Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Why won't my baby sleep??!

So you might remember back in October, we were having trouble with getting Charlie to sleep, either going to sleep by himself or then staying asleep. I talked on my blog here, about our attempts at sleep training and it seemed to work, for about a month. Once he hit 8 months, it all started to go wrong again.

At first, I thought he had started the separation anxiety phase and thought that if we just persevered for a few weeks, then he would go back to how he was. However, he is now nearly 11 months and there is no sign of him going back to his old sleeping habit. He used to go to bed between 7.30 and 8, depending on how tired he was really. But the routine was always the same: bath after tea and then Pjs on, cuddles with Daddy and then some milk. He'd be sleepy enough to put in his cot half awake and within 10 minutes or so, he would be asleep. He'd wake between 3-5am for a feed and go back down.

Now he won't even entertain the idea of going down in his cot awake. He screams and screams. Last night he screamed so much he started chocking and almost being sick and when I went to him he clung on to me sobbing his eyes out. Now the no nonsense parents would probably say to me that I gave in and that's what he wanted, but there is no way that I am leaving my sobbing baby to cry like that. I can generally work out when he's crying as if to say 'how dare you put me in my cot awake and not feed me to sleep.' This was very different. Eventually I managed to place him in his cot half asleep and had to stay there stroking him until he drifted off. He was then awake within half an hour! I gave in and fed him back to sleep and managed to get him back down. He then woke up at 1am. But it was really, really cold last night and his grow egg was on blue, so I am not sure if he was just cold. He ended up in bed with us at 1am anyway.

So I am left with wondering what to do. I don't feel I can go back to sleep training based on last night as I cannot leave him like that. He managed to get himself to sleep the night before though, with much less screaming, so I know he can do it. I just don't know what to do. I just want him to go to bed at a reasonable hour and stay there until about 4-5am, I don't mind that, I can work on that later on, once we've cracked actually going to bed! I really need some advice. I'm reluctant to speak to the health visitor as she told me to just do controlled crying, which I don't agree with. Although I can see the benefits and I know that it is proven to work. I know that he's older now, so it's not as traumatic for him, but it's still not nice.

So what do I do? Do I bite the bullet and go back to sleep training and endure his screaming for a few nights? If so, at what point do I cuddle him and then put back down? Or do I just give in and feed him to sleep until he weans himself off??? Help!


  1. Oh it's so hard as every child is different. Thinking back to my son at that age, I did do controlled crying with him and it took three nights of hell but on the 4th night, he slept. It was so hard though..I was crying too!
    He may be teething and actually in discomfort so it might be worth giving him a half spoon of Calpol tomorrow night just in case it is his teeth? The other thing we did was a dream feed at about 11.30pm as I couldn't face the wake up at 4 or 5am. We lifted him in his sleep, in the dark and gave him the bottle while he was asleep. The baby whisperer girl was a big fan of that and we did it for way longer than we needed to I think! But it just meant he settled for longer and dropped that waking up at stupid o clock - which killed me! I can highly recommend the Baby Whisperer's book - she fell somewhere in-between Gina F and the 'go with the flow' approach, which suited me and I felt it was a really logical/sensible approach. You do need to help some children to sleep - it pays dividends in the longer term. Also, during the day does he sleep ok? Encourage regular naps in the day as sleep begets sleep. The more he learns to settle himself during the day, the better he'll do it during the night. Again, the B Whisperer tells you what approach to take at different ages and how long they ideally should nap for etc.
    Long winded comment but hopefully some of it might be useful...thinking of you lovely - it's SO hard, especially when you're back at work. xx

    1. Aw thanks for all the info Avril! He is a cheeky monkey and sleeps well during the day with the childminder! He falls asleep on his own in a travel cot. However at weekends or hols etc, there is no way he will fall asleep on his own during the day - I have to feed him to sleep! If I'm not around, he will drop off on his own. When we did sleep training/CC back in October, it worked! It took three nights and then after that he slept. But he didn't cry in the same way he is crying now. This is a different cry, a real distressed cry and I don't know whether to keep going with it or whether he really is distressed. Last night I took him to his room and did his last feed there and then put him down in his cot half awake, he cried a bit, but I patted him for a few minutes and he went off fine in the end. Every night is so different, I just don't know what to expect! I dread bed time! xx

    2. Oh it sounds like he's tuned in to the fact that his mummy is around! But it's encouraging that he sleeps for others and that you've had a good run with him when he was younger. I would guess it's a combination of wanting your attention (maybe connected to him clicking that you're not around in the day?) and teething. It's SO hard and I do remember that bedtime dread. On the positive side, I think it's a passing stage. Hang on in there xx