Sleepless 9 month old - at wits end

(51 Posts)
delilah88 Sat 20-Jul-13 20:00:15

Hello,

My 9 month old DD is a terrible sleeper. I need some advice, please, I am going crazy.

We always have a lovely time in the day and she is a very happy baby, but when it comes to bedtime (bath, story, song by 7pm, BF to sleep) she goes crazy. She hates having her night babygrow put on, hates the BFing always frantically pinging on and off the breast, and then screams like a wild thing when I put her in her cot. I have tried leaving her a bit but it's no good as she immediately gets into crawling/sitting position. She screams so much and becomes red and v hot/sweaty, sometimes it almost looks like she's having a fit. It doesn't stop until I fish her out. At the moment she sleeps in her pram from 7.30ish (whenever I give up) to nightfall when it is dark enough for her to be (again) BF to sleep in our bed and then carefully carried over to her cot. She only ever lasts a few hours before she's up screaming again, and it only ever really resolved when I pop her down between me and DH, where she sleeps like a rock.

Things have got worse and worse. She always used to go to sleep at 7 just being BF in bed and carried into cot. I didn't notice it escalating and now she's so crazy and miserable in the run up to bed, can't get drowsy and always furious and worked up. It's so sad for me that such a nice day again ends like this. She's now in her pram happily cooing and yawning, happy to go to sleep in the light. I have to try and stop her bucking all over the place while she gets dressed, while I feed her -- I worry she'll hurt herself or I'll hurt her trying to keep hold. DH and I never see each other in the evenings or at night as baby rules the roost. I need help, fast!

I don't think I could do controlled crying as when I do leave DD she just gets up hanging onto the sides of the cot then crashes back and whacks her head, then gets up again. I should have done it when she could only lie flat.

Please help me mumsnet!

Nicknamefail Fri 26-Jul-13 19:54:02

I agree with freelance girl, you just have to stop feeding. I think they know they can break you and are happy to wait as long as they need! Think of it as maybe 2 really crappy nights and then hopefully things will be resolved or much improved.
I am knackered as dd has a cold and coughed herself awake at 5. Uuugh.

freelancegirl Fri 26-Jul-13 11:02:36

We still get the odd wake up here too - I think that's normal even for good sleepers as there are going to be things that they want soothing for - teething, colds etc. But AG advised me to not give in to the feeding and that really seems to have helped. So just don't give in, cuddle him over the bars, encourage him to lie down and go back to sleep.

DS had ten hours last night again. 8pm until 6am. Personally 6am is far too early for me to get up but I can't complain seeing where we started from! Now I just need to start getting some sleep myself - I didn't go to sleep until midnight so it didn't feel like enough. Better than two-hourly wake ups though as was our lot before.

mumtosp Fri 26-Jul-13 08:40:52

DS is doing so well.... sleeps at about 7 pm and sleeps through till 3 or 4 am smile Any advice on how I can cut out the 3/4 am feed ?? I give him water, which he does drink loads of... but still wants a feed.
DH tried rocking him to sleep thinking that he may stop crying if he cannot smell me... but didn't work. I usually give in after 30 mins and feed him...

Thanks for all your help so far smile

Nicknamefail Thu 25-Jul-13 22:43:22

Pretty good thanks, sleeping through despite a cold, shock horror! Taking 20 mins of sitting by the cot to get to sleep but that is slowly improving. We are discussing getting a babysitter and going out for the evening, and at one point I thought I might never go out again!

delilah88 Thu 25-Jul-13 21:50:38

Thanks! At least I have seen a new side to my baby and that she's adaptable. How's it going with yours?

Nicknamefail Thu 25-Jul-13 21:44:22

Hello OPI'm glad you've come back to report. Hope it keeps going well and cone back again when you have more news! Well done so far, a full nights sleep is hopefully around the corner.

delilah88 Thu 25-Jul-13 20:20:19

Hello, I'm the Op.
Just to update, I've been trying nicknamefail's scheme (above) for the past few days and it seems to be working though I am adapting it for my baby using intuition. I haven't really got anything to report yet but will add a few findings in case it helps others!

1. Doing this has, in the short term, meant I've had a lot less sleep. It is working but I am the walking dead and it is very challenging after all the co-sleeping to rock baby in pitch black room at 2am and not fall asleep myself. Don't plan to do this when you have work stress/inlaws visiting/a cold etc.

2. It is SO NICE having baby out of my bedroom. I thought I was going to be terribly sad and worried but as soon as she was moved I went to our room and slept like a log (albeit only for an hour). It is bliss having the room back to me and DH.

3. I began by 'cuddling my baby to sleep' as suggested, rocking her in my arms and walking slowly up and down the room. She struggled, writhed and screamed, but I kept doing it as she'd never liked bed time. Then I became so exasperated I put her in the cot... which turned out to be just what she wanted!!!! She cooed a bit then went to sleep, looking v relieved. She's NEVER done this before, but again tonight I prepared to do my cuddle and walk routine and she was scratching and screaming... I put her down and hey presto, straight to sleep.

freelancegirl Wed 24-Jul-13 01:04:10

It sounds pretty good! But yes, AG told me not to feed at all before 7am. It's great progress though, well done.

mumtosp Tue 23-Jul-13 23:24:12

Last night was better than expected given that it was the first time I tried this !! DS did get up at 3 am, at which point I fed him as I wasn't sure if it was ok to cut off feeding completely on the first night...
After that he slept till 7 am smile
Should I have fed him at 3 ?? He did cry and lot and wouldn't settle..

Today we had to rock him to sleep today as he was extremely over tired and couldn't settle...

Joanne279 Tue 23-Jul-13 22:37:55

Hope it went well too smile x

freelancegirl Tue 23-Jul-13 10:50:56

Hope it went well! I think having the consultation to me gave me the courage of my convictions to stick with it.

mumtosp Mon 22-Jul-13 23:21:55

DS self settled !!! grin

He get up crying at about 7:30 pm... But that was because he was too hot. Just had to carry him for sometime and went back to sleep in his cot soon...
He's still asleep... I better not jinx it.... Fingers crossed it'll be a better night smile

freelancegirl Mon 22-Jul-13 20:34:49

I'm not sure about the timing dinner thing, for AG that wasn't mentioned as an issue. I too have struggled with the 3 hour thing, if ds is up early and has earlier naps there have been times he wakes up from the afternoon one at 2.30 or before and obviously 5.30 is too early to start routine. I just try to keep him awake a while longer before that lunch time nap and if he has has it quite early ignore the three hour thing to a certain extent and start at an average time for us.

How did it go? Yes AG says to potter until they start crying.

mumtosp Mon 22-Jul-13 19:18:43

Thankd freelancegirl smile I would do anything to get 10 hour stretches from DS...
Lets see how tonight goes.... Gave him and early dinner at 4:45... Which took him almost an hour to finish. Then feed at 6:15 ... Was that gap too small ??

Then bath story and bed by 7.

I didn't sit next to his cot as that seemed to keep him awake... All he wanted to do was talk to me !! So right now I'm sitting outside his room waiting dor him to fall asleep... He hasn't cried yet... So keeping my fingers crossed... smile

A question about the 3 hour gap after the afternoom nap... DS cut short his afternoon nap and got up by 2 pm. I started him feed and bath routine at 6:15... Was that too late ??

Thanks for all your help !!

freelancegirl Mon 22-Jul-13 16:34:28

Yes he did and I've always been so against letting him cry or leaving him alone so I know how upsetting it is. I found that because I was holding him over the cot I felt that I could cope - there would be no sense of abandonment and I kept telling myself that feeding him would be detrimental to his sleep too so I just kept cuddling him.

Of course not offering your baby what you know will comfort them most seems against all instincts so I kept telling myself if I fed him he would continue to wake up and want more feeding. Little snacks all night wouldn't do any of us any good!

Every now and then I laid him down gently, whispering 'sleepy time' and making sure I always sounded quiet and calm but upbeat rather than 'poor you' iykwim. The second night I think I gave in and fed him around 5am as he had a cold but after that i haven't fed him at night since and it really has worked. You just have to be strong and keep telling yourself you are not abandoning him and feeding him when he isn't hungry will just make him upset more in the long run as he will wake more. I did keep some water by the bed just in case as he did have a cold and in this heat it might help too. After 2 nights we started getting 5-6 hour stretches from him and he has not been in my bed since. Now we are getting up to ten hour stretches from him too!

mumtosp Mon 22-Jul-13 15:56:39

Thanks all smile

freelancegirl I tried not picking up Ds from the cot last night and also tried not feeding him, but he cried so much he started going red and getting sick sad So I finally gave up and fed him !

Did your DS react like this on the first few nights....

freelancegirl Mon 22-Jul-13 15:25:58

Dinner for my DS has always been around 5-6pm but he does have a snack mid afternoon (as well as mid morning). Andrea Grace told us to start the bedtime routine 3 hours after the wake up for the last nap, so that's usually around 7pm. Bedttime routine doesn't have to be long - just a bath, change for bed, feed followed by same picture book every night and into the cot. Honestly, I went from co-sleeping with wake ups every half hour until midnight ish then ever 2 hours after that (an occasional three hour stretch) and feeding to sleep every single time to him sleeping through in 2/3 nights. No crying it out, no leaving him alone - bascically camping out like Joanne says above. But hugging him over the cot when he was especially distressed.

I knew I needed to break the feed to sleep association but what she also told me (to which I felt a bit silly for not thinking of before) is that the mini feeds were also causing him to have a blood sugar spike which wouldn't help sleep at all.

No dream feed any more here either, I tried one until around 12 weeks but he was waking so often I never had to wake him up for one.

-move the cot to own room
-Bedtime routine should start three hours after waking up from afternoon nap (this isn't always easy to stick to but is a good guide)
-after consistent routine every night - bath, feed - introduce a picture book you can look at. The same book every night. We chose Brown Bear on her recommendation. The book separates the feeding to sleep association.
-Look through the book (them on your knee) and put them in the cot, switch light off. Stay there with them.
-Remain calm and pleasant at all times (cot must be seen to be a happy place)
-Cuddle them over the cot when then cry - resettle every now and then but if they are standing you can just hug them over the cot. Do this until they fall asleep. They will fall asleep eventually. DS took well over an hour the first night and even fell asleep sitting up at one point. But I was comforted by the fact I didn't leave him. He took about the same time at each wake up on the first night.
-Do the same for every wake up - don;t get them out the cot (unless you think something is wrong of course)
-Treat anything before 7am as night time (sometimes this only works until around 6.30 but that's ok)
-Open the curtains and take them downstairs to feed.
-Don't feed at any time through the night.

Good luck!

Nicknamefail Mon 22-Jul-13 14:50:44

And I don't dream feed. Tried it when she was young but it made no difference to her waking so gave it up.

Nicknamefail Mon 22-Jul-13 14:49:44

At the minute we do stupidly early dinner at 4.30 and I am gradually moving it to 5. Final feed at 6.20 before bath story and into bed at 7. Dd eats like a horse and she definitely doesn't get hungry overnight. When I first moved the feed to pre bath she didn't take as much as she did at bedtime, but now takes lots. Actually increased all her feeds (I do 4 on a day) since night weaning.

mumtosp Mon 22-Jul-13 14:31:53

Hi all,

I've been watching this thread with a lot of interest as I'm in the same boat... I have a 9.5 mo DS who won't sleep in his cot and wants to feed every 2 hours ! I could really do with some sleep sad

I just have one question - when you all say that his last feed should be earlier, what time do you do dinner in that case? I usually do dinner at 5:30 then wait for 30 mins and then do bath, change, story and then a feed which DS uses to fall asleep.
Also, what about dream feeds? Do you do one sometime between 10-11 pm ?

Thanks in advance smile

P.S. OP - sorry for high jacking smile

Joanne279 Sun 21-Jul-13 23:25:38

Hello hun. I've not read the other replies but recently had sleep issues like yours with my nearly 9 month old.

Controlled crying didn't work and I couldn't do it sad so we 'camped out' instead.

My dd couldn't settle herself unless fed, rocked or patted. She was awake 10+ times a night. It was awful.

One night I took the bull by the horns so to speak, and started sleep training. She still sleeps in our room so o put her in her cot and led on my bed just 3 ft from her. Of course, she yelled. But I just led there with the occasional 'sshhhh' or 'bedtime'. She could see me and got the message quickly (well, an hour) and fell asleep. Within 3 nights she was settling within 10 minutes....and sleeping til 6-7 am!!!!!! (Well, 90% of the time)

Camping out worked for me as I wasn't leaving her and she didn't feel abandoned. It gave her comfort to know I was there but she had to settle herself. No picking up, no patting etc.

Hope this helps and hope you get things sorted x

freelancegirl Sun 21-Jul-13 22:41:30

Three weeks ago I had a consultation with Andrea Grace sleep consultant. We went from 6-8 wake ups a night in my bed (sometimes every half an hour until I went to bed with him) to sleeping through the night in his own cot in his own room in just a few days. I can relate to your tiredness, up until last month even three hours sleep in a row was rare and hadn't had that since he was 12 weeks. DS was 11 months when we started.

This is what she said:
-move the cot to own room
-Bedtime routine should start three hours after waking up from afternoon nap (this isn't always easy to stick to but is a good guide)
-after consistent routine every night - bath, feed - introduce a picture book you can look at. The same book every night. We chose Brown Bear on her recommendation. The book separates the feeding to sleep association.
-Look through the book (them on your knee) and put them in the cot, switch light off. Stay there with them.
-Remain calm and pleasant at all times (cot must be seen to be a happy place)
-Cuddle them over the cot when then cry - resettle every now and then but if they are standing you can just hug them over the cot. Do this until they fall asleep. They will fall asleep eventually. DS took well over an hour the first night and even fell asleep sitting up at one point. But I was comforted by the fact I didn't leave him.
-Do the same for every wake up - don;t get them out the cot (unless you think something is wrong of course)
-Treat anything before 7am as night time (sometimes this only works until around 6.30 but that's ok)
-Open the curtains and take them downstairs to feed.
-Don't feed at any time through the night.

Within a few days this was also working for naps. There have been some days previously that I've walked the streets for a total of 4 or more hours for falling asleep time and naps! Last night he slept from 7.30pm until 6.30am.

HTH. Sleep deprivation is horrible.

Nicknamefail Sun 21-Jul-13 22:24:24

Dp back now. Hurray. Dd just needed a gentle head stroke. smile

Nicknamefail Sun 21-Jul-13 22:23:28

Happy to answer questions. Not a sleep guru by any stretch but following a programme devised by someone else and 2 weeks down the line from those who are just starting.
Should also say that dd just woke up crying (dh just gone up to her) for the first time in a week. Boo.

Anyway, maisie started at just over 9 months. She does crawl and pull up but doesn't cruise. She sits up on the cot when I put her to bed but weirdly doesn't pull herself up. She dies crawl around the cot and sometimes throws herself forward from sitting and does bang her head a bit. sad she is doing this a bit less so I think she will learn not to do this.
When I first put her in the cot to cuddle she moved around so I left a hand on her and only cuddled her when she was sitting still or laid down on her own. I suppose the point is they are tired at bed time so eventually will lie down although it can sometimes take a long while.
To back a step when I first cuddled I was surprised that she eventually went to sleep. She was wriggly and cried but she calmed down and went to sleep more quickly than I expected. I did a little rocking but not constant rhythmic rocking as I didn't want her to learn that as a sleep mechanism instead of boob, and I only did that little bit if rocking while she was most cross at the beginning, not when she was calm and sleepy but awake.

Maisie55 Sun 21-Jul-13 21:20:20

Hi all, am also finding this a very helpful thread! Nickname, I hope you don't mind but I do have a few questions about your method and would really appreciate your wisdom!

How old was your DD when you started? does she crawl, pull up etc? when you started with the cuddle to sleep did you rock at all?

My DS is 9 months, crawls, pulls up and cruises. I tried putting him in cot the other night and sitting with him to reassure etc and he just kept pulling up and walking round the cot every now and then falling over and banging his head! so then had grumpy, tired and hurt baby on my hands!

I can't imagine that he would go to sleep just being cuddled as he is so wriggly! he will be rocked to sleep sometimes so maybe I should start with that instead?

when you moved on to cuddling in the cot did your DD not try to wriggle/crawl.off? I so wish I'd addressed this problem before DS could move!!

sorry for all the questions but really appreciate hearing from someone who has gone through this!

TIA.

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