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Thread: Desperate for Advice

  1. #1
    Eleshia_V Guest

    Default Desperate for Advice

    Hi Everyone,



    I'm desperate for a solution for our 12mth old daughter's sleeping problem. She wakes at 1am and won't go back to bed until at least 4am. We've tried so many things to get her out of this habit, but to no avail. It's hard to know if she's in pain/discomfort, sometimes it sounds like it, and other times she is so desperately tired but can't seem to go to sleep. She screams like nothing else i've ever heard, she literally has the entire household awake, as well as the neighbours. We're all terribly sleep deprived and can't do this for too much longer. I've tried massage (i'm a qualified infant massage instructor, remedial massage therapist, nurse etc) and none of my skills have helped her to get through this part of the night. Sometimes during the day she just whinges constantly allllll day, nothing will stop her. I've taken her to the dr and had her ears checked etc, thinking perhaps she had an infection or something, but all clear. She often rubs at the back of her head, or smacks herself in the head, or holds her ears, which is why i thought ear infection/headache. She feeds well, is eating plenty of fresh food (fruit, veges, meat, chicken, yoghurt, vegemite sandwiches) and doesn't seem to have any problem with filling her nappy on a regular basis, so i've pretty much ruled out bowel issues. I'm just at a loss as to where to go or what to try. No one seems to have anything much to say except "put up with it, she'll grow out of it" etc...I challenge anyone to come and deal with this 24/7 week in week out for months and still say the same thing!!
    So please, if anyone has any suggestions i'd be happy to take on some new ideas.

    Many thanks,

    eleshia

  2. #2

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    Eleshia, first of all I would like to send you my biggest commiserations. When Matilda turned 11months for 3 months she would wake during the night for 2 or more hours. It usually went from 2am onwards. We had no reasons for what was going on, couldn't figure it out and we had only just gotten a hold of bad sleeping that we had worked on since birth. We went to sleep school, we co-slept, we cried our way through controlled crying and we read so many books & articles it was the end of us!

    I even had a child health nurse come to our house to try & settle her here during the day to see if it was different. I had friends spend the night here for help & looked into getting an overnight doula or nanny to help us out.

    In the end we went to a sleep school where Matilda chose to sleep through the night every night for the first time in her life so no help there. But her day sleeps went haywire & we decided to move her to 1 sleep a day and that was it. She went great once we realised that. Also at the sleep school there was a constant temperature in her room throughout the night, so we bought an oil heater to turn on to a low setting at night in her room which kept her room from getting too cold.

    Matilda ate really well as well and was pretty demanding as far as behaviour was concerned.

    One thing you said really has struck me & I don't know if it will help you at all, but Matilda's only tired sign she ever shows is hitting or pulling her hair at the back of her head. I too had taken her to the GP a few times to check & make sure it wasn't an ear infection.

    I have found with Matilda that if she doesn't sleep, she gets very grumpy and often this can result in tantrums all afternoon. So at the first sign of tiredness, we started going into her room & giving her a bottle or something that would settle her down and comforting her to sleep. Some days she wants the comfort but most days she just wanted to be left alone. This didn't mean she didn't scream all the time, but most of the screaming happened when she was overtired and when we were around her. When Matilda got overtired & needed a sleep I would go into her room with her, read a story in a darkened atmosphere and then I would either lay down with her or I would give her a bottle to settle. Whatever helped her.

    At night we have a routine (which DH & I found hard to get used to ourselves). She would have dinner around 5pm and then straight into the bath, we would then have a massage/dry off into pajama's time. After that was family time, where we may play some games. At the first tired sign we brush teeth, and go into her room to have "cool off" time with stories and songs. Then we change her nappy, turn off the light & give her a bottle or drink of milk. We hold her in our arms and kiss her & tell her we love her and put her into bed when the bottle is finished, we walk out & say "we will be back to check on you" Some night she has a cry when we walk out & we go back in & pat her bottom to help her, other nights she says "night night" as we walk out the door. We still continue this routine now. And find that the more consistent we are with her routine, the happier she is knowing what happens next. We have chosen not to watch the clock anymore...this can just make things stressfull, we watch Matilda instead.

    *hugs* Pinky McKay has just released a book about sleeping, and I have found her advice to be fantastic. Good luck!

    Edited to Add: http://bellybelly.com.au/forums/show...ighlight=sleep here's a discussion on night waking, I'll keep looking for some more.

  3. #3

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    Elishia, I feel for you. Our last two weeks has been identical. 3 hour wake ups adn just screaming. In fact, last night I reintroduced coco's dummy at bedtime and she SLEPT THROUGH!! Mind you , I don't encourage dummy if you aren't using one.
    I would recommend calling maybe tresillian, just for some advice. I am heading off to sleep school myself tomorrow, and would probably recommend that.
    However, I also gave Coco a dose of worm medicine. That might sound weird, but DD1 thought she had worms so I treated coco. The signs are irritability and unsettled, particularly at night. Probably worth checking (do a google search of what to look for). It's a long shot, but you never know.
    Other thing is that it's a habit. Does she have a comforter of some sort? Maybe a sheet or toy would help (or last resort, dummy)!!
    very best of luck xoxox

  4. #4

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    Eleshia, just another thought, have a browse through our Gentle Parenting Forums where there is comforting settling discussed http://bellybelly.com.au/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=92

  5. #5

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    Indah pulls at her hair (she has a head full) whenever she is tired & so I immediately do what I can to make her comfu, cosy & able to sleep.. If we are home she foes straight to bed, if not I cuddle her or whatever so she is snug... But I have had strangers, friends, my Mum, aunts etc all tell me she has ear infections coz of her constant pulling & rubbing of hair & ears... I know as her Mum it's just her sign of tiredness!

    Sorry it doesnt help your situation, but I hope you find something useful here!!! Best of luck! OOOH, just wondering if it could be what she has seen on TV? I know my DD#1 woke up constantly for a week (alot less than your situation) screaming & it was night terrors!!!

  6. #6

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    eleshia, I hear you hon - at 12 months of age, your baby is that the peak of separation anxiety. It peaks at 12 months of age! So she could be having troubles settling because of this and even though you are sleep deprived to the max, this can pass without sleep training. I'm not a fan of Tressilian, sleep schools (I have been to one with my first born, for two weeks instead of three days and was basically kicked out because it wasn't working and there was no follow up help or support!) or letting babies 'cry it out' is well noted not to be successful in the short term for around 92% of mothers, and 800 studies backing it up to say that letting your baby to cry is not good - it releases cortisol (stress hormone) in the baby's brain which is the same chemical which is released when a baby is in pain.

    So, what do you do?

    1. Most importantly, remember this WILL pass. Like any other stage, with all that brain activity going on for a baby during these developmental milestones, it is a very unsettled period and one of those times you feel like you want to throw baby out the window! So perhaps some selftalk during the crying, 'this too will pass, this too will pass.'

    2. Bring her into the bed with you. You wont have to get up and she will have the comfort of you being there.

    3. Get hubby to help you more with settling - take turns

    4. Get help / support during the day so you can catch up on sleep. From family, to friends, to daycare to a post-natal doula.

    My son is 20 months and I have big burnouts every now and again too! But I remind myself that this is unfortunately a part of the job description and we have to either seek help from outside to help get things on track, ask, ask, ask! Remember once we never had to ask, we raised our children in our extended families and had that wisdom and extra hands. So don't be afraid to ask for it now.
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    Follow me in 2015 as I go Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team and many wonderful members who have been so supportive since 2003.

  7. #7

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    Eleshia its so difficult when you can't get any sleep isn't it. That's why sleep deprivation is used in torture and interrogation.
    I was going to suggest co-sleeping too. I see Kelly's beaten me to it. My son is about 20 months too and he often wakes in the night and won't settle until someone goes into bed with him. Since we have a 3 month old in our bed we've got Yasin a big bed so that DH can get in with him. I've noticed that if DH comes home late and gets straight into Yasin's bed Yasin doesn't wake in the night and cry. I think he wakes up sees that DH is there and everything is OK and re-settles himself. If for some reason it takes longer for one of us to get to him and he gets more worked up it takes longer for him to re-settle. Maybe if you're not comfortable with having her in your bed you could move her cot to your room or get her a mattress on the floor next to your bed.
    A traditional European solution to sleepless babies is a bottle of weak camomile tea in the evening. Maybe you could try a little aroma therapy as well - a little bit of lavender in your massage oil could help.
    I hope that you find a solution soon so you can all get a good nights sleep. Are you having a nap in the afternoon while your daughter does? If you can rest through the day it might make the nights seem a little less awful.

  8. #8

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    oh! Great idea Dach!! Thats something else we started using & found to be helpful, we spray lavender in her room (I mix 5mls lavender oil in 100mls water).

  9. #9
    Eleshia_V Guest

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    Thanks everyone for your replies. It's comforting to hear that others go through exactly the same things and you've survived! hehehe
    We;ve tried pretty much all of the above. She often only has one sleep during the day, sometimes 2 short ones. She has dinner at 5pm, then bath, massage, playtime, then bed. She has an oil heater in her room which is kept at constant setting, she also has a comfort toy and a dummy. As i've said, i do reflexology occasionally, and i also have an oil burner which i use Chamomile and Lavender in sometimes (not every nite). We've done controlled crying, even though i too don't believe in it and am only too aware of the effects of stress it can cause, but she can outscream any control we try to assert. She won't sleep with us, even though we even bought a single bed to have in her room as well as her cot. We thought on the really bad nights that we could sleep in it with her and she'd still have the comfort and security of her room, but no...unless it's like 5am and she's totally exhausted from being up for the last 4 hrs, she won't go to sleep with either of us in a bed. I've tried every settling technique known to civilisation...some work, some don't, but nothing has been a consistent solution.
    At least i know i've been on the right track and i really have tried everything, as most of what u all have suggested has been attempted. We have an appointment at the doctors on wednesday, where i'm going to insist on some further investigation of her ear. I'm dead certain she has a balance problem, which also affects her walking and is having a bad effect on her feet. When she was in utero she had a sub-arachnoid cyst at the base of her skull, which resolved by 28wks. If for some reason this has returned, it would explain her behaviour and her balance issues, so i want to either confirm it or rule it out as a suspect.
    Otherwise, i guess it's just a matter of toughing it out! Thanks everyone once again for all your replies and suggestions....much appreciated.

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