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Thread: The Older Baby Sleep Situation *HUGE*

  1. #1

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    Default The Older Baby Sleep Situation *HUGE*

    In the past 21 months, my husband & I have discovered a completely new way to go about life. Sleep deprivation. We spent the first 12 months of Matilda's life searching for answers. Trying to find out why she wasn't sleeping, what we were doing that could change. We tried everything. Everything anyone suggested. We started with co-sleeping, flip flopped around controlled crying (which turned out to be a great way to make both of us cry) and tried gentle settling. Unfortunately, Matilda seemed to have read the books before we did and had other ways out.

    Friends told us that we weren't "tough" enough, gentle enough, caring, understanding. Our parents kept asking "whats wrong with her? what did you do to her?"

    Matilda also has a very strong personality, started tantrums young. Fights things with 100% of herself.

    We read great books by Pinky McKay and the Sears family, we found some fantastic information on "strong willed children" which Matilda fit to a tee. And we researched the web & I had my BellyBelly support.

    Its now 21 months later, Matilda woke up 3 times last night, settled herself the first time, the second time got absolutely hysterical and it took us 1 hour to resettle with a bottle, cuddle and laying down with her, the third time she didn't want us near her & just kept crying... anytime we sat near her or stayed in her room she screamed "NO NO NO!" and slammed the door in our faces.

    So, how do we cope as parents to these babies/toddlers who don't sleep? This is my question, it is now a part of what do we do to survive this? Because it is not a matter of "training" her to sleep, we've been to sleep school, twice.... and its still happening.

    I read posts with other mothers who have hit desperation, trying to get their baby to sleep. I've heard your stories out there and my heart breaks for the new mums who have a sleeper than suddenly, wham a non sleeper.... I want us to be able to understand that there is nothing "wrong" with our children or us. We haven't "done" anything to them to make them this way, they were born with these personalities. We only nurture them and hope that we are doing the best for them.



    I want us as a part of BellyBelly to knowwe are supported, we are not alone and there are others out there who have endured, and conquered the sleep situation.

    So, anyone else feel this way? Am I writing your story? Want to know you are not alone?

  2. #2
    Melinda Guest

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    *holds hand up*

    Wonderful - thank you for starting this thread Christy!

    As you know, Jacob's sleeping problems began at around 6.5 months of age. It was not uncommon for us to be up 10 - 12 times per night resettling - to say we were all miserable would be an understatement.

    We went to a gentle sleep school here which was wonderful, and it helped us understand Jacob's cues a lot better and helped us put in place a better evening routine for him, but it's not fail-safe. Jacob's sleep still comes and goes a lot - some weeks are wonderful and we don't need to do any settling with him at all - other weeks are terrible and we will spend an hour or so trying to get him off to sleep in the evening. Night times are definitely worse than day for us.

    I find that I have never coped with sleep deprivation well - I am not a good sleeper myself (since my teen years) and I wonder if I've passed this on somehow - is it my fault genetically, that he's not a fantastic sleeper? So needless to say when Jacob's sleep problems started, and continued for months where we too tried everything we could, I was pretty frazzled and felt as though I had no patience at all. It's not a nice place to be.

    Jacob is also a very determined little tiger and started his tantrums early (another thing that I struggle with often!).

    One thing I have noticed is that the way that he cries it's as though he lacks the confidence sometimes to put himself to sleep and wants the company - I guess that's where he is different to Matilda - he requires hands on instead of hands off?? It can be so hard either way....very tiring - physically and emotionally.

    I never thought that sleeping problems 'existed' beyond 12 months either - so to have a little one who chops and changes with his sleep has been a real eye opener from that POV.

    I have now read some books by Pinky which are fabulous but in the moment, when it's happening right then and there....what do you do? I struggle with that when I feel that I desperately need a few minutes to myself but Jacob is screaming the house down and getting himself really worked up......

    I know in reality that we're doing the right things (and doing what seems to work best for him) but at the time you doubt yourself.........

    I know I've rambled on, but I too would like others to know that you're not alone if you've got a child who fights sleep beyond 12 months (for whatever reason). Sleep just doesn't seem to come naturally or easily for some little ones.........

  3. #3

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    I am with you girls. I did not get a full night sleep until after my twins turned 3 years old. Even now I get 2, or if am lucky 3 full nights sleep a week.

    Sleep is such a big issue and lack of it causes so much tension b/ween parents.

    My son would wake up ever night for at least 3 hours and PARTY!!
    I am playing, yelling, talking - the works. He just doesn't need alot of sleep. Eight hours and he is done.

    He still does this now, but not as often. We just got that a little better and then he started the night terrors!

    I can always tell what is going on with the moon, as when its a full or new moon, there is no chance of a restful night.

    I have no surefire methods of help. 2 nights ago my son woke from 2am till 5 am, and then I finally got back into bed, and my daughter woke at 5.30am. When i have nights like this, i just pull out the mat and grab my blanket and pillow and sleep on their floor. Try and get my sleep however I can. I have slept outside their room many a times on the floor.

    My objective when I wake in the morning is how to wear them out for the day, in an attempt to sleep better at night. That, and to count the hours that I can go back to bed that night again.

    I guess my only sanity was that there are others that go through this and as they get older, it will get better. It is how quickly it get better that is the problem!!!!!

    good luck
    You are not [email protected]!!!!!

  4. #4
    Melinda Guest

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    Jacob will, maybe once or twice a week, wake in the middle of the night and chat/sing/laugh to himself for sometimes as long as 3 hours.......

    It doesn't require any action from us as he is perfectly happy - no crying - just chatting etc. But the thing is, that even though we don't have to go into him, we are awake for however long he chats for IYKWIM? Thankfully he does sleep in to make up for it!!!!

  5. #5

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    We get that too, the awake chat/story time. I went in the other night after an hour because we were all sick to see if I could settle her & she was reading a book to her doll, I gave her a kiss & walked back out. An hour later she fell asleep again.... I guess those nights are frustrating but not heartwrenching ykwim? Its the nights where they scream & are inconsolable that get my heart.

  6. #6
    Melinda Guest

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    Absolutely Christy - the nights where they wake but are happy and contented are easy to handle. The nights where it takes forever to get them off to sleep or you spend a large portion of the night resettling reeeeeeally get me down!

  7. #7

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    i wish my Son was easy to handle when he does wake up for a few hours!!!

    I have tried giving him toys, but its the calling out, screaming crying as well, and trying to keep him quiet as he shares a room with his twin sisster that is the problem.

    Ho hum - the fun with kids!!

  8. #8

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    I can honestly say that Aidyns sleep issues have become a lot more prominent AFTER he turned 12 months old... which has been a bit of a shock for me to be honest.

    He is almost 2 years old now yet he will not sleep through the night any more than 1 night out of 7 on average.
    For another 2 nights out of 7 he will only wake up once and we will usually just bring him to bed with us, which is actually fairly uncomfortable as our bed is way too small for 3 of us, but on these night he will usually go back to sleep without a fuss - he obviously just wants to be with us.
    And for the other 4 nights per week he will wake up more than twice during the night, and this involves screaming tantrums where he doesnt want to lie down anywhere (not even in our bed) and he only want us to stand up and cuddle/hold him. He wont even let us sit with him on our laps heaven forbid... and it gets very tiring to be standing and rocking a 14kg toddler at 3am in the morning!

    I can handle having one bad night, and even two... but anymore than 2 of those nights in a row, and I am a snarling, depressed wreck! I become obsessed with sleep, and its all I will think about, and I will take naps during the day when I really should be doing housework or studying, and I get cranky at DP whenever we go to bed because he will want to chat and snuggle and I snap at him that I'm not interested and would rather sleep! How terrible is that... he must think I'm pretty mean. But then I am very resentful of the fact that he does not attend to Aidyns crying/tantrums during the night... at all... not even on weekends. So I dont think he understands at all how draining it is!

    Aidyn's a funny one cause I really cant put a label on him as to whether he is a good or bad sleeper, and I cant really say that his sleeping difficulties atm are related to him having a really strong personality? ... Because for most of his life he has been a really good sleeper and a really placid baby in general. I think his sleep disturbances are really just related to his development and becoming a toddler, because in the past 6 months or so is when they have really become more noticeable.
    Sure, he went through rough patches when he was much younger, but they never usually lasted longer than a month or two, and we were always lucky enough to be able to find a gentle solution that worked for all of us (such as taking the side off his cot and using it as an extension of our bed).
    However now at this age it has become so much more challenging (and frustrating!) to try and help him through this stage, because it seems that on these bad nights we try EVERYTHING, yet nothing works...
    So yeah... atm I am just putting it down to his age and development, and am going to hang on in hope that surely it will get better.... hopefully sooner rather than later! [-o<

  9. #9

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    I wonder if our little people see 'spirit' people and that is who they are playing with. Or perhaps that is why they are sometimes scared.
    What do you guys think?

  10. #10
    Colleen Guest

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    *me puts hand up*

    Jaykob has never really been a full night sleeper. He has slept through on the odd occasion but it also depends on what people classify as a full night lol

    He is 16 months old now and has started sleeping better *touch wood* but still has nights where he wont sleep, needs to be settled in ways like taking him for a drive or I take him into bed with me (which Ive always done so its not so bad)

    I dont mind co-sleeping, I have done it since he was born, on advice from my midwife ... But sometimes he wants to chat and play or wiggle and I feel at the end of my rope.

    I worry about what the future brings, sleep wise. I have been asked why I havent put him into his mini-bed, hes still in his cot (alot of the mother group with similar and younger aged kids have put them in single beds and I cant bring myself to do that yet? Because I know he will be up all through the night just because he can iykwim? I dont know what I will do if it goes "downhill" from here.... lol

    While he might not be waking as often as others, Id like to be a part of your older baby non sleeping club... And Im open to suggestions of what other parents do...

    I have never tried sleep school, have any of you taken an "older baby" to one?

    oh and the other thing, when he was at childcare they were getting him to "nap" 5 hours a day.... whats with that... they just pop them in the cot and pat their back and TADAAAAA! ASLEEP!

    that makes me feel crappy, that someone else can put them to sleep SOOOOO easily! why doesnt he do that for me?

    Ok i will stop rambling now lol

  11. #11

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    Just very quickly in response to one thing there Colleen - I dont understand why people would be pressuring you to put Jaykob in a bed yet??
    Aidyn is still in his cot, and I am hoping to keep him in there for at least another 6 months (until he is 2 and a half).
    I thought the main reason for young toddlers moving into single beds was due to a new sibling one the way who needs the cot, or due to them being able to climb out of the cot.
    Anyway, just my 2c quickly there...
    IMO moving them into a single bed is opening up a whole new kettle of fish, so I am going to avoid it until it actually becomes necessary.

    Its a strange thing about daycare isnt it? I think Christy mentioned that Matilda is the same and will sleep fine at Daycare.
    Aidyn also goes down to sleep really well at daycare (without all of the fuss and crying that happens at home) although he doesnt nap for nearly half as long as when he is at home in his cot. (at daycare they sleep on mats on the floor, and I dont think he's used to it...)

    Odette - I have read somewhere that from the age of 18months + is when they become scared very easily of the dark, and other things they dont understand during the night.

  12. #12

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    We had another shocker last night. First wake up, she settled by herself after a quick check by us, second one she was hysterical, but didn't want to be alone. So I sat with her and held her while she cried & cried. I found 2 new teeth & she was hitting herself in the jaw so I suppose thats what woke her, but she never got back to sleep...4.30am wake up for us :sleeping:

    But I did notice this morning that if I left the door cracked open a bit she settled in my arms whimpering, but if I closed the door she got scared & would scream....

  13. #13

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    Sorry you had another rough night Christy Teething just makes things so much harder doesnt it...

    Hope you are able to get some catch up sleep today...

    Aidyn has the same fears about closing the doors... he wont sleep with his bedroom door closed - not even halfway, he gets very very upset.

    We also had a bit of a shocker here... Aidyn didnt go down properly until 8.30pm, and then until 12.30am he was waking up every hour crying, and coming to our bed, but not being able to sleep.
    Finally I gave him a bottle and it seemed to be what he wanted and I didnt hear from him after that. Usually these days though giving him a bottle doesnt cut it anymore, and he will throw it at me... LOL.

  14. #14
    Melinda Guest

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    Must have been the night for it because we had a horror of a night too. He went to sleep by himself initially but then woke up 2.5 hours later screaming and kicking and couldn't be consoled at all. DH ended up getting him back to sleep after around 45 minutes I think and then it started again a few hours after that, so the process begins again, and then again after that for a third time when we brought him into bed with us.

    I have to say I don't really like having Jacob in the bed with us too often as I sleep badly enough myself as it is and I find myself very anxious with him in the bed and I find that there isn't enough room as both DH and I like to spread out LOL. So normally Jacob just comes into us if he's sick and that I can cope with.

    Jacob's also started getting really shirty at his day time sleep - just screaming and carrying on. It's awful.

    Colleen - Jacob is still in his cot and even though we are expecting #2, we will simply be getting another cot so that Jacob isn't forced out of his cot when he isn't ready. I will leave him in his cot for as long as he is happy there.

  15. #15

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    Yeah on that cot issue.... Matilda came out of the cot only because she was climbing. I would have kept her in it as long as possible because of the implications it had on sleep. For the 3 weeks before she slept through 5 out of 7 nights and went to sleep within 30 minutes. For the first 3 weeks in the bed it took us around 2 hours to get her to sleep at night & she was up & down all night long, the next two weeks took an hour and finally by 6 weeks she was settling in her bed. So I would say if there are sleep issues now, wait as long as you can before you do the big bed.

  16. #16

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    Hi guys. i had to post as Im having huge problems at the moment. it probably doesnt' sound so bad, but someone wrote about having a good sleeper turn bad!! Well, to start Coco was an awful sleeper. The first 8 weeks we didnt' get a wink. Then suddenly she only woke for one feed. she'd sleep for 8 hours! Now the last week, she's waking up quite a bit. I willNOT feed her and so there fore everyone is getting stressed. I'll feed her once, but Im not getting into a habit of feeding every time she wakes. I had that with DD1 and that is where I can understand you guys, she was AWFUL at sleeping. She woke 6 times a night every night and I had to feed her to sleep.
    Anyway, maybe out of fear of that returning, I am just not coping well. I feel that Im getting depressed about this. Last night she went down at 7.30, but was awake at midnight (this has been happening all week) and then it took half an hour to resettle. Then awake at 2am for feed, then didn't settle until 3.30am adn then woke at 5.30am. Going from one wake up (at 4.30am) to this is just killing me. I have not been asleep since 1am, and I think thats what is making it so much harder, my loss of sleep.
    As Im sure you'll all understand, sleep deprivation has some serious side effects. Not only am I just not happy, and snappy and angry, but it's almost dangerous, especially when driving. Im feeling resentful to Coco and to Dh, and even though I love bubby to bits, Im just so tired and stressed all the time that I almost don't like her (only at times, and mainly only at 2am or whatever)!! I just wanted to really enjoy this experience. I guess i have set myself up and DH tells me to stop worrying etc, but that's it I WORRY so much. I 'd be ok not sleeping IF Coco slept really well.
    Anyway, gotta go, hope you all had a good sleep!!! And sorry to barge in, just had to get this all out!!

  17. #17

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    Meg I totally understand where you are coming from, its exhausting and frustrating and you just wish someone else could come in & take over but no one can. *hugs* I noticed that around 4-5 months there is another developmental stage where they go through waking through the night & there are other mums who have talked about this too. Consistency is the best thing you can do for Coco *hugs*

  18. #18
    Colleen Guest

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    past three nights, we've got to around 9-10pm and jaykob is still WIDE awake so we have taken him in the car for a drive....

    I know i have to break that cycle but i have no idea what to do.... We have been playing with him to wear him out and still wants to play at 10pm!

    Arghh, I have to go to work, I will post later in more detail..

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