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desperate with 14 month old's poor sleep

(14 Posts)
MotherofPearl Thu 28-May-09 13:56:30

I am new to mumsnet but really hope someone has some tips to help me correct the horrendous sleep habits of my 14 month old daughter. I am really at my wits' end! It's 3 inter-related problems (sorry this is going to be really long & probably quite boring!):
1) Won't sleep in her own room or bed (always refused cot so co-slept with us for first year, now she has a bed with proper guardrail but only goes in there till about 10pm then wants to come to our bed)
2) Pretty much depends on being BF to sleep (I know I made a rod for my own back with that one!). She will take a bottle to go to sleep when she gets put down about 7pm but all subsequent & multiple further night wakings she screams blue murder unless BF is forthcoming (by this stage she's normally in our bed which makes it difficult to refuse her the breast as easily accessible!)
3) Wakes up loads still. She's normally asleep for 7pm-ish but wakes up at least once, sometimes more, before we go to bed around 10-ish. Either has to be BF back to sleep or head/chest rubbed for 30 mins or more! This means little time in the evenings with partner. sad
I really am desperate to give up BF but end up keeping it going for the sake of peace and some sleep. Can't really do CC because live in a flat & will neighbours undoubtedly complain. Plus the few times we have tried it she doesn't seem to respond, just goes on & on crying which I find hard to handle. Sorry this is so long & detailed but would be really grateful if anyone has ANY advice to offer. Thanks.

maria1665 Thu 28-May-09 14:07:23

I have same problem with my eighteen month old. We have a large studio bedroom, so her cot is in our room. She goes to bed ok but wakes to come in with us about 1pm - sometimes settles down straight away but often doesn't.

I am so exhausted I keep see big black spiders scuttling accross the room out of the corner of my eye.

Re going to bed, we solved this by putting her down AWAKE and then controlled crying. Case solved within three nights.

Advice please.

shomes Fri 29-May-09 19:59:27

You both sound like me and my 14 month old. He will go to sleep ok with a cuddle etc but its the night wakings i can't handle. He wants the bottle to go back to sleep which is strange as he has cups in the day and then he's always rolling around and really unsettled all night. He sleeps in the cot but i think its a bad case of separation anxiety as he has always co slept.

mummy2rachel Fri 29-May-09 23:35:21

MOP, your dd sounds exactly like mine. Sorry, not much help but just wanted to let you know you are not alone. I work full time as well, so could do with more sleep.

I am following this thread with keen interest.

singalongamumum Sat 30-May-09 11:08:57

I night weaned my DS at about 11mo for exactly the reasons you have said. It was really hard for one night, but very quickly got better.

Basically, I just made sure he understood the word gone, and I practised for several nights before saying as we went to bed, "toys gone, see you in the morning toys", "bath gone, night night bath, see you in the morning" like some kind of crazy woman! Then on the night in question I gave him his evening feed and said "milk gone now, night night milk, see you in the morning". His little face was a picture!

When he woke wanting milk, I just repeated milk gone, night night milk, etc and offered water. He shouted, he was cross, but he wasn't distressed and it definitely wasn't crying. I know this because he kept dozing off, then waking up saying "gone" and shouting again! This went on for about 2 hours on the first night. When he woke next, 4 hours later, we repeated it but it only took half an hour.

The next night, he didn't even ask! He had a bit of a moan but he had understood so it was much easier. One important point was that I had a chair next to his bed so I could sit down during the screaming, this meant that for a while I still had to pick him up and pat him to sleep but EVENTUALLY this happened less and less until he now sleeps almost through the night.

Let me reassure you that this was nothing short of a miracle, my DS was a very frequent night waker for months and months and I thought I was going to die of exhaustion. So I am not some wonder-mum trying to offer you a over simplified piece of advice; I know how you feel. Not having to breast feed through the night really boosted my energy levels, even when my DS did still wake.

As for your neighbours, I'd say let them suffer for a night or two. Buy them box of chocolates when it's all over to apologise. Most people understand that life with babies can be noisy. Your mental health is more important!

HTH. smile

MotherofPearl Sat 30-May-09 19:00:08

Thanks for the support, it really does make it feel better when you realise you're not the only one in this situation. singalongmum, I am going to try that 'say bye-bye to the milk' thing & see how it goes. I tried something similar to stop her screaming when she had to get out of the bath ('wave good-bye to your ducks' etc etc!) so hopefully the message will sink in. Will post any changes for better or worse!

singalongamumum Sun 31-May-09 11:49:21

Will be interested to here how it goes, MofP smile

shomes Sun 31-May-09 19:26:01

I also tried offering just water last night, the first time he screamed at me for about 10 minutes then i kept sayingto him ' its water not milk don't worry' and eventually he went off. He was very unsettled all night but i expected that anyway. Ineed to get him off the milk at night as going on holiday in 5 weeks and milk will go off in the heat if left out. I have also tried troking his hand which seems to calm him and just talking to him to calm him. I hope it works as i am starting work for the first time tomorrow since he was born .. wish me luck x

singalongamumum Sun 31-May-09 19:30:42

Well done shomes! Sounds like a good first night. Hope you manage to get it sorted before hols and enjoy your return to work. Good luck indeedy! grin

saintmaybe Sun 31-May-09 19:42:49

and don't be hard on yourself, it's not 'horrendous' and you haven't 'made a rod for your own back', it's really, really normal.
At the stage where we moved away from night feeding, at this sort of age, with our 3 dcs, we had a time where my partner went in to them exclusively. It's very hard to break that habit for both of you when you're tired and they can smell milk in the middle of the night, and him going to them for a few weeks really helped, even though it meant that sometimes he'd fall asleep and spend part of the night in there. Then the habit has changed and you can share it again, or do whatever you use to do.

suwoo Sun 31-May-09 19:44:04

This sounds like my DS except he woke up to 5 times a night regularly. The good news is he has slept through for 4 consecutive nights this week........... the bad news is, he is 2.5.

grin

MotherofPearl Mon 01-Jun-09 17:43:43

Well I can report some progress, which is a relief. I decided one problem might be the lighter evenings, so went out & invested in a proper black-out blind & that does seem to increase the length of time she sleeps for, & make it quicker for her to go back to sleep after waking up (i guess up until 10pm-ish she might be justified in thinking it was still daytime). So that's something. But I think saintmaybe is right, my partner going to her when she wakes might be the only thing to break the BF back to sleep habit - I find it all too too easy to give in out of exhaustion. Glad to know all this is more usual than I realised - my friends seem to have dream babies who have slept through the night from 6 months, so was starting to feel like a bit of a freak!

saintmaybe Mon 01-Jun-09 20:44:42

People Lie About Sleep.

Hope it continues to get better.

shomes Wed 03-Jun-09 16:26:08

Hahhah, yes i guess people to lie about their babies sleep and we know the truth dont we ladies !
Well my lo has still been waking up with the night weaning but is settling and sleeping eventually. I guess i will just have to use matchsticks on my eyes until it works!

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