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Help! At my witts end with sleep issues-- DD always fights sleep

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I am at my witts end after dealing with my DD's sleep issues for 7 months now.  She has always fought sleep-- from the beginning.  I don't know what else to do.  She also will not let anyone else put her to sleep except me (occassionally my husband) and it often takes a half hour.  I'm not sure where to start so I'll start at the beginning.  Any input would be greatly appreciated.


I will start by saying that I believe she is a high needs baby according to Dr. Sears guidelines.  From the time she was born until now we have to try different tactics.  If she figures out we are trying to get her to sleep she fights it.  For awhile walking and holding her a certain way worked then she figured it out, rocking her worked for awhile then it didn't, driving her occassionaly works, etc.  I could name so many things that we've done.  We have a co-sleeper which she rarily sleeps in.  She sleeps ok next to me, but I don't.  My body is destroyed from her sleeping next to-- I sleep terribley (my left shoulder is messed up and my neck).  The hardest issue is getting her to sleep.  Once she is asleep, as long as there are no loud noises she does ok.  Lately I feed her then rock her and then attempt to set her down in a vibrating chair for naps (the only way she will stay asleep for a nap).  I will rock her to sleep and try to set her down 10 times sometimes before she stays down.  And sometimes she just decides to then get up.  Sometimes she just refuses to sleep all together.  It is sooooooooo frustrating after months and months.  I just don't know what to do.  I can't leave her with anyone for any length of time because she really fights sleeping if somone else attempts-- even my husband can't get her down sometimes.


Please does anyone have any suggestions????

post #2 of 6


I'm afraid I don't really have any good advice for you, but I went through something very similar with my DD & felt that desperation. I remember the revelation of discovering she matched the high need criteria - I was not alone! Then being crestfallen to realize it didn't actually make it any better.

I have to admit, she still wakes at least once a night (she's nearly 3).

She did always fall asleep happily nursing, but then would wake. At 4 months she started waking up every hour for more nursing & that went on for months. We tried DH going to her & holding her but that only resulted in hours of her screaming. After falling asleep exhausted, she'd still wake another hour later. Eventually I took her into the bed and nursed her whenever she woke - it got to the point I did it pretty much in my sleep & felt pretty well rested.

Maybe a bigger bed would help your back/neck issues? If you can move away from her a bit?

Mine was a super short napper & it was pretty hard to get her to sleep. Again, the boob, but she'd wake up after a short time, sometimes 10-15 minutes.

Walking her in the sling/baby carrier worked. Sometimes we'd have to keep moving the whole nap though. Same with the pram (stroller). Eventually she had all her naps in there, until the beginning of last winter we just put her in her bed to nap & she did it, with little fuss.

I guess there's just a time they're ready & until then these high need non sleepers are just alot of hard work.

Alternatively, a friend of mine just gave up on naps for her little one - if he didn't fall asleep, they lived with that.

You might find some useful advice on this website - I only found it subsequently https://www.babysleepsite.com/

Sorry & hope it gets better

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much for your response.  It does sound like we have a similar situation.  Oh the desperation :-(  I just hope it gets a little easier to get her down-- I get so tired of it.  Each nap and bedtime is this process that just absolutely drains me.  Co-sleeping is ok but I sleep awful and my body is really hurting.  We have a king size bed.  I guess I'll keep looking for ideas.  And reading these posts.  Thanks again for your kind words and understanding.

post #4 of 6

I just thought - have you ever looked at the Baby Whisperer book? some of those techniques worked for me a little bit, i possibly didn't persevere long enough for them to be fully successful

post #5 of 6
If it is noise waking her up have you tried her in her own room? We transitioned our son at about 3 ish months I think, I really don't remember exactly how old he was. And he slept way way better. And so did we.
post #6 of 6

My oldest daughter fits your description and first let me give you lots of hugs for the sleep deprivation you are currently experiencing.  It gets better, I promise.  My dd is currently 8 and sleep has always been her (and therefore our) achilles heel.  I read all the books, Dr. Sears,  The No Cry Sleep Solution, and others I can't remember right now but really didn't help me to much.  This is what helped us:


-  Getting her to sleep early.  Like really early.  She didn't nap until she was about 1yo when we realised that she wasn't going to adapt to our night owl schedule.  We started putting her to sleep at 6:30pm or 7pm and she slept much better at night and even started taking naps during the day.  The more sleep she got, the better quality her sleep was.  This is still true at 8yo.  If she doesn't get to sleep by 7:30pm, she has poor quality sleep.  If she gets to bed late multiple days in a row, she gets insomnia.  


-  Routine helped.  We figured out when she got tired, and established bedtimes and nap times that we did not waiver from. We did them everyday at the same time.  Very rigid and unwaivering schedule.   This helped her body establish firm sleep rhythms so that we could start to count on her sleeping at these times.  


-  We made up a bedtime routine.  Bathtime, songs, bed.  These provided cues to her body to wind down. Bath helps alot as it's such a full body tactile experience which at infacy, this wipes them out!  Start with enough time to do the routine and end at bedtime/naptime.   When she got older, we added books between bathtime and songs.  At 8yo, we still do this.  TV or video of any sort near bedtime wires her body and inhibits sleep.


-  You need sleep, too.  I am a firm believer that postpartum depression is largely, if not completely, sleep deprivation.  In order to be good parents, we also have to take care of ourselves.  I really wanted to co-sleep, and nurse at will, but when dd was 4mo, she started waking up every 45min to nurse back to sleep.  By the time she was 8mo, I was crazy with sleep deprivation. I wasn't getting any complete sleep cycles.   I would cry at the thought of going to bed becuase I knew I wasn't going to get any sleep and that I'd be up all night.  Luckily, my husband took charge and started taking dd in the middle of the night for a few hours.  He would lay down with her on a futon out of my hearing range, and let me get 3hrs at a time, then 4.  Gradually, dd started sleeping better at night because she wasn't nursing during that time.  We essentially night weaned her super early, but it helped with all of our sleep.  

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