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Please help--5mo old waking every hour or two, nothing seems to predictably console him!

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

I am at a loss as to what to do.  Some of you may remember I posted in Dec. that DS was sleeping horribly after his 2 mo. shots.  (We decided no more shots, btw).  Anyhow, his sleeping improved after about a week or two after the shots, and *most* nights he was sleeping pretty well by my standards.  My standards are not high!  I've co-slept with two other babies, now ages 9 and 7, and they often woke to nurse many times during the night throughout infancy.  But we were almost always in such harmony that just latching them on and getting them back to sleep would barely wake me.  I couldn't have told you how many times they nursed at night because it was just an automatic thing that didn't disrupt anyone's sleep.  There were exceptions, such as if they were sick or a couple days before a tooth erupted...But as long as they didn't have any other underlying issues, nighttimes were a breeze in the family bed...

 

Anyhow DS's decent sleeping lasted about a month after getting better after the shots...But now... I can't tell you the last time I had a night like that with DS, it's been so long.  I really can't handle this and don't know what to do.  At first I thought it was that he needed a little more space, since he'd been sleeping in the crook of my arm, so I tried just laying him beside me.  The first time I tried it, it worked!  He seemed to drift off to sleep pretty easily, but then later that same night the technique failed, and he just got upset... I've tried changing his bedtime, re-arranging our bed, kicking DH out of the bed, adjusting what he's wearing at night...  Basically nothing predictably works to make him happily get him back to sleep at night. 

 

Our nights have looked like this: First, he usually nurses to sleep well enough.  Then when he wakes, he doesn't just squirm to find the nipple then nurse back to sleep.  Instead, he just cries out, sometimes arches his back, and often *refuses* to even latch on, no matter what position I put him in.  Some have said "reflux" because of the back arching, but I discovered that *sometimes* if he wakes up in my arms and arches, and I just lay him on his back beside me, he goes right to sleep on his own!  That would seem to go against the reflux argument, because he's *less* inclined.  Plus he really has no other symptoms of reflux that I can identify... I just don't think that's the issue. 

 

To illustrate the worst example of his unpredictable and frustrating sleep patterns, let's take a look at last night.  DS nursed to sleep around 8:45PM.  I had not even had a chance to drift off myself by the time he woke up again... Granted I was struggling but I think it was less than an hour.  He wouldn't latch on, wouldn't go to sleep on his back beside me, didn't like any position I tried...  Since I was wide awake and we EC during the day, I thought, maybe he just needs to potty.  I took pj's and diaper off and put him on the potty in my lap.  He immediately stopped crying and when to sleep...except that he DIDN'T even PEE!  He just fell asleep on the potty inexplicably (he never does this during the day).   I kept waiting for him to go, but he didn't...In fact he fell into such a deep sleep that I took him off the potty, rediapered him, put his pj's back on and moved him back up in the bed and he stayed fast asleep!  (Meanwhile a few minutes prior, just before he woke up, he was so restless it seemed if I had just breathed too hard he'd have woken up).  So I thought well maybe he just wants to be more upright.  I propped his torso up on a pillow, and resolved that next awakening I'd try inclining him to see if that helped.  The next waking about an hour later, no, that didn't work, but he was agreeable to being back in the crook of my arm and nursing to sleep, after a little crying/struggling.  He continued to wake every hour or two all night, sometimes he would nurse back to sleep, other times if I set him beside me he went to sleep on his own, but almost every time, he arched his back and/or cried, and every time I ended up wide awake.  Nor was he merciful enough to sleep in  this morning at all...  I feel like I was up all night.

 

He shows no signs of imminent eruption of teeth (he is drooling and possibly working on teeth but they aren't very near the surface yet, I do not believe--his half sisters didn't get their first tooth til 10 mo). He isn't ill.  But his sleep has been like this for too long, and shows no signs of getting better.  I am doing my best to try to understand him and accommodate him, but I have to admit that half the time when he finally gets back to sleep, I don't even know what I did to get him to go back to sleep.   It never seems to be the same thing that he wants nor am I sure that what I did helped--it's like an unsolved mystery!  And if I guess wrong as to what he wants, he just gets increasingly upset and cries even more, making it even harder to calm him back down... Plus he's just so wakeful, so we go through this many times every night... Every night I go to bed hopeful that it will be better but it never is and I'm losing hope.  I can't complain to any of my family because they'd just say, "put him in a crib; let him cry"  I'm not willing to do that but something's got to change here.  I need to get some sleep.  I'd always touted co-sleeping as a way to get plenty of sleep, but now I feel like I don't even believe the things I used to say were so great about co-sleeping... But I also know no other way...

post #2 of 2

I sympathize! My DD does something similar. It turns out that it mostly happens when she is overly tired - she cries out suddenly but won't nurse. We started getting her to sleep much earlier, like 6 or 6:30, and being  more careful about naps, and this helped. 

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