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#1 of 6 Old 09-02-2010, 10:17 PM - Thread Starter
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I am at the end of my rope and need advice. My DS is 15 months. He has always been a pretty crappy sleeper, difficult to get down, wakes very easily. Hasn't nursed to sleep since he was a newborn. Lately, though, our evening "routine" (for lack of a better term) is driving me batty. It takes more than an hour-- usually 1.5 or even 2-- to get him to bed. He's this weird combination of very tired and hyper/ keyed up. I don't know what's going on, I can't even remember when this started. Three weeks ago? A month ago? Half an hour to 45 minutes was more usual, before. The only way he'll go to sleep is with me laying down next to him, arms around him. He sleeps in our bed.

I think part of the problem is nursing. Used to be, I'd nurse him the usual amount/ length of time, then sing to him, then lay down together. Sometimes he'd pop back up, so we'd repeat the singing/ rocking/ laying down bit, but eventually he'd drop off. Now, he only nurses for maybe a minute, then pulls off (usually biting me first with his new teeth ) to crawl around the bed/ stand up and fall down/ climb the wall/ whatever. After awhile he'll start getting cranky, at which point I try to nurse him again (b/c he has GOT to be hungry, right?); repeat for ninety freaking minutes. Each time he nurses he gets more serious about it, but it's like 4-5 times. I have NO IDEA why this is happening.

Right now he's with his dad, screaming his head off, the equivelent of letting him CIO. It's after 9:00pm. I started putting him down at 7. I'm just so at these so-called child-sleep gurus that insist that as long as you let your kid sleep in bed with you, you won't HAVE any sleep problems. I've read Sears, Gordon, Three in a Bed, Our Babies, Ourselves. SO MISLEADING. I seriously wish I'd just gotten him used to sleeping in a crib when he was tiny, so that he never knew anything else. My days and nights are ruled by his sleep or lack thereof.

Anyway, here are some other info bits that may be needed:

Our usual 'schedule' looks like this:

Up at 7:30am or so.
Morning nap from 10:00-11:00am
Lunch @ 12:00
Afternoon nap from 2-2:30 to 3-3:30pm.
Dinner @ 5pm-ish
Bedtime @ 7:00pm

He wakes up at the same time in the morning, regardless of any other factors. If we keep him up later, he still gets up at 7:30 but is grumpier.

Keeping him up later doesn't help: twice in the last week we kept him up till 9:00 just to see if it would help. Still took over an hour to put him down, and b/c he still got up usual time, just got less sleep.

Skipping his afternoon nap-- tried that twice (both times b/c he took an unsually long morning nap, once 1 hr 20 min, once 2 hours (but I slept with him)-- he went down a bit easier at bedtime but that last two hours of the day was simply hell to pay, not worth it.

He finally got his first teeth in about a month ago, at 14 months, four at once. His other top two incisors are coming through, but I can't see them making this much of an effect for this long.

Please, give me some suggestions for fixing this before I do some kind of remedial crate training or something.


Mara, mama to two boys born 05/2009 and 04/2011, after four miscarriages. 

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#2 of 6 Old 09-03-2010, 12:27 AM
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I am right there with you. I came on here to post a similiar question. We for a while had the taking two hours to go to sleep phase.

My son always sleeps longer if I stay in with him, but I don't want to always stay in with him.

For naps, I end up with him waking up every 45 minutes and I have to nurse him back to sleep, which he won't always do.

My son too is nursing and then trying to get up and roam the bed to find a comfortable spot, but that just wakes him up. So I end up holding him next to me with him crying for a period of time, to then try to nurse him to sleep. Sometimes its pull of and try to get away and then try to nurse to sleep again. I too am frustrated with this routine. I find myself in there laying in bed with him, sometimes just yelling at him to "go to sleep". I know it doesn't do anything, I am just so frustrated. Dad doesn't help with nightime- he can't handle the crying. He hasn't put our son to sleep but once in the last year, which still was him crying himself to sleep, just with daddy next to him.

I write to let you know that I understand you frustration, and also ask: PLEASE SOMEBODY HELP US!!! What is going on and how can we get our babies to go to sleep?

I spend three hours a day working on nursing my son to sleep!! Yes, I end up napping with him too but I am now at a full of year of having NO BREAKS from this process. Just better days and worse days. I don't want to drop him in a crib and CIO. What is the gentle way for both of us to fix this?

I am tired of the response: "probably teething or learning a new skill. Once they pass through it they will go to sleep easier." It's true but it only works for a week or two and then we are right back to taking forever to go to sleep. Is there anyway to get past this easier?

My son is 20 months.
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#3 of 6 Old 09-03-2010, 12:26 PM
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WeasleyMum, I'm wondering if maybe your son is getting ready to go down to one nap a day instead of two. My DD started having a really tough time going to sleep for the night when she was dropping a nap. I know you said skipping the afternoon nap doesn't help, but when my DD does this, her schedule is so discombobulated that once she drops the nap, it takes a while for things to regulate so that she's back into a routine. Also, it's possible that when he takes a long morning nap and then skips the afternoon one, he gets so tired during the long afternoon that by bedtime he is overtired and then that makes it harder to get to sleep. Basically what I would do is for several days, watch him really closely and note every time he shows signs of being tired (yawning, rubbing eyes, etc.). Try to get him down to sleep immediately when he shows those signs. That might help you figure out a daily routine that will work better in terms of naps and bedtime.

I totally agree with you about the sleep gurus who insist that cosleeping is the answer to all sleep problems. There are kids who just are crappy sleepers. I find that people do NOT understand what it's like unless they have had a kid like that. Cosleeping does make things easier, but for many kids it isn't going to fix the issue. There are plenty of people who insist that getting a child used to sleeping in a crib early on will prevent a lot of sleep problems, but honestly IMO crib sleeping doesn't fix it any more than cosleeping does. I'm just about at the point of accepting that I can do some things that will help a little, but nothing I can do will magically turn my DD into a good sleeper until she reaches that developmental point on her own.

Also, I have to say that I don't think allowing a child to cry in a parent's loving arms is the same thing as abandoning them in a room by themselves to CIO. There have been times when we've resorted to that because if DH wasn't able to help with nighttime parenting, I was going to lose my mind. I certainly wouldn't do it with a newborn, of course.

HaywardMama, I'm not sure what to tell you except that my DD used to be a lot worse about waking all the time during naps and sleeping longer when I was with her. It has taken a LONG time, but we have seen some gradual improvement. What I did was consistently give her the opportunity to sleep in a room on her own--even if it meant I had to go in there and help her get back to sleep 4-5 times in the first couple hours of the night. The other thing was, I got DH to help with the nighttime parenting. That way she had the opportunity to learn that she didn't need me (or nursing) to get back to sleep. It did involve sometimes allowing her to cry for short periods of time in her daddy's arms with him comforting her (again, IMO not the same as CIO).

Just a couple more thoughts for both of you: have you tried putting your LOs in carriers and wearing them down? I have a friend who does that and it seems to work well. And have you looked at the No-Cry Sleep Solution? It didn't totally fix things for us, but there were some strategies that we tried that helped a little bit.

Living the good life and walking a path of peace with DH and DD (4/09)
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#4 of 6 Old 09-05-2010, 12:12 PM
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Having A DD that has had sleep issues, I don't know that there is an actual "solution." There may be some things that make it a bit better, but it may be hard for a while. One thing that may help is actually putting him to bed a little earlier. You wrote about him seeming both really active and sleepy at the same time. I know for my DD this usually means I missed her "sleep window"- a time where she is more likely to fall asleep with less struggles. If I miss this window with her it usually means that we're in for a 1-2 (or more) hour long struggle to get to sleep instead of 1/2-1 hour. Try moving bed time ahead a half an hour or so. Also at that age my DD was down to one nap (b/c of daycare schedule and her being in a room with older kids due to her fast development). I was concerned that we'd have issues with her at one nap, but it actually helped after a month or so-one nap around 12-2, and we moved her bed time up to 6:30-7:00. She went to sleep really well on this schedule at that age. Perhaps some of the easiest sleep we ever had ; ). Hang in there, its so tough when they don't sleep. We got used to this schedule working and then at about 19-20 months she started struggling again and it was really frustrating. I get really frustrated with trying to help her get to sleep for hours at night, and the crying, hitting, biting, jumping on the bed is enough to put me over the edge. Luckily my hubby shares bedtime duties (we swap every other night or so). The last week she has shortened her nap to 45 mins and has been going down a little easier (about an hour), so I think she may drop naps altogether earlier than most. Lots of hugs!
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#5 of 6 Old 09-05-2010, 12:35 PM
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I think I agree with Lilygoose. You could try dropping one nap and bringing bedtime forward a little? Personally I'd be tempted to try and drop the morning nap, so I didn't have a grumpy kid to deal with in the afternoon, but I don't know if this will work for you?

If nursing to sleep isn't working (it doesn't sound as though he's deriving much comfort from it) I'd also be firm about dropping it. Or nurse downstairs (as his supper) then take him up to bed. They do get good at delaying tactics - one more story, one more song, one more drink.

I have a kid who often needs help to get to sleep so I do feel your pain. Only thing that helps is a very strict bedtime routine - bath, supper, teeth, stories, bed with a cuddle and a song. Things have definitely improved, there are still nights when we can be in and out for up to an hour but it is much improved.

Hang in there!
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#6 of 6 Old 09-05-2010, 04:43 PM
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I agree to drop a nap, but realize that you won't see an immediate difference each day. It'll take a month of going back and forth, and some cranky evenings. Don't drop the morning or afternoon exactly, but try to keep him up later in the morning, put him down when he's about to drop. Only put him down for a second nap if the first was early and the second is before 2 or 3. Don't watch the clock, it'll drive you crazy because there is no pattern when they're transitioning. Slowly the first nap moves later on it's own. DD dropped to one at 13mo, and bedtime got so much easier. She's never been a long napper, but she does fine on one 30min - 1hr nap.

mom to DD 3/09
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