Jump to content

Babies that fight sleep
Our nightly 'dance'

17 replies to this topic

#1 ezza036

Posted 05 February 2013 - 11:58 AM

[font="Century Gothic"]Hello All!

I have a few issues with my almost 8 mth old.  She doesn't seem to fit into any of the nice neat categories of sleep problems they have in the books, and as my problem isn't night waking, but rather getting her to sleep in the first place, none of my friends have much advice, and all the books seem focused (and rightly so) on the poor women dealing with babies who wake up all night, rather than those that are just difficult (albeit epically so) to get down.

Our issues are:

1. She won’t go to sleep until quite late.  Until 5 months she was in bed at 7 every night but then started fighting it.  We now aim for 8 but it is usually after nine, and closer to ten, before she finally goes down. She will sometimes wake after one sleep cycle, bright eyed and bushy tailed, having treated it as a nap.  She usually wakes between 6 and 9 am, often somewhere between 7 and 8… with one or no night feeds in between.  It’s really quite inconsistent.  She has never been a good day time napper, getting at most 1.5 hours all day, except for after swimming when I occasionally get a glorious 1.5 hours straight. We do the same routine every night with varying results.  We've already flunked sleep school, & staying up that late isn't really an option as DH starts work ridonkulously early, and even when she is up until nearly midnight, she still wakes by 9am.

2. After sleep school at 3 mths, she could self settle of an evening, but from five months she has needed to be fed to sleep for all naps and evening sleeps, but on occasion after a night / early morning feed, I can put her into her cot, awake, and she will put herself to sleep…Not sure what to make of this but ideally I would like to start working towards her being able to fall asleep in her cot sans boob, arms and legs akimbo, or screaming.  All the books I have read seem to say that if baby can self settle for one sleep, she can self settle for all, but that has not been the case here.  Have you come across this before?  Surely I've not got the first child in history who self settles only when it suits her?

3. We are currently trying to wean her off wrapping – we are down to one arm, but when I try and leave both arms out when I feed her to sleep, she bats her arms about like a deranged octopus, then gets herself so worked up that she pulls off and cries, and its at least half an hour before she is calm enough to try again.

I’ve been trying to create new sleep associations based on Pinky McKay's method by giving her a comfort blanket to snuggle while I feed her to sleep, and singing a particular song to her as I feed her to sleep, in the hope that eventually I can pull her off before she is asleep… but I have noticed that now when I start singing the song, she sometimes gets worked up and fights even more.. as if she knows I am trying to get her to go to sleep from hearing the song.  And while my singing voice isn't great..  its certainly not scream worthy.

I tried a CIO type method one evening.  Let us just say that the score at the end of that was CIO: Nil, Baby Girl: 1,000,000,000 points. I don't think she's ready for that yet.

I'm wondering if I should leave it be until the end of daylight savings (and let 9 magically become 8), if I should try and put her to bed earlier (does being overtired make a baby want to fight sleep?), wake her up at a consistent time each day (up at 7.30, down at 7.30?), fiddle around with nap times (eg if she isn't asleep by 4, just give up and let her be up for 6 hours straight), or just take up drinking?.

Anyone else nodding their heads thinking this sounds familiar?  Please share your wisdom (or, if its really the only solution, your breastfeeding friendly cocktail recipes)



P.S Apologies for the novella I have written... Perhaps I should read her this each night, and the sheer boredom of it all will help her drift off!!!??

#2 PurpleNess

Posted 05 February 2013 - 12:09 PM

Do you have a bed time routine - dinner, bath, bottle/boob/books, bag/swaddle,bed.
Also start trying to give her verbal cues, when you see her yawn, rub eyes, ears etc, explain that she's feeling tired & that it's nearly time for bed.
Whilst reading say things like, one more book then it's time to go into your cot & go nigh nigh etc

Be consistent.

It helped us a lot, we started this at 6 months. DS self settled really really well up until 1 month ago but he's just pushing my limits at 13 months so a whole new management strategy in place!

Also Im reading Dream Baby Guide by Sheyne Rowley, I'm not so interested in her strict routines although I'm sure they help many but she has some great info on communicating with baby & guiding them. Might aid you too.

#3 ezza036

Posted 05 February 2013 - 12:21 PM

Hiya - Our night routine is dinner at 6, then a bath or a shower at approximately 7, water the strawberries with dad, read ' where is the green sheep' then "good night sleep tight', wrap as I say "it is time for little girls to go to bed" then attempt to feed to sleep... and then our waltz begins!!

I do admit though I struggle with consistency. I probably dont try things for long enough... but then she could win gold if screaming were an olympic sport.

#4 RachealJane

Posted 05 February 2013 - 12:30 PM

I went the other way of having no routine at all. I'm a stay at home mum though so don't have to do anything in particular the next day.

I just would breastfeed as many times as it would take for her to fall asleep wherever I felt like it in the house. Then I'd put her in her cot to start the night, then once she woke again before midnight id feed her quietly in her room, and then if she woke again after that into our bed for the rest of the night.
No fighting bedtime, no tears, just play until she'd eventually fall asleep at the breast.

#5 PurpleNess

Posted 05 February 2013 - 12:33 PM

Try giving her more of a heads up earlier, like OK darling mummy is going to give you a bath & then get ready for nigh nighs, keep lettting her know bed time is close by.

You can also stay in the room with her, sit in a chair and sing to her in the cot, may help her calm down. MY DS loves his bear, he stroked it to get to sleep - too cute.

#6 Feral Joules

Posted 05 February 2013 - 12:37 PM

QUOTE (RachealJane @ 05/02/2013, 01:30 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I went the other way of having no routine at all. I'm a stay at home mum though so don't have to do anything in particular the next day.

I just would breastfeed as many times as it would take for her to fall asleep wherever I felt like it in the house. Then I'd put her in her cot to start the night, then once she woke again before midnight id feed her quietly in her room, and then if she woke again after that into our bed for the rest of the night.
No fighting bedtime, no tears, just play until she'd eventually fall asleep at the breast.

I'm doing something similar with DS, 11 months.

How did it work long term.  Did she come up with her own routine in time?

#7 Natttmumm

Posted 05 February 2013 - 12:41 PM

The only thing that stood out to me is the wake up morning time. I think you might be expecting too long of a night. If she's waking up at 8 or 9 am bedtime for the night would be 10 pm ish.
My kids were 7or 8pm but they are awake around 6am.
Most kids do around 10 to 10.5 hours overnight. If you want her down earlier in the evening then make sure she's up by 7am and then aim for a 830pm bedtime.
I seems the rest of the issues might iron out once that is fixed.
Good luck

#8 Lagom

Posted 05 February 2013 - 12:51 PM

I had a similar baby and I'm sorry to say that her sleep issues were due to chemical imbalances in her body.   I'm not saying this is what's up with your little cherub but I wanted to put it out there as a possiblity because I really think for some children the problem is physiological rather than anything you are doing 'wrong.'  Some kids also just need less sleep.  
In my experience, it's just so awful when you have tried everything in all the books, are screaming for help and people (including medical professionals!) tell you that you musn't have a good bedtime routine or you're not consistent enough.  (Yes, a GP told me that a couple of months ago and DD is 5!)  Of course I am projecting a bit here but I wish someone suggested it to me when DD was a baby instead of telling me to just let her CIO.
We tried everything and it was awfully frustrating and hard on the whole family.  Finally, DD was diagnosed and we started medication that has enabled her to go to sleep consistently at a reasonable time for the first time in her life.

Best of luck, OP.  I hope you get some joy very soon. original.gif

#9 ezza036

Posted 05 February 2013 - 02:57 PM

Amabanana, I had a similar experience with her reflux (which is now under control).  Can i ask what other indicators there were of it being more than just a sleep issue?

I'd been told to expect about 11 hours overnight, given her abhorrence of day sleeps.. Might give waking her at 7am a go and try and ensure I catch her tired signs early to try and avoid her being overtired at bedtime.  

Has anyone else had the sometimes self settle thing?  In that sometimes she will happily go down awake, but not the majority of the time?  Why don't they come with manuals?!!

#10 Lagom

Posted 05 February 2013 - 03:37 PM

QUOTE (ezza036 @ 05/02/2013, 03:57 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Amabanana, I had a similar experience with her reflux (which is now under control).  Can i ask what other indicators there were of it being more than just a sleep issue?

I'd been told to expect about 11 hours overnight, given her abhorrence of day sleeps.. Might give waking her at 7am a go and try and ensure I catch her tired signs early to try and avoid her being overtired at bedtime.  

Has anyone else had the sometimes self settle thing?  In that sometimes she will happily go down awake, but not the majority of the time?  Why don't they come with manuals?!!

DD had reflux too.   sad.gif   Poor little things.

I guess when DD was little the only indicator we had that something was NQR was that nothing was working to get her to sleep!  mellow.gif   She also hit all her milestones fairly early which many care givers said meant she was bright and curious and therefore didn't need as much sleep.  blink.gif
It wasn't until she was much older, saw a psych and was diagnosed that we realised what was going on.  I had always been brushed off by professionals who said she was just bright/engergetic/stubborn/lacking in routine.  I got sick of being told 'try a relaxing bath and some soft music.'  Made me want to punch people in the face.  ph34r.gif  
We've only recently got meds and although I wish we knew sooner I think probably your DD is too young (?) for a Dr to consider that.  I think at that age they would be taking a wait and see approach which I think is sensible.  Not that it helps you now!  sad.gif

I think what got me through was coffee and cake, friends who listened without judgement and also putting DD into someone elses care for a few hours a week so I could have some 'me' time.  

It does end.  Truly.   happy.gif

I too wish they came with manuals!  Life would be so much easier.   original.gif

#11 happy jelly bean

Posted 05 February 2013 - 03:51 PM

QUOTE (RachealJane @ 05/02/2013, 01:30 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I went the other way of having no routine at all. I'm a stay at home mum though so don't have to do anything in particular the next day.

I just would breastfeed as many times as it would take for her to fall asleep wherever I felt like it in the house. Then I'd put her in her cot to start the night, then once she woke again before midnight id feed her quietly in her room, and then if she woke again after that into our bed for the rest of the night.
No fighting bedtime, no tears, just play until she'd eventually fall asleep at the breast.

Oh my god this is me too, i just cannot get the handle on any kind of routine, its gotten to the stage where i am co-sleeping with ds while dp is on the couch. It works most of the time , once every couple of nights tho i'll have to get up and rock him back to sleep because he'll be particularly gassy/wind pain.
I would love him to go back to his cot for at least half the night as i dont sleep well with him next to me, yyawn.gif

#12 Kay1

Posted 05 February 2013 - 03:51 PM

Overtiredness definitely makes them fight sleep more. I would suggest that you wake her up at 7am and get her in a bright place. Then get as much daysleep in as you can (pram, sling etc) and then try to get her to bed at 7.30pm ish. I am afraid to say I think you need break the feeding to sleep association. By 8 months its much harder to get them to that sleepy stage and they just drag on and on and get overtired in the process.

My 6 month old will occassionally self settle perfectly and other times takes over an hour of patting/rocking etc to get to sleep (mostly the latter). I have now decided enough is enough and I put him in the cot after his bed time routine and let him self settle. If there is crying I go in every 5-10 minutes but ultimately he has to go to sleep on his own. I have two other kids who I have been neglecting while I have been spending hours each day settling DS3 so its time for me to get tough. Its soooo hard and I cry too and I hate it but hopefully it won't take long and we'll all reap the benefits. I know its not for everyone though...

#13 ellie's mum

Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:15 PM

My baby fights sleep too! Every night almost since she was born (and she's almost 5 months) we've struggled to get her to sleep. It generally takes two hours or more to get her down for the night time sleep, and it doesn't seem to matter how early I start, she usually won't sleep until midnight or later. We try a combination of feeding, patting, rocking/walking, shushing and white noise but nothing works consistently, and she often gets quite upset once we get started so she knows what's going on and won't have a bar of it. I must also admit we're hopeless with routine. My theory is that she's just too interested in the world around her and she doesn't want to miss anything by sleeping.

Good luck OP, I feel for you

#14 lady lady

Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:32 PM

Would you consider sleep school again?  I recently asked what the "right/ best" age is and it seems that around 6 months has good results.  3 months might have been too early as they are still newborn and haven't formed any habits/ sleep associations that she has probably now developed.

#15 Escapin

Posted 05 February 2013 - 05:20 PM

Also, if she likes being swaddled, then just keep doing it. There's no need to stop if it's working. Some kids like being swaddled well past 1yo.

Other than that, I don't know! Must be driving you bonkers.

#16 mandala

Posted 05 February 2013 - 06:35 PM

DS often doesn't self settle if he's overtired, despite being pretty good the rest of the time. Actually, he usually self-settles because I cannot settle him to sleep - so no self-settling means no sleep for him!

One 90 minute nap a day is very much on the low side for 8 months, so you might have ended up in a cycle of overtiredness, which would make settling at night much, much harder.

What I would do if it were me:
I would wake her at 7am, and then work for a standard day for a baby of her age. 'Standard' for an 8 month old is 13-14 hours sleep in 24 hours, with a maximum awake time of 2-3 hours. I would try to settle for a nap at the first tired sign or 3 hours, whenever was first. I'd do whatever I had to do to settle to try to get her over the overtiredness.

I would probably go back to wrapping. I only got rid of the wrap because DS's sleep became worse with it than without it. I would have wrapped him until he was 12 if that was what I had to do!

There are also some good suggestions here about communicating what you're about to do next - 'It's time for a nap' etc.

Have you considered calling the sleep school you visited before to ask for advice? I've done that a few times and they've been really helpful. You might also want to think about another stay. It's so much easier to see the problems and stick with the solutions when you have someone else helping you. You could even try the forum at www.ngala.com.au - they have their nurses answer questions.

Good luck. I hated it taking five+ hours to settle DS. That's one of the reasons we went to sleep school.

#17 Loz07

Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:18 PM

My (almost) 6mo DD wouldn't know self settling if it bit her on the bum... I try to put her down for naps when her eye are 99% closed - sometimes they flutter and she's out. Most of the time they pop open, she starts wriggling and then smiles at me (cute, but annoying). Pick her back up and bam, eyes closed rolleyes.gif

Daytime she is rocked/cuddled to sleep (or car/sling if we're out), evening and overnight it's feed to sleep... (and occasionlly during the day too if I really have to). I wouldn't necessarily be worried about breaking the feed to sleep association if she is sleeping well overnight. If she was waking multiple times... then yes. I am very lowly trying to work on this using tips from the Pantley no-cry method. Sounds similar to Pinky in that you use word associations etc. However she stresses that when you first start them, you wait until they are asleep (ie you've pulled boob out successfully) or very nearly asleep before saying them, and then gradually bring it forward.

DD also often wakes shortly after going down for the night, or after 45 mins. I go straight in, and if she doesn't start to settle after a minute, or burp then settle, it's straight back on the boob so she doesn't fully wake up. Normally she only needs this 1 extra feed, and maybe one or two more quick pick ups/burps/cuddles to be fully asleep for a good stretch.

We also still wrap and that's my latest dilemma - she woke twice last night and up at 530 - each time coz she had her arms flapping about like a drunk bird... So if it is still working, maybe continue for a bit longer? Try again in a month or so? (There's meant to be an 8 month sleep regression isn't there?)

I would also look into baby tempermant and sleep - www.thebabysleepsite.com has a series of articles on baby tempermant (based on The Spirited Child stuff) and how it affects sleep. Eg a 'persistent' (translation: stubborn) child is more likely to resist sleep/ changing sleep associations etc. It sounds like your DD may also be 'energetic', and so keeping her busy (translation: tiring her out) during the day may help.

I would also agree with PPs about trying for a consistent wake and sleep time, and regular naps to combat overtiredness. I would bring the wake time forward over a couple of mornings tho, and maybe start on a swimming day so you can be guaranteed of naps during the day wink.gif


PS - if your novella fails, maybe mine will work unsure.gif

#18 ezza036

Posted 07 February 2013 - 09:54 AM

Thanks for all of your advice.

We had a fairly good day yesterday - I eventually gave up, left her in her cot to argue with DH about whether sleep school was on the cards again, and she fell asleep having unwrapped herself and rolled onto her stomach, sucking on the air mesh (we watched her on the monitor). One overnight feed which she self settled for after.  She woke late but I tried to make sure she was up no later than 3 hours at a stretch as suggested.  The first nap she wouldn't feed to sleep so I put her in her cot, turned her mobile on 'rainforest sounds' and walked out to take a break before trying again.  She put herself to sleep.  She woke after 25 minutes but i'm counting it as a win.

2.5 hours later she fed to sleep and then stayed down for 1.5 hours (which is out of the ordinary for us) so she woke just before five.  Fed to sleep easily at 8pm, had one wake up at 10.30 (quick feed and back to bed), then slept through / resettled herself until nearly 8am.

Current plan is to try and prevent her from becoming overtired; once I get better at preventing that i will try and wean from feeding to sleep.  I had no idea that the hyperactive phase I was seeing at night was an overtired sign - I assumed she was just a night owl, but following on from the suggestions here I did some googling and found some claims that they release a hormone to help them fight off sleepiness if they become overtired. If she wont feed to sleep I will put her in the cot, loosely wrapped (so she can get out of it to crawl around if need be) & see if she manages on her own.

Will keep you all posted on what works... if anything.  Pinning all my hopes to the overtiredness being the biggest foe!!

Reply to this topic


1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users


How a raisin can predict a toddler's IQ

All you need to assess a child's future intelligence is a plastic cup and a raisin, according to new research.

Kate Walsh: 'I can't have kids'

Grey's Anatomy star Kate Walsh has revealed she is unable to have children because she has experienced early menopause.

The parasite that could boost fertility

The Tsimane women of Bolivia are often revered as among the most fertile in the world - on average having 10 children in their lifetimes -- but some are even more fertile than others.

Family may sue cousin over genetics

A Melbourne couple is suing the Royal Children's Hospital for failing to diagnose a genetic disorder in their first child - an error they allege caused them to have another child with severe disabilities.

Strange things mums have done in labour

While most women in labour focus on the upcoming birth of their baby, some women do more interesting things.

Michael Clarke reveals baby's name

When Michael Clarke said he was wrapped around the finger of his little princess, he wasn't joking.

The logistics of breastfeeding twins

Our life is more or less divided into neat four hour parcels of time and it's hard to get much of anything done in the time between feeds.

How to stop people ruining Christmas

We can make a conscious effort about how we react to those curly Christmas day scenarios that can send us up the wall, or should we say chimney.

Lots of formula offers for desperate mum

The mum who was down to her last three tins of baby formula said she had received hundreds of calls and offers to send her formula.

Surviving breast cancer while pregnant

It was last thing Rebecca O'Donnell expected at 30 weeks' pregnant. One morning, while putting on her bra, she felt a pea-sized lump in her right breast.

Cot sheet brands for the nursery

With so many awesome cot sheet options these days, we thought we'd put together a list of go-to brands for you to seek out for your baby's bed.

The Bugaboo by Diesel Denim launch

Essential Baby attended the launch and it got messy!

Father's letter to Bataclan terrorists

A grieving father whose wife was killed in the attacks on the Bataclan Theatre last weekend has written an open letter to her killers.

Adele's new song to sing along to

Singer follows up success of Hello with new belting ballad When We Were Young.

Major retailers restrict formula sales

Coles and Woolworths have imposed tighter buying bans on baby formula amid a shortage blamed on Chinese consumers.

Three-year-old breaks family's news

If you are three-years-old and an only child, then news doesn't get much bigger than this.

Swapped babies stay with families

A boy and girl accidentally swapped on the day they were born will stay with the families who have raised them, a South African court has ruled.

How life is different with three kids

I knew having a third child would alter our lives, but it's had so many impacts - both tiny and enormous.


What's hot on EB

Win one of two ABC Shop prize packs in time for Christmas

What a boon it would be to have your toddler's Christmas gifts covered this year. We have two awesome ABC Shop prize packs to give away to two lucky winners.

Beautiful 'now and then' images of premature babies

They are stunning photos that the parents of these beautiful no doubt feared they may never see.

Physios warn pregnant women not to crunch like Michelle Bridges

Experts are urging pregnant women not to do exactly as Michelle Bridges does when exercising, or they risk developing rectus abdominus diastasis.

Penny-pinching supermarket shoppers switching in droves

Half of Australia thinks it can get cheaper groceries by switching supermarkets, and about one in four of us have already switched.

Baby breastfed by wrong mother after hospital mix up

A newborn baby has been breastfed by a stranger after a NSW hospital bungled the identities of two newborns, devastating one mother and potentially exposing the newborn to health risks.

Nurses invent skin to skin c-section drape

The determination of three US nurses to provide immediate skin to skin contact to mothers delivering their babies by caesarean section has led to the invention of a unique surgical drape.

Baby's first photo shoot features a special guest

You can always be sure of a few things not entirely going to plan during a newborn shoot – little accidents are almost par for the course – but this shoot was memorable for a whole other reason.

We are not the family you think we are, I promise

Kids have a way of presenting a completely inaccurate impression of you, as parents, and as a family.

The hidden harm of foetal alcohol syndrome disorder

Experts believe many children diagnosed with ADHD might actually have FASD and that the number of people suffering from the condition across the country could be as high as 500,000.

Anaesthetist facing charges after ignoring woman's pain during caesarean

An anaesthetist could be punished after telling a woman enduring an "excruciating" painful C-section that she was not actually in pain.

When your baby starts life in NICU

Our daughters are finally home after spending nearly four weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Wellington hospital.

How to save for a deposit while renting

As hard as it sounds, it is possible to save money when you rent, and certain things can be done to build a deposit faster.

Medications pregnant women should take, avoid, and think about

There are actually very few medications that must be absolutely avoided during pregnancy.

Paid parental leave uncertainty a growing concern

Eight months out from the due date of the government's PPL cut, some expectant parents are facing an uncertain time.

7 commandments of using the internet as a parent

What you need is careful, objective and repeatable science. Not anecdotes or old wives' tales, but data.

A rethink on screen ban for kids under two

With new guidelines being developed, the discouragement of use below two years of age is being revised.

10 things I want my wife to know

It's on those crazy days that I must remember to stop and let her know some things she needs to hear.

Better education about SIDS needed as deaths plateau

The number of sudden and unexpected deaths in infancy has decreased in NSW for the past 15 years but the most recent report into child deaths reveals the decline has plateaued.



Can't decide?

Check out the Essential Baby Names section for some inspiration

Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.