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Help!! I am desperate. My 13mth DD wont sleep unless it is silent, and it's gone beyond a joke!!

(20 Posts)
twigsblankets Wed 23-Sep-09 14:35:34

Sorry to put this here, but I can feel my blood pressure rising as I type. My DD is crying, due to a combination of feeling ill (she has a blocked nose and a cough and cold) and also due to exhaustion. Her eyes are red from exhaustion, but she wont sleep.

Reason for this is because when DD was born, I was still with my XP. He insisted on having the bedroom pitch black and deadly quiet, and since DD was in our room with us, this is what she got used to. I tried explaining to XP that getting DD used to total pitch black and silence to sleep was a big huge mistake. He said he couldn't sleep unless it was like that too though, so although I shouldn't have, I let it lie.

Split up with XP when DD was 6 mnths old, and since then, especially since he is not here to help, I have realised that DD cannot sleep when there is any slightest noise, both day and night.
It has got so bad, that when she falls asleep downstairs, I have to have the tv on mute, I cannot make a cup of tea, or open a door, so I basically sit where I am, staring into space until she wakes. I cannot read a book, because the pages turning wake her up, and I cannot surf the net because the keys on the keyboard wake her too. It is ridiculous!!
I am stuck in this existence and am starting to feel very very depressed about it. When DD is awake, she is happy to play on her own for a few minutes before she is crying and crying again. She follows me into the kitchen tugging at my trousers trying to pull herself up, crying and crying, grizzling constantly. The only thing that placates her is when I pick her up and I try to do most things with her balanced on my hip.
When she is in bed at night (she sleeps through YAY!!!) I cannot have the tv on downstairs at any audible volume or she wakes again, no loo flushing or running a bath etc etc. I dread friends coming round in the evening, because it sets her off again. (In DD's defence, my mother has a booming voice and feels it necessary to shout when talking as if this gets her point across more effectively hmm)
I sit and pray no one knocks on the door or phones me while she is asleep. sad

I feel I am living in a nightmare, of struggling to get everything done whilst listening to the constant drone of her grizzling. (It is probably much worse right now because DD has been ill for at least a week now sad)

Any advice anyone? Before I go stark raving bonkers?? sad I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that I cannot cope anymore.

JodieO Wed 23-Sep-09 14:43:54

Does she nap? I would get her used to noise personally. Make sure that it is noisy at night and she will get used to it. It may gte worse befroe it gets better but I don't think it would take her that long to adjust.

CaresMildly Wed 23-Sep-09 14:53:28

Oh my word, what a pickle. This may not help or be what you want to hear but I think the complete silence/blackout conditions is a bit of a red herring. Your daughter sounds exactly like mine - in both sleep patterns and that clingy bahaviour whilst she's awake.

I have no advice - except that I wouldn't worry about making a noise (especially page turning!) being what wakes her up.

And although you (and I) say and feel like we can't cope - we can and we will. It may be a hard period at the moment but it will end somehow.

Just one thing does occur - v young babies like white noise don't they. Could you de-sensitise your daughter with hoover/hair-dryer type noise whilst she's asleep?

I hope this doesn't read as unsupportive btw - especially about the black-out stuff, it may be that you are completely right because you know the situation and I don't. I just meant don't get hung up on that.

angel1976 Wed 23-Sep-09 15:06:42

Firstly, don't feel bad. We are all make parenting mistakes like that! My DS was a bit of a PFB as you can imagine and we kept it dark and quiet for him right from the word go so he would sleep and he is a little trooper when it comes to sleeping! It got to a point where his sleep was the first thing I worry about when we go somewhere else like on holiday... What is the room setup? How dark is it? Do I need to get some travel black out blinds etc?

Once he was properly sleeping through properly (from about 12 months onwards), I felt I needed to let something go. I can't worry about his sleep forever FGS! So anyway, I made a conscious effort to expose him to noisier environments and if he sleeps, he sleeps and if he doesn't, I will try and let him make up for it the next day. Also, you will find out as your DD gets older, she will also get more used to sleeping through noise. The way I see it is that when they are little, they find it hard to shut out external stimuli so they need help to get to sleep (whether that is achieved through parents rocking them, having a quiet environment etc). As they get older, they are then able to shut things out better as they learn how to self-soothe etc.

We recently went on holiday to the Maldives and we were sharing a room (a big room though!). I found that if I pushed the cot to a corner of the room and keep it quiet while he has his bottle, my DS would go to sleep quite easily and stay asleep even if we have a side light on or watch TV on a low volume. He was 18 months old then. He was also able to nap during the day when it was pretty bright in the room (he has blackout blinds in his room at home blush). Also in the last couple of months, we found he was starting to sleep in places he has refused to sleep in the past i.e. pushchair, in his car seat on journeys etc. So your DD might still outgrow that... She is still little.

I don't think you should despair, firstly she might outgrow it. Also, you need to start living your life. If she wakes, she will learn to put herself to sleep again. You can't tiptop around her forever! If you give her a chance, she might just surprise you with what she is able to sleep through. Good luck! My 19-month-old DS has started recently to sleep in (we woke up in a shock on Sunday when he slept till 9am!). For the last few mornings he hasn't been up till one of us wakes and starts walking around the house or the bathroom. grin Long may it last!

twigsblankets Wed 23-Sep-09 15:30:41

JodieO She does nap, usually in the morning and in the afternoon, for about an hr each time. I tend to creep around at those times. Other times, she'll fall asleep in the car, or even in her buggy when we're out and about, which amazes me tbh shock

I can't understand why she will sleep when we are in the middle of town in her buggy, and not when we are at home. Maybe it's the movement of the buggy/car. hmm

Caresmildly It actually has made me feel a bit better to know I am not the only one, although I feel for you going through it too. blush

I like the idea of getting her used to noise, and I really do think that is the way to go, but I get so stressed about it. I feel so frustrated at not being able to do anything while she is sleeping. (I'm sure it feels worse today because she is poorly)

BTW, she seems to hate any loud noises, so hoover and hairdryer out of the question at mo. sad
She totally shakes with fear and screams if I plug the hoover in, although sometimes, after it's been on for about 5 mins, she goes strangely quiet, and seems to be ok for a minute or two. hmm

She is actually asleep right now, so I am going to try to make myself a cuppa grin and maybe wash a few dishes while the kettle is boiling wink

twigsblankets Wed 23-Sep-09 15:35:48

angel1976 There is hope. grin
I actually agree that instead of tippy toeing around her, I should just get on with stuff while she is asleep and hopefully, she will get used to it.

I think I am so fed up of hearing her crying, and tugging at me to be picked up all the waking time, and I can feel myself getting frustrated and stressed and I don't really want that.
Sometimes I wanna scream FGS Leave me alone!!!

I feel for her because she feels grotty at the moment, but I feel helpless and I'm just not in a good place when I feel like this. sad

CaresMildly Wed 23-Sep-09 16:34:24

Oh you poor thing - I totally understand that moment of wanting to shout and wanting 5 precious minutes to yourself.

It really won't hurt her if you do leave her for 5 mins though - it's so easy to say and I can't do it myself but I know logically 5 mins of crying won't hurt at all.

If you are feeling so low and helpless though you do need someone to take care of you - you can't give all the time. Is there anyone around who can help relieve the pressure a bit for you?

If not, and this may not be what you want to hear, there isn't for me really and you just have to go through it but you will get through it and feel better.

I'm just starting to come out the other side of a bit of a dark few weeks. And my girl is still happy and smiley and the light of my life, even when I have not been as happy and playful with her.

The other thing is if you feel better in yourself then the little daily niggles just disappear and you can deal with them - like the needing to be picked up. That was getting me down but now I am feeling better I think how sweet it is that someone loves me that much and thinks I'm so great that they want to be close to me!

Anyway, I'll wish you loads of luck and if you need to rant then I am more than willing to listen!

twigsblankets Wed 23-Sep-09 17:46:06


Thank you so much for your post. My XP helps as much as he can. I guess I just struggle sometimes. Since my last post, I have managed to wash my hair, wash the dishes and wipe the surfaces in the kitchen. grin

I decided to do it while DD was asleep, thinking that if she woke, she woke, but she didn't. grin

I have also been to the shops too, so I'm feeling abit better now. grin

Just the kitchen floor to do and the bins to put out. DD not crying at the moment. I can already feel my stress levels diminishing. YAY!!!

I have been trying to get my house in some sort of order, in case my mum comes over, after the phone conversation I had with her earlier this week when I told her what I had been up to, that my XP had done a few odd jobs that needed doing and the garden was all done, only for her to say 'It makes me wonder if you will ever get organised..but then organisation isn't your strong point is it? Perhaps you shouldn't have a garden, and should just have a back yard if you always need to get someone else to do it for you'

I told her that XP offered, and when she has done the garden, it has been because she has admitted that she can't sit and do nothing while she is here, but it makes me feel like I should be superwoman and be able to do all my own DIY, gardening, and keep my home like a show house.angry I could go on and on but I wont bore you with anymore.

Thanks so much for understanding though.

twigsblankets Wed 23-Sep-09 17:49:14

When my mum asked me what exactly I was planning on doing this week, I'm afraid I sarcastically said 'I'm cleaning all my windows inside and out mum, and making my home into a palace' hahaha.

She replied 'Well, it's about time' sad

I've probably made a huge rod for my own back now saying that, so maybe it would be easier if I got the windows done, on the inside at least, and cleaned the house thoroughly. hmm

angel1976 Wed 23-Sep-09 19:29:05

twigsblankets - Every Wednesday, I pretty spend all day with my friend who also has the same day off. She has two girls (the younger one who is about my DS's age)... Her DD2 sounds very similar to your DD in the sense that she seems to have a serious case of separation anxiety and she literally cries all day to be picked up by my friend. My friend gets very stressed out by this. Her DD2 is now 19 months old and it's got to a point where my friend feels like she cannot enjoy her DD1 (who is a typical toddler but an angel in comparison!) cos she is so stressed out by DD2. She works in the NHS and she's spoken to a child psychologist who suggests these 'gentle' methods to try and help her DD2 be more independent. She says it's just one of many ways but it will help to have a consistent plan in your head on how to deal with it as otherwise you get stressed and you behave inconsistently and it doesn't help the overall situation!

* Don't shout.
* If your DD starts clamouring and crying for your attention, tell her sternly (but without shouting) that you are ignoring her because she is being whingey and you are in the middle of doing something and you will pick her up when she stops.
* If she continues crying, every 2-3 minutes, repeat the same message to her.
* When she eventually stops, give her a cuddle.

This way, your DD is not being punished for her behaviour (cos really she doesn't know she is behaving badly at her age) but you are getting a message to her that you cannot stop everything you are doing just to give her attention. My friend has been trying this and there does seem to be a difference in her behaviour from what I can see today.

You do sound like you need a break though. From your mum and everything! Will your XP have her for the day or afternoon once or twice a week so you can just chill.

I don't agree with putting white noise on to help your child to sleep cos it is just another 'aid' that your DD will require in the future to sleep (like she requires completely darkness and quiet at the moment). Best to keep noise level to a 'natural' everyday type noise for her to get used to. Sometimes we tend to put our child in the centre of the universe and lose sight of the wood for the trees iykwim.

I keep telling my friend today that now and then we should not feel bad to have to say no or leave our child to cry for a short while. Our children are well-fed, they are clothed in clean clothes, they are never in a dirty nappy for more than 2 minutes - they want for nothing. They are loved and cuddled and there is no reason for them to feel we don't love them just because we have to discipline them or leave them for a little while. Just try and keep that in mind whenever you feel like a bad mummy! You are doing great, you sound like you just need a break...

Littlefish Wed 23-Sep-09 19:39:55

Dd was like this. We put a fan on outside her door so that she couldn't hear us moving around/making normal noises. We gradually put it on lower and lower settings over a couple of weeks and eventually just turned it off.

She's a great sleeper now.

My mum said that I was a horrendous sleeper as a young child, in spite of having an older brother, and always having had noise around when I was sleeping.

I think that some children are just rubbish sleepers!

claireybee Wed 23-Sep-09 19:52:57

DS was like this too but stopped at some point over the past few months. I think I first noticed in May when Dsis and BIL were here-BIL has the tv booming and when they've stayed in the past I've been up and down stairs all evening trying to get ds back off-that time though ds slept through it, and people going up and down stairs, flushing the loo etc. DS was 18 months ish then so I'm guessing it must have been a gradual thing over a couple of months before that.

mamusia Wed 23-Sep-09 20:07:03

My DS was a bit like that we just gradually got him used to noise - now 6 he sleeps through anything. BUT I had help - YOU need a break, YOU really need SOMEBODY ELSE to take her out for the morning or afternoon and keep her very very busy untill she falls asleep in a buggy in some noisy place. Would be perfect if that could happen for a week (maybe child minder?). After that YOU would be a bit more rested and miss her a little and have some energy to do sth active with her yourself and hopefully the more phisicly tired she is the less fussy about sleeping conditions hmm

HumphreyCobbler Wed 23-Sep-09 20:20:15

Have you tried a white noise cd? Sounds v odd I know, but it worked for ds when he was woken by birdsong. I used to sneak in and gradually turn it up so that it would mask the noise of the birds. Just thought that it might help daytime naps by drowning out sudden sounds.

You can find it here babysooth cd

CaresMildly Thu 24-Sep-09 11:59:43

How are you doing this morning twigsblanket? I saw that you got some housework done - isn't it incredible that wiping down the surfaces can actually make it feel like you've achieved something incredible!

Anyway, been thinking of you and hoping someone will step up for you and give you a break. And same for me!! It's my birthday on Sat and DH asked what I wanted - a bloody lie-in: breakfast in bed, lunch in bed, supper and glass of wine in bed - for a week!!

twigsblankets Thu 24-Sep-09 17:46:33

angel1976 I like those ideas, and would like to try them out, but I worry that DD is too young to understand at the moment, although I really think they will come in handy in a few months time. My XP is coming to give me a hand tomorrow. smile So I am looking forward to tomorrow. smile

Thanks for your nice words too. grin They make such a difference.

Littlefish, Claireybee, mamusia and Humphreycobbler (What great names btw grin)

It's great in the nicest possible way to know I am not the only one. I was having such a bad day yesterday, and to know you have all come on this thread to show your support means so much to me. Thanks for the link to the babysooth cd. That is really helpful.

Looks like this is not as rare as I thought, and I am more confident that DD will grow out of it. smile

caresmildly What a sweet post. Thanks. I have had a better day today. DD still not well, but not as whingy and crying. I have felt more sorry for her feeling so poo today instead of feeling so hemmed in and frustrated. XP is coming tomorrow after he finishes work to take over, so I am looking forward to that.
I love your response to yr DH asking what you want for your birthday. I wish I had got out more in the week, I guess I have been quite isolated this week, what with DD being poorly. I don't want her spreading her germies. sad

I'm feeling a little more positive today. Wish everyone on this thread was coming round mine for a cuppa and a natter. grin

You're all such lovely people!!!

angel1976 Thu 24-Sep-09 22:21:46

twisgblankets - Even if you think your DD doesn't understand right now, she will very, very soon and when you have a plan in your head on how to deal with her behaviour, it's more for your own sanity so you don't panic and get distressed when she starts stressing you out iykwim. In the early days when DS was waking during the night, it's nights where I don't have a plan in my head that I find myself TRYING to think straight at 3am in the morning that was really stressful. If I had a plan in my head (i.e. if DS wakes before 4am, he gets a full bottle of milk, if he wakes after that, he gets half otherwise he won't drink his morning bottle), I just find it so much easier to deal with.

My DS was a right PITA when he was little. I didn't imagine it as you won't believe the number of my friends who met DS as a little baby who have told me recently what a lovely and happy boy he is now when he was such a grumpy and unhappy baby. And guess what? I am due number 2 in 6 weeks so I am going to have do the painful bit all over again! Don't feel too lonely, we are all battling on as best as possible. grin

twigsblankets Fri 25-Sep-09 15:58:11

Awwwww, angel1976 Congratulations!!!!

I miss being pregnant. smile
Newborns are just such delicious little people. grin
I see newborns now and think WHAT HAPPENED TO MY DD? hahaha.

Are you all ready for your new arrival?

Will there be a live birth thread on here, or a birth announcement?? grin

It has helped so much chatting on here. grin

DD not been so bad the last couple of days. grin

I am convinced now that she had the bug that is going round, where alongside the runny nose and cough, it's a sore throat and a headache too. A few friends have mentioned that they have had this nasty cold/cough, but where they can tell me they have headache and sore throat, poor DD can't. sad

She has seemed so much better these last couple of days, not whingy or crying so much, although still a cough and runny nose.

I feel I should be a little better equipped to deal with the crap side of parenting, since this is my 2nd DC. sad

angel1976 Fri 25-Sep-09 22:06:49

Thanks twigsblankets!

You know what though? I hated the baby stage. My DS was the most unhappy baby you have ever met. He literally cried all day. Some days, by the time DH came home, it was all I could do to dump the baby in his arms and cry as I had just spent all day not eating or sleeping, trying to comfort this really discontented baby.

DS now is just the most wonderful child. I think I paid my dues with this one though, I really suffered horrendously in the first few months, so much that I am in a way so scared of my DS2 being born and being exactly like his brother - a real PITA but you know what? I rather it happened this way than the other way round... My friend had a really easy first baby and her second one was really difficult and they had such a shock! At least I am prepared for the worst now! grin

Don't feel too bad, honestly. Every child is different. I think you are sometimes so used to your own child that you forget that every child comes with its own set of problems! And I guess with two to deal with, everything is in short supply - patience, time, effort, everything! Take care. Give me two more months and I will probably be posting on here begging for help! grin

twigsblankets Sat 26-Sep-09 10:23:24

I'm with you there angel1976.

I definitely prefer children as they get older, I don't 'do' babies very well, haha. I think the fact they can't tell you what's wrong, and they are so dependent on you is not my bag, so to speak.

When they get to toddler age, they're much more fun imo. After that, it just seems to get better and better.

And what still amazes me is how fast the time goes. One minute, they're a babe in arms, the next they're all grown up. shock

How are you today?
I was so scared of the birth sad that it consumed most of my pregnancy. sad
It was actually ok in the end though. grin Much easier than the first time. smile

I love leaving the hospital, with a newborn, full of promise and hope for the future. There's something really heart warming about a new baby. Not sure if I'll have anymore. I'm too much of a scaredy cat, hahaha.

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