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Really need some concrete suggestions for 2 sleep issues!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Well, here I am, one more of the countless mamas who really really wants more sleep about now. My 10mo dd has never slept more than 5 hours at a stretch (and those nights are rare and ended at about 6mo), but for the past couple of months she's been waking to nurse every 1.5-2 hours all night long. She usually only nurses for a minute or two and then is out again, but I'm not doing well on the lack of deep sleep. Am having lots of trouble with memory and with fine motor skills, losing patience, and it's affecting my dh work schedule (he works at home and is up with her in the morning so I can sleep for a couple hours, but this means he has to work at night - sometimes quite late - to make up the hours and he isn't getting any down time or sleep time himself). I can't fall asleep while she's nursing and have trouble staying asleep if she's fidgeting. We have a crib side-carred to our bed, but she's rarely in it as she cries and wakes up when I move her back after nursing her, and even if she is in it she wakes up anyway. She won't take a pacifier - just howls and spits it out if I offer it. She has been teething off and on, but I don't think it's that. No huge developmental milestones. I don't think she's overtired. I know it's considered normal for babies to wake up a lot for a couple years, but this current pattern simply isn't sustainable for me and my dh. I've skimmed the Baby Whisperer (I know, I know) and looked up things from No Cry Sleep Solution online (is it a book worth buying?), and we're doing everything Dr. Sears says to reduce nightwaking.


The other issue is that she has learned to only be carried to sleep by my dh for nights and naps. I can't carry her to sleep b/c of a bad back (and she won't fall asleep on me like that anyway). So he spends a third of his day carrying her, which again, eats into his work schedule. If he doesn't carry her, she doesn't nap until she's completely exhausted, and by then only gets one nap and gets overtired. What to do? How to wean her from the carrier? She won't nurse to sleep initially, only if she's been asleep for a while and has awakened.


Any ideas on how to get her to sleep for longer stretches at night and wean her  from falling asleep in the carrier? I absolutely agree with many of you that these things can be healthy and normal, but they currently aren't working given my dh's job and my physical needs.


We're thinking of at least having my dh parent her to sleep throughout the night for a couple of nights while I sleep with earplugs in, but I know it will make her sad to wake up with no mama there. It's something Dr Sears suggests. I'd like the sleep, and maybe it would help her learn other ways of being comforted to sleep... what do you all think about it?

post #2 of 5

Your child sound JUST like my child at 10 months and we were all pretty exhausted. I feel for you.


We eventually discovered that having his dad parent him to sleep, consistently for several weeks was the only way to make things better. We didn't do this until he was about 13 months old because we just didn't have the energy to do it earlier. But we had daddy parent him to sleep instead of me nursing for about a month, then we had daddy parent him to sleep AND go to him during nighttime for part of of the night for a few weeks, and then finally only daddy for the WHOLE night. It sucked for dad and baby and me but was worth it in the end because now he only wakes maybe once a night and we are all much happier. He essentially ended up crying it out with his dad, which I have mixed feelings about, but we needed a change, his dad was willing to do it, and I still think it was better than him crying alone.


I have Pantley's book. I've also read Weissbluth, Brazelton, Sears, and Ferber. I actually found all of them to be helpful in their own ways. The common thread in many of them is that your baby needs to learn MULTIPLE ways of going to sleep and, most would argue, that they need to learn to go to sleep without you. The reason for night waking is not that they're actually WAKING but that they're coming into a lighter sleep and then being awakened by the fact that the environment is different than when they went to sleep (you were carrying them or nursing them, but now you're not). We still haven't taught our babe (now 20 mos) to go to sleep totally alone, but we are definitely more hands off than we were and I think that has helped.


Hang in there.

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

thank you. I did end up getting pantley's book, and tonight is night #1 of giving it a go! I already weaned my girl off of being carried by daddy, which was not hard at all, as it turned out. Just took a little patience. I do think you're right about the light sleep awakenings. Sleep is as bad as it's ever been, but I feel hopeful. Thanks for your thoughts!

post #4 of 5

One thing I had to learn was that I didn't actually HAVE to do what I thought I had to do to get my little girl to sleep.  I'm still relearning that lesson over and over again.  After all if your baby preferred being put to sleep with you standing on your head, you wouldn't do it.  You'd do something else that was within your limits, while still taking your LO's preferences into consideration.  LO may be disappointed and may show it by crying, but will learn to do things a different way.  If I were you, I would think hard about what you ARE willing to do to help your baby sleep.  Start with your boundary there, and as your baby matures, you'll be able to inch back, bit by bit.  Sounds like you already discovered this with the carrier-weaning thing.  Take it in baby steps and try to honor your needs without pushing your baby to far.  You'll get there!

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

that's a good way to put it. I'm learning that. Last night she only woke up 3 times, which is down from 7! Could be a fluke... we'll see, but it was so nice to get a longer stretch of sleep finally. I was a much nicer mama today :)

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