Getting her to sleep is a NIGHTMARE - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 5 Old 08-02-2010, 12:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I really need some help with our 13month-old's sleeping issues...

The history is that she has been cosleeping with us during the night which was really convenient for breastfeeding and comforting. However, for safety reasons we had her napping in the crib and starting out the evenings in the crib. She was always very difficult to settle and we always had to rock and sing her to sleep. Around 8mo she was falling asleep in her crib for naps but around 10mo she stopped doing this and then it got even worse: I couldn't even get her into her crib when she was asleep after being rocked. Now she won't go in there for anything at any time without screaming. So she hates her crib. So what we've been doing is rocking her to sleep and then placing her on our bed surrounded by pillows and if we lie next to her for a minute or two after the transition she will remain sleeping for an hour or so.

So here are the issues: first, since we're rocking her to sleep she is unable to put herself back to sleep. This means that we're going back up there every hour in the evenings to cuddle her back to sleep. Annoying but OK fine. Second, though and worse, now she's bigger she's becoming very uncomfortable being rocked and so she's fidgeting and moving around and struggling to get comfortable so it's taking longer and longer to rock her. While she was going to sleep at 7 or 7:30pm every evening now she's often not falling asleep 'til 9pm or later and this is doing TERRIBLE things for my back. My back hurts so much from all this rocking I sometimes feel like I could pass out. Plus, it's affecting my relationship with DH - we're getting little to no time alone together because she gets to sleep so late and I'm constantly cranky and stressed from the strain of all this rocking and re-comforting. Yes, DH rocks LOTS too and it's hard on him too and even his help is not enough 'cause I'm rocking for all the naps when he's at work. I'm all for gentle parenting and cosleeping and all the rest of it, but I'm at the end of my rope, I'm crying every day from the strain of it all - no time to get things done in the evening or to spend with DH, baby is clearly tired and not getting enough sleep and now not eating well possibly 'cause she's so tired. Plus she's waking so often at night (even in our bed!) it's just a nightmare I'm so tired. My stress is clearly affecting my eldest (4yo) too; she's started really acting up.

Baby wants to bfeed at night a lot which I'm obliging but then she doesn't eat hardly ANYTHING during the day (occasional bite of solids is pretty much it despite my frequent offers of all kinds of food in all kinds of forms). I just feel like I've really messed her up. If I hadn't had her in my bed and also left her to fall asleep alone in her crib many months ago perhaps she'd by far better off now?? able to self-soothe and sleeping better?? but that's all in the past now...what can I do NOW to fix this??!?!! I can only think of CIO but it pains me to think of resorting to that....I know if I wait it out 'til she's older (18mo? 3yrs?) and we're able to reason with her better then eventually it would solve itself but I honestly don't feel like I can continue like this any longer...

Any advice? Ideas? Help!!!!!
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#2 of 5 Old 08-02-2010, 09:59 PM
 
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first of all... you haven't messed her up. you had a routine that was working well... and then it started to not work so well. it just means that it's time for a change. it's hard to give up old routines (especially when they were the only ones that worked in the past!), but it sounds like she's ready to move on and so are you... so now you have to try some new stuff to see what'll work for everyone now.

i think that nursing and rocking to sleep is amazing... until it doesn't work anymore. i was nursing my boys (i have twins) to sleep pretty much exclusively until about 15mos when i weaned (night time was the last to go, so it was night weaning and full-on weaning). whereas before they'd nurse to sleep and i could transfer them to their cribs no problem, it was just getting absurd. i'd be nursing them for 8 million years, then they'd wake up in like 10 minutes, and wake a bunch through the night (one more than the other). the boob wasn't the magic bullet it once was, yet there was absolutely no other way to get them to sleep (they'd SCREAM). i think the problem was that they didn't know how to mellow out without the prop (nursing in my case, rocking in yours). soooo.... you work on removing the prop, and finding something else cozy that works.

what i did was get them good and tired during the day, then lay with them at night in a very dark room. they bopped around and played and etc... but eventually fell asleep. the first night, they continued to wake as usual (expecting to nurse back down). i did everything but. they protested for sure... so i did everything i could to get them sleepy and relaxed to the point where they could fall asleep. one of my boys was tougher to mellow out than the other... so i resorted to letting him watch a movie at 3am once or twice, in bed with me, in the dark. i know others don't agree with that, but whatever gets you through the night at that point. anyway... the first night sucked really bad. the second night sucked a little less. and by the third or fourth or something (i forget exactly) they were sleeping pretty much through the night. they definitely started both STTN very soon after, and have been ever since (they're 18mos now). now... getting them to bed was a long, drawn-out pain for a long while. the laying with them thing worked for a bit, and then started to not work anymore, so i've had to find each kid's way of mellowing out. but i've been slowly working at it and now they fall asleep fairly easily usually. i have them on mattresses on the floor in their room, which they like immensely better than the cribs. oh, and they have a bedtime routine which i think helps a lot, too (dinner, bath, read, bed).

so yeah, sorry if this was so long-winded. hope i helped. please don't resort to CIO - it's not the answer. you just need to get her off the prop, and teach her how to mellow out without it. there will surely be crying involved, but at least you'll be there with her and she won't be alone in bed in the dark, know what i mean? it's just time for a change - you've done an amazing job so far... time to adapt to the new reality! good luck!
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#3 of 5 Old 08-03-2010, 12:24 AM
 
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My DD is 13 months, too, and we've had a very similar experience. At 8 months I tried moving her into her crib, fearing she would fall out of our bed during a nap, and hoping she would start sleeping longer stretches at night. For a week it seemed to be working, doing wonders for my relationship with DH. Then it stopped working. Whereas I used to nurse her to sleep in the glider and then move her to the bed, she began to resist falling asleep for fear of the crib. By the end of the second week, I gave up and bought bedrails for our bed--at least I wouldn't have to worry about her falling out. But the glider was done for; even post-crib, she refused to fall asleep in it. So now we hang out on the bed and read/play with books and nurse until she finally conks out. It takes a while, but at least it's relaxing. On the rare occasion that she refuses to settle down, I just go with the flow and skip the nap or push bedtime back until she's clearly tired--at some point, she'll need to sleep.

I'd still like her to sleep longer stretches, and looking back on previous attempts, I can see a pattern. I would decide not to nurse her each time she woke up--I'd rub her back and offer a pacifier instead. She'd cry and scream, but eventually she'd fall asleep. The first two nights would always be rough, but usually by the third I'd start to see progress. But then I'd get complacent, and if she woke early I'd nurse her right away. Before I knew it, we'd be back to nursing every 2-3 hours. So now I'm trying not to become complacent. And I got rid of the crib and put a futon mattress on the floor in her room, allowing me to continue laying with her as she falls asleep. It's only been three nights since we made the change, but she enjoys playing on the mattress, so at least she doesn't fear it.

Not sure if this helped. I just feel as though you described my situation to a T (minus all the rocking). I'm far from out of the woods myself, but I definitely think trying new things and giving them a fair shot are worth the crying they'll inevitably invite in the beginning.
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#4 of 5 Old 08-03-2010, 01:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks very much to dividedsky and adamom...you both provided very kind, thoughtful and sensible advice and I really appreciate it.

We decided to put the crib mattress on the floor in her room tonight. Instead of rocking we let her play in the room until she was very tired and then she eventually lay down and went to sleep with DH lying on the floor next to the mattress. She woke up 40mins later screaming but I lay on the floor next to the mattress and she went back to sleep fairly quickly. This is definitely an improvement. I wish she were in the safety of her crib but it's great that we didn't rock her this evening and she's not in our bed at risk of falling out.

I plan to bring her to our bed for the night as I'm scared to leave her free to roam in her own room when we're asleep....what do you do? Have a monitor on? Have a gate on the doorway to your child's room? (I didn't move my eldest to a bed 'til 2yearsold so it was a little less scary and we just had a gate at the top of the stairs) I don't want to leave the door closed as I'm scared of not hearing her during the night if she needs something.

Thanks again!
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#5 of 5 Old 08-16-2010, 03:19 PM
 
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Great advice from dividedsky and adamom, I will take it to heart as I figure out how to help my 14mo get and stay to sleep.

Momma-bear, we have had our DD sleep on a futon on the floor starting around 6 months old. Granted, our double futon is right next to hers so we are with her during the night, but I am totally comfortable with her there for naps and before we come to bed. I baby-proofed the room and use a monitor while she sleeps and I think it is as safe as can be. So for you I would baby-proof the room, use a monitor, and put a gate across her door and then I think you should feel very comfortable having her sleep out of a crib.
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