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WOHM: Sleep (or lack thereof)

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I've loved the working mothers thread! But there's lots of different issues going on, so I thought I'd start a new thread to ask about working mothers and sleep. My dd is 12 months and getting her molars. When I returned to work (dd was 7 weeks), dd went from sleeping 5-6 hours at night to 1-2 hours. But now with the teething, it has gotten unbearable. I'm on my second night in a row with less than three hours of sleep and having to go to work the next day! How do other WOHMs do it? I am usually up with dd at night, but lately have been asking dh (who is basically a SAHD right now while work is slow) to take on more nighttime child care, but I can still hear dd cry so I am awake anyway. All the articles I read say "Nap when your baby naps." That's just not helpful for a WOHM. Any suggestions?
post #2 of 22
Sleep?!?! Hah! I work the graveyard shift-usually 10-4am or later. DD is supposed to be on the school;bus at 10 of 7 am and my 16 month old DS does not comprehend sleep. So sometimes I go days w/o it, and get mean. But I am the ONLY income right now, so I deal. No magic answer except if the kid isn't tired, try to stay awake and play, don't waste the day desperately tryting to get them to sleep, cause the ynever will if the yknow that's what you are up too. Usually, honest play leads to an hour or so nap!
post #3 of 22
After a while, you no longer realize quite how tired you are, or that you're functioning at a lower level than you'd normally be able to do. I've also found that other folks don't seem to notice (except in extreme cases) that one's so pathetically underslept. Sorry - I never found any way to ameliorate the situation, myself. It did get much better, though, after 12-13 months of age, so maybe you're right on the cusp and need merely to hang in there another month before things start to improve. Cold comfort, but it's something!
post #4 of 22
Ahhhh, how I long for a night, just one, or uninterrupted sleep! I'd settle for a six our stretch! Anyway, back to reality . . .
Usually DD sleeps pretty well, and goes to bed quite early - 5:30 or 6pm. My strategy is to jump into bed as early as possible myself on most nights. Tonight she's got a cold, so we are up for a bit right now, though usually I am off to dream land by 9 - sometimes even earlier! we have told family and friends that we prefer not to receive calls after 8:30pm. This helps a bit, but truthfully, I ma tired an awful lot! I just keep reminding myself that she'll only be little for a short while . . . .
post #5 of 22
Hmmm. Ds is only 7 months old, and he sleeps quite well (still wakes up several times to nurse). But he goes right back to sleep and me too, so I really don't feel like I can complain there. and dd (3-1/2) generally sleeps through the night. If not, dh takes over with her so I can stay with the baby. HOWEVER, what I wish for most is ME time. I long for an hour or two with just me to pusue my interests. NOT to clean, get laundry done, etc. THAT is what I dream of. And, work does NOT cut it.
post #6 of 22
I'm on maternity leave with DS #2 and I have no clue how I'm going to get through a day when I actually have to be out the door at 7. Sleep deprivation was bad enough when I went back to work after DS#1. Now we have both of them ... DS #1 (age 3.5) still wakes up needing a parent about 3 nights per week. And of course DS #2, age 3.5 months ... well, you know. Nursing. But in my bed with me.

Actually it was when I went back to work after DS #1 that I became a confirmed co-sleeper, rather than a sometime closet co-sleeper! My DH objected (he was a SAHD at the time) and I said, "OK - you can get up, get the kid, attach him to my boob, try to stay awake while he nurses, then take him back into his room and hope he stays asleep or falls asleep easily because if he doesn't, you're up walking him around ..." That was all it took! He still doesn't like it but he realizes how much easier it makes things.
post #7 of 22
I totally agree with Marlena. You eventually get used to being sleep deprived and forget that you ever felt any other way....but I wrote in our seasonal letter this year that I'm far more stable these days now that our children essentially sleep through the night. And it's so true! One of my secretaries just had her second baby, and she and I were discussing how very difficult it is, and she doesn't even co-sleep. Yikes, that sounds hard to me! (yep, she does bf)

Hang in there, it does get better!
post #8 of 22
I've been pretty lucky with my DS, lately he only wakes up 2 times in the middle of the night to feed (it used to be only 1 time, but I think he's learning to sit up well and the beginnings of crawling so he's eating more, plus he's storing up so he doesn't have to eat that nasty formula.)
I don't know what I'm going to do when he starts really cutting teeth, esp. the molars. I hear that's a big bear. I guess I'll just do like the first poster, and have DH handle it since he works nights and gets home before midnight. I would wake up too with the crying , but I might ask DH to go to the living room during the fussy times so I could sleep. Maybe you could do that?

post #9 of 22
I went back to work when dd was 3mo. The only way I coped was support from dh.

We used a cosleeper next to our bed until she was 6mo. She slept in that, then I nursed her in our bed...if I fell asleep while nursing and didn't move her back...oh well.

We then moved her to her crib. She would start the night there, then would come to our bed to nurse. If dh or I was awake enough when she was done, we returned her to the crib, if not...oh well.

The main thing that helped though is dh, once dd nursed to sleep (in our bed) I would transfer her to her crib then HE was on duty. He is/was the one that goes to her in the middle of the night. If she just needed a snuggle and some comfort, he stayed with her til she fell back asleep, if not ...and he learned the signs quickly, he would bring her into me to nurse.

When she was teething, she got up way more and I got less sleep, but him running interference was key to all of us getting more rest.

We just transitioned dd to a twin bed at 18mo. Like the crib, she starts there and dh goes to her unless she needs to nurse. Now I nurse her in her bed...but she will come to ours as well.

The biggest reason she isn't in our bed all night is sleep. She sleeps great in either spot, but she's a sprawler and very long...so she takes over our bed. Even though we have a queen, there just isn't enough room for the three of us....and getting a king isn't an option right now.

Something that helped us get some strategies was Pantely's No Cry Sleep Solution. We didn't do everything she said, but a few ideas helped us along.


post #10 of 22
We co-sleep, 90% of the time I go to bed when he does, and I hold out hope that it won't be forever. DS is also 12 months, and has had nights when he's nursed once, and nights when he nursed non-stop. Like everyone else, I have just gotten used to it, I guess. When I was off and with DS for 9 days straight over the holidays, he slept through the night most nights. Now that I am working again, and he is going through a caregiver change, he's a needy guy.

My DH keeps pushing for an end to the co-sleeping, but my challenge is to convince him that it's the only way I can get any sleep. I like the "in the crib, he's on duty" idea....maybe we'll try that route! One question for MinnieMouse: Do you have the twin on the floor, railings, or is DD okay in the bed without falling? I can't wait to suggest a big-boy bed when DS has slept in his crib about 10 times! :

Oh, and I've used Pantley also...I highly recommend the book. But, my experience has been that any issue - whether it's teething, development, change of schedule, full moon (!) - is oil in the ointment, so to speak. But I like the techniques....

Oh, and Tara C.: I've really identified with several of your posts, here and on other threads (including the "i don't understand some mothers...). I think we might be living parallel lives!
post #11 of 22
I think that all mothers are super humans! I've not been so sleep deprived since my college days, and I was younger then! My dd is 6 months and will not go to sleep before 11:30 or midnight. Then she's up at 1:30 and 3:30 to nurse. I get up at 5:00 for work.

Last night she was up from 3:30 until she finally passed out at 5:15! Of course the little punk got to nap to day, and here I am about to pass out at my desk! But you know what, I wouldn't have it any other way!

post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks, everyone for your supportive replies. The issue dh and I have really been struggling with is how to try to get dd on a better sleep routine. I am not a fan of schedules, but I do think consistency is important when trying to get a message through to a 12 month old. Once it gets to be about 2:30 and I haven't yet gotten to sleep (and need to be up in 3.5 hours), I ask dh to take care of her so I can sleep. He usually takes her downstairs to play. He figures that I nursed her and had been trying to get her to sleep for hours, so she must not want to sleep. I'm glad for his help with nighttime parenting (a recent development) but I'm concerned he's sending the message to dd that if she's persistant enough she can get up and play at 2:30 a.m. I've been trying hard to get the message to her that nightime is for sleeping, not playing, and I'm worried getting her up will undermine that message. But on the other hand, I desperately need sleep! Any thoughts?
post #13 of 22
When I went back to the office part time when DD was two months old, people commented on how well rested I looked--and I was! DD was sleeping 3-4 hour stretches at night, and her waking meshed nicely with my sleep cycles. But when I resumed a 40 hour week when she was four months old, she started waking every hour.

I think I helped train DD to the hourly waking. She started squirming when she hit the light stage of sleep. Light sleeper that I am, I'd invariably wake up. Desperate to get back to sleep, I'd pop a boob in her mouth and she'd settle right down--often without getting any milk. After several nights of waking up hourly I was ragged and I knew something had to change. I tried to break the new habit, but it was too late: if she didn't get the boob, she'd get more and more agitated and finally fully wake up, crying, which she'd not done previously.

I tried sleeping on the couch and letting her co-sleep with DH, who's harder to wake. But I still woke up, and DD cried all the harder if DH tried his usual daytime soothing methods. So I resumed nursing whenever she seemed to be looking for it.

My latest strategy: If she is nursing in a way that will cause letdown, I let her go as long as she likes, as many times a night as she likes (lately 2-3 times). If she latches on and then stops sucking, I slip out quickly and, if she'll take it, substitute a pacifier to help ease her back down into deeper sleep. I stay snuggled up with her, but this way I can sometimes get back to sleep more quickly. Then there are the times where we'll have a two-hour non-nutritive nursing session in the middle of the night. . . .

Mostly I just try to get to bed early, and nap on weekends when I can.
post #14 of 22
Exhaustion is my middle name. Of course, getting up in the wee hours of the night to post on the computer doesn't help. :

I can handle the feeling of being exhausted. What bothers me about it, though:

1. Sleep deprivation affects my milk supply.
2. I can't get as much accomplished because sometimes I just HAVE to go to bed when my children do.
3. My mind won't fully function.
post #15 of 22

We were originally going to get just the twin mattress and put it on the floor, but my best friend and dd's unofficial godmother had a set of twin trundles....the kind with one really high bed and a lower one that slides underneath. She gave us the lower trundle. It's perfect size for her. I have my nursing stool at the end of the bed to help her get in and out, and a bed rail along the side. She is enamored with her bed!

Last night was the second night in the bed. She went down at 10:30pm...we are trying to roll back bedtime, but it's not been successful...woke briefly at 2:30am and I crawled in with her and she nursed right back to sleep, then woke at 5am when we took her into our bed until 6:45am. I can live with this...the goal is to not have the 2:30am waking, but I'm sure it will come.

And I have to agree with the theory that ANYTHING will set them off sleep. Learning how to walk or crawl, teething and colds all would make dd wake more often. Dh and I think she's about to start talking more ...she talks a ton now, we just don't know what she's saying...so I think that may be why she was waking so much these last couple weeks.


post #16 of 22
Christine! Thanks for the input! I can completely relate: Owen is really starting to say words, too. Actually he's been saying some things for a while, but it's been more of a babble. Now, he seems to have connected with it. It's like a lightbulb has gone on somewhere in his brain and now he understands that things have a name....it's very cute, and maybe that explains my last two nights!

He has been waking every 30 minutes (at least!), and yelling out. Like a cry of frustration. I try to nurse him...sometimes it works, sometimes it is clearly not what he wants. He is restless much of the night. This morning he woke up at 5:00, almost 1.5 hours early, only to nap at 6:30 (rather peacefully, I might add : ). I would say that he is experiencing teething pain, but he doesn't show any other symptoms : .

Anyone have any thoughts?

post #17 of 22
DD also started to wake up eery hour or so at about 8 mo. I was dealing with it fine (I thought) till I started making (dangerous) mistakes in the lab, and Iburst into tears when my advisor asked me a totally nonjudgmental simple question.
I had to do something. We used the Pantley no cry sleep solution, because we had to. I was losing my patience with her a lot too, and she deserves more. When we first started though things got worse, but having DH put her to bed really helped.
ALso, DD was happier with a schedule. She was tired and whiney and unhappy a good bit of the time. NOw our days have routine and our nights have routine. I am flexible about it still, but we really stick with it most of the time. I really notice a big big difference if for some reason we don't have a routine that day. She gets very stressed out and can't sleep and will be up about fifty times that night and sooo tired the next morning.
I think the routine gives her a feeling of control over her day. She understands what happens next, Of course at daycare they very much have a routine.
post #18 of 22
You make a good point, nuggetsmom. I have been somewhat lax about DS's schedule, between traveling with him, alternating caregivers recently, and just being less than attentive to it. When we are fairly good about it, he does seem happier and more predictable about his needs. I've been thinking about that a lot, now that we are trying to determine what our day care situation will be. I think we finally have it worked out, and consistency for him was an important part of that decision.

Thanks for sharing!
post #19 of 22
I think I helped train DD to the hourly waking. She started squirming when she hit the light stage of sleep. Light sleeper that I am, I'd invariably wake up. Desperate to get back to sleep, I'd pop a boob in her mouth and she'd settle right down--often without getting any milk. After several nights of waking up hourly I was ragged and I knew something had to change. I tried to break the new habit, but it was too late: if she didn't get the boob, she'd get more and more agitated and finally fully wake up, crying, which she'd not done previously.
MamaDeLiana - this is our exact situation. Before I returned to work FT dd was sleeping from about 8:30p to 5:00a, waking to nurse and going right back to sleep. Now she wakes up at least every 2 hours and I was beginning to think I was training her. It's become even worse with teething and I am so exhausted. Last night was the worst, she was up every 30min - 1 hour and would start screaming if I tried to let her fall back asleep on her own. I'm going to try the pacifier thing, although dd is not a huge fan of the pacifier and neither am I, but I need to get more sleep. I am hesitant to give too much baby Tylenol for teething. Does anyone have suggestions for teething remedies for nighttime?
post #20 of 22
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