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Single mum at wits end. Help!!

(7 Posts)
Angie1106 Wed 17-Aug-16 19:45:12

My baby is 7 months old tomorrow. She's always gone through little clusters of a few days of not sleeping well, but since she learnt to roll over onto her stomach sleep has become a complete nightmare. It started several weeks ago where she would roll over onto her stomach and then go beserk until I rolled her back. Now for the past two weeks she actually seems to want to sleep on her stomach but wakes up between 10 and 20 times a night crying! If I roll her over she literally rolls back straight away. I've still been giving her two feeds through the night as she's always wanted those even now she's on three meals a day. She was 5 weeks prem so I don't know if that's a factor in her eating more. She's difficult to get to go to sleep of a night and to get to nap in the day, constantly fighting it. Bizarrely though she does actually like her sleep! I've never done a dream feed so don't know if I should do that or if it's too late now. She currently has her last bottle before bed between 7 and 8 but then wakes to feed somewhere between 12:30 and 3am and again between 4:30 and 6. I really don't know what to do and I'm exhausted. I'm considering trying controlled crying but she does struggle with her teeth so I don't know. Plus there's only me to do it so that makes it all the more difficult!! Any advice would be appreciated!

Summerdays2014 Wed 17-Aug-16 20:04:51

No advice because we are in the exact same position! My son is 7 months and 1 week and for the past few weeks turns over constantly in his cot and then cries about it. He hasn't worked out that he can sleep on his front as he just pushes up and doesn't turn his head to the side when face down. He also cries every night with he is put down and has to be rocked to sleep. We tried controlled crying for a week, it got a little better but then after a 6 days it was just getting worse and worse and that's when he stated rolling over. So now we are back to square one-won't self settle, wakes up numerous times (sometimes for hours at at time) and won't nap in the day unless on me. I also think he is teething and is trying to crawl so I am desperately hoping that's to blame, it really has never been this bad! So no advice, just sympathy and understanding. And how you do it on your own I'll never know. My husband is great at night and I'm still struggling massively, so I think you are pretty amazing.

Pythonesque Wed 17-Aug-16 20:28:41

Whenever I read posts like this I get flashbacks to my eldest; we got to 9-10 months I think with her unable to self-settle, fed to sleep and needing to be picked up to get her back to sleep several times a night.

Eventually I worked out I had to do something; straight "controlled crying" with leaving the room didn't feel right to me for our situation so I did something slower. I've since heard it described as imagining you're on a long piece of elastic. Basically I started by putting her down awake, putting my hand on her and talking to soothe her. (Also, I used a wind up music toy to try to create a sleep cue). Then slowly removed my hand. Then started moving away from the cot a little at a time. Each time she got upset I'd go back and reassure her, restart the music etc, then back off again. Aiming to be able to reassure her by voice/music alone.

I couldn't do it until my head was in the right place and I was ready to just focus on sorting this regardless of anything else. Having said that, to my shock she was massively improved within about 3 days. You should be able to create an improvement in less than a week at any rate. Expect set-backs with illness and developmental leaps of course, but work out the sleep cues you will use and aim to stick to them, within reason.

I think when babies who can't self-settle (or have forgotten how to, or are too keen to practice their latest new skill!), are sleeping at night, they can wake themselves very easily every time they are in the lightest stage of their sleep cycle, which is why helping them self-settle becomes so important so they can actually sleep properly. Not in really little ones, but probably at some point past about 6 months I guess.

This will pass eventually! Said daughter is now nearly 14 and although she has trouble getting to sleep at night it isn't usually my problem!! And my youngest was a really easy sleeper by comparison.

Good luck and best wishes.

Angie1106 Thu 18-Aug-16 22:39:59

Thank you so much for your messages. Summerdays2014 - your words at the end brought tears to my eyes, thank you xx Pythonesque - good to hear from someone who's come out the other side! Self soothing is definitely one of the problems which is why I think CC might be the answer but I do know it will be hell on earth when I do it! It's really annoying as well that you seem to have it cracked but then they're ill or practicing something and you're back to square one again!!

So... I did a little experiment last night. I put my daughter in bed with me as a one off to eliminate the potential of waking to be near me, but didn't give her any milk through the night. She still woke about 10 times but as soon as I gave her dummy and shushed her she fell fast asleep again until 8 this morning! I've spoken to the health visitor today and she agrees if she's done that she doesn't really need the milk through the night and is using it for comfort.

So I've decided to do this: 1. Be stricter with bed time starting her routine a bit earlier to do so AND make the last part (story, bottle etc) quieter and more boring with little conversation.
2. Wake her for a dream feed at about 11.
3. Don't give her any milk through the night.
4. Wake her up at 8am every day so she has a consistent wake up time as according to things I've read this can really help and she does tend to sleep late.
5. I already didn't talk to her when she wakes up through the night but the HV said don't even give her eye contact! So I will do that.

I've no idea if this will work but I can only try. I do think I'm going to try controlled crying in a few days if I need to but I need to get my head round it first and prepare myself for two weeks of hell! I think I will have to do this anyway when she moves into her own room. Dreading that if she's this bad now when she's in a crib next to my bed!! Summerdays2014 - I've read that with CC it does get worse around day 5 to 7 but supposedly if you persevere you come through that. Like I said, hell on earth!!

I will keep you updated if I find anything that I think works. Fingers crossed and good luck! X

Angie1106 Fri 19-Aug-16 09:39:17

Ok so bedtime went really well which is great. After reading more last night I decided against introducing a dream feed because it's apparently not good for older babies and just becomes another bad habit to break. I didn't give her any milk through the night but it was hell. She woke just before 1am crying. I soothed her a few times but it continued so I tried controlled crying but only starting at two minutes and increasing by a minute. That went on for an hour and she was hysterical 😔. I started to doubt whether I had got it wrong and she was genuinely hungry! I ended up putting her in bed with me to try and calm her down (I know, weakling!) and she eventually went back to sleep until around 5am. When she woke then she soothed really quickly because she was with me and I then had to wake her up at 8:30. She wasn't even desperate for her bottle when I woke her and has only had 5oz! So it can't be hunger waking her up can it?? I don't know whether to do a few nights like his first so she gets used to not having milk through the night and then do sleep training. Or am I just being a wuss??

Summerdays2014 Fri 19-Aug-16 12:42:26

It doesn't sound to me as though she is hungry. If you are happy with her sleeping with you I would co sleep for a while. I'd love to do this but my husband is completely against it. My son has actually slept through for the past two nights. No idea what's led to this except I, like you, brought bedtime half an hour earlier and I also limited naps in the day (this is against all advice I know!) I rocked him to sleep, put the dummy in and he woke up at 5.50. I am desperately hoping this lasts, however he has slept through a few times a few months ago and then it all went wrong again so I'm not holding my breath! I've probably jinxed it now by talking about it! Sounds like you have a supportive health visitor which is great. Hope you are feeling ok this morning.

Angie1106 Fri 19-Aug-16 14:27:23

Wow that's great. I will keep my fingers crossed that the improvement in sleep continues for you. I know what you mean though, my daughter has had good nights (though never sleeping through) and I've thought maybe I've got it cracked. But no! The first five days after she started on solids were blissful, only waking up once through the night, but it didn't last. I'm worried if I cosleep I'm just making even more of a rod for my own back. It's so hard to know what to do for the best!!

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