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Non sleeping DETERMINED baby, how do we crack this? Or do we just never sleep again?

(61 Posts)
WideWebWitch Thu 03-Mar-05 21:29:17

Dd is 15 months. I look like a vampire, I'm haggard and feel a hundred. I think she's slept at some point during the last year but I'm damned if I can remember it.

We've just tried controlled crying, by which I mean I cuddled her, put her down in her cot, and left the room but only went as far as outside the room and kept going back to let her know I was there. From 8-8.30 she screamed, so I went in every couple of minutes, reassured her, lay her back down again and left the room. I was doing this for 45 minutes and she was still going, screaming, she is hardcore.

I then looked down at my clothes and saw BLOOD! She had somehow hurt herself, I think probably by banging her mouth against the side of her cot in rage. I didn't hear her do this or hear anything other than screaming. It was like a horror film, her face was covered in blood. So we cleaned her up, cuddled her, (she calmed down as soon as I picked her up, I really don't think there is anything wrong with her, it looked worse than it was) and put her back down again but I feel awful and don't know what to do now. She is asleep now because she wore herself out with screaming. We have got to sleep, she has got to learn to sleep but she is SO determined, she's made herself sick before and now she's hurting herself! Wtf do we do? Even if she does come in with us she doesn't sleep well so co sleeping isn't going to solve this. Did anyone else have a determined mad one like this? TIA for any advice, links to other threads, tips, sympathy, anything.

(PLEASE, I don't want to debate controlled crying, I agree with it but I don't want to upset any of us any more than necessary. I am all for trying a softer version where I don't leave the room). The person who's cried more than anyone over this non sleeping is me.

Xena Thu 03-Mar-05 21:37:42

Big Sympathy.
Could you try sitting next to the cot holding her hand?My DD1 used to calm if I stroked her foot??

oooggs Thu 03-Mar-05 21:48:11

I feel for you, DS is 14mths. It is hard work. Have you tried music, classical is good, playing it on a cd player or a music box, stroking (sp?) of the hair, singing (100 green bottles!!!) and if all else fails whiskey (for mum & dad)

SenoraPostrophe Thu 03-Mar-05 21:49:48

www - something similar happened the first time I tried cc with ds. Whenever I went back into the room he became hysterical so eventually I just left him screaming. he screamed for just over 20 mins, then stopped and slept. He did that once more that night (about 15 mins the 2nd time) and then slept through the night the next night.

I think sometimes the going in and out thing doesn't so much reassure them as remind them why they're crying.

SenoraPostrophe Thu 03-Mar-05 21:51:39

PS before anyone thinks I am even more callous than I am I did go in to ds the second time he cried, but just once. I laid him down, said "it's nightime" firmly and then buried my head under the pillow.

moonshine Thu 03-Mar-05 21:52:54

I've got a 9-month old who we can now put in his cot and leave to go to sleep for several hours but for the past few weeks has been waking up between 3-6am (different every night) with a loud shriek and so have been feeling a bit like the living dead myself. Still, it doesn't sound half as bad as your situation, you poor thing.

We did the hardcore cc and let him cry for an hour which I think is why he now will go to sleep happily most nights - maybe she isn't giving up cos she knows you will be in every few minutes?

Does she sleep much during the day? too mucfh and too little sleep can affect night-time sleep. Is she sensitive to noises? Is she usually hyperactive? Also gifted children find it difficult to sleep! (not much comfort I know).

Sorry, am grasping at straws for you. However, someone gave me a book called Sleepless Children by Dr David Haslam. I haven't read it yet but if it's any good I will gladly pass it on to you when I have read and digested it! Don't know if you or anyone else has had experience of a local Crysis group as well?? Hope your dp is sharing the burden of night duty - bet he does if he makes cakes!

Am off to have a glass of wine to help me anyway!!

WideWebWitch Thu 03-Mar-05 22:03:13

Thank you. Maybe you're right Senora (glad to hear this happened to you iykwim, not glad that your ds had an awful time but glad that we're not alone), going in is exacerbating it and reminding her that she wants ME and gives her a reason to carry on screaming. Moonshine, she sleeps for an hour in the day, is active, normal I think, not hyperactive, walks so ought to be using up some energy, has been ill but is better now, is a cheeful soul. We've just cut it down from 2 hours to see if it makes a difference. Yes, dp is sharing this, we've always done alternate nights getting up when she wakes/screams but we've agreed to try to crack it together. So we're both knackered! Oogs, I might try drinking, wine though, not whisky! Xena, I think if she wakes tonight we will stay next to her but keep putting her back. That way even in the dark we should notice if she starts hurting herself. She is in our room until we've cracked this. (only 2 bedrooms and we can't put her in with ds until she's sleeping or they could both be awake all night!)

ionesmum Thu 03-Mar-05 22:05:47

www - my dd1 was the same, cc doesn't work for all babies. I found it helped to put her on a great big mattress on the floor to sleep rather than in her cot. She'd go to sleep with me there and if the worst came to the worst I could sleep with her - I know you say co-sleeping doesn't help but if it's in he rbed not yours, maybe it will be better - it's what we found. If she can stand up this should be okay - I've been advised by a very wise retired hv. And sod the idea that once they go to bed you can't bring them down again at this age. When I think of the hours I wasted trying to get dd1 to sleep when I should have just brought her down for a while - she'd probably have slept better later. In the end we cracked it totally (i.e. her not needing my presence to help her sleep) when she was two and she had the verbal skills to understand what I was telling her, and we used the gradual withdrawl method. I know that sounds like a long way away but the sleeping on the mattress thing did help in the meantime. HTH and lots of luck.

beansprout Thu 03-Mar-05 22:07:07

www - you poor thing. I don't have any suggestions, just a bucket of sympathy. Hope you find a way forward

ionesmum Thu 03-Mar-05 22:09:03

Oh s**t www - just read you can't put dd in her own room. Snap - we have the same with dd2 - it's bloody knackering, isn't it? We are frantically trying to move so that we can all get some sleep - and our bedrooms interconnect so if either dd wakes up so does the other one! Maybe you could put your own matress on the floor and try that?

WideWebWitch Thu 03-Mar-05 22:11:58

Thanks ionesmum, there isn't room for our mattress plus bedframe plus cot! The room has all ds's toys in it as we intend it to be his and her room once we've sorted the sleeping. He is currently sleeping in our lovely kingsize (he has a normal double) bed in what is supposed to be our room. Bloody madness. Thanks for the sympathy beansprout!

ionesmum Thu 03-Mar-05 22:16:19

www, if we don't move soon we are going to empty our bedroom and just have our bed matress on the floor - no bed, no cot, no furniture ( which will have to go into storage I suppose.) It's a killer, isn't it? Both dds have been ill all winter and dd2 now has an ear infection, I can't remember the last time I got more than three hour's sleep on the run. I really believe dd2 needs to be in her own room to sort this, so I have soooooooooo much sympathy.

FairyMum Thu 03-Mar-05 22:21:53

Have not tried this myself, but my parents went to the doctor who prescribed some kind of sleep medicine for me when I was little just to break the cycle and apparently it worked after a week.
Not sure what my opinion is of this. I never used it myself eventhough I have children who are terrible sleepers like yours.

ionesmum Thu 03-Mar-05 22:24:02

www - forgot to say, we are trying essential oils diffused in the room - camomile and lavender.

MunchedTooManyMarsLady Thu 03-Mar-05 22:27:10

am watching this thread with interest as DT1 is also a very DETERMINED baby. She can scream for hours, throw up (haven't had blood), stamp all over her brother, climb out of the cot. Let me know what works www because I need help with my little one too. The DTs are in with us and there's no room to move them so whatever it is it can't involve separate rooms. Wishing you luck, will be thinking of you as DT1 comes into our bed yet again.

phatcat Thu 03-Mar-05 22:28:25

what a nightmare www - I can't imagine much worse, you must be at the end of your tether. I can't offer any direct experience as ds is a good sleeper so far (touches all wooden objects in vicinity) but coincidentally I was flicking through Toddler Taming earlier today and noted that Green recommends the short term use of sedatives in conjunction with CC for particularly difficult cases. Contentious I know but if you're desperate? ....

TiredBunny Thu 03-Mar-05 22:32:57

My dd was prescribed phenergan when she was 8 months as she has a cough and wasnt sleeping... used for travel sickness but works as a v mild sedative.....worked for me. My dd sounds just like yours www but she is now a very happy 3 yr old who sleeps wonderfully well. Yes i did controlled crying but after 4 nights in hospital as I though i was having a nervous breakdown!!!

Frizbe Thu 03-Mar-05 22:40:11

big hugs www, but stick with it, as you say she's gone to sleep tonight so far...fingers x'd she stays that way...not had too much bother with my dd, but our neighbours had a nightmare with their eldest dd, in the end they let her scream for 4 hours before she slept (they did keep checking on her and re assuring her) but eventually she slept and the next night was as good as gold, straight off! so good luck, one day at a time....I've heard for some reason day four can be an odd one where they try it on again? but like I say no personal experience.

CountessDracula Thu 03-Mar-05 22:44:53

Oh so sorry to hear you are going through this (I had some idea)

NOW. We went through this with dd a bit several times. You really do have to be tough. If you can take it (and it sound to me like you must), go downstairs, have a drink, stuff some bog roll in your ears or turn the tv up.

Go up after 5, then 10, then 20 etc mins

Be FIRM ie YOU ARE GOING TO SLEEP NOW.

Don't hang around outside the door she will know you are there.

It is hell, but less hell all round if you can get it over with in short sharp shocky type thing.

binkybetsy Thu 03-Mar-05 22:51:17

I'm an advocate of cc I have to admit, and we were like you www (walking dead) we just bit the bullet and let them scream. We checked they were okay at 5 minutes, then doubled the length of each visit, so 10 then 20 then 30 etc. It is really hard & I can't imagine how difficult it must be with her not being in the same room.
My ds even climbed out of his cot recently, he fell asleep on the floor on a blanket he pulled down from a chair in his room. I was in the garden taking deep breaths at the time. When I came back in he was quiet, so I crept up to check he was okay and was mortified he was on the floor. I didn't know what to do. The cc is tough but I knew it had to be done for us because I was turning into evil mummy during the day through lack of sleep!
Keep us posted www. I hope it goes okay!

WideWebWitch Fri 04-Mar-05 07:55:00

Thank you everyone else who's posted. Ionesmum, 3 hours? That makes me feel lucky, which takes some doing, I assure you! Poor you. MTMML, how old is your determined one? Phatcat, I haven't tried Phenergan yet but may do if it gets worse. She has slept through before on Medised when she's had a cold and I thought it must be that that was doing it but as a friend pointed out, Medised only lasts 4 hours so it wasn't that. <sigh> cd, and binkybetsy, we are going to try cc again tonight BUT I am going to sleep in ds's room (he will be away) and dp is going to do the night with dd. I think we're going to go for she keeps being laid back down again and again and again and again until she gets the message that no matter what, she doesn't come in with us or get anything from it. So dp will be in the room but she will STAY in her cot. Last night she slept til ?? am, no idea what time and when she woke I brought her in with us. I know, it's a waste of anything we've done so far but I jsut had to sleep. And she did sleep, until 5.30am. Better than nothing. Thank you for all the sympathy and advice. I know it's SO boring for anyone who isn't stuck in it!

gothicmama Fri 04-Mar-05 08:03:16

WWW check out teh side effects of phenergen before you decide to go down that route - DD is 4 adn is now sleeeping though - it was worth te wait having seen the effects phenergen had on her - it was better to be tired

oooggs Fri 04-Mar-05 08:58:34

Hi www - I was thinking of you last night. Hugs to you all. Keep going.

pipsy1 Fri 04-Mar-05 09:09:38

We are having a similar problem with DD - 18mths. She has started waking at 3am-4am and will not go back to sleep. Have tried CC but she just seems too determined, and at that time of night she has had a fair amount of sleep so is not exhausted enough to cry herself back to sleep. Occasionally she drops off for 10 mins but that is all and after another 2 hours of screaming last night have decided it is a waste of time to do CC with her. Thing is, she will have a couple of nights of being fine and sleeping through (til 6am) and then start again. Whn she is having a bad period she will scream at bedtime and naptime too whereas normally she is good as gold at these - at least then tho she is so tired it usually only lasts 10 or so minutes. I don't know what to do except start my day ridiculously early. think I may have to push bedtime back to 8pm too so maybe she wakes a little later. And DH does nothing to help...... Claims he needs 12 hours sleep a night and can't work if he's tired. Hmmmm.......

ggglimpopo Fri 04-Mar-05 09:24:33

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