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Surviving with little to no sleep

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 

help.gif So, my son is 4 months and 5 days old. I have found myself, in the last 3-4 weeks, asking how much longer I can go on like this. He started off as an excellent sleeper. At 2 -3 months old we would lay him in his bassinet at night and he would just put himself to sleep when he was ready...he'd wake up 2-3 times to eat and go right back down...naps were 1-2 hours 3 times a day NOW...he is up 5-8 times per night and the longest stretch of sleep I get is 2-3 hours. His naps have deteriorated into 30-45 minute stints 2-5 times a day. Everybody told us that as much as we didn't want to do it, we needed to let him CIO...so we tried. 3 nights. Hell. No. We bought books (the latest, The No Cry Sleep Solution). So for the past 2 days I've been trying to catch him as he's waking from his 30 minute naps and rock him back to sleep...he's actually slept 3 1hr + naps today. Last night he slept for a 5 hour block and a 3 hour block...it was heaven. I'm scared it was a fluke...and he still got up every 40 minutes after that until 7:40 this morning. His bedtime is 6:30-7:00 (as chosen by him) and he used to work well on this schedule. We have a very familiar and low-key routine for both naps and bedtime...what more can I do to get some sleep...and keep it?!  


I guess I'm starting this thread to get ideas, to commiserate, and to get support...hope to hear from you :)


Sleepless in San Diego

post #2 of 55

I'm so sorry.  I remember this well.  It's hard.  If it helps, even books that advocate CIO say it's inappropriate for children under six months and some say even older - so if your gut tells you don't do that, feel justified in following that.


Another thing - often something seems to work, and then there's a rough patch so we give up.  If tonight is bad or if you hit a rough patch, keep doing whatever you did to keep get those long stretches.  It will get better.


I truly wish I could give you one tip or trick to make sleeping smooth and easy but I can't.  My daughter was 3.5 before we figured out how to get that child to sleep through the night.  On the plus side, if there's a sleep book I have read it ;-)


Good luck.  It's not forever, but it is really hard when it's happening.

post #3 of 55
Thread Starter 

Thanks! :)

I've been trying to read everything and find the magic secret...no luck yet. I've read that it's common to have a 4-month-old sleep regression due to brain and physical development...so maybe that's part of it. My friends tell me that once I feel like I've got this down that he'll just be changing and on to some new dilemma...but even more reason to try to help these sleep issues... so I have a day or two of peace before the next storm. Hehe :) My wife and I have been working a good system so that neither one of us gets sleep deprived enough to jump off a building or kick the dog, so I will say that we're surviving! It's nice to see that we're not alone in this...

post #4 of 55
First, I've heard from more experienced mamas about the "4 month sleep regression " as a common trend. Might be worth looking into.

My advice is this:

This might be something you tried ages ago, but I am way OCD about limiting artificial light at bedtime. So we have our overhead lights on the dimmest setting, and a $7 tap light from target we use in the bathroom.

Her self-set bedtime is about 9pm, and so from 8:30 or so on, we speak softly, dim the lights, and then after she is changed and ready for bed, dim the lights even more while I nurse her.

I also barely talk when awake with her at night. I think all of this sends the signal to her circadian rythmn regulation system that this is nighttime.

She had brief periods of getting suddenly playful at 4am and I just watched from nearby, but without joining.

She's been STTN for weeks now, and she is 3mo old.
post #5 of 55
Just piping in to give some encouragement and let you know that sometimes babies will go through a difficult sleep phase whenever they are working on a developmental milestone. My little one definitely had her ups and downs. Have you read The Wonder Weeks? It outlines some of the predictable fussy periods that we can expect babies to go through (how all the processing they must do affects their sleep and general disposition). I found it immensely helpful, if only as a reminder that babies sleep will go through good and bad stretches, and that sometimes it isn't related to whether we choose CIO or some other approach... And that it will eventually pass. Hugs.
post #6 of 55
Thread Starter 

Thanks Kanani! 

I'm hopeful that it is that he's going through one of these phases as he IS just getting his roll going, but getting little chunks of 45 minutes to 2-3 hours if I'm lucky at night is definitely taking its toll on all of us. We're going to try feeding him a bit more during the day as he is still only drinking about 4 ounces of breastmilk at a time, but he seems to be done after that. Today, before his nap, I breastfed and then he ate an additional 4 ounces from a bottle and has been sleeping for 2 hours, so maybe hunger has been playing a role in his short sleep times. Thanks for the support!

post #7 of 55
Well my baby from the very beginning fight his sleep with all his might there were some days that he could go 24hrs wwith only two hrs of sleep ( we were both miserable) but now his seven moths n sleeps twelve hours straight. Ok here are some tips that work for me(may be they worked for u) first I shower him half and hour before his bedtime.than this help me wonders I uses the baby magic calming baby lotion is in a purple container it soothes him. Than I would feed him his bottle but Iwould put rice cerial (since 3 months cus he wouldn't get full). I leave a small lite on throughout the nite. And at winter the heater or summer the fun or ac are on threw the nite to keep him asleep( this is known as white noise). Hope this helps smile.gif.Ps. I never let my baby cry himself to sleep I hate to hear him cry so that approach isn't for me. Oh n I first started off making him go to sleep by rocking him on my arms while singing him the lullaby hush little baby. N playing a lullaby video from YouTube find which one ur baby finds soothing lol
post #8 of 55
Oh I've been there. Heck, I am there. DS started sleeping through the night at approaching 2 years. And DD wakes between 2 and 10 times every night. I haven't sttn since mid 2012 and that just lasted a few months before DD was born. I work full time. I'm a single mom. I KNOW tired. My advice is to stop trying to find a solution. Stop watching the clock. I wish I'd just let the noise fade away and focused on DS. Sleptwith him when he slept, laid with him while he napped, just stuck to him and held him and loved on him as much as I could've. Because none of the worrying or stressing changed a thing about him, he just started sleeping well when he was ready. If you don't already, just sleep with your LO in your bed and keep that babe close because this time is going to fly. And I remind myself of that all the time with DD and just be there for her every time she wakes and hold her and tell her it's OK till she goes back to sleep, cuz soon, this will be a blur in my past. I know that's probably not what you're looking for but I wanted to offer that perspective. Just embrace what is.
post #9 of 55

It's awful not to get much sleep! You think it will never end, but it eventually does. In the meantime, Cynthiamoon and some other mamas gave some excellent advice, I like the idea of not only keeping the house peaceful and quiet but limiting artificial light after sundown.


Yes, four months is a busy time in baby development, they are trying to locomote (even if they can't do it yet) and trying to look every way at once and babbling and it's just all so stimulating! I found my children often "back slid" and slept less predictably at this age than they did when they were a little younger. They were just busy and didn't want to miss anything.


There's no magical sleep spell, I wish there was. You would want to talk to your Ped, Midwife or Lactation Consultant or LLL leader before trying cereal, some babies might not do as well on it, as they may not have the amylaze enzyme in their gut yet to digest starch. I know we gave our first baby cereal at a very young age and not only did she not sleep, but my Ped was horrified and I stopped it after 3 or 4 days I was just so frustrated!. I should have listened to the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding instead of my MIL and my mother. :) 


It does sound like the No Cry Sleep Solution ideas are working, even then, your baby may have an occasional night where he's just not sleeping regularly. I'm an adult woman and I sometimes (often) don't sleep through the night. :rotflmao Of course, I can usually handle that myself, but sometimes I get so frustrated I want to cry and wake my husband up just to have the company, you can understand why a tiny baby would want the company.


I know how miserable it is not sleeping, I spent the first 4-6 months of my first baby's life like a zombie. Virtually no sleep. With the rest of my children I had to tell myself "I'll sleep eventually. She has to take a nap sometime in the next 12 hours, so I'll drop everything and try to sleep then." It took a lot of the pressure off of me, but I was still exhausted until my babies settled more in the middle of the first year. They didn't "sleep through the night" (far from it) but they "settled" at least until there was an other milestone to reach. But, it DOES get better. I guarantee it.


Wishes for sleep for you and your baby. :goodvibes 

post #10 of 55
Right here with you. My sweet almost-3mo wants to coo and kick till 4am and sleeps like an angel alllll day long. I get more time to cook and clean and be there for 3yo DD but the exhaustion is wearing me out.
post #11 of 55
Thread Starter 

So,we're on day 10 of Pantley's "No Cry Sleep Solution" and here's the update: Hendrix slept 7 straight hours last night with a total of 2 wake ups and 5 hours straight the night before with 3 wake ups. We've bumped up his daytime feeds by an ounce per feeding and started with 1/2 teaspoon of cereal in the nighttime bottle. We've also been following the chapter on stretching naps since his are typically only 30-45 minutes. I caught him at 30 minutes today and he's now at 1 hour and 15 minutes! I recommend the book...it seems to be making a difference!

post #12 of 55
Thread Starter 

tillymonster..have you tried keeping your LO up during the day? or does that just lead to more nighttime uneasiness? This sleep thing is CRAZY! I guess I should've been expecting it, but...

post #13 of 55
Yeah I feel like it'll just take time for the baby to get used to night time. Today she was up a lot more during the day but her napping was weird because I think the poor thing is teething!
post #14 of 55
Thread Starter 

Oh boy. Teething is no fun! My DS was born with a tooth, then it receded, then it emerged again at 3 months. I felt so sad seeing him struggling with the ouchies, but once it broke through things definitely got better. Best of luck...it sounds like you're on the right track with the night sleep!

post #15 of 55

I too have been using "The No Cry Sleep Solution" and have had a lot of success... but we are currently in a bit of a relapse. Part of it is my fault (I am currently sitting here with my 8-month old typing this whilst watching "Frasier" reruns  and eating cookies and it's near midnight).  Routines are important.


But, for you, my dear:  Find a simple meditation routine, something you can do for a few minutes every now and then. It helps sooo much with the sleep deprivation.  And spoil yourself.  During my baby's first month of life, I would substitute a "sleep while she naps" nap for a nice soothing bath.  And it worked at least as well as the sleep would have.

post #16 of 55
Right there in the trenches with ya. DS1 was a decent sleeper, but DS2 apparently is a different critter. He nurses every two hours around the clock, and has never ever gone more than 3. Sooooo, how do I function? No idea. I can't nap during the day with a three-year old who isn't napping Coffee helps somewhat, but I guess I'm more or less used to it now.
post #17 of 55
Just wanted to say you're not alone. My dd is 18 months and has never slept as well as your 4 month old! When you said in your first post that you get stretches of 2-3 hours, I said out loud "oh that would be so nice!" I'm not saying this to downplay you're going through a hard time... surviving on little sleep is one of the hardest things! I'm just saying that if people are making you feel like your baby is a bad sleeper, they should know that there are babies who sleep a lot less! And many toddlers, like mine, who have never in their life slept through the night! wink1.gif hang in there, I keep thinking of how there will be many more days in my life when I'll miss holding her in the middle of the night, than days that I will be sleep-deprived.
post #18 of 55
I have two toddlers, DD will be 2 in April and DS will be 5. I have not slept at all for months. I completely understand why people get sleep deprived and the terrible effects it has on the body. I wish I could tell you to sleep when the baby does, but I know that's not always possible. Hang in there! CIO was not for me, we use the family bed method and its actually better then getting no sleep, I suppose. Good luck-I totally empathize.
post #19 of 55
I would caution you against using bottles regularly; your baby might develop a preference.
Also, it's not recommended to add cereal to a bottle.
post #20 of 55
I havent read the responses but my 6 month old and almost 3 year old both have trouble staying aslep when they go to bed that early. They both wake at night frequently if I think I am going to get lucky and have them both in bed at 7:00. My youngest has been taking a late nap from 4 or 5 until 5:30 or 6:00. Today was later and she napped this evening from 5:30 - 7:00, ate and hasbeen happily playing ever since. Now its just after 9:00 and she is starting to seem to be getting sleepy, and I would expect she will sleep until 7:00 am.

Maybe have your LO fall asleep in the common area of your house and see if he stays asleep or just takes a little pre bedtime snooze.
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