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The sorry story of how my baby STOPPED sleeping through the night - any advice PLEASE???!!

(21 Posts)
Nearlyamok Fri 22-Jun-07 06:07:08

My baby was such an improbably perfect sleeper. The night I came back from the hospital he slept for 5 hours straight, I remember, from midnight to 5am. By 4 weeks he was sleeping from 10pm to 6am. By 8 weeks he was sleeping from 10pm to 8am!!! Until 4 months I didn't know the definition of sleep deprivation. THEN IT ALL WENT HORRIBLY WRONG And NOW I inhabit a world of DESPERATION!!! At 4 months he started teethign and woke every half an hour screaming. I was strict at first and never fed him before 6am. GRadually my resolve collapsed because it was such a complete nightmare settling him without feeding him. So I would feed him at 3am, and then at 5, and then he would be up for the day at 6am. I did this until he was about 7 months old but then he wouldn't eat solids during the day and I realised I had to stop reduce the night time feeding . So I cut down the nighttime feeds, using a dummy and co-sleeping - the only other things which worked at all. A month or so ago after a hellish period of me getting almost no sleep it seemed as if things were improving. The baby was sleeping from 8pm to 11pm, then waking for a feed, then going down again until 5am. THen I would give him a breast feed and he would sleep again until about 7.30. I was quite happy to tolerate this and completely relieved but in the last couple of weeks it has all degenerated again and I am so depressed. I really thought we were over it, but for the last few nights the baby has woken at 2am and then every half hour after that until 7am. If I feed him at 2am then he sleeps until 5am and then cries bitterly until he is fed again. If I just use a dummy and/or co-sleeping then he wakes every half an hour. My partner won't get up at night, so he sleeps in a different bed - this ISN'T because he has to go to work as we both work from home by the way - he is just natively selfish so the best deal I have managed to thrash out is that he gets up with the baby at 7am while I get a couple more hours sleep. - he complains bitterly about this and tells me all day how tired he is, but that's another problem I suppose.

So my question is WHAT do I do? Everyone has been telling me i have to do controlled crying, but I am completely averse. The baby is genuinely very hungry when he wakes in the ngiht, as proven I think by the fact that if I feed him at 2am he sleeps whereas if I don't then he keeps waking. BUT I don't understand why as a 4 week old baby he was capable of going longer in the night without milk??? OR even as a three day old baby, in fact. Also I can now see it degenerating again and he is getting less and less hungry for solids during the day. And I can't face antoher period of weaning him off night feedings - it was completely awful last time. IS this JUST THE WAY IT GOES? He isn't teething at present, though he is very active during the day - trying to walk, standing all the time, crawling at great speed.

During the day he eats a little bit of breakfast, then milk, then he eats - with a great deal of difficulty - a small amount of solids at lunch, then mid-afternoon milk, then again dinner is a battle of wills to get him to eat another bowlful of solids, then 8pm milk, then 11pm milk. Am I drowning his appetite with milk and so he wakes hungry? OR is he not getting enough milk? I just don't know what to do. He is big for his age - very tall and chunky too. He is definitely not under-nourished.

ANY SUGGESTIONS or shared experiences greatly appreciated. I'm up now because I have given up on sleeping for tonight. The baby is asleep having cried bitterly until I fed him again at 5am.

quokka Fri 22-Jun-07 06:25:38

How old is he now? It sounds like he is having far too much milk throught the night - I think you know this.

Try and gradually cut it down rather than cut it out totally if that makes you feel better.

Try a bedtime routine. Mine is bath, tummy massage (most babies and toddlers have trouble digesting food in the night time which can lead to them waking?), story and bed. This all has to be quite a calm affair.

If he wakes up in the night I would leave him for at least 10min to see if he settles himself. If not go to him, leave the lights off, no talking or eye conatct and try and settle him with a dummy - if you deperate give him water, if you get even more desperate then a timy bit of milk.

Out of curiousity did this start when you weaned him?

Nearlyamok Fri 22-Jun-07 21:18:32

quokka thanks for yours. He's nearly 10 months. I think it all really started when he was not getting enough milk for his size and needing solids too, but I thought I should wait until 6 months to start him on solids. I think that was what made it all go wrong, as he slept so well until then and is oibviously 'developmentally' capable of sleeping through the night, as my dear HV says. But I just don't know. I went onto mixed feeding a couple of months ago, so he does get most of his breast feeding at night, simply because it's easiest - so perhaps it's something to dow ith that, with wanting the breast feed?

The bedtime routine you have sounds really great (how old is your child/children?) - especially about the tummy massage- I think he does have trouble digesting food. Also perhahsp I feed him too late in the evening too - ie quite soon ebfore he goes to bed. The problem is too that I can't leave him to settle himself as all the noise in our block of flats tra=vels and the neighbours have already complained about what little noise I let him make in the night anyway. So i have to have him in his cot right by my bed, so I can grab him as soon as he squeaks. Basically I have never tried leaving him for more than a couple of minutes in the night because of this. But as soon as he wakes up he stands up in his cot anyway, so wouldn't be likely to settle himself. He refuses a dummy and water when he's hungry, or takes a dummy but then spits it out in disgust half an hour later and cries for milk again. Last time I did it very gradually as you say, reducing the amount a fraction each night and that took several weeks. So that's whjy I'm so demoralisedthat it's started again.

Anyway, thanks again for your suggestions.

estobi1 Fri 22-Jun-07 22:13:03

You poor thing you sound like you are at your wits end.

My dd is 2 and a half and I am a bit out of practice with feeding routines at 10 months.

Do you think that your little one is enjoying his mummy feeds partly as a form of comfort?

It sounds as though with the very best of intentions, he has learned that you are too upset to let him cry and that you will be there as soon as he squeaks. You need to calm down, tell your grouchy neighbours to s*d off and relax and reassure yourself that you are a good mum.

I would really try upping his food levels during the day if you are worried that he is hungry at night. a banana/weetabix before bed time as an additional meal is great as they are full of slow releasing carbs that will help keep him full through the night. Are you experimenting with a variety of foods to see which ones he likes best? My dd loved fruits, apple and blackberries, papaya mixed in with milk, apple and pears, baked beans, jacekt potatoes and cheese, chips (!!) all sorts. If he is a very active baby he will need a large food intake. If you are genuinely worried that he is having problems digesting his food, speak to your doctor. If not, it could be that he is finding it difficult to wean but I am sure that with a bit more time, it will come good.

Bed time baths are also very soothing and my dd has one nearly every night. Johnsons bedtime bath has lavendar and camomile in it which smells gorgeous and they claim is sleep enhancing - worth a try!

I know that you are opposed to it but controlled crying worked for me and fo miost of my friends whose babies refused to settle. It was very hard at first but I tried it just for 5 minute stints with somebody with me if possible and watching the clock so that when it felt like hell, i could see that it was only 3 minutes. I am only suggesting that you do this only if and when you are comfortable because it sounds like you need to try to take some control back so that you don't lose your marbles! It is not cruel at all, you are teaching your little one that he has to learn to settle himself - and he might just surprise you. It doesn't mean that you have to be cold. Just be gentle but firm after the five minute or ten minute stint is up go in, pick him up to let him know that you are there and then without cuddling, lay him down again and walk away. I would get my dh back into my bedroom and my ds in his own room so that you have the opportunity of getting some relaxation.

at the risk of sounding really patronising, this won't be forever and you will wortk it out. Just remember that you are a person too and you musn't sacrifice yourself too much to his needs otherwise you will go nuts!

Good luck and here's to a better night. xx

quokka Sat 23-Jun-07 00:59:34

I agree tell your neighbours to sod off!. All babies and children make noise - this is normal. As hes right next your bed and you pick him up straight away he's so used to it that it will continue as long as you can stand it. I would deffo do controlled crying for 10 min, and if you can stand it in in his own room so he can learn to settle himself.

My boys are 3yrs and 18months and they sleep in the same room. They have always settled thenselves to sleep and have slept through from 10 weeks (must be doing something right). Did you ever do a baby massage course? If not then I think surestart offers them for free. I would suggest you do one, I massage my boys tummys ever night and it helps them to digest their food. I also use aromatrherapy oil especially blended for sleep that my friend does for me.

BandofWizards Sat 23-Jun-07 07:39:53

You poor thing. DD2 is 10 1/2 mths and I'm trying to regulate her sleep and cut out her nioght feed. The longest she will seem to go is 6-7pm, til 4:30, which really is quite a long time. But it could be he started this during a growth spurt when he simply did need more and then got into a habit. They get into a habit really quickly once they suss how to get us to do what they want. Anyone who believes a 10mth old is not smart enough to do that, I just don't believe them.

Tell your neighbours to sod off, I assume they are either childless or have perfect angels and do what feels right to you. You know your baby and whether they will settle with the crying they're doing, or if you need to tend to them.

AliBloxham Sun 24-Jun-07 07:29:48

My son (6m) has also just stopped sleeping through the night. I think it must be teeth - although I cant see or feel any change since he was 8 weeks (when the HV reckoned he was teething).

He has gone from blissful 7 till 7 sleeping, to waking at least once if not more times in the night - last night 02:30 and he then decided the day had started at 05:00.

I am pretty sure (and am told by all my freinds who are mums) that he has started doing this because of 2 reasons - firstly he isnt getting enough calories in the day - the teeth seem to be creating the battle of wills mealtimes you talk about and is eating roughly the same as you describe at the same times - although if he has a decent lunch wont take the 3pm bottle.... Secondly - as he isnt sleeping at night he wants to sleep more in the day and then the cycle is self-perpetuating.

So - today I am going to try to limit his daytime naps. I am going to revert to giving him mid morning / pre lunch milk (which he always used to take before his solids), and I may wake him for an 11pm feed. I'll let you know whether this works!

I have found that a bit of bonjela or even calpol if you are getting serious see-spoon-and-screaming helps with mealtimes.

I am back to work in a week so desperate to find the answer before I have to function on this little sleep!

MadamePlatypus Sun 24-Jun-07 07:58:19

If it makes you feel any better, both DS and DD were/are big babies. DS started on solids at 4 months, DD at 6 months, and they both went from sleeping from 7-5ish to waking 2 or 3 times a night at about 5 months.

I really think the big influence on night waking is changes in sleep patterns as babies grow older and, for mine, teething. like your DS, DD (who is now 8 months) can manage to do a stretch without a feed from about 11-5 on most nights, but has stretches of waking every 4 hours. She is doing this now. Every time this has happened a tooth has appeared.

How is your DS getting to sleep at the beginning of the night?

MadamePlatypus Sun 24-Jun-07 08:02:08

Just read about neighbours - ignore them. They can complain about loud parties and I think leylandi hedges, but they have to put up with babies crying, or move to a house in the middle of a field in the outer hebrides.

castlesintheair Sun 24-Jun-07 08:19:34

I've only skim read so apologies if I'm repeating everyone else. If you are mix feeding, do you think the fact that you are b-feeding at night is a comfort thing that your LO has become dependent on? Maybe you could switch your b-feeding to the day and only offer a bottle at night? I know it's a pain to make bottles in the night but you may find you don't have to do it for long.

Good luck, I'm going through a similar scenario with my 7 mth old, so can appreciate how you must be feeling. Hope you get some sleep soon!

Wallace Sun 24-Jun-07 08:26:04

something goes awol with sleeping at 4 months, I keep seeing posts about it again and again. My ds2 slept through from 9 weeks to 4 months, and hasn't slept through since

castlesintheair Sun 24-Jun-07 08:28:09

Yes, exactly the same thing has happened to me wallace!

Psychobabble Sun 24-Jun-07 08:46:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kiskidee Sun 24-Jun-07 09:02:05

waking up during the night is not just about hunger. babies go thru different emotional stages too. 10 months is when they experience separation anxiety. waking up during the night and not finding you there.

are you willing to try co-sleeping again? there are ways of helping them go for longer between wakings when you are co-sleeping. in my experience it involved very little tears.

Wallace Sun 24-Jun-07 10:22:35

See there definitely is something that happens at four months

My ds2 is 11 months (tomorrow!) and we co-sleep and he feeds all night. I am not that bothered as he is my last baby, and I know he will grow out of it eventually

Nearlyamok Sun 24-Jun-07 21:38:10

TRhanks so much for your supportive and helpful posts - really interesting to read your experiences. How interetsing that so many of you had the same problem at 4 months - it really was so sudden, and of course it's my first child so I just didn't think it would last, assumed each night was an exception and then each week andn then before I knew it another few months had passed and it was the norm. I do see that I have to get some control of the situation and I know that controlled cruying does seem to work for many firends - just last night some were telling me I should really do it- I suppose the problem is that some nights - like last night - he sleeps from 8pm to 5am and then I think well I really can't complain about this, and then for a week he is just waking all the time...so I am irresolute and can;t decide.

Madame Platypus you asked how he is going to sleep in the evening - baiscally I used to leave him to settle himself in the evening - I would feed him a bottle and then leave him, and until he started crawling (at around 5 months) he would always just go to sleep on his own without even a dummy. But then once he started crawling he just turned over onto his stomach and cried, and so I started giving him a dummy to settle him. Now he can stand in the cot and so on, I have to lie on the bed with him and hush him into a state of calm so he is basically almost asleep when he goes into his cot. but he sleeps fine from 8pm through the evening, there;s no trouble with that, and even in the night when he wakes he doesn't necessarily expect to be taken into the bed, it;s just that I ususally just do it anyway because at least then I can enjoy sleeping next to him, or rather lying next to him while waiting for him to wake up again...Wallace I was very consoled by you saying that you just go with it at night and co-sleep and so on - and Kiskidee tioo about co=sleeping reducing the crying...perahps as you say it is about separation anxiety - he has recently started crying whenever I leave the room so he is definitely into that. For the peopel who found controlled crying worked for them - did it also deal with that sort of anxiety crying too? Castles in the air yes I thin you're right I should limit breast feeding to the day bcause I;m sure that's part of the problem and also the rason why my DP doesn't sleep with my DS at night - so I AM going to change that.

QUokka your children sound amazing - clever you!
I will try the massage and also I can't remember who said about bananas or late night snacks- I think in general I need to give himn more snacks and light meals during the day - do any of you find that works? It's all of course got more desperate now because we are thinking of having another child and yet I can;'t really contemplate it while my DS;s sleeping is so all over the pkace and I feel so damn knackered...

MadamePlatypus Mon 25-Jun-07 10:34:34

Yes definitely more snacks and light meals - think eat like a hobbit - first breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, high tea, supper!

At 10 months, if you are happy with co-sleeping I would do it. If you get fed up with it, we used to find with DS that a few nights gradual withdrawal - sleeping in same room on floor and then moving out did the trick.

DS stopped feeding at night at about 8/9 months - mainly because I had stopped bf after going back to work and was easier to bring him into bed than sort out a bottle. At about 18 months, when I felt he could understand concepts like "Goodnight, I'm just next door" he learnt to "sleep through" (i.e. slept as long as wasn't a bad dream night, didn't have a cold, it wasn't too light etc. etc.) with very, very little trouble.

Don't get hung up on what you 'should' be doing. You do have choices - some people find controlled crying is great for them - but if its not for you don't do it.

Difers Mon 25-Jun-07 14:17:23

Hi there, My DS breastfed at night until he was 14 months old and started walking, recently he has started waking again at night, although I just think it is molar teething and the torential rain last night. My thoughts are that with the benefit of hindsight and less sleep deprivation that I should have increased his daytime fluids, but who knows. We don't really know what is going on with them do we? Have you read the No cry sleep Solution? I tried ideas in that book which improved the situation greatly. I had no help from hubby either and it is very difficult to do each night alone. I'm glad I breastfed him each night until he was 14 months old (and still do sometimes)and only tried crying when he was old enough to understand that he is a big boy and can sleep without mummys help during the night.

mumto3girls Mon 25-Jun-07 14:20:35

Hmm..your partner is being really unfair. Coudl you not take it in turns to do the night feeding and the one who does the night gets to stay in bed while the other one does the morning?

Nearlyamok Tue 26-Jun-07 11:41:26

many thanks for these - OK i am now doin gthe hobbit diet and have been feeding him a steady trickle of snacks. and last night - amazingly enough - he woke as usual at 2.30 but then only drank 30 centilitres of milk, and then went to sleep again until 5.30 which is pretty good and then had a 100 cl but normally he would be ravenously hungry at both waking times...So that seems to have made an instant difference - thank you very much. I think the fluids are important too - will do somethigna botu that. He is always very thirsty in the day when I DO ofer him water so perhaps that's the problem. You are all dead right - my DP is completely unfair. He is basically a selfish pig. I made a terrible mistake having a child with him (much as I completely ADORE my son!!) and I am not financially sorted enough (after losing so much money through being off work for the last year essentially - as I am self-employed) to leave him. I would LOVE to leave him but I can't. Not just becuase of the sleeping thing - but basically bcause he doesn't really do any babycare at all. The sleeping thing - I actually don't understand how he can see that I am completely totalled with exhaustion and yet he never ever offers to do a night. He gets 8 hours sleep every night, without interruptions. I get 3 or 4 with constant interruptions, periods of wakefulness where I'm just waiting to be woken again so can't sleep etc. If I beg him he will very reluctantly do a night, but then he just takes three bottles into the bedroom and feeds the baby every time he stirs, so then everything goes backwards. He simply won't bother to spend the time at night to get the baby back to sleep without feeding him...then he claims to be so exhausted that he can't do anything the following day - babycare, cooking, cleaning, any chores, etcetc...So in a way it's simply not worth my while because for my night's sleep I have to be a complete slave the next day...So you;ll see I have made a bad error but there's not much I can do about it now! Just have to make sure my DS is OK, basically!! Anyway, taht's a bit of a digression = sorry! Thanks again for all your sugegestions xxx

MadamePlatypus Tue 26-Jun-07 12:05:31

Sorry about your DP.

Another tip, if you are feeling that life is getting on top of you (although you may be doing this already) is go to bed at about 8pm. You need to get some more sleep - could your DP give a bottle at about 10pm so that you could get maybe 6 hours sleep together?

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