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To those whose babes learned to sleep through, help

(29 Posts)
Saacsmum Sat 06-Aug-05 23:21:02

I wrote a general appeal for help in the parenting column but still need some ideas so will post the sleep probs in here. Isaac generally goes to bed around 6/6.30 sometimes settling well and others not. He has a feed before going down but goes down awake. If he doesnt settle I go in cuddle and calm and put him down, walk away, continue this until he drops off. Not counting the virus that has hit him over the last week which has worsened things by far he generally wakes at 8, 10,12, 2 and 5 most nites. 5 is usually the start to the day. He is ready for bed by 8am and usually has another nap in the afternoon. He usually needs a few visits and cuddles to go down for his naps as well. He doesnt always need a feed when he wakes, he will sometimes resettle on his own or with cuddles. When will it end though? I am totally and utterly exhausted, he acts tired throughout the day but Im not sure what to try (not cc, we have tried a version of this which lasted about 9 nites before I couldnt take it any more, we let him cry 2minutes then went in, 2minutes then went in. He would settle but then would wake after around 30minutes and it would start all over again, the pattern did not improve even slightly over the 9 nites and he did not eat anymore during the day during this time, so I went back to trying to resettle and if after 15minutes of pickup putdown he didnt settle I feed him. Does this make sense. Also is it unreasonable to want to have a later start to the day when he just cant get back to sleep after the 5am wake up?

starshaker Sat 06-Aug-05 23:25:59

what age is he

Saacsmum Sat 06-Aug-05 23:27:56

10 months

Nbg Sat 06-Aug-05 23:31:25

How about putting him to bed a bit later, say 7/7:30?
That may help slightly with the early starts. It's not unreasonable at all to want to get up later. Well I don't think it is anyway!

A slightly varied version to your cc is make the time gap longer each visit. So start with 2 then 5 then 10 then 15 etc...
This was recommended to us but dd decided that she was going to sleep so we never actually got to put that one in to practice.

Depending on the age of your ds how about giving him a dream feed just before you go to bed?

starshaker Sat 06-Aug-05 23:34:02

i have been so lucky as dd is 4 months and has slept through from day 1 (about 10-6) if she does wake up i just shush her while still in bed and she falls asleep again (doesnt happen very often) i also bought her a rolly mo toy that plays music and has a light and that also helps her sleep its great.

Nbg Sat 06-Aug-05 23:34:43

Also if dd was'nt well and would wake, it would throw her body clock off for a few days.

Saacsmum Sat 06-Aug-05 23:37:11

Thanks nbg, have tried dream feeds, he just drinks happily and then wakes as usual. I have tried stretching him out to a later bed time but it doesnt seem to make a difference to when he wakes up or how many times and he is an absolute nitemare to put down if we leave it until later he starts acting tired about 5 and gets progressively crabbier the later it gets.

Nbg Sat 06-Aug-05 23:40:25

So what times is he having his naps and where does he have them? It's just with you saying he's crabby come 5pm.

How long have you persisted with the later bedtimes?

It can take some time for them to adapt much to your frustration and tiredness but it does work eventually.

Saacsmum Sat 06-Aug-05 23:47:45

Naps are usually app 8 or 9am till around 10 or 11 and then again at around 2ish until 3.30ish. Tried later bedtimes for about a week but as I said he was a nitemare to put down any later and still woke just as often and just as early.

JoleneS Sat 06-Aug-05 23:52:08

Hi there,

I received the best advice that worked wonders from our Doctor during a usual check up.

He told me to give my son cooled boiled water when he woke in the night, not milk, he said that soon he would get fed up of waking and getting only water that he wouldnt bother!

It took a few weeks and he did wake more often at first (hoping I would relent and give him milk) but I stuck to the plan and after about two - three weeks he never woke in the night again. He is now 5 years old and still sleeps all night without a peep.

Hope this helps x

Nbg Sat 06-Aug-05 23:55:21

Forgot to ask is he having 3 meals yet too?


Tbh I would really give the cc another go or try the pick up put down method.

Saacsmum Sun 07-Aug-05 00:09:58

Re meals check my other thread in the food column. How is pick up put down different to what we are doing? Do you walk out when put down even if crying or immediately get them up again?

Nbg Sun 07-Aug-05 00:19:30

Pick up put down is just that.
When you put your ds down in his cot to nap/sleep and he gets up and starts crying you simply pick him up, reassure him that everythings ok he's only going to sleep and lay him straight back down. He'll get that tired eventually he'll fall asleep. At the worst it normally takes 45 mins max to settle down (baby whisperer)

I do this with dd when she doesn't want to nap and my MIL uses it when she sleeps there and she says it works a treat.

Nbg Sun 07-Aug-05 00:22:15

I've read your other thread and that sounds great what he's having. Alot more than my dd who's nearly 2!

hermykne Sun 07-Aug-05 08:29:35

sacsmum, is that a 2 hr nap he has 1st? and 1 1/2hrs? in the afternoon? thats 3 1/2 hrs of sleep in the day, i would think its too much and for him to sleep later in the mor (1 hr)n , u need to cut back the day sleep by an hour, and you have to persist, it may take a month of doing it - not 48hrs.
my ds at 10mths, slept for 25mins 1st nap around 9, i woke him, then 2 hrs at noon/12.30 and bed religiously at 7.30, wakes 6.30am. same at 1yr old now.
its hard work but it does work in the end.

i think u have to enforce it with him.

hermykne Sun 07-Aug-05 08:31:32

p.s sacsmum
by letting him sleep 2hrs in the morn he is finishing his night sleep, if you change this to 30mins, he'll be grouchy as hell, but eventually realise its only a quick nap and he'd be so much better off sleeping a wee bit longer, then give him a big lunchtime nap and he'll go that wee bit later foryou in the evening, bath him every night, pain in the neck, at his usual bedtime to drag it out.

fredly Sun 07-Aug-05 15:15:39

saacsmum, I think his sleep problem is linked to his feed problem (saw your other post in the food section). He probably wakes up so often during the night because he is hungry after not eating well during the day. If I were you I would try fixing the feeding problem first and then see if it affects his sleep. My guess is that it should.

calcium Mon 08-Aug-05 09:01:08

I too have a 10 month old who wakes several times in the night, dd1 used to wake 6 times a night until around 1yr we tried everything and just came to the conclusion she wasn't a sleeper, some children aren't. dd2 is better but wakes wanting a feed, yes we have given her water and she just drinks a bottle of water. Going to bed makes things worse as does not having a sleep in the day, so... she has bath, bottle, bed at 7pm wakes any time around 10 - onwards and then usually 4 hours after that waking up and not going back to sleep. I have left her crying, gone in to see etc but in the end I think they set their own sleep pattern, not much help to us poor tired mums. Get your partner if you have one to help with first few feeds or wakenings this helps me. I put dd2 in bed with me when she wakes, 5-6am with toys and just doze to ease the pain. Good luck

mumfor1sttime Mon 08-Aug-05 09:48:20

I feel lucky as my ds has slept 6pm-6am since he was 6 weeks old. Last night he woke up at 11pm crying, I didnt know what to do! I stood outside his bedroom door and listened and he cried for approx 2 mins and then found his thumb and went off again.
I have never believed in too much 'handling'in the night, when ds was newborn I would go into his room, feed, and put him straight back down. If he cried I would ignore him. This sounds harsh when I read it, but I wanted him to know it is bedtime.
Ds is 7 months and has 2 bottles a day and 3 meals a day.

Bumbled Mon 08-Aug-05 12:20:51

Oh god you poor thing. I've had exactly the same problem with DS2 and have just got the thing sorted. He's now 7 months old, and sleeps from 7 - 6.30am with one bottle at 10ish, but only 2 months ago, was in the exactly the same boat. DS1 went through the night at 7 weeks so I didn't know what had hit me. It definitely proves that sleep is a real personality thing as we applied all the same principles.

Basically to solve our problems, I made sure that the food was all good, i.e., he was definitely waking through habit not hunger as previous attempts to leave him had resulted in 4 hours crying at worst. I think once you're happy that that's sorted the only way to break early waking is to leave them. My personal belief is that 5-5.30 is a natural time for them to be awake as so many people suffer with the same problem.

The only way I sorted it, and again this may not be to your taste, was to leave him. It took 7-10 days, but I put earplugs in as this meant I could only hear the distressed cries and the grumbling didn't wake me up, which meant I could then deal with the problems during the day and be more resilient to stick to what I was doing and not give conflicting messages. I know this is hard, and not everyone wants to do this kind of thing. I also know that you should only carry out stuff that you believe to be correct. If you don't have the courage of your convictions, it won't work!

It might be better for you to work on the daytime naps at first, and not feed or reassure him to sleep so that he learns to go to sleep on his own. Both my sons have toys that they chew on, which reassure them, and signal that is it now time to sleep.

Anyway, this worked for me and it has totally changed my life! Good luck with whatever you do and hope it gets sorted very soon for you.

vivie Mon 08-Aug-05 14:32:15

SOunds to me like your ds is hungry in the night and that's why he's waking. If he can go to sleep on his own then his sleep associations are good and it will be pointless trying cc until you can be sure he's not hungry. I'm obviously no expert but I would think you would have to cut back on his milk and gradually increase the solids.

My ds2 is 10months and loosely follows the Gina Ford routines (it might be worth you having a look at these to give you an idea of what to aim for even if you don't want to stick to it rigidly). He wakes and has 3oz milk, then cereal made with 3-4oz milk, and some toast. Lunch is at 11.45 ish and he has stew and veg, pasta or something and a drink of water. At 2.30 he has 5oz milk (I'm cutting this feed back) and he has tea at 5pm followed by a small drink of milk in a cup. After his bath he has 6oz milk and bed at 7pm. His naps are 9.30 am for 30mins and 12.30 for up to 2 hours. DS1 was more or less like this so I think this is fairly normal.

If your ds won't eat his meals remove him from the table and try again 20mins later. If he's still not hungry leave him untl the next meal or snack time. Don't give him a bfeed because he'll fill up on milk. And don't let him fill up on juice either. If he won't eat his breakfast, with nothing else inside him all morning I would be pretty sure he'll eat his lunch! Once he's eating better in the day his night wakings will probably decrease, then you can try reducing the volume of milk he has, then offer water instead.

Good luck!

sunnyside Mon 08-Aug-05 22:23:07

Saacs mum, my DS was exactly the same!

He's just one now and the answer for us came through sorting out the naps first then moving on to bedtime issues.

I agree with one of the other posts that 3 plus hours during the day is a lot. DS was having just that but after one particularly bad night I was determined to take things in hand! I decided that I'm the adult and that I know that he'd be more rested and therefore happier with more nightime sleep. I shortened early nap to 30/ 40 mins, 90 at lunchtime and a short nap before 4.30pm. He then lasted til 7.30 and after initial hell quickly settled and now goes without early nap.

I was v v reluctant to use cc but when actually read Dr Green's system and realised I could pick ds up and cuddle him properly between episodes of crying I felt better with it. DS caught on v quickly and after just two nights has been sleeping happily from 7.30 -7am.

collision Mon 08-Aug-05 22:29:49

CC worked for us too. Only took 2 nights and ds sleeps from 7pm til 7am. No napping after 4pm in the day time and lots of fresh air and crawling tires him out.

SabineJ Tue 09-Aug-05 09:41:24

And here I am grumbling against DS2 (11 weeks) waking up 3 times a night ....

Anyway, 2 things worked for us with DS1 : introducing a "cuddely" (You keep it with you during the last feed before bed time and leave it next to him when he is falling asleep. The idea is that he will associate it with you and a cuddle and will feel reassured if waking up during the night) and SLOWLY reducing the amount of milk at each feed. I would start by one of the feed and then move to the next one. What should happen is that your son should compensate during the day for what he is not getting now during the night. It can take some time (We went down one oz at the time every two or three days) but worked without any crying !
Picked up the ideas from The book "No cry sleep solution". Really worth a try if you don't want to use CC BUT it will take a bit more time.
Good luck !

softymom Tue 09-Aug-05 12:04:16

Just wanted to post to say that it does end (it did for us) - sometimes it just takes time. I don't think the summer helps - blazing sunlight coming in at 5 am is certainly a factor in our dd's renewed early waking (even with blackouts etc - they just know!). Our dd (18 months) had a similar waking pattern to yours up until 11 months - then suddenly she just started sleeping for longer and longer blocks, waking up less in the evening etc. I am very surprised now if she wakes up of an evening, even if we have people round and are making a lot of noise. (we used 'No Cry Sleep' book too and found it useful)

dd also had a very similar napping patter - early nap, mid-day nap, afternoon nap. Personally I think daytime naps are a blessing for mums! A chance to get things done and, more importantly, a chance to relax and get some head space. I bought myself a special tin of 'nap' biscuits so while my dd naps I sit down (ignoring full washing machine, un-vacuumed floor, toy chaos) with a cup of coffee and relax on the internet with a nice biscuit. Or, if I was really tired I'd sleep while dd slept. Bliss! dh was quite keen to cut down dd's naps so we could sleep later in the morning - but that just meant unpleasant exhausting days for me and stressed mummy = stressed everybody.

Sleep is such a sensitive issue - it does seem there is a huge amount of pressure to have slumbering infants but not every child is like that. Ours certainly isn't - but dh and I have often discussed it and come to the conclusion that we don't really need a lot of sleep either. I often wondered why my work collegues were not staying up til 2 am every night and now I know - different sleep requirements for different people.

So (after rambling) just wanted to re-iterate that it does end. It sounds like your ds has very good sleeping habits already (knows how to get to sleep by self etc) and as he gets older he just will stay up longer during the day and sleep better at night - we noticed everything getting significantly easier by 12 months (probably because we were all much more rested). ...And the thing that dh and I found helped us most with the early starts (not being morning people pre-baby) is good quality coffe!

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