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In a total mess with sleep/early waking. What am I going to do?!

(9 Posts)
Celia1978 Fri 29-Jan-16 09:05:18

Will try and keep this short and not turn it into an impromptu therapy session, though the latter is very tempting.

DS is coming up 11 months. Happy, healthy, eats solids well. Not teething.

Sleeping was OK up until about Christmas. He went down for naps and at bedtime awake, no sleep associations. Would have one wake in the night but I would give him a quick feed and put him down (awake) and he'd go off and that was fine.

Over the last few weeks it's all gone horribly wrong. In every way really but the biggest issue is the early waking. I know it's a common problem so I tried not to worry too much when he started waking at 5am. Got a bit concerned when it became 4am. Now it's 3am and I'm totally panicking. I'm due back at work (full time, full-on job, plus commute) next week. WTF am I going to do?!

3am is obviously an insane time to wake up and clearly he's not getting enough sleep but I can't explain it - it's not like a normal night waking where you just have to do whatever it is you do (feed, rock, pat, dummy in etc.) and they drift off without too much trouble. He's AWAKE. Feeding doesn't make him drowsy unless I do it for ages (like 90 minutes - though this morning I was still going after two hours and it hadn't made a difference).

The obvious answer is to leave him but when I do he a) cries and b) stands up in his cot and won't/can't get down. I don't mind the crying so much but as far as I can tell he CAN'T go to sleep standing up (I mean, who can?!). At bedtime and naptime I just go in and out, resettling, resettling, resettling until he eventually doesn't stand up again and goes to sleep. But at those times he's tired and basically wants to go to sleep, even if he doesn't want to be left, so it does eventually work. At the night/stupidly early wakings he's not. He's fully awake and raring to go/scream for hours.

I need to do something different - but what?! I'm quite an advocate of doing whatever works in the night to get everyone the sleep they need, but nothing works. Won't co-sleep. Fights and cries when rocked or patted in the cot. I try to go to bed early to get some hours in before he wakes up but I find it hard to switch off until about 10.30pm no matter what time I get into bed so that doesn't work that well either.

I'm thinking I might as well night wean now since feeding makes no difference anymore - but I'm also a bit scared because it's my last 'prop'. I'm sure I'm missing something but I don't know what. I'm just so so scared of how I'm going to cope - and also sorry for him because he spends his days desperately tired (which makes everything worse, obviously).

If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions I'd be so grateful.

FATEdestiny Fri 29-Jan-16 09:55:17

no sleep associations

Nothing at all? No dummy, no comforter toy, nothing? No comfort as a sleep association will be your problem if that is the case.

Having "no sleep associations" is not a good thing. It is not something to aim for until school-age.

Having no sleep association means he'll cling onto any possible comfort her can get (ie you, by screaming) because he has no means to get the comfort on his own.

Celia1978 Fri 29-Jan-16 13:13:15

He does have a toy actually though I'm not sure how much he registers that it's there.

I meant that I wasn't personally doing anything (feeding, rocking etc.) to get him to sleep, and he seemed happy with that for several months.

I'd actually be more than happy to do anything he'd like at 3am to get him off to sleep, up to and including co- sleeping, but nothing seems to work. He just stays really really awake even though it's the middle of the night!

FATEdestiny Fri 29-Jan-16 14:30:43

How does he go to sleep at bedtime?

I think completely separating feeding and sleeping will help with this. Make your last feed of the day downstairs, before bath and PJs. Then settle him to sleep in his cot. Do you think he'd do that?

It might take some perseverance so get a comfy chair next to his cot. I+A firm hand on his chest may help, maybe some gentle patting. I favoured mostly silence but others shush or repeat sleep mantras (like "sleep time now, nan night" or whatever).

Then do the same, for as long as it takes him to go to sleep, for any wake-ups.

While doing this, try to work on him forming a special bond with a comforter. This will help longer term so that he has something to snuggle into if he wakes up.

feelinginthedark Fri 29-Jan-16 19:08:55

I just posted a similar thing about my now almost 9 month old, but she has been having prolonged wakings in the early hours since the 4 month regression. Like that, won't be comforted to sleep, is wide wide awake, typically between 3-5am. Got better for a while (we started separating last feeding and bedtime like FATE suggested) but now we're back to it again shock. The only think I can contribute is that I was told it was a sign of overtiredness, ie they are too wired to go back to sleep; to not, under any circumstances get them 'up' at 3 or 4am or whatever; and to try to get them to nap in whatever way they will to get them over the overtiredness. It is hell, I have been back at work for months and it is awful. Way worse than my first DD who, although she was torture to actually get to sleep at bedtime, was sleeping through by this age.

Celia1978 Sat 30-Jan-16 13:53:39

feeling that's exactly the same as us - DD was a nightmare to settle but once she was asleep she was asleep. Apart from when she's been ill I've virtually never been up in the night with her, since she was about 8 months. I didn't realise how lucky I was!
And yes I've been trying to make sure he doesn't get too tired - but it's hard because the less he sleeps at night the worse his naps are and it's just a vicious cycle.
And thanks FATE. I think encouraging him to attach to his toy is a good call. Bedtime is generally quite good: I feed him downstairs before bed and he mostly settles himself. But that's been a bit variable recently too because he's got into the habit of standing and crying.
Anyway, will persevere and hope the best. It can't last forever! Can it?!

chloechloe Sun 31-Jan-16 09:19:39

Hi celia! I am going through the exact same thing with my 10mo and have posted about it too in desperate need of help!

I have night weaned now as I realised that she wasn't drinking, just nuzzling with no intention of letting go until I unlatched her. Plus it wasn't getting her to sleep anyway, so I figured what was the point? She's awake for 1-2 hiurs whatever I do.

I don't really have any advice to offer, just lots of sympathy!

if I may jump on your thread, does anybody have advice for encouraging attachment to a comforter? DD always wants to stroke and pinch my skin for comfort and when I try and give her a toy instead it makes her totally furious!

Belleende Sun 31-Jan-16 16:19:36

This might sound like odd advice but I have found this can work for me. If she has a wake up and won't resettle after all tricks used (giving water, feeding, rocking to sleep then put down), I do the night time routine all over again. I turn on the light, get her out of her sleeping bag, change nappy, read a story and then put her down again. This can sometimes reset her and she goes back to sleep again.

FifiFerusha Sun 31-Jan-16 21:27:19

I think that is good advice belle, I re do my pre-nap routine when my DS won't settle and similarly it resets him. On bad days I have to do it more than once smile

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