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I feel like crying - back to work and my nine-month old won't sleep

(31 Posts)
ibuiltahomeforyou Thu 11-Jan-18 14:54:31

I'm feeling really desperate. My nine month old is getting up at all hours despite us having had the same routine since she was about six weeks. Can anyone help?

Literally every night we start the bedtime routine at the same time (6pm). Usually bath (if not, a wash), then bedclothes, story and i feed her to sleep.

Last night she woke at 8.30, 10.30, midnight and three and was awake for around an hour feeding.

The night before she slept 7-4am then fed sleepily until 6.

I'm at my wits' end with tiredness and am going back to work on Monday. If I stop feeding her to sleep do I have to sit and pat her for an hour? She had virtually no naps yesterday. She is a good eater, a bit late to crawl and very jolly in herself mostly.

She naps usually at 9am and 3ish for about half an hour.

ibuiltahomeforyou Thu 11-Jan-18 18:30:53

I should add - we have had a single straight through night just after Christmas but otherwise it's not been very predictable.

KatnissMellark Thu 11-Jan-18 18:35:04

Sounds like she's relying on you to get to sleep. My boy was the same and waking hourly at six months. I would stop feeding to sleep immediately. Wake her up if she falls asleep on the boob and use the shhh-pat method to settle, gradually reducing the support you give to get to sleep until she can self settle. It worked for my DS. She should really be sleeping more in the day to avoid over tiredness (although not all babies needs much in the way of naps) What your childcare arrangements? If nursery can they support you with this?

KatnissMellark Thu 11-Jan-18 18:35:43

And sorry, meant to say-sympathies! It is bloody hard with such broken sleep brewcake

ibuiltahomeforyou Thu 11-Jan-18 20:01:04

@KatnissMellark thank you! My husband is taking over for 12 weeks then she'll go to nursery.

I'm going to try shush-pat from tomorrow confused

KatnissMellark Thu 11-Jan-18 20:02:17

The other thing- if you're breastfeeding and ok with night weaning,send your husband in to settle her.

Callamia Thu 11-Jan-18 20:09:05

I hated shush-pat, what even is it but a way to make everyone frustrated?

I went back to work before my first baby entertained reasonable sleeping habits too. Although, actually, it wasn’t that bad - you’ve become adept at living in broken sleep, and doing something different isn’t too bad (unless you’re a brain surgeon or something where having full wits is pretty important).

I might weaned by having the baby sleep in with us, but refusing to feed before increasingly later times - no feed between 11 (or my bedtime) and 2, 2:30, 3, etc. It worked - slowly - but it did. He didn’t cry for long (<5mins) because he was with us, and usually just fell asleep on us, when we could just shift him so that he was safe.

It is hard trying to manage work and broken sleep, so be kind to yourself about it too.

KatnissMellark Thu 11-Jan-18 20:26:42

I guess it's about finding a strategy that works for you. I have ongoing health issues and really could not function on the lack of sleep. Cosleeping was not an option as DH is such a heavy sleeper it wouldn't have been safe. And shh-pat worked well for DS. Different strokes.

ElphabaTheGreen Thu 11-Jan-18 20:39:45

I went back to work when each of mine were 8mo and waking a minimum of six times a night. It's doable, OP, honestly, it is. It's hard, but actually easier at times than being at home with a baby.

I tried all manner of sleep training with DS1 and it never worked- shush pat just had him grabbing and twisting my fingers and screaming even more loudly for anything up to two hours. And no, it didn't sort itself out after the magical three days, or even a week or even two weeks. With the frequency of wakes your baby has, I would suggest you're going to get a similar outcome.

With DS2, I knew there was no point in even trying, but more importantly I had the experience of knowing that I could do work well enough on horribly broken sleep.

Just co-sleep and feed back to sleep. When she's past 12mo and you're confident night feeding for nutrition is no longer required, then try night weaning. In both my DSs' cases that involved cutting out all night feeds cold turkey (I didn't see the point in feeding at set times thing - they can't read clocks, it just confuses them and prolongs the process), and letting them scream in my face and pull my hair for three or four nights. Then it really did work, because they were more developmentally ready to start sleeping without so much support. I had to sleep on their bedroom floors for a few months more after that, but by 18-20 months they were dropping off independently and sleeping through. They're both brilliant sleepers now at 5yo and 3yo, the latter being the better sleeper I'd say because I didn't try sleep training too early.

Good luck, and this too shall pass! 

ElphabaTheGreen Thu 11-Jan-18 20:48:06

Katniss Some babies don't give you the option of having a strategy that leads to fewer wake ups when you would like them. I would have said, pre-DCs, that I couldn't function on broken sleep due to health problems, but I was given absolutely no choice but to do so.

This idea that there is a sleep training method that works for all babies, you just have to find the right one, has to die a death. Parental acceptance and expectation management is by far the most effective 'sleep training method' - try methods if you want to, but enter into them knowing that they may not work (or last), and you'll spend far less time beating yourself up over your perceived failures as a parent. Assume sleep is a roller coaster for the first three years and you'll have a happier life. One sleep through is a bonus, not proof positive of what it should be like from now on.

Cupcakegirl13 Thu 11-Jan-18 20:57:21

Some of it is mind over matter. I speak as a current fellow sleep deprived mum of a four month old who is waking between 3&6 times each night. You may actually find it easier being at work after a crap night then being at home with a baby !! I know it's easier said than done but it sounds like she needs longer day time nap (s) too, someone once said to me 'sleep breeds sleep' and as a mum to three I've found it to be true. Good luck it won't be like this long.

Thishatisnotmine Fri 12-Jan-18 00:13:18

I went back when dd1 was 9 months and she didn't sleep either. I fed her to sleep, I fed her when she woke up but she would be awake for hours at a time. I would often go to her at least four times and be with her for a couple of hours and get her back to sleep after her final night wake up around 5-6am. Then shower the light of my phone torch to avoid the extractor waking her! Mornings were rushed as I would let her sleep as long as possible and we were both exhausted. Most nights I would get perhaps three hours of broken sleep, I hallucinated sometimes from tiredness.

If dd napped badly, she slept even worse at night. I think you need to try extending your dcs naps (I know, so easy!!). After a couple of months I tried the shush pat method when she woke. Fed her first, put her in her cot and if she woke I would hold her until she drifted off. Ruined my back but helped a little. Go to bed super early a couple of times a week (straight after dc goes to sleep), I felt better once I started doing that. Get everything ready for the morning the night before. Pack bags, make lunch, leave clothes out and keys somewhere obvious. Mornings need to be as hassle free as possible.

At 17 months, dd slept through. Completly out of nowhere and then she did it every night after that, like a switch had been flipped.

KatnissMellark Fri 12-Jan-18 08:29:13

Gold medal to you elphaba for being such a martyr hmm if you reread my post you'll see that nowhere did I state my way was the right way or would work with every child or that every child would respond to a strategy to reduce wake ups. Many do though. And you have suggested the method that worked for you, not sure how that's different? confused But you know, carry on with the lectures because clearly your experience is now valid than mine wink

KatnissMellark Fri 12-Jan-18 08:29:50

*more valid

ElphabaTheGreen Fri 12-Jan-18 08:38:10

And if you re-read my post Katniss you will see I was not a martyr, a term which indicates you choose to take part in a horrible situation - I absolutely did not. I am fed up to the back teeth of being referred to as a martyr when I would have sold my soul at the time to get out of the situation I was in, but nothing worked until they were a good few months past the age the OP's baby is now. Your post most definitely implied that effective action can be taken to reduce wake ups in a baby, at an age convenient to the parent, if you really need it to be. Which further implies inadequate parenting at some point. And since you called me a 'martyr' that was clearly your intended implication.

KatnissMellark Fri 12-Jan-18 08:40:52


KatnissMellark Fri 12-Jan-18 08:43:17

If you don't want to be called a martyr, don't post in such a matyr-ish way hmm you've inferred from my post meanings that are absolutely not there. My way worked for me, but clearly wouldn't have worked for you. The OP has asked for help/suggestions, don't take it as a personal insult that what I've suggested didn't work for you. Perhaps work on your resilience if you really see what I've written (before you even posted) as a slight on your parenting confused

ElphabaTheGreen Fri 12-Jan-18 09:34:23

If you don't want to be called a martyr, don't post in such a matyr-ish way

You mean the bit where I said my baby's needs were far more important than my own and I sacrificed everything to ensure they were met, never ever resorting to strategies which left them upset or distressed?

Oh, except I didn't. I said the exact opposite.

I think you need to check the meaning of insults in a dictionary before you use them. I'm very resilient, thanks. But being called names based upon what you perceive my parenting style to be makes me justifiably pissed off.

Marcine Fri 12-Jan-18 09:57:58

Feel like I should preface this by saying this is just my experience/suggestion, and no comment on anyone else's choices...

Stopping feeding to sleep and night weaning is probably key here.
A really good day time nap routine is important - good day sleep breeds good night sleep, an overtired baby wakes frequently ime.
2-3-4 is a good routine at this age, so first nap two hours after waking, second nap 3 hours after waking, bedtime 4 hours after waking eg up at 7am, nap 9-10am, nap 1-3pm, bed at 7pm.

To move from feeding to sleep to self settling I started feeding til drowsy and putting in cot and shush patting (i actually did a kind of interim phase of rocking instead of feeding to sleep, then moving to shush pat). If baby cries pick up and cuddle til calm, put straight down again and shush pat. The aim is that baby falls asleep in cot rather than on breast/bottle.
With DC 1 the first night took maybe an hour, but within a week I could shush pat to sleep in the cot.
Then you gradually reduce the amount of patting - at first I would have to pat til baby was fast asleep, than gradually reduced til baby was sleepy, then eventually was able to do no patting.
Note - this was quite a gentle/gradual method, controlled crying would probably be quicker!

Night weaning - first I did set feed times of 11pm and 3am and any wakes between these times were dealt with by dad. Then moved the 3am out to 4, 5, 6 and then once baby going 11-6, moved 11 forward until no feeds between 7-6.

With dc2 and 3 I avoided all this palaver by always feeding on wake up from the start and never associating feeding and sleeping in the first place grin

KatnissMellark Fri 12-Jan-18 11:25:30

I seriously think you have some issue elphaba? Absolutely nowhere in any of my posts have I said that all babies can be trained to sleep better. I said it worked for us. I called you a martyr because of your long rant about how we need to move away from expecting decent sleep and said you just had to cope with broken sleep despite health issues. Well bully for you, but perhaps everyone is not the same, and this is simply not possible for everyone?! We need to move away from extreme narratives of any form- 'all babies can be trained to sleep well'- not true and not helpful, 'no babies can be trained to sleep well'- also not true and not helpful. The OP has asked for suggestions, I gave mine and you jumped on it and took it as a personal insult. Here, have a grip.

ElphabaTheGreen Fri 12-Jan-18 11:53:52

No I took your use of the word 'martyr' aimed at me as a personal insult, which it was. You managed to pick the one of the few words which really, really boils my piss.

I disagreed with you. I did not descend into using a personal insult as you did.

ibuiltahomeforyou Fri 12-Jan-18 12:29:54

@Marcine thank you - so do I unlatch my Dd while she is awake? She usually just drifts off and I put her down. Last night she slept 7-4 with a quick feed at 10.30 then fed for about an hour at 4.

Marcine Fri 12-Jan-18 15:54:32

At the moment with my 4 month old I do her last feed if downstairs and then once she stops feeding/starts to fall asleep I taken her off and put her on my shoulder to take her to bed - that seems to be enough to just wake her so she is drowsy but not asleep. When a bit older the routine is feed-brush teeth-story or cuddle in bedroom-into bed.

Marcine Fri 12-Jan-18 15:57:07

Only two feeds last night sounds great, but I would try to make the 10.30 one the big feed. I find it is easier to do a big feed by bottle at that time as mine will take a bottle in their sleep but are much harder to breastfeed.

6monthsandcounting Fri 12-Jan-18 21:36:46

Hi Op, we had this too, and due to ongoing PND, we decided to try and address it by also stopping the feed to sleep at 8 months, and night weaning within the same two week period.

I was advised to distance boob from bedtime by feeding at the edge of the bed a little earlier than usual, talking gently throughout to keep baby's attention. Then place in cot awake and start reading a book (same one every night), and read/stay with baby until they are asleep. My son was pretty furious at first, but within a week he was enjoying being read to so much he would drift off (it sometimes takes 2-3 reads/25-30 mins, but it's sweet and avoids the crying.
The night weaning did involve crying- my partner took over and sent me to the spare room with ear defenders as I was really broken by then. After 2 nights of waking 2-3 times and being mad that he wouldn't get fed back to sleep, he slept 8-6 on the 3rd night, and has been sleeping pretty well for the last 2 weeks. He's also much happier in the day because he's not shattered from being awake every hour, and weaning has picked up because he actually has an appetite for breakfast! Prior to this he was stuffed to the gills with milk come Morning and politely refused solids confused
Last thing- I truly sympathise. Due to being self employed i began working again in some capacity at 3 months, albeit from home to bf. I did this through the hideous 5 month sleep regression, including times when we were both ill, and some days the tiredness was crushing. I was suprised at how much i could achieve work wise when sleep deprived though, and agree with others that in some ways it was easier than being in sole charge of my son when that shattered. So try not to feel stressed or panicked- if you do end up with a crossover of bad nights and work, you might be suprised at how well you cope.
Good luck with everything.

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