7 mo old needs constant help to sleep - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 02-23-2009, 03:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I apologize in advance for the length of my post.

I'm am so frustrated. My 7 1/2 mo old dd is a horrible sleeper. Yes, she sleeps, but with my CONSTANT help. I try to put her in her crib at the beginning of the night and she wakes every 30-40 minutes and needs me about 30 min. each time to get her back to a deep enough sleep that I can lay her down. Even then, it's no guarantee that she'll actually stay in the crib. I'd like to see my husband, or have just a little time to myself to recharge at night.

Then, when I take her to bed with me between 11:00 and 12:00, she has been waking up crying about an hour later, and nursing will not get her back to sleep unless I get up and take her to the recliner in her room. Or she'll cry out many times throughout the night and eventually, around 4 am, when nursing or cuddling no longer works in bed, we're in the recliner. So I've been spending the majority of my nights lately in the recliner in her nursery. Thank goodness it is comfortable. Before the recliner phase, when we stayed in bed, I was nursing her AT LEAST every 2 hours.

I'm wondering if she has an underlying health issue due to the crying, but dh thinks it is just a difficult transitional time for her: solids food adjustment, teething and maybe even soreness from milestones like sitting up and working to get strong enough to crawl. Maybe I need to burp her more even though she's breastfed.

So, I don't believe in CIO. I do not want that for our relationship. But, HOW can I get her to start sleeping a little more? I feel like I am "getting her through the night" so to speak with rocking, jiggling, nursing, recliner sleep to KEEP her asleep. I feel like I've made her this way, conditioned her to require my help. Please tell me it is not all my fault and that a lot of this is temperament.

How can this be NORMAL? How can I have another child after dealing with this, knowing a toddler and baby will demand more than every bit of energy I have, mentally, physically and emotionally? There has to be babies out there that sleep without all of this help.

I've tried the NCSS by Pantley and I've read many other books and websites. I know that she is only little for a short time and I am cherishing my blessing, but, as my mom said to me, 24/7 is a whole lot of blessing if YKWIM

I need some encouragement. Has anyone experienced this and did it get better. Will she outgrow it soon? UGH! I love her more than life itself but I'm going a little crazy here.
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#2 of 14 Old 02-23-2009, 03:10 AM
 
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I might back off the solids a bit and see if that helps.



-Angela
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#3 of 14 Old 02-23-2009, 04:29 AM
 
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DS has been a sleep who needs a lot of support.

First on all, he NEVER tolerated the crib or co-sleeper - period. He co-slept with me from Day 1. I'm in favor of co-sleeping, but in this case there was no choice. He had to be snuggled up to me for him to be able to sleep, and to nurse extremely frequently - maybe every 30 minutes. By the time he was your DD age, he was nursing every 1-2 hours, but still attached to me like Velcro.

We considered a food allergy to something that I was eating and he was getting from the breastmilk. I noticed that he would often stir, pass gas, then need to nurse to get back to sleep. Yeah, I don't get much sleep, and feel (and look) like I've aged at least 10 years.

Anyways, fast forward a year. DS is now 20.5 months old. He has been sleeping on a mattress on the floor of our room since he could crawl. I would sleep with him most of the time - occasionally getting up to "our" bed to snuggle with DH. He started sleeping more on his own around 15 months. At 19 months he started being able to self-soothe back to sleep a couple of times a night - nursing is now decreased to 2-3x/night. Suddenly 2 weeks ago he starting sleeping through the night maybe 50% of the time. We now moved his mattress into his own room. If he needs me in the night he comes to get me.

Every time we've tried to "force" the next step on our timetable it backfired. By stepping back, he has done each step on his own time spontaneously and with a minimum of fuss (on his part). Of course, I don't know how I can make up for all the sleep deprivation. I still wake up every two hours to check on him - he has me trained well! In addition, I'm 30 weeks pregnant so we are facing the situation again.

I've struggled with the idea that I've "conditioned" DS as well. However, he was like this from his first day, and this intensity is consistent with the rest of his temperament. I'm so jealous when I see other babies sleeping so well. My detailed questioning of the parents do not reveal anything different that they have done. This baby that I'm carrying feels a lot more relaxed and tolerant than DS was - I hope this is true and not wishful thinking on my part!

Some suggestions: Try some homeopathic teething tablets before bed. Also, homeopathic colic remedy helped DS calm down before bed - even now it helps him settle. Also, perhaps accepting that she will need constant co-sleeping, nursing, and/or recliner for a short while will allow her to get into the pattern of sleeping calmly without having to seek you out in her sleep. Then, you might get a sleep cycle's worth of time away from her to recharge yourself or your marriage.

Good luck!

: DS - June '07 : DS2 - May '09 : (may be delayed a really long time!)
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#4 of 14 Old 02-23-2009, 10:44 AM
 
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That is tough Mama. I know what you are going through. DS is a terrible sleeper as well, up hourly to nurse all night, then up for good at 5 AM. But he is easily nursed back to sleep in bed through the night, which makes me wonder about some of the things you said.

I would definitely investigate food sensitivities. She is probably in pain/uncomfortable if she is waking up crying and you have to get out of the bed like that. DS will do this on occasion, but it is when he is getting a tooth in (he's got two) or if he is sick. I spend those nights in our glider/rocker.

What is her temperment like during the day? Does she show any other possible allergy signs? First thing I would cut would be dairy. It can take 2 weeks to get out of your/her system, but it is definitely worth a shot.

Hope you get some rest soon Mama!

Catie belly.gif- Happy wife to Aaron stillheart.gif(01.05), mama to Liambikenew.gif(08.08), and Ian jammin.gif (11.10)! homebirth.jpgnocirc.giffamilybed1.gif and joy.gif due Feb 2013 with blessing #3!

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#5 of 14 Old 02-23-2009, 11:42 AM
 
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I was right there with you 2 weeks ago. My daughter is 8 1/2 months old now and co-slept with us since birth. She had gotten to the point where she was up every 30 mins until I took her to bed with me. Then she would be up atleast every 2 hours, if not more frequently. My husband and I never saw each other and we were really stressed.
I do not believe in CIO and read so many books that all recommended this. It was frustrating. I started with NCSS and did the Pantley pull off for about 2-3 weeks while we figured out what exactly to do that didn't involve leaving her alone to cio.
What finally ended up working was a combo of things I think. I read The Aware Baby (I know some people don't like this book on here, but it really helped us) and Sleepless in America. Those 2 books along with the NCSS are what shaped what we did. The other thing we had to realize as her parents is that she was not sleeping well with us. I wanted to continue to co-sleep but no one was getting any sleep at all. She was so tired that she had constant bags under her eyes. To me, that just isn't healthy.
First, I took her to the doctor to rule out reflux or any kind of sickness. She does happen to have food intolerances so I was very careful to monitor what I was eating and I even cut out a few more things just to be sure.
Secondly, I stopped feeding her to sleep. Since I had been working on the PPO and trying to get her to settle herself for a few weeks, I think that helped. The first night that I didn't let her nurse to sleep, she wasn't all that happy. We did her normal routine which starts with a bath, I fed her (making sure she got a really good feeding), read her book and then handed her off to my DH. She did cry (while he held her and comforted her the entire time) but it only took about 30 mins and she was asleep in her crib. She woke up every 1-2 hours that night, but I only fed her every 3-4 hours. During this time, we also had to let her learn to settle herself in her crib, to get herself comfortable. She does still take about 15 mins to settle, but she isn't crying. At first she would moan and groan a little and if it escalated to crying we would pick her up and comfort her.
I want to clarify that we NEVER let her cry in her crib or cry alone. She actually did very little crying which kind of shocked us. I was expecting more of a fight.
She now takes 2 naps a day usually for 1 1/2 to 2 hours each and sleeps from 7:30/7:45 to around 12:30 or 1:00 then will go back to sleep until around 4:00 then wake up for the day around 7:30/8. If she wakes up in the night we go to her immediately but usually my DH will go in unless I plan on feeding her.
Teething and major milestones can also play a role in sleep. She had just started scooting (her form of crawling before we did this) so I'm not sure how that affected it. Is your daughter teething? If so try some Camilia or tylenol if it's really bad (I don't like to medicate, but when her teeth are very painful I will give her a little tylenol). Also, is she about to crawl? What about food allergies/intolerances? She seems like she might be waking in pain so I would have all of that checked out first.
I think it is also important to decide what your goals are, discuss them with your husband and make sure you both want the same thing or are atleast clear on what you are working towards. I couldn't have done this without my husbands 100% support. Our goal was just to get her to sleep for 2-3 hours at a time so we could have some alone time together. It just so happened that we also realized co-sleeping was preventing any of us from sleeping. This might not be the case for you and I don't want to imply that the only way to get your daughter to sleep longer is to stop co-sleeping.
I totally relate to your situation and I just want you to know that there is hope! If you have any more questions please feel free to PM me. I know how frustrating it can be.

ETA: I also wanted to say that we have implemented a flexible schedule and watch very closely for her sleepy signs. I also feed her every 3-4 hours all day and night, more frequently if she wants. I never restrict her eating. She is on a solid food strike right now so she is BF a little more right now. I have to take her to a quiet room, usually her room, to BF her since she gets so easily distracted.
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#6 of 14 Old 02-23-2009, 11:51 AM
 
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Not much help sorry - I still nurse my 2 3/4 year old down to sleep a couple of times a night! (In addition to his 5 months old sister).
He's just always been somebody who needed a lot of help with the going to sleep part. His sister however falls asleep and stays asleep much more easily.
I still do get my sleep but we also have a HUGE family bed (a queen and a king side by side) so I don't have to get up or move anybody to a crib etc. risking them waking up, etc.

Good Luck! Lack of sleep makes me pretty grumpy...
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#7 of 14 Old 02-24-2009, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for the thoughtful replies. You've given me a lot og good ideas.

There are so many things going on at this age that it's hard to nail down a cause. She is pretty happy during the day, but tired lately. She was incredibly whiny about a week ago but she just cut a second tooth and that has subsided somewhat. I don't think she'll crawl for a few more weeks, but she is definitely reaching a lot and getting so much stronger (trying to get into a sitting position on her own.)

When she's crying or fussing at night she'll often let out gas, but it doesn't seem to bother her during her waking hours. She doesn't fuss about gas pain during the day and that's what's strange to me.

I am going to cut dairy (which is going to kill me ) and I'm taking a break from solids for a few days. I know there are some behavioral things I could try, like the Pantley-Pull-off, but that doesn't address what I'm seeing as discomfort at night.

The only other thing I can think of is a bad case of separation anxiety mixed in w/all of this. Since I've pushed the crib at the beginning of the night, she wakes often crying, even when she's in bed with me. During the day she sometimes cries if I leave the room (I don't leave very often) and she definitely cries a lot when with dh. She wants mommy. If she sees or hears me, she cries and often I can't leave the room when he's holding her.

I'm so glad I'm not working so I can nap with her. I don't know how working mamas get through this!
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#8 of 14 Old 02-24-2009, 06:23 PM
 
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My daughter went through a few weeks when she would freak out if my dh tried to get her to sleep or even just hold her while I was getting ready to go to bed with her at night. Only at night though, not during the day. Ever since I stopped breast feeding her to sleep, that has gone away. It might just be a coincidence though and maybe it would have gone away on it's own. It was a HARD decision for me not to feed her to sleep, but that has been the biggest break through for us. I still feed her at bedtime, she just doesn't fall asleep while eating.
I think cutting the dairy and stopping solids sounds like a good idea. Maybe it's gas or a tummy ache. Have you ever tried gripe water? That has worked wonders for Ivy when her tummy is upset or gassy. It's worth a shot.

Best of luck to you!!
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#9 of 14 Old 02-24-2009, 06:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bellydance2290 View Post
My daughter went through a few weeks when she would freak out if my dh tried to get her to sleep or even just hold her while I was getting ready to go to bed with her at night. Only at night though, not during the day. Ever since I stopped breast feeding her to sleep, that has gone away. It might just be a coincidence though and maybe it would have gone away on it's own. It was a HARD decision for me not to feed her to sleep, but that has been the biggest break through for us. I still feed her at bedtime, she just doesn't fall asleep while eating.
I think cutting the dairy and stopping solids sounds like a good idea. Maybe it's gas or a tummy ache. Have you ever tried gripe water? That has worked wonders for Ivy when her tummy is upset or gassy. It's worth a shot.

Best of luck to you!!
I'm actually going to get some gripe water today! I'm crossing my fingers.

I know eventually I am going to need to wean her off going to sleep nursing, but I think it will be when I feel confident she's getting enough during the day and when I can talk myself into making the commitment to make that work. YKWIM?

Bellydance: Does your dd use a pacifier or did you try to completely break her sleep/suck association?
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#10 of 14 Old 02-24-2009, 09:04 PM
 
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Given the extra info, I would bring her back to your bed full time. Let her feel secure.

Why do you think you will need to wean her of nursing to sleep? It's perfectly normal and kids outgrow it in their own time.

-Angela
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#11 of 14 Old 02-24-2009, 11:15 PM
 
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I would cut back on the solids and re-introduce them. It sounds like there might be something that's bothering her.

It's really common at that age for something to upset a little one's tummy. Most kids outgrow those - but until they do they are miserable.
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#12 of 14 Old 02-25-2009, 12:27 AM
 
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My one year old is still nursing to sleep, sleeps in our bed, and is not what I'd call a good sleeper. Whenever I feel bitchy about him waking up for a nursing every two hours, he ups the ante and wakes up every hour just to prove it can be worse To be fair, that's only when a new tooth is coming in. We're up to nine...

One of the things that is almost certain to get me four blessed hours in a row is to put him down for a late nap - 4 or 5 PM, and a family bedtime at 10:30 or 11. Honestly, my little dude NEVER went down at 8 PM. Ever. He's tired at that time, sure. If he naps earlier in the afternoon, he's REALLY tired at 8 PM. But the most he'll sleep is 30 minutes. Every book insists he must go to bed at 8 and we're depriving him if he doesn't... but you know, when I kept a sleep diary, I noticed he was happiest and woke most often at 9:30 AM, no matter when bedtime actually was.

I work from home. The kid can sleep until 9:30 without it being a problem. My husband and I basically switched to having our adult time together as breakfast, instead of dinner. Voila, problem solved.

Well, half solved. The rest of the problem is that he nurses to sleep, and that is his primary sleep association. If I could go back in time, I'd probably not nurse him to sleep. But he's my first. I was operating on pure instinct. Nursing him to sleep was the only way *I* got any sleep for six months. By then we both kind of liked it that way. He lets me know when he needs to lie down and be loved - because I work at home he doesn't get 100% of my attention during the day, except for nursing. Maybe that could be your small person's deal as well, a major desire for 100% of YOU at night?

As for the toddler/baby coping... I'm solving that by not having any more. The coward's way out, I know, but I only wanted one!

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#13 of 14 Old 02-25-2009, 02:07 AM
 
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I deeply sympathize with your situation. At 1 year we nightweaned and it was the saving grace for our family. I nurse DS to sleep and then any time after 5:00. In between, if he wakes up, DS gets a sippy and soothing from DH. We also moved DS to his own bed in his own room. He sleeps 100x better. We were just on vacation and he had to sleep in the same room as me. Every time the bed made a noise he woke up. I had to move him to my bed, where he proceeded to nurse every hour. It just confirmed to me that we have the right set up at home. For what it's worth.
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#14 of 14 Old 02-25-2009, 11:58 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipper26 View Post
Bellydance: Does your dd use a pacifier or did you try to completely break her sleep/suck association?
We never introduced a pacifier to her. She never took a bottle either. I guess I just didn't see a need for either (I stay home with her).
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