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Desperate with 15mo

(33 Posts)
ilovetosleep Tue 28-Jul-15 12:12:22

Ds2 has never slept well. He has never slept through and wakes 3-5 times for bf every night. I have tried not feeding, I have tried upping calories in the day, I have tried cosleeping. He won't feed lying down either. He has dropped all but one daytime feed. He is dairy free and won't drink any alternatives. Last night dh went to him and cuddled and tried to settle, didn't leave him to cry at all, and he screamed hysterically for 1.5 hours until I eventually gave up and went in to feed him. He then woke twice more before morning. I am on my knees. I don't know if it is separation anxiety or teething or what. He settled ok at bedtime without a feed and within 15 mins with dh sat by cot, no intervention. It is just the nights and I don't know what to do anymore. I need to night wean, I just don't know how. Dh said if I hadn't gone in at 3 am this morning e would not have gone back to sleep til morning. He wants to try again tonight but think it's pointless, now we have sent the message that if he screams long enough dh will come and get me. Sorry this is all incoherent I am on my phone and am just too tired to compose myself let a lone this post sad I can't do cc. I just can't. I don't know what to do.

Solasum Tue 28-Jul-15 12:16:32

flowers OP.

It is a while ago now for us thank god but I read somewhere that giving the same number of feeds but gradually making them shorter and shorter was the best way (my DS will scream til he is sick if thwarted so cry it out wasn't an option for us). It took a few weeks, but it did work for us. Might be worth introducing a soft toy to your feeds, then he can still have that when you stop feeding.

Good luck

Needaninsight Tue 28-Jul-15 12:28:12

Have you spoken to your HV for advice?

I've got a 15month old. He hasn't woken at night (illness aside) since he was 18 weeks old, when I slowly withdrew feeds. But I was consistent. And I did do a sort of controlled crying - but i certainly didn't leave him to scream and scream!

The awful part is, you've tried everything and anything by the looks of it - you're now really sleep deprived so it's hard. You need to stop trying lots of different things. Get on the same page with husband and try one approach. Poor toddler is confused!

If there anyone whose house you can go to for a couple of nights for you to get some sleep (and let DH just deal with it) . Once you're not sleep deprived, it will be a lot easier to deal with I'm sure.

You say he only has one daytime feed? Surely you would be better off giving him a feed first thing when he wakes and a feed before bed? Giving him a routine to settle down before bed? Does he have a bath every night? That is excellent, as the warm water lowers their body temperature ready for sleep.

I was only sleep deprived with my two when they were newborns, so a while ago now, but I do remember how hideous it was, and it totally destroys your ability to function. I would address that first and then hopefully you can make positive, consistent steps to sort this. I would also check with GP/HV that there is no medical underlying issue (ie check all fit and healthy and no reason to be waking!)

Needaninsight Tue 28-Jul-15 12:36:15

ps. You say you don't want to do CC but you left him for 1.5 hours screaming. The most I ever left mine for screaming whilst doing CC (a form of it at least!) was 8 minutes. So maybe reconsider it :D It really isn't the evil that some people think it is!!!

ilovetosleep Tue 28-Jul-15 12:43:07

HV just sad Cc. I won't do it. He has food intolerances but I think they're under control.

Solasum I will try that, I tried it a few months ago but definitely worth another shot.

Needaninsight thanks for the post but yes I have tried all of that. Of course I have tried withdrawing feeds gradually. Not at the cost of his sense of security though. I can't hear him That hysterical.

I have been trying to reduce feeds since 6 months. He has had a consistent bedtime routine at 630 with ds1 since 6 weeks old, bath, story, feed, bed. When I said he'd cut out feeds in the day I mean he point blank refuses theme or mucks about, plays with me etc. doesn't actually drink and I can't force him. He eats really well at meal times. Naps well.

Dh does try and we did make a plan for last night. I just couldn't go on hearing him like that for any longer - he actually made himself vomit.

I could sleep elsewhere but dh has to go to work so I'd need to be home at 6 am to take over, which is fine but if he has been up since 3 am screaming for me I'm not in for a very good day when he is handed over to me in a mess desperate for boob and sleep. I just don't see how that would work. He's tired enough as it is and the days are so tough with him being so tired and clingy.

I'm sorry I sound so defensive. 15 months of no more than 2 hrs straight sleep. It's torture. I really feel like I've tried everything. But There must be something more I can do.

He doesn't have many teeth - front 8 and one canine, no molars yet and no sign Of them. Maybe they bug him at night. Maybe I should see the GP again. I'm so tempted by pitioton right now. Christ I've been tempted for a year but never thought ins ever seriously consider it

ilovetosleep Tue 28-Jul-15 12:44:18

I didn't leave him for 1.5 hrs screaming. Dh was holding him, offering water, cuddles, pats on the bun, calpol the works. He was not left screaming.

LongLankyLegs Tue 28-Jul-15 12:51:57

Maybe a long shot OP but have you cut out wheat for him?

My dd has cmpi so we've been dairy and soya free for a while. Cut out wheat products a couple of days ago and her sleep is a bit better. Her dad is wheat intolerant so wouldn't surprise me one bit if it was irritating her as well.

Here's a hug as well (((()))) bollocks to the unmumsnetty bit. Sleep deprivation is fucking awful flowers

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Tue 28-Jul-15 12:52:53

I think 6.30 bed is early, have you really tried to wear him out ... good run round the park at 6 then tea .. bath etc bed for 7.30? .... got to be worth a shot.

ilovetosleep Tue 28-Jul-15 14:22:22

Thanks for the replies and suggestions. Yes he's wheat free too! Good idea but we got there first ;)

Sorry I meant bedtime routine starts at 630. He's usually asleep around 7.15-7.30.
I don't really know what I'm asking tbh. I scoured these boards the Friday time round so feel that I know al the tricks. Problem is they aren't working with ds2!

ilovetosleep Tue 28-Jul-15 14:26:35

I guess he could have other intolerances too. That's a whole other world of pain trying to figure that out.

ilovetosleep Tue 28-Jul-15 14:28:07


Needaninsight Tue 28-Jul-15 15:11:05

Not at the cost of his sense of security though. I can't hear him That hysterical.

But you are doing at the moment! Screaming hysterically for 90mins. I don't think either of mine have ever screamed for that long hmm

If you're refusing to do CC (which is what this situation needs) I can't really see what else you can do except accept the lack of sleep. What's the point of asking for advice?

As I said, you are trying everything. It's too much. Try one thing.

stargirl1701 Tue 28-Jul-15 15:18:29

He has a bf sleep association. He believes that bf is the only way he can fall asleep. I think you need to commit to trying one method for at least 7 consecutive nights rather than try something then try something else.

Shush Pat - your DH
Gradual retreat - your DH
Co-sleeping and bf - you (don't sit up)
Jay Gordon - both of you

He will cry with all of these methods. The cortisol rise with CIO/CC apparently (can't remember where I read this) doesn't happen with crying in arms (i.e. with a parent nearby). You are going to have to accept the crying though.

stargirl1701 Tue 28-Jul-15 15:21:48

It was here.

Flingmoo Tue 28-Jul-15 15:28:52

Controlled crying is not the same as crying it out, by the way... Controlled crying involves only leaving your baby for very short periods and going in to comfort them very frequently. You can set the limits and use your intuition about how long is too long for your child, it's easy to tell when your child is becoming genuinely distressed and when they're just moaning/wailing grumpily. We never went over about 5 minutes.

Personally I'd completely cut out night feeding and only offer water. He's a toddler, not a baby. Night time is for sleeping.

ilovetosleep Tue 28-Jul-15 15:49:44

Thanks stargirl. I had read that somewhere too. Thanks for reconfirming what I thought. I know I need to be consistent, you're both right. When I say I've tried all those things, it wasn't all at once, it was at various stages over the last 6 months, but either they didn't work or I didn't stick at it for longer than a few days. It's hard.
Gradual retreat worked for bedtimes, but I don't know that it would work at night as he isn't calm for long enough to put him down. At bedtime he protests but has never really got hysterical. He hasn't bf's to sleep at bedtime for months now so I'm not convinced it is a bf sleep association but I can't see what else it can be so will work with that for now! Co sleeping doesn't work for us as he rolls out of bed, regardless of bed guards, and he gets over excited and won't feed lying down. It will have to be a variation of shush pat/jay Gordon but I know the screaming will last nights. What happens if he literally does not go back to sleep after first waking at 1am ish? Do I keep him awake for midday nap?! How?!

Needaninsight I don't know why I'm asking for advice. I'm desperate. I suppose I was looking for maybe one the gnu haven't thought of, or some reassurance that he might get better in his own, or just a bit of support. I did say I didn't want to do cc, and I don't know why I'm getting so het up by someone who advocates cc in a 18week old baby, but you really don't seem to understand my motives for not doing cc. Stargirl has a link. I'm not doing it. There's a reason your kids only cried for 8mins. Tiny babies give up a lot sooner than older ones.

Anyway. I think I'm going to try cutting down the feeds minute by minute for a few nights then making sure I put him down awake and doing shush pat. Then once he's happy with going down awake I will go down the jay Gordon route. Is that still too confusing for him?

pileoflaundry Tue 28-Jul-15 15:53:29

We used the method in The Sleepeasy Solution for DD and DS. It's the same idea as Solasum mentioned, but it has lots of concrete information on what to do in many specific cases. In a nutshell, you'll be waking your DS2 up 5 times a night to feed him (ouch), but if he wakes, you won't feed. This should break the association between waking and being fed, and then you can cut back on each feed. It takes a while (we did it more slowly than the book recommended and it took about a week to wean each feed), and the first week was really hard, but we could see the difference every night which kept us going. There were no tears at all when we did it with DD, but I think that we carried on a late-night feed for a while afterwards to help her to sleep through.

ilovetosleep Tue 28-Jul-15 16:00:08

Crikey you wake them up?! I will read the link, thanks, never heard of that crazy technique before! Great that it worked though. How old were your kids when you did it?

Swanhildapirouetting Tue 28-Jul-15 16:06:24

Personally I think you have to break the association with feeding rather than the association with you when he wakes. Is there any way you can get a good sleep in the day so you can cope better at night whilst you sort this out over the next few days? I always used to feed my 15 month at night but it was just once a night so I wasn't utterly sleep deprived. All my three just grew out of night waking and I never did controlled crying or any forceable night weaning. I quite enjoyed those quiet feeds but it wasn't 3-5 times, definitely not.

BUT I would say that I made a point of never feeding them more than once in a night if they woke unless they were actually ill; I can remember the light sleeper waking and me just comforting him and putting him back in his cot when he woke a second time on occasion. I think you need to try and teach the baby (and I think 15 months is still a baby in many ways) to self settle at night. Have you read any book on a baby's sleep patterns and how we all cycle between light and deep sleep and babies do it slightly differently - so if they surface and feel something is wrong without being ale to self settle you have the battle you describe. Only feeding will do in your baby's case, but not because he needs food just the sensation of feeding/comfort. Could you try it all out in the day perhaps, getting him to nap without feeding him to sleep (perhaps you do that already) I used to feed my 15 month olds a least 4 times a day (breastfeed) as well as solid food and that did seem to mean I felt more reassured that night feeds were not so important. I think it is a psychological bond that affects our ability to let them cry; the more you feed them in the day (breast I mean) the less there is feeling you are depriving them by weaning at night.

If all else fails is there a chance you could go and sleep somewhere else one weekend over night or two (come back in the daytime to see baby) and organise with your husband that he will deal with night for your sake (it really might only take two nights) Imagine if you were hospitalised and baby could not be with you - what a terrible shock it might be in that situation for your baby to be suddenly left; you are doing it for him to get him used to sleeping securely through and as you say it is not good for him to have such a disturbed night or such a very very tired mother. thanks

There is a book by Ferber which explains a lot of sleep patterns in small children cannot now remember the name.

Swanhildapirouetting Tue 28-Jul-15 16:14:17

cross post. I see you don't feed him to sleep for naps, however that is a different time of day, and light and babies are clever creatures! He probably has a different association for night compared to day.

I think gradual cutting down feeding time is quite difficult (especially physiologically) and once you are awake it is difficult to not just do the easiest thing to make him settle once you have started feeding. But comforting him without feeding and offering water and something to suck might be a good bridging activity for most of the night feeds. You have to be really strong though, that's why you might have to share this with your dh, or some other friend so you can be ready for the night ahead.

ilovetosleep Tue 28-Jul-15 16:19:19

What you said about breaking the association with me makes sense. Do you mean I should be the one dealing with all the night waking a then rather than dh, initially at least? I actually think he might settle better for me but I just struggle so much with the crying.

Needaninsight Tue 28-Jul-15 16:21:47

Maybe, But I also have a 15month old and a 2 year old who are perfectly happy, content little toddlers who sleep.

I think it's a load of rubbish to say it's cruel personally. When I say 8 minutes, at that point we went in and comforted. It's far far easier to sort out a young baby and make them feel safe and secure in their own beds. As I said, I'm not even convinced it actually was CC as such - I never read a book about it, so who knows if that was actually what I did! But I certainly 'trained' to a certain degree, and the successful results speak for themselves.

Your 15 month old is not a baby - he's a toddler. Toddlers should not be waking at all hours of the night.

I can hear you're desperate. I would be too.

I know I probably sound a little harsh, and I'm honestly not trying to be. But if I'm honest, I have little sympathy at people whose 'babies' don't sleep past the first 5 months or so as it is (nearly always, medical issues aside) down to rushing in, and creating an unsettling pattern which a baby then becomes used to.

Young babies don't remember so all this, it's bad for them etc etc, what a load of baloney!!! They certainly are affected however by a lack of sleep and their mother being sleep deprived. I would say those two effects have much more damaged consequences, especially once they're no longer even a baby!

Needaninsight Tue 28-Jul-15 16:23:17

I still maintain you need to get at least two good nights sleep in yourself first though before you try anything!! Sleep deprivation is not good.

You may have a much clearer head once you've had some rest yourself. flowers

ilovetosleep Tue 28-Jul-15 17:25:58

I couldn't disagree more. I hate it when people think their own behaviour shapes their child's sleep when in fact they have been lucky. I have had two kids and done very little differently. The first one I ended up slacking to his own devices, fed him every time he woke (even on odd occasions when he woke from illness up to 2yo) and by a year old he was the best sleeping baby I knew and has been ever since - 12 hrs straight, napping after lunch still aged 4, and never ever leaving his bed let alone his room between 7 and 7. He is bright and happy and well rested. Ds2 is grumpy, high needs, and clingy. I have done nothing, nothing differently with ds2. Well until the last few months that is when I decided to start trying to fix things.

Needsweetstosurvive Tue 28-Jul-15 17:49:02

I disagree as well, only someone with 'good sleepers' would say such a silly thing.

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