Posts Tagged ‘sleep problems’

Sleep Matters

***Warning, A LONG post***

What is wrong with me? What am I doing wrong?

KHAL has been screaming since 10pm – that’s for over the last two hours! I have NO idea what is wrong with him. I’ve checked for all the usual – too hot, too cold, nappy, teething etc and nothing seems to calm him.

If I get him up out of the cot he’ll settle for a few mins after which I’ll put him back into the cot. And then the screaming starts again. If I stand there and rub his back or tummy until he has quietened, the moment I stop, the screaming starts again. If I just sit by his cot, he will not stay lying down – he’ll scream and stand up and shake the side of the crib. it’s not good enough for me to be just near him! If I lay him down and give him his toy, pull the blankets up to his shoulders and tell him firmly “It’s time for sleep” and then walk out of the room, closing the door most of the way behind me, the screaming starts before I have even exited the room. If I lay him down and give him his lion, pull the blankets up to his shoulders and not say anything at all, then leave the room closing the door most of the way behind me, same result. I don’t understand.

I’ve even tried the controlled crying technique (in the past as well as tonight)… sort of. I hate hearing him cry and can’t bear to let him cry for longer than 10 mins without me going in there to try and settle him.

I just don’t know what else to do!

I feel so helpless right now. And I know the depression does affect the way I feel about and see things. I know that it colours everything that I do, say, think about. But this rubs really raw for what I believe to be a good reason!

You see, up until KHAL was 6 months old, he was a FANTASTIC sleeper. And stupid me contributed this to me learning my lesson from my experiences with ICE when she was a baby.

Apparently not.

When I was pregnant with ICE, I was induced a month early for various reasons – my blood pressure was sky-rocketing and ICE had actually stopped growing properly from about 32weeks, IUGR (Inter-uterine Growth Restriction) is the term I think that was applied.

So she was born at 36w3d and due to poor feeding, jaundice, and continually losing weight rather than gaining after the initial loss, we were kept in the hospital for 12 days after she was born.

Once she and I were home, we were instructed that we must keep a strict 3hourly feeding schedule. But she was soooo slow at feeding that by the time she finished a feed it was almost time to start the next feed! And it was for this reason that we kept her in the bed with us of a night time – so that I could get some semblance of sleep.

And while it served a purpose at the time, when it came apparent that it was time that she moved into her own bed (around about 1) it proved to be the worst thing we could have done. She didn’t want to sleep in her own bed. And who could blame her when she was so cosy with mum and dad?

The trouble we had getting her to go to sleep in the cot was horrendous. We endured copious amounts of rocking, patting, sitting near the cot, letting her fall asleep while feeding (then trying to transport her to the cot still asleep, did not work very often either). She never got to sleep before Midnight and the routine took over two hours before she got to sleep – on a good night! I spent many nights asleep on the floor, where I’d be laying while reaching up to pat her back and had fallen asleep out of sheer exhaustion. In fact, it got to the point where I actually put a mattress on the floor beside her cot in anticipation of this occurring!

During the day I held her a lot. Fed her to sleep and generally kept her close to me all the time (Boy was the separation anxiety intense when I first started having to put her into day care!). She never went in her cot whilst she was awake.

Back then, and even now, we did not believe in the controlled crying method of getting babies to go to sleep. I can’t bear to hear babies cry, it wrenches my heart out. I thought it was cruel to leave a baby cry it’s little lungs out for long periods of time.

But it got to the point where we just had to try it. I wasn’t getting any QUALITY sleep and life was starting take on a tinted film. We adapted the method to suit us – we never let her cry for longer than 10 minutes and once the crying escalated into distress we went straight in, whether the time limit had elapsed or not.

And ICE surprised us by accepting that we put her to bed and left the room straight away, none of the rigmarole was going to be endured. In fact she accepted this in just 2 nights!! I couldn’t believe it at the time! And all I could think of was, why didn’t we try this earlier?!?!?! 

She still didn’t go to bed before midnight, but at the time we took that. I was a night owl anyway and the fact that we didn’t have to take 2hrs to get her to bed was fantastic. She still slept until late, normally 9-10am, and had her naps, so I wasn’t worried about her not getting enough sleep. Once this new routine was well and truly established (about a month later) we started putting her to bed earlier and earlier. And now she goes to bed around about 8-8:30pm most nights. And it will be earlier again once she stops having her afternoon naps.

So anyway, I told you all this because I wanted to really show you how we’ve learnt from our experiences.

When KHAL came along, we had him in a bassinette beside our bed. He has slept in our bed twice in the last year.

Once he got too big for the bassinette – about 4months – we transitioned him to the cot in his own room, which he took to fine.

I don’t feed him to sleep. We had the whole feed, play, sleep routine down pat. I was quite able to put him in either the cot or the bassinette while he was still awake and leave the room without any hassle. I didn’t go into him straight away when he cried so he learnt to self-settle. I don’t hold him all the time, although we still enjoy PLENTY of cuddles and kisses and playtime.

I was quite proud of the way we had managed to change the way we did things and as a result of those changes, we had a baby who was a terrific little sleeper.

Until 6 months of age. And then it all went out the window. It’s like someone snuck in during night while I was asleep and switched babies with me!

Now, when I leave the room, most nights he cries. Fortunately after about 10-15mins of crying he will go to sleep by himself. This will normally involve me usually just lying him back down if he has been sitting up and pulling the covers up over him then leaving the room maybe once or twice.

During the night he now wakes up numerous times and will not self-settle. I am required to go in and settle him back to sleep. Usually this takes about 10secs.

And then there are the nights where he will cry for hours before finally going to sleep for the night (like tonight). He will still wake up numerous times through-out the night, which again requires me to settle him. Thankfully this happens maybe once every 7-10days. But it leaves me feeling completely helpless.

And then there are the nights where he has absolutely NO drama’s going to bed – no crying or anything, straight to sleep. But will wake up at around 3am and will proceed to scream for hours on end whether I am there with him or not. And those nights are the worst. Not only am I tired from only having a few hours sleep, but I’m desperate to try to settle him so that he doesn’t wake my daughter or husband. And not being able to settle a crying baby has to be one of the worst things a mother/father can ever go through! It’s very demoralising for me. These types of nights are occurring more and more often.

So I guess my problem is, what the hell am I doing wrong? We still employ all of the techniques with KHAL that we have right from the start, nothing has changed there. But it just doesn’t seem to matter.

We are doing all the “right” things and we still have a baby that doesn’t sleep well. It just makes me feel totally useless as a mother.

Any advice you may have would be soooo appreciated right now.