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Sleeping Secret?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Does anyone know the secret to getting your baby to sleep more than 3 hours at a time? My son is 8 months old and wakes up 4 to 6 times a night. He sleeps worse now than when he was 3 months old. Everything changed when he began teething at 6 months. He naps anywhere from 3 to 5 hours total a day and doesn’t nap past 5p. I must mention that he WILL NOT sleep in his crib or Pack N Play during the day, only his swing. Every time I rock him and lay him down in his crib he wakes up immediately and will not settle back to sleep. At night time, we start to wind things down around 7:30, give bath, read stories, nurse him, and rock to sleep. He is usually in his crib no later than 9:30p. He usually cries within an hour, I pat his back and get him back to sleep. Sometimes this will work and he will sleep until 1 or 2a and other times he will cry several more times as described above. He is not crying out in his sleep and then settling back down, he is awake and looking for me to soothe him. At 1 or 2a, I nurse him and it is at this time at night when I try unsuccessfully to rock and place him in his crib. He wakes up each and every time. I can rock him back to sleep sometimes 4 times and he will wake up every time. I usually cave at this point because I am exhausted and either bring him to bed with us or put him in his swing. But now at night time, he won’t sleep longer than an hour or so in the swing. When I bring him to bed with us, sometimes he goes right to sleep other times he is restless and I can’t get any sleep. I don’t have the heart to CIO and have read every baby sleep book imaginable. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
post #2 of 21
As the proud mama of a 20 month old who tried everything and whose babe only in the last 3 months started consistently sleeping more than a 2 hour stretch I can say that patience is the only thing that works.

Just let your babe rest wherever he will sleep the longest stretch and don't fret for a moment if that means he's right beside you in bed all night long.

We tried EVERYTHING; dietary changes and supplements (for me), bedtime routines, changes in nap schedules, essential oils, read every sleep book you can imagine, massage...you name it.

I even caved at one point and tried Kim West's so-called "gentle sleep training" from her book "Good Night, Sleep Tight" , which we realized soon enough pretty much amounts to controlled crying. All I have to say about that experience is that a)it totally, totally did not work and b) I regret it immeasurably.

There is no secret (that I know) to getting a babe to sleep through the night, but I feel like the gentle strength, patience and compassion I learned from being up with my son at all hours of the night for a year a half are an unexpected gift. I know how hard it is...so many of us have been there.
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thank you Sarah! I truly appreciate your words of encouragement.
post #4 of 21
You're not alone. My DS is 7 1/2 months old, and he wakes a lot during the night and hardly naps during the day. I'm exhausted, but he is such a joy in my life I can't imagine it any other way!
post #5 of 21
When my DD was that age I felt the same - like it would never get better, what was I doing wrong, if only I followed the books she'd be sleeping better.... I had to ban myself from reading any more books. I kept my copy of the No Cry Sleep Solution and took all the rest back to the library. I was just beating myself up about it and I found the books made it worse. DD is 20 months now and sleeps 6-7 hour stretches a couple of nights a week. Some nights she's still up every 2-3 hours. I think patience is key, and so is finding/getting support. Do you have family nearby? A friend who's in a similar boat who could take him for an hour so you could have a nap? Can your partner (if you have one) get up with him even a day a week so you can sleep in?

It does get easier. We found that stretch between 7 and 14/15 months the hardest. There's just so much developmentally going on with crawling and walking, teething, eating food, beginnings of language. If you've got a kid that needs comfort and nursing in the night in order to process all these things, it's tough. But hang in there!
post #6 of 21
First of all, I wanted to add that you aren't doing anything wrong...causing your child to sleep (or not..) this way. I was in the same boat with DD (now 2 1/2) and we eventually just co-slept (still do some nights) because it was the ONLY way to get any sleep. It was awful, horrible, miserable some nights when she was awake and an insomniac, but I had to keep telling myself that it would have to get better...it just would. And it has, although we're still not STTN consistently. But I also read every book and constantly asked, "what are we doing wrong???"

One thing I wanted to mention is that it's so very hard when you're in the trenches with a child that doesn't sleep well and you have family and friends who are opinionated and/or judgmental. SO VERY HARD. I know that most of my and DH's families are still tsk-tsking about the way we've handled our DD and her sleep issues. Of course, nearly all of them (with exception to my mother and father) have said that we should do CIO. I feel badly that a child can be labeled at such an early age, but that's what has happened to my DD because others are so judgmental and feel that a baby/child should be and act and sleep a certain way, and if they don't, then they're "bad" or a "bad sleeper" or "high maintenance."

So hang in there and do whatever you can so that you both get some sleep.
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the great advice everyone! We have been co-sleeping every night since I posted and things are getting much better. He is still waking 1 or 2 times a night to eat, but it's much easier for all of us to ease back to sleep. I have learned that I need to trust my instincts and not worry about what others say/think.
post #8 of 21
I could have written your post almost word for word. NO solutions for you, just commiseration... I just keep telling myself it won't last forever. I am lucky to be able to stay home and sleep with her in the morning at least.
post #9 of 21
We're at almost 11mo here, also with crazy sleep - helped greatly by co-sleeping. And I find, for myself, that not keeping track (of how many wake-ups, or how much total sleep you did or did not get each night) is tremendously helpful. You might still feel wasted, but somehow not having a number to put on it can help keep your mind off it.
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarah1122 View Post
As the proud mama of a 20 month old who tried everything and whose babe only in the last 3 months started consistently sleeping more than a 2 hour stretch I can say that patience is the only thing that works.

Just let your babe rest wherever he will sleep the longest stretch and don't fret for a moment if that means he's right beside you in bed all night long.

We tried EVERYTHING; dietary changes and supplements (for me), bedtime routines, changes in nap schedules, essential oils, read every sleep book you can imagine, massage...you name it.

I even caved at one point and tried Kim West's so-called "gentle sleep training" from her book "Good Night, Sleep Tight" , which we realized soon enough pretty much amounts to controlled crying. All I have to say about that experience is that a)it totally, totally did not work and b) I regret it immeasurably.

There is no secret (that I know) to getting a babe to sleep through the night, but I feel like the gentle strength, patience and compassion I learned from being up with my son at all hours of the night for a year a half are an unexpected gift. I know how hard it is...so many of us have been there.
Totally agree! I was about to just respond with "time and patience". We exhausted ourselves trying to figure our a solution and there was none. Eventually DS's teeth came through and he suddenly started sleeping better.
post #11 of 21
Yep Time and patience and development in our LOs

DS woke to nurse every 2 hours or so (maybe got a 3 hour stretch if I was lucky ) until he was about 18 months or so and then he started to only wake to nurse once before I came to bed and then about 2 times during the night and one early morning (7:30) till he was about 2 or so and then a few months ago he stopped wanting to nurse between him nursing to sleep around 9 and me coming to bed around 12 then about 2 months ago he stopped nursing at night.

This is what night time looks like now at 27 mons and has for about a month or so. DH does the majorty of bed routine (getting on jammies, brushing teeth and reading story or two) I then come to the bed and DS kisses DH goodnight and lights go out. I lay down and nurse DS once on each side (this was a boundary I had to establish as he went through a musical boobies phase and I was getting really irritated and sore) Half the time he falls asleep on the boob and half the time he needs me to lie beside him as he fidgets himself to sleep. I tried singing, rubbing his back, massage, tickling his face, etc but it only gets him wound up again so I just lie peacefully with my eyes closed mostly thinking or sometimes I wll chant "ohm" a bit as that seems to settle DS. Anyway my portion of bedtime can last anywhere from 5 mins to about an hour I am pretty good now at not getting frustrated. After DS is asleep I leave the room and don't nurse him again or really have to tend to him till about 5:30-7:30 am. We do co-sleep and some nights he is more active or has a bad dream etc but I can now just make physical contact and he settles.

We went through a period where I was getting very agitated by DS' fidgeting and fighting of sleep (as soon as his eyes would started to flutter to sleep he would kick or shake his head etc to wake himself up ) I would have to call in Dada so I could take a break which would ensue crying but it was either that or I was going to start yelling etc.

I just excepted that he was going to need to nurse as much as he needed same with sleep and I really did for the most part follow his lead. I set boundaries as he grew and developed and sure there were some nights that I grumbled when he wanted to nurse AGAIN and I was soooo tired but I figured I could deal with a crying baby who wanted to nurse or I could just nurse him and know that we would both be in dreamland in a few minutes again. One thing I have always stuck to is my refusal to stand up and hold him and rock him as I did not want to be standing and rocking a huge toddler. I have always night parented from a sitting or lying position. If he needs me to rock him I do it sitting on my bed. My comfort is important if I am going to be there for an hour and it makes me less grumpy .

Night time parenting is hard work and exhausting but take comfort in the fact that it will change. "This too shall pass" Our LO's are forever developing and changing and they are doing that at a tremendous speed right now. The first few years parents should not expect to get much sleep but should take comfort in the fact that they will get to sleep more at some point

You can do these first few years of sleepless nights making more work by always trying to "fix it" or you can surrender to the reality of sleeplessness and just enjoy the brief hours you do get knowing this will end relatively soon.
post #12 of 21
I am so there with you mama! Hugs!

I don't know if the sleep deprivation is worse or the constantly doubting oneself. We have always co-slept and ds has always needed a lot of night parenting and mostly night-nursing. Learning to nurse side-lying has been the only saving grace in all this. . .some nights I can *almost* sleep through his nursings. And my ds doesn't wake fully, he just wakes to know I am there and needs to nurse a little to fall back to sleep.

I had in-laws telling me he would STTN if only he was in his own bed and didn't have the breasts right there. Well, I'm sorry, but I don't think so. It does make you question yourself though. And DH asking why don't we have one of those babies that STTN, grrrr. And I have been reading all the books. . .but I keep coming back to my own gut feeling on this. And that is, that ds just needs a lot of night parenting right now and that the best thing I can do is respond to his needs. He is not manipulating me and he will eventually sleep on his own. Besides, even though the sleep torture is rough, this time really is short. Before we know it they will be teen-agers.

I feel that I owe it to myself and to ds to honor the moment and just be there for him. I do try to nap with him during the day though. . .that really helps me get through it!
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ashook View Post
Does anyone know the secret to getting your baby to sleep more than 3 hours at a time?
Don't know the secret... But if you ever find out, please post it here so I can discover it too!
post #14 of 21
Thank goodness for this thread! Last night was the hardest night in a long, long time. DD doesn't sleep longer than 2 hours at a time, but last night she was up every 10-20 minutes from 10 -130 am. At one point I was so tired I started moaning and crying myself, which scared her, and she started crying. I won't let that happen again. Anyway, I think night time parenting, for me, is a zillion times harder than day time parenting, and I'm looking for ways to include daddy. Right now, I take her to bed, I stay in bed, and nurse her on demand because she cannot sleep without my breasts. She needs her mama. I get that, but the exhaustion. . .I remind myself she will never be this young again. Never. This too shall pass.

I also agree with the poster that said it is even harder with my parents saying that she'd STTN if I let her cry, and my sister, and sister in law chiming in that their babies CIO and all of them are perfectly healthy kids. UGH.

It is so hard. . .and so worth it.

Sorry for the ramble!
post #15 of 21
Hang in there!

My LO only started sleeping through the night (8:30-6:30, 7:30 if we're lucky) around age 18 months. We didn't do anything differently, didn't change anything, she just got older.

The worst sleep period was from 9 months to about 14 months - the teething months. Every little thing woke her up, and little could get her to sleepn again except nursing. Couldn't blame her - teeth busting through gums hurts. I actually gave up trying to get her to sleep in the crib during this time and mostly kept her with me in the bed.
post #16 of 21

Try an earlier bed time

I liked the "Health Sleep Habits, Happy Child" book. It didn't all work for me, but it was a good starting point. He makes the point that "sleep begets sleep", and therefore, late bedtimes actually reduce sleep duration. He recommends a bedtime of between 6pm and 7pm, and no later than 8pm. Try shortening the two naps to only 1-2 hours each with last one waking up no later than 4:30 or 5pm. Then try getting him to bed at night no later than 7pm. It sounds like he might be getting over tired with such a late bed time. Overtired = body's unwillingness to succumb to sleep and increases the "stay awake" hormones/chemicals in the brain, which leads to unsettled sleep and frequent waking.

My DD is 12mo and REFUSES to take 2 naps so she takes a single 2 hour nap and is in bed by 7pm and usually asleep no later then 8pm most nights. This has been our habit since about 6mo. and seems to work pretty well. She usually sleeps until 7:30 or 8:30am, which is 12-13 hours, plus 2 hour nap = 14-15 hours per day. I think she would benefit from 2 naps, but I can seem to convince her of that. We do what we can.

Good luck Mama.
post #17 of 21
i feel your pain! we were cosleeping and my daughter was waking up to nurse every hour or two. Finally at 11 months after trying a number of things, we ended up weaning her at night and told her that milkies were asleep until the birds woke up and it was light out. (she was mildly unhappy with mama for the first night). However, she caught on and stopped waking up just to check to see if milk was there and she could have it (even switching to a bottle at night didn't work). And she started sleeping soundly for at least 6 hours, and up to 10! much needed rest for the whole family. Even now at 15 months the sound of birds in the morning is all she needs to know that she can nurse again (although sometimes she wakes up a few minutes before they do in anticipation!)

I recommend taking a look at this article which helped us a lot:

http://drjaygordon.com/attachment/sleeppattern.html
post #18 of 21
Our little guy was only napping the swing as well, he's not quite 6 mo yet but he's a big boy and we wanted to phase him out of that before he outgrew the weight limit! For a few weeks we've been putting him down for naps in our bed (where he sleeps at night). It takes more time & effort because I usually have to rock, butt-pat, sing, lay down with him, etc., anywhere from 10 to 30 min. If I don't have time I still use the swing, but he's gotten pretty good at napping on the bed.

He takes shorter naps in the bed and this actually helped his nighttime sleep a little. He still wakes up and wants to nurse a few times, usually. But we just bed-share so that nursing doesn't involve me getting out of bed.
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by leam811 View Post
We're at almost 11mo here, also with crazy sleep - helped greatly by co-sleeping. And I find, for myself, that not keeping track (of how many wake-ups, or how much total sleep you did or did not get each night) is tremendously helpful. You might still feel wasted, but somehow not having a number to put on it can help keep your mind off it.
Good point!!! And not looking at the clock (if you do) can be helpful, too! I finally figured out that if I try to focus on the positive aspects of what is happening in my life and think about things that do feel good, that things go a ton better! (For example, not thinking about how my eyes are stinging AGAIN, but think how my legs feel really good and appreciating them.)

I also sometimes think about the awesome bonding time that takes place during the night. I think about how many hours we get to be together that we wouldn't have if she were in another room.
post #20 of 21
I have two children. 4 and 1.5.

Here is my secret:
My children sleep like crap until they are weaned. I don't wean until closer to 2. If I weaned earlier, would they sleep better? I don't know. I'm thinking no. I told myself that this time I'd nightwean at a year but it didn't work out that way. She didn't sleep as badly as her brother and we muddled through. I was much stricter with her though. I never nursed her with gritted teeth. She HAD to accept DH whenever I couldn't deal. I was very mindful and respectful of my own body. It worked out much better than with my son.

But she still woke way, way more than my crib sleeping, schedule feeding friends. But that's OK.
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