Desperate! I am losing it. How can I make this child sleep? - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-02-2011, 03:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am at my wits' end. Well, really I was at my wits' end months ago. I don't know what to do. Our DS is 12 months and has co-slept at night with us from day 1.  He HATES going to sleep! He fights it as if it were life or death. We have to walk him to sleep, no rocking, no sitting allowed, and then we sneak him into his crib. He has never voluntarily laid down and gone to sleep. When he was smaller we had to put him in the Ergo and bounce on an exercise ball. I still do that from time to time. I can no longer spend an hour walking/nursing/soothing him for a half-hour nap. It's too much!! I get irritated and feel trapped. If I move just a little the wrong way, then boom he's awake again. Often times if I start to lay him in the crib he keeps his eyes closed and reaches up for me, instinctively knowing what is happening even though he's asleep. Sometimes he will allow a nap in our bed but then I have to lay there with him and I need to get stuff done when he's asleep (plus I need some time away from him)  All this work to get him to sleep and he only sleeps for a half-hour. The whole day feels hijacked by the need for naps. I want to start teaching him to fall asleep on his own. 

 

At night we start him off in his crib and then move him up with us when he wakes around 11pm or so. Sometimes he transitions to the bed easily, sometimes he is up for 2 hours in the middle of the night, super hyper and unwilling to stay in the bed. We've found no pattern. Maybe teeth pain, who knows. 

 

He cries like we are murdering him when it's nap time. He cries when he knows it's bedtime and he feels the ritual starting. He cries when he's in our arms and being soothed. He HATES the thought of sleep. 

But he cries just as hard when he wakes up and doesn't want to go back to sleep in our bed. Sometimes he just nurses for a few minutes and then drifts off to sleep on his own, no problem. But co-sleeping does not always make him drift off peacefully. Often we have to get up and walk him then too. I feel like if he isn't sleeping well with us, then why are we doing it? After a night with him up all night, kicking and crying and throwing himself around, chewing on me, slapping me in the face, I think "why am I co-sleeping? He's not appreciating it. He's miserable".

 

Shouldn't I just push through and teach him to sleep in his crib? But how do I teach him that? I read all the sleep books, and none of that stuff works with him. He will scream for hours, there is no end to it. I always give in first. I just tried to put him in his crib for a nap without walking him to sleep first. He was super tired. I put him in the crib, he wailed, turned red, started shaking, lost his voice screaming. All while I was right there talking, singing, soothing, rubbing his back. I can't leave him alone crying, but I bring him no comfort just being there. After I could take no more, I picked him up and he fell asleep in seconds in my arms literally, seconds.

 

I feel like we are only teaching him to fall asleep in our arms. We can't keep it up. We are both physically exhausted from all the walking and fussing and crying. DS now lurches and arches and I am afraid I will drop him. At night when he won't sleep, I don't know what to do with him. He wants to be held, he won't allow me to sit down, but I am so tired. Where do I put him? I can't walk forever. I want out of the arrangement, but how?  Each time I feel like he is making progress, he regresses in a major way and we have a wicked week. I am losing all my belief in my parenting abilities. I am fighting with my DH because we don't know what to do. I feel resentment when my DH takes him up and naps with him in our bed b/c I feel like it's a step backward and the easy way out.  I don't even know what direction I am headed in. I need a plan!

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Old 05-02-2011, 04:39 PM
 
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Oh my goodness.  I could have written your first paragraph!  My DD is the exact same way.  I have to walk her to sleep, no sitting, and she usually won't nurse to sleep any more either unless she is really tired. 


I too spend an hour or more getting her to sleep, and she only naps for thirty minutes!  It is maddening.  I feel like my whole day is an endless do-loop of trying to get her to sleep.  DD is 12 months and I have kept on for the last year thinking surely she will outgrow this by a year old.  But there is no end in sight.  anyway, I have no advice for you, but I will be very interested to see the comments. And I wanted to let you know I am in the same situation.  :(

 

 

 

 

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Old 05-02-2011, 07:07 PM
 
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hugs to both of you.  i wish i had an answer, but i actually came here looking for one.  we are going through the same thimg with 10 mo DD.  it is a nightmare andso frustrating.  it makes me so resentful of moms with babies that sleep well.  It's a good thing shes so darn cute!!  I hope you are able to find a solution.


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Old 05-03-2011, 12:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Moonmama and Sacredpresence for your kind words of support. Now that I vented, I feel less hopeless. 

 

I am bummed no one had any advice to offer us! Come on Mothering.com community, I know there is wisdom out there somewhere.

 

I think this is going to be the way he is for quite awhile. I also thought that around 12 months he would grow out of it. I guess not. 

 

How many hours of sleep a day do your kids get? Maybe our kids need less sleep than the average. Just a thought.

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Old 05-03-2011, 02:26 PM
 
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I was at least hoping to hear from some BTDT moms who say their kid outgrew it at some point and all is well!!  Anyone???   I did have one idea, GreenbankMom, that helps me sometimes. I put a limit on how long I am willing to spend putting her down to sleep. If 20 minutes or so passes and she is still not sleeping or at least well on her way there, I give up and we go play for a while longer. Sometimes she only gets one nap during the day. I think we might be in a weird transition phase where she is dropping to only one nap, but it's probably going to take a couple more months before it's over, I'm guessing. She's always been this way, but it gets worse when she is about to drop a nap. Honestly I will be glad when she goes to one nap because then I will only have to get her to sleep once during the day. Oh, and YES, I do think my kid needs less sleep than most. So many times I have heard or read that babies need to be sleeping X number of hours, or napping X number of hours during the day, but DD is always below that number. She has NEVER napped more than 20-30 minutes at a time until very recently she will sometimes take a one hour nap. And so often I would hear, oh she's not getting enough sleep! When I have been very protective of her sleep, always making sure we are home for naps, consistent routine, etc. Right now she's sleeping 1.5-2 hours napping during the day, usually 2 naps. At night it's about 10 hours, although lately she has been AWAKE for several hours in the middle of the night (ugh!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Old 05-03-2011, 08:35 PM
 
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OMG, I came on here for the SAME THING too!!!  My DD is 10 months old and its the SAME story.  My DS was never like this except for isolated growth spurt days...this is ridiculous.  Where are the mamas with the answers!


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Old 05-08-2011, 09:31 PM
 
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Not too much advice, but I can say it does get better. DS #1 didn't sleep for longer than 45 minutes EVER for 18 months in a row. Now he's 8, sleeps like a rock for about 10 hours a night. He still has a hard time falling asleep though, and something that helped me when I was desperate was learning that for some kids, the transition from sleep-wake-sleep is extremely scary and difficult. DS also cried EVERY time he woke up in the am's until he was about 3 1/2, and I still lay with him to help him sleep. 

 

Some kids just have a really really hard time with sleep. 

 

I think three things saved my sanity when ds was really young. 

I stopped wearing a watch (so that I wasn't checking it all night)

I got DH to take baby in the morning whenever possible to let me sleep for an hour or two uninterrupted. 

We stopped trying to put ds to bed early and just accepted that he was a night owl. 

 

I can tell you that as desperate as I was then, I am ever so glad that I didn't let him cry by himself to sleep. He always knew we were there for him.

 

Hope it helps, just a little. :)

 

Anno

 

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Old 05-09-2011, 08:01 PM
 
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canadiangranola, that does help!  although, I'm curious... how did you ever come to a place where you wanted to have another baby after enduring the sleep problems?!  Sometimes I think I could never have another one because i don't want to go through the sleep deprivation again!

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Old 05-09-2011, 08:27 PM
 
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I am (hopefully) approaching the end of this problem with my second child, and I have been sleep deprived for over 4 years between my two children.  It does get better, but with my kids, I just had to wait it out.  My dd was a horrible sleeper, especially at night.  Ds has been a little better, but still I had most of the problems you expressed.  You are getting close to the age where I started changing some things.

 

I totally do the time thing.  Give myself a time limit so I can see the end in sight.  "If it doesn't work by x time, I'm going to ____ (put him in the crib for 5 minutes, sit and rock in the chair even if he cries, put him in the stroller and go for a walk/run, drive somewhere in the car, lie down with him in bed even if he protests)."  And yes, I tried all of those things and many more.

 

Bouncing on the exercise ball, or rocking in the chair even if he wanted to be walking saved me because my back can't take all that walking when they get so heavy.

 

By 17 months I was transitioning my kids to sleeping in their own bed or crib.  It was tough, there were tears and screaming, etc.  But at that age, they weren't scared -- mad, but not scared.

By 18 months I was night weaning my kids, which did help with the waking in the night -- but didn't solve the problem entirely.

 

Ds is 20 months now, and I only walk him for 5 minutes.  Then we have to sit and rock or lie down.  Bed time isn't usually an issue, but the middle of the night often is.  He will have a series of 3-7 bad nights, some of them with us awake for 3 hours in the night, followed by a string of 3-7 good nights.  Actually, I don't know if we've ever had a solid week of good nights.

 

Dd is 4 and very rarely wakes in the night.  Bedtime is almost always super easy, and she usually sleeps like a rock all night long.  When she was 3 she would still wake occasionally for 1-3 hours in the night, but it was very rare by then.  By 2 or 2.5 she was really sleeping much, much better, with most bedtimes being easy, and wakings becoming much rarer and shorter.

 

I know that must seem like forever to you.  6-9 months seems like a really long time for me to wait for my ds to be a good sleeper, but it is good to know that it will get better.  He has been better than dd at most every stage, so I am hopeful that the end is (relatively) in sight.

 

Sorry I don't have a cure for you.  I went to the store (15 minutes away) at 3:40am today because ds was up for 3 hours for the second night in a row and was crying so much dd woke up and couldn't go back to sleep -- I had to get ds out of the house so dh and dd could sleep.  Not to mention I was losing my mind!  I know we'll have a good night in the next few days, though, and that helps too.

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Old 05-09-2011, 09:19 PM
 
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I remember telling my mom once that if she told me one more time "this too shall pass" I would scream!  Turns out it was the best advise, and mom was right. Having been through 2 kiddos w/ sleep issues, this is what I've learned:

 

1) Sleep is not a state of being that you can force anyone into.  I say this as an insomniac myself.

 

2) Dairy intolerance can cause infant insomnia (proven in double-blind medical studies, actually), and some kids' only symptom of the intolerance is insomnia.  Check out the Mothering allergies forum for help if this might be even a remote possibility.

 

3) Separation anxiety at bedtime can also be an issue.  My current babe will go to bed for everyone else (my mom, dh) but me b/c separating from mamma is so hard for him.  I'm praying this passes as we move out of the separation anxiety stage that lasts from 8-14months.

 

4) Some kids are just active/alerts.  Wearing them out physically with a lot of outdoor time during the day can help.

 

5) Some kids are light sleepers and are incredibly sensitive to light, sound, sheet texture, pajama tags, room temp, etc.. and you won't find out until they are older and can talk how very sensitive they are to something you wouldn't even consider to be an issue.

 

6) Teething can cause wakefulness and sleep resistance esp. before teeth even break through the gums -- that is when they are popping through the bone in the jaw.  Molars and canines are the worst, IMO.

 

7) It gets better.

 

Good luck!  Hope you had a nice Mother's Day!  *hugs*

 

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Old 05-09-2011, 09:29 PM
 
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Well, I've never had it quite as bad as you mamas, but we did go through a really rough, up almost every night for 2-4 hours phase, starting at about 13 months.  It lasted for about 4 months.   We had just moved, I had just gone back to school, and he was in the process of transitioning to one nap, so a lot was going on.  I felt like I was flailing around wildly trying different tactics to help us all sleep better.  In the end, the things that helped the most were a regular wake up time, not going out of the bedroom when he woke up at night, and getting outside, even though it was the dead of winter. 

 

I had been letting him sleep in for as long as he would after the bad nights, and I was desperate for more sleep in the morning too, but this would throw our entire routine off kilter, and I suck at routines to begin with.  So, I decided one day to set my alarm clock and get up at the same time each day.  It was a rough night, with a long waking, so I planned nap time about 1/2 hour earlier and took it with him.  This helped after just a couple days. 

 

I had been getting up and bouncing him on a ball in the middle of the night when he woke, because that is our routine for naps and bedtime.  But in the middle of the night, it would take forever, sometimes 2 hours, even if I didn't let him roll around the bed for too long first.  It just seemed like he wouldn't go to sleep without it.  But I decided to try and keep things in the bedroom, in the dark (I bounced in front of the computer in the living room so I wouldn't get too bored and impatient.)  When he woke up and couldn't get back to sleep, he would cry and beg for "mau" (his word for the mei tai/bouncing).  I just kept laying him down (we cosleep), telling him "sorry, but it's night time, all done mau" and offering the breast.  I'd change him/take him potty in the little potty right by the bed if he needed it, but I wouldn't let him get up and play or leave the bedroom.  He would nurse while rolling all over me, tweaking my other nipple, and generally making it impossible for me to even doze a little.  But after 2 or 3 hours, he would finally calm down and nurse more politely, and finally finally fall asleep without the bouncing.  After a week or two of no sleeping in and no bouncing in the middle of the night, and getting out in the daylight, the long wakes mostly disappeared. 

 

He is 21 months now, we still bounce to sleep for naps and bedtime, and still cosleep.  He's not sleeping through the night yet, but he did recently start sleeping the first 3-4 hours by himself; I'm planning to nightwean and try gently cutting out the bounce routine this summer to see if it helps.  He only very rarely has a long wake in the middle of the night now, and it's always when our routine is significantly disrupted.  His long wakes usually aren't more than 2 hours now, and he doesn't beg to  bounce anymore, because he knows we don't do that in the middle of the night now. 

 

Good luck tired mamas, hopefully something here helps you!


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Old 05-09-2011, 09:42 PM
 
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Hi, I dont have experience with sleep issues, my LO naps well and nurses down to sleep - he still gets up 3 - 4 times a night to nurse BUT after reading your post ...i am just fine with that!!        but i DID have one idea that MIGHT be helpful regarding nap time - have you tried wearing your baby for a nap?   Sometimes when my LO is up late and i am just tired of having three children - i put him in the ring sling - sometimes take a walk around the block...sometimes just do the laundry and get some chores done in the house - i would imagine it would be hard to get a sleep sensitive baby OUT of the sling or wrap and into a crib...but i know some mommies who just wear baby for the whole nap.   Sorry i dont mean to step on toes - just thought id mention it....


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Old 05-10-2011, 07:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angelorum View Post

Well, I've never had it quite as bad as you mamas, but we did go through a really rough, up almost every night for 2-4 hours phase, starting at about 13 months.  It lasted for about 4 months.   We had just moved, I had just gone back to school, and he was in the process of transitioning to one nap, so a lot was going on.  I felt like I was flailing around wildly trying different tactics to help us all sleep better.  In the end, the things that helped the most were a regular wake up time, not going out of the bedroom when he woke up at night, and getting outside, even though it was the dead of winter. 

 

I had been letting him sleep in for as long as he would after the bad nights, and I was desperate for more sleep in the morning too, but this would throw our entire routine off kilter, and I suck at routines to begin with.  So, I decided one day to set my alarm clock and get up at the same time each day.  It was a rough night, with a long waking, so I planned nap time about 1/2 hour earlier and took it with him.  This helped after just a couple days. 

 


I read this around 3:30 this morning -- yes, a third night in a row of ds's marathon waking.  Thank  you for the idea of waking him up in the morning.  I always tried to help him get as much sleep as possible in hopes that the sleep begets sleep philosophy applied to our situation.  But, it also makes sense to have him be as tired as I am, so maybe he'll sleep better at night.

 

Dd woke me up 20 minutes ago, and I am screwing up the courage to drag ds out of bed.  I know he'll be a bear -- that is, if I can even wake him.  Sometimes he is really hard to wake up (something I rarely do).

 

I have also tried just lying with him in our bed, or holding him while singing a song and then putting him back in his crib (the end of our bedtime routine).  So far that hasn't worked very well for us, but some nights I can do it.  If I let him scream and cry too much, he sometimes wakes 4yo dd, and then she can't go back to sleep and we are in a real pickle.  So, I find myself trying really hard to keep him quiet, which is a bummer.  I think if I wasn't afraid to let him rage we might get through this phase more quickly.

 

Here's hoping my mama can take dd for naptime so I can sleep with ds!
 

 

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Old 05-10-2011, 10:43 AM
 
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yeah, it's a hard decision to make when you know that the baby didn't get enough sleep.  But knowing going into it that he's going to be grumpy helped me take it in stride until nap time. 

 

I don't have any other kids to worry about ds's noise in the night, I'm sure that would  complicate things.  Maybe you could put some white noise in your 4 yo's room, so she's less likely to wake if the baby gets noisy?


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