DS is 4 and a half months old. Up until about 3 weeks ago, he was a great self settler - I would literally put him down awake and he would go to sleep within 5-10 minutes without any crying. In the last 2 weeks especially, there are times when I will put him down for a sleep, and he will bable to himself for about 5-10 minutes, then start whinging, then evertually crying hysterically with real tears.
I usually go in to replace his dummy at some point early on, before he starts really whinging/crying. But when he gets to the point of proper crying, I will go in and replace dummy and pat his bum - this used to work, but now he won't settle with just doing this, in fact, I'm pretty sure my presence in the room gets him more worked up.
Not ALL sleeps are like this though, although the non-self settling is being more frequent. Yesterday, his morning sleep, he went down fine, as he did today. We went out, and he was late for his lunctime sleep, fell asleep in the car for 15 minutes then I put him in cot when we got home but then he babled for a bit then started whinging then the hysterical teary crying started. I eventually took him into my room and lay down with him on my bed, where we BOTH fell asleep LOL (but he still was upset initially even with laying in my bed with me) Then, last night I put him to bed after a bath and book and he was rubbingh his eyes - yet he spent nearly the next hour crying/screaming. I would go in every few mins to replace dummy/pat bum. I would tell him firmly 'It is time to sleep'. Evertually, after some bum patting (an nearly an hour after bedtime) he fell asleep - from pure exhaustion, I think.
I just don't know how to handle him when he is so upset. I'm not used to a crying bub! He never has been like this, ever. I think that, essentially, I am using a controlled crying approach - which I don't really want to do, but I don't know what else to do, as I said he seems to get more worked up when im in there trying to help him to sleep!
Another thing - I'm sooo unsure of how long he should be sleeping now, the 'routine' we were in previous to the last 3 weeks was very predictable, so now im confuised! He will wake/stir around 4:30-6am - sometimes he will be stirring that whole time, but I never feed gim before 6am. My question in regards to that is: how long after feeding him at 6am, should I keep him awake for? As he shows tired signs after about half hour-45mins after bottle, but then if he has been stirring since around 4:30-6am, he has been awake a long time? I'm unsure how long to keep him up, in that instance, before putting him back to bed.
I TRY to keep him up for 2 hours between sleeps during the day, but when he starts showing his tired signs, I will put him to bed pretty much straight away (if we are at home). I don't want to risk him getting overtired, but then even putting him to bed when he shows the signs, he can sometimes get hysterical after 10 mins in cot. And he doesnt have a 'set' bedtime - it's anywhere between 5:30-6:30pm. His bedtime depends on what time he napped during the day (as it changes slightly each day). I'm so confused and I'd REALLY appreciate replies with advice!!!!!!
I know it is prob a pahse, and he MAY be teething (not sure?) but in the meantime, I need a better solution to him settling when he gets like this. Some days and nights he is perfectly fine and capable of getting himself to sleep. It's just some days he can't/won't now. HELP!