9 month old trouble going to sleep(23 Posts)
My 9 month old little one is not a great sleeper. I'm working on her daytime naps at the moment. She seems to be able to settle herself sometimes, but it can take over an hour or even more. She then sleeps for very varying times. Sometimes 25 mins, sometimes anything up to 2 hours.
Is it OK to let her try to settle for so long (usually an hour or more)? She isn't crying, she lays there making her settling sound (sounds like moaning / like to creaky door). I feel bad and anxious that by taking so long each time, it means she spends the majority of her day upstairs. Sometimes, she will try to sleep and then give up then pull up to standing and cry. Sometimes, it goes on so long, I give up and take her for a drive, just to get some sleep into the tank, so that we don't have a worse night than normal.
Her sleeping at night and her morning wake up time is varied too. She wakes once at night for a feed, but never at the same time and wakes for the day at anywhere between 5.30-7am.
She is breastfed four times during the day and doing well with solids.
What would you do?
How many naps is she having? If she is happy enough having quiet time processing things and you give her lots of stimulation when she is up then it is probably fine.
The number of naps she has is all over the place, as I can't get her into a routine. Sometimes one, sometimes two. Often very short, so most days she is only getting 1/2 - 1 hr sleep all day. Nowhere near enough. I can often see she is tired, but she is so alert, she won't give in.
I wouldnt leave my child unhappy for that long, even if it was just grumbling rather than crying. Grumbling still means sad and unhappy, just not quite so distressed as when crying.
Babies don't need to be sad and unhappy to go to sleep.
Does baby have ways to comfort herself when she's trying to go to sleep? It sounds like she doesn't feel adequately comforted. That might need your presence at first, but you can also develop some independant comforting mechanisms. For example:
- snuggle toy
- ritualistic movement (patting, tickling, stroking)
Are you adverse to being in the room to reassure as she goes to sleep? You could work on gradually reducing her reliance on your presence over time, so it wouldn't be forever.
Its likely to be easier to reach her healthy sleeping habits is going yo sleep is a happy, contented, calm time. Grumbling and crying every sleep time won't help with this (although in the real world it is inevitable occassionally)
There might be a sleep regression at this age? I can remember my 3.5yo having similar phases, but we would be in her room with her rubbing her back and lying her back down for what felt like forever! I wouldn't take her out in the car or even take her out of her room tbh, we never did and for pretty much the last 2 years bedtime is a story and lights out then she's left to go to sleep, so it is worth persevering imho, as long as she is not getting overly upset. Dd2 is 8mo so I'm awaiting the pulling up phase with her, at the moment she has her milk and is almost asleep when I put her down. By the way dd1 only ever napped for half an hour at a time, probably only twice a day by 9 months and dropped naps altogether at 20 months, dd2 currently has 3 1/2 hour naps a day so seems to be heading in same direction! In fact it was when dd1 dropped naps altogether that bed time got so much easier, and still is!
Thank you all for your comments.
I'm a little worried now that I have been leaving my LO feeling abandoned, when I thought the sounds she makes were just her trying to settle and that all babies did this as a normal part of the process. Do other people's babies make noise whilst settling?
She has a taggie which she sucks and chews on, which seems to comfort her, but not enough for her to sleep. I'm happy to stay in the room whilst she reaches sleep, but have been leaving the room each time she stops crying, as my health visitor advised me to do this. When I leave the room, she has stopped crying, but is still making her moaning noises.
Taking her out in the car has been a last resort, in order to get at least some nap time for her, before it gets too late in the day. I agree though. It has become too regular and I don't want to be doing it.
OP my DD nearly always makes noises when she is going to sleep, either rumblings like you describe or babbling noises or sometimes little shouts. Yes I realise she is shouting for me/DH but it is not because she feels abandoned as far as I can tell but because she is an extremely social baby who would much rather be around people than sleep! She will only fall asleep with me in the room if she is drop dead tired, if I stayed by her cot (and I have done) I could/have been there for hours!!!
Also to add reading your thread made me feel a little bad too at letting her make noise sometimes but then I realised that actually she may have a few days of really resisting bed times then she'll have a few days of just laying down and happily going to sleep, which I'm sure she wouldn't do if she was feeling abandoned, that's just on days when I think I've got her sleep and nap times etc just spot on so she's really ready for it!
I thought the sounds she makes were just her trying to settle
Well they kind of are. Given they are going on for an hour or so though, they are more accurately sounds of her trying and failing to settle. Its very personal and everyone is different, but I'd give baby help to sleep. I found that longer term healthy (independent) sleeping came from making the process of getting to sleep as easy as possible for baby.
Therefore the idea of leaving baby to it, when it's difficult for her to get to sleep, feels quite alien to me. So maybe I'm not the best person to advise you.
I know some people do leave their baby to grumble and cry to go to sleep themselves, but my understanding was that this was a few minutes, a long time (unless doing the controlled crying).
I also know - from experience - that there will be odd days here and there when baby cries to sleep and for whatever reason that's just the way it is. That's just part of parenting. But its a different thing to it being an every night thing.
OP - Hopefully if you're able to sort out daytime sleep then she'll find it easier to get to sleep. Its often the case that good sleep = better sleep and unfortunately poor sleep = worse sleep. Breaking the cycle of over tiredness will help.
Do other people's babies make noise whilst settling?
Mine didn't because they all had a dummy for independent settling. Therefore there really was no noise aside from sucking noises when they went to sleep. As mentioned, I think its not unusual for babies without dummies to make noises as they settle. Not sure how long for though?
Given I have several children (4) and always stay with the baby until asleep for the first 12 months, I just wouldn't give over an hour or so of my time to getting baby to sleep. I've got other children who need me and am too busy to waste time like that. I would expect baby to go from awake to asleep in 5-10 minutes usually, sometimes 15 minutes. An hour sounds like a very long time to drop off to sleep. Its why I mentioned that maybe she needs more help than she's getting?
What if you try to do this whilst staying in the room and your presence actually wakes baby up more? I've tried it this afternoon and she just cried while initially being cuddled and rocked, then when put down in the cot, she saw that I was there and got excited, not more calm and just kept getting up to see me. Not the desired result. After an hour and a half, I gave up, as we were not getting anywhere. Has anyone else experienced this?
What if you try to do this whilst staying in the room and your presence actually wakes baby up more?
If it was me I'd take that as a sign that this method also isn't working, the same as the 'just leave baby to it' wasn't working either.
It all depends on your tolerance levels for grumbing.
I wouldnt want any grumbling - awake or asleep. Especially not for a long time. I would seek to resolve thr cause of the grumbling as soon as it starts.
OP it sounds like we have had very similar days... today I decided to try sitting in DD's room to try and get her to nap and tried singing to her (works in the car when she grumbles and sends her to sleep!). I was in there for an hour and she first played, then did her usual crawling around the cot, then just cried as she was still tired. Wouldn't let me rock her to sleep. Would feed to sleep and co-sleep. Eventually I put her in the buggy and rocked her to sleep but she woke after thirty mins. Argh!!! I'm all out of ideas aside from walking with the buggy for three hours a day!!
Unfortunately for me the source of grumbling seems to be being made to go to sleep and/or overtiredness but not sure how I sort that when she's so bloody hard to get to sleep!!!
Tumtitum - I'm not glad that you have also had a day like this, but it's reassuring to know it's not just me. I walked with the pushchair yesterday for 1 1/2 hours and my LO slept for 15 mins of it! I could have cried. Napping has failed this afternoon, so currently trying to keep her occupied until bedtime.
FATE - I've come to the conclusion that most of the problem is that she is overtired to start with, hence all the grumbling. Unfortunately, she has no tolerance for being overtired at all. I don't want any grumbling either, so need to keep trying. I'm going to try again tomorrow, but start really early, like after 90 mins awake.
She is very alert and doesn't miss a thing, so probably somewhat overstimulated too.
I know what you mean OP, it's nice to know other people are in the same boat! I often lurk on the Sleep board just because it gives me comfort that my baby is not abnormal and that this may all end one day!!!
I obviously meant she would NOT feed or co-sleep in my earlier post but I think you got that
I put her to bed super early on days when she's had rubbish naps. I put her into bed at just before 6 and she's fallen asleep reasonably quickly, which isn't surprising as she was knackered! I think I'll be kicking DH out of bed tonight and co-sleeping when she wakes up just to try and get as much sleep in as possible!!!
I don't know if you co-sleep at all but I have found that with this particular sleep regression (hoping that's what it is as she was finally having much better naps a few weeks ago!) it helps to bring her into bed when she wakes around 4/5, and if I'm lucky she will sleep until 6.30 or 7. I also put her into bed at 6 if she's had awful naps like today, so then even if her naps remain short i know that she's getting a good 11-12 hours (allowing for wake ups) over night at least. I don't know what time your bedtime is but whilst your DD is overtired it might be worth bringing her bedtime forward? I feel like we have been fighting overtiredness with DD since she was about 3 months old and became super alert and still not cracked it!!!
OP, you said in the cot baby "kept getting up to see me."
Tumtitum similarly you said in the cot "she first played, then did her usual crawling around the cot"
It's not unusual that you have to physically teach baby that in order to sleep she needs to be still.
That's exactly the purpose of swaddling when newborn but as they get older it gets harder to teach. You can work settling techniques that focus on stillness. Have mantra that you repeat every tine its needed to teach and constantly reaffirm the 3 key things needed to sleep:
- "at sleep time we lie down". Every time baby goes for getting up, lie straight back down and repeat the mantra.
- "at sleep time we are quiet". Reinsert dummy and shush any noise.
- "at sleep time we are still". A quite firm hand on baby's chest/back can literally pin them down to aid stillness. Likewise holding kicking legs or flaying arms still.
The attention seeking excited/playing thing is not the aim at sleep time. But that doesn't mean you ignore baby - that will make her play up for attention from you. Quite the opposite. I give loads and loads of attention at sleep time. Constant, attentive, leaning right into the cot all the time constant eye contact attention. All attention is focused and repetitively teaching sleeping skills. Dummy always on to be quiet. Lying down only. Stillness encouraged by firm hands.
But another option, as you both found, is pushchair naps.
She is actually not doing badly at night at the moment (touch wood). The last couple of nights, she has woken once during the night for a feed and gone straight back to sleep until between 5.30 and 6.30am. I can live with that. I have tried bringing her into my bed when she has woken super-early in the past and she just messes about, wanting to crawl around, poke my face, etc, not sleep.
I've thought it might be a sleep regression too, but I'm not sure as her naps have been haywire since she hit 7 months (now nearly 9 1/2).
I know what you mean about fighting overtiredness. It seems constant for us and I am struggling to break it. LO is usually in bed by 6.30pm and often feeds to sleep at the moment, as she is exhausted from next to no naps. I try to wake her slightly before putting down, but it doesn't always work.
Don't try to wake her. Just feed to sleep. To break the over tiredness cycle make sleep as easy as possible.
FATE I've read your advice a few times about trying to teach her to be still to sleep but I can't seem to do it she's so strong it really feels like I will hurt her if I applied enough pressure to keep her still, plus it results in lots of screaming she's learning to crawl and stand at the moment so I'm hoping that her drive to practice is super strong at the moment and that it'll settle down when she is actually properly moving!!
Yeah, I can see that at 9 months old. I do understand.
While it's all very well me teaching a 3/4/5 month old to be still when sleeping, it's a whole different ball game once they are bigger, stronger and more mobile.
It gets harder once they are crawling and it gets significantly more difficult once baby is pulling to standing.
I'm sorry. It's really hard
I'm going about today in the different, MUCH more relaxed way. As has been a said, it seems likes my baby has stopped being able to self settle and needs more help from me to get to sleep than she is currently getting. So that's what I will give her. No more trying this, that and the other. Just go back to basics, calm down and give her all the love and reassurance she wants. I've rocked her to sleep for her nap this morning and she has been sleeping for 1 1/2 hrs so far.
I was getting so het up and angry with myself and her (unjustified I know, but I think there may be a little PND lurking there somewhere). It has taken over life over the past few months, to the point where I haven't been enjoying being a mum.
She used to self settle and sleep wonderfully, so if I keep giving her love and reassurance, we may have to start from scratch again, but we'll get there again.
I realise FATE, that this is basically what you have said in some of your posts. Thank you.
Aww that's a really lovely thing OP. Love and reassurance is all she needs. Enjoy the calm
Glad you're feeling more relaxed today OP. I hear you about getting het up and angry at baby, I kept on getting cross with DD yesterday and then feeling horrendously guilty because of course she's not doing anything on purpose, she's just being a baby!! It's so hard sometimes though.
I'm glad you were able to cuddle her to sleep and she's having a good nap. My problem has always been that DD won't let me cuddle her to sleep unless she's absolutely exhausted... she just pulls my hair and hits me in the face and tries to crawl all over me!
Well true to form she turn everything on it's head again today, fed to sleep for her morning nap (she hardly ever does this) and then slept for 2 hours!!! She's just gone to bed now and is back to cruising around the cot and sitting up banging her head on everything... :/
Sorry started typing that ages ago and didn't get round to finishing or sending! Hope you had a beter day today OP
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