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Why does my baby have to scream herself to sleep everytime?

(24 Posts)
babybloos Wed 27-Apr-05 09:01:36

My dd has a happy disposition and seems content and fulfilled in every way. She is 5.5 months old and has always been a difficult day sleeper. She absolutely needs the sleep and we manage to get around 3 hours/day to keep her happy, however the way she goes to sleep is horrendous! From a very early age she would scream a lot, not just crying, if layed in cot for sleeps. We have read all we can on this subject it seems and the only thing we haven't tried is controlled crying which I don't think I could do and not advised pre 6m anyway! She doesn't get sleepier in cot but more hyper, even if cuddled first to chill out she becomes even more wired when layed down! She used to go to sleep quite well in my arms when out which was gr8 but now she screams there too and arches back and growls!! I have to pin her body to mine and cover her eyes and pat her bottom to calm her which is getting harder and harder the bigger she gets. Very embarassing at airports etc and now the only way to get to sleep, nearly always without too much screaming is outside in buggy - doesn't work inside (eg. airports!) I am despairing and would love to have a situation where I layed her in cot and she would fall asleep within 10-20 mins but just doesn't happen! Any suggestions or even any mums out there with same problem I would love to hear from.........

Twiglett Wed 27-Apr-05 09:03:47

Do you have a chill down routine? maybe if you tried to instigate one .. a book or a nursery rhyme in the quiet and dark before you laid her down?

How long does she shriek for?

does she have colic / reflux?

soapbox Wed 27-Apr-05 09:24:16

babybloos - long time since I had a little baby, but this sounds to me like she is overtired when you put her down. Always seemed important to catch them at the right time or it was difficult to get them off without tears.

Try putting her down before she seems tired (or half an hour before normal time if you are in a routine)

babybloos Wed 27-Apr-05 09:35:39

Hi, thanks for ideas but tried varying lengths of chill out routine with story etc and she is not unwell in any way. We have also tried catching her really early and the battle is the same, just longer! The shrieking goes on as long as I can handle it as it never calms only escalates into coughing and spluttering and very upset baby who is even harder to get to sleep!! I am doomed!!

bakedpotato Wed 27-Apr-05 09:36:44

i'm with soapbox, another vote for overtiredness

babybloos Wed 27-Apr-05 09:39:53

she wakes at around 5am and then back to sleep from around 5.15 to 7.15 after sleeping from 7pm the previous night. I feed her and play for varying lengths of time. We have tried first nap routine from as early as 7.50am thinking she was OVERTIRED but didn't sleep until nearly 10am after getting in a massive mess!!

bakedpotato Wed 27-Apr-05 09:46:44

are you putting her down no later than 2 hrs after she woke up?

TracyK Wed 27-Apr-05 09:52:08

have a look on - great for ideas of sleepy signals. my ds was a crap day napper too and I used to stress about him napping. It took till he was about 10 or 11 mo before we got it sussed.
My dh was the best to get him to nap. He'd swaddle him lightly on the couch and then put his arm across ds chest/shoulder and stroke his eyes/face and when ds tried to sit up he couldn't cos he was pinned down. Put up a struggle for 5 mins or so but eventually gives in and falls asleep.
Its very early days for you - I would go with the flow and let her nap in the buggy or car - whatever will get her off to sleep. My ds was crap and he's still alive! You'll get to 1 yo and look back and think - 'what was the stress about'!!

babybloos Wed 27-Apr-05 09:55:06

We have tried putting her down anywhere between 45 mins and 2 hours after waking and nothing makes any difference, it seems sometimes if we are too early then it can make the whole process longer. eg. this am she slept until 7.25am, letting her sleep until then as she was awake for 30 mins from 5.45 to 6.15am. I then slowly and gently prepared her for bed around 8.40am. She had yawned once, she never really seems sleepy - either awake or asleep with dd. She is now screaming her heart out on and off in the next room - the off being when I go to soothe her!! Nearly time for next feed

biglips Wed 27-Apr-05 09:56:15

sounds like she might had too much sleep as this is my routine with my 6 months old baba - (on a average day) wakes up 8am/nap at 12pm (1 or 2 hrs sleep)/ wakes up and is awake till 6pm/ sometimes have another nap till 7-8pm/ after 9pm i let her have 20 mins sleep/ wake her up and give her one big bottle at 10.30pm and she falls asleep at (average midnight) and is asleep till 9am.

once i let her had too much sleep and never again as its took me 3 weeks to get back to routine and plus baba does have days when she had no sleep during the day and she is overtired, she scream for 20 mins and then ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

jabberwocky Wed 27-Apr-05 09:56:22

DS was very difficult with his sleeping until 10 - 12 mos. old. I know the frustration (and madness!) that you are feeling with this. He would fight sleep in a number of different ways. We started using a Sleepytime CD as a cue to go to sleep and the music did seem to calm him. Things also improved after I read THe No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley.

DS is 20 months now and I have to admit I used a variation of CC about 6 months ago as things had improved a bit but then stopped. He now wakes up once per night which we feel is nirvana compared to what he used to do and goes down quite easily. HTH

biglips Wed 27-Apr-05 09:57:24

and wrap baba up firmly with a blanket and it will knock them out - ZZZZZZZZZZZZZz

babybloos Wed 27-Apr-05 09:58:29

Thanks TracyK, I have the BW and GF and I like the BW ideas but the signals don't seem to work for dd hence us trying to catch her b4 the signals now!! I would be very happy to go with the flow but in public which we so often are, it is horrendous and at home after doing it 3-5 times a day I feel like chucking myself out of the window it is so bad

TracyK Wed 27-Apr-05 09:59:35

how do you mean - when you are in public??

throckenholt Wed 27-Apr-05 09:59:36

overtired - mine did that if they were awake for more than 2 hours at about that age, sometimes they even got overtired after as little as 1 hour if there was a lot going on.

babybloos Wed 27-Apr-05 10:04:17

public,as in a cafe or other peoples houses or airports etc etc. Anywhere that is not in my house where the four walls contain the noise! dd never awake more than 2 hours but never ever falls asleep on her own except in buggy on long walks. If in house will just get grumpier and grumpier and then pretend she is wide awake and then meltdown at the slightest thing - I know when she is overtired but others don't seem to around me.

TracyK Wed 27-Apr-05 10:14:48

oh right - I thought when you said she wouldn't nap - that she was happy and cheerful in between.
Do you drive?
I used to wait till ds was whingy and clingy then pop him straight in the car and go to the shops. Took a mag/book with me and let him sleep for 45-60 mins in the morning - go and do 2 hrs shopping, feed and change him then let him fall asleep on the way home for 1.5-2 hrs.
Does she have a dummy/suck her thumb?

babybloos Wed 27-Apr-05 10:19:49

she is happy and cheerful inbetween naps if I force the naps if you know what I mean, I was trying to say that if she is left and doesn't get the sleep she needs then she is very grumpy but doesn't get "sleepy" like other babies. I have just ordered some more books and hopefully that will help, thanks to jabberwocky for your book suggestion and understanding! Can I ask how you did the CC as I may be desperate enough for it soon!

TracyK Wed 27-Apr-05 10:24:55

what I sometimes did with my ds - was put him in his cot when I reckoned he needed it (its easier when they start to crawl/walk cos if they bump and they aren't tired they laugh - if they cry then they are tired iykwim). So I'd put him in his cot and lay him down.
He'd be straight back up to play so I'd lay hime down and leave him. After a couple of mins he'd start to cry. I'd go in and lay him down and stroke his face. He'd either get back up and howl or play. I'd lay him down again and stroke his face, leave him and he'd howl again. Go back in, lay him down and stroke him face. This could go on for 2 mins or 40 mins! But he'd eventually have tired himself out and once he was at that stage the face stroking gets him off to sleep.
I did spend most of the day either getting him to sleep or feed. Just wait till you have to add the feeding/weaning in to the equation!!

babybloos Fri 06-May-05 08:48:32

The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley is ace! She is so understanding and I feel like shouting from the roof tops that my baby is overtired and it is a problem!! I can't wait to show my in laws who persist with the theory that if dd is awake then she doesn't need sleep!!!!!! I am sure they will put it down to some mad american woman but it has already helped loads - really early bedtimes have already extended solid nightime sleeping and day time naps are getting more manageable

kerfuffle Fri 06-May-05 09:26:52

babybloos - my baby was exactly the same. I used to dread her getting tired when I went out to other peoples houses or babygroups etc as she would get into such a state. People in the supermarket would look at me as if to say "will you do something with that child". She had been like it from birth. At first I thought I was starving her and ended up giving up breastfeeding, then I thought it must be colic but no remedies would help. She was still like it at 5months old and it seemed to be when she was tired so we tried to get her into a routine to no avail. She is now 5and a half months old and everything has suddenly slotted into place. We observe the sleep cues ie arching back, grumpy cry, rubbing eyes and put her into cot with her comfort toy. She now just goes to sleep. It is such a wonderful relief. I think mums who have easier babies don't understand how stressful it can be. I am convinced that my dd was like that because she had a traumatic entrance to the world. We were considering cranial osteopathy as we had heard it can help with a fretful baby but fortunately all is okay now and we didn't need to. Anyway, hang in there, keep trying with the routine and it will be okay eventually.

babybloos Fri 06-May-05 13:57:49

It is so good to know there is someone similar - thanks! It is hard enough having a slightly difficult baby without everyone else thinking all babies are the same and will do as their baby did/does! I love my dd because of her spirit and individuality but I am happier now that we seem to be both at ease with the world and happier for it. I am not sure if dd had a traumatic arrival, I suppose because it was quick for me I hadn't thought that maybe it was worse for her! I only had to push through 2 contractions and she was here! Lucky me but maybe not so lucky for my dd. Thanks for your thoughts and support, I hope it all keeps going well for you and dd.

evansmummy Fri 06-May-05 22:18:37

My ds was like this too, a really bad sleeper at night and during the day. We knew he was overtired but nothing, like you, seemed to help him seep without screaming first. Then we 1) went to a cranial osteo and 2) put him on to Gina Ford very strictly, and after about two weeks everything was perfect! He's now five months, does the GF routine for a 4-5 month old perfectly, and sleeps without a whimper well almost!!) Persevere, you'll get there eventually. Good luck!

Kaz33 Fri 06-May-05 22:31:10

By the sounds of it you have tried everything and don't know what the routine is, so how do you expect baby to know ?

With mine, I did't even try to get them into a routine until they were about your dd's age. Then I based the routine on theirs - getthem up at the same time every day and keep a note of when they tend to nap, after a few days try to plan their sleeps at those times. I think its important to do when you have a quiet week and can concentrate on them full time. All babies are different, some are difficult sleepers.

By the way don't feel that you are failing because your baby is screaming. You are not.

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