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DS wakes up every night an hour after I've put him to bed, and won't settle without boob access...

(18 Posts)
squigglehead Fri 14-Aug-15 20:48:37

...and then at least twice in the night, usually more. He is nearly 11 months old, and I've posted about him before, and it's not getting better sad

He has a bedtime routine. He has dinner, books and playing with DH (or a bath then slightly less books and playing), then a bottle with cuddles and Bing (not great I know, but he gets really sleepy like this whereas books excite him too much). We go upstairs, brush his teeth, then I lie with him in his dark bedroom (DH goes back downstairs and starts cleaning up after dinner, tidying etc). He can breastfeed if he wants to (always does, some days more than others), has his dummy and goes to sleep. I then pop him in his cot.

He will always wake up about an hour later, and will only settle back to sleep with boob. But he barely even sucks, really just wants to hold them (and dig his nails in and twist my nipples hmm). During his night wakings he will feed a bit, then take his dummy back and when he's asleep I can pop him back in the cot, it doesn't usually take long, it's the amount that's killing me...

Tonight for the first wake up (an hour after he peacefully went to bed) I went and offered boob in case he was hungry, thought he went back to sleep and moved him to the cot, when he immediately started fussing, spitting his dummy out, standing up etc. So (as agreed for trying to brreak this habit), DH went in.

I so, so want him to learn that he can fall asleep without my boobs being right next to him. I know that surely eventually if we stick with this (only for first wake up initially, not after we go to bed) he will learn that its ok and go to sleep no bother, BUT...

...I'm now sat downstairs listening to DS screaming his head off, even though DH is right there with him, and it's horrible sad he is being cuddled, he is fed and watered, he has even had medicine as DH thinks he might be teething, but he is just crying hysterically (and judging by what I can hear from the baby monitor sporadically clawing DH's face...)

I don't know what to do. He won't settle for me without boob, just claws at me until I give in, this was supposed to be gentler but it doesn't feel that way sad

Does anyone have any advice? Anyone else been through this? I just don't know what to do anymore. We used to cosleep but then he woke every hour, in his own room it's every 2-4... He's been screaming his head off for half an hour now even though DH is right there sad

MrsAukerman Fri 14-Aug-15 20:53:48

A very very gradual approach is usually needed. If when you put him to bed he falls asleep with nipple in mouth you need to start taking him off just before. If he can fall asleep with dummy not you but you need to be 6 inches away start trying to be 8" then 10'' away etc until you're stood at the door etc. You're his sleep association so he needs to either transfer that onto the dummy or comforter or bear.

FATEdestiny Sat 15-Aug-15 20:42:50

MrsA's answer above is good and in keeping with the gentle approach you were striving for.

If your DS really wants you at bedtime, personally speaking I wouldn't deny him that but work on gentle approaches to extract yourself and/or bring DH into the routine.

Assuming you have just one child, the I would begin by double-teaming bedtime as a way to involve DH in bedtimes, rather than replacing you with DH and listening to the screaming.

I would also add that the pawing at you suggests he might like something to do with his hands when sleepy. I would be consistently introducing a comforter toy (alongside the dummy) for this purpose. One of my children used to pat his comforter. Or scissor action 'finger cut'. Or repeatedly pinch or squeeze. All of these pawing actions he does to you, you could work on transferring to a comforter.

Cathays Sat 15-Aug-15 21:25:14

Just wanted to say I'm there too, though my DS does feed not claw. I posted on Infant Feeding as I was considering introducing formula to knock him out for longer as it were!

squigglehead Mon 17-Aug-15 20:08:07

Thanks for the replies. Every time I try to start gentle withdrawl or similar he seems to start teething or have a wonder week sad have spent the last 2 nights pretty much entirely cosleeping as he just won't stay settled in his cot longer than five minutes. Something's clearly bothering him the poor thing sad won't go down for naps the past 3 days either, have had to use the pram. Hopefully when this bout of teething passes we'll be back on an upward swing...

squigglehead Tue 18-Aug-15 06:40:39

So tired this morning that I feel like I can't carry on. We never even go anywhere or do anything anymore, I'm just too tired. We'd have so much more fun if he slept better, I can't do CC, and I can't fix this sad

thinkfast Tue 18-Aug-15 07:34:28

Op I know you say you want a gentle approach but would you consider cc if your Dh did it?

I never wanted to do cc but he was a dreadful sleeper, I was due back at work and something had to change. Dh and I did it together. The first night was horrendous, the second a bit less then the 3rd night about 10 minutes of crying. The 4th night he just lay down and went to sleep until about 5am. He's been a fantastic sleeper ever since (bar a spate of early wakings and illness).

If it's getting to you that much - and sleep deprivation is torture- you do need to do something for your own health x

squigglehead Tue 18-Aug-15 08:49:26

I don't even think CC would work with DS. He gets hysterical so quickly and stays that way, last time DH tried to settle him it took me an hour to calm him down enough for him to sleep, after half an hour with DH sad I think he'll be one of those babies that just screams til he vomits. I don't want to break his trust in me. This morning he's tired now, after waking up at 6, but just won't nap, not in bed with me, not in his cot, not in the pram. He would in the sling but I don't have the strength for that at the moment, I can't stand up for an hour sad I just want him to sleep. He's mow watching TV while I'm crying, I just don't know what to do.

TRexingInAsda Tue 18-Aug-15 09:09:21

Why don't you just co-sleep? If it works, it works. I did it for about 2 years - best thing ever. No crying, no getting out of bed, it's easy.

For naps, will he fall asleep if you bf him all snuggly on the sofa? Or in the car, if you can time a trip for naptime? When mine grew out of bfing to nap, I'd put in the buggy and walk for ages. Sometimes he'd sleep, but even if not it felt like a bit of a break for me, iyswim. x

squigglehead Tue 18-Aug-15 09:18:54

We used to cosleep but then he comfort sucks all night, starts tossing and turning etc, I definitely disturb him. I have a single bed in his room, I usually cosleep with him from the first big wake up (12.30 or 1.30 usually) until about 4, which is when he wont settle back to sleep and keeps tossing and turning until I put him back in his cot, where he'll sleep for another 2.5ish hours. So although I cosleep through the worst of it, I never feel properly rested having done so, and after a few hours it stops DS sleeping properly too sad

All naps used to be BF on the sofa, but then he reached a point where he desperately wanted to roll away from me for the actual going to sleep part, and there's not room! We were doing really well - upstairs to the single bed, feed, fall asleep, transfer to cot then leave him to it and have a nap myself for up to 2 hours. On the sofa he only ever went half an hour maximum!

It feels like all the AP things I would be perfectly happy to do for an easy life aren't working but the alternative won't work either. Just stuck in a rubbish situation feeling guilty that I don't have the energy to play with him properly sad

nottheOP Tue 18-Aug-15 09:19:51

Honestly, in your shoes I would do CC and leave fairly big intervals. 5, 10 then going in every 15 minutes. Shorter intervals would probably just wind him up. I bet it would take 3 days - the tears overall would be so much less and the benefits of a baby that just goes to sleep, gets the rest that he needs, naps etc are huge. Babies are busy little things and they need their sleep for development. It's a life skill!

If not that then create some really clear rules and stick to them. He's 11 months and does not need milk at nighttime - his teeth certainly don't need milk unless they're being brushed afterwards. Milk feed downstairs then upstairs to clean teeth, book and bed. Don't get him out of his cot to settle, minimal words - just reassure every couple of minutes saying 'it's okay, it's just time to go to sleep'

trexing it doesn't sound like cosleeping works, he wakes hourly that way. It is great if it works for all involved though.

nottheOP Tue 18-Aug-15 09:21:14

Sorry - just to add, that if you do CC when you go in, you don't need to fully resettle, just go in very briefly and say similar to the above, It's just brief reassurance really.

squigglehead Tue 18-Aug-15 09:26:01

I'm so scared that if we try CC he'll make himself sick/be horribly distressed. I don't want him to not trust me anymore. I fully believe it works well for a lot of kids but I just don't think I've got one or those... You're probably right that shorter intervals would wind him up - pick up put down makes him hysterical very fast - but how do I know when to stop with CC? What if he's still crying after two hours? What if he's sick? At what point do you stop doing it and if you do, do you try again the next night? Also it will break my heart, I'm just all over the place about it. Sorry for being such a flake. Ahrg.

nottheOP Tue 18-Aug-15 09:46:11

I'm not going to try to convince you because it is a personal choice but I'll answer your questions.

He is likely to cry and be upset but he may surprise you with how quickly he gets it. I would set a time limit on it before you give up, say do 5 min, 10 min, 15 min then three more sets of 15 minutes. If he's still just going nuts for 15 minutes you might want to give up then. IME, DS would go nuts for 5 minutes and then just go to sleep but it depends on the baby. Not many would cry on a full on basis for 15 minutes either. If it gets to the end of the interval and they've calmed right down or gone quiet, don't go in as you might set them off again!

Try to give him a little time after feeding before you put him down - less chance of him being sick then. If he is sick, clean him up, quick cuddle and then start again.

I would try it for 3/4 nights and see how you feel. If you do it, take turns hovering outside the bedroom door. It doesn't need two of you so go and wash up, tidy up and keep busy when it's not your turn.

He won't stop trusting you. In all honesty, he won't even remember in the morning. He still knows that you're there and that you love him, he's just tired and doesn't have the boob access he's used to.

You're not being a flake - you're just a bit torn between being knackered and wanting to do the best for your kid.

TRexingInAsda Tue 18-Aug-15 10:19:44

Can you co-sleep with him in your bed - then it would be big enough for him to roll away and you would both get some comfy sleep, rather than a single bed and fannying about with transfer to cot?

I get that he wakes if you co-sleep, but the thing is, if you're in your own bed the whole night, and don't have to left an eyelid, much less get up, it's much less knackering than getting in and out of different beds, pick up/put down/cc and all the rest of it.

I did cc with dd (my first) as a very last resort. It's really, really hard. I think it was 2.5 hours she cried the first night. She cried to sleep a lot, albeit for not too long after a while, and then she'd wake at about 5am, and we couldn't make her cry back to sleep at that time when she'd had all night (nearly) to sleep. I still feel guilty, but I didn't know what else to do, and she did get more sleep than she was having when I was running round like a headless chicken trying everything from every sodding baby book ever written! In the end, it doesn't really matter what you do in the long run, they will eventually get some sleep and they'll grow up and you'll forget about it. So with ds I just did whatever was easiest for both of us. People did say I was making a rod for my own back - my arse! I never got out of bed for him in 2 years! Then he went into his own bed. Easy.

I just think sometimes there's so much pressure to get them 'sleeping through', and some babies just won't. So you've got to manage them not sleeping through the easiest way you can for both of you. For most babies, I don't think there's a magic fix.

squigglehead Tue 18-Aug-15 21:14:19

Right. I've come up with a plan.

I've moved the cot closer to the single bed in DS's bedroom so that as soon as this teething bout is done I can do gradual retreat. In the meantime I'm going to get a cheapie IKEA cot and sidecar it onto mine and DH's bed. Theory goes that on good nights he'll be in his room not being disturbed by us (like when he's not teething), as I can cope with the few wake ups as long as he resettles easily, and I assume they'll get less over time. On bad nights, I can bring him into our room and cosleep in there as it will be more comfy and less cramped than the single bed, and DS will have his own space so hopefully won't get too restless. We'll see how this goes I guess! Hopefully it will work ok, if not I guess we'll have to have a rethink...

squigglehead Fri 21-Aug-15 08:34:28


Every time the teething/leap stops he seems to come out of it a slightly better sleeper. For the past 3 nights he has slept 7-11pm, woken for 2 feeds between 11-1.30, then slept through 1.30-7am! I'm amazed and so so happy smile and energetic haha.

squigglehead Tue 01-Sep-15 07:48:07

...and last night he slept through from 8pm-6.30am shock just wanted to put this here in case anyone was reading this thread in a similar situation. It may get better without you having to do anything other than go with the flow of your baby! I'm not expecting a repeat performance anytime soon but at least I know he can do it smile

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