13 month old started waking overnight, nothing resettles her

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13 month old started waking overnight, nothing resettles her

Postby Pixie83 » Wed 15 May, 2013 3:02 am

Hi, our 13 month old daughter has the last few weeks started waking overnight and nothing we're doing seems to work to get her back to sleep. She doesn't do it every night, but the ones she does are really painful. Usually it starts with her waking up and normally I'd be able to go in and just resettle her parting or stroking her on her back and shhhing, but on these nights I can get her to the point where I think she's gone and sometimes even manage to get out the door and back into bed when she'll start again....this then leads to repeating this and each time she starts crying again she's kicked it up a notch. It reaches the point where I pick her up, sometimes this stops her crying sometimes it doesn't....if it doesn't ill try feeding her (still breastfeeding) and this usually calms her down. Sometimes it's enough that I'm able to put her back in the cot and she'll go to sleep other nights, like tonight, she just starts crying hysterically again :( We've tried my partner trying to settle her and she does the same thing, will calm down eventually while being held but the moment she's put down she starts again. We've tried bringing her into bed with us but she either just thinks it's playtime or wants constant access to my boobs (for the most part she's been weaned overnight since about 6 months). And we've tried just letting her cry when we've exhausted all other possibilities, on a couple of occasions it's worked, she's eventually exhausted herself (but I hate doing this!), on another occasion she's just worked herself up to vomiting....
We're at our wits end as to what to do, any suggestions gratefully accepted...
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Re: 13 month old started waking overnight, nothing resettles

Postby NgalaOnline » Wed 15 May, 2013 2:07 pm

Hi Pixie83

Thank you for your post. Sleep regressions that seem to come out of the blue are quite normal and common, although they can be frustrating. Sometimes there is a clear reason such as beginning daycare, teething, illness, travel or new developmental milestones. Other times there is no clear reason for the regression. Separation anxiety is a common cause of night waking for toddlers around your daughter’s age and it does sound as though this may be why she is waking.

The fact that she is usually resettling initially with you patting or stroking her is positive. These are good ways of soothing a baby whilst still promoting independent settling and encouraging your baby to remain familiar with her cot. It seems that the comfort you are providing is enough for her to calm and soothe to the point that she is so relaxed she appears asleep, but it is when you leave that she becomes distressed (and then continues to get worked up) which indicates that separation anxiety is likely. As the problem seems to be coming as you leave the room after initially settling her, it sounds as though it would be beneficial to remain in the room for a longer period of time until she has definitely settled to sleep. This can be exhausting and draining, however it is a preferable option to beginning other methods of soothing such as feeding her or taking her out of the cot, as these methods of settling can become sleep associations that are harder to break. Many parents whose children are experiencing phase of separation anxiety find that remaining in the room may be enough for their child to settle to sleep, and that they may not even need to pat or provide hands on contact. It may be easier for you if you take a mattress into your child's bedroom and lie down on the floor and pretend to sleep (or actually have a nap whilst you wait for her to be settled enough for you to return to bed). "Sssshhhhing" her from your mattress may help her to know that you are there, providing a reassuring presence. Often, parents will only need to remain in their child's room for a period of several days or weeks, whilst the child moves past this phase of separation anxiety, and begins to feel comfortable again falling asleep in her cot. Continuing to put her down as usual and leaving the room as she goes to sleep (if she tolerates this) for her day sleeps and when going to bed in the evening will help her preserve the ability of falling asleep without you in the room. If you are providing little interaction or stimulation (by avoiding eye contact or conversation) and she is settling herself in her cot, your presence is unlikely to become a sleep association that your child will be heavily dependent on for a long time - you are simply helping her through this phase of anxiety surrounding sleep and separation.

Where possible it is best to avoid picking her up out of the cot as this can often become a sleep association that the child continues to seek, and it is often more difficult to draw back from and cease than in-cot settling is. It is possible that your child may protest if she is wanting to be picked up or fed, however, by remaining with her and providing her with comfort (even if she continues to protest) you are supporting her through relearning her previous sleep skills, which will be beneficial for her and the whole family in terms of restoring a restful night's sleep. Most parents find that when they are changing sleep associations (and if your baby has been showing these behaviours for a few weeks she may have already established being picked up and / or fed as new sleep associations) the first 3 -4 nights are the most challenging. During this time the child will often protest or be awake for a lengthy period of time. It is helpful to prepare yourself for this and begin at a time when you are well rested and have support available. Usually though, parents find that if they are able to persist and be consistent for these nights the child will adapt to the new way of settling (in their cot) and reduce, then cease, the protesting by the end of a week. Once the child is settling easily you can then wean off and cease any hands-on settling such as patting or stroking. It is best to provide reassurance to your child any time she sounds distressed rather than leaving her to cry, as being left to cry without any help to calm can be very stressful for babies and children.

I hope this information is helpful. If you would like to discuss the situation further and seek help to make a plan it would be beneficial to ring the Ngala helpline.
This information is general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for the personalized assistance that can be received from the Ngala Helpline by telephone.

For families residing in Western Australia you can also contact the
Ngala Helpline
Telephone 9368 9368 or 1800 111 546 for country access
Available 7 days a week, 8am to 8pm
or request a callback online http://www.ngala.com.au/Ngala-and-You/Ngala-Helpline/Contact-Ngala-Helpline-Online

For helplines in other Australian states please follow this link
http://www.ngala.com.au/You-and-Your-Family/Web-Based-Resources
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Re: 13 month old started waking overnight, nothing resettles

Postby Pixie83 » Wed 29 May, 2013 10:33 am

I think we've figured out what's waking her up....she has nights when she is really gassy and uncomfortable. Looking back at the bad nights we've had this has been the common theme. I'm just not sure what's causing it, on the nights that are bad she doesn't eat or do anything different during the day. Last night she was up from 2-4, you can actually see her get calmer each time she toots but she gets so worked up, the only way to calm her down is to be holding her and jiggling her up and down. We do the bicycle legs and tummy massage to get some of it out but it really seems to just take time...

We've just got no idea what's causing it or how to fix it, but at the moment it's happening about twice a week, the rest of the time she settles fine and sleeps through. She did come off her medication for her reflux about a month ago now, do yo think maybe that could be causing issues? Or any other ideas? Thanks.
Pixie83
 
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Re: 13 month old started waking overnight, nothing resettles

Postby NgalaOnline » Thu 30 May, 2013 4:02 pm

Hi Pixie83,

Thanks for your post. It sounds as though it would be valuable to have her re-evaluated by your medical practitioner. It is not common for children of this age to have gas pains that cause them to be wakeful at night, so it is worthwhile having it evaluated. Often bloating or gassiness can be a sign of a food intolerance, so it may be worthwhile keeping a diary of what she eats to see if you can see any correlation. Wheat and dairy intolerances are relatively common intolerances for children that can cause gastric disturbances. If she began any new foods at the time that this issue began it would also be worth withholding these foods for a while to see if you can notice any improvement. If you have noticed a correlation of this beginning around the same time as the reflux medication was ceased this would be worth discussing with your medical care provider. Continuing to persist with your usual settling methods when she seems to be comfortable and not in pain is beneficial. You may find a warm heat pack may soothe some of her abdominal pain, but it is important to supervise her at all times with a heat pack and make sure it is not overheated or unevenly heated. Wheat packs are safer for children than gel packs which can split easier.

I hope that this situation with your baby is able to be resolved shortly.
This information is general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for the personalized assistance that can be received from the Ngala Helpline by telephone.

For families residing in Western Australia you can also contact the
Ngala Helpline
Telephone 9368 9368 or 1800 111 546 for country access
Available 7 days a week, 8am to 8pm
or request a callback online http://www.ngala.com.au/Ngala-and-You/Ngala-Helpline/Contact-Ngala-Helpline-Online

For helplines in other Australian states please follow this link
http://www.ngala.com.au/You-and-Your-Family/Web-Based-Resources
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