Co-sleeping AND solo sleeping not an option...

Tameka - posted on 05/27/2011 ( 16 moms have responded )

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I've got a major sleep dilema: my daughter won't co sleep nor will she sleep alone. She will not sleep unless I sit on my knees in the middle of her room and she curls up on my lap. So not chance of sleep for me. She will go to sleep in her bed but there is a massive squealing session prior. At 17 months my daughter has taken to squealing whenever she doesn't get her way. So there is a fair bit of noise in my house. The squeals are so loud that a friend of mine (who is a GP) said that being exposed to that sort of noise level will likely damage her ears as well as anyone else's in the room. I've worked it out that this noise is her being stubborn and, well, a toddler. I've tried many ways to curb her squeals and I feel like I'm wasting my time. I'm pro AP and don't believe in hitting my children but when she has been squealing non-stop for the last 90 mins since 2am I feel at the end of my rope. A few times I've left the room and shut her in for a 30 second breather and the noise rises dramatically (I never knew it was possible but it does). She has always been a resistant sleeper since the moment she was born and this is just another chapter in my epic sleep battle with my daughter. Also, I've seen all medical practitioners of every description (and got 2nd opinions too) and they all say the same thing: it's just her nature, try this remedy to help.

My daughter and I are seriously sleep deprived. Last night I managed to get 4 hours sleep which is one of my better nights. My daughter is really clingy and is always moaning from being so tired. The moment I try to put her to bed she instantly throws herself backwards, arches her back and starts the usual noise. Oh, and she is not a 'touchy' baby either. If I pick her up it usually makes the problem much worse.

Not sure what else to do. Every month there is something new to add to the list of issues with my youngest daughter. I've thought that she may have some sort of mild disability or disorder but all the docs I've spoken to have said that because there is no obvious outward displays of disability or disorder there is no point getting her assessed.

I love my daughter, I truly, truly do. I just don't know what to do for her anymore.

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Geralyn - posted on 06/01/2011

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Tameka, you have to get answers. What about having your daughter assessed outside of your local area? I am not sure where you are from but like here, some of the bigger cities - often associated with universities/hospitals - have multidiciplinary assessment teams, including psychologists, developmental pediatricians, speech therapists, occupational therapists, etc., and they pull in whatever expert may be needed. They would look at all possible issues, including medically related. Tameka, I cannot imagine the feeling of helplessness that you must be feeling. I would be out of my mind. I read and re-read everything you wrote, but it only raises more questions. I would recommend for a week that you keep a journal and document everything, including times for everything, what she ate, what she drank, physical appearance (changes in anything like breathing, heart racing, etc). Down to every detail. When she starts to squeal or any other behavior, write down the antecedents to the behavior - so for example what she was doing before the behavior anything notable in the environment (sounds, new person present, break in routine). Also something you said that a doctor doesn't really get to see the behavior in an office visit. You should videotape different blocks of time over different days. When you are able to talk with someone, you will have lots of good information. Please keep us updated. Write here whenever you want. We are here to help in any way we can.. Even if its just to listen.

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Aleks - posted on 06/09/2011

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Tameka, what Geralyn said. Excellent advise, especially the video taping of your daughters behaviours. Not to mention the journal. I have read your previous posts here talking about your troubles with your dd and it wrenches my heart hearing that you still haven't been able to find the answeres you are looking for......

Also, just on the point of diet... dairy is usually the first point of call to eliminate, if this doesn't work then there are other things one would try. Soy, wheat, gluten... even yeast (that is a big one - so many things in the diet are a no no, but when present can have huge problems). Another huge one, but not very common nor well known is fructose malabsorbtion - causes both physical and mental problems. So I wouldn't immediatelly rule out further consulations with a naturopath.
But yeah, keep looking and searching and banging on those doors. Cause if you don't no one will listen, just keep on going back to the doctors - I have found in my experience, if you keep on coming back they are more likely to actually start doing something more effective rather than saying that they can't see anything wrong. What they can do is having to start being a bit more creative rather than just reaching out for the first and most obvious diagnosis.
Just keep trying for you and your daughter. What you may find is that may be it isn't one thing that is bothering your little girl, but there are a number of culprits, that is why not one thing explains all her symptoms.
So, like I said before just keep on trying, including with psychologists.
Good luck, and yeah keep us posted.

Mary Renee - posted on 06/02/2011

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I agree with others that you should keep searching for answers to diagnose your daughter but in the meantime...is there any OTHER way your daughter would sleep?

My daughter is only 12 months old but has fought sleep since she was born. I don't think she took a single regular nap for more than 30 minutes until she was 6 months old because it took me that long through trial and error to discover that if I fed her solids (lunch), nursed her right after, and then put her in her car seat for a walk or a drive, she'd fall asleep 70% of the time. Not gaurunteed, but like your daughter, she's so delightful if she gets sleep but very clingy and cranky if she doesn't.

I would encourage you to look for more answers about your daughter, but in the meantime, I would do whatever you can to get some sleep, even if it means driving her around the block in her car seat, or a stroll in her stroller, or music or movies or whatever can make her zone out and go to sleep just so you both are getting some hours in!

I'm sure at this point you've tried everything, but sometimes maybe you can just STOP trying, you know what I mean? Like turn on the lights, take her out of her bed, go to the kitchen and eat a snack in front of her with out saying anything. And then go back and try again. I don't know. It can take hours to get my daughter to sleep. Sometimes I need a break too, and if I just keep trying and trying it seems less and less effective.

Good luck! Hope everything turns out well!

Karen - posted on 06/02/2011

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Very good advice Geralyn! I totally agree. This is not just a normal situation that you need to deal with Tameka. Keep pressing and looking and asking until you get the help you need.

Tameka - posted on 06/01/2011

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Thank you for the link, Katherine. Mackenzie ticks the boxes on some of those points but not all. I'm still not sure if there is an actuall problem or if she is being a standard toddler who reacts in extreme ways i.e. not getting her way so will squeal and throw an instant tantrum using 100% effort.

The first one is 'Problems eating or sleeping'. Yep, ticks that box!! Quite often when we start eating she will send the fork/spoon flying and let off an ear-piercing scream. Most of the time I can't work out why.

'Refuses to go to anyone but me'. I am really sad that she doesn't like her Daddy. He is a wonderful man who adores his girls. He says that it doesn't bother him, but I'm no fool.

She has a few issues with getting dressed but once the job is done she runs off without a fuss. I have to change her on the floor as it is too dangerous to change her clothes on her change table.

'Rarely plays with toys'. No, she always plays with her toys. And her sisters, and pulls the kitchen apart and my room and everything she can get those little hands on!! lol

'Resists cuddling, arches away when held'. I have learnt the hard way NOT to pick her up from behind. It scares her and she starts squealling. If she can't see you, you are a stranger to her and she panics. I can only hold her in one position. All the others she protests which can be dangerous as I'm afraid she will wiggle so much she will fall from my arms.

'Cannot calm self'. Tantrums are always drawn out. Her longest 100% tantrum has gone on for an hour. No idea where she got the energy to do that. When I do hold her she keeps moaning in my arms for a long time. Makes me sad just thinking about it.

'Floppy or stiff body, motor delays ' Fortunately this is not her. Mackenzie has met all her milestones at the right times. The biggest problem I have with doctors is that she looks like a normal little girl. She does not show any signs of having any issues. I think this is because doctor visits are only for a few minutes and she spends that time on my lap trying to hide her face in my shirt. There isn't enough time for her to start to feel comfortable in the new surroundings and for her to let her guard down so the docs can see her true behaviour. Well, seeing how the doctors won't help me I will help my daughter myself.

Thanks again Katherine for the link!

Karen - posted on 05/31/2011

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SPD is not the same as Autism. Although some children with Autism also have SPD.

Katherine - posted on 05/31/2011

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Here are the criteria according to DSM:



Autism Spectrum Disorder



Must meet criteria A, B, C, and D:







A. Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across contexts, not accounted for by general developmental delays, and manifest by all 3 of the following:



1. Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity; ranging from abnormal social approach and failure of normal back and forth conversation through reduced sharing of interests, emotions, and affect and response to total lack of initiation of social interaction,



2. Deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviors used for social interaction; ranging from poorly integrated- verbal and nonverbal communication, through abnormalities in eye contact and body-language, or deficits in understanding and use of nonverbal communication, to total lack of facial expression or gestures.



3. Deficits in developing and maintaining relationships, appropriate to developmental level (beyond those with caregivers); ranging from difficulties adjusting behavior to suit different social contexts through difficulties in sharing imaginative play and in making friends to an apparent absence of interest in people



B. Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities as manifested by at least two of the following:



1. Stereotyped or repetitive speech, motor movements, or use of objects; (such as simple motor stereotypies, echolalia, repetitive use of objects, or idiosyncratic phrases).



2. Excessive adherence to routines, ritualized patterns of verbal or nonverbal behavior, or excessive resistance to change; (such as motoric rituals, insistence on same route or food, repetitive questioning or extreme distress at small changes).



3. Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus; (such as strong attachment to or preoccupation with unusual objects, excessively circumscribed or perseverative interests).



4. Hyper-or hypo-reactivity to sensory input or unusual interest in sensory aspects of environment; (such as apparent indifference to pain/heat/cold, adverse response to specific sounds or textures, excessive smelling or touching of objects, fascination with lights or spinning objects).



C. Symptoms must be present in early childhood (but may not become fully manifest until social demands exceed limited capacities)



D. Symptoms together limit and impair everyday functioning.











It doesn't sound like this is your daughter....

Tameka - posted on 05/29/2011

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Karen, thank you so much for your support! I've lost faith with the medical people in my town when my daughter was only a few months old (when I first started looking into her constant screaming and lack of sleep). I'm not surprised I was met with such negativity but I live in hope that one day someone will actually give me an answer.

Mackenzie is starting to answer simple yes/no questions now and I am looking forward to the day when she can tell me what makes her so sad. She's a bright little button who is really happy. I am glad that she is handling her tiredness better these days. Six months ago as soon as she would get tired the screaming and clinging would begin but she refused to sleep until she could no longer force her eyes open. Now she goes at a slower pace and asks to be held. She is getting better though. I can't see a difference day by day or week by week but if I look back to where I was a month or two a go there is slight improvement. My goal is for her to be like any other 5 year old on her first day of school. I'll work with her between now and then.

Karen - posted on 05/29/2011

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If SPD is looking like it fits then try reading Out of Sync Kid - it's kinda the SPD bible.
I'm surprised the naturopath wouldn't try some homeopathics and/or test for food sensitivities. Maybe try someone else.
I'm surprised by the chiropractor as well. I see a chiropractor on a regular basis and have for years. It's not really a one time thing as far as I know.
You're doing the right things. Keep going. Someone will be able to help you! Also, as your daugther becomes more able to tell you about how her body feels, you'll be able to help her better. Listen to her! She's giving you clues. One day it will start to make more sense. (As someone who has lived through a similar situation - I know it is impossibly hard. I know it doesn't seem to get any better. Hang on to your love for her. It's the only thing that'll make it possible.)

Tameka - posted on 05/29/2011

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Hi Karen, I have looked into SPD as she does fit into some of the categories. I've used some of the tips to help her. Some things work while others don't. It's all trial and error.

I've also seen a naturopath and Chiro. The naturopath gave me a heap of teas and told me to eliminate all dairy. It didn't make a lick of difference. The chiro adjusted her saying that I will either see results straight up or nothing at all. Nothing happened.

I've only been looking into SPD for around 5 weeks now so I will do more research. I'm not happy with what I've found plus I like to research things to death before I move on to something else.

Karen - posted on 05/29/2011

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Hmmmm ... have you done any research on SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder)? Most docs wouldn't recognize it.
Also, have you seen a naturopath? What about a chiropractor? Maybe a cranial sacral therapist.

Tameka - posted on 05/28/2011

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This has been going of for some time now. Just over a month now. I have one of those amber necklaces to ward off any teething pain plus I gave her some infant paracetamol a few times thinking that she could be in pain and it didn't make a difference. I'm quite certain it is a behavioural thing, I'm not overly sure what to do about it.

I forgot to mention this earlier: when she wakes up in the morning or from a sleep she is the most delightful little girl. She is so happy and engaging. She is gentle and loving and just wants to please everyone. The sad part is it only lasts for an hour or so. My family treads on eggshells around her so we don't set her off. Once she starts it is hard to make her happy again.

My poor princess, I wish I had answers to make her happy. ;(

Geralyn - posted on 05/28/2011

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Holy moly. That is tough. Could she maybe have had a bad dream? Could she be in pain? I take it this is new behavior?

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