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8 months, is this normal? Feeling awful about baby crying

(14 Posts)
penguinpurple Thu 26-May-16 21:51:21

Not sure what I'm after really advice, experience. On the one hand I think maybe this is just part and parcel of babyhood but I seem to be surrounded by people whose babies sleep in the day and can for example go to baby/toddler group or out for coffee and stay for a couple of hours without baby getting totally overtired.
As a newborn she was literally a dream sleeper then hit the 4 month regression at 3 months and things have gone up and down regularly since then but struggling to say it is consistently any better now.
Nighttimes she is up a couple of times to feed which is unideal but manageable and USUALLY relatively easy to settle until it gets to 4/5am.
My main problem is daytime sleep. It is getting harder and harder to settle her during the day, the main thing that works is lying down in a moving pushchair, sometimes she will feed to sleep or be rocked to sleep although this takes about 30mins. She then wakes up after 30-40 mins and is then often tired again about an hour later which after she's been changed and fed leaves precious little time for anything else.
Increasingly she's objecting more and more to the idea of going to sleep and frequently screaming. This is the main thing that's upsetting me. I hear all the criticism of controlled crying and feel like a terrible mum for not being able to soothe her but literally nothing seems to work. If I pick her up she writhes around and goes rigid and continues screaming, she's a big 8mo and obviously only getting bigger so hard to contain. I was sitting her up in the pram which would calm her but then she'd scream again on lying down and the whole thing just went on and on and on. I've now started carrying on walking and she eventually stops and sleeps but this can take half an hour. Feel absolutely awful about this. Don't know what else to do? I've read the no cry sleep solution a few months ago which promised no crying but baby cries regardless of what I do or don't do!!! We had been trying the basic method of putting baby down slightly more awake each night but at some point she started resisting and we're now back to rocking completely to sleep and then putting down. Anything else and she wakes up, wriggles around and eventually progresses to screaming until we pick up.

Today's pattern has been
19 ish put down to bed asleep
23 woke up, settled with dummy
00:30 woke up, settled with breastfeed
4-5ish woke up, breastfeed settled eventually after much rocking
6.30 woke up, husband got up
7.30 looked tired and irritable so he took her for a walk. She screamed so he sat her up but she screamed everytime he lay her down, they came back about 8.30 as he had to go to work.
9.15-9.45 managed to feed to sleep
Dashed off to toddler group when she woke up. In all honesty she started looking tired and irritable from 10:30 onwards but we stayed until 12 (in which time she had lunch, nappy change, got ready to go etc).
12-12.45 slept in pram on way to supermarket, woke up as we were nearly there. Went to sleep quite easily.
Did shop, sat in cafe and she started playing happily on the floor.
13.45 getting tired, intermittent screaming. Attempted to give her food in case she was hungry (nearly 3 hours since lunch) but she spat it out.
14 ish left supermarket and she screamed blue murder for 30 minutes in pram. Fell asleep as we were turning into our road.
Continued sleeping for 30 mins once home.
Woke just after 3.
By 15.30 already tired and irritable.
Attempted breastfeed, managed one side then she screamed the place down. Sat up still screaming, cuddled, inconsolable.
15.50 lay her in cot with comforter and Ewan the sheep as I couldn't cope anymore and she screamed on and off but had settled for a few mins at 16 when husband arrived home at which point she started off again.
I had to go out and got back at 17.30 at which point he had managed 15 mins downstairs with her asleep. 30 minutes solid screaming in his arms and then sleeping whilst in his arms but waking and screaming on being put down, repeat a few times.
She woke up about 17.45 and ate small amount of tea.
Looked a bit quietly tired but played. Became irritable again around 18.15 and I did pjs, breastfeed, rock to sleep.

Sorry this has turned into a long ramble. The main thing I'm upset about is the screaming and feeling really really guilty leaving her but not knowing what else to do, is this psychologically scarring her for life?
Also just feel like my day is one long attempt to get baby to sleep. I walk miles, in itself not really a problem but even after walking say an hour to meet friends with babies it feels like it's always me who has the tired baby whilst the others seem to stay happier much longer.
How long could your babies stay awake for in the day at 8 months?
When I told SIL that she only sleeps for 30-40mins at a time she instantly said 'but that's no good you can't get anything done' and I felt like I'm doing something wrong because she doesn't sleep for longer periods so that I can do the housework while she's asleep. Generally if she's asleep in the day I'm either trapped underneath her or pushing the pram so also feel guilty about not doing more housework whilst I'm on mat leave.

Everyone I speak to seems to be finding things are getting easier, babies are starting to sleep through the night etc. Aware that my perception is a bit skewed as we had it easier than most in the beginning but starting to feel a bit alone and nobody else seems to have a baby that gets as tired as mine!!!! So anything you can say to help, or just sympathise would be appreciated.

Mishaps Thu 26-May-16 21:58:42

You are not doing anything wrong - you are just facing the challenge of a little one who is not a good sleeper and is not a calm temperament. Babies are all different.

Don't despair - this truly will pass in time. flowers

VocationalGoat Thu 26-May-16 22:11:25

I always find the first year really tough. I've had three and NONE of them could be taken remotely near a cafe or anywhere sociable during the first year. I am the one with the feral, panda-eyed non-sleepers. My two year old still doesn't last in a cafe.

You're doing nothing wrong. flowers Babies are just extraordinarily hard work and a lot of your first time mum friends won't admit this. Naps help. Of course they're happier in the cafe, all cute and smiley because they've slept. And it really, really gets you down when you're the mum with 'The Difficult Baby' that doesn't sleep. I know. I've been her three times and it does get you down.

I just find that from the moment they start walking and being more physical, it gets marginally easier.
My two year old has taken the cake. He still wakes up 2-3 times a night, but at least it's now predictable and he settles very quickly. But at 8,9, 10 months I was a basket case.

I imagine your little one is teething, hence the screaming, unsettled sleep, unwillingness to feed properly. Does she show signs of teething? I know with DC1 he would get a rash, drool, put hands in mouth. Very obvious. But with DCs 2 and 3 they showed no signs other than screaming and not sleeping day or night, refusing bottle, breast, etc. Then a tooth would finally come through and I'd realise what the agony was all about.

Teething is what can make that first year a bit of a nightmare and no one really talks about it because not all babies struggle with it. Mine did terribly. Have you tried a bit of Calpol when she's unsettled? It's worth seeing if this makes a difference.

Does your little one have any eczema anywhere? Even a mild case can make a baby quite grizzly and difficult to settle, causing sleep disruption.

Coconut0il Thu 26-May-16 22:26:49

Oh penguin you have my sympathy. An overtired, cranky, sleep fighting baby can stress a person out like nothing else. Please be kind to yourself and remind yourself that this stage will pass (not much help when your living it every day I know!)

My advice would be to definitely forget the housework, that is waaay down on my list. You won't look back on your maternity leave and think 'I wish I'd polished more!'
If anything works use it, my DS2, 9 months, is almost always fed to sleep and I keep him on my lap, there's loads I could be doing but this is how he has the longest sleep so I just remind myself that pretty soon I'll be back at work and I'll miss this time. If your DD is happier sitting up in the pushchair or in arms I would let her sleep in these places. I sometimes let DS2 sleep in the 2nd recline of his buggy. I don't think they have to be flat at this age.

The sleep fighting is the worst and DS2 does this sometimes, I read that the key is to try and catch them at just the right time, the sleep window, and they should settle. Easier said than done I know! I try to get DS2 to sleep 2 hours after he wakes up, then 3 hours after he wakes from his first nap, then 4 hours after he wakes from his second nap is bedtime. Sometimes it works, sometimes not and if we go out for the day it can all go to pot.

Pushing in the pushchair does work but like your DD, DS2 can fight this for a while.
He will sleep in the car, if moving. In the pushchair, if moving. On my lap. That's it! Moving him, stopping, going in anywhere will wake him.

There is nothing wrong with putting her safely in her cot and walking away for a bit if you need to. Good luck Op, hope things improve soon flowers

Sleeplessinmybedroom Thu 26-May-16 22:27:36

My Dd is almost 9 months, literally in the last couple of weeks she's gone from napping for 30 minutes maximum at a time to 30 minutes-1.5hrs. This has had a dramatic improvement on her mood. She's a lot more pleasant when she's napped longer. I found out by trial and error when she was younger that to go to sleep she just wants to be left alone. She will not sleep on anyone, hates being rocked and patted. When she first started napping in her cot id take her out when she started crying and then she wouldn't end up sleeping and be miserable until she next had a sleep. Then I left her to whinge for a few minutes and she would be asleep. It was rarely proper crying and if it was it was bevause she'd lost her dummy. Now 99% of the time I put her down, give her her teddy and she rolls over and goes to sleep. My other two loved to be cuddled and rocked to sleep but she just wants to be left to it.

penguinpurple Fri 27-May-16 20:36:07

Thank you so much for the supportive replies, it does make me feel a lot better. Was half expecting either to be told to stop moaning as others have it even worse - I am aware it could be worse, or that I'm just doing it all wrong.
Today she has also screamed a lot of this afternoon and got really tired and stroppy within an hour of waking each time. She wakes up crying but cheers up when I lift her up and is smiley for a short period before things go downhill.
We saw the health visitor today and came up with the plan to try keeping her up for longer between naps to see if she extends her nap time in response to this. I'm nervous about this plan basically in case it doesn't work and she ends up hideously overtired and won't sleep at night. But feel like we have to try something different. I've been working on the sleep begets sleep and trying to follow her lead and help her sleep when she's tired but maybe I've encouraged her to catnap by doing that. We'll see.
I have tried keeping her up for a 2-3 hours despite tiredness if we are out at toddler group or out with friends and have always been depressed afterwards as she still sleeps for max 40 mins and isn't properly refreshed but we agreed I have only ever done it as one off not consistently over several days.
Does anyone have experience of trying to manipulate a catnapper into taking longer naps by keeping them up longer?

penguinpurple Fri 27-May-16 20:58:25

mishaps thank you for your reassurance flowers

vocationalgoat I love the feral panda eyed description mine gets sort of manic, wide eyed and frantic! I am hoping this is all about teething as that would mean it should improve and she is the right age. She does dribble a lot and shoves EVERYTHING in her mouth and rubs along her gums a lot. However nothing yet (and I've been blaming pretty much every sleep disturbance since Christmas on teething and the bloody things haven't arrived yet, she has had previous episodes of screaming and refusing feeds but it always sort of got better on it's own). I suppose I could try calpol, I have previously tried it when she screams overnight out of character. Seems a bit odd that she is so happy when she has slept - and also that she can sleep a few hours at a time overnight. No eczema.

Coconut0il I am forever searching for the elusive sleep window. When it goes tits up and results in screaming I'm never sure if she was too tired or not enough - or merely disapproved of the alignment of the planets at that moment in time......... I actually really like it when she does sleep on me, I wish it worked more often. She likes sitting up in the pushchair but then she doesn't sleep. I tried her reclining today and it wasn't really any better than lying flat, slept eventually but after a lot of screaming.

sleepless that is hugely reassuring to here, hopefully mine will do the same in a few weeks. Has she cut down number of naps?

Sleeplessinmybedroom Sat 28-May-16 06:20:16

I'm trying to come up with a new nap schedule for her but because she never naps for the same times each day it's proving difficult. I tend to put her down when she's been awake 2hrs. If she has more than an hours nap it throws the next one out and some days she only has two naps. These days she will be very grumpy leading up to bed time. Once there's more of a pattern I can change things around a bit.

Cathpot Sat 28-May-16 06:30:34

I may be way off here but could it be earache? Worse when lying down. I'm slightly paranoid about ears as DD1 had low level ear infection for months.

VocationalGoat Sat 28-May-16 07:10:21

Hugs and sympathy! I'll spout that annoyingly true wisdom, "It gets better" and you'll actually find yourself, at some point in the not too distant future, wanting another one of these screeching, sleepless critters. grin

The teeth can take forever to come through. It's worth having a look at a teething chart to see which ones are working their way through. But honestly it can be a couple of months of just grizzly fussiness before a tooth pops through. Then there's a brief respite until the next one.

cathpot has a really good point! It's worth taking her to the GP to have her ears looked at. My youngest had an ear infection and apart from his sheer, sleepless misery, I had no idea (no signs like ear pulling/ tugging/fluid from ear).

You are doing nothing wrong, nothing wrong at all. Most babies just don't sleep. And oh it was just such a bummer to get to DC3 and STILL not have a clue as to how to have a good sleeper. I just thought, "Really? Another non-sleeper? Again?" We nicknamed him "K-3 (as in kid 3) The Widow(er)maker".
I find Dr. Sears' website invaluable. He has some good advice on high needs babies (wakeful babies). Even though he doesn't really have solutions, he has good advice and just normalises it all, offering a lot of reassurance.
Your lovely little girl will eventually (and not long from now) develop better habits and a better pattern. From 12 months, I always find that babies get their so called 'sea legs' and get a lot more comfortable in their own skin. It just gets a bit easier.

If I had a penny for the number of times I complained to DH, "I just want to enjoy my time with DC. We're both just too knackered to enjoy each other," well, our mortgage would be paid off. wink

Tumtitum Mon 30-May-16 20:31:59

No real advice but some sympathy for you! My DD is 16 weeks and not sure if we have hit 4 month sleep regression or if she is just a super alert baby but she does NOT.LIKE.SLEEP! I too feel like I'm constantly putting the poor thing to bed as she always seems tired an hour after waking as she's only slept for 30, maybe 40 mins! I am quite lucky that she doesn't get too grouchy (except for today when she was grouchy ALL day, also dribbling ALOT so tempted to start blaming teething...) but then I get loads of comments from family as she seems really content and I'm trying to put her to bed again!! And then she starts screaming and writhing and I start to question did I imagine that she's tired and actually I'm just trying to make a wide awake baby sleep!!! Here's hoping they suddenly turn into super sleepers one day!! grin

Zaurak Mon 30-May-16 20:40:52

If she's waking after 40 mins are you getting her up or resettling her? Ds is s terrible sleeper so I have to really force naps. He always wakes After 10-40 mins so I always try to get him back down.
If he's in the pushchair I keep pushing, if he's in bed I lie down and boob him back to sleep. Nothing else works but if he's up after 1 sleep cycle he's shattered and grumpy.
There's also 'wake to sleep' where you slightly rouse them about ten mins before they'd normally wake. It's supposed to help them into the next sleep cycle

HelenF35 Mon 30-May-16 20:44:54

I feel your pain. We went through lots of problems with my son's sleeping, both daytime and nighttime. The only thing that worked for us was a consistent routine. I found Gina Ford's timings (not her methods, just her schedules!) have worked wonders for us. At 11 months he now has 2 naps a day and then sleeps from 7.15pm to 6.15am. The only small tweak we made is making the morning nap a bit longer and the afternoon a bit shorter as he was very cranky mid morning. The only issue is that his timings are fairly rigid so we have to plan trips out round them as much as we can. He can be pretty grumpy if you have to alter his nap. A lot of people think our schedule is ridiculous but it works for us.

Girliefriendlikesflowers Mon 30-May-16 20:53:56

Just to echo Helen I was the same with my dd at the same age as yours and then got myself a copy of the Contented little Baby Book and it was a complete sanity saver! I know Gina Ford isn't for everyone but for me and dd it completely transformed the baby years.

The general premise is to get them into a routine where they go back to bed for an hour ish in the morning and then 2 hours in the afternoon. Once we started implementing this routine and did all the things she suggested to improve dds ability to sleep in the day things improved 100%.

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