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Excessive night waking
Wrecking my life, any suggestions?


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#1 sedawson

Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:02 AM

6 month old is now waking at least six times a night. I usually feed him (formula since four months old) but I can't see how he still needs to eat that often and it doesn't usually get him back to sleep anyway. Uses a dummy. He will be awake for up to two hours at night and waking up complaining at least every two hours, every night now for a while.
He was improving about a week ago, but now it's all shot to sh*t.
I'm pretty much at the end of my tether, I can't sleep during the day as I have other responsibilities.
ANY suggestions will be welcomed. What worked for you, or what do you think might be causing it?

#2 Chazee

Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:10 AM

Could he be in pain? Wind? Constipation? Reflux?

Too hot? Too cold?

#3 sedawson

Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:13 AM

Pooing fine, no reflux since started using Infant Gaviscon (also no more chucking), temp seems ok. Panadol doesn't seem to make any difference. My only other child is 9 yrs so I don't really remember much of infancy. Gah.

Are others in this situation?

#4 Mille-Mille

Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:21 AM

All I can think of is teething or growth spurt?

#5 terri01

Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:25 AM

It is hard when they wake up a lot at night. I went through this with my DS. We started formula feeding at 3.5 months. From about 4 months he would wake up nearly every hour. He also used a dummy.

I thought he must have wind from changing from the breast to the bottle so I tried everything I could think of. Different bottles, burping him a lot during feeds, wind formulas but nothing seemed to work or it would work one night but not the next.

I had a nearly 2 year old DD as well at the time and couldnt sleep through the day either. I just hated the nights and I was so tired.

Anyway when he was 5 months old I rang Tresillian (they are NSW based I think). They told me that he probably wasnt hungry but I could try to offer a bottle if it had been a while since his feed as a lot of babies still feed during the night at that age and it probably wasnt wind as by that age their little tummies have sorted themselves out. They thought it could be the dummy. They said that they dont go in to as deep a sleep with the dummy and they get through that first sleep cycle and then stir and the dummy has probably come out and they cant get back to sleep without it and so they wake up. That cycle just goes on and on (which it did for us).

She advised getting rid of the dummy. We did this. The first night he slept through. I couldnt believe it. Then for the next few months until he was 7.5 months he was waking up probably 4-5 times a night (this was better than 8-10 times) but still not great. By this stage he had started solids and was eating really well through the day and drinking his bottles so I knew he wasnt hungry. I rang tresillian again.

They asked when I had gotten rid of the dummy how had I been putting him to sleep. I told them that I would either rock or pat him or sing to him. They said that I had replaced the dummy with sleeping, rocking or patting and he was reliant on those things to get to sleep. They suggested that because he was now older and was feeding well and on solids that we try control crying. They said just to do what I was comfortable with. They said I didnt have to do the whole stay out of the room for this many minutes etc but to come up with a plan that worked for us.

So that night I put him down and walked out of the room. He started to cry and so I went in and calmed him by just patting him (not picking him up or singing or rocking). When he was calm I would walk out. I would then go into my loungeroom and do laps (it sounds silly but it worked for us). I would do 10 laps and then go back in and calm him and then I would walk out and do 20 laps and go back in a calm and then walk out and do 30 laps and go back in to calm (etc etc).

The first night it took about 90 minutes, the second 40 minutes, the 3rd 15 minutes and the 4th night nothing at all. I layed him in his cot and walked out and he didnt make a sound. He slept all night. It was wonderful. We then had about two weeks of 1-2 times waking but most nights not waking at all. From 8 months I could say that every night he went to bed wonderfully and wouldnt wake until the morning. He is now 5 years old and is still the best little sleeper. He loves his bed and really enjoys his sleep.

I guess if you have ruled out hunger, wind, teething etc etc then perhaps when your bub is a little older you could give this a go. It really worked for us. I was never a big fan of controlled crying and never had to do it with DD. She used a dummy and it worked well for her. She was always a good night sleeper from a very young age but I think that was probably because she was a catnapper through the day. She is now 6.5 years old and has been up and down with her sleep over the years. She is finally very good now and sleeps all night. Whereas my son who was shocking until he was 8 months when we did control crying has since then and still is the best little sleeper.

I hope you can sort it out. I know how hard it is when you are getting little or no sleep. I was at the end of my tether and would have tried anything.

Good luck!!!

#6 sedawson

Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:47 AM

So you got rid of his dummy completely, no dummy during the day either?

#7 sedawson

Posted 27 February 2013 - 10:05 AM

My partner is telling me that he's crying and not sleeping because he's lacking body contact since I stopped breastfeeding. This baby is held most of the day and holding him doesn't get him to sleep either.
Does anyone else think this is likely to be the reason, because I sure don't.

#8 Liz75

Posted 27 February 2013 - 10:27 AM

QUOTE (sedawson @ 27/02/2013, 11:05 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My partner is telling me that he's crying and not sleeping because he's lacking body contact since I stopped breastfeeding. This baby is held most of the day and holding him doesn't get him to sleep either.
Does anyone else think this is likely to be the reason, because I sure don't.


I dont necessarily think this is true. I would say it is related to sleep associations, how does he go to sleep at night? Do you pat/rock him? Does he take a dummy? Do you give a bottle of milk? I would try getting rid of the dummy, feed him his milk about 20 minutes before going to bed to see if he is associating his milk with sleeping and see how you go from there. Dummies can be wonderful things for some children but others they are a terrible aid, ie they wake as soon as they fall out and cant get back to sleep.

#9 sedawson

Posted 27 February 2013 - 10:47 AM

Liz, I am pretty certain that you and the above poster are quite correct. He has horrible sleep associations - dummy, feeding to sleep - and this is why he's still waking constantly. I think I just need someone to tell me that if I get rid of them all and go by the book, things will improve one day.
I also need my partner onside but at the moment we're disagreeing. He thinks the baby is waking because I stopped breastfeeding and staying awake because I'm 'negatively emoting' after six months of sleep deprivation. Frankly I don't think this baby is quite that sensitive. I don't think that my being in a bad mood is keeping him awake. It's not as though I'm whacking him or tormenting him or something.
I think it's the sleep associations and everything I'm reading is confirming this.

#10 Stoked

Posted 27 February 2013 - 10:54 AM

At six months he'd barely have any sort of sleep associations. Have you heard of the wonder weeks? There's a book on the subject (a rather heavy one too wink.gif). Check it out from the library maybe? Or buy on Amazon ($10 if you have a Kindle).

There's a major developmental leap at around six months. They develop depth of vision and for the first time in their life realise that mummy is a separate being to them and that she can go away and they can't follow her. It's also the beginnings of separation anxiety for some babies. So all these frequent wakings are a means for him to reconnect with you and reassure himself of your presence. He needs extra comfort getting through this turbulent time. Sleep training is not recommended while the wonder weeks are on (and each leap is usually about 3-4 weeks long). It's fine in-between the wonder weeks though original.gif.

#11 PurpleNess

Posted 27 February 2013 - 10:56 AM

Do you have a night time bed routine, if not now is the time to start.
Bath
Bottle or Boob
Books
Bag ( sleeping or swaddle
Bed

Start communicating with your bub, recognize & acknowledge tired signs etc & let them know throughout this routine that it's nearly nigh nighs time.
This will help reduce the sleep associations - mainly feed to sleep. I wouldn't worry too much about the dummy if he needs comfort. Many introduce a comfort bear etc at this age.

Is baby is your room or their own?

My DS was a bit like this &  it will improve. In the mean time can you & DH tag team in resettling him so you can get some rest?

#12 cinnabubble

Posted 27 February 2013 - 10:59 AM

Sleep associations are a neat hanger for bad sleep, but some kids are just sh*t sleepers. Controlled crying will make them worse.

I know my older daughter never slept worse and I never felt more despair about this than when EB "helped" by telling me that everything I was doing was wrong. In the end, due to trauma experienced when she was babysat and cried herself to sleep over four hours, she just needed to know that peoplewere nearby when she slept.  And she continued to hate to be alone to sleep until she was five and her little sister (same parenting, same sleep associations, awesome sleeper) moved into her bedroom. Voila! Problem solved.

I'm not suggesting that you have to wait half a decade, but that sometimes the tools people use to artificially create "independence" in dependant beings provide what management w*n*ers call perverse incentives and actually have unintended consequences.

#13 sedawson

Posted 27 February 2013 - 11:08 AM

QUOTE (PurpleNess @ 27/02/2013, 10:56 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Many introduce a comfort bear etc at this age.

Is baby is your room or their own?


Has a comfort bear which he likes shoving his face into, worrying but he's constantly checked on. He's in a cot in my room and always has been, he always knows I'm right there. Further levels of complexity arise with further posts!

The 'wonder weeks' concept is a new one to me.

About a month ago I went through what an earlier poster suggested about removing sleep associations and doing a sort of controlled crying thing, where I simply calmed him in his cot each time he got seriously riled up and then sat outside his room until he roared again. After four days he was starting to sleep really well, but then we had to go to a different city for a funeral and everything got wrecked. Because I was seeing real improvement from that method at that time, I'm wondering if I should go back to it.

I really am starting to think that the dummy is not helping at all. If I have to keep replacing it every hour, he's not getting any deep sleep and no-one else is either. Surely if he learns to go to sleep without it things will improve.

#14 Milly Molly Mandy

Posted 27 February 2013 - 11:10 AM

My Ds2 was waking every 2 hours up until he was 7 months. I got sick, couldn't get rid of cold and was generally miserable (also had an almost 2 year old)

I did the EB big no no; control crying. I stopped night feeds, ditched the nappy and wrap all in one go.

2 nights later he was sleeping through, it was life changing.

He is now 7 and I haven't had to book him into a psychologist yet.

#15 sedawson

Posted 27 February 2013 - 11:16 AM

QUOTE (Milly Molly Mandy @ 27/02/2013, 11:10 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I did the EB big no no; control crying. I stopped night feeds, ditched the nappy and wrap all in one go.

2 nights later he was sleeping through, it was life changing.

He is now 7 and I haven't had to book him into a psychologist yet.


Hmm. See at this point I have to weigh up how miserable we all are.
He's crying a lot, not sleeping; well, me too!
Controlled Crying is like bringing out the big guns; no-one wants to do it but at some point many of us will.
If he cries a bucketload for a week (with company, not left alone) and then stops, then overall the net misery is significantly reduced than if he just keeps being miserable from tiredness indefinitely.
My instinct is that this is the next step. I have to do something because I'm no longer enjoyable to be around and the rest of my family is suffering.

Hoping to hear more stories from others, it's very useful and I'm sure not going to get anything else done today.

#16 mandala

Posted 27 February 2013 - 11:24 AM

I agree that wonder weeks stuff everything up. They're hard and they keep coming - however, 6 months (26 weeks) was the last really bad one for us.

In my opinion, it sounds like a sleep association problem. Yes, some babies don't develop them quickly or early, but some babies do, and waking for a feed to sleep sounds like it to me. If that's the case, what you were doing before - trying to settle until calm in the cot - is a good strategy. And if it was working, it probably will work again.

However, if you and your DH are not aligned, it's going to be hard work. I'd be tempted to say that if he thinks your DS needs more cuddling in the night, maybe your DH should be the one providing it.

And as for negative emotion... you could make a case for your emotional state upsetting your baby enough to make it harder for him to fall asleep - but why would it make him wake up?

It sounds like you all need some sleep. I hope you get some soon!

#17 Milly Molly Mandy

Posted 27 February 2013 - 11:25 AM

When I did the cc I was expecting it to be horrid. We set DH and DS1 up on a mattress at the other end of the house. I had a book ready by my bed (not that I think I would have been able to concentrate anyway lol). With us it was easy though, it was kind of like he needed it to happen. He wanted to sleep through too, only woke a couple of times the first night and settled relatively easily, second night woke once but resettled, next night not a peep.

He also became a happier baby during the day. I think he was sick of the broken nights too!

We were lucky though, none of the horror stories I hear from other people. You just don't know

Good luck, sleep is a wonderful thing.

#18 sedawson

Posted 27 February 2013 - 11:27 AM

Very, very grateful for all the posts offering support, strategies or alternative viewpoints. Thank you kind strangers!

#19 mandala

Posted 27 February 2013 - 11:27 AM

Oh, and we were at the point where we brought out the big guns - responsive settling, in our case. We broke much earlier than you did. And it changed our lives. We are coming up to 12 months since we did it, and my DH mentioned out of the blue that the trip to sleep school was the best money we've ever spent.

I figured if we were all crying anyway, we may as well cry towards a goal. I wanted to co-sleep, I never wanted my baby to cry, but he hadn't read that book.

#20 Liz75

Posted 27 February 2013 - 11:30 AM

QUOTE (sedawson @ 27/02/2013, 12:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Has a comfort bear which he likes shoving his face into, worrying but he's constantly checked on. He's in a cot in my room and always has been, he always knows I'm right there. Further levels of complexity arise with further posts!

The 'wonder weeks' concept is a new one to me.

About a month ago I went through what an earlier poster suggested about removing sleep associations and doing a sort of controlled crying thing, where I simply calmed him in his cot each time he got seriously riled up and then sat outside his room until he roared again. After four days he was starting to sleep really well, but then we had to go to a different city for a funeral and everything got wrecked. Because I was seeing real improvement from that method at that time, I'm wondering if I should go back to it.

I really am starting to think that the dummy is not helping at all. If I have to keep replacing it every hour, he's not getting any deep sleep and no-one else is either. Surely if he learns to go to sleep without it things will improve.


Personally I would go back to the methods you used before, they sound gentle and you saw improvements indicating that your son most likely does have sleep associations. If you recognise them now why not do something about it before it gets out of control. Not all babies develop bad/difficult sleep associations but if you are seeing signs of them ie replacing dummy every hour, then it is only going to be easier to ease them off it at six months than at 10 months when the family has started going insane!

Good luck.

#21 sedawson

Posted 27 February 2013 - 11:39 AM

QUOTE (KRT @ 27/02/2013, 11:27 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
We broke much earlier than you did.

I figured if we were all crying anyway, we may as well cry towards a goal.


Lol at breaking earlier.

Yes, that's exactly what I thought - we may as well cry towards a goal. I could cope if I felt all this misery was going somewhere better. Psychologically it's awful to feel that a poor situation is likely to ongoing indefinitely. If I think there's a point I can cope.

Can you tell me more about 'responsive settling'? Is that just where you pat them without taking them out of their cot, but then stop just before they fall asleep?

#22 meohmy

Posted 27 February 2013 - 11:47 AM

Have you tried or would you try co-sleeping or side carring the cot? I have two rubbish sleepers and the first woke every 1.5 hours for 20 months (she still wakes but is less and the younger one is just following in her foot steps rolleyes.gif ), this way I could at least tend to them quickly without getting out of bed and usually before before got too awake and was really difficult to resettle.

I know it's not for everyone, it wasn't our plan but least we all slept in between the wakings

#23 Feral-as-Meggs

Posted 27 February 2013 - 12:05 PM

QUOTE (sedawson @ 27/02/2013, 11:05 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My partner is telling me that he's crying and not sleeping because he's lacking body contact since I stopped breastfeeding. This baby is held most of the day and holding him doesn't get him to sleep either.  Does anyone else think this is likely to be the reason, because I sure don't.


I don't.  

I say that because my son has been a frequent waker despite being breastfed until now (16.5 months) and carried around a lot (in an ergo).   The only thing that helped was stopping the BF to sleep and eventually night weaning him.  I've drifted back into feeding to sleep (through sheer laziness on my part) and the night waking has started to ramp up again.

Several friends found the same problem with dummies and had to go cold turkey on them.



#24 sedawson

Posted 27 February 2013 - 12:07 PM

QUOTE (meohmy @ 27/02/2013, 11:47 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Have you tried or would you try co-sleeping or side carring the cot? I have two rubbish sleepers and the first woke every 1.5 hours for 20 months..

I know it's not for everyone, it wasn't our plan but least we all slept in between the wakings


Respectfully I have to say that this sounds like exactly the situation I am desperate to escape from! Waking every 1.5 hours for 20 months does not sound like an improvement to me! If I could sleep between wakings like that, I wouldn't be asking for help. biggrin.gif

It sounds a bit like the least useful in-between method - not really controlled crying, not really waking them properly for a feed and re-settle. Having said that I am glad it has worked out okay for you.

#25 mandala

Posted 27 February 2013 - 12:15 PM

Responsive settling is pretty much what you were doing. Rather than controlled crying where you do it to a clock, you listen to your baby to be guided whether to go in or not, or how much assistance to give them to calm them down.

There are some videos on the QEC website that are helpful: http://www.qec.org.au/vodcasts.php




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