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at the very end of my tether - please tell me controlled crying might help for 7-month-old

(175 Posts)
bean612 Sun 12-Jul-09 22:02:32

DD has been screaming for the last 45 mins. She went to sleep at 7.45, woke up at 8.30 but we managed to shush her back to sleep. This time though she is furious. At the moment she's like this every night - 3 wakings with varying degrees of screaming before we go to bed, then up 2 or 3 (or 4) times in the night, sometimes just grizzling, sometimes screaming. We don't feed her, just give her water, but it's not food she wants. She CAN get herself to sleep as we used to put her down for the night awake and she'd get herself to sleep within 5-15 mins without much problem. But now... I vacillate between sobbing myself and feeling furious and having to leave the room to calm down. I can't take it much longer. Seems to me like CC is the only option left.

bean612 Sun 12-Jul-09 22:05:48

PS. Just need support really. The other night at 5am after she'd been screaming non-stop for 45 mins I just sat on the kitchen floor and howled and howled.

Are you sure she is not hungry? My DS is 12 months and still has a 10:30pm dreamfeed.

bean612 Sun 12-Jul-09 22:08:47

Yep, definitely not. Especially the early wakings - she gets a full feed just before we put her down for the night, but she still wakes 3 times within 3 hours after that.

saintmaybe Sun 12-Jul-09 22:10:32

Have you read the no-cry sleep solution? Lots of practical advice and techniques in there.

what does she want, is it just company? Would you consider having her in with you/ in a bed next to yours so that you can all get some sleep?

lack of sleep is so grim. Poor you.

Sidge Sun 12-Jul-09 22:10:50

Oh please don't do CC. She's still so little.

Screaming for 45 mins would imply that she wants something, whether it's food, a cuddle or is in pain from teething etc. She won't understand why you won't come to her, she doesn't have the cognitive ability to know why you aren't coming to her cries.

I do sympathise, my DD3 didn't sleep a full night until she was 2.

seeker Sun 12-Jul-09 22:10:58

If you feed her does she settle?

bean612 Sun 12-Jul-09 22:15:39

She wants a cuddle because she wakes and can't get herself back to sleep. At the moment I am coming to her, shushing and putting my arm round her, but the only way actually to stop her screaming is to pick her up and cuddle her. Which *of course* I will do and want to do, but every time I put her down again she screams. It's not that I don't want to comfort her, I do, but I can't spend the night standing up with her asleep in my arms, that won't do me - or her, in the long run - any good. Somewhere along the line she's lost the ability to go to sleep on her own. We've tried sitting with her and stroking/shushing (as above) but it's almost as if we weren't there.

bean612 Sun 12-Jul-09 22:17:07

Seeker, she'll settle with a feed but as soon as you put her down in the cot she'll start crying again.

smellen Sun 12-Jul-09 22:22:46

It might just be a blip - feeling under the weather, teething, a developmental stage etc., so that in a week or two she settles back into an easier routine. Try to bear that in mind when you feel you can't go on.

It is sooo hard when you are tired, and hearing your baby cry is so difficult. If you want to pick her up and cuddle her, I would just do it - she's too little to be "spoiled'. For the same reason, I don't think that CC would really work. In a few more months she'll be at a different stage and you could try it then (if you need to). Sometimes when they get more mobile they wear themselves out a little more and sleep better at night.

It won't be like this forever. Sorry I have no "solution" - they're all different and you're the expert on your baby. Try to be guided on the cues you get from her, and if you can get a nap or two in the day (when she's asleep perhaps), don't bother trying to "get stuff done" - roll into your bed and catch up on your sleep.

PacificDogwood Sun 12-Jul-09 22:23:18

CC worked for DS1 when he was about 7-8 months old, I cannot really remember.
He cried for a total of 20 min the first night, about 10 the second, and not at all thereafter.
So, for us it was a positive experience. I think some children are ready to move to another level of sleep maturity and some are not at that age. Personally, I could not have gone on the way we were before, but equally I would probably not have been able to listen to a lot of crying that went on for hours.
The "no cry sleep solution" is good too, it's is not really "no cry" but "less cry", IYKWIM.
HTH smile

Sidge Sun 12-Jul-09 22:26:29

Has she got a cold or an ear infection?

Not wanting to lie down to sleep can indicate pressure, either from a headache, ear infection or sinus congestion. Could be worth trying some Calpol with some Vicks vaporub?

hairymelons Sun 12-Jul-09 22:39:34

A long shot perhaps but any chance she could be bothered by teething?
My 12m old son is the same at the minute, he's got 5 teeth coming through. He wakes very upset and doesn't want to be put down until he's totally conked out again. He usually sleeps well nowadays (wakes just once for a drink) but has had a horrible time with teething since he was 11 weeks old. We had evenings like you're describing almost every day until his first tooth came through at 10 months. Total f-ing nightmare, I really feel for you.
We aren't up for CC but I have a friend who used it at 9 months for both her kids and it worked well, they're really good at going to bed now.
You say she's like this at the minute, how long has it been going on?

Lauree Sun 12-Jul-09 22:46:30

Controlled crying.

It was horrible, but it worked for me. And my son. Really I have to say it was for his own good. One night of screaming for about two hours, maybe more, it's hard to remember now 5 years later. next night about 10 minutes. Next night and after.... NO problems. I had to do it again at about 2 1/2 years though, and that was just as tough to make the decision, and to follow through as the first time. Of course you have to make sure your child isn't sick, or hungry etc, and this was tough for me cuz DS had epilepsy and all kinds of other problems, but his main problem was, that his mum jumped up to see to him every time he whimpered.

I read Dr Richard Ferber's book, about sleeping, recommended by a friend, who could see what a state I was in ( hallucinating by this stage!), and I was struck, by his view that it is a parent's responsibility to teach their child how to sleep, and, most importantly how to get back to sleep on their own. Once you've been sleep deprived, you can really connect with this. Please read it if you haven't already. It gave me the strength to do the CC work. and believe me , it really only took 3 days. Both times. Just like it says in the book.

Good luck!

Clairef29 Sun 12-Jul-09 23:03:44

Oh you poor thing...I know hard this is cos we had it to with our DD. Tried CC once and she threw up all over the place and ended up even worse so personally I wouldn't recommend it. We got help from a surestart sleep counsellor and it worked a treat. Obviously you need to be sure that she isn't crying because shes in pain through teething etc cos if she is then Calpol was the help for us.....but if its just cos shes got herself into a routine of waking up and not being able to settle herself then this might help. Basically when she wakes up and stands up go in but don't make eye contact or speak, just lie her gently back down and tuck her in then walk out...do this everytime she cries...I'm not saying its easy..the first night we did it I went in and out 48 times the first hour!!! But gradually it got less and less and after the 4th night the problem was solved and she slept like a log. as did we!! Hope this helps, good luck smile

lowrib Sun 12-Jul-09 23:21:13

Would you consider having her in bed with you?

You can feed her to sleep and then as you don't have to move her into the cot you can fall asleep together. Sometimes I put him back into his cot later when he's sound asleep, sometimes he remains in our bed for the rest of the night.

I put my DS (7 months) to bed in his cot but when he wakes I bring him into bed. I get so much more sleep this way than I did before, and he's much happier, I really recommend it.

bean612 Sun 12-Jul-09 23:40:33

It's possible she has an ear infection - I will check that out before trying CC since she did recently have a cold and she has been pulling her ears a bit (but to be honest she does that when she's tired anyway). Teething - I don't think so. We did wonder about that but I had a bit of a feel in her mouth and can't find any evidence, she's not dribbling, no pink spots on the cheeks and not being particularly chewy IYKWIM. Oh, and teething gel not made a jot of difference.

I could have her in bed with me - in fact she's there right now, it was the only way to get her to sleep in the end, after more than an hour of screaming - but it's just not a long-term solution. As Lauree - and Ferber - say, I do think teaching a child to get to sleep on their own is important. I've thought so long and hard about CC, and the Ferber way seems to be a humane one (though I know some think any kind of CC is cruel). The whole thing is just so tough.

lowrib Mon 13-Jul-09 00:42:31

Hiya bean612 if it works why not do it?

I definitely don't plan to have my DS in bed with me forever! But mine and yours are only little right now.

Why not let her sleep with you for a while at least? You say "I just sat on the kitchen floor and howled and howled" that can't carry on - it can't be any fun at all for you!

Why does she need to self settle? She is only little. Why not try to see if whet she is asking for is to be fed to sleep - and let her sleep in your bed for a while? You will both get a better night's sleep and be able to look at what to do next without being at the end of your tether.

I know some people may think that's teaching 'bad' habits, but surely getting into a routine where she screams every night is a pretty bad habit?!

saintmaybe Mon 13-Jul-09 07:51:47

When ds1 was little, I tried cc once, for about 5 mins, and thought, 'can't do this'.

I rang my mum in a panic, full of what I'd read about the gift of teaching him to go to sleep by himself and she snorted. 'None of you were ever left to cry. Do you have any problem getting off to sleep?'. And I don't, and as the oldest of 4, I know that none of my sisters ever had problems/ nightmares etc either. It just took a little bit longer.

saintmaybe Mon 13-Jul-09 09:14:46

How was your night?

LucyMinter Mon 13-Jul-09 09:27:05

Oh CC is such a sad thing. Babies don't cry for no reason, particularly not because their parents respond to it hmm

They can't talk, it's the only way they can tell you they need something - comfort, maybe, it doesn't have to be a medical or physical need. You can't feel teeth before they appear, and that's when they usually cause the most pain. once they poke through the crying is usually less.

Neither of mine has been left to cry - not until toddlerhood, on occasion during the day and some sort of tantrum thing going on, which meant I was pushed away when I tried to help.

Ds1 sleeps really well, ds2 also. I co slept with ds1 till he was 5. He didn't need to cry because just being near me was enough to soothe him. I'd suggest you get a bedside cot maybe, or do the co sleeping for a bit longer. It's not going to damage her long term.

Good luck x

GreenMonkies Mon 13-Jul-09 09:40:23

Why do you expect a 7 month old baby to be able to settle herself off to sleep? At this age she is still instinctively expecting to be carried, held and rocked/nursed off to sleep.

For goodness sake stop looking for "quick fix" solutions and start responding to your babys needs. Pick her up, cuddle her, rock her, nurse her, and when she's fast asleep you might be able to put her down. BUT at this age both of mine where sleeping/nursing on my lap in the livingroom until I went to bed, then they came with me. They were not put "to bed" alone until they were about 12 months old. (and even then they were nursed off to sleep, not put down awake. contrary to popular opinion/old wives tales they now sleep all night in their own beds and there is no rod on my back.....)

Get a bed-side/side-car cot and throw away the Ferber* book and get "Three in a Bed" by Deborah Jackson instead. She will learn to sleep on her own when she's older, at 7 months she's just a tiny baby, and needs to be with her mummy.

*there is nothing humane about Ferber, it's just nasty; self-soothing and self-settling are just pseudo-science terms for "ignoring your instincts and your baby's needs"

LucyMinter Mon 13-Jul-09 09:43:21

Hear hear smile

saintmaybe Mon 13-Jul-09 10:34:49

God, give her a break, she's knackered and doing her best to find a way through it.

Fwiw I co-slept with all of mine, but it doesn't suit everyone and there are middle ways.

CurlyhairedAssassin Mon 13-Jul-09 11:29:25

Yes, give her a break. You are always going to get polarised opinions when it comes to discussing CC. Those it worked for really recommend it. But there are also those who tried it and it didn't work (us included). And those who simply wouldn't let it enter their heads. We're all different in our approach. But when you're absolutely desperate, it's support that the OP needs. Yes - tell her how you do things and what you've found work for YOUR kids, but please remember that every parent and child is different and there is no "right" way to do things.

I think the best thing to do, Bean612, is to trust your instincts. If you want to give CC a try, then read up on it thoroughly first so you know exactly what is supposed to happen. Get the support of your DP/DP/mum when you're doing it. It IS horrible listening to them cry, so you will need an adult there for you to go and offload onto.

Be aware that CC just doesn't work for everyone, no matter if you follow it to the letter. In our case I suspected things weren't going to plan when the crying and unsettledness got WORSE when going through CC. After a couple of nights poor DS would get hysterical as soon as we started going upstairs to bed (he had never done this before), he would fight and kick in terror of going in his cot, and eventually would vomit with fear and upset. This is NOT what is supposed to happen with CC! My SIL had none of that when she did it with her son - he was a textbook successful case!

I only found out on a medical website months later that for some very sensitive children, CC can actually make their sleep problems worse. DS1 was and still is an extremely sensitive and deep-thinking kind of child.

I do think it's very hard at 7 months to know exactly why they are crying at night time. Teething pain might get worse when they lie down for all we know. Or they might just need extra reassurance and cuddles at night at that age for some developmental reason. I think it's important to consider that they are not necessarily being "naughty" - they just can't tell us what's wrong.

Consider all those things and if you think you should give it a go, give it a go! if it doesn't work or you decide it just isn't for you, look into other ways of improving the sleep problems.

Best of luck!

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