Baby Sleep

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    • #52542

      Is there anyone out there who has ADHD in their family and then suspected it in another child even as young as a year old? My husband and 11 year old daughter are both diagnosed. Both of them have had sleep issues their whole lives. We now have an 11 month old who i suspect may have it in his genes as well. What I want to know is, has anyone else found that all the regular sleep training info that’s out there for babies just DOES.NOT.WORK. with a baby who potentially has an ADD brain?
      Here’s our story:
      Baby had colic at 3 weeks, which lasted for only about 2 months, but it felt like forever. He needed constant motion to sleep and even that didn’t always work. My husband and I took turns carrying him around the block in the front pack. Later, he ended up sleeping in a swing until he was about 9 months old. During that time, he needed swaddling, loud white noise, lots of rocking/bouncing/shushing and then the swing. All night long.
      Now, he is SOOOOO much easier, but still, we struggle.
      At 11 months, he takes 1-2 naps, usually 30-40 minutes long, though sometimes we get lucky and he’s so exhausted he will sleep for 2 hours. He goes to bed around 7/8pm with a bottle. He “soothes” himself to sleep on our bed by rolling around while I sit there quietly. Once asleep, I move him to his crib. He sleeps there for a few hours, but ends up in bed with me for the rest of the night after his late night feeding. He does sleep about 11/12 hours a night with usually only a few wake ups.
      I’m getting ready to wean him from the bottle, and subsequently any night feedings.
      He is currently refusing naps unless we go in the car-which is not a sustainable plan. Sometimes we use the stroller, but only if I’m desperate, and even then he will only sleep for about 20 minutes.
      Anyone else out there with diagnosed older kids and younger siblings suspected? How did you tackle baby sleep?
      For the record, I refuse to let him cry it out (it doesn’t work anyway, he just gets so riled up that he starts coughing and gagging). He has a pacifier and loves it. He also has a “lovey” but it doesn’t seem to help at all with sleep.
      Thanks in advance.

    • #52591
      Penny Williams

      My son struggled to sleep beyond 2-3 hours as a baby. Usually had to be in car seat or held to sleep, and he HAD to be swaddled, tight. It was a problem for about a year. He started sleeping for longer stretches at night, but stopped taking naps before 2 years old. Had no idea he had ADHD or any issues until age 6. Looking back, I can see the sensory issues and trouble shutting off his brain, loud and clear, even as a newborn. Just didn’t know it then.

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #52609

      My son is now 8 and just recently formerly diagnosed. He never slept as an infant. Our first night in the hospital he stayed awake all night. Hindsight 20/20 I now can see that this was all correlated. I don’t know what I would do differently, but similar to PP, he dropped naps before age 2, and even when he did nap it took us as long to get him to sleep as he would sleep (rock for an hour, sleep 40 min). I got to the point that I let him cry it out, because nothing I seemed to do helped.

      • #55588

        When you did use the cry it out method, did it work? Do you recall how long it took to work?

    • #52647

      OMG, yes! A book that did help: “Sleepless in America” by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka.

    • #58618

      You’re so funny. A not-napping kid not sustainable! Not a single one of my kids napped after 14 months. Not all have ADHD.

      I count myself lucky. I didn’t nap after 6 months. Neither did my uncle.

      I didn’t “sleep train” my kids. I wouldn’t ever do that. I co-slept until they could make it 6 hours without nursing because mom NEEDS sleep, too. Then they started out in the crib and I got them if they cranked up into a real cry. Nurse, put back if I’m still awake. We all got sleep that way. They slept 6 hours right on time, then 8 hours, then 10, then 12. But they stopped napping if they were going to sleep at night.

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by gentlygenli.
    • #58869

      Wow! I felt like I was reading the story of my now 15 yr. old son (who’s doing great by the way)! What memories, right down to the need for motion, white noise and falling asleep in the swing!! Thank God for that swing!! I often think of having ADHD as the difference between how a dogs brain works as opposed to a cat’s :-)! Equally smart, but very different. And much like a cat, ADHD-er’s are people you work “with” as oppose to “train”. One implies following another’s way, the other implies smoothing out the rough edges of the way someone is already doing things. You’ve done an excellent job so far giving him what HE needs to sleep as much as HE needs to. My son stopped his very short, and short lived naps by the end of his first year. Go with it. He will sleep as long as he needs to. He won’t come back to your bed forever. As long as you can sleep, don’t fret over the idea that “he must sleep in his own bed or…?” Or what? He’ll be married before he sleeps in his own bed all night?! And no, “training” techniques rarely work for babies, kids, teens or adults with ADHD because their brains really are different–but just as functional–and learning IS different and happens differently for them!
      –A Mom of an ADHD-er, and therapist for those with ADHD

    • #58887

      I experienced exactly the same thing with my first child who is now 23. It’s funny, as I look back over her infancy and early childhood, it all makes sense now. As an infant, she was colic for the first 4 months and barely slept at all. After the colic was over, she continued to be a poor sleeper, sleeping only 20-30 minutes at a time. At the time, we lived in a one bedroom apartment and had her crib in our room. Well, needless to say her wakefulness meant we were soon forced to sleep on our pull out couch in the living room. It was such a stressful time- my husband and I had had a whirlwind romance and married after only 6 months in a city where we had no family. Our daughter came a few months later and certainly tested our commitment.

      Years later at 13, we noticed the challenges she was having at school and had her assessed. She was diagnosed with textbook ADD. She did not display hyperactivity however which is very common especially in girls. It was more of a an aloofness, and apathy toward things which is how she still is today. She’s always been a mystery to us in many ways but luckily she has sought out her own path working at a bank which she really enjoys (I know she enjoys it only because she works without complaint, no calling in sick etc) She is very good at her job and I’m very proud of her. I notice that sometimes she will take sleep aids to help her sleep, so some things never change!

      We had another daughter only 16 months after her, who is the complete opposite (loved school, Dean’s list in University, very communicative) They fight a lot about clothes but are actually close. I’m happy to say that my husband and I are still happy together almost 24 years later (miraculously lol). I continue to learn about ADHD/ADD in order to understand our sweet girl- even at 23 years old. That’s what you do when you love your kids.

      I guess the point of my story is that it’s only now that I can look back and see that all the signs were there that she would be a bit different. Whatever information and resources you can get now might go a long way in helping your journey if ADHD is a concern. And always ask for help when your nerves are frayed.

      Best of luck to you!!

    • #58943

      I’m diagnosed ADHD, however, I have a kid who is DEFINITELY not (she’s 11 and was many times more attentive and focused than her peers even as a young child). She never slept as much as other kids. She dropped naps early and then had the nerve to sleep 7-8 hours a night like an adult as a toddler. I remember people telling me she needs to get to bed earlier so I tried it. Yeah, she still only slept 7-8 hours a night, except with the early bedtimes, she started waking at 3 and 4 in the morning.

      It’s hard for me to equate ADHD with dropping napping due to my experience, but I can relate to needing some sort of soothing mechanism to sleep and even then it can take awhile. Even as an adult, I shake my foot and/or listen to an audiobook. My non-ADHD, never-a-napper kid only needs darkness and silence. Sometimes she doesn’t even need silence. I’ll try to tell her some great idea 30 seconds after the lights are off and she will already be asleep.

    • #58947

      I wouldn’t start speculating about ADHD yet. With a strong family history, it’s certainly possible that your son may have it too, but the fact is, he’s only 11 months and there are a wide range of sleep habits that are totally normal in babies.

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