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I so don't want to do controlled crying but could it be my only answer?

(83 Posts)
pookamoo Sat 10-Oct-09 20:51:57

DD is 10.5 months old. I go back to work at the start of December so we are under huge pressure to get this sorted. Forgive me if this is a really long post but I will try to put everything down.

She had colic and for the first 5 months of her life was basically carried around by me or DH. We spent hours and hours pacing with her, or with her in the sling, and she has never been a fantastic sleeper. She very often used to go 24 hours with about 1 hour's sleep.

Things got a little better eventually the colic stopped and we were cosleeping, I was bfing her to sleep. Eventually she started to nap in the day, and now she will often have 2 naps in the daytime, usually about half an hour at about 9.30 or 10am, and then another in the afternoon, about 2 ish, perhaps 45 minutes to an hour.

For a time she would go down to sleep about 7.30, sleep until 11, wake at 1am and 4am and then up for the day at 7. I still bf her to sleep. DH was able to cuddle her down to sleep, as long as I had given her a long bf beforehand.

Now, only I can get her to sleep, she will only fall asleep bfing and sometimes it takes 2 hours. Last night she was up 9 times between midnight and 7am. It took 3 hours to get her to sleep (7 til 10) and even then she woke a couple of times between 10 and midnight. She does not get drowsy. It's like she's on something. She has little bags under her eyes, which are red rimmed in her little pale face, although she is a very happy baby, she is only getting about 7 hours sleep over 24 hours at a time. I get less.

I can't go on like this. Right now DH is holding her while she howls. Today, after her marathon stint last night, she had about an hour's sleep 3.30 til 4. Bedtime 7pm, usual routine, including bf, but she wouldn't go to sleep and we are both crying!

I am so close to trying CC, although it goes against all my instincts. I just know that she needs to learn to settle herself to sleep, or at the very least, to go to sleep with someone other than me. She doesn't get drowsy, she is just so perpetually overtired she just goes into meltdown. I don't think it would even work for her, as she winds up not down.

I have tried NCSS.
I have tried sshhh pat (me shhh patting her as she crawls around the cot wailing did NOT help!)

can anybody help me??????? sad

pookamoo Sat 10-Oct-09 20:53:27

I meant to say, she has been in her own cot in her own room for a while and she seemed fine there. She likes to play in her room, we change nappies, get dressed there etc. Even if I bring her back in to our bed, she can take up to an hour of nibbling (not really feeding) before she drops off to sleep.

tvaerialmagpiebin Sat 10-Oct-09 20:58:33

I can sympathise as my ds was just like this. The only thing that worked was time. Eventually he just grew out of needing to be helped to sleep. He was 18 months old. He self-weaned at 14 months, I thought that might help, but no. He was actually worse at night once he had stopped bf, for a while. I was set against CC as like your dd my ds winds himself up more and would be sick etc, not go to sleep.

I just rode it and yes it was hard. I ended up sleeping in his room half the time on the floor by the cot or in his chair. Or took him in with me, at least we all got some sleep that way.

I speak as someone who ignored this advice but do try to keep calm about it. I know it is exasperating and you can see that dd just needs to sleep. But I found that the more wound up I got the worse ds was. He could tell.

Maybe some pro-CC folk will come along but if you instinctively feel it's not for you then it is probably isn't.

Maybe try just being in the room with her, even if she cries a bit, just hold her hand through bars of cot? try gradual return method rather than leaving the room completely as in CC.

Good luck.

pookamoo Sat 10-Oct-09 21:10:00

The real issue here is that I have to go back to work in December and she will be at nursery. She needs sleep, and she needs to get naps at nursery (i.e someone else to be able to put her down). I need sleep, and I can't do all the night wakings when I am back at work, so DH needs to be able to put her down.

I'm glad I'm not imagining the thing about winding up not down, thanks Lanky. She has got so worked up on a number of occasions I haven't even been able to feed her, then she's been sick. Poor little thing. (I know she's not hungry, it's the only thing that works)

CarGirl Sat 10-Oct-09 21:14:07

I think you have to go through the torture of stopping feeding her to sleep in the evening, that is her sleep prop and why she needs it every time she stirs/comes into light sleep during the night.

tvaerialmagpiebin Sat 10-Oct-09 21:18:40

Hmm. Can only suggest as cargirl says that you try to do it now, so you have a chance. Maybe go back to basics with NCSS and do all that Pantley pulloff stuff. Just the tiniest bit of non-engagement with a boob coinciding with sleep, even if to start with she is still in your arms asleep. Teeny tiny steps.

Bah ds just got out of bed for the billionth time. Must dash.

pookamoo Sat 10-Oct-09 21:21:27

Thanks Cargirl, I think we have also come to that conclusion. I've been trying to put her down "awake" which basically means detaching her, letting her stir a bit and popping her in the cot.

This would all be so much easier if she would take a bottle but she won't, and the most she's ever taken from a cup is about 50mls.

Cargirl, what do you think about the night wakings? Should I stop feeding her then, too? Shouldn't we teach her a new way to get to sleep first?

I guess I am reluctant as I just know it will be screamarama for hours, that's when I think I may as well do CC (although I still don't want to)

CarGirl Sat 10-Oct-09 21:26:50

I would focus on the getting her down in the evenings first without her being attached to you and then move onto tackling the nights.

Actually if you're going back to work perhaps just give up life as you know it for 2 weeks and go for it???

Have you tried craniel osteopathy I would honestly try it because for some babies they have tensions that cause them discomfort and it's worse for them when laying down and sucking soothes it hence their strong desire to feed for hours to try and get to sleep.

One of mine had undiagnosed silent reflux screamed for hours and then only slept 7/24 until she went on infant gaviscon.......that is another thought perhaps there is something else wrong.

Have you read about what CC actually means or have you just heard about it, the first thing I would recommend is to actually read the book and see if it is something you can do - there is no point doing it half heartedly you either have to commit or don't do it.

Second - have you thought about a dummy? I know some people think they are the devils work but if he does need the comfort of the suckle (rather than the milk itself) it might be a way forward.

Thirdly - have you tried putting her to sleep BEFORE she is tired, I know this is odd but babies can get so wound up about being tired that they can't settle themselves to actually sleep. So you say her bedtime is 7, bring it forward to 6:30 or even 6pm.

Good luck!

FlightAttendant Sat 10-Oct-09 21:33:07

I feel for you.

I only want to say one thing and that's that I'm not convinced babies 'need to learn to settle themselves to sleep' as such.

I have co slept with both of mine and find it makes nights SO much less disturbed, because as soon as they wake, I am there, and they don't have to shout and better yet I don't have to get vertical grin

It is one of those other-culture things I reckon we ought to adopt generally across the board

babies DO tend to be odd creatures at night, and it is the same wherever you put them, just if they are in your bed they are easier to settle - generally - as long as there is enough space for everyone that is.

Don't worry too much - you say you are under pressure and she probably picks up on your anxiety that she ought to sleep. It will come and you will cope.

pookamoo Sat 10-Oct-09 21:35:59

Hi Libra,

I've read the book, and still don't think it is for me. I also thought it was really hard to tell exactly what to do and when to do it - as you say, you need to be committed to doing it properly, and I wasn't certain I would be able to do it right, iyswim. She doesn't always cry, but when she starts, it goes up and up and up instead of her getting drowsy.

She had a dummy, and chucked it away when she was about 4 months. I have tried (even again today, I put teething gel on it blush but she just thought it was an interesting new toy and started bashing me on the head with it!

Her bedtime is usually 6, but as she slept until 4 today she was still bouncing around by then! It's crept forward and forward from about 9 when she first started to go down to sleep, to 6 now which is when we start the bedtime routine and she's usually down by 7, it was just today was a bit mad. The overtired state is really the key to our problem and always has been!

(She's still going, by the way! Poor DH up there and me hiding down here on mn with you all holding my hand!)

pookamoo Sat 10-Oct-09 21:40:09

Flightattendant, cosleeping used to work, we did it from about 2 months to 8 months, but now... up to an hour of wriggling and nibbling and biting before she eventually drops off, and that's the night wakings, it's 2 hours of rolling about sometimes at bedtime!

And the nursery carers won't be able to bf her when she's there, so she needs "another way"!

You're right about the pressure though. If I didn't have to go back to work I wouldn't worry and I would just let it come with time.
<wishes I had bought a lottery ticket today emoticon>

tvaerialmagpiebin Sat 10-Oct-09 21:41:30

Perhaps you could try a daytime nap strategy first, get her to fall asleep without BF then, rather than going for it at night which is always more stressful?
I do think NCSS has some really good suggestions so it might be worth a re-read?

DS back in bed now, but still yelling for his nose to be wiped and "where is my dinosaur", "My pyjamas are tangled up", "I need a wee", "I banged my head mummy come and kiss it better", "Mummy there is a fly in my bedroom". You see it just changes to that sort of nonsense when they are bigger

The first time I did CC I think DS cried for about 90minutes before going to sleep. I cracked it in 3 nights, but I did it when DH was on night shifts as I knew he wouldn't be able to cope (but then he wasn't the one getting one several times a night either)

Would it be worth trying to implement routine for the naps during the day so you say she slept until 4 this afternoon so she couldn't sleep at 6, well the simple solution is not to let her sleep until 4. Put her down at her routine nap times and if she doesn't sleep then fine she doesn't sleep and if she goes to sleep 10 minutes before you are suppose to wake her then tough you still wake her at the appointed time. Her body then gets used to certain sleep times.

I would like to STRESS that you need to do the style of parenting that you feel comfortable with, these are only suggestions.

jennifersofia Sat 10-Oct-09 21:53:57

It sounds like she is very overtired (as are you!). Many people don't agree, but we found 'The Contented Little Baby' books very useful, especially in the amount of sleep that a young child needs.
We did a version of CC on dd1 when she was 6mths. It was a very hard week, but she has subsequently slept brilliantly 7-6:30 from 6mths - 8 years, as do my other 2 children. I know it isn't for everyone, but for us (children as well as adults) it has one of the best things we did. Everyone has more sleep = everyone happier.

cbmum Sat 10-Oct-09 22:02:29

My DD went to nursery last Friday for the first whole day. She only ever goes to sleep if cuddled. I was concerned that would be a problem but the nursery said not. They cuddled she, she went to sleep no problems. Nights are a problem for us too. DD is nearly 13 months and has rarely slept all night. She regularly wakes for no reason. I try to settle her back to sleep at night for up to 45 mins and then if that doesn't work I put her in bed with us. It's not a perfect solution but at the very least she'll doze on me and more often than not get snuggly and then I can put her between H and me and she goes to sleep. Ok, so we have to share our bed and I end up with not much room but at least I get some sleep.

Do you have a friend or family member who can come and look after baby while you sleep a bit and psych yourself up for another night?

pookamoo Sat 10-Oct-09 22:05:32

hmm, I think Libra is probably right about routine.

DH just came down she FINALLY went to sleep in our bed (a brownie point for the cosleepers here! wink and he suggested something similar. His idea is to get her feeds really fixed. She's just getting into solids bigtime (BLW) and has started cutting down on the milk feeds. Anyway, tonight it's 11, 3, 7 and if she wakes in between, DH will have her until feed time or she drops off, whichever comes first.

I had already thought of taking a week where we don't leave the house, really working hard on the routine. When I tried routines before, we would end up "not napping" until lunch time, which is why I really gave up on the idea, but it is probably time to revisit.


(DH says in response to Libra's comment about parenting styles "I feel comfortable with the style of parenting which gives me the most sleep!" grin )

CarGirl Sat 10-Oct-09 22:08:56

I read contented baby book and agree it is good & helpful just don't stress if your baby doesn't follow suit.

pookamoo Sat 10-Oct-09 22:09:14

cbmum, my mum's coming on Monday! Hurrah for granny! She went through all this with me as apparently I was just the same.

DD isn't very cuddly sadly sad she gives a quick hug and then climbs off to go in search of the next adventure! I wish she would be more cuddly! I cuddle her lots!

MatNanPlus Sat 10-Oct-09 22:16:10

As you say pookamoo your DD is chronically overtired all the time and this is the main cause for her not being able to sleep well.

Does she sleep in the car? If yes then i would go for a drive twice a day so she gets 1-1½ hours sleep at the same time twice a day. With luck she will sleep and you can after a week (or 2) settle her in bed 15 minutes before this time - no feed but cuddles and she will be used to sleeping at this time and sleep, this may take a while but the more sleep she can get at regular times the better she will sleep at night.

Alternatively can family help you with evenings?

MyCatsAScarierBastardThanYours Sat 10-Oct-09 22:26:20

Hi pookamoo. My DD was exactly like yours. BF to sleep, waking 5, 6, 7 times a night, virtually no napping, screaming tired (and that was just me smile). I decided the CC wasn't for her because she too would wind up so much that she would be sick. She would also throw herself about in her cot to bang her head to make us come through and she was 10mths old.

We did the gradual retreat with her, where we slowly moved out of the room. It is supposed to take about 3 weeks. We were extremely gradual and took about 2-3 mths.

She went to nursery from 11 mths and actually, this helped us. At nursery she watched other children sleeping and decided it looked like a good idea. We were also stuck on putting her in her cot for naps when actually it turned out she was happier to lie on a big big cushion on the floor (discovered by the nursery). We also decided she was better off to have a nap in the day than not, so when she was struggling we would take her for a long drive (she would fall asleep, i would park up and read my book for an hr). This did help her sleeping at night because she wasn't so exhausted and could drop off.

I firmly believe that some children respond quickly and well to CC (my DS has, although I do a much gentler version of it with him and he is never left for more than 4 mins - only done it twice and both times asleep within 20 mins) and some react hugely badly (yours and my DD for example) and for those you need a much gentler strategy.

Good luck.

notimetoshop Sat 10-Oct-09 22:36:37

HI Pookamoo,

I really sympathise. Two things I learnt when mine were babies.

1. sometimes they are crying BECAUSE they are being held. (I had a lovely book called the Baby Whisperer - which suggested this.) My DD was exactly like that. I would be rocking her and she would cry and cry and it was only when I realised I needed to put her down to sleep she got better (she was never cuddly as a toddler).

2. The CC - would it make YOU less stressed or more stressed. I can't do it, my anxiety levels just go through the roof. My 3yo goes to sleep in his bed and comes into ours every night. And, although many mums I know are shocked (including my own), I just think that's the way I cope best with working and kids. My theory is he'll grow out of it.

narmada Sat 10-Oct-09 22:39:23

You could be describing my daughter absolutely. Everything about her sleep associations, sleep behaviour (or non-sleep behaviour,more accurately....). Honestly, it's like deja vu (She is 18 months now and an angel at sleeping - still wakes sometimes but self-settles and sometimes even sleeps through shock

I tried controlled crying - my baby had more staying power than us, so we quickly gave that one up.

What worked for us was breaking that sleep association with the boob. I woke up one day (after,oooh, about 45 minutes's sleep the entire night) and thought "this has got to change". I put her in her cot for her first nap. She cried a lot, but I didn't leave the room, just patted her bottom or talked to her gently. The first time took 1 1/2 hours. Second time about 40 minutes and 3rd time about, ooh, 5 minutes. This was when she was about 7 months old. Did the same at nights (this was much harder as she was very very tired and overexcited by that point). Her sleep improved immediately in terms of the length of the unbroken stretches.

Then, when she was about 11 months old, my DP went to her if she woke in the night, and cuddled her to sleep rather than me boobing her to sleep. From that point on, she has slept through from 8-6.30 approximately 50% of the time - e.g., a huge improvement.

This was when she was about 7 months old.

Re nursery - you will be surprised and amazed by your baby's capacity to adapt to new sleep environments. I had to take my breastfed-to-sleep baby there from the age of 12 months, and I thought "that's it, she definitely won't sleep" but no, she was fine. They cuddled her to sleep at first, and now she just goes down awake with all the other kids in the room after lunch. I really, really couldn't imagine in a million years that she would eever do this, but she did...

For what it's worth, (controversial, this) I don't believe that the scientific evidence is reliable as regards the supposedly long-lasting ill-effects of controlled crying. The studies I have been referred to have been poorly designed, poorly controlled, and make leaps of reasoning which are unsubstantiated by the evidence. So don't feel guilty, at all, if you do end up going down the CC route. Rant over!

narmada Sat 10-Oct-09 22:41:27

Ps, do you think it's possible that silent reflux could be an issue? - it was for my daughter although it largely cleared up by the time she was 7 months: by that time, the sleep associations were well-and-truly ingrained, though.

bibbitybobbityCAT Sat 10-Oct-09 22:47:48

Pook, I know you are reluctant to do controlled crying but is it possible you are overestimating how hard it will be?

For me it was night 1 - 45 mins
night 2 - 15 mins
night 3 - 5 mins
night 4 - night night baby

Its worth considering.

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