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Where the hell did I go wrong, I'm going to lose it. Please help

(23 Posts)
Whitty Wed 01-Oct-08 19:48:47

My 17 month old is very hard work. I love him to death but he is a terrible sleeper and I just can't take anymore. Last night was the worst, he was up between about 11pm and 4.30am, and I'm not joking. I have yelled at him tonight and threw him on the sofa. I'm so so tired, I'm clutching at straws as to what the hell I do. Someone please tell me where to go. I just want him to sleep, my husband and I don't know what to do with him. He is in a bed in a room with my 3 year old and has never slept through the night. He wakes on average about 2 times a night and finds it difficult to go back to sleep. He can have bottle after bottle of milk but can't settle back to sleep. I've tried dummies, he was breastfed up till recently (i stopped feeding through night at 13 months in the hope it might help) and I've even thought if using a travel cot, putting him in it and leaving him to cry, with me next to him, cos at least then he can't get out and hopefully might get the message about bedtime and sleep. He could cry all night though and I just don't know what else to do.
Please someone help us. I don't know what else to do with him.

JuneBugJen Wed 01-Oct-08 19:53:45

How much sleep does he have during the day?

The only way I stopped this was by culling the daytime sleep, I was despairing about how much ds was waking and only stopped waking during the night when I stopped him napping any more than 1 hour during the day.

Hope you are ok - there are few things worse than being sleep deprived.

Stop the bottles at night. He doesnt need them anymore.

shabster Wed 01-Oct-08 19:56:08

Oh sweetheart - I really feel for you.

My DS4 (now 11 years) was exactly the same. I was almost 41 when I had him and I wasn't prepared for the shock of a non-sleeper.

He sleeps for England now!!

I talked to my Health Visitor. She gave me a diary that I had to fill in with the number of times he was up in the night and what happened. She suggested loads of stuff to me and none of it worked. In the end, and these were her exact words, she said 'If he was mine I would throw him through the bloody window!!'

Have you tried having a word with your HV? In the end with my son I would go downstairs with him - because he disrupted the whole house - take his quilt and a pillow and turn the lights off and put the tv on quietly - he would, eventually, drop off.

Once he started school it was a little easier but that is of no help to you at all. Try to stay calm and dont be hard on yourself - its nothing you are doing wrong. Some children are just very poor sleepers. Make an appointment asap with your Health Visitor. Take care x

JuneBugJen Wed 01-Oct-08 19:58:18

Agree with Shab - speak to HV (if any good!). My HV was my saviour when I was despairing about the whole sleep thing. I had such hopeless info otherwise - 'hes a baby, its what babies do' was one of them.
She gave me no nonsense step by step help.

ithinkimtallandblonde Wed 01-Oct-08 20:25:20

You could try reading Elizabeth Pantley no cry sleep solutions, it did help us with ds 1yo.
Although i must confess he still doesn't do very well but is much improved. Its easy to follow though and really good for bf babies and co sleepers to get them into there own bed. I had to spend a week on a mattress on his floor but he now goes from 7 till about 5.30 and then has a bottle and goes back to sleep till 7, not ideal but better than nothing. I also found putting him in his cot to play during the day really helped so as he new it was a safe place, all tips from the book. If i think of any others i'll let you know.
Is there any way he can move into his own room or even if your other dc moved into your room for a week until you get him sorted. I would try really hard not to get up with him or if you do make it really boring, no tv don't speak to him and don't put the lights on.
Its hard but you aren't alone. Is there anyone that could take them for a night before you start to sort him out that way your refreshed and better able to cope.
Hang in there.

Whitty Wed 01-Oct-08 20:34:34

Thanks for your supportive posts.

He does nap during the day, normally in the morning for around 2 hours max, and this surely is within average times of nap times for his age??. Some days it will be an hour and a half. He couldn't possibly get through the day without it and his kip is normally in the morning cos he has such bad nights. We often try to keep him awake if we are in the car at teatime so that he will go to bed hmm

As for stopping the bottles, I would love to, I actually introduced these to get him off breast, and now I wish I hadn't, I thought he would just not wake up if he knew he was going to get a bottle. His bottle is just about the only thing that will get him back to sleep. He has always been a very very sucky baby. How would he go to sleep without it? Its such a vicious circle for us. Because he is in a bed, he gets up and walks all round the house, and last night I attempted to keep his bedroom door shut, I was in his bed (hubby and ds1 were in our room) and let him cry, but then after probably half an hour or so, ds1 was up, everyone was up, this was about 3am. So then hubby opened the door....angry

I can't see how much help my hv would be to be honest, if only she could refer me to a sleep clinic who could click their fingers. We don't really like leaving him to cry, even though sometimes I have to as I don't know what else to do with him. We often bring him down in the night as he does sometimes go on for so long his brother starts to stir, so we have to give in.

I hate it. I just want to sleep for a week. Its getting me down now, it has been almost a year and a half.

JuneBugJen Wed 01-Oct-08 20:56:01

Really think you need to cull the naps! I thought I was giving mine the 'right amount of na[ps' ie about 2.5 hours. It was only when I cut right down to 1 hour that he slept through from 7-6am (hurrah!!!!!!!)

My ds is 12 months so reckon although 2 hours seems ok for your ds it is worth trying. What is the worst that could happen!

My dd needed 3 hours naps during the day until she was 3.5 and slept from 7-8am. So it shows that all babies are different. Sje needed lots of sleep during the day, ds alot less.

I felt the same as you about naps. ie he needed it as he was so tired in the morning, but after trying him on 2 30min naps within 3 days he was sleeping through. Part of me is gutted as I loved having that bit of time to myself during the day, but it is worth it for having a full night sleep. If we give him any more than 1.5 hours naps he wakes all night still.

shabster Wed 01-Oct-08 21:44:28

A referal to a sleep clinic would be a good idea. We live close to Manchester and they have a specialist there who concentrates on children who wont sleep.

Just out of curiosity did you have a 'normal' birth with your little one? The specialist in Manchester reckons that out of every 100 babies and children he sees 95 of them at least have had ventouse delivery or emergency c section or some other kind of traumatic birth. He is trying to find out if there is a link with this or not. He was on GMTV a couple of years ago, and talked a lot of sense. I will try and find out his name and more details - it may help.

My son benefited quite a bit from baby massage - maybe ask about that. Would still have a word with the HV - you have nothing to loose my love.

shabster Wed 01-Oct-08 21:48:16

Is this of any help?

lemonlady Wed 01-Oct-08 21:56:49

If you would try controlled crying i bet it would work, obviously own personal choice and you cannot be forced into it.
I tried with both dc's over the years. dd 7 and a dream sleeper 12 hours every night.
ds 2.11 great now, awfull for long time. when he is ill or we have been away and sleep routine goes to pot we just re-inforce cc for 1 - 2 max to get back on track.
Good advise to speak to hv if any good.

ithinkimtallandblonde Wed 01-Oct-08 22:06:56

I echo what shabster says about the traumatic birth. I used a cranial osteopath in Sheffield and he solved so many problems if you can see one i would definitely give it a go. He also works at a practice in Manchester.
Is there anyway you could put him in a cot? IO know it seems like a backward step but my ds never sleeps if we put him in bed with us, he gets up and walks around too.

mabanana Wed 01-Oct-08 22:10:24

I'd suggest two things - making his nap later so it's not just his nightime sleep shifted on a couple of hours followed by being overtired at bedtime. I'd suggest 45mins to an hour after lunch NOT in the morning.
Then if that makes no difference, then yes, let him cry, pat his hand but don't get him up. Maybe he doesn't realise he can go to sleep at night.
And loads of sympathy. Nighmare, isn't it?

shabster Wed 01-Oct-08 22:13:28

craniel osteopath - that is this blokes title!!! grin good job you lot know what you are talking about. I am a menopausal nutter!!!

mabanana Wed 01-Oct-08 22:16:27

Cranial osteopath made zero difference to my ds btw. Getting his daytime naps right did.

ithinkimtallandblonde Wed 01-Oct-08 22:29:41

I would agree with the nap change too, don't let him sleep in am. we do naps now straight after lunch and it makes a massive difference. He has about 2.5 hrs and he was never a big sleeper.

Sawyer64 Wed 01-Oct-08 22:30:18

If it was me I would tackle one problem at a time.....
1.The milk is obviously a comfort thing, you could try cutting it down by 30mls/1oz every 3rd /4th night, then watering it down by 15mls,when you get down to half his normal.

If he won't let you cut it down,ie.protests alot,then try watering it down,but do it very gradually,so its not so noticable.

If you successfully cut it right down to a dilute 1-2 oz,then just offer 2 oz water after that,he wont like it but try to be strong.Eventually over 3-4 nights he'll learn that it will only ever be water,and then hopefully not worth waking for.(Although this may take a little while longer)

2.Then I'd try and tackle the sleep.
Look at your routine before bed,make sure its pretty much the same things at the same time each night,difficult with another child I know.

Put him in his cot when you have done a "wind-down" routine such as Bath,milk,story and then bed.
Return when he cries,but don't lift him,just comfort him.Then leave the room.

If he continues/or starts again repeat the routine,but make each visit as short as possible,and leave the time before returning a little longer each time.

Try to start all this maybe on a Friday night as you then have the weekend with help from DH to try and crack it.

Prepare yourselves for hellish nights,(but tell yourselves,if you can just stay strong for a few more nights,he will relearn a "better" pattern)

Take turns to return to him when he crys,but don't take him out of cot unless you really have to.Usually takes 3-4 nights for them to learn their "new routine" if you persevere.IME

mabanana Wed 01-Oct-08 22:31:44

No, do the nap first! grin
It's teh easiest for a start. No sleep in the morning (as that is his night time sleep in the wrong place) and if he sleeps then he will be overtired by night time. After lunch for 45mins to an hour, and if things improve, let him sleep longer.

JuneBugJen Wed 01-Oct-08 22:32:58

Agree mabanana.

Give him 1 hour max in a day. It was so simple and within 3 nights we had our sleep back. No gimmick, no fuss.

ElmMum Thu 02-Oct-08 14:56:21

My DD is only 4 months so I can't speak from experience, but would it be possible for you to go and stay a night or two with a friend or check into a hotel and just have a proper sleep, while your partner or family look after the children?

It's so hard to think clearly when you're tired and at least with a couple of night's sleep you might have a clearer idea of what to do. Then I'd go straight to my GP and insist they refer you to a sleep clinic or a specialist who can help you asap. You sound at the end of your tether and maybe if you impress that upon them they'll take action.

Good luck. Really feel for you. smile

ches Thu 02-Oct-08 18:05:26

My DS is 19 mth and still wakes up a good 4 times at night. He is still bf and partially co-sleeps (toddler bed next to ours, he gets in with us in the middle of the night) which is how I manage to hold down a full-time job and pretend to keep the house in order.

Milk is NOT necessarily a comfort thing. If he didn't need the milk, he would be getting porky on it. If he's not getting porky on it, he is needing those calories. Maybe he can take them in during the day, but he's not going to magically switch his body clock, now is he? You can offer less and less milk at night or water instead, etc. I still get up for a drink at night and you'll have a hard time convincing me I don't need it! You could try a no-spill sippy cup in with him and show him how to get it himself.

Teething wreaks havoc on sleep. Is your DS getting his molars in? We've had trouble with those for at least 2 months now and the second pair are only now about to pop through. In the middle when his teeth didn't hurt he was sleeping much better, settling much better, etc. but when his mouth hurts he wants to feed to sleep and sleep with a boob in his mouth. Ibuprofen helps to an extent.

Some babies/toddlers are more affected by development than others. We've been dealing with disturbed sleep since 5.5 mth when he started sitting up, pulling up and crawling all in one week (also started nursery!). Right now he's learning colours and the alphabet, plus graduating to three-word sentences. If you've ever laid awake for a while with your mind turning over e.g. before a test, then you can imagine what it's like and why they struggle to settle. Introducing music can help them to wind down, but as you have two DC sharing a room, it would have to not interfere with your older child's sleep.

Good luck!

pookybear Thu 02-Oct-08 18:59:00

We tried this: Bathe him in a warm bath,
dry and then dress for bed, sit him on your lap and gently stroke him rythmically on his back shoulders arms head , snuggle him talking gently, humming or singing softly. Give him his milk whilst nursing then put him in his cot at this point do not talk anymore but pat him rythmically through the cot bars. Sit on the floor so he cant see you. If he gets up gently put him down again and keep the patting up until he drops off. (The patting reminds him of the heart beat in the womb) Keep to a set time to do this ie regular bed time. It worked a treat after a week all was well. The important thing is not to converse after the putting in cot bit. Very best of luck.

Whitty Thu 02-Oct-08 21:46:56

Hi all, thanks again for offering help. He is in a bed not a cot, so those offering advice for a cot, the tips wouldn't work! We took him out of his cot as he would move around in his sleep at a young age and be very active, so we wondered if it was this that was waking him up. (Guess it wasn't....)
Now I do wonder if I did the right thing regarding that in hindsight, but never mind.

Regarding the water suggestions, he does have water sometimes. I did progress from boob, to bottle water, and then one night hubby got him a bottle of milk as he asked for it.........hmm Sometimes when he wakes he will have water, others he screams and signs for milk, so its just 'wait and see' really, but he will take water yes.

His birth was very quick actually, this kind of thing amazes me to be honest, how things like this can be affected by birth. It was a home birth, all very quick, active labour stage was around 2 hours, and not much pushing either. No assistance or help.

It could be development, or teeth, I just don't know. He is 17 months and isn't really talking. He has a lot of signs, but no proper words, apart from Mama, (me grin turtle and hoover!!! My eldest was talking properly at this age, so this is a bit of a shock. He is very active though and his physical skills are fantastic, so maybe this doesn't help?

Every single night is different. Some nights he is awake for an hour or so, some he will wake up once and go back to sleep easily, some he will be up for hours, and some he will wake up say 4 times or so, and perhaps need milk, sometimes not. Its so all over the place and has no regular or average to it.

He is not a porky baby by any means, very normal looking I suppose! No tubbiness anywhere, and he has a lot of milk during the day too. He has little legs too, he is smaller than my eldest at his age, as he has just grown out of 6-9 mth trousers!

The hotel suggestion is very tempting.......

mdorka Sun 05-Oct-08 13:51:39

Hi, read Stacey Hogg's book : oks&qid=1223210737&sr=8-5 . It really helped me when my DD was 3 month old and has literrally become breast-feed addicted waking up during the night every 1,5 hours wanting to be breastfed while before she was quite a good sleeper. This was the only book I read that offered concrete, step-by-step solutions, though it is a very tiring method. My DD is now 11 month old, she wakes up once or sometimes twice a night, but I know it would be possible to fix it with this method. I've just went back to work and don't feel the strength to go ahead with it for the time being and also I guess it is enough for her to adjust to one change.

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