Hemi CP Child not sleeping well. Any help appreciated ....

user1316 Scope Member Posts: 1 Listener
edited January 2017 in Families and carers
Hi, from reading I can see you are able to advise on sleep for 2 - 25 year olds but I was wondering what advice, if any, you could offer for my son who is almost one year old. I appreciate a lot of babies don't always sleep well & he is also my first child so I am not sure if his sleep problems relate to his age or his disability. My son was born 8 weeks early and from this has been diagnosed with mild hemi cerebral palsy on his left side. He has always been a light sleeper, only catnapping for 3 x 30 minutes during the day, An upshot of the short naps has meant that from about 6 or 7 months of age he reliably went to bed and was asleep no later than 7pm, sleeping until approx 6.30 the next day. He dropped night feeds quite quickly on his own, although milk was (and is) always available should he want it. We had reached a stage that after a bath and story he could be placed in his cot and he would settle himself (with a dummy) to sleep in around 15 minutes if I he knew I was in the room. Once he was asleep I could leave and he would sleep, waking in the night for a feed again*, then back to sleep. However all of a sudden he is resistant to being put in his cot and he wakes constantly during the night, seeking reassurance and for his dummy as well as rolling himself around in his cot. Sometimes he even cries out randomly in his sleep which wakes me but not him. He has also taken to waking at around 3pm and wanting to be awake. I also think he is starting to drop his late afternoon nap. All of these things are just making him more tired though and therefore harder to settle. For info he can put his own dummy back in his mouth if it is on his non hemi side. He can also roll fully and can find his own dummy if he wants to. We were told CP babies feel the cold more so he is always tucked up well, and we have a room thermometer so we can check he doesn't overheat. He dislikes the dark and cries more in the dark so he has a dull night light, We have not changed his routine and his evening routine generally followed as thus:

5:00 Evening meal of finger foods.
5:30 Bottle of formula milk.
6:00 Go upstairs and start bathtime.
6:15 Dry & in PJ's & gro bag. Read a story in a dimy lit room.
6:30 - 6:45 Settles himself to sleep.

What can I do to encourage him to be more settled and sleep through? It is impacting him as he needs his rest but it is also affecting the rest of the household and myself as I am having to get up 10+ times a night to see to him.

I have considered hiring a sleep consultant for him/me but they advocate controlled crying** etc and I'm not sure if his waking is due to his disability rather than anything else.

Could his CP be causing this?

My apologies if this is quite a rambling, disjointed post but I think I only had about 5 hours sleep last night, all of which was disturbed so I'm not as coherent as I would like!!

Many thanks for any help you can offer.

*He has always been a reluctant feeder and is already on extra calorie nutritional milk. I have no issue with feeding him as many times as he wants during the night. I am happy for him to decide when to fully drop the night feeds but mostly he wakes for his dummy or reassurance, he doesn't often want food.

**He has laryngeal pharyngo malacia  and had GORD which means I am extra cautious of the CC or CIO approach as if he cries to much he can easily make himself sick.


  • SleepPractitioners
    SleepPractitioners Community member Posts: 41 Contributor
    edited August 2017
    You have a good bedtime routine there and you say he self-settles well but you are in the room with him until he falls to sleep, therefore he has learnt to fall asleep with you there and will need you back in the room each time he wakes. We don't condone controlled crying so we would recommend "quick return" this is where you would say goodnight and leave the room, if you hear him starting to get unsettled go into the room place a hand on his back and gently shush him just once and leave the room, continue to do this until he falls to sleep, this repetitive action will reassure him that you are still there, it's important when doing this you don't engage with him, no talking or eye contact. If he doesn't settle well after 2 weeks of doing this or he gets too upset you could do the gradual retreat, this is where you would move away from the bed over a period of time, you do this by starting next to the bed, after 3 nights move closer to the door, keep going until you are out of the room.
    Although we have suggested a couple of ways of dealing with this you have to remember he is very young so don't be too tough on yourself. As he gets older there are some ideas of some routine activities and good foods to promote Melatonin production on this link http://www.scope.org.uk/support/families/sleep/routine
    Good luck
    Maxine and Angie