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Are my DDs sleep problems unfixable? Could a sleep consultant help?

(10 Posts)
minipie Wed 27-Jan-16 14:29:48

I have two DDs, DD1 is 3.3, DD2 is 10 months.

DD1 is and has always been a sleep fighter. She has a very "wired" personality and does not want to go to sleep. Then once she is asleep she always wakes up too early (for example she will sleep 8pm to 6am - this is enough to get her through the morning but not the day - but then she resists lunchtime napping). She goes into overtired mode very quickly, always has. She also wakes in the night sometimes but that's not the main problem, it's more that she is not sleeping enough in total for her needs. She is tired most of the time sad.

DD2 seems to like sleep more than DD1 but she seems to be a very light sleeper and will wake frequently (and often be very hard to get back to sleep) if she is ill or teething. Trouble is she has been ill - at least coldy - most of her life. I know waking when ill or teething is normal but she seems particularly badly affected compared with most babies I know.

Both have good sleep habits in that they have a regular routine and they go to sleep in their beds on their own, at naptime and bedtime. We don't bring them into our bed (they won't sleep there anyway!) I do often BF and/or rock DD2 when she wakes at night - partly so DD1 isn't woken - but recently even that doesn't work.

We are exhausted. DD1 is also very tired (she has very mild CP so gets tired more easily than most kids anyway, so she really can't afford to sleep so little). I am back to work in 2.5 months and can't see how I'm going to function.

I have been thinking of hiring a sleep consultant / sleep trainer of some kind but am not sure if there is anything they can really do? Afaik they usually solve "sleep association" problems and we don't have that (I think, though maybe a bit with the little one).

Any thoughts welcome.

Peppapigallowsmetoshower Wed 27-Jan-16 14:36:29

Is 8pm - 6am not quite a good nights sleep?

It sounds like DD2 of 10 months is tiring you out. The bf and rocking can be exhausting, I remember. Maybe sleep training would help her settle after she stirs between cycles? My son was 10 months when we started gradual retreat, by 11 months he was sleeping considerably better (no mention of 18 month sleep regression wink)

It might be helpful to chat over your thoughts with a consultant. If you can afford it and can know what needs to change then go for it.

minipie Wed 27-Jan-16 14:56:52

Thanks Peppa. Yes I think 8-6 would be enough for some kids but it doesn't seem to be enough for DD1, perhaps because of the CP? She is definitely tired most of the time and is on much better form on the rare occasions she sleeps more.

Yes you're right, it's DD2 rather than DD1 who is tiring us out (DD1's sleep is more of a problem for her than us). DD2 can transition between sleep cycles I think - she doesn't wake every 60/90 minutes (I had that problem with DD1 so recognise it well!). She usually wakes 2 or 3 times a night, I know that doesn't sound too bad but it can take a very long time to get her back to sleep, she wakes for the day at 6.30, and we also have a fair few wake ups from DD1. So, not a transition problem per se, but it might still be that she expects us to feed/rock her and we need to somehow wean her off that... but I can't do anything harsh if she is ill.

minipie Wed 27-Jan-16 15:07:33

Regarding the consultant - I guess I am just wary of them promising the earth and then once we've paid, actually not being able to do anything?

FreeButtonBee Wed 27-Jan-16 21:09:13

Eek! Sounds tough. I think you probably need to stop the night feeds and rocking for dd2 which will be very painful and involve some crying but will hopefully get you over one part of the night waking. I'd start it on a Thursday night so you have just a Friday of tiredness on your own and then the rest of it over the weekend. While you don't have a bedtime sleep association problem, you do have a middle of night sleep association problem. So probably a sleep consultant could help. They will probably just tell you to leave her in the cot and settle somehow without getting her out and then reduce the interaction gradually. So you could save yourself the cash and just give it a proper try yourself. I favour a good firm rthymic pat-pat-pat with the occasion firm rub. Some people just rest a hand but that brings about too many tears in my kids. Once the patting works, you can pat for a count of ten and then stop, pat for a count of five, then just rest a hand and hopefully stop.

Is there any way you could put dd2 in a travel cot somewhere less likely to disturb dd1? Just for 3/4 days?

On the not sleeping long enough, I have this with my DTD and its only now at almost 3 that she understands sleep is good. We do a lot of positive language around bedtime 'lovely bed' 'a big long sleep with your bunny' 'dis you have a lovely sleep last night, you must feel fantastic' etc etc. I also added a teddy bear mattress cover under their sheet and a heavy feather duvet (we are in a cold terrace) so that being in bed is lovely and cosy and nice. They have also been going to bed at 6.30pm recently and sleep longer than ever - I never bought the 'put them to bed earlier to get them to sleep longer' idea but I have found it helps.

FATEdestiny Wed 27-Jan-16 21:31:34

Have you considered Cows Milk Protein Intolerance in your youngest? It's just that a sign of this is a constantly snotty child.

minipie Wed 27-Jan-16 22:09:03

Free thank you, I think you're right the consultant would just suggest that kind of thing for DD2 wouldn't they. I think I was hoping there might be some magic quick no cry solution but that isn't likely <sigh>

DD2 is already on a different floor to DD1! Sadly we are a family of very light sleepers.

I like your mattress topper and heavy duvet ideas for DD1. May I ask where you got them?

I would like to try putting DD1 to bed earlier but I have to get DD2 to bed first so it's a bit tricky - but could experiment at the weekends when DH is around. Good idea.

FATE hmm interesting thought but no signs of CMPI (no reflux, poo always normal, great weight gain) also no allergies in family. It does seem more cold like in that there is a cycle to it - sore throat then bunged up then streaming snot, then a day or two off and begin again! She has also had hand foot & mouth, bronchiolitis x2 and a vomiting bug... All those since November.

FreeButtonBee Thu 28-Jan-16 05:28:17

Mattress topper is a cheapo microfibre 'teddy bear' topper bought on line - a single bed one is about a tenner. I use it in their toddler beds - just have to tuck it well under.

I also use single duvets on their toddler beds side ways and tucked under each side, initially to stop them falling out and now it's their preference. Adds to the coziness factor! Duvets are from the white company - 2 low tog ones that clip together for winter so I can take off a layer in the spring. I will link.

FreeButtonBee Thu 28-Jan-16 05:30:00 This one.

minipie Thu 28-Jan-16 09:58:53

Thanks FreeButton I have wondered about a different duvet for DD1 - she has a 7 tog cotbed duvet, which I would freeze under, but looked on MN and seemed like lots of DC have just 4.5 tog so I thought 7 must be ok... Glad to know some people do actually put warm duvets on their children - I will have a look at those ones, I like the sound of ones that popper together.

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