Sleep Woes

Holy man, after hitting the jackpot in sleep with Evan, we were spoiled. He slept through the night at about 6 weeks and never stopped. Yes, we’ve had our issues here and there: there was a period where it took a long time to get him to go to sleep at night, or when we had to drive him around for naps – but otherwise, it’s been pretty smooth.

Carter has been a different story, and I am running out of ideas. Here’s a brief history:

– As a newborn he’d wake up every 3 hours to eat (as expected)

– He slept through the night for the first time at about 6 weeks – we thought we’d hit the jackpot again!

– After that he’d sleep through the night probably about 70% of the time. Otherwise, waking up once to take a bottle in the middle of the night.

– At about 4-months, he started sleeping less soundly. He wouldn’t wake up to eat, but we’d have to go into his room multiple times a night to sooth him back to sleep. We chalked this up to the 4-month sleep regression.

– After 2-3 weeks of that, he slept through the night for a couple weeks and it was glorious.

– Then it all went to hell. Going back to sleeping less soundly and us needing to go sooth him back to sleep multiple times a night, like during the regression. This went on for a few weeks.

– Then, he got a bad cold and was absolutely inconsolable 1-2 times per night. At this point, one of us started sleeping with him in the guest room. This helped him sleep a bit better, but still not great.

– About a week ago now, he started to wake up every 3 hours and wanted to eat (the only thing that would calm him down would be to give him a bottle). He would sleep well in between feeds, but only in bed with one of us. We chalked this up to a 6-month growth spurt.

– Now he seems to be cutting back on his night feeding, but he’s still not sleeping soundly, and we are alternating who spends the night in the guest room with him.

I don’t know what to do anymore. We know he’s able to sleep through the night, but it’s been so long that we’re at the end of our ropes. We thought things would get better after the growth spurt, but don’t know if it’s still going on or not. Even though he wants extra milk at night, he refuses to take extra milk during the day instead. He’s also started solids and is clearly ingesting some now. So, we thought this would help too, but it hasn’t seemed too.

This is more of a rant, but if anyone has any advice or suggestions, please let me know. We’ve been trying to avoid the cry-it-out method, but we’re getting to the point where we might want to try sleep training. If anyone has used techniques that worked for you, please let me know that too.

Sleep is like water to survive, and it’s been really tough the last few weeks. With the stroke, fatigue hits me worse than ever. It was so bad about a week ago that I felt like I was spiralling into a depression.

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Comments on: "Sleep Woes" (16)

  1. Neither of my kids was a particularly great sleeper as a baby, and my first was truly terrible. You will get through this!

    My top advice is to take a look at a book called Bedtiming. I have a link on this page:
    http://www.wandering-scientist.com/p/baby-development-cheat-sheet.html

    It will help you figure out what might be going on developmentally and when you're most likely to have success if you decide to do something active to try to fix Carter's sleep.

    We never did any sleep training, mostly because it isn't a good fit for ME. In retrospect, it would have been a terrible approach with the first kid, but might have worked with the second one. We did eventually start partial night co-sleeping with both kids, and that allowed me to get the sleep I needed. We'd put the kid down in her own crib or bed to start the night, and then let her join us when she first woke up. Both of my kids tended to sleep better in bed with us, so that method eventually settled into one wake up and then sleeping through. Petunia still joins us in our bed halfway through many nights, and it is frankly quite sweet to snuggle her at this point!

    Anyway, my second piece of advice is to think about what problem you really want to solve. We started coming up with more realistic and workable solutions once we started solving OUR sleep problem rather that trying to solve the baby's sleep. Our baby's were always well-rested and never showed signs of sleep deprivation. We were the ones with a problem- and once we started problem solving around that, a lot of new ideas became obvious.

    Good luck!

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  2. Cloud – thank you so much for your comment! We have talked about trying sleep training, but we just know it won't work for us. There are two problems I'd like to work on right now: 1) why is Carter waking up to eat in the middle of the night when he hasn't done that for months? and 2) DH and I need better sleep.

    I will definitely look at the book, thank you!

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  3. It's like you're describing my oldest! He has always been sensitive to pain, and started teething around 3 months, though he never had a tooth break through until around 6 months. The pain interfered with his sleep, and nursing helped enough to let him sleep again, but not self-soothe. Our pediatrician recomended giving him ibuprophen right before bed, and acetaminophen if he woke up halfway through the night. That helped a lot!

    We did do some sleep training at 4 months, and it took perhaps 3 nights until he learned to soothe himself to sleep (previously I'd nurse him to sleep).

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  4. My 15 month old is a terrible sleeper. Actually he was a great sleeper until 4 months, hit the “4 month sleep regression” and we never looked back. We also do partial night co-sleeping (actually this week it's been all night), and have actually invested in a latex mattress topper because we think that his mattress is too hard for him. I'm also reading the No Cry Sleep Solution – Toddler version right now in hopes of finding some good tips. We don't do CIO because it's not a good fit for us (plus I don't think it would work) but for night wakings it's been helping for me to leave the room (we still nurse to sleep, and 1X early morning so he can smell the milk and won't settle if I'm there). So, in summary, I have no useful tips, but lots of sympathy. I hope it gets better for you soon!

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  5. After 3 kids, all I have for you is “This too shall pass.”
    In the meantime, do what you can to get sleep when and however you can.

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  6. I'm glad it was helpful! He could genuinely be hungry- 6 months is a growth spurt. Or it could be a developmental thing. Or… babies are weird.

    Our big “get us more sleep” solutions were taking shifts in the middle of the night (my husband took the first shift and I went to bed really early) and weekend naps. I also would take benadryl to help me fall asleep when I went to bed, so I didn't waste my sleep time. I have an old post about all of this, but I can't find it right now. If I do, I'll come back and post it.

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  7. Have you tried motrin? Many of our sleep problems have turned out to be related to teething.

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  8. (though we still nurse to sleep at almost 2 years… why not?)

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  9. Yes, we are swapping off nights with him and it's helped a lot. One of us will take him into the guest room bed, and the other stays in our room for the night. So, at least we're getting pretty decent sleeps every other night.

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  10. We did this about a week ago when he was clearly in some kind of pain and it worked well. So, we'll definitely use it again if that happens again.

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  11. Yes – I need to reinstate that motto! I forgot just how many insane phases babies go through!

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  12. Yes, we've used Tylenol if it's really bad and it works well 😀

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  13. I need to keep in mind that 1) it's just a phase and 2) we just need to do whatever works for us in the moment. What works tonight might not tomorrow, but we'll figure it out.

    I forgot how confusing some baby stages are!

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  14. It's nice to know we're not alone 😉 I hope things get better for you soon!

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