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DD always fights sleep

(24 Posts)
Lala9 Fri 18-Aug-17 17:24:12

I am writing because I am pretty desperate. I do not know what else to do with my 4 month old DD. Since she was a few weeks old, every time it's time to sleep (naps and bed time) she fights sleep. I pick her up from her gym when she starts showing signs of tiredness (normally she gets pretty irritated). This is between 1.5 and 2 hours from when she last woke up. The moment she realises I'm going to put her to sleep soon, when cries, screams in my ear, bends her knees out of frustration and hits me in my stomach with her knees and feet. I tried creating a peaceful environment for her with low lights, singing lullabies, music, reading.. but the moment she realises it's time to sleep she gets hysteric.
I live with constant earache, and I am doing private counselling as this situation is getting me to the point of depression.
I have been trying the pu/pd method for a month, but in a very gentle way as, I am aware, she is just four months and no training should be started before then. From the first time I tried the PU/PD method, it took (and still does!!) about 6 - 10 attempts before she went down . However, I never got to the point when I put her down, she is not crying and falls asleep. I always end up putting her on her side (as she cries the minute she's put on the bed), patting her back and making 'sh' noises until she falls asleep. Needless to say, this all happens whilst she is crying.
I also tried to anticipate the moment before or, just when she is getting tired, and putting her on her bed, and it is automatic, I put her down and she starts crying.
To make matters worse, she only takes naps between 20 - 40' never longer than that, and I understand, it is because she does not know how to self-settle, but I tried with this 'PU/PD' technique and, a month into it, we are still in the same situation as when we started.
I don't know what else to do! I want to help her but I also need some help myself as, clearly, I am doing something wrong.
Thank you!

NameChange30 Fri 18-Aug-17 17:42:52

Do you always put her down awake?
Does she fall asleep in your arms (after a feed or just being rocked)?
What about in the pushchair or car seat?

My DS is 5mo and has been fighting naps until very recently - he still does fight a bit but it's much improved, touch wood. The quickest and easiest way is to rock him to sleep in our arms, then put him down after 5-10 minutes. I know lots of the advice is to put them down sleepy but awake, but that has never worked for us! He does also fall asleep in the pushchair but only after quite a lot of walking (usually about 20 minutes). And he'll fall asleep in the car but only if he's very tired!

So, everyone has their own method that works for them, but based on what's helped us I would suggest doing whatever works to get your DD to sleep, even if it's not what you think you "should" be doing. Then hopefully she will stop resisting the naps so much, and then you could start changing things a bit to get her sleep a different way if that's what you prefer.

In our case I watch DS like a hawk for sleep cues. He is sometimes tired before it gets to 1.5 hours. If I time it right (and he's not hungry or distracted) it's much easier to get him to sleep.

I have also introduced a muslin comfort blanket which I think has helped.

NameChange30 Fri 18-Aug-17 17:44:46

Btw you might find this helpful, it has general tips as well as balanced info on the main sleep training methods:

FATEdestiny Fri 18-Aug-17 17:54:13

Will fall asleep while you are feeding Lala9? Does feeding calm baby down when distressed?

How is feeding going?

Is baby a good weight and following a centile line? Is baby winding ok after a feed?

Lala9 Fri 18-Aug-17 19:09:31

Hi NameChange30 thank you so much for all the info! Very useful indeed.

I always try to put her down awake and, even when I am lucky and she's not crying, the second I place her on the mattress she starts crying.
She does fall asleep in my arms after some feedings and, every time, if I rock her.

After reading what you wrote, it seems that my DD is very similar to your DS. She falls asleep on the pushchair if walked for a long time and on the car seat if she is tired.

My DD generally starts showing signs of tiredness at 1.5 hours or before. I try to act quick too, but whether I pick her up sooner rather than later seems to make no difference with her. Does your DS also take short naps?

I think that would not be such a bad idea, quit the "training" for now and re-introduce it later on, as I am desperate for her to lose that fobia she has to sleeping.

Thanks for the advice!

Lala9 Fri 18-Aug-17 19:23:05

Hi FATEdestiny

She does fall asleep whilst feeding, but only some times. Generally, if she is really tired or at bed time.

Now that I introduced formula, she seems calmer after feeding. I always suspected that my milk supply was not or nourishing enough for her, as she always cried after feeding. I was told that it was her reflux (she's been on Ranitidine for over a month), so I relied on that advice. However, after speaking with a Lactation consultant when DD went down the 9th centile, I was certain my milk supply was part of the problem.

She's always been a small baby anyway, so no concerns of her being in the 9th centile, and she's been winding wonderfully also.

NameChange30 Fri 18-Aug-17 19:54:46

You're welcome smile Don't know if any of it will be helpful but I hope it might be. Yes my DS has short naps too. Anything from 25 to 55 mins although usually 35-45 mins. He does occasionally sleep for longer but it's impossible to predict and as it's rare I never know what to do with myself! grin

I would like to work on putting him down sleepy but awake but we're not there yet. I think it might help to have more of a routine first, idk.

NameChange30 Fri 18-Aug-17 20:02:47

PS I should add that he does still have very short naps sometimes (10-15 minutes), maybe because he's not fallen asleep properly or is hungry or distracted... that's a bit annoying because he's still tired when he wakes up but it's hard to get him back to sleep and I usually have to wait another hour or two (during which time he's tired and grouchy!) But luckily the very short naps have been decreasing in frequency.

Knackeredtiredfedup Fri 18-Aug-17 20:21:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HT85 Fri 18-Aug-17 21:03:47

What DOES work for sleep? It sounds like she needs more help getting to sleep to be honest if she is crying when she knows you're going to even try to get her down. If she falls we're being rocked can you do that for a while? My daughter is 6 months and has never gone down awake or drowsy x

FATEdestiny Fri 18-Aug-17 22:23:35

Lala9 - how long ago did you move to formula?

Your opening post immediately struck me as a feeding/digestion issue which is causing a sleep issue, rather than a sleep issue in itself.

It sounds like either baby is very hungry, has significant wind pain well, has reflux pain or possibly a milk allergy. The cries you describe are not normal baby cries, it sounds like something is wrong - baby is hurtingbor distressed for a reason. Lack of sleep no doubt is not helping, but I don't think it is the cause.

I would remove your focus from sleep and focus on feeding (and winding, if relevent). If your move to formula is recent, give it time. Go overboard with bottles and winding. Offer feeds frequently and always with more milk than baby will drink. If you choose to keep breast feeding too, that's great. If you move to formula only, that's fine too. It sounds like baby has some catching up to do.

A fed baby is always best. Always.

You will not get a hungry baby to sleep well
You will not get a baby in pain to sleep well

It does not matter what you do, a hungry or hurting baby will cry and will not settle. So shift your focus from the symptom to the cause.

NameChange30 Fri 18-Aug-17 22:30:44

Do you really think it's hunger/pain?
What if she just doesn't like being put down to sleep?
It sounds as if she falls asleep without crying if she is fed or rocked to sleep.

NameChange30 Fri 18-Aug-17 22:33:15

Although the OP did mention reflux so maybe you're right FATE.

AnnieAnoniMouse Fri 18-Aug-17 22:35:56

If I were you I'd persevere. If you start rocking her to sleep then you'll have to wean her off of that at some stage and the older they get the more tocking/back rubbing/hand holding/general faffing it takes. Self settling is actually a life skill, one I'm personally not good at, do both of you a favour & teach her now. Else you'll be back here when she's 18 months and still bring rocked to sleep for hours every night.

Do you have a partner who can at least do evenings/bedtimes to give you a break?!

NameChange30 Fri 18-Aug-17 22:40:20

Meh. She's only 4 months old. 18 months is more than a year away and a lot could change by then.

Maybe I am "making a rod for my own back", but I'd rather not worry too much about problems that may or may not be problems in future...

I do want to work towards putting DS down to sleep (rather than rocking him) but happy for that to be a gradual progression rather than battling with him at the moment.

Each to their own, though, as everyone has different things that work for them smile

HT85 Sat 19-Aug-17 00:16:14

I don't believe in the whole rod for your own back thing as that suggest you'll still be rocking to sleep when they're 18 years old let alone 18 months grin

It sounds to me like you're worrying too much about making sure baby is awake when being put down and to be honest it just sounds like she needs more assistance - maybe the pram/buggy? Or a cuddle on the bed? X

NameChange30 Sat 19-Aug-17 01:32:21

According to this, 4-5.5 months is not a good age to sleep train, but 5.5-7.5 months is ideal:
That's because of developmental stages they go through, and it's based on due date not birth date so should be adjusted if baby was early or late.

Lala9 Sat 19-Aug-17 10:45:20

Hi everyone!

Thank you so much for all the responses. I really appreciate you sharing what worked / did not work for you and taking the time to help me through this challenging time.

@NameChange30 ahh seems like your DS does sleep a little bit more than my DD. I'd love for her to push the extra 15' during her naps. Holding on to the hope that DD's short naps will decrease too! Thanks for the link shared. She was born a week after her due date, so she is currently 4.5 months, maybe waiting the extra month and starting again is what I have to do.

@HT85 rocking helped when she was a newborn, but as time went by DH and I found ourselves rocking her for longer periods of time and she did not seem to settle. Then tried the PU/PD and it all reduced to about 15' but she fights those minutes really hard. I think she needs help too, but even after feeding or rocking, the moment she goes on the mattress I have to start all over again. Maybe more time hugging could work? Will try everything to help her.

FATEdestiny she's been introduced to formula in the past 2 weeks, so it may be that she needs to catch up. Fortunately, the reflux issue is very minor now, to the point that we have reduced her Ranitidine intake considerably and she is not aching, regurgitating or hiccupping constantly anymore. Same with wind, still massaging her and doing baby yoga, etc. but no wind problem.
Sadly, whilst the extra feeding will probably help, she is one of those babies who fights naps and cannot fall asleep by herself. I know it's not an underling issue because the crying that That is what is distressing her, she seems to be in between needing to fall asleep and not being able.

@AnnieAnoniMouse I was also in two minds about that. It seems that we managed to leave a few props behind (rocking, dummy, white noise) but this constant fighting is making me reconsider things. Also the PU/PD was supposed to "work" in a few weeks, it's been a month and we seem to be in the same place. Maybe I've been doing it wrong all along. Not sure what else to think. Yes, my DH helps, but he works during the day, so I end up doing most of it alone most of the time.

HT85 Sat 19-Aug-17 10:49:27

This is my go to when anyone throws out the rod for your own back -

Will she go to sleep with a bottle lying down? In the pram being vigorously rocked back and forth? it really sounds like PUPD isn't working and is stressing everyone, including baby, out.

Lala9 Sun 20-Aug-17 10:55:45

@HT85 That's an interesting article. Certainly, a lot of the advice given 20 years ago has completely changed by now, and I wouldn't be surprised if what we are told now changes in the next few years. However, I do sympathise with the "feeling" of creating a temporary measure that will make your life hell in the future. DD was originally rocked to sleep. In the beginning it worked wonders, but then we rocked her for hours until she went down. But then, again, what we are doing now doesn't seem to work either and I must agree, PU/PD does not seem to be the right way for her. Oh well, we'll keep on trying other methods. Thanks for all the useful info!

FATEdestiny Sun 20-Aug-17 11:36:43

Lala9 - have you tried a dummy? It might meet baby's desire to comfort suck now not breastfeeding.

I'd keep baby's feeds nice and frequent, with good winding afterward.

You cant over feed at this age, so always offer more than baby will drink. Mine would have a full feed every 2h-2h30m between 7am-11pm at this age - usually 7 or 8 bottles a day. Calorie loading in the day meant fewer calories needed at night - so dummy resettles most were all that was needed at night.

NameChange30 Sun 20-Aug-17 11:44:10

Hi OP, someone shared this website/blog on another thread, and it looks pretty good so I thought I'd share with you in case it's useful:

Lala9 Tue 22-Aug-17 20:33:13

@FATEdestiny yes, I tried a dummy but she never took it. Not even when she was a new born! I'm happy to say that she has been a bit better the last few days. I mainly think that it is related to her increased calorie intake. I've also

@NameChange30 that's great! thanks for the info. As I said above, she's been a bit better. I have also quit the PU/PD for now and, whilst she is not going awake to bed and still battles, it's a bit less frustrating for her. Today we had a nap together for over 1 hour! I was really bad though, as I let her sleep on my chest (literally) but I treasured the memory for when she's a difficult teenager haha.

FATEdestiny Tue 22-Aug-17 21:13:13

I'm happy to say that she has been a bit better the last few days. I mainly think that it is related to her increased calorie intake

I agree. This mostly sounds like a feeding issue causing a sleep issue. Rather than a sleep issue in itself. You can't sleep train a hungry baby.

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