I'm looking for some encouragement and maybe ideas. I have an almost 4 mo son and we co-sleep (he's in bed with us - he was not into the co-sleeper next to the bed.) Bedtimes are nightmarish. Here's what our day looks like:
around 8 am - wake up.
around 9:30 - nap.
After his nap (which varies in length), he's awake for 1 to 1.5 hours before going down for another nap. This pattern continues all day. Sometimes he has short naps and ends up having 4-5 naps throughout the day because he doesn't have much tolerance for being awake longer than 1.5 hours (although sometimes lately he's making it to 2 hours.)
About 1.5-2 hours after what I think should be his last nap (usually wakes up around 7), we go to bed. Before he's too tired we take a bath together...he loves this. Then I'll nurse him. He goes to sleep easily every time. This is usually around 9 but sometimes closer to 10.
Then - this is where it gets difficult - he wakes up. He thinks he's going down for one last nap rather than bedtime. This is pretty much true no matter what I do - even if I nurse him in bed and stay there with him (although this SOMETIMES works to keep him asleep, it's not fullproof.) If I don't nurse him in bed - say, I nurse him in the rocking chair and he falls asleep there, he'll wake up, either before I lay him down while he's still sucking or certainly if I lay him down (even if I lay down with him.)
Then, when he wakes up, he generally has a full awake cycle (1.5 hours) before being ready for sleep again. Last night, though, he went to sleep at 8:30, woke up at 9, and was awake til midnight. I have no idea why he wouldn't go to sleep before then - he was exhausted out of his mind but nothing worked. Not nursing, not rocking, not walking around with him in a wrap. We finally took a second bath and then he calmed down enough to nurse. We went to bed at 12:30.
I started back to work last week (thankfully only part time, 12 hours a week, from home...not bad but still - I can't nap with him every day anymore) and I am going crazy with this bedtime "routine." I am SO TIRED and a lot of nights I just bawl my eyes out while I'm walking him to sleep at midnight. My husband is awesome and does as much as he can but he has to get up at 6 am and I don't so...
Is there anything I can do to help him stay asleep when he goes down at 9? Or is this just a phase I have to ride out? For awhile I got through it by telling myself that 9 pm was his "first bedtime" and I just planned to have a second one later. But now that I'm working, and I'm exhausted, I'm not handling that as well. It also used to be okay because he was sleeping 6-8 hours once he finally went down, but I think we're in the 4 month sleep regression now so he's generally waking up more like 3 hours after he finally goes down.
Help! Or at least tell me it won't last forever...
If you read this far, thanks. :)