Mon 12 October Sleep webchat

Got a child who won't sleep? Get help in our webchat with parenting expert Sue Atkins 12-1pm on Monday October 12th. Feel free to post questions in advance if you can't be with us 12-1pm.

[Modified by: webeditor on 12 October 2009 09:32:41 ]


  • hi sue,

    my daughter summer is now 17 months and cant settle herself to sleep still.
    i have tried controlled crying but she screamed and made herself sick for 3 1/2 hours.
    ive tried pick up put down but after 2 hours of this my arms were in agony.
    ive tried a night light, soothing music, sitting and holding her hand, a projector on the celing, a mobile, lying down with her.
    she has always had a bed routine since she was 4 months old of bath bottle and bed and the same time everyday without fail.

    ive been to my health visitor many times about this i was referred to a sleep clinic when summer was 6 months old but im still waiting. ive spoken to my health visitor a total of 12 times about summers sleeping but nothing has been done and ive given up with them now.

    i would be greatful for any advice you have.

    thank you vicky & summer.
  • Hi my son is 19 weeks and was sleeping through for weeks from about 8 weeks but for the last couple of weeks has hasnt! i dont get it he has about 1-2 hours sleep during the day no matter how hard i try nothing gets him to sleep! some nights he falls asleep at 7pm and wakes up between 3 and 4 for feed then takes a while to sleep and other nights he goes sleep at 9ish pm and wakes about 5-6ish am and wont sleep again untill 8 or 9am! He has 6 -7 oz of milk every 4-5 hours and either porridge or his banana and peach breakfast at about 10am and then between 5 and 6 pm he has some dinner.

    He has been teething for weeks too but this was before he stopped sleeping through.

    Any ideas why this could be or what I can do?

    Thanks samantha xx

    [Modified by: *Monkey*chops* on October 12, 2009 11:46 AM]

  • My son is 21 months and we have been having problems with his sleep since he was 11/12 months old. Before that he was fine (used to sleep till about 6am then started waking at 4/5 am for a bottle and then sleeping till gone 7am).

    He went from the one early am waking to waking 2x a night and then onto 3x a night. We put it down to teething at first (he's had 8 teeth since he turned 1) and then he was diagnosed with asthma and we thought the waking at night was down to that as the only sign of asthma he had was coughing at night. He's not had any teeth come through for a while now and he's been on an inhaler at night (and sometimes in the morning too if he's bunged up) since August and it has helped as he isn't coughing at night any more

    He wakes up but isn't really aware if that makes sense - he is just crying and grizzling and often has a wet nappy. We change him and give him some milk and he settles right away usually (so long as it isn't too close to getting up time). For a long time we've been giving him dilute milk/formula when he wakes earlier than about 3am as we'd heard that was the way to try and wean him off waking by getting it down to water gradually but we haven't tried getting lower than 4oz water 2 scoops of formula. He has a 7oz bottle at some point after 3 when he wakes - we did recently reduce that from 8oz but haven't changed anything since he got his inhaler. I have had it suggested that it could be a lactose intolerance upsetting his sleep but he has no other signs that I'm aware of and I don't think it is.

    If he wakes around 5.30am onwards he's often more aware and talking but we still just offer milk, change him if necessary and then lie down on the floor and get him to lie down and sometimes he'll go back to sleep, sometimes he'll lie there for a while and then get up.

    We turned the cotbed into a bed at 16 months thinking that would help as he was catching his arms in the bars, it didn't help, we have just taken the bedguard off because we thought he might be banging his head and that hasn't helped. We've taken all teddies out of his room on the advice of the asthma nurse and we've done our best to make his room as dust free as possible. He sleeps better when he stays at my parents (on a mattress on the floor) but I can't think of anything else in his room that could be affecting him.

    It doesnt' seem to make any difference whether he's been hugely active during the day or not, or eaten well or not (he's not the best of eaters) or whether he's drunk his bedtime milk or not. We do have a good bedtime routine and he's normally ready to be in bed by about 7 and he normally goes off to sleep well. He naps once a day now for 30mins to an hour and ususally goes off to sleep quite well then. He doesn't come into our bed to sleep but we do occasionally get into bed with him and often lie on the floor while he holds on to us and goes to sleep

    I don't think controlled crying will help - if we ever don't go in quickly to him or try and leave him to settle himself, or offer water instead of milk he just gets upset and cries which isn't helping him settle and we don't think that getting him worked up is good for the asthma. We do leave him to grizzle himself off to sleep for his daytime nap (unless he gets too worked up in which case we give up and try again later) but he doesn't get worked up like he does at night if we try and leave him.

    I'm aware its probably partly habit but we aren't sure what to do next, we don't want to do controlled crying as we tend to think he's crying for a reason (and he does often need changing, or is twisted up in bed or is thirsty). Sorry for the essay but I'm typing this up the night before as there is no chance i'll get it done while my son is awake and thought it best to cover everything. Any help is gratefully appreciated! We are shattered!
  • Hi,
    My son Connor is nearly 13 months old and he is such a bad sleeper.
    He has slept through on occasion, and he knows how to settle himself to sleep but he just wont.
    We have tried PUPD, Disappearing Chair, light room, dark room, mobiles, nightlights, projectors, supper, no supper, snack, early bedtime, late bedtime, no daytime nap, normal nap, short nap, pillow, no pillow and im sure a few other things.
    Hes walking and running so i thought he would wear himself out more.
    He isn't waking for food or water, or nappy change or teething (at the minute!) so i can only assume he wants a cuddle as if he is in my bed with me he sleeps through the night no problems.
    I get up to him 3+ times a night, sometimes he will settle if i just pop his dummy back in or stroke his cheek, other times he has a full blown paddy and nothing but picking him up works.
    He also sometimes has night terrors.
    I really dont feel i could do Controlled Crying so do i have another option?
    Thanks for reading

    [Modified by: rainbowshoes on October 12, 2009 11:59 AM]

  • Hello Vicky and Summer

    There are a huge number of reasons why your baby might have started waking up during the night - but one might be a change in your circumstances.

    Perhaps your little one is picking up your anxiety and stress now too.
    So what can you do to relax and get grounded, centred and positive again around sleep time? Often children pick up on your vibes first.

    Also look back at the things you did that worked before as that will get you focusing on what went well and was successful before which will help you feel more positive, back in control and relaxed.

    It's about you relaxing first and noticing and remembering what worked before and doing those things simply, and systematically again.

    Hope that helps
  • Helo Sue,
    My Amy at the most has ever slept for 3 x 20 mins during the day.. she seems to hate to miss something! My real problem is as follows:-

    Amy has for the last 3 nights woken up at 11pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm,6am etc and since 6 weeks old she had been sleeping from 8pm til 6am so through the night. I think she is teething so using bongela, calpol and sometimes granules and she is still misrable during the day!

    She has a new extra feed at 2am and still wakes every hour crying. I have introduced baby rice for the last three days (just a teaspoon of dry powder and about 5 spoonfuls of milk to mix) and she has that plus all the milk she would normally (plus the extra 2am feed).

    So I cant decide if she is teething, hungry and or both. I hope this makes sense.. what do you think?

    MW of course is ademant not to wean her till 6 months and she was only 4 months 2 days ago! Should I leave out the rice again and just stay with milk? What else can I do please?

    Help I am knackered!!!



    [Modified by: Suziewoo on October 12, 2009 12:01 PM]

  • hi sue,

    summer isnt waking up at night, she just cant settle herself to sleep at all, this has always been the case.
  • Hello Monkey Chops

    There are a huge number of reasons why your baby might have started waking up during the night but here are the most common:

    ??????? Illness - Its very common for babies to start waking up at night if they're feeling poorly or are just recovering from an illness, especially if they have got used to being taken into bed with you or have you soothe them back to sleep during the night.

    ??????? Teething - The discomfort of teething may be causing your baby to wake at night. Check your baby's top and bottom gums to look for signs they're cutting their first tooth and you mentioned this so it could be a cause of the unsettling

    ??????? Development - Infants often start waking as they learn new developmental skills, it's almost as if they want to practice their new ability as much as they can.

    ??????? Comfort - Something about your baby's sleeping environment may be causing him to wake fully in the night. Check whether his room is at a comfortable temperature, whether they have on the right amount of clothes and bedding, whether there is a change in the amount of light shining into their room or whether there is a specific night time noise that is causing him to wake.

    ??????? Growth spurt - Your baby's waking may simply be down to a growth spurt when, typically, baby's feel more hungry than usual. If you have already stopped night time feeds you could try giving them a little more milk in their bedtime feed, increase the amount of solids they're consuming slightly or even consider weaning if they're past six months and not on solids yet.

    ??????? Change - Night waking could be your baby's way of processing a change in their environment whether you've moved their cot, been on holiday or something else entirely.

    So hre are some of my ideas for helping your baby to sleep through

    If there is something obvious that's waking your baby in the night then you should try and modify this as best you can to help them return to uninterrupted sleep (i.e. if their room is to cold use an extra blanket or it it's light from outside that's disturbing them fit blackout blinds to their window).

    Start to notice triggers

    But if you can't find anything that has obviously triggered his relapse to night waking then the best approach to take is to revert back to the methods that you used to teach him to sleep through the first time around.

    It can be a good idea to:

    ??????? Keep a consistent bedtime routine - It can be tempting to put your baby to bed later in the hope this will help them to sleep through the night but this can actually have the opposite effect as sleep deprivation is likely to make your baby wake up even more.

    If anything it can be a good idea to settle your baby to sleep a little earlier and see how they respond as being overtired may be what's causing them to wake. Also, a soothing bath, book and bedtime routine (or whatever works for you and your baby) will help your baby relax and wind down for a good nights sleep.

    ??????? Maintain a daytime nap schedule - Young babies work well to routines and a consistent daytime nap schedule will help prevent your baby from becoming overtired and will ensure that when it comes to bedtime your baby is ready for sleep.

    ??????? Reinforce the idea that night is for sleeping - You will need to help your baby learn that night time is not the right time to play, chat and be awake.

    You can do this by keeping bright lights, noise and contact to a minimum.

    Unless your baby is feeling poorly avoid picking them up or taking them out of their cot as this will only reinforce the idea that you'll come and give them attention whenever they call even if it's the middle of the night.

    Similarly you should also try avoid unnecessary feeds and changes if you've stopped night time feeding. Music, mobiles or other toys should also be avoided or your baby is likely to depend on them as cues for sleep and need them every time they wake.

    It's all about you relaxing though first - getting grounded, centred and relaxed - breath deeply and slowly.

    I get my clients to start to daydream about a time in the future when you are looking back at this time - and he is sleeping in a pattern easily as it sets up your unconscious for ne ideas and helps you to relax.

    Hope that helps

    Take care
  • Hello Kia

    I have found EFT or tapping to be very effective with children and adults who have asthma. It is a technique that helps reduce the stress and anxiety that may now be happening all around the issue of sleep for all of you. If you'd like me to send you my ebook on how this can help just drop me an email at [email protected]

    Also look for ways to relax and be calm yourself and that can be passed onto your little one too. Rescue Remedy pastilles are helpful too and reducing the intake of milk - I've had clients who have gone onto soya or goats milk with success.

    Hope this helps and if you'd like to call me I'd be very happy to talk to yoy more about it in more detail.
    Take care
  • That'd be great - thanks. I'll email you later..think he's just waking up. We aren't stressed or anxious though .. just tired lol!

    Thanks again
  • I find daytime naps a big problem: my baby aged seven months screams and screams when i put her down after lunch. She really needs the sleep as when she goes off (after maybe 30 mins) she sleeps for 2 hours or more if I let her. But it's got to the stage where my neighbour asked me yesterday if everything's OK as the screams were carrying over the fence.
    Is there any way I can ease the passage into naptime better for her?
  • Hello Rainbowshoes

    Although night waking can be a very stressful phase to deal with again reassure yourself that as your little one learned to sleep through the night before, they'll be able to do it again and while it may take a couple of weeks to get them back in the habit, they will relearn this skill and you will be able to enjoy a peaceful night's sleep once again honestly !

    I know that there's nothing more frustrating, not to mention tiring, and exhausting than when your child won't sleep - particularly if they were already starting to settle into a routine.

    While children sometimes wake 'just because', if it happens night after night it can be because it's something that they've learned to do.

    Like all habits, changing your child's sleep patterns is something that will take a little perseverance to begin with. However, once they have mastered the new 'going to sleep routine' it will quickly become something you both settle into.

    Before you decide to embark on a 'getting to sleep' mission there are two very important points that you need to consider:

    1. Which 'method' is right for you? - There are so many different schools of thought on the best way of getting children to sleep that it can be confusing. However, it's vitally important that you choose an approach that you feel happy with. You know your child the best so trust your intuition on what will be best for you and your child as going with what "feels" right, natural is always the best way to go and will give you the best chance of success.

    2. Whether you'll be able to stick to it - Once you introduce your child into a sleep routine it's really important that you persevere. Teaching your little one new sleep habits can take anything from a few days to a couple of weeks but you will get there. Stopping the routine mid-way will only confuse them and teach them that waking and crying is the best way to get your attention.

    So go and relax and tap into your natural rhythm of what you feel needs to change - usually the small change can lead to the biggest difference.

    Hope that helps

    Take care
  • My husband never wakes up for our baby. I think he's just a much heavier sleeper than me (or that's his story!). But I'm fed up of being the one with the broken nights. How can I get him to pull his weight? I don't weant to wear earplugs as then neither of us will hear the crying!
  • Hello Suziewoo

    It's exhausting isn't it trying to work out what seems to be the matter? If I just asked you to relax and tap into your intuition what would you say...... don't think too long or hard about it - just say the first thing that comes up into your mind? Often when I ask a client to do this - they find the answer - as bringing up kids is all about trusting your inner knowing about them.

    But is' also about you relaxing, giving off loving , gentle vibes and being calm too and taking care of your own sleep - asking for someone to take a turn, or do a shift or give you a break.

    Is your little one over stimulated before bedtime or actually over tired as either of these can cause a child to find it hard to settle themselves or to fall asleep themselves.

  • hi, my 3 month old daughter has around 3-4 naps a day, during her evening nap (around 4pm-6pm) she is fast asleep, but screams! she will cry for a few seconds then stop, this happens a few times (all while she is still asleep) Do babies have nightmares?? she cant be hungry and i always feed her before? so just dont understand these little bouts of screaming. (it only ever happens during her evening nap)

  • Hi Sue, for around 9weeeks old luke (18wks) was sleeping through soundly from 8-6am with a dreamfeed at 10:30. he hasnt done that in 4weeks now. his main issue is his dummy. he settles brilliantly at his 7pm bedtime, his dummy drops out and he wakes for it an hour later. this goes on for most of the night...he takes it out most of the time then cries for it back. we have tried leaving him to cry it out but he just get hysterical, then settles as soon as he has it back. he wont settle with a cuddle and is full, no wind as this is what we originally thought it was he just wants his dummy. he used to let it drop out n leave it but now he will only sleep for about 15mins without it. he also seems to knock it out when he rubs his face tired.....any ideas???
  • Thank you for replying Sue.

    My husband slept in the room with Amy last night (night 4) and Amy did exactly the same thing with him (I was in a different room with ear plugs and had the most wonderful sleep ever!). I do agree I am/was exhausted but I dont think this is the reason she is waking up on this occassion.

    Amy is slowly drinking less and less and is beggining to refuse feeds so I think its time for me to go to the doctors and see if there is actually something wrong. I have removed the rice option that I only started 3 days ago to see if she will take more milk but that has had no effect.

    Any other advice you can give would be helpful.
  • Hello Franticmum

    While nap-time problems tend to be less disruptive than night time sleep issues they're frustrating and stressful nonetheless particularly if your neighbour is being disturbed.

    If you learn to identify why your baby is having trouble dropping off you'll be better able to soothe them into a nap time routine that works every time (well, almost!).

    Presuming they're not hungry, poorly or in need of a change, possible reasons why your baby may find it difficult to nap include:

    ??????? Baby could be overtired -
    Strange as it seems you only have a relatively small window of opportunity during which your baby will happily settle themselves to sleep. Miss this and they will often get a second wind and be unwilling and unable to nap.

    ??????? Baby could be overstimulated-
    Young infants rarely want to miss out on a thing so if they've been busy playing just before nap time they're unlikely to want to stop and settle down for a rest.

    ??????? Baby could be distracted -
    If your baby isn't in the place where they usually sleep, there's lots of interesting noise, light or other 'interesting' distractions, they're unlikely to be able to switch off for a nap.

    ??????? Baby could need you -
    If your baby hasn't yet got the hang of settling themselves to sleep you may find that they have trouble napping because you're somewhere else in the house rather than by their side.

    So remember a time when you've done something that worked before - go into great detail over what you did - see what you saw, hear what you said, and feel how good you felt when everything was going well and things were easy ...... take the learning from that and start to go back to doing those things again.

    It's really important that you relax first yourself as your little one is picking up on your anxiety and nerves and stress now - just try on small change at a time so you can see if it works - it's a bit like taking on one vitamin at at a time not multi vitamins - as you can't then work out what made the difference !

    Hope that helps and if you'd like to call me |I'm happy to chat with you
  • Hello OMGIamamum

    This is a very common problem I hear a lot! One simple thing I get my clients to do is to pop a time in their diary ( I know but unless you do it won't happen !) when you can have a "proper" chat with your partner - not in the middle of the night when the baby is screaming and you are running on empty and exhausted.

    Then either have a cup of coffee together with the telly off or even get a babysitter and go out for a walk or a drink so you can explain how you are feeling to your partner - explain the feelings of overwhelm, frustration, tiredness before they build up into resentment and woek out a couple of practical ways that your partner can help.

    Think about the ways he can help before hand - men like simple instructions and they are very practical in their approach and if you know what you'd like to happen then you can ask for the help and support you need.

    Visualise a perfect scenario in your imagination so that your unconscious can get to work on making that happen - we all get more of what we focus on so focus on some solutions not the problems and ask your partber to share this bonding time with his little one too.

    Hope that helps

    take care

  • Thanks Sue - maybe the problem is that she's overtired. I'll try putting her down earlier to see if that eases the pain!
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