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Thread: Advice/reassurance needed about how to get DS to settle to sleep

  1. #1

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    Default Advice/reassurance needed about how to get DS to settle to sleep

    I apologise in advance because this is a bit of a saga...

    I am having trouble getting DS to sleep lately, especially for day sleeps, and it's getting worse and worse. It's starting to get me really anxious, so much so that I get all knotted up in the stomach as soon as I see DS showing his tired signs.

    He used to be relatively straightforward to get to sleep. I mean, he'd grizzle a bit, suck on his dummy and need a nice cuddle beforehand and some shhhhing and a pat once down. Now it's a whole lot of wriggling in my arms and often crying, it takes a really really long cuddle until he settles and as soon as I so much as shift to put him in his cot he's wide awake and screaming and crying (often with real tears!). No amount of shhhing and patting work and I have to pick him up. It started that I'd do that cycle twice then he'd settle, now he continues to cry after I've picked him up and today he kept on crying for a full hour in my arms until he was just exhausted and dozed off (but then I had to hold him while he slept). He will fall asleep in my arms (not easily) but as soon as I change position or try to put him down he's awake and screaming again. Late last week he'd lie in his cot and not cry as long as he could hold my hand but that no longer works. He also keeps spitting or throwing out his dummy now and doesn't seem to like his blankie either. He's also stirring more during the night and sometimes cries out now to be resettled (which takes ages, see above!), which he'd never do before.



    While he's awake he's quite clingy and won't play/be by himself for longer than 3 or 4 minutes. If I'm sitting with him while he plays he will sometimes last for 7 or 8 minutes before he cries until he's picked up. Not grizzles, cries. He doesn't like being in his sling either so I have to carry him in my arms. He's actually a really happy little boy unless he's tired and at the moment he's tired most of the time because he won't sleep!

    I spoke to the MCHN and she said it sounds like he just wants to be cuddled so I should just cuddle him. But all day, every day? For every sleep? And whenever he's awake? I am scared he's already got such a strong association to me and I'll just be making it worse. I know I should be happy that I am so loved and wanted, but it's driving me crazy!!

  2. #2

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    My sister was having similar issues with her DS. She's at sleep school this week and seems to be getting somewhere. Perhaps look into that?

  3. #3

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    I'd suggest getting a sling or carrier. If that's what he needs, then the best thing is to hold him, but a carrier will mean your hands are still free. They go through these phases, it's no unusual at all and it will pass.
    You may well find that if you meet his need to be held, he'll sleep better, and the clinginess will also improve, and the sleeping will improve more, and so on.

    It's quite normal also for them to get unsettled around the 3-4 month mark as their little brains have a big developmental leap about this time. It's liable to leave some babies needing more reassurance.

  4. #4

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    It is so very hard isn't it we went through this about the same age, it all got better, and are now going through it again! It's funny, I always thought night sleeping would be the issue but it's always day sleeps that drive us round the bend. I feel like I recommend this book alot, but have you read the No Cry Sleep Solution? It has great suggestions on different methods to try, but it doesn't give you an overnight answer, more like a framework of solutions that you can choose to apply to your own family/situation.
    I don't have any real other advice in the sense that I am having major day sleep problems at the moment with DD, but I do keep telling myself that it's just a stage she's going through and it will improve. She had a pretty big developmental leap around 12wks that I feel threw her out for about a week, with really similar behaviours to your DS. I think/hope we're mid another leap now and it will all calm down soon.
    I know what you mean about feeling anxious when nap time approaches, I have been feeling the very same way. Sorry I couldn't be of more help

  5. #5

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    I agree with Marcellus. Get a sling.

    Don't buy into the making a rod for your own back thinking. You wont damage him by cuddling him lots. Promise!

    I feed/fed and rocked both my girls. The eldest is almost 3, but has put herself to sleep from about the age of 18 months. My 16 month old sometimes goes to sleep on her own, sometimes i feed her and sometimes a cuddle her to sleep.

    I found the 3 month mark was when my babies started becoming much more aware and things became more challenging. A sling saved me a thousand times over. Sleep around here goes in cycles, it's great then we have a few hiccups for a while and goes back to being great. This phase wont last forever.

    Have you read The Wonder Weeks or What Every Parent Needs To Know, i found both of these a great resource.

  6. #6

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    Thanks so much for your advice and reassurance. After a big hoo-ha getting DS to bed that resulted in me (and him) in tears and DH putting him down in 2 minutes flat (he never has any trouble!) he slept beautifully. We're now playing the 'grizzle, take dummy, pat/shhh, quieten for 2 minutes then repeat' game, but that's a huge improvement in that he's actually in his cot and there's been no crying or tears!

    Marcellus/Junglemum - I have a sling, but as I said, he doesn't like it at all. He will occasionally sit up in it for about 5 mins or so. He will also sit in his bouncer for a little while. He has a definite preference for sitting up.

    The rational, non-anxious part of my brain knows I won't spoil him by cuddling, and that this is just a phase, and that I have the most amazing, beautiful little boy on earth, but that doesn't stop the other part from taking over and freaking out sometimes! One day at a time...

  7. #7

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    I had that problem with my youngest son, it is a phase and usually grow out of it

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