Sunday, March 7, 2010

Help my child never sleeps!

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Comment: thank you M Kay Keller, the idea of a massage was terrific. I'll be doing it more often and seing if it works!

From: Teg

Subject: naptime nightmares

Question: QUESTION: I recently wrote in here to another guy about this issue. My problem is that my 9 month old daughter, who used to nap perfectly every two hours, suddenly is a nightmare to put to sleep.

At first I thought maybe I needed to space her naps out more because she was getting older, but that didn't work. if she stays up past 2 hours she's irritable, cranky, rubs her eyes, cries, won't play with anything or anyone and just keeps climbing into our arms over and over until we put her into bed. But IN bed she's suddenly, seemingly, wide awake.
She laughs and giggles and bounces and makes faces at us and gets up onto her feet and throws her pacifiers our of the crib. I've tried many different solutions, like at first I'd let her back out thinking she maybe wasn't as tired as I thought but she's just act so tired when she was up I started keeping her in bed. But in bed nothing works. Bottles, pacifiers, being nice, singing, being firm, laying her back down over and over - you name it, if it isn't mean and it involves being IN the room with her, I tried it.

The advice I received from the person i asked last time was basically to leave her in her room and let her wail it out. They said it would be good for her. I had tired it man times before but I was one fo those mothers who felt it was wrong to make my kid cry for hours on end without going into the room to let them know you haven't abandoned them, so when i tried it I would only let her cry for 15 minutes or so before going back in. gradually I let the times get longer and longer. But when I got the advice off allexperts and I had also received the same advice from a number of other people, including a child sleep therapist and many mothers. So, over the past few weeks I've given it a go, and let her be.

The problem is that she's crying for like 2 - 3 hours straight. One of two things happen: either I decide it's been too long and I get her up but since she hasn't slept she's absolutely miserable, (and wins.....apparently that's bad)OR -and this is the worst part- she eventually DOES fall asleep, but then since she's been up so long she sleeps like two hours, and all in all she ends up being in bed for upwards of five hours!!! that does NOT seem OK in my books. It seems cruel and it doesn't allow her time to spend with me playing or exploring. it takes up her whole afternoon! I don't think it's healthy or benefitting her to have her spend all afternoon in a crib with no stimulation. Yet, at the same time, if I get her up or keep her up she's miserable and refuses to do anything anyways. They told me it was because she learned to push my buttons probably. I admit, at the beginning I would often find myself amused with her and I'd laugh along with her antics (it was hard not to find her hillarious)but that was a long time ago and it's been ages since I gave into her in that way.

Is this a stage? what on earth can I do because what I'm doing now really doesn't feel right to me, somehow. If it really is the best way - just to let her cry for hours and fall asleep - then I'll keep doing it. But in that case, when does her crying fits get shorter? It's been several weeks and there's no change in length. HELP! I want my baby to be able to get her rest so she can enjoy herself. She is the most laid back happy kid at every other moment, but nap times just stir something in her.

ANSWER: Dear Teg,

Well first of all regardless of how many people have told you to leave her cry it out it sounds to me like it isn't working. Great advice works.

You have said about three times that it doesn't feel right to you. So why do what doesn't feel right to you.

Second have you taken her to her doctor to make sure everything is okay physically? Is she teething? Has there been a change in her environment? Has something in her routine changed.

If none of these are true then what about just letting her play, cranky or not until she passes out? Sometimes you have to just be real and do what works.

Best Wishes!

Dr. Mary Kay Keller
Hassle Free Bedtime? Click here!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: You are right, there are no changes in her routine or her environment. We're a happily married couple so there's no drama in the house and she has been to the doctor but he doesn't do much besides ask a few questions and give her a look. He says she's fine. My new question is this:

You say to let her stay up until she passes out, but I've tried that and she doesn't ever pass out. As a baby, in fact, for her first four months she never took naps. Sometimes she'd be awake for 12 hours straight without falling asleep. She started napping when she was 4 months and a half, but only if she's in her bed. To this day if I don't put her down she's perpetually awake but gets gradually more and more and more upset. The bigger problem isn't that she won't eventually sleep, it's that when she IS awake, once she gets tired, she does nothing but climb into my arms over and over and over. I wouldn't mind, I love cuddling my baby, but once she's there she struggles and kicks and cries and squirms. So I let her go because she is a tall child and I can't physically keep hold of her if she's struggling for too long (as I am very small). But once she's let go of she climbs back in to do it all over again. I have to be there with her to supervise what she does so avoiding her climbing into my arms is impossible, unless I stand, but then she hangs onto my legs and cries. Literally she'll keep doing it for hours. I try to play with her, offer her toys, start up cool games, distract her, sing to her, rock her, etc. but nothing works. She'll just keep at me, climbing and climbing. I'm not entirely sure if it makes a lot of sense for me or her to just do that for hours on end, as it's physically hard on me and it would i think be difficult to put up with for hours on end, day after day. I'm sure you were imagining a cranky kid sitting on the floor crying in a heap of toys eventually passing out in two or three hours, but that is definitely not the case. Please, I'm not exaggerating, I really am at a loss. if she's awake past her nap times it's a disaster. About the only thing I could do would be to put her in her highchair. but I'd feel bad keeping her there for hours on end so I see no point in that strategy. If you had any other suggestions besides letting her "pass out" on her own what might they be? seriously, If I haven't tried it already, I'll try anything!

Answer: Dear Teg,

First let me say I can hear your frustration. I also can hear that you have admirably endured this struggle for quite sometime.

Have you tried baby massage? As active as she sounds and as much as she struggles you can giver her massage more than once a day. Why not try it everyday maybe morning and afternoon for a couple of weeks and see if that is calming to her. If you haven't had training go to my website and get more information. I have a link there to some baby massage materials.

Next, you say she never passes out. If she is awake for 12 hours straight then it sound like eventually she does go to sleep. She just may not need as much sleep as you expected her to need.

If you give this a serious go for several weeks and she is still behaving this way then maybe get a second medical opinion. All this struggling doesn't sound like it is pleasant for you or her.

Best Wishes!
Dr. Mary Kay Keller
Hassle Free Bedtime? Click here!

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