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Sleep-medical issues I'm missing?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
So my nine month old has NEVER been a good sleeper. He spent his first six months never sleeping more than a 45 minute stretch at a time. (no exaggeration). We figured out he has reflux, exhausted the non medical approaches, and tried a few meds before finding one that seems to work. We now medicate him for reflux. He had an upper GI study to rule out physical causes and there were no problems. He's better, but not good.

After nursing or bottle feeding him to sleep (we do a combo because, as you can imagine, I started to go a little nuts on the sleep deprivation thing), even in the middle of the night, he never ever just falls asleep or curls up next to us. At each and every feeding (which are now one to three hours apart) he requires someone to pace the hallway rocking and bouncing him. Or going for a walk in the stroller, which I won't do at 3 a.m, but my husband sometimes does.

He won't sleep in a swing. He will become more awake if you sit down or stop moving. If put him in our bed or his crib before a good ten minutes of sound sleep he will squirm and fidget (but not really cry) until he wakes himself up completely. He will stand and crawl around and eventually start crying more- in a crankiness sort of way. It can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to get him down- for naps, bedtime, or night feedings. (So much for sidelying nursing! Lot of good that does when you still have to pace the hallway after.)

I am sure he's teething and making many developmental shifts, but this has basically been his pattern for his entire life, so I can't really contribute it to those things.

Aside from reflux, what other medical things might interfere with him sleeping laying down? Did he just build really bad habits or a fear of sleep during his months of unmedicated (but never uncormforted crying) reflux?

Any and all ideas and suggestions are appreciated.

Or commiseration.

FWIW I thought my 4yo had been a bad sleeper, but it was nothing like this!

Angie
post #2 of 10
My DS woke every 15-30 minutes at 8-9 months and had a really hard time resettling. He was a horrible sleeper up until recently. We never found a "medical" reason. It just was who he was. He woke every hour or more his entire first year. From 12-18 months he woke every 1-2 hours. Then around 19 months I started nightweaning, using a slow version of the Jay Gordon plan, and he began sleeping better. We moved him to his own bed and had DH take over nigttime. He now sleeps 6-8 hour stretches every night. Sometimes he even sleeps all the way through the night!

It is totally within the realm of normal, but definitely hard! Have you looked into food allergies causing the reflux? It could defnitely be part of the reason he is waking too. I would try cutting dairy from yours and his diet for at least 2 weeks and see if things improve. Next try soy, and gluten. My DS was dairy sensitive (still is a little) and I had to cut out all dairy.

And this is JMO, but I would also work on not getting out of bed at night. Nurse, hold him, cuddle, etc but stay in bed. He will probably not be very accepting at first, but what I have learned from my non-sleeper is that sometimes there has to be boundaries put up and that they will adapt to them.

Have you tried blackout curtains and white noise?
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks Catie! Yes, I eliminated all dairy from my diet (when I was exclusively breastfeeding) and several other things. None of that helped. Even a teeny bit.

I am sad to hear you say its within the realm of "normal" but alas... maybe it is. Ick.

Also sad to hear how long it took for your lo to "outgrow" this. But its all temporary, even if temporary is longer than I would have hoped.

Thanks.
post #4 of 10
I'm not sure what to say -- your DS sounds a lot like mine in many ways. I think 9mos is the time when we all seem to get desperate, not sure why that is, but it's a common pattern I notice, FWIW.

My DS woke every 30-45 minutes for the first ~year of his life. Around 9-10mos is was more like every 15mins. Finally somewhere around 11-13 mos he started sleeping 2-4 hour stretches and now at 17mos he will often sleep 4-6 hours straight (though not always, sometimes he's still up a lot, but usually that's when he's sick or cutting a tooth).

I do wonder how you are feeding him to sleep & then walking around with him... I guess I don't understand. DS & I lay down in bed & he nurses to sleep and then we just stay there. I don't move or unlatch him until he is deep deep asleep (often an hour+). Can you explain what you're doing, what's the 'routine'? Maybe I'm just not reading your post right...

I do think most of what you're describing is normal, and if you've ruled out food intolerances I can't think of anything else ATM that might be any medical cause...
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks crunchy mama.

Yeah- - he doesn't really nurse or bottle feed "to sleep". He gulps it down vigorously. His eyes are closed, but he moves arms and legs in a way that tells me he is basically awake. He has never stayed latched when he's "done". When he is done, he unlatches himself and definitely doesn't want anything to do with my nipple!! He makes that clear by turning his head and if I try to encourage it he arches his back and fights me off.

That's always been the case! Even when he was a tiny baby, and would nurse for longer periods of time and even more frequently....he would not take my boob just to comfort suck. We did give him a paci for a while, which he would take- ironically - but don't offer that anymore. (I quit that because it seems like so much of the sleep advice is to not give a paci. Didn't affect his sleep when I stopped making that available.)
post #6 of 10
I would try the paci again after nursing/bottle and just keep him in bed. Maybe he wants to comfort suck, but without the milk. That could be the reflux. Just stay calm and tell him "it is time to go to sleep now" over and over and hold him in the bed, or rub his back/tummy but stop getting out of the bed. Changing the routine is ok, IMO, at this age when it is clearly not working well for either of you. Even if it means some tears from your LO, as long as you are right there to offer comfort/support.
post #7 of 10
The only other thing I can think of is more diverse allergies than dairy, but it IS sadly within the range of normal, just on the really hard/far side. Mama!
post #8 of 10
After the first few months of my DD not sleeping more than 45 min at a time, dairy restrictions, probiotics administered, reflux meds, needing to be bounced to sleep, we tried an osteopath and saw fantastic results. He was able to get my DD back on track and she took her first 4 hour nap that evening! We've been continuing with regular treatments (about once a month - whenever she starts getting fussy and won't go down easily for naps/night time) and she seems to be improved after every visit. She doesn't sleep through the night yet (at 8 months old), but she does sleep much longer stretches and we're all much happier because of it!
Here's a link to more information: http://www.osteopath.co.il/babies-children.php You can probably just google search for local osteopaths if you want to call one to chat. Good luck!!
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyCatherine185 View Post
I would try the paci again after nursing/bottle and just keep him in bed. Maybe he wants to comfort suck, but without the milk. That could be the reflux. Just stay calm and tell him "it is time to go to sleep now" over and over and hold him in the bed, or rub his back/tummy but stop getting out of the bed. Changing the routine is ok, IMO, at this age when it is clearly not working well for either of you. Even if it means some tears from your LO, as long as you are right there to offer comfort/support.
This...

And I also wonder if a chiropractor might help? I have no personal experience but from what you describe, I wonder if some slight adjustments would make him more comfortable to lay down?
post #10 of 10
DS 2 will be 10 months old tomorrow, and we are in much the same place in terms of sleeping. If he is mostly asleep (meaning I wake fast enough to latch him before he completely wakes) I can get away with sidelying nursing back to sleep- otherwise, he's a pace tha hallway on a shoulder 'just so' sort of guy, and no, there are not long blocks of sleep.

It is exhausting.

What we have found to help is swaddling (still) when he is very busy, and making sure to wake at the very first moment he stirs to feed him before he gets into full 'awake' mode.
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