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Need Encouragement/Advice

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 

I'm at my wits end.

My DS is simply not sleeping well.  I've never experienced this type of issue before.  My older children, now 15 and 12, always slept well.  DS did too up until two months ago.  He is entirely breastfed (no formula) and still would awaken about 2x a night but only feed for maybe ten minutes and drift off peacefully back to sleep.  Now, at almost 11 months and for the past two months or so...he gets up anywhere between 3-6 times a night...sometimes for 15 min, sometimes 2 hours or more and everywhere in between.  He's also not napping well.  I think it started with teething issues and then a cold....but now I'm not sure at all.  Sometimes I think he's teething...other times I think he's just confused with his sleep cycle.  Sometimes all it takes is a few minutes of comforting ; other times he just cries and cries....I'm not sure what to do.  I DO NOT believe in letting him cry it out...so PLEASE do NOT even bother if that is your line of thinking....with all respect to those of you that may believe in that, I feel very strongly against this, so please don't suggest it.  But I do need help here.  I'm feeling very sleep deprived.... I can't seem to sleep during the day even when he does nap (which sometimes is less than an hour!)  even though I try.  Ugh....I bought a book on sleep by Dr. Sears but have not had time to really read it past two chapters..... I know there's probably no quick fix but I need sleep.  My husbands schedule does not always let him help me....he does what he can.  I've tried bringing ds to bed with me, but then I usually don't sleep well even when he does...and he still does not always sleep well...even there.  Mostly I guess I need encouragement from others who may have gone through this type of thing.....

post #2 of 31

My son was this way.  I never did find the magic bullet to get him to sleep well, but I did have a bag of tricks.  I was so delirious from lack of sleep most of the time that I've forgotten most of what worked, I just remember that I was always changing my method.  I know that it really helped to get the sleep space as dark as possible.  He seemed to sleep better when he'd had a lot of outside time with skin exposed to the sun.  Having plenty of water for both of us that was infused with Rescue Remedy was a big help.  I tried to get us out of the house most days, and plan it so we'd be returning in the car when it was time for him to nap (he did fall asleep in the car, don't know if yours does).  I did a lot of dancing and singing while holding him.  This one may sound out there, but hanging a dream catcher over his sleep space was really a big help.  Taking a warm bath together.  If he's taking an especially long nap, consider waking him so he'll sleep better at night.

 

The best thing that ever happened for my son's nighttime sleeping was when my husband got involved in the routine.  They did pj's, teeth, and stories at the same time every night and soon it was established and sleep would happen sometime during the third story.  I also night weaned because he was waking to nurse out of habit it seemed.

 

It's just really hard.  For me, I had to just accept that I had a cranky child who didn't sleep well.  I hope it's different for you.  My son did eventually become a good sleeper sometime around turning two.  Good luck!

post #3 of 31

oh boy, that is so hard. i've had sleep issues too and know he 'wits end' part of it.

 

here are some thoughts:

working on milestones? eg crawling/walking

teething

undetected infection: eg ears, urinary tract

any digestive issues? constipation? itchy skin?

change in environment eg pjs, sheets, air temp, noise. stress at home like change in routine/childcare?

 

i agree with routine at night, make sure he has a lovey. take him to the dr for an ear check. try some different meds to rule out issues (eg colic drops, advil or whatever you like to use) if it works it will give you some clues.

 

best wishes! you can also check in on our sleep boot camp thread!

 

post #4 of 31

Organicmom3, I hear you!!!!  I have been there with two of my three.  Hang in there.  I agree that crying it out is a bad idea.

I'm assuming that your little one is on solids?  With one of my little ones a nice bowel of oatmeal shortly before bed was helpful.  

I guess I should ask what you have tried already.

 

sleeping.gif

post #5 of 31
Thread Starter 

Rescue Remedy??   Not sure what that is though I've heard of it...is it homeopathic?  Can't do anything homeopathic as he is already taking a homeopathic remedy for his excema....

 

Singing sometimes helps....not always, but is a part of our nap and nighttime routine.

 

Warm baths excite him....I can't do them everyday due to his excema and I try to keep them seperate from bedtime because they do get him wound up.  He loves to splash!

 

My DH tries to be involved but this can't be consistent because of his work schedule.

 

I can't accept that he's just cranky, because he wasn't for the first 8-9 months!  He was a very very happy pleasant baby day and night.

 

Milestones?  Well...he's cruising more than he was....but nothing dramatic.  He's going through typical milestones, but the sleep issue is a constant....not just a few days thing once a milestone is reached like I read about.

 

ear pain, etc.?  My husband is a physician so he's checked the ears.  That's fine.  He does have some congestion.  We have given into the occasional dosage of ibuprofren for what seems could be teething pain occasionally though we hate to do it (very anti medicine here) and of course use the brand that is the most additive free that we can find....  While sometimes it seems to stretch times between wakings, it does not seem to give a major improvement.

 

itchy skin?  Well he does have excema, but we have never noted him 'itching' at his skin during the day at all....Seemingly it doesn't seem to bother him, but is always a possibility.....

 

He is on solids....breakfast and supper....just vegetables and fruits....perhaps I could try to feed him more often now that he is almost 11 months....maybe some lunch and a little snack at bedtime??  I was afraid to give too much and cut out many nursing feedings, but perhaps it's time for that. My dh does seem to think the sleep issues started when we began feeding more solids....not that we can link it to any particular food....though he someties gets gassy if he has too much broccoli or I've had to much vitamin C or ate too many beans.  But that doesn't explain every night....

 

He likes rocking, he falls asleep in the car easily (which backfires on us for naptime especially as he'll fall asleep in the afternoon and then wake up within 10 minutes of stopping....thus eliminating any chance of a two hour nap...sigh...) I've considered that he may need to be weaned from nursing at night....at least all but maybe one feeding.... I'm wondering if he's counting on that as a soother.  We do have a vaporizer and a noise machine in his room.  I'm not sure if they help, but they don't seem to hinder anything.  His room is dark at night...we do need to get better curtains for during the day as his room is bright and the blinds seem to do nothing.

 

I guess what confuses me and frustrates me the most is I feel there must be a cause.  He did sooooooooo well for the first 8 months....handled the two teeth beautifully and then....like I said , it seemed to start with teething, but never let up....  I'll check out the sleep boot camp and see what that's about..... 

post #6 of 31

I unfortunately don't have any tricks or good advice to get back to where you were, but wanted to share that we experienced something very similar. Our son always woke up two or three times at night and then would nurse and go straight back to sleep. Then, somewhere between six and nine months he started waking up about every two hours. He still nursed and went straight back to sleep, but it was such frequent waking. Bed sharing helped in that I didn't really have to wake all the way up to meet his needs; I am among the lucky who can sleep and nurse...I hear that some moms can't do this. It lasted about 4-6 months and then he went back to waking up two or three times per night. It is definitely exhausting. I was never sure if it was the constant teething, cognitive and physical milestones, increased nutritional needs that he wasn't meeting during the day...or an endless list of other reasons. It passed and looking back it seems like it didn't last long at all, but in the thick of it I was exhausted and frustrated for sure. 

post #7 of 31

Just wanted to chime in and say that I experienced similar things with DD and DS--at least the nighttime part.  DS still wakes at least 1x per night (2 if you count the wee hours) to nurse and he is 2yrs and I just figured this is normal for a toddler....

 

As for naps, it was always in hindsight that I realized what was causing trouble with napping.  I know that isn't helpful, but I want to encourage you b/c sleep deprivation is hard!

post #8 of 31

Oh boy I know what you're talking about.  I've written several posts along the same lines. Our 10 month old DD went through a TERRIBLE sleep time from 7-9 months. She would refuse to sleep, refuse to nap, be cranky all day, wake up in the night. It was awful. In retrospect, I am pretty sure it was a combination of teething and developmental milestones that started the issue, but it then became self-perpetuating after those issues receded. She was a great sleeper before that, but she just got into a bad rut for a while.  I tried to read books, but DD wouldn't let me when she was awake, and when she was asleep, I was so thankful she was sleeping that I either slept myself or tried to catch up on chores.  No time for reading at all.  So here are some things that helped us:

  • Bath time every day. DD gets excited for baths, but if we do it early on in the evening she gets some energy out and is tired a bit later. There really was a big difference in her when she got a bath every day - I know your LO has eczema, but you don't need to use soap.
  • Getting DD out of the house every single day, even if it was a quick walk around the block or a trip to the grocery store. On days that we did this, her sleep was consistently better.
  • Feeding DD a lot of solids shortly before bed - we give meat and some carbs as well as fruits and veggies. Not all mamas do, but we were desperate. As it turns out DD LOVES LOVES LOVES all kinds of meat.
  • Ibuprofin on really really bad nights.
  • Time.

Most non-Ferber books advocate making a consistent routine and schedule. We are still working on that here.  I am pleased to report that for the last week or so, DD's sleep is much much better.  Nothing really changed, we just sort of waited it out. I know for sure that this is far from the last time we will go through this, and I am thankful that we are getting a reprieve right now. Good luck and you are not alone. 

post #9 of 31
Thread Starter 

Thank you everyone who has chimed in...and encouraged me that I'm not the only one going through this sort of thing.  Last night was actually better after the first hour.... I at least got a three hour stretch and then an almost four hour stretch before he woke up for good very early this morning....BUT....he took a morning nap...which he has not done in MONTHS!  only 40 minutes, but still a nap....then he didn't go down until after 3:00 this afternoon but he's still asleep....so a little over two hours right now and I snuck in a 50 minute nap myself!!!!!  So I'm hopeful....maybe we are onto a new trend.  But I have read all your suggestions (we introduced having a small lunch today and am thinking about having him eat a little before bed; haven't introduced many carbs yet and not any meat.......we'll see how the evening goes.  Living where we are it's a bit hard to get out of the house each day in the winter.... but will definitely do once it gets a little warmer.. I forgot to mention I think that I have tried bringing him to bed with me....not sure it really helps; though I think he sleeps later in the morning at times simply because my room is darker than his.

...so much to consider with all your suggestions...and I've been reading the boot camp things too...haven't managed to get all the way through though....working on it!  Please keep thoe thoughts coming...this forum is so comforting!  THANK YOU!!!!

post #10 of 31

What lovely advice you have received and I do hope you are already on the right track -- a great nap always brings hope!

I was wondering about "haven't introduced many carbs yet and not any meat" --

At 11 months I have always started a good bit of protein. With our 4th, now 14 mo. by 10-11 months we were also dealing with some really rough nights. We do cosleep and my DH was insistent that he thought baby was hungry and waking to nurse. I thought that was silly, I was feeding him solids and nursing throughout the day and he should be old enough to not need calories at night. And he seemed irritable, not hungry.  

 

Well, to pacify hubby I got some great organic, grass raised beef and made little patties and started feeding him that with dinner and throughout the evening til bedtime. Fill the belly with protein was my DH's plan. Guess what. It worked. He started sleeping much much better and was doing great --almost sleeping though the night -- until he got that mouth virus thing kids get with the bleeding gums-- but that's another story. So, my two cents. You've had great advice so far. But mine is to add in protein. I'm all for delaying solids and my kids get only veggies, then some fruit from around 7-8 months on. But after about 6 weeks of that we are into protein foods -- meat, beans, yogurt, whole eggs at a year, etc.  They eat so little I want every bite to be packed with nutrients and actually, meat is really nutrient dense.

 

Good luck and sleep tight!

post #11 of 31
My son was the same way and still doesn't sleep well. My guess would be that since he has excema that it is most likely due to something internal. Excema is usually related to a food allergy or sensitivity. It could be anything but usually dairy or wheat. Maybe try going dairy and gluten free (both of you) for a few weeks and see what happens. If it gets better then you have a starting place. HTH's
post #12 of 31

When I was having a really hard time with my youngest and was at my wits end I had what I like to call a "tender mercy" some people think of it as an "aha moment".   I was sitting at my dinner table after clearing up our big Sunday dinner which happened to include mashed potatoes.  I love them and had overindulged myself and was feeling ready to drop off to sleep then and there.  That's when it hit me...carbs, or at least a nice full belly is what my ever growing little one was needing.  And to top it off (this was a huge step for me) I pumped and gave her a warm bottle of breast milk.  I made it seem a special treat only at bedtime and she would still nurse in day and at nap time when I would just nurse us both to sleep.  This helped us a lot.

After a time she stopped expecting it (the bottle) and it was never an issue she just kinda grew out of it.  Now I see that if she feels in the least bit hungry...no sleep.  But who can sleep when they are hungry?  We have the option of getting out of bed and eating an apple, but these little ones must just feel kinda stuck.  When I started thinking of it that way I had less issue with the bottle. 

post #13 of 31

((hugs)) mama, my first was a terrible sleeper, so I feel your pain! Just wanted to address a few things--

1) the eczema- have you looked into food allergies being the cause? they can cause frequent night waking, as well as eczema, green/mucousy stools, gas pains, reflux, etc

 

2) a book that really helped me was "sleepless in america" it has great ideas for structuring your day to help maximize sleep times

 

good luck!

post #14 of 31
Both my children were this way. Actually, my ten months old DS wakes about five times a night. The way I deal with it is by going to sleep, when the kids go to sleep. We cosleep, so I don't have to get out of bed for nursing.
My household is a complete and utter mess, but at least I catch enough slepp that way.
post #15 of 31

Could be night terrors? DD co-sleeps but until DH or I go to bed, she keeps waking up for comfort. Even though she is never really alone. One of us or both sit in the same room and work.

 

Also, DD started waking up at night all of a sudden too and 2 things - humidity and a full belly as someone else suggested. I know that 7.30 seems to be when all the "good kids" on the block go to sleep, but DD only goes down around 9-10. Any sooner, and she'll think it is a nap and wake up, all ready to play, and stay up for 2 hours at least. I figured that giving her her dinner of rice, lentils, vegetables at 8 really helps her sleep better. I am not quite sure about dinner being too close to sleep but apparently, that is what helps her sleep better. I never really understood adults eating dinner at 6 and going to sleep 5 hours later. I would be starving and eat a whole another dinner again and go straight to bed! Definitely not the healthy thing to do. I cannot eat more than 2 hours before bed. Or, I wake up hungry, even with a headache.

 

I know friends who give formula only at night to help their wee one sleep better. If formula can be given around bed time, I figure, so can other foods. Just to clarify, I've never had to give DD formula. I just suck it up and nurse her as many times as it takes. But then, I am also on maternity leave right now and can nap during the day when she naps. We nap together. I nurse her to sleep on the floor, and that way, I can get up when I wake up without worrying that she'll roll off or anything. Or, I can lay next to her and read a book. I guess this isn't an option when you have older kids too. I do have to nurse her back down a couple of times, but it is what keeps her happy.

 

I don't know if I am spoiling her by nursing her back down to sleep, but I just cannot think of putting a piece of plastic pacifier into her mouth when she needs to suck for a bit.

post #16 of 31
I just remembered, when I was nursing my DD I got very fatigued, and so tired I wasn't able to safely drive a car after nightfall. The situation got better once I started taking iron supplements. Breastfeeding can take a lot of iron from a mother, and iron deficit can cause massive fatigue.
post #17 of 31

Cecilia is also near 11 months, and we don't do much in the way of solids, so don't worry there! What worked for us was consolidating the night feedings, which is something you mentioned thinking about in one of your earlier posts. When Cecilia first goes down, she generally is alone for an hour or so before I join her in bed (my husband is often asleep already and I take an hour or two of "me" time while they are sleeping). When she wakes up a couple of hours later, I physically get up and out of bed and come nurse her on the couch. That sucked so hard the first few times, as I was beyond exhausted. But, it ends up working better in the long run because I can make sure that she takes in a lot of milk before we go back to bed. She's asleep already practically from the moment she's latched on, but I can stroke her ear or pat her back or move her leg or whatever to make sure she's still really drinking. And when I know she's had a full feed and not just a few sips, we go back to bed. That helps her sleep for 3-5 hours instead of 1-2.

post #18 of 31
Thread Starter 

Thank you all again.....just got to reading some of your comments today.... I appreciate all your help. 

In regards to those of you mentioning the eczema....that's been a long road....no, while there's always the possibility it's some sort of weird allergy we haven't thought of....it's NOT one of the commonly known allergies....it's not wheat, it's not dairy, etc....been there, done that.  The homeopathy has helped and we are staying on that route to hopefully continue progress.

 

I also firmly believe he doesn't need meat yet....we haven't done eggs either.  I believe he gets plenty of protein from me and the foods we have selected for him.  I appreciate your different thoughts though and while last night eating before bedtime (oatmeal) didn't seem to help at all  (It was a long night....4 awakenings and the last one was for a bit over 2 hours)....I still may try that one again and not give up on it.  He doesn't necessarily seem full at dinner time....but he eats a lot more than what our naturopath recommends...but maybe he does need more and I'm considering that line of thought.

 

I'm not sure where the low iron came into it....my iron is fine and so is his.??  My fatigue is because I'm not sleeping well because he's not sleeping well..?  maybe I didn't understand that one....lack of sleep is hindering my comprehension! LOL....

 

HASYA....what did you mean by humidity?  I realized we did NOT have the vaorizer on last night....??? Can you explain?

 

As for sleeping when he does....I try....I can't always with the older kids...we homeschool and sometimes that's the only time I can help them.  It just depends on the day. .I did get a 50 minute nap in on Saturday....highly unusual for me though since for the past couple of years I just haven't been able to nap much during the day, even when I'm really really tired....my body only seems to let me drift for 5-10 minutes and thats it.....and that's usually only after laying there for at least a half hour....sigh.....I just hope this really is a temporary stage...but I shall continue trying some of these great suggestions!  THANK YOU!!!

post #19 of 31

I didn't go through all the other posts, but just wanted to quickly throw in my 2 cents.  DS1 was like this- I swear that kid didn't sleep through the night until he was about 2.5!  We ended up co-sleeping, which was originally "out of the question", but happened anyway.  It was the only way we could both get any sleep, and it eventually worked pretty well.  By the time he was 1 or 1.5, I was putting him down for the first time in his crib (which usually took 1-3 hours), then crashing in my own bed (or in the rocker in his room) until his first wake-up, at which time I'd just bring him to bed with me, and we'd finish the night together.  Now, with DS2 we didn't even pretend not to co-sleep, but openly (and proudly) bed share with both boys (although DS1 usually starts the night in his own bed).  Don't know bed sharing is something you could learn to enjoy or not, but that's my best suggestion, other than trying all the great advice other ladies have given.  Good luck, and just remember:  "THIS, TOO, SHALL PASS."

post #20 of 31
The iro one came from my very personal experience that both my children had similar sleephabits, nursing four to five times a night, but only with DD I got fatigued. My children's nighttime appetite might have seemed like the obvious reason for my fatigue, but in my case the actual reason was iron deficiency anemia - with enough iron, I can handle the nighttime wakenings just fine.
If you know your iron to be fine, don't worry about it. I only posted that, because sometimes a less obvious factor can play into the sleeping dilemma, and I thought it could be helpful to mention it.
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