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Trouble settling to sleep at night

7 replies to this topic

#1 Felix101

Posted 27 January 2013 - 09:25 PM

DS is is just about 8.5 months old, and has being so difficult to settle to sleep at night and I'm at a loss of what to do.

His bed time is 7pm, and has been since he was a few weeks old. He has always been a fantastic sleeper day and night, in that he has obvious tired signs and when put to bed will usually put himself to sleep without much of a fuss. Occasionally we'll pat or shush to sleep, but not often. He also takes a dummy, but just to get to sleep.

However over the last few weeks he's been so so hard to get to sleep at night, he still sleeps two-three times during the day and settles to all without a problem, and wakes 1-2 times a night for a feed then straight back to sleep. But come 7pm, all hell breaks loose!

He just won't settle, he cries and cries Nd cries. It's taking anywhere from 45min to over 2hrs to get him to sleep. I do a lot of patting and shushing... It's quite ineffective, but eventually he runs out of energy and falls asleep. I've tried controlled crying (very ineffectively - I don't have the commitment to it.. I last a few minutes at a time but its doesnt do anything except upset both of us. So it's off the list). I've tried feeding to sleep, he's not interested, I've tried holding him to sleep, which sometimes works, but I'm reluctant to do as I don't want to start this habit. So we pat, and shush and he cries. I've tried panadol a few times thinking it might be pain, but no luck.

He stops crying when I let him hold my hand - but he plays with it, and it keeps him awake longer. He cries again when I take it away. I've tried introducing a comforter, 3 weeks of trying, with no taking it up.

I don't know how much more I can take.... I went had sat in the backyard for 5min the other night And cried myself - I just needed a break (DH has been away with work). When I came back inhe was distraught! So then I felt horrible too.

Oh, and he has never shown any signs of separation anxiety (he's in day care three days a week) and he has been teething on and off, but he has caused very little discomfort so I don't think it's that (plus it doesn't impact him during the day, and panadol makes no difference)

My thoughts are  9 month sleep regression, a growth/development spurt, hes going to bed too early (i putbhim to bed at 7.30 tonight - still made no difference, I'm reluctant to shift his bedtime back any later tho - he does also seem tired when I put him down, but he just wakes himself up...) or I'm just getting a taste of the real life as a parent after a lucky start.
Either way I'm desperate for suggestions on what to do?!

Sorry for the long rambling post sad.gif

#2 ~ppp~

Posted 27 January 2013 - 09:32 PM


Edited by knowsnotmuch, 01 March 2013 - 04:19 PM.

#3 sakura73

Posted 27 January 2013 - 09:39 PM

You poor thing. I posted for advice about sleep issues a few months ago and had great assistance from some of the women here, who I am sure will be along soon.

My advice is, if holding to sleep works, do it. Don't worry about creating a habit, because as he gets older he will be able to change that habit once whatever phase this is passes.

After being a good go-to-sleeper DS started to act like your DS is around 9-10 months. He just would not go to sleep, he screamed and thrashed and it was awful. I could not do CC and the patting and shushing which had worked before he could roll/stand did not work.

So I held DS to sleep (sometimes it took more than an hour) for about 3 months. It nearly broke me, but then he started letting me put him in the cot awake so long as I stayed in the room until he fell asleep (also took and hour). After that he was back to being able to fall asleep alone again.

So it passes, but God it is hard. Just cuddle him close, it passes, and it is lovely, amid the torment, to feel you can cuddle and soothe your little one in this way.

#4 Feral-as-Meggs

Posted 28 January 2013 - 09:50 AM

Make sure there's plenty of warning that bedtime is coming - so have the same routine.   We do stories, bath, sleeping bag, lullabies and BF, bed.  Found that stories right before bed was too exciting.  

Whatever method you use, you can make it easier by engineering a bit of physical tiredness.

Make sure the afternoon nap isn't too late.  Wake him if necessary.  Cut out the third nap.  
Lots of tiring play - swimming is great, if he's crawling set up a bit of an obstacle course with tunnels etc.
Nice carby dinner like pasta, but not too late.  
Make sure the house is dim and chilled out from 6ish.  No TV and exciting games (hard when one parent gets home at this time).  
Nice warm bath, cooling off afterwards makes you sleepy.

#5 axiomae

Posted 28 January 2013 - 11:07 AM

Sounds like my DD when she needed to drop the third nap. Even a 5-10min third nap would have her unsettled at bedtime and take hours to settle her. We started by stretching her awake times in the day by 15-20mins until she was having only 2 naps, and bam, back to 6.30-7pm bedtime, easy settling, 7am wakes.

Worth a try if you're still having the third nap.

#6 niggles

Posted 28 January 2013 - 11:24 AM

Oh, mate it's pretty common at that age and makes it such a hard time.

Dropping any third nap definitely helps.

Dealing with teething pain helps.

As for us we did the above and then just rode it out for a few months. It was a really really hard time. I was exhausted. After a few months even rocking and singing wouldn't get him to sleep and so we've now been gradually teaching our son to fall asleep in the cot. It's taken 3 weeks and he's back to where he was at 8 months - I can sing a lullaby, pop him in his cot and walk out of the room most of the time.

Can I also suggest making the process more comfortable for you? I have a second thin cot mattress, pillow and soft blanket under the cot that I've pulled out for myself when I need it. I also have an ipad so I can lie or sit by the cot and distract myself from the endless routine of it all when he's been really unsettled. Audio books or music would also help with that. It makes it immeasurably easier when you are not dead bored as well as dead tired.

#7 Felix101

Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:37 PM

Thanks all so much!

We are still having a short third nap (usually 15min or so), so maybe I'll try dropping it original.gif

Glad to hear all the 'it's a phase' stories tho - gives me hope!! Haha

Meggs, I knew I'd get told I need a routine! original.gif <donning flame suit> a bedtime routine is one thing we've never done. We do have a rough routine, and we do most things every night, like dinner is usually at the same time (but not always at home), bath happens most but not all nights, but we always do stories and cuddles and breastfeeds the same. But work, family and a few other commitments make it impossible to be in the same place for the same thing at the same time every night. I justify it by telling myself that he's never had, or needed routine before - he's always slept like an angel! Although, it's still up my sleeve if we don't see any improvement soon,

Niggles - I've got a spare mattress and its getting moved today!! original.gif great idea!

#8 axiomae

Posted 28 January 2013 - 07:45 PM

I think you'll find dropping the third nap will really help. Your LO will be tired enough to settle well. Seems like he's transitioning to two naps - just stretch wake time a little.

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