Hang in there

GingerScouse Sat 03-Jan-15 22:17:24

My 4.5 month old is like this. I'm getting sick of not having an evening EVER to myself as I'm constantly calming a screaming baby, or feeding, or actually making it downstairs for her to wail 10 minutes later.

I'm exhausted and resentful, as she doesn't want to settle for anyone else but me (and nobody else can feed her anyway as she's EBF).

Bigbadgeorge Sat 03-Jan-15 22:24:45

Oh dear, I feel for you guys. It does get better I promise. Perhaps introduce night time bottle Ginger then you can get a break

Highlove Sun 04-Jan-15 08:27:05

Thanks George. I did think it could be developmental milestone-related but wondered if that would last this long? Though it is certainly like she can't switch off - she nods off repeatedly only up wake anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes later. Gaaaah - it's so frustrating not being able to really help her.

Ginger, my Dd was like that at that age, too. She'd scream bloody murder if DH went in to resettle her even when she didn't want feeding. She's a bit better now but still a mummy's girl!

Writerwannabe83 Sun 04-Jan-15 09:52:05

My DS is 9m/o and three weeks ago we started CC because our evenings and bedtime and night times were hellish - I used to absolutely dread it.

I saw results in 2-3 days and doing it was easier than I thought. I had however reached breaking point and I realised nothing could be worse than the complete nightmare my evenings had become anyway.

Highlove Sun 04-Jan-15 14:28:55

Interesting, Writer. How did you go about it? And how awful was it for you and him?

Highlove Sun 04-Jan-15 14:41:17

Sorry, just re-read that is was easier than you expected. Can you tell me a bit more please?

MissHJ Sun 04-Jan-15 14:48:59

I did cc as well when my son was around 10/11 months. I could not take any more, he would just cry and whinge all night until very late refusing sleep. Never had any time to ourselves, so I tried cc and it worked well. The first night was the worse, he cried and fought for about an hour and I was close to giving up but the next day it was only 15 mins. By day 4 he would go straight down no fuss. It's not to everyone's taste but it worked for us. No more grumpy baby and we got our evenings back. I have to do it again now thou. He is 15 months and got horribly out of routine with christmas so tonight is our first night of getting back into routine. Good luck with whatever you choose to do.

Writerwannabe83 Sun 04-Jan-15 15:27:30

One of my problems was that I had no set bedtime routine so this was something I addressed but you say you already have a set routine so you're already a step ahead than I was. I then put DS into his own nursery as until that point he was still in our bedroom.

The bedtime routine ended with a story and then I put DS into his cot, kissed him goodnight, told him it was bedtime and lay him down in his cot. He would usually start crying before I even left the room.

We'd leave him to cry for two minutes before going back in, then four minutes and then eight minutes. We never left him for longer than eight minutes. When we went in to him he would always be standing up in the cot so we'd lie him back down and firmly tell him it was bedtime and then leave. This was repeated until he fell asleep. The first night it went on for about 40m then it reduced down each night and he now typically has a cry and a grizzle for about ten minutes before going to sleep. Now that he grizzles as opposed to crying it is very, very rare that we have to go in to him after initially putting him down.

I was told it was important to listen to his cry and to ask myself if me going in to was going to achieve anything or make the situation worse. If DS was upset then
I would obviously go in to him but if I felt that after the time slot (be it the 2,4 or 8m) his cries were subsiding then I wouldn't go in. From listening to him I would be able to tell that even if he was still crying a little it meant he was calming down and I knew that if I went into him just because the time slot had been reached then it would rile him up and we'd be back at square one.

We use the same technique for his daytime naps as they used to be horrendous.

CC has been a lifesaver for me.

Highlove Sun 04-Jan-15 18:35:22

Thanks both.

Writer, does he sleep through now? And how are naps?

Writerwannabe83 Sun 04-Jan-15 22:18:36

He never used to nap unless he fell asleep whilst feeding and then I would have to lie there, still as a statue, holding him until he woke up. It was ridiculous. I would aim for two of these naps a day and they'd typically only last 30 minutes. Now though, he is napping in his cot at pretty much set times of the day and will sleep anywhere between 1-2 hours. He actually slept 2.5 hours on one occasion.

I also used to feed him to sleep at night which led to nightmare bedtimes and crappy nights with him constantly waking and being awake for hours and me constantly feeding him in desperation to make him sleep. Now though he goes down in his cot between 7-7.30 and will sleep through until 6-6.30.

He's like a different baby.

Highlove Mon 05-Jan-15 09:18:52

Oh wow, sounds like you and he have done amazingly. Sorry, another question.. Did you just go cold turkey on night feeds as soon as you started CC? And did you start doing it for naps straightaway too?

Writerwannabe83 Mon 05-Jan-15 10:08:47

I went complete cold turkey with feeding. I think one of the huge factors in its success what that I had DH full support and he'd sit up with he listening to the crying and whenever I nearly have in he stopped me. He went in to most of the wakings because DS knew that a BF wasn't on the cards if daddy went in. I think if I had gone in frequently to try and settle DS he'd just get even more angry because he'd be angry I wasn't feeding him. It was difficult at first but after 3 nights DS's was sleeping through anyway so BF at night was no longer an issue.

Nap time was harder as DS was so used to bring fed to sleep that he couldn't understand why this part of his day wasn't happening anymore. I think it confused him at first as to why he was being put in his cot in the day and being left and for many days he would cry for quite some time before going to sleep. I was told that if he wasn't asleep in 30m then to take him out the cot, take him back downstairs and try again in 45m. In the three weeks we've been doing CC at nap times we've had to do the above about twice but then he always went to sleep quickly on the second attempt. We tweaked his nap time routine to break the habit of feeding to sleep and for him to recognise that he was required to sleep and after about a week he really got the hang if nap times. These days he's always asleep within five minutes of being put in his cot for his nap.

Me and DH did go in to sleep training with a very clear plan in place and strict guidelines (as discussed with the sleep specialist) and it made the whole process so much more bearable and easier. Prior to receiving official advice me and DH had been trying to 'wing it' in terms of sleep training and second guessing what we were doing and there was no structure to it which is probably why our own previous attempts had all failed.

I was under a time limit as when we started the CC I was due to go back to work in six weeks and I needed DS's sleep to better which is why I took the stricter approach.

Writerwannabe83 Mon 05-Jan-15 10:10:42

Sorry for all the stupid typos, my DS is crawling all over me. I hope my post still makes sense smile

Highlove Mon 05-Jan-15 14:42:19

Makes perfect sense, thank you so much. After another shitty night for no apparent reason, I think we may well be going down this route. Never would have thought I'd be considering it but we've been trying gradual retreat for months and it's getting worse. After an ok start to the night last night - only about 30 mins of wailing while we shushed her - I ended up feeding her four times just to get her to go back to sleep. Something must be done!

Writerwannabe83 Mon 05-Jan-15 16:26:32

It's awful isn't it, just complete hell. Nothing has ever left me so emotionally drained as dealing with those nights when DS just wouldn't sleep and the feeding would be going on and on in the desperation he would fall asleep sad The same pattern occurring night, after night after night just broke me which is why I had to get help. I just couldn't cope with it any longer.

When I spoke to the specialist we discussed 6 methods of sleep training (from gentle approaches through to CC) and she said the gentle approaches can take months to have an effect and for those where months down the line the baby still isn't sleeping that parents usually resort to CC anyway.

She told me that when I was in a same state of mind I should sit down and write down all the reasons that have led me to do CC and how badly his lack of sleep is impacting on me, him and my DH. She said to list all the reasons why I'm doing it that will be of benefit to me and the reasons that it will be of benefit to DS. She advised that if I ever felt like giving in then I should read it to remind myself why for DS's sake and mine and DH's sake, why sleep training needs to be done - the idea is that it will stop you from cracking.

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