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10 month old screaming on and off for hours every night please help !!

(8 Posts)
eepie Fri 15-May-15 09:01:58

Hi, any help or advice much appreciate - I am at my wits end !!!! I am just so fed up of using sleep training and it not seeming to work and I don't know why ! I am trying to night wean my 10 month old DD as when I feed her at night when she wakes, she wakes without fail 3-4 hours later and doesn't sleep through until morning unless I wait until 3am to feed her. She has been in her cot in her own room since 4 months. We used to co-sleep when she was newborn but transitioned to her sleeping on her own quite quickly as I couldn't sleep with her next to me. She doesn't have a dummy. She is breastfed and eats 3 meals a day with some snacks sometimes and water. She doesn't seem to have a very large appetite. She breastfeeds well at roughly 7, 11, 3 and 6.30pm. Sometimes she has an extra small breastfeed at around 1.30pm after lunch. She self settles for naps (doesn't cry longer than a minute or two) and self settles for bedtime (less than 5 mins crying and sometimes no crying at all) and she is not fed to sleep anymore. She has a solid bedtime routine starting at 6.15pm and ending at 7pm:

Bath - Formula top up - Breastfeed - Teeth clean - Pyjamas - Story & crawling around - Musical wind up toy - Quick cuddle - "Time to sleep now" - Kiss and place in cot on her front and give her teddy. Walk out of room.

She has had pretty much this exact solid routine since she was 2 months old although she used to be breastfed to sleep until maybe 8 months old. She has a teddy in her bed which she is quite attached to and I see her cuddling whilst she is asleep or trying to get to sleep. She can now stand up in her cot.

We started sleeping training when she was almost 9 months old as she was consistently waking up at 10.30pm (just as I was about to go to sleep!), 2.30am, 4am and 6am....NOT GOOD. I was knackered and we had tried variations of DH trying to settle her without me feeding her....Leaving her for 5 mins to see if she'd settle herself...Me feeding her but with only one breast to try and gradually lessen night feedings etc. But things seemed to be getting worse and worse and she was less able to get back to sleep properly without a breastfeed. She was eating 3 meals a day at this point but varying appetite.

So we did CC recommending by a friend who used a sleep clinic - we put white noise in her room which helped a lot I think - then we decided that I wouldn't feed her until Midnight. So when she woke at 10.30 we left her for 5 mins then went into her room, patted her bum, said "Time to sleep" in firm but soothing voice and walked out of the room. She then didn't cry for any longer than 5 mins we didn't need to go in there again the first night ! And she just cried on and off for about an hour...the next night it was less and the next night even less etc etc until she stopped waking for that 10.30pm feed. We were chuffed because this meant she now slept until around 2.30am until waking and crying for a feed. We thought it had worked !! Then various things interrupted this routine like travelling and staying at someone else's house...illness...But we got her back on track for just 2.30am feed relatively easily once things were settled again. A couple of times she even slept through with no feed ! But then she started waking up early like 5am after this 2.30am feed...So I thought ok maybe we are ready to night wean so she's not confused and that it's just clear that there is no feeding at night time until at least 6am. Well we are in the process of trying to do that but she will no consistently cry for 1-1.5 hours every night between like 3am and 5am. On and off crying...like she will settle herself for 5, 10 or 20mins of sleep then wake up crying again on and off for sometimes 2 hours ! We are so exhausted and she is grumpy every morning until her first nap of the day. (2 hours after she wakes up.) We do the 2-3-4 thing for daytime naps. And often she is refusing her breakfast after about 4 teaspoons of porridge although she seems hungry at first.

Last night it totally felt like we had gone backwards again - she woke at 1am and was on-and-off crying until 2am when she fell asleep for 1 hour and then woke crying at 3am when I fed her (Recently I have thought she's NOT ready for night weaning as she is putting up so much of a fight for so long now that I thought ok I'll feed her no earlier than 3am. And then at least she'll sleep until 6 or 6.30am.

Please help! ! Any idea why she is waking up and settling herself but then waking up after 5,10 or 20 mins asleep and doing this on-and-off for up to 2 hours every night ??? And it's not low level crying it's screaming !! Any idea why if I feed her at her earliest wake up (say 1am) she will then not sleep through until morning but will wake up again at 4 or 5 crying again? I thought she has quite good self settling habits and we aren't feeding or rocking to sleep and deal with night wakings in a pretty consistently boring fashion, no singing, rocking, chatting, fussing, not much interaction but just quick and boring reassurance. I thought we were doing the right thing to teach her good sleep habits. And I just can't deal with the stress of listening to her cry in the early hours of the morning any more I feel like I'm going to explode with stress every night and then am annoyed and irritable, tired and exasperated in the morning rather than happy to see my lovely baby... :-( Feel so crap about it ! please help !!!

hobNong Fri 15-May-15 09:39:06

Hi eepie, I can't offer advice but my dd is around the same age and is doing the same at the moment. I feel the same, when I got up this morning and a few times in the night I could have cried I was so tired. Ive been bringing her into our bed in the middle of the night so I'm not going back and forth. I'm hoping it's some sort of growth spurt or teething or something that will be over soon!

hobNong Fri 15-May-15 09:41:00

I should say I've been feeding her in the night now. It's more like half asleep feeding and I'm not totally aware it's happening but it stops the crying until she starts again later.

Sorry I have absolutely no advice I just wanted you to know you're not alone. Could it be growing pains maybe?

FATEdestiny Fri 15-May-15 09:46:34

I would remove yourself from all night time wake ups for a time - say a week or two.

Obviously this can only be done at a time when your partner can cope with all the nights, so maybe he will need a couple of weeks holiday from work?

It pains me to say it, because I know its not what you want to hear, but I think the type of night time crying your describe sounds like hunger (or possibly thirst). Her small appetite could create her seeking to fill up in the night. Then the whole process is self perpetuating - her natural body rhythm gets used to receiving calories over 24 hours, so she eats less in the 12 hours she is awake to allow for night time calories.

If your partner takes over then I would aim for him to settle her back to sleep. It being him and not you removes any possibility of a breastfeed. It may take a number of hard work nights for her to re-set her bodily rhythms to start eating more in the daytime so she is less hungry at night. But while going through this she is likely to be hungry at night until daytime appetite is adjusted.

BabyOnBoob Fri 15-May-15 09:51:31

Co sleep again and feed your poor baby back to sleep!

Sorry if that's curt but she's crying/screaming for a reason (probably because she wants her mum). She'll be 18 and leaving home in no time.

I know you said you couldn't sleep properly with your baby in bed with you. I can't either but what's the alternative? 1.5 hours of screaming and you feeling like you'll explode?

I get you as I'd feel exactly the same but I'd get her back in bed with me. They all learn how to sleep independently eventually.

pileoflaundry Fri 15-May-15 10:24:59

I thoroughly recommend the method in The Sleepeasy Solution by Waldburger and Spivack for getting a child off night feeds.
In a nutshell you wake the baby up proactively to feed her, so she'll never be hungry, and then slowly cut down. But if she wakes up, then she'll be helped back to sleep rather than fed, so there will be no incentive for her to wake. Importantly you'll know that she's been fed, so shouldn't be hungry if she does wake.
We used the method on our DD who was a similar age. We cut down on the feeds far more slowly than the book recommended so it took a while, but we could see improvement every night and there were no tears. None at all. It was amazing. It's worth getting the book rather than trying to wing it (IMHO) as it has good tips for spacing the feeds, edge cases and for seeing you through the night if and when it all gets too much.

Having said that, are you completely sure that she doesn't have indigestion or anything like that?

eepie Fri 15-May-15 13:35:41

Thanks for all the responses... Bit disconcerting to hear that people think she is probably hungry...For about a week she was just going all through the night without feeding at all and not much crying...or she was easily settled by me just going in there a few times but that seems to have reversed somehow. This is what made me think she is capable of sleeping through with no feed because she has done it a number of times...I read that once you start dropping a night feed and have successfully dropped it then you never start doing that feed again or you'll undo all the work you've done.
I was so much happier and more well rested and so was she when she was sleeping through those times...which is why I am trying to continue it/reinforce it/get back to that.
BabyonBoob I have been feeding her on demand up from newborn until she was 7 months... she started feeding once every 4 hours on her own soon after that. And I fed her on demand in the night every night for like 7 or 8 months ! Sometimes I tried to settle her without a feed the older she got but if she kept crying and waking I would always feed her if that's what I felt she needed as I didn't want to leave her to cry. But I just got completely exhausted and my relationship was suffering my wellbeing was suffering and she did not have a happy Mummy to be with in the day time so I thought it has to be time for a change. For my own health and for the wellbeing of our whole family I knew we needed more sleep...gentle methods like shh pat and pick up put down did NOT work for her - my presence just upset her more as she could not understand why I wouldn't just feed her as I had been doing all night every night for the whole of her life ! And my DP is not able to be up in the night properly -he is AWFUL without sleep and he is not consistent with methods like shh pat or PUPD he will just do random things or just give up and tell me I should feed her. The only thing he was willing to get on board with was CC because some friends of ours told us it worked really quickly so there were actually less tears overall and they all got more sleep and everyone was happier. It did work for us to some extent because she's gone from waking every 3-4 hours to doing an 8 hour stint of sleep or more sometimes from bedtime. Which is amazing. And maybe I shouldn't be expecting any more that that. But I still don't get great sleep because I go to bed around 10.30 - then worse case am up feeding her at 1am, then 4am, then she's up at 6. This constant disruption in my sleep cycles is just a killer ! It makes me so grumpy and tired.
If I feed her whenever she wakes up it just seems to go backwards..she then wakes up way more from when I feed her. It could be because she can now stand up in her cot or separation anxiety..I don't think she is teething at the moment and no way to know if it's Indigestion or growing pains. I just find it really hard to know for sure whether she is hungry because she has managed to sleep really well without a feed quite a few times and not been ravenous in the morning either.
BabyonBoob Re: Co Sleeping -- it just doesn't work for us. We have been advised by 4 or 5 of our friends who co-sleep to NOT do it...because 3 or 4 years on they are regretting it big time, haven't slept properly or both in the same bed for 3-5 years and cannot face the battle it takes to try and get their 3 or 4 yr old to sleep on their own. I'm sure it's much harder when they are actually screaming MUMMY ! Or coming and climbing into your bed and waking you up. For one I have body temperature issues - I either get way to hot or way too cold in bed and it's a hormonal thing maybe but I got massively uncomfortable having to be relatively still with my DD in the bed and not having much space to turn over, take the duvet on and off etc. We don't have a safe co-sleeping arrangement - having open sides on both the bed and no real option of putting the bed up against a wall with our current bedroom/storage arrangement. That would be a lot of reorganising to bring the baby into bed with us which is something we never wanted to do anyway. Plus my partner smokes which isn't really safe for co-sleeping is it? I have tried to bring her into bed with me a couple of times when she's been ill or we've been sleeping somewhere unfamiliar -- she didn't slept well and neither did I ! Our bedroom doesn't have blackout blinds either and is SO bright from the streetlight outside and from 4 or 5am onwards it's like daytime....so that would surely disrupt her. And she is just so used to her cot that once when I brought her into our bed she was just like "What am I doing here?" and started wriggling and crying trying to get out/off of the bed ! So that isn't an option for us I'm afraid. I do sleep in her room with her on a very small and uncomfortable single day bed if she's ill but again neither of us sleep very well. Co sleeping works for you and that's great but it's not for me.

eepie Fri 15-May-15 13:43:27

hobnong - I feel your pain - I actually did cry the other night because I was so frustrated/confused/tired/felt like a bad mum but unsure what else to do or what other route to take. Feel like I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't. If I feed her she wakes up way more and then in subsequent nights wakes up more...If I don't feed her she cries on and off for ages and keeps me awake even if she does settle herself with short periods of crying. And sometime it's completely fine and she sleeps through with only a tiny bit of crying. I just don't get it ! And I feel like I'm doing everything wrong but am just desperate to have like 6 or 7 hours of sleep in one go ! Because I feel amazing afterwards and feel like I'm a better and more patient and calm Mum to her at those times. That's what I want for me life...not this 3 hours here and 3 hours there and constantly having my natural sleep cycles disrupted or getting shit quality sleep/taking ages to be able to fall asleep cos I"m so stressed and I don't know whether she's settled for good or whether she'll be crying again in 10 min just as I'm drifting off...It is like torture ! I just don't know what's the best thing to do as everyone gives you different advice - some people say co-sleep, some people say feed as often as they want and forget about what you want/need, some people say night wean at 6 months cos they categorically DO NOT need the calories at that age anymore, some say CC is the way to go, others say it is harming your baby, it's so confusing. In the day time I try to do everything right so she has a good night's sleep - lots of fresh air and natural light, lots of activity and opportunities for her to crawl and 'walk' around (she is almost walking),variety of food offered to her, unfettered access to my breasts and full feeds every 4 hours! wind down time before bed...soothing bath...top up of formula incase my milk supply is low at bedtime....all of this. But still somehow I am getting it wrong and we have this screaming at night time :-(

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