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At my wits end....


23 replies to this topic

#1 mandy1973

Posted 15 December 2012 - 10:34 PM

I have an almost 8 month old who has never been a fantastic sleeper, she has had a couple of short periods where she has slept through, but they have been short lived. Her new thing is to settle, then wake half an hour later and then be awake for hours!
Last night she was awake from 8:15 until midnight, and tonight she is doing the same again. She is completely wide awake and as soon as we try and put her down she screams like the world is coming to an end. Our 3 year old can't get to sleep because his sister is screaming, and as i work mainly nights this is becoming a major concern for us all.
I'm seriously considering trying controlled crying, but I'm worried how i get my 3 year old to sleep through it - small house, bedrooms close together and a 3 year old who isn't a terrific sleeper either.
So, just wondering if anyone has had similar issues, and would love any tips you could give me.

#2 mummaorange

Posted 15 December 2012 - 10:43 PM

I'm sorry all I can suggest is sleep school. As for tonight, find a big sheet, wrap her tightly and rock her.. That is my emergency routine xx

#3 HurryUpAlready

Posted 15 December 2012 - 11:41 PM

Control crying worked a treat for our DD at 6 months. She slept through on the first night and every night after that. Day sleeps improved too.

She now goes to sleep at 7pm on the dot without a peep, wakes at 5am for a feed, then back to sleep til about 6.30am.

On the odd occasion that she does cry when going to bed, (several times this week, for some reason), I don't always leave her to cry. But I certainly do once I establish that nothing is wrong & she is just trying it on!!

It works OP. I sought the advice of all my mummy friends prior to trying it with DD. They all recommended it (bar one, who did it with her daughter - and it worked - but she now feels bad about it).

Other than that, I suggest sleep school, quick smart!

Good luck.



#4 smum

Posted 16 December 2012 - 03:47 AM

8 Months is still so young & could be a number of reasons she is not wanting to go down now, being put in a room alone is just one of them. Infants undergo many developmental shifts as they grow, one of these changes is understanding separation, which many parents say happens between 6-12mths. Teething/ discomfort is also something that could be waking your baby & be unsettled.

Have you considered or tried laying down in your bed with bub to see if she is more content with that? Is it just a need for close nurtured sleep she is after?...which is a normal sleep need of all infants. If you dont want to bring bub into your bed perhaps consider bringing your cot into your room for a while, either pushed up against your side of the bed with the side on or off (side car), of just against a wall in your room.

You might find the book 'No Cry Sleep Solutions' by Elizabeth Pantley helpful, or even "Sleeping like a baby' by Pink McKay

Here is a great link on infant sleep http://www.isisonline.org.uk/

Good luck mumma, its hard when you have to work too. There are always reasons & needs behind our infants behaviour, listen to her communications & listen to what your instinct tells you.


#5 Madnesscraves

Posted 16 December 2012 - 04:49 AM

Maybe she doesn't like being alone?  Maybe you can try putting siblings together inthe room to sleep?

Is the room completely dark? If so maybe she wants a night light. If you have one maybe she wants it off.

#6 daturah

Posted 16 December 2012 - 09:03 AM

As much as  many here may disagree, I recommend Elizabeth Sloane's 'The Gift of Sleep' and Tizzie Hall's 'Save Our Sleep'. It is literally one to three nights of consistency and allowing to cry in return for highly predictable sleep patterns both day and night.  I started when I couldn't bear the three-times nightly waking my then six-month old was doing.  He's a very happy nine month old now, and we are all happy because we are all getting enough sleep now.

Tizzy in particular is a bit of a nutter around routine, but I found being consistent with timing for a week was all it took, and then we could be a bit more relaxed. It was completely worth the short term pain for us.

#7 Feral-as-Meggs

Posted 16 December 2012 - 09:08 AM

You don't say what her day sleeps are like, but could it be something as simple as making sure she doesn't nap too late (say 330?) and making sure the evening is not too stimulating (so for example no TV, dimmer lighting, quieter play).  

Forgive me if you've tried that.

#8 Kitty Fantastico

Posted 16 December 2012 - 09:15 AM

It sounds like separation anxiety to me. She obviously settles ok to start with, right? But when she wakes, she freaks out because you're not around. Is she happy when she's awake? Or grouchy? I too would look at day sleeps, and comforting her. She's probably going through a developmental change, crawling perhaps? Whatever you do, be consistent. If you try to resettle her in her room half the time, but get her up the other half, it'll just confuse her.

#9 FeralProudSwahili

Posted 16 December 2012 - 09:20 AM

It's completely normal behaviour for an 8 month old. I would recommend Elizabeth Pantley's book. Sleep school (along the lines of CC), Tizzie Hall, controlled crying- all are inappropriate and cruel IMO. I'd look at whether she's teething and rejigging her nap times and seeing if that helps.

#10 ~Supernova~

Posted 16 December 2012 - 09:49 AM

My 9mth old has always been a crap sleeper, but lately he has gotten even worse, so I feel your pain. For him it is partly separation anxiety, and partly teeth (and probably partly him just being a difficult little toad lol). We brought him into our bed (well side car style), which hasn't solved the problem, but means we all get a bit more sleep.

I did CC with DD, and while she ended up sleeping through, I regretted it immensely. She was definitely not the same affectionate baby she was beforehand. So yeah...even at my worst moments where I curse and cry and insist we will be doing CC, it isn't going to happen here.

But yes, it is normal. Prime age for sleep to get even worse...

#11 Feral-as-Meggs

Posted 16 December 2012 - 12:11 PM

QUOTE (Swahili @ 16/12/2012, 10:20 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It's completely normal behaviour for an 8 month old. I would recommend Elizabeth Pantley's book. Sleep school (along the lines of CC), Tizzie Hall, controlled crying- all are inappropriate and cruel IMO. I'd look at whether she's teething and rejigging her nap times and seeing if that helps.


I don't have a lot of respect for TH (her routines start too young and her breastfeeding advice is bizarre) but to say sleep school is cruel is a foolish irresponsible statement.  

The families who are admitted to public system sleep schools/mother-baby units require a medical referral, screening and usually a long waiting list.   You usually have a day stay beforehand.   The admission involves a paediatric and psychological assessment.  Parents have usually tried cosleeping and gentle methods and are usually way past the end of their tether and at risk of all sorts of issues without intervention.  

People who say that places like Tresillian saved their lives are not joking.  It's irresponsible to dismiss it as cruel.  Like all medical intervention it has its place.

#12 daturah

Posted 16 December 2012 - 08:16 PM

I agree Tizzie's routines start too young. No way could I have followed a routine before 6 months. When I was tired of all the night time shenanigans at around 6 months though, on reading Tizzie's book, I found we were just about in her suggested routine anyway (bar the night time sleep-throughs). It wasn't much of a stretch at all to tweak a few things, and things became immeasurably better after that.
My baby is as affectionate and lovely as he's always been, and is very happy when it's bedtime nowadays (he smiles, giggles, turns his head on the side and drifts off to sleep on his own without any upset). It has worked very well for us.  Not for everyone (like with anything really), but if a friend of mine with a baby was at their wit's end when it came to night time waking, I would certainly recommend giving it a committed, consistent try, at least.

#13 **Anna**

Posted 16 December 2012 - 08:29 PM

QUOTE (smum @ 16/12/2012, 04:47 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
8 Months is still so young & could be a number of reasons she is not wanting to go down now, being put in a room alone is just one of them. Infants undergo many developmental shifts as they grow, one of these changes is understanding separation, which many parents say happens between 6-12mths. Teething/ discomfort is also something that could be waking your baby & be unsettled.

Have you considered or tried laying down in your bed with bub to see if she is more content with that? Is it just a need for close nurtured sleep she is after?...which is a normal sleep need of all infants. If you dont want to bring bub into your bed perhaps consider bringing your cot into your room for a while, either pushed up against your side of the bed with the side on or off (side car), of just against a wall in your room.

You might find the book 'No Cry Sleep Solutions' by Elizabeth Pantley helpful, or even "Sleeping like a baby' by Pink McKay

Here is a great link on infant sleep http://www.isisonline.org.uk/

Good luck mumma, its hard when you have to work too. There are always reasons & needs behind our infants behaviour, listen to her communications & listen to what your instinct tells you.


Wonderful post. Thank you.

#14 FeralProudSwahili

Posted 16 December 2012 - 09:47 PM

QUOTE (meggs1 @ 16/12/2012, 01:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't have a lot of respect for TH (her routines start too young and her breastfeeding advice is bizarre) but to say sleep school is cruel is a foolish irresponsible statement.  

The families who are admitted to public system sleep schools/mother-baby units require a medical referral, screening and usually a long waiting list.   You usually have a day stay beforehand.   The admission involves a paediatric and psychological assessment.  Parents have usually tried cosleeping and gentle methods and are usually way past the end of their tether and at risk of all sorts of issues without intervention.  

People who say that places like Tresillian saved their lives are not joking.  It's irresponsible to dismiss it as cruel.  Like all medical intervention it has its place.


My experience with Tresillian was that it was cruel. It was CC, dressed up in a different name. I'm well aware of what they do and I would not recommend them with a clear conscience.

#15 Feral-as-Meggs

Posted 17 December 2012 - 09:13 AM

QUOTE (Swahili @ 16/12/2012, 10:47 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My experience with Tresillian was that it was cruel. It was CC, dressed up in a different name. I'm well aware of what they do and I would not recommend them with a clear conscience.


There's already a long thread on here with the precise definition of controlled crying (which is timed) which is not what they do at Tresillian, so I won't go over that again.

I wouldn't recommend it either unless everything else had been tried, medical causes for the sleep problems had been ruled out, and the parents were (as I was) in a very dark place indeed through extreme lack of sleep/lack of support.  Sometimes you have to chose the lesser of two evils.  What if your advice stopped someone seeking help.

#16 Guest_divineM_*

Posted 17 December 2012 - 09:43 AM

Agree meggs1. my DD"s sleeping issues were the root of my PND and have caused me what I consider long term (hopefully not permanent, but we'll see...) trauma. before seeking professional help she actually did lots of crying at sleep time with me in the room! after some (gentle) sleep training I had a different baby and she had a much better mum to take care of her needs when awake.

#17 Natttmumm

Posted 17 December 2012 - 09:53 AM

I think sleep school was great.sure there was a bit of crying involved but sounds like your DD is crying anyway. It wasn't controlled crying as in timing the crying or leaving them to cry it out.
It helped DD1 but it wasn't a fix all solution. She still woke a few times a night and was difficult during the day. But it did stop the 10 wakes up per night which was sending me into depression.

#18 Loz07

Posted 17 December 2012 - 04:02 PM

Hi OP

My DD is only 4mo so I haven't been in your situation (although she is a fall-asleep-then-wake-half-hour-later baby, but it's normally a short lived wake), but some thoughts:
When she wakes, is she happily awake/wanting to play, or grympy? If happy, maybe she isn't tired enough and her naps and/or bed time need re-adjusting. Or is she reaching a new milestone that she wants to practice?
If grumpy, is she teething? Hungry? Overtired (bedtime too late?)? Separation anxiety? Hot/cold, all those sorts of things...

How does she settle in the evening? Is she put down asleep, self settles, are you in the room? As some PPs said, is it possible she's waking looking for you? Is feeding/cuddling/rocking to sleep (just to get her TO sleep) an option?

You asked for tips about CC with a toddler... I personally am not a fan of CC type methods, but I'm not in your situtation. And from what I do know, it's not recommended before 6mo but you're past that. As for how to do it with a toddler - is there a grandparent/aunt etc who your toddler can have a weekend sleepover with for the first couple of nights? Also, if you do go that way, I would try to have a week at home where you can be really consistent, which might be better after christmas (depending on your plans)

Good luck

#19 FeralProudSwahili

Posted 21 December 2012 - 11:05 PM

QUOTE (meggs1 @ 17/12/2012, 10:13 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
There's already a long thread on here with the precise definition of controlled crying (which is timed) which is not what they do at Tresillian, so I won't go over that again.

I wouldn't recommend it either unless everything else had been tried, medical causes for the sleep problems had been ruled out, and the parents were (as I was) in a very dark place indeed through extreme lack of sleep/lack of support.  Sometimes you have to chose the lesser of two evils.  What if your advice stopped someone seeking help.


I went to Tresillian. What they practiced WAS controlled crying. I was in a dark place and I still chose NOT to torture and distress my child and potentially cause psychological damage. I am NOT advocating not seeking help. Seeking help does not have to entail controlled crying- there are other, kinder options.

#20 SausagePie

Posted 22 December 2012 - 08:02 AM

I found the book "Dream Baby Guide" to be fantastic, with gentle solutions.

My DD had stages/months of waking hourly. Turned out she was sleeping too much during the day.

#21 Stoked

Posted 22 December 2012 - 04:44 PM

I'll just add my experience briefly - I have a 7.5 months old who, until recently, would wake up exactly one sleep cycle after bedtime with a blood-curdling scream and be awake for hours afterwards (happy and wanting to play, or whingy but still wide awake)  or be sleepy and groggy but refuse to go back in the cot and sleep in my arms, whimpering. This went on for two months, every single night. Turns out the poor thing is allergic to dairy - once I eliminated all dairy from my diet we have had BLISS. I repeat, BLISS.

#22 Guest_Amy Ramekin_*

Posted 23 December 2012 - 12:41 PM

OP, that sounds really tough. I have no advice I'm afraid. My DD is an awful sleeper too.

QUOTE (Swahili @ 22/12/2012, 12:05 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I went to Tresillian. What they practiced WAS controlled crying. I was in a dark place and I still chose NOT to torture and distress my child and potentially cause psychological damage. I am NOT advocating not seeking help. Seeking help does not have to entail controlled crying- there are other, kinder options.


Swahili, may I ask what, if anything, worked for you? Did any of Pantley's suggestions work? Or did you just tough it out?

#23 Miriam+1

Posted 23 December 2012 - 06:52 PM

I hope it gets better OP.

Edited by Miriam+1, 23 December 2012 - 07:07 PM.


#24 Mootmoot

Posted 27 December 2012 - 10:01 AM

QUOTE (SausagePie @ 22/12/2012, 09:02 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I found the book "Dream Baby Guide" to be fantastic, with gentle solutions.

My DD had stages/months of waking hourly. Turned out she was sleeping too much during the day.

I've just finished reading this book and putting lots of it into place and it's excellent.  Not only is DS (9 months) settling easily and sleeping through now, but I can also change his nappy without him trying to climb off the table!



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