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Feel like I can't go on with this much longer and don't know what to do...can't afford Sleep Consultant...

(7 Posts)
eepie Mon 22-Jun-15 21:03:08

My 11 month old DD has been regularly waking in the night every 3 or 4 hours for I don't know how long now...3 months..But it has been bad before that ever since the 4 month sleep regression. It's so unpredictable & if you count the time it takes me to settle agin after being up with her in the night, I am getting 2 or 3 hours in a row, every night, so interrupted and such bad quality sleep. And am incredibly stressed at night. We did CC successfully at 9 months and put white noise in her room and that helped A LOT - she went down to only 1 night waking which was amazing ! This didn't last though as illness and travelling got in the way and now it's worse than ever with a dose of separation anxiety thrown in. She stands up in her cot and screams her head off and then when I go in there and pat her or cuddle her quickly and put her down she is happy and settles herself after a couple mins of crying when I walk out. Then she will only sleep for 10-30 mins before she wakes screaming again...This can go on for 1-3 hours. It's been like this every night for maybe 3 months. I don't like leaving her to cry (even for short periods) and I know she really wants the comfort...but doesn't she deserve a happy and well rested Mum as well? Not one who is not chronically sleep deprived and unable to enjoy parenting at all somedays as she is so tired, grouchy, spaced out, and arguing with her father all the time because of sleep deprivation??
It has got to the point where I feel like if I give her some comfort or reassurance she just wants more and more and more and it disturbs her sleep more and more. She begins to wake every 4 hours or less, doesn't settle well after a feed (before when I was feeding at night) if I cuddle and sleep next to her in the daybed in her room she will be content with that for 10 mins or half an hour and then she will just wake up and start climbing all over me (so much so that I'm worried she will just fall off the bed if I fall asleep so I can't sleep) or fight to get my boobs out of my top and sleep with my nipple in her mouth all night. I feel like if she had a her way at the moment we would be back to newborn -- she'd sleep next to me, tit in mouth (did I mention she has 8 teeth!) , me completely uncomfortable & hardly able to sleep at all.
I feel at my wits end and completely green with envy at anybody who is getting more than 4 hours sleep in a row, it's almost causing my relationship to disintegrate... in the VERY rare nights that I have had 6 or 7 hours in a row (when MIL has taken over at night when we were at breaking point, or when I first used CC successfully) then I feel like a new person, a better Mum and better partner to my DP and more capable of actually coping with every day stuff..I feel like a real human being again and it's addictive...I want to feel like that more often..I can't carry on in this half zombie half irritable bitch half spaced out mum state ....I can't see any other way other than CC or Cry It Out as any interaction or reassurance seems to cause more agitation and upset when it is withdrawn, and my DP is bipolar so cannot really handle the nights very often as he needs regular sleep so as not to trigger BP so hard to implement any gradual gentle longer term approaches. I am desperate ! I totally understand why people just give up and do CIO. Because some nights after the 6 or 7th time of reassuring her and walking out of her room...hearing her settle herself into blissful silence for 10 or 20mins and then just as I am falling back to sleep hearing the most blood-curdling scream imaginable, I don't even hear my darling daughter anymore I am so tired I just hear a demon-child who is being completely unreasonable as asking for more than I can give. I am starting to dread going to bed & avoiding doing things that will be tiring or going away to see friends because I know I can't handle it with the nights like they are. It feels like it's never going to end, like torture !
I feel like for a year I have just been giving and giving and giving (breastfeeding and handling 90% of night wakings completely on my own) and am a SAHM looking after my DD and giving her all my attention and love all day....so now I feel like when night time comes around I have nothing left to give & I cannot go on like this for another year ! Not even another month ! There always seems to be something that disturbs her sleep ...just as we have one or two good nights...then it goes awful again and we think it's because she has a sore throat or a tooth coming or she is ill or it's because we went away for a weekend..always something & it never settles !
It will be worse when she can call out "mama!!" Don't know what to do. sad The sound of my daughters cries are so stressful and heartbreaking but in my state at the moment it's hard not to resent her and see the screams as manipulating or her asking for "too much" as well. Especially when I go in there and then she gurgles or laughs or climbs on me and doesn't sleep. I am such a present and affectionate mother to her even though I am tired as hell...I engage with her all day long, comfort her, stimulate her through play and outings and let her blow off steam by wrestling with me and being silly...I never just sit there on my phone ignoring her I am always doing stuff WITH her & paying attention to her. Why is it not enough and why can't she just feel safe and cosy in her lovely cot & teddies..which she seems to love and happily goes to sleep in at 7pm with no fuss...WHy does she then wake in the night and scream for me until I almost let her crawl back inside my womb like a newborn bloody baby !!?!?! I don't get it ! Sorry for rant but am at my wits end. sad
Info-- She's an active little girl who is happy if clingy in the day time- doesn't do independent play very often. She eats solids well & has snacks. BF in morning & evening (as of recently we cut out the day time feeds mostly) Can't walk yet but is trying. Can stand in her cot and does A LOT. I night weaned recently out of desperation...she seems fine with this and now has replaced that with a cuddle and put down and pat...after this she will settle herself with between 1 and 3 mins of crying. Then she wakes 10/20/30 mins later SCREAMING again even when she quite easily settled before. Each waking she works herself into more of a state and needs more attention each time...and this can go on for 1 or 2 or 3 hours. EVERY NIGHT. Then she wakes at 6.30 or 7 for the day. She still has 2 naps a day of about 1 hour each. She seems to REALLY need the morning nap as she is so tired from the night. She has a solid and predictable bed time routine and has done since 3 months old. She has blackout blinds and white noise. I do not feed or rock her to sleep as part of bedtime. She self settles easily for naps and bedtime at 7pm. She eats solids and snacks all day. Has no health issues that we know of ! And was EBF until 5 months. She slept in her own room from 4 months with no fuss.

Any support or advice...strategies or kind words would be SO appreciated. I know my baby is quite high needs and I have been loving and patient and attentive for months and months, especially when she was newborn & I could never put her down & wanted to nurse every 2 hours until 6 months.....I have never been one for leaving her or 'training' her...but I need a solution or a light at the end of the tunnel. It feels like this will never end. sad

DuchessOfWeaseltown Mon 22-Jun-15 21:14:21

OP I have v limited time so bashing this out and haven't had time to read your full post sorry - have you tried gradual retreat?? Is the only thing that helped with my DD who sounds a LOT like yours. I didn't wnat to do CC and frankly it wouldn't have worked on DD as she would have been sick from crying about 2 mins in (that kind of child). Others may come on to give better descriptions of how to do gradual retreat but essentialy you just put them in their cot, sit down IN THE ROOM and don't engage, you just pretend to be asleep or something, crying should be minimised as you are there but they will eventually lie down and sleep - it took over an hour the first night, roughly the same the 2nd night and then 40 mins the 3rd night - 20 mins after that. For the first few nights you sit RIGHT NEXT TO the cot. When they have the hang of lying down and going to sleep, you move a little further away. A few nights later, a bit further still. After say 2 weeks you shoudld be sitting by the door. THen it should only be a couple more nights before you can put them in the cot and leave the room. HONESTLY THIS WORKS (at least it did for us and DD was a terrible sleeper). She went from waking 3 times a night for 2 hour stretches to only waking once, if at all, for a few mins.It took roughly 5-6 weeks from starting it which I know is off-putting but there was improvement pretty much straight away, she just took a few weeks longer to really be a lot better.

It's basically teaching them to self-settle so when they stir in the night they don't need you.

I combined this with co-sleeping (don't know if this is a solution for you) as it got me the extra hour here and there that I needed to be able to face doing the long process in the first place!!!!

Good luck, apologies again for v basic and hasty post, i hope it helps a bit xx

mapetitpuce Mon 22-Jun-15 21:14:32

Didn't want to read and run, sounds bloody awful and I'm not surprised you're at your wits end! I don't have any practical advice I'm afraid but I believe that a happy mum is vital for a happy child and happy family, and hopefully you will find a sleep training method that helps you both, you sound like a fab mum and I hope some other replies have some great advice for you, good luck x x

ButEmilylovedhim Mon 22-Jun-15 21:36:39

Hi! Sounds dreadful. I was a bit like this with my dc1, weeping if acquaintances asked how I was when I ran into them at the supermarket! I would agree with the pp that gradual retreat or similar is the way to go.

I did the following with ds. He was 9 months and waking up at least 5 times a night. He would stand up in his cot and cry. There was a single bed in his room and I sat on that when he cried for the first time and didn't respond except to say 'time for bye-byes' in a friendly, kind voice. In my defence Teletubbies had just started! He continued to cry, I continued to say 'time for ....' over and over again. I told myself he could see me so wasn't feeling alone or abandoned, I was right there, just not doing what he expected me to. He cried for three hours the first night, (doesn't that sound awful now, but I was so desperate, it had to work.) one hour the second night and the third night, there wasn't a peep! Relief comes nowhere near it!! He's slept really well ever since. And he's a big lad now.

I hasten to add the plan was suggested by the HV. I cried when she told me it, there was some hope! It hits you really hard having such broken sleep. Hope something works for you soon.

Writerwannabe83 Tue 23-Jun-15 11:23:30

I have been where you are and it's a very dark, lonely and resentful place. I was in tears every day and night because of how exhausted I was and I honestly thought I was going to crack up.

When DS was 9 months I was surviving on about 4 hours broken sleep in every 24 hour period. DS did not really nap in the day and the nights were horrendous. I won't go into it all but I was literally at breaking point.

I used a sleep specialist (£75) and after her services I did CC. She set me out a really good detailed plan about the way to go about it and I stuck to her advice rigidly.

The first night it took about 50 minutes for DS to fall asleep at bedtime and on his night wakings it would take about 20 minutes before he'd go back to sleep.

With each night that passed these timings got shorter and within 3-4 days he was sleeping through from 7pm-6am and having regular daytime naps.

Seeline Tue 23-Jun-15 11:42:10

Speak to your GP/HV - some areas have NHS sleep clinics which you wouldn't have to pay for.

Writerwannabe83 Tue 23-Jun-15 11:49:07

Ps) I just wanted to clarify that I only mentioned my Sleep Consultant and price despite you saying you couldn't afford one so you know there are some cheaper options.

When I was looking at some Sleep Consultant Services their prices were going as high as £250, some even more!! It was insane. My £75 package was perfectly fine so I just wanted to mention it in case you said you couldn't afford a Consultant because you thought there were only really expensive packages.

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