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Author Topic: [parenting] MY SON WILL NOT GO TO SLEEP  (Read 1785 times)
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lildrgn
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« on: October 19, 2005, 05:07:23 AM »

AND IT'S DRIVING US CRAZY!!!!! :x  :x  :x

Riley is almost 14 months old. In almost 14 months, he's slept through the night (8+ hours) once. ONE TIME. This past Saturday.

Here's our nightly routine. We've been doing this for about 2 months. We've been trying to get him to sleep on his own since March.

Bath. Story. Breast feed for a bit. Put him in his crib before he falls asleep. Stand there until he falls asleep (if we leave, he FREAKS OUT). He sleeps.

Anywhere from 1 to 2 hours later, he wakes, crying loudly because we aren't there. Now, before you say, "let him cry it out," we would (and did with his sister), but we don't want him to wake said sister up. So, we end up going back in and shushing him until he falls asleep. Sometimes this takes 2 minutes. Sometimes it takes an hour or more. So, he sleeps.

Then, anywhere from 2-3 hours later, he wakes again. Once again, we go through the routine. At this point, I or my wife are going in to keep the other from having to do so. Sometimes he won't calm down so we both end up taking turns with him. Last night, he woke at 9:30, 11:30 (up for an hour until 12:30), 12:40, 3:00, 5:30 and then, finally for good at 8:00.

We are at the end of our rope. I have suggested to have my wife and daughter go to my parent's house for a few nights while I just let Riley cry it out. As a dad, I'm able to let him just do his thing. I'm not hormonally attached like Mom is. But Mom doesn't want to do that. She'd rather stay downstairs, away from Riley, but in the same house.

Tonight, it's 10:00 right now. He was asleep by 8:30, then awake again at 9:10. Not even an hour. He's been crying ever since because we haven't had a chance to unwind or anything. Haley (sister) hasn't woken up as she missed a nap and will (crosses fingers) probably sleep through it all. I am willing to let Riley cry his ass off tonight and I'll just have to keep Marci from caving to his needs.

Anyway, wish us luck. I just don't know how something as cute as this can be such a pain in the ass.



PS: Anyone know what's up with OO? Or Yahoo!? Neither of those sites come up...
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mytocles
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« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2005, 06:04:26 AM »

OMG, he surely is cute!  I'll bet you've done this, but I noticed you didn't say anything about checking in with "the establishment" of some sort - like a pediatrician, child behaviorist, etc.  They've been through it all before, and they have steps and solutions, just like if they knew the baby had a cold... X symptoms = X treatments.  Try it if you haven't yet!

I'm afraid all I have is a puppy - but it's similar in a way - I'm the one who can stick out the "tough love" treatment better - usually some form of ignoring is involved.  The only problem is that you now have it going on for longer than the first few nights... so now it's a bigger problem.

As silly as this may sound, you do have to remember that you can train a kid like you can train a puppy - it's all about ignoring at the right moment, and positively reinforcing at the right moment.  And really paying attention to what you are rewarding!  Watch for stuff you're providing - attention, "treats" , etc - that you are only doing when he's not sleeping.  Maybe you can provide them at a better time, like when he's calm or sleepy?

No one else had answered yet, so I gave my feeble, vaguely possible, helpful tips... just don't start feeding him kibble!  :roll:

I mostly just wanted to help, if at all possible - since we go way back, lildrgn!  Good Luck!   Tongue
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th'FOOL
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« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2005, 06:40:22 AM »

My wife and I don't believe in the 'cry it out' method.  Never made much sense to us (at least in the first two years of age).  There is a natural, instinctual reason why babies cry- they need reassurance, they need momma.  They need to know you are there.

Some people might think I'm crazy, but my son Griffin slept with us for the first couple of years.  He never took to the crib, and the fact that we would actually be able to sleep through the entire night with maybe one wake-up for a diaper change.  That was well worth it for me.

After a while, Griffin just decided he wanted to sleep in his own bed.  From day one of that, he rarely, if ever, wanted to come back to our bed, and we figured since we kept him so close in those early months, he was a lot more confident, reassured, and self-reliant as a result.
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Mike Dunn
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Jimmy the Fish
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« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2005, 06:46:27 AM »

What are your son's nap pattern during the day? Also, when does he eat dinner? At what age did he transition from sleeping in a bassinet in your room  to his crib in his room? Answers to these questions might shed some light on why he can't sleep through the night.

One thing that might help is if he is conditioned to sleep with a "lovey", usually a favorite blanket or stuff toy. Something that can soothe him when he is trying to sleep.

Letting him cry it out may be the last resort. Your wife has to realize that if someone constantly goes running to him when he wakes up in the middle of the night, he will LEARN that he can control the situation. That is a bad situation. You may have to tough it out for several days and let him cry himself to sleep, but once he is conditioned over several days, he SHOULD be able to sleep through the night.

th'FOOL's situation is more the exception than the rule. It's great that it ended up working but pediatricians generally recommend against letting infants getting used to sleeping with the parents. Who knows, maybe letting junior sleep with mom and dad in their bed may work. While there are general recommendations, it always comes down to what works best for you.
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th'FOOL
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« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2005, 07:20:43 AM »

Quote from: "Jimmy the Fish"
It's great that it ended up working but pediatricians generally recommend against letting infants getting used to sleeping with the parents. Who knows, maybe letting junior sleep with mom and dad in their bed may work. While there are general recommendations, it always comes down to what works best for you.


Let me just put it this way:  Children have been sleeping with their parents for a hell of a lot longer than pediatricians have been recommending against it.  Hell, it always made more sense to me- if you were a baby, wouldn't you freak if you had to sleep behind bars intead of near mommy?
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Mike Dunn
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« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2005, 11:42:03 AM »

Our first son had a bit of a problem with this.  We tried everything and eventually resorted to the "cry it out" method.  And it worked.  And he's now a very normal 9 year-old who sleeps through the night.

When he'd wake up we'd go in and pat him on the back and whisper to him for about one minute.  Then we'd leave.  If he was still crying 30 minutes later we'd go back in, same routine and leave a minute later.  That way he knew he wasn't abandoned.

M. Scott Peck once talked about how it's human nature to shit our pants.  It comes naturally to us yet it's not normal.  Young children attempt to influence their world in any way possible and at certain ages they can rely on reassurance too much instead of completing necessary developmental tasks.  They do not know how to fall asleep naturally and require comfort and attention to get it done.  But they also at times require a "vote of confidence" that they are able to put themselves to sleep without our doing it for them.  Eventually children's bodies and minds figure out how to make sleep happen.  

Letting our son cry it out was difficult for us but in retrospect it was no more difficult than letting him fall down when he was learning to walk.  It was a necessary thing that we had to do in order for him to learn to accomplish something on his own.

It's not unreasonable to expect a healthy, 14 month-old child to be able to figure out how to fall asleep.  It is reasonable to expect that he might need the space and time to figure this out on his own.  Keep checking in on him every 30 minutes, pat him on the back, give him a kiss, tell him you love him.  Then walk away and do it again in 30 minutes.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

You'll thank yourselves when he's an older child with no sleep problems.
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jament
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« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2005, 04:45:29 PM »

We did the same as th'Fool with our daughter (who is now 5) with great result.  She slept with us until she reached an independent stage around 2 where she wanted her own room and her own bed.  Since then, she sleeps in her own bed unless I'm gone (when she comes in to keep Mom company).  Never had a problem with her getting out of bed after being tucked in, crying at night (unless she's ill) or sleeping until morning.

Frankly, pediatricians and their "one size fits all" recommendations about parenting can kiss my ass.  Different kids have different needs.
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lildrgn
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« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2005, 04:47:03 PM »

Thanks for the tips, everyone.

Update:

After posting, he fell asleep. That was about 10:10. He didn't wake until 6:50. So you could call last night a success. The key now is to sustain it. Can he do it tonight? We'll see.

Usually, when we've let him cry, he CRIES. For a looooooong time. But we've never not gone to get him. Last night, it was about an hour, and luckily, it was when we were still up.

Tonight, I'm on my own as my wife will be working until 9:00 or so. Hopefully he'll be down by the time she gets home. I've done it before, but the problem is, he still wakes up later. What I might try is what Paul suggested. If he wakes, I'll go in, say howdy-do, then bail out. He knows we're there, and then it's on him to sleep.

Wish me luck!
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drifter
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« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2005, 04:55:56 PM »

You need to stick to what you did the previous night.  Unfortunately by trying to do what you thought was the right thing by comforting him you setup a bad habit of him expecting you to be there all the time when he cries.  Luckily at this age they adjust pretty darn fast and you most likely will have a few days of "hell" to go through.  One of our best investments was a wireless camera with a tv monitor, we used this to make sure our son was alright before ever going into the room or even opening the door.

My son is five and my wife and I both check on him at night.  I make sure he is covered up and if he is I always wait until I hear him breathing before I leave the room, just to make sure. (yes I know he is fine).  We parents certainly are an odd bunch.
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Jimmy the Fish
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« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2005, 05:01:44 PM »

Like I said, different things work for different people. Do what you are comfortable with.

The reason why it is not recommended that kids sleep in the parents' bed is that the kid can get TOO attached to it and have a difficult time transitioning to their own bed later on. Also, for very young infants, there is a risk of mom or dad tossing and turning in bed and accidentally rolling over the kid. For the folks who have had success with sharing their bed with the kids, that's great. There is no be-all end all right or wrong answers. Just suggestions to try. What pediatricians recommend are just guidelines for parents who need a little direction.
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« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2005, 06:11:53 PM »

We did as Th' Fool did with our son and it worked for us too.  We initially started it because quite frankly we were so exhausted we had to put him in bed with us to get some sleep ourselves.  At about 2 we bought him a cool racecar bed and let him play on it during playtime and once he figured out that he could sleep there, he didnt want the bed anymore.  What i always say is you gotta do what you gotta do.  As long as its not abusive, then do what YOU feel is right for your child.  I love our Pediatrician, but i dont agree with some of her advice and we try other methods.  She hated the idea of us letting our son sleep with us until we told her to come over and take care of him at night and not sleep herself.  She never mentioned it to us again smile
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« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2005, 06:29:24 PM »

Cough syrup.  Puts 'em right out.
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« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2005, 07:09:20 PM »

or chloroform. slywink

Shortening the separation procedure may also help. You're doing the bath, story and then staying with him until he's asleep. That's a lot of full-time attention and it may be setting the expection contrary to reality. Maybe give him some time between events to be alone and just play (so you'd be starting your process earlier). I'd also suggest trying to put him in bed, give him a loving kiss and telling him goodnight, and then leaving the room and closing the door. He needs to develop the skill of going to sleep on his own.
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« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2005, 08:31:45 PM »

Quote from: "Purge"
He needs to develop the skill of going to sleep on his own.


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msduncan
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« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2005, 08:39:51 PM »

I have a 2 and a half year old and a new 4 month old.

Here's how we did the 2.5 year old when she was coming up:
I would put her in the crib and she would start crying when I left.    She would cry for 45 minutes before going to sleep.   I'd go in every 5 minutes to put her pacifier back in and make sure she knew I was not abandoning her.    It was agony to hear her scream...but I HAD to do it.    After 2 weeks the cry time went from 45 minutes to 2 minutes and then zero.

With Ethan, here is my plan (they are in bedrooms right NEXT to each other, so I too fear him waking her up):

I'm putting her bed on far side of her room away from his room.  I'm putting him on far side of his room away from her room.    I've got a white noise maker in both their rooms place directly between their beds and the wall that separates their rooms.

When I start the training I'm planning on his screaming for 45 minutes at first, and the possibility that it will wake her up.    If it wakes her up I'll go into her room and tell her it's night night time and that daddy is trying to get her brother to go to sleep.    

It might be a rough first week but I think he'll break as fast as she did.


I recommend the same strategy.   Go in every 5 minutes to 10 minutes of his screaming and tell him 'NO!  It's night night time.'  put pacifier back in and leave.    He will go from 45 minutes to 30 minutes to 10 minutes to 5, 2, zero.     When he gets to zero I BET it helps with your midnight problems too..... when he wakes up he won't be as upset.    I've always used the same tactic when my daughter wakes up at night btw -- she NEVER gets let out of her room at night.   We go to her, fix what is wrong, and leave as quickly as possible.     She sleeps like an angel at night now....  every now and then she calls out for us if she is thirsty or sometimes in her sleep when she's dreaming......  but that's it.


Edit to add some personal details:
My wife works 3-11pm so it's me SOLO at night.   I did this all by myself.
Also:  I set a CONCRETE bedtime that we strictly follow to make this work.  Kids like order and structure -- they crave it.   She KNOWS her bedtime is promptly at 7:30pm.    She gets up at 6:30 to 7 am every day.   No problems at all.  smile
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« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2005, 10:07:14 PM »

I guess this is kinda off-topic, but what do you all do when daylight savings comes around? It's coming up in another week and a half, and my kid, who usually goes to bed at 8:00 pm to 8:30 pm pre-daylight savings, will now be getting ready for bed at 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm once DST kicks in.
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« Reply #16 on: October 20, 2005, 04:00:19 AM »

Quote from: "Jimmy the Fish"
I guess this is kinda off-topic, but what do you all do when daylight savings comes around? It's coming up in another week and a half, and my kid, who usually goes to bed at 8:00 pm to 8:30 pm pre-daylight savings, will now be getting ready for bed at 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm once DST kicks in.


I just let them adjust themselves.   They have already slid back a bit because it's getting darker later....    so I just let them adjust their bedtime a little during the changes.   I usually try to go halfway in between for a few weeks.
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« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2005, 06:16:08 AM »

You could always give em a nip of the liquer until they pass out smile
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mytocles
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« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2005, 06:32:45 PM »

Ever hear of Paragoric?  They used to rub our gums with it when we were teething... come to find out it had an opium-derivative in it (I think that's what was in it, something interesting anyway, lol)...

I think they also used it for stomach aches and "intestinal upset" -  I suspect we had lots of teething and stomach problems just before bedtime!  :roll:
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Mytocles (MY-toe-cleez)

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« Reply #19 on: October 21, 2005, 10:19:50 PM »

Quote from: "mytocles"
I think they also used it for stomach aches and "intestinal upset" -  I suspect we had lots of teething and stomach problems just before bedtime!  :roll:


There's nothin' wrong with smokin' a bowl just before bed-time... sleep like the dead. biggrin
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