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hysterical crying at bedtime and cries when put down to sleep. please help?

Hi guys,

I am having a real problem with bedtime still. Each night we do Daniel's bath and massage then when I put him down he's perfectly happy for a while but then begins to cry. If I try leave him it escalates so I pick him up to comfort him then put him down when he's quiet, then he'll cry again and i'll pick him up to comfort him but instead of calming down he'll just carry on crying ... hysterically. Last night he cried for an hour and eventually I gave him the breast just to calm him down as he was inconsolable and he fell asleep instantly.

I have no idea how to break this pattern as it literally happens every night and now he seems incapable of falling asleep calmly at any time. even when I put him in his Moses basket to sleep during the day he'll be happy and then cry and then after being comforted he'll cry when put down.

Have you got any experience of this or helpful suggestions please?

Thank you.

X x


  • Sorry, forgot to say he's 10 weeks old x
  • It sounds bizarre, but try putting your hoover or hairdryer on. I had similar issues when my daughter would cry for about 2 hours non stop every night. It was a nightmare. A friend suggested it as the white noise is meant to comfort them. I was very sceptical, but it worked instantly and still does now when sge gets upset, she's 14 weeks. You can even buy CDs and download 30 mins of hoover off the internet. Good luck x
  • I second the white noise i used to put the hair dryer on at night when ds3 wouldn't settle and it worked a treat most of the time.

    Also do you use a dummy? If he's using your breast as a comforter it could help.

    Another thing that helps calm my little one down is a mobile.

    You could also try doing the bedtime routine slightly later and gradually bring it forward as he might be a little more tired then.

    He's still quite young though so try not worry to much if he falls asleep on the breast. Hope he settles soon xx
  • My DS was exactly like this and would scream when we put him in his cot / basket. Even if we put him down asleep he would wake up after about 10 mins screaming.

    After weeks and weeks of this I tried raising his matress slightly and putting him on his side rather than his back ( I know this isn't recommended though!) and he slept so much better. He suffered with wind quite a bit and looking back now I'm sure he also had a bit of reflux. we couldn't put him in his cot awake until he was about 5 months old and he would then self settle, It was like he just grew out of the wind and reflux problems. I used to either have to BF his to sleep or rock him. Only problem with BF to sleep was then he would wake up again later with wind.

    I also second the white noise advice. If he was screaming in the day I used to (and still so sometimes 10 months later) put the hoover on and it instantly calms him.

    Good luck and don't worry it won't last forever image

  • We put her on her side and it really helped. The white noise element is great. As for settling him on the boob, I have been told that they don't remember these things before 6 months anyway as something to rely on. The other thing is will he take, have you tried a dummy? We had this problem, and she wouldn't really take a dummy but would suck on my finger to calm her down might help xx
  • i hate to tell you this but we had exactly the same with our dd! Nothing worked- we tried hairdryers, hoovers, downloading white noise, infacol, raising the mattress, dummies (spat out), infant gaviscon, introducing a relaxing bedtime outine, we even bought a big travel cot to replace the moses basket cos the health visitor said she might not like feeling closed in ( didnt work!) We got so deseperate I called the Crysis line and spoke to a really lovely lady who explained that it is nothing we were doing wrong and told me i need to concentrate on looking after myself to cope with it ( eating healthily, getting rellys to come and help so you can have a nap etc) as its only a temporary thing. However, what I will say is that when she got to three months she magically started going to sleep without a fuss and sleeping through! I think its to do with their developing tummies causing them pain and until they have finished developing their tummies (i think this happens by about three months) some babies are uncomfortable laying down. We found that putting her to sleep in a swing sitting up helped during the day. All i can say is hang in there because it really does get better.
  • Hello!

    I just wanted to say that we had the exact same problem but instead of falling asleep on the bood she would only fall asleep on me. I had to go to bed with her on my chest every night. Then all of a sudden without us doing anything she allowed us to but her down I her cot! Now at 12 weeks it is getting easier and easier and it I really think it is nothing more than she is a bit older! I just couldn't believe it when she went to sleep in her cot, we were gobsmacked!

    Just give it a few more weeks and see what happens! I really know how you feel as my little one cried so much we thought it would never end.

  • Hey Mrs Cake - waving hello!!! How's it going? Congratulations on your little girl stranger. Millie is 14 weeks now and we're loving every minute! xxx
  • PS, I've also discovered that listening to Take That calms her down instantly. She loves 'Rule the World' - is mesmorised, and its far easier on the ear (and head!) than the hoover! x
  • Baby is still fairly young at the moment and may take a little time to learn to self settle. My DD always used to use me to snuggle into in order to fall asleep until about 4mths old when she suddenly seemed able to settle on her own (I felt like a living teddy :lol: ) Now she's nearing 18mths old and we're seeing some repeats of this (partly due to her last few back teeth emerging and partly due to the growing awareness of mummy carrying another baby). Look after yourself, eat and drink plenty, rest when you can and you'll continue coping until they adjust.
  • Forgot to say I always tend to use the radio or MTV channel to help sleep during the day. 5-10mins of listening to the chat and music and LO is out for the count.
  • My MW suggested that we put the ipod on and put the headphones in the moses basket...same effect as white noise! Basically they're used to background noise from being in the womb and this seems to calm them. But I also agree with the others, the hoover was a winner!!! xxx
  • hi guys,

    thanks for your posts. I did as you suggested, white noise, raised one end of bed, rocked and shushed, tried dummy etc but nothing has helped... in fact this morning for the first time I had the hysterical crying usually only reserved for night so now I just don't know what I am doing wrong or what i did to make my baby this way?!!!

    He is 11 weeks on tuesday and it only seems to be getting worse not better. this morning I tried to put him down and he cried so i tried to pick him up and shush him but he just didn't stop crying (really upsetting when you're supposed to be his mommy and able to comfort him) so I gave him the dummy and he still cried behind it. then he fell asleep for 10 min, woke up crying and I thought I'd leave him for a minute to see if he would stop but it just escalated and i picked him up and he was just hysterical, dummy or not!

    Oh my goodness what do i do to get my baby to sleep normally????
  • Aaaahhhh - please, please don't worry - it's nothing that you are doing wrong. My DS was like this too, as I've said in my post above. We still now have phases when he won't self settle etc due to illness, teething, or just wanting cuddles etc.

    From my own experiance I would say for the moment give your baby what he wants, and don't worry about self settling etc for the minute.

    I was worried that I would teach him bad habits but everything just sorts itslef out in the end, and you get one routine sorted and things change again anyway.

    If you are really worried you could see your GP or HV for some advice, maybe it is something like reflux and he may need some meds. Go with your insticts and don't be too hard on yourself it's perfectly normal and he is still only very young.

  • 10 weeks is still very tiny. Swaddling help us with lo though. It made him feel like he was still being held.
  • Hey, one thing that hasn't been mentioned that might help is that he could be cluster feeding. My little boy wouldn't settle himself for a long time and we tried lots of things including a dummy. I can't remember how, but I somehow learnt about cluster feeding and it changed everything. I was thinking that he couldn't possibly be hungry as he had just been fed, but they do go through phases of just feeding and feeding (especially in the evening) so maybe try just letting him feed. I don't personally believe that it will result in bad habits but it's your choice. Really hope you find a solution soon image
  • I'm sorry if I'm short with you but you have been worrying about this for ages and he's only 10 weeks old. If putting him down leads to hysterical crying then why not hold him? It depends what school of thought you come from, but I've said to you before, as others have here, ds slept on me, or hubby, or grandparents. or whoever would have him when he was little, and sometimes he went in his cot. But he would fall asleep on breast or on someone and then go in his bed. He cried A LOT though - because of the reflux we think, and sleeping on someone helped because of the angle. (he did go on his tummy in his cot as he had silent reflux) Then as he got older he just started going in his cot and falling asleep. I didn't force day time naps on him, as he didn't choose to sleep during the day much. He slept in with us sometimes, especially if ill - so we broke all the rules.We now have a happy, confident almost 1 year old, who sleeps from 7pm - 6am, he goes to nursery and I can leave to a cheery 'tata' and wave. He knows I'm coming back. That was my way of parenting and its not created a clingy monster who won't sleep in his bed - quite the opposite. STOP stressing about him self settling and start looking at his needs.
  • If you're really concerned and tried all these things then please call your HV for advice first. By six weeks by ds would scream hysterically for 45mins before each nap (despire a huge bf) and wake screaming. I tried everything, felt I was a useless mum, couldnt understand what I was doing wrong the lot!. It was my HV who first worked out what ds problem is - the doc was b*****y useless. Hope it gets better for you soon x
  • I have to say my type of parenting is exactly the same as jellytots...although I'm not quite as blunt :lol:

    I have never left my baby to cry and always done what he needs to be comforted, and like jellytots I have no issues whatsoever, he's not clingy, falls asleep himself when he's not ill, is independant, goes to nursery full time etc etc.

    If you feel stressed as you are worried there is something wrong I would get it checked out but if you are just worried that he should be self settling I really wouldn't worry at this stage.

  • Hi guys,

    Jellytots, I really appreciate your bluntness and I totally agree with what you're saying but it's not just that I want to put him down and he cries - he just doesn't go to sleep at all and then cries because he's overtired. I would be more than happy for him to fall asleep on me (in fact it would make me feel GREAT that I can comfort him like that) but he just doesn't. If I try hold him and just shush him then he starts kicking around with his legs and eventually cries. I have also tried just rocking him and that doesn't send him off either, he'll just cry for ages and not go to sleep.

    He is now in the habit of being awake for 4.5 hours before he goes down, which totally stresses me out as it can't be good for his little body!

    Yesterday he woke up from an afternoon sleep at 5.30pm, was fed at 6pm, bathed at 7.15pm and put down at 7.30pm but he didn't sleep until 10pm (I fed him at 9.30pm as it had been 3.5 hours since his last feed. He then only slept 5 hours until 3am, was fed, then slept until 6am and was fed at 6.30am. We have been doing a bedtime routine every single night for about 3 or 4 weeks now and it doesn't seem to magically send him off to sleep as all the books/people say it will!

    I was really upset the other day because he was tired and I could hear the overtired cry so I just held him and sang to him and it just didn't settle him, he just carried on crying and it makes me feel rubbish that as his mother at least that should work and I should comfort him like no other.

    Thank you again to all of you for your posts, I appreciate your comments more than you know!!

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