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Sleep training, teaching, who knows because I'm just so tired?? Don't know what to do.

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Just a heads up, I may ramble here a bit, I'm kinda all over the place about this subject.

DD is 10.5 months old, and has bedshared with us from the beginning.  I never had any intention or interest at all in sleep training, schedules, etc from the beginning, she just lives with us in our daily flow.  A few months ago we did buy a little mattress for her to sleep on when we're not in the bed with her, we have it set up in a little montessori style floor bed.  Since then she's usually napped there about twice a day and started her nights there, usually 4 hours.  Then she would wake, and come in the bed with us, having 2x nightly nursing. In the last month, her sleep has been way out of whack, waking up as often as every hour.  It's been exhausting, combined with the fact that the moms I know IRL are all doing sleep training now (variations of CIO), and I've been feeling the pressure that she should be sleeping through the night, or at least a whole heck of a lot more than waking nearly hourly.  Now yes, she could be teething (right now she has one little half of a tooth, so surely more are coming), working on a big developmental leap (she will likely walk soon), but her sleep has been bad for quite some time now.  I just don't know what to do.  I want to help her to get through longer stretches at night.  I also want to move in the direction of night weaning by 12 months, to hopefully encourage AF to come back to town. Our current game plan is to get her in bed by 9:30, and for any wakings before 3 am, daddy picks her up.  She always goes right back to sleep on his chest instantly.  After that she comes into bed with us and I'll nurse her, still usually about 2 nursings before morning (although some nights it has been much more than that).  Does anyone have any insight? I guess I'm mostly venting, but hoping someone has some suggestions.

post #2 of 9
Oh that was a tough age for us! In fact DD dropped her naps until we got blackout drapes and started using white noise (a fan).
She has her own room and we are in the process of transitioning her from a crib to a double bed (she's 20 months old). We have her crib mattress on the floor along with a couple of flat sofa cushions for me. We don't really cosleep because she sleeps better and longer in her own space. I lay down with her and nurse her to sleep, then I leave and sleep in my own bed. If I'm next to her then she wakes every hour or two to nurse but only wakes 1 to 3 times overall of I'm not there. Your DD could well be different but I would try to just nurse her back down in her bed instead of moving her to see if she would sleep longer stretches. It involves more getting up from you but if it could make a difference, it would be worth trying. White noise is a big help too as is a very dark room with a dim nightlight. I think your DD is getting a bunch of teeth which will certainly mess with sleep. Overall it's just a tough age with huge developmental leaps and you just need to find what works for her and you. I hope you're not expecting nightweaning to be a magic cure all as some kids continue to wake but are harder to settle since nursing isn't an option. My DD was down to one wakeup without being nightweaned but has had a bit of regression. Night nursing works for us for now. Good luck and try different things to see what resonates with you and your LO
post #3 of 9

I have no suggestions. Only hugs for you. DD is 3 now and was up many times a night until she was about 15 months old. We did a combo of bedsharing and putting her in her own bed (sometimes it seemed like she was more restless with us). I did try to sleep train her with the No Cry Sleep Solution book, but it didn't work. 


I actually weaned her at about a year (milk dried up), but she still needed to get up and have a bottle.


Then, bam, out of the blue one day she just started sleeping all night. I was at my wits end by then, since I was a full time high school math teacher (which you should, btw, NOT attempt to do if you are severely sleep deprived. LOL!)


She slept marvelously until she was about 2.75, like for 12 hours straight, but now she does wake up, sometimes to go to the bathroom or because she gets scared. But she's big enough that she just comes in and gets to bed with us so it's no real disruption. And she doesn't seem to get hungry at night, although she often drinks a lot of water. But again, now you can just give her a water bottle. Three year olds are awesome like that!


I'm getting ready for round two, though. Expecting a baby at the end of January. I'm very excited, but not looking forward to the sleep deprivation.

post #4 of 9

Big hugs for you, mama!


I am going through a 6-month spurt sleep deprivation bonanza right now; yet my DD never has slept for longer than 3 hours at a time at night.  


My advice: just do your best every day to gauge what your baby needs.  Give yourself credit for what you do, and don't try to overthink it. I have found that, at the end of the day, no matter how much advice you get, no one is you or your baby and, unfortunately, we are really in this by ourselves.  You're the one who has the make the decisions and get up twenty-five times a night...or not.  


I wish I had better advice.  But I am in the same boat.  Good luck!

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

As an update, I think she's heading towards dropping a nap, so down to one nap a day.  Last night, finally, she slept great!  She was only up twice, and barely wanted to wake up when we were waking up.  It really seems that since we are together all day, she really needs that special time with her dad at night.  He's always able to get her to sleep! 


After I wrote this post, I decided to just stop beating myself up over the "shoulds".  I was feeling pressure that she "should" sleep through the night, but they really are babies for such a short period of time, right? I do believe that eventually she will learn to go to sleep and stay asleep on her own, or at least I sure hope so!  So like modestmothering said, I'm just going to continue to do my best day by day, remember that the only constant is that they're always changing!


Skycheat, I think you're right, for me I do prefer to have the option to nurse her when she wakes at night anyway.  If she's going to wake, and she probably will, I like knowing I have that one tool that will for sure get her back to sleep without any of us really waking up! :)


So for those of you who've more or less "waited it out", I do have another question... Did you have to "teach" your LO to self settle, or did they eventually learn it on their own?  I've always nursed DD to sleep and never attempted to put her to bed without being completely asleep.  She'll sometimes fall asleep just sitting on her dad's lap, is this a form of self settling? A friend was recommending the pick up put down technique, but I'm not even sure if that's practical with our sleep setup.  I'd really rather she just learn to sleep herself!  Am I missing an opportunity to teach her, or is self settling something that comes naturally in it's time?

post #6 of 9

The only real breakthrough I've had is recently night-weaning and having my husband put him to bed. My son is 2 now and last week he slept for 8hr in row for the first time ever. Our new routine is that I nurse him near bedtime but not to sleep. I go into the room with them for stories and then lights out. I have to no to nursing and he gets a little upset but I cuddle and sing to him and when he's calm I say "mommy has to go potty" "lie down with daddy" "night night" and leave the room. Sometimes he cries  and sometime he's fine, and it's getting better every night. The longest it's taken is 2 hrs and the shortest is 10 minutes. After the 2 hr night, we agreed that after 1 hr we use nursing-down as a plan B. Also a filling supper is crucial and having an alternative drink on hand helps us (for a sippy of milk). If he wakes up and won't go right back down for my husband than I will still nurse him... but that pretty much guarantees I'll be doing every couple hrs the rest of the night.   

post #7 of 9

I really think that some kids are just great sleepers and others are not. In my family, DS was awful (never slept more than 2 hours at a stretch until I night-weaned him at 15 months), and DD is...so far...an awesome sleeper. I haven't done anything different with her, she's just been this way since day 1.


I am glad that I decided to nightwean DS when I did, but would not have done it before he was a year old. I used the Dr. Jay Gordon method (just google it, you'll find him), which is a method for nightweaning in the family bed. We had about three nights of straight-up hell, and then he slept 8 hours straight for the first time in his life. To me, it was important that he not cry *alone*, and Dr Gordon's method didn't ask me to do that. He cried, but I held him. I just wouldn't nurse. 


DS still wakes up at least once per night, most nights. DD, at 12 weeks, wakes once as well (usually not at the same time). I've just come to accept that this is simply who he is.


People who swear by CIO, I think, have babies who are the kind of people who release tension by crying. My DS is the kind of person who just gets more and more crazy the more he cries. Know what kind of kid you have. It matters. Just like adults, babies are all different. By the time DS turned two, I was to the point where I felt like I might punch the next person who told me to CIO AS IF I HADN'T EVER HEARD OF IT BEFORE. 


The good news is, your baby will, absolutely, learn to sleep, or learn to self-settle, on her own schedule. You can help by experimenting with routines, nap schedules, etc...but the fact is that you might just have to wait it out. 


Is there a way you can get a nap in your day? 

post #8 of 9

Sorry if someone has already mentioned this. I'm just breezing through posts while waiting on something.


Have you tried moving her back into bed with you for a while? When my baby begins to stir at night to nurse, I feel it and get the boob in his mouth and he passes back out, never really waking up completely, but if he does manage to fully wake up for any reason, it's impossible to get him back to sleep. Maybe having to lay in bed until she is fully awake and able to come to you to nurse is upsetting her sleep cycle. Can you maybe try having her in bed with you full-time for a few days to see if that helps? Maybe if you get her latched on immediately when she starts to stir, she won't really wake up at all and continue sleeping.

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the replies mamas! For now, she's sleeping best if she more or less goes to sleep with us (late!) and in our bed. Then she's up maybe twice for a little feed that doesn't wake either of us. I'm sure it will change in time. I do like the Dr Jay Gordon technique to night wean and will try that in a couple of months.
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Mothering › Mothering Forums › Baby › Life With a Baby › Sleep training, teaching, who knows because I'm just so tired?? Don't know what to do.