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Comparison With Parents of "Good" Sleepers

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 

Sorry this is going to be a bit of a vent - I just need a few hugs and some empathy.


My 15 month old wakes about 3-4 times a night and takes 2 x 30-45 minute naps per day.  Until he was about 12 months old he woke at least 7 times a night, and I was a crazy sleep deprived mama.


Anyway, my DH and I have tried a bunch of things to improve his sleep patterns with no real improvement, so have come to realize that this is how he sleeps, and for the most part have come to terms with the fact that we will have unterrupted sleep for the forseeable future.


So I belong to a mom's group and recently someone asked everyone else about their little one's sleep and nap patterns.  Our kids are roughly the same age.


One by one the moms revealed that their kids slept through the night without waking (unless teething, sick etc) and took good solid 1-2 hour naps each day.


I realized I was the only one whose little one "still" does not sleep through the night and has shorty short little catnaps.


I should comment that most of these moms bottle feed their kids and many have sleep trained them. By contrast I breastfeed, co-sleep and firmly against CIO in any form.


As much as I try not to compare my little guy with any other kids - after all, he is who he is - this really sent me over the edge.  It's hard struggling through night after night, and being tired during the day, and hearing before my very eyes how much "easier" other moms have it.


What's worse is when one of the moms complains when their little one has woken once or twice due to teething, illness etc and they proclaim to be "sooooo sleep deprived".


Someone please tell me I'm not the only mom of a 15 month old who is still facing these kind of sleep challenges.


Sorry this is such a negative post. It's hard to be the odd one out!


post #2 of 30

Just ask yourself: would you trade places with one of the moms whose baby sleeps through the night (and doesn't co-sleep or breastfeed)?


My kids didn't sleep through the night at that age and I wouldn't trade co-sleeping and breastfeeding for anything in the world. When they are older you will forget about those sleepless nights, but you'll still have the memories and bond that comes with co-sleeping and breastfeeding.


It might not seem an advantage to you now when you would do anything for a couple of hours of uninterrupted sleep, but try to look at the bigger picture. Can you do something to get a bit of rest now? Can you sleep in another room while your dh co-sleeps, at least for part of the night? Can you nap with your baby?


"Sleeping through the night" is very relative though. My sister has a boy the same age as my dd; sis bottlefed and was (is) against co-sleeping. It's true that at 1 y/o her baby was sleeping through the night and mine still woke up 2-3 times to nurse; but it took her at least one hour every evening of rocking / carrying her baby to put him to bed, while I was nursing dozing off to sleep next to dd. But she can brag that her baby was sleeping through at 2 weeks (and was FTT also). I don't envy her though.

You never know what cost STTN comes at.


post #3 of 30

Sometimes it's a personality thing too.  I have 3 teens.  #1 and 3 were fabulous sleepers.  Always have been, hopefully always will be.  #2 is a horrible sleeper, no rhyme or reason.  At 15 (years old) there are some days when he plays lacrosse for 2 hours, then goes straight to hockey practice.  Still sleeps like doo-doo.  the only thing that helps is that he's old enough know where I go to bed if I'm tired and it's ok that he's still up.

post #4 of 30

I could have written this post when my kiddos were younger. It is so hard to feel like your child isn't doing what they are "supposed to" do. And I constantly beat myself up, thinking that if I did just the right thing, they would sleep. Many, many tearful nights (me, not them!) They were all parented the same way (long-term nursing, mostly cosleeping until between 2 and 3 years). I did follow standard good sleep habit stuff, like regular bedtimes and a bedtime routine, because that worked for me, but it didn't really magically change anything. My kids each are who they are in terms of sleep and everything else.


They are now 11, 8, and 6. The oldest is a night owl, but sleeps through the night (or at least doesn't need adult attention at night). The middle guy has several insomnia, likely related to special needs. He takes melatonin to fall asleep and then typically doesn't need adult attention at night, but I know he wakes frequently and reads or draws in the middle of the night. My youngest, who was always my best sleeper, but still didn't sleep through the night until he was past his second birthday, is a champion sleeper. He falls asleep easily and sleeps 10-11 hours a night without waking.


I came to believe that we have a screwed up idea of what normal sleep looks like in this culture. I think what your son is doing is normal and what the other babies are doing is NOT, but they are also not being fed normally (nursed) or sleeping in what is evolutionarily a normal setting (beside mom). Your guy will grow into sleeping longer stretches (in my experience, this happens as they gradually wean) and eventually he will likely sleep through the night without needing your attention. And if he doesn't, it will be because of who he is and how he is wired and not because of anything you did or didn't do.


I recommend doing what you are doing, trying to practice acceptance of who your son is and his normal behavior, and limiting conversation of sleep with anyone whose stories are not helpful.


And you will miss having a warm little body curled up against you. It's hard to believe, but it's true.

post #5 of 30
You are NOT the only mom of a 15 month old with these kinds of problems. That sounds almost just like DD when she was 15 months old. Now, at two (next week) she sleeps through the night 3-4 days a week. The other 3-4 days she wakes once or twice in the night and needs me to get back to sleep, and Im not even nursing her anymore. Sometimes she takes ONE 45-80 minute nap. Never, ever two hours. ever.

I have friends whose kids will lay down and go to bed all on their own, and still nap 3 hours a day. Jealous.

I think bottle feeding and sleep training have a lot to do with, but I also think that in groups like that its easy for a mom to embellish. I feel like sometimes "always" and "never" mean "sometimes" and "occasionally".
post #6 of 30

Nope unfortunately it's totally normal and I have told myself exactly what the PP said: That I would not give up breastfeeding and cosleeping for anything... not even 3 or 4 hours of sleep in a row.


My DS is 13mo and has just started napping better most days but still wakes anywhere from 5-8 times during his 11 hours in (my) bed. It's getting better... between 6-10 months he was up almost hourly. I try to appreciate the frequent 2 hour stretches now. Some day they will sleep. Hang in there!!

post #7 of 30

So at 15 months ds was waking every 2-3 hours to nurse. I was exhausted. At that point we did nightwean (between 12-5) & substituted a waterbottle if he woke in those hours - within a couple weeks he started to sleep slightly longer stints until he was only waking twice a night on average. He slept with that frequency of wake-ups until well after his 2nd birthday. He turned 3 in the fall & it is only recent that he consistently "sleeps through the night" but in fact I know he wakes up throughout the night he just no longer needs me every time - he now only actually needs me in the night once or twice a week. He has always seemed to need less sleep than most others his age (dropped to one nap sooner, took shorter naps, slept less hours at night & dropped naps altogether sooner) so I know some of this is just him.


The nightweaning was absolutely key for us - by being able to get one 5 hour chunk in the night I suddenly felt a lot more normal, but it did mean several rough nights 'cause he wasn't very pleased (there wasn't much actual crying, just a lot of restlessness). As well, I napped with him as often as possible (when he was still napping), partly because I was overtired & partly because I did find he slept longer if I was right there.


Dd at 5 months already sleeps 5-6 hours straight at the beginning of the night. I am doing nothing different really - she just is a different personality.

post #8 of 30

You're so not alone.  DS is 15 months, wakes at night...I don't know, a lot.  I'd guess upwards of 5 times, but we don't have a clock in the bedroom, and since we cosleep and breastfeed, I barely wake up myself.  Friends LOVE to give us advice on how to "fix" him.  I'm tempted to lie to people and say that he STTN, but then I feel like that's just perpetuating the myth that it's abnormal for babies/toddlers to wake up at night and need help going back to sleep.  Now though, he's old enough that most people just assume that he STTN and don't even ask.


It does seem like, as long as he isn't actively teething, he's starting to go longer stretches.  I had a morning where I woke up and didn't remember being up with him AT ALL!  But he was on the opposite side of me as how we fell asleep, so I must've nursed him at some point.  


The ironic thing is, the nights where he slept the "best" have me feeling more tired the next day!  

post #9 of 30

oooh my goodness. FTM here, with a 4 month old - but I can already relate. I'm around a lot of moms with babies and sleep is everyone's favorite topic. Why is everyone obssesed with how much your baby is sleeping? even random strangers that i talk to in the grocery store will say "oh what a cutie! how does he sleep?". ummmm, why do you care?


My little guy has a (wonderful) long stretch from about 7 or 8pm until 12 or 1am. Sometimes he wakes up earlier though. but that few hours in the early evening are a lifesaver for me. Usually DH and just enjoy being able to spend time together before we go to bed, but I've had to be really strict about not staying up too late so i can get as much uninterrupted sleep in as possible before the every 1-2 hr night feeds start.


It's taken me until just now to come to terms with the fact that this will be the "normal" for US and I'll just have to make it work. If it's been a really rough night then I commit to napping with DS once the next day (sometimes twice). I often wonder how it'll be with two kiddos as I know I won't have the "luxury" of daytime napping once I have a toddler AND a baby, but then I just let it go, accept how life is NOW and take advantage of the fact that i just have one and i can sleep with him during the day if need be.


as for naps, my little guy is a cat napper too. drives me a bit nuts but it is what it is. he's 40min. on the dot 3-4x day. NEVER longer. my SIL has two under 2 and she's all about sleep training. she's told me about her 7 month old's 1 1/2 hr naps and i've always been a bit jealous. until i was at her house the other day during nap time - her 7 month old cried in her crib for a good 30 minutes before sleeping for about 30 minutes, then 10 more minutes of crying then another 30 minutes of sleeping. so...basically she doesn't nap for 1 1/2 hours, she just gets left in her crib for 1 1/2 hours. um. right. no thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

post #10 of 30

DS1 was a terrible sleeper and I spent the first two years completely sleep-deprived. He's now 6 and sleeps like a rock (probably has since he was about 3). At the time I was frazzled, but it truly does get better eventually. When I was really desperate I would get the babysitter in for two hours so that I could catch up on sleep - best money I ever spent! Can you find someone to help you get some extra sleep?

post #11 of 30

I think a lot of it is just the particular baby.


DD1 has always seemed to have a low sleep need.  From the time she was a month old she'd take a little 20-minute catnap and wake up refreshed.  I felt like I never got to pee or take a shower.


DD2 is an awesome sleeper (knock wood).  She takes two solid 2-2.5 hour naps plus a couple of shorter ones during the day.


Both have coslept and bf through the night because that is easier *for me.*  I nurse sidelying and don't have to wake up for it very much.  I do need to stay in bed longer than I would if I were getting a 7-hour block like I used to before I had kids, but I don't feel tired during the day at all.


OP I think your LO is old enough to nightwean if you are interested in that.  I didn't do it until I was pregnant and night nursing became uncomfortable, but I was amazed at how after just a couple of crappy nights it cut down the frequency of waking from several times a night to once every 3-4 nights.

post #12 of 30

You're definitely not alone. My DD is only just over 12 months, but she wakes a lot during the night. Sometimes it feels like she nurses, lets go, rolls over, then wakes up and wants to nurse again, over and over. I'm sure I sleep short periods during that, but I'm so tired it usually feels like I'm awake the entire time. And when she's teething, she wants to nurse for most of the night - in fact, that's just about the only way I can sleep! Some days are better than others - 3-4 wakings instead of, well, way more than that - but I guess I've just accepted this is the norm.


She's also never been great about naps. From one month on, it was cat naps. Usually 4-5 25-35 minute naps every day. Now she's down to two, and while she will many times sleep for an hour and a half, there are then days like today where both naps were about 45 minutes, and the second one really took some convincing (30 minutes of nursing off and on, with her trying to crawl away... finally I fell asleep and then so did she).


I'm not part of a moms group, but every single time I talk to my mother and the topic of sleep comes up, she asks "Is she sleeping through the night yet?" And so I often find myself going through answers to her question in my head (something other than "shove it"), which just aggravates me more! Ugh. I wish other people weren't so nosy about how our children sleep.


But as other posts have said, I wouldn't trade my co-sleeping and nursing experiences with her for the world. Yes, I find myself getting really frustrated during the night when I'm so tired and just want to sleep, but I love it just the same. I love her little sleepy body next to mine, and will cherish those moments forever! (Conveniently forgetting the lack of sleep, I'm sure. smile.gif)

post #13 of 30

My son started sleeping through the night at 4 YEARS.


Our daughter started sleeping through the night at 2.5 YEARS. I was expecting 4 years for her as well, so I was doing cartwheels in the street.


And the weird thing is I suddenly needed a lot more sleep. It was weird.


Then she started waking at night again. I was really bummed about that. I thought it was because my husband's hours were cut so I started working part time. I figured it was a stress thing. After a few months I realized what it was...She's adopted and at 3.5 still nurses to sleep. Except I'm not lactating any more so I use a supplementer. Since she has a dairy allergy I had been using watered down coconut milk. Then switched to rice milk because I didn't want to keep giving her coconut milk out of cans because of the BPA. Since rice milk is much sweeter than coconut milk and much thinner, instead of drinking an ounce or so, she was drinking 5 or 6 ounces of milk. Then was waking to pee. I switched her to almond milk which isn't sweet and is a bit thicker. Now she only takes an ounce or so and sleeps through the night.


Bedtime and nighttime are so pleasant at our house. Both kids snuggle up next to me. I nurse her while reaching behind me to scratch his back. Once she's asleep, I roll over and trace his ear, if he's awake. So much nicer than putting them to bed in their own rooms and own beds. And waking up to my 6 year old boy saying, "Can I snuggle with you?" is pure joy.

post #14 of 30

I have been reading this forum for months, but I swear, I joined just today to post the EXACT same post that you did. I have a 14 month old daughter who has never slept well. She happily goes to sleep in our bed with her dad every night (only requiring him to lay by her to drift off), and is then moved to her crib. She wakes up at around 10 or 11 every night, at which time she comes into our bed. Generally, its an all-night squirm-fest, interrupted by her pawing at my shirt to nurse every hour or two. Trust me, I never thought two people could function on so little sleep as my husband and I do. This has been our nightly pattern for about 8 months now. Occasionally, we'll have a 'good' few weeks of her having a longer first stretch, or only waking 2 or 3 times for a quick feed, but lately its been pretty restless.


She takes two naps every day, 20-45 minutes usually. If she's in the car or her stroller she'll sleep longer. When she was younger she had more frequent naps, but they were rarely much longer than this.


I have tried to find a reason for her sleeping patterns for ages, but I too have finally pretty much given up and accepted that this is just how she naps. I've asked her doctor (who is a great AP grandma!) about possible health issues, but she's assured me that our LO is the picture of health and there is no medical reason for her sleep patterns.



Hearing girlfriends tell me how their kids sleep from 7pm to 9am and then have two two-hour naps drives me bananas too : S Especially when they complain that their kid 'only' had a 1 hour nap.


I do try to just get over it and accept that it is how it is, but sometimes, especially after a bad night (like last night was) and I'm exhausted it is hard. I cherish all of our wonderful cuddle moments as well, but I would be lying if I said that I adore the process every single night and day, and don't wish my kid would sleep already!

post #15 of 30
I, myself, rarely sleep through the night and even before having my son would often wake for an hour or so in the wee hours of the morning, so I don't find it odd that my son would wake around 3 times a night for around 15-20 minutes up until maybe 20 months old. Sleeping through the night isn't even normalfor many adults and they are convinced its a problem, so they resort to sleeping aids and stress about it because not getting all the sleep they need in one stretch doesn't fit their lifestyle...
post #16 of 30

It's so hard to feel good about crappy sleep in situations like that. Part of maybe personality: those kids are just good sleepers. Part of it is that sleeping through the night was likely forced on them with sleep training. I have a 3.5 y/o and he was a crummy sleeper. Around 15 months he was still waking frequently and I believe it was around that time I chose to night wean. He started sleeping a bit better. Then around 21 months he was still waking 1-3 times a night when I completely weaned him. Then he started STTN. Unfortunately I was pregnant and still woke regardless due to pregnancy discomforts. Now he STTN most nights. Of course I'm now cosleeping and nursing on demand my 14 month old. I don't currently have plans to night wean him but it has crossed my mind. Right now I like being able to settle him in by nursing rather than walking or rocking him. DS2 has been a slightly better sleeper than ds1 so maybe I'll get some decent sleep at some point.


When ds1 was a baby/toddler, I thought it would last forever and some days it felt like forever. But looking back, I'm happy with choices that I made. I'm not sure I would be content if I had gone to CIO (as I also against it). Some times when I'm frustrated at rocking my son to sleep I try to think "would I rather be here comforting him or downstairs letting him cry alone?" That and remembering that someday he won't be a baby and may not be as interested in cuddling.

post #17 of 30
Originally Posted by SundayCrepes View Post

Since she has a dairy allergy I had been using watered down coconut milk. Then switched to rice milk because I didn't want to keep giving her coconut milk out of cans because of the BPA.

Just FYI - the Native Forest brand is BPA free, if you want to go back to coconut milk. It's fattier and more filling than almond milk, plus the cartoned almond milk has random bizarre ingredients. Coconut milk is also crazy easy (and cheap!) to make yourself and freeze.
post #18 of 30
I just have to chime in and say... My DD is just shy of 2.5yo and still wakes at night. Sometimes-- she doesn't even take a nap. This is normal and I actually believe her 4 hour stretch is considered good sleeping. Ha! But I'm a WAHM. Do you work out of the house? That might make all the difference although some can't change that situation. I'm lucky in that respect.

I also wanted to say that some people just... Lie. They say their kiddos NEVER sleep in their beds when they do. I've caught SIL in the act saying her 12mo son just lays down to sleep in his crib and I've never witnessed that or believe her when I've heard the dad say otherwise. Like how he loves waking to his sons' smiling face in the AM.

Don't let it get you down mama. Enjoy your baby because one day, they will sleep on their own and you'll miss it. Or I know I will. This is just my 2 cents! I understand!
post #19 of 30

Ugh... hearing about how much other babies sleep can be such a downer.  Almost everyone I know IRL has great sleepers (at least compared to mine).  My DS sleeps like yours and my DD did,too back then (she's fine now).  I will probably nightwean DS in the next 6 months or so.  It helped a lot w/DD.  ((hugs)) and hang in there.

post #20 of 30

My 3yo woke up twice last night to throw tantrums.Yay. A few night wakings at 15mo in comparison? Easy peasy, I'll take that back any day!!


(please don't feel like I'm diminishing your experience - I'm at work right now trying to keep my eyes open and its not fun! And, I really do know how it is, my ds hates to sleep and clearly takes after my dad who still, in his 50's, doesn't need more than 5-6hours of sleep a night).

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