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5mo old pathologically hates bedtime!

(41 Posts)
KimKarTrashian Sat 08-Aug-15 22:12:43

Arrrghhh!! So... Any words of wisdom would be great!
DD (first baby) is now approaching 5 months old and is a nightmare to settle, this has been an issue since the first month and I assumed it would improve but it hasn't.
If we're 'lucky' we can feed her to sleep.... Though on nights like tonight as she approaches the end of the bottle she goes inconsolably nuts in anticipation of bedtime - it took 2 hours this evening 😖🔫 and a combination of DP and I taking it in turns to rock/walk/sing to/pacify her enough to eventually fall asleep exhausted.
I spoke to a 'gentle' sleep trainer last week about feeding her to sleep (as latterly this was the issue and we could at least settle her this way) who suggested it could be attachment issues or tongue tie related given feeding issues very early on... So we started to give her the bottle pre bath (we have a pretty solid routine in place) and then to rock her to sleep to remove the feeding association however she hates being held and won't be soothed in her cot. She also won't settle in a sling which was her other suggestion...
Indeed since we tried these techniques and well and truely wound her up a few nights running she's now regressed back to being absolutely impossible to settle again so am scared these techniques have solved nothing and actually made the situation worse! She seems to be totally terrified of bedtime and nothing works.
Sorry this is rambling.... Any insight would be great, has anyone experienced this or found a solution? I am going back to work next month and the thought of coming home to this after 12 hours in the office is terrifying!
Annoyingly bought the millpond book on Amazon and the crucial pages were missing just to compound issues?!!!

KimKarTrashian Sat 08-Aug-15 22:16:06

I should add, to make matters worse she used to be able to settle for naps but unsurprisingly this is an issue too!
She also sucks her thumb manically and tries to self soothe as she's tired but can't quite get to sleep which causes the upset and complete breakdown....!

ImperialBlether Sat 08-Aug-15 22:18:11

My children are adult now. I didn't resolve this problem with my first child and fed her to sleep every night. She woke up several times a night and I nearly lost my mind (and life, too) due to tiredness. When I had my second child my health visitor insisted I did controlled crying. She said that she would come again in a week and if it wasn't resolved she'd take over and make it happen! Within two nights he was going to sleep without a problem. It's so horrible doing it, but they learn so quickly.

I used to do bath, bottle and bed and just went in every five minutes to stroke him and say everything was alright. The first night he took an hour to settle, the second night he took 40 minutes. The third night he lay in bed laughing.

This was a boy who was so clingy he gave himself a hernia when I went to the shop without him. grin

KimKarTrashian Sat 08-Aug-15 22:25:22

Thanks so much for the input!
I would KILL to go in and see her laughing in her cot gringrin !!
Interestingly I mentioned the gentle sleep training to my HV on Thursday (which included a technique called crying in arms, apparently cortisol doesn't increase as much when they are held but having done 30 mins I gave up because it was so traumatic!) and she was aghast! She said pre 8 months (I think) CC should not be done.... Funny how advice from HV changes so much!

KimKarTrashian Sat 08-Aug-15 22:29:03

My concern is that it seems SO psychological with her. We follow a routine at bedtime, she's not over tired, the room's dark, there is white noise.....I have read everything on the internet re advice and EVERY conceivable base is covered, but she seems completely traumatised and nothing makes that better! Could that be possible?

purplemurple1 Sat 08-Aug-15 22:29:05

If she is sucking her thumb like crazy are sure she isn't hungry or has reflux?

purplemurple1 Sat 08-Aug-15 22:30:59

Remember kids haven't read the books.

Dc1 hates visual distractions but loves noise.
Dc2 is the opposite.

Try changing the bedroom to what ever she likes in the day that makes her calm.

ImperialBlether Sat 08-Aug-15 22:33:10

Well my thoughts about CC are that it's so much easier to do when they can't stand up and grip the cot rails and scream!

I never saw my daughter (first child) laugh in her cot! I'd put her down asleep, she'd wake up yelling and then come in with me. I was rubbish at it, really!

She's not traumatised, though, not really. She knows you cave in, that's the thing! The best thing you can do is get her into good sleeping patterns; that far outweighs a bit of yelling.

KimKarTrashian Sat 08-Aug-15 22:33:35

Purple.... Def def not hungry, she would keep eating for hours, but not sure about reflux- you're the first person to suggest it. could that be why she is thumb sucking?! If there is something physiologically wrong that I can treat I would (firstly feel absolutely awful it hasn't been diagnosed before now) but would love to send you a huge cyber hug given at least it's something tangible we can treat as opposed to something emotional...

ImperialBlether Sat 08-Aug-15 22:35:06

I wouldn't leave the room too dark.

Could you potter about on the landing/your bedroom/the bathroom, humming a tune, just saying, "It's okay, sweetheart, time for sleep now" and running taps, etc so she knows you're there? Put the vacuum on if necessary! If she's panicking that you're not there it might reassure her that you're nearby.

KimKarTrashian Sat 08-Aug-15 22:39:01

Imperial- totally agree about us caving we do. She goes from a whimper to inconsolably screaming to that point where zero noise comes out in a very short space of time so now we pick her up and pre-empt it so I suspect that has definitely become a habit...

Purple, yes nothing seems to calm her, I would actually go so far as to say when ages in her cot and we stand over it to chill her out it actually pisses her off and makes her even more fractious! As does rocking her.... As does most things!

trilbydoll Sat 08-Aug-15 22:40:56

We've got one of those, she's 2y3m now and still hates bedtime. She expresses it by messing around rather than hours of screaming we used to have.

All I can suggest is admitting defeat early and getting in the car!

Slightly more seriously, we somehow ended up with a repertoire of 4 songs we played while rocking her, and it did get to the point where she recognised when it was time to give in. Il Divo, songs from musicals and hymns were all good bedtime songs!

trilbydoll Sat 08-Aug-15 22:42:52

Oh, and she hated the cot. I think that was a massive part of the problem. Things have improved since we took the side off, although 5m is probably a bit young for that!

DearTeddyRobinson Sat 08-Aug-15 22:43:56

It sounds like she could be overtired? When my DS got to that stage the only thing that worked was to leave him to it. All my hugging, rocking, singing etc was making it worse. How much sleep does she get in total?

FATEdestiny Sat 08-Aug-15 22:45:40

5 months is still very young. I'm sure you are aware that up to 6 months SIDS recommendation is that baby stays in the same room as a parent at all times. That means 'bedtime' is recommended to be the same for you and baby - when you then both sleep in the same room.

That said, 5 months marked the very beginning of when I started doing a 'bedtime' with my DC4 (now 10 months). It sounds like you have been putting baby upstairs 'to bed' for a while now, which could be a reason for some of the separation anxiety.

Honestly, four children have taught me that most sleep issued are caused by parents trying to implement what they perceive is "The Right Thing To Do" when you would be far better just going with the flow and stressing less.

At this age, if baby is crying and not wanting to go to sleep at the prescribed time you decide is bedtime, then I'd just not bother and bring baby downstairs and have a cuddle/play and try for sleep later.

Also - if baby likes sucking (fingers), have you tried a dummy?

ImperialBlether Sat 08-Aug-15 22:48:14

FATE, nobody suggests that a mother should have the same bedtime as a five month old baby!

OP, think about it. If you let her cry, she will stop at some point. She's not going to be crying the next day or even the next hour. She will get tired and she will stop. She has to learn that you are there, but she is to stay in her cot. The only way she'll learn is if you put her into her cot and let her know you're around but that you're not picking her up. I know it's really hard.

flamingtoaster Sat 08-Aug-15 22:49:05

I wonder what would happen if you did the bottle, bath etc. and then took her downstairs and had her lying beside you on the settee with low lighting and very relaxing music playing. If you could come up with some combination where she would get used to falling asleep anywhere without getting upset you could then swap identical lighting and music upstairs for her.

I think, somehow, you need to break the routine which sets her off - you can always re-establish it later. If you can maybe try bathing her in the middle of the afternoon and see if that helps.

I hope you can find a solution soon.

KimKarTrashian Sat 08-Aug-15 22:50:33

Trilby - 2years oldshockshockshock you won't believe it she HATES the car too! Am painting her to be a total nightmare but actually bar the car and bedtime she's a poppet. Il Divo haha, maybe I should try this at the moment I am trying the white noise rain / fan thing but it's not working. The amazing thing is when she wakes up in the morning she's actually quite relaxed, rolls around there for a while before even telling us she's awake, it does feel like it's the fact we are deserting her in the evening which is really sad, especially when counterintuitively she won't be calmed down by us when she does blow her top!

FATEdestiny Sat 08-Aug-15 22:59:10

FATE, nobody suggests that a mother should have the same bedtime as a five month old baby!

No. The SIDS recommendations have changed a lot in the time since your adult children were babies.

The NHS and widely recognised recommendation is that baby stays in the same room as baby until 6 months old. You might have known SIDSs as "Cot Death" back in the day.

The recommendation now (and has been for a while) that baby stays downstairs with you until you go to bed.

Controlled Crying would be woeful advise before 6 months. Not recommended before 12 months but there could be some debate for its use from 9 months or so. Bad advise for a 5 month old.

KimKarTrashian Sat 08-Aug-15 23:03:35

Flaming - I have thought about mixing things up and doing that the only thing in the back of my mind is that she might get overtired which to teddy's point I don't think she is right now... We have experimented with naps every which way and it's not made a blind bit of difference sadly!!

Fate - totally hear you about "doing the right thing" issue is as a first timer (with no real support from either my or DPs parents) you rely on the Internet and books a lot which makes things a bit formulaic. If indeed it is separation anxiety can that be experienced by a baby so young and how do we address it?

ImperialBlether Sat 08-Aug-15 23:07:32

Oh please don't patronise me! Of course I know SIDs was Cot Death!

There is another thread on MN at the moment where virtually every mother is recommending CC. I don't think anyone would recommend a child crying for hours at a time, night after night. The thing about CC is that they don't tend to do that. As I said happened with my son, he cried for an hour/40 minutes over two nights. He was quite capable of crying for that length of time if I was, say, cooking dinner and he wanted to be held. I won't accept that that was bad for him.

I interpret the NHS guidelines re SIDs which state "Place your baby on their back to sleep, in a cot in the room with you" as meaning throughout the night. I wouldn't think that the baby had to be in the same room as you throughout the evening. If you had a cot in the living room the baby would be wakened by TV etc and would then wake when you moved him/her upstairs.

SIDs is incredibly rare and there are far more factors involved which I'm sure the OP is making sure she takes note of, eg secondhand mattresses, smoking, damp etc.

FATEdestiny Sat 08-Aug-15 23:10:50

If indeed it is separation anxiety can that be experienced by a baby so young and how do we address it?

The first is a bit too much of a philosophical question for a mere mother like me to answer. How do you address it - stress less and cuddle more.

I post on a lot of sleep threads and a large number contain problems that are actually created by the parent wanting to Do The Right Thing in the hope of not creating a problem. Only the very things they do to avoid perceived problems is what creates the problem.

Someone upthread mentioned over tiredness. I agree - so address daytime sleep first. You want to be aiming for around 3-4 hours of daytime sleep (in several naps) and 10-11 night time sleep (not necessarily all in one block). I'd aim for 45 minutes sleep in every 2.5 hours through the daytime.

Also try a dummy. Dummies are great.

Then, frankly, your "bedtime issue" is a non-issue. Your baby may well simply be too young to have a bedtime. Just keep baby with you as an extension of daytime. When baby is ready for bedtime you will know, cos it wont be a battle. For now, this is a battle really not worth having.

Siolence Sat 08-Aug-15 23:12:01

If she hates the car too I'd definitely be looking into reflux.

FATEdestiny Sat 08-Aug-15 23:12:07

Really ImperialBlether, please don't...

trilbydoll Sat 08-Aug-15 23:14:03

She hates the car? You're buggered then, sorry grin

A pp has made a good point, you need a total switch around because at the moment, what you are hoping are sleepy cues are actually "it's time to kick off" cues. Every so often we have to do things in a different order because we've got in this horrible negative cycle.

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