Feeling Hopeless - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 11-23-2008, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DD is 13 months old and is a horrible sleeper. I sleep in the room with her, but not in the same bed as she isn't a cuddler and if she's in the bed with me she just climbs me, claws at my face, kicks me, stands up etc. The only way she sleeps is in the crib next to me and even that isn't much. I've tried not sleeping in the room with her too to see if that helped, but it didn't.

The reason I feel hopeless is that I need at least 7 hours of sleep a night to not feel like crap.

Here is a typical night. This is from last night. She went down at 8:30pm. Up at 11pm. Stayed up until 2am. Slept from 2am -5:30am, then up for the day. That is a total of 6 hours of sleep last night for her. And less for me because it takes me a few minutes to get back to sleep after she is back to sleep. This is a totally normal night. I can't remember the last time she wasn't up for 2-3 hours in the middle of the night. It's been months of this. I limit her daytime nap to 2 hours because any more than that and she's up even longer at night. This means she only needs a total of 8 hours of sleep a day and she's only 13 months old. By the time she's 2 or 3 what will it be down to? Only 6 hours a day?

Dh and I get NO time. We haven't had sex in over a year except for 1 time because I'm so exhausted and I have to go to bed when she does to even get 5 hours of sleep.

I've tried everything. And no, sleep does not beget sleep. I've tried longer naps. It results in less sleep at night.

My marriage is failing. I'm exhausted with my older son. I don't know what to do.

She's happy all day so I guess 6 hours of sleep at night is enough for her.

How do I live the next several years without losing my
marriage when I have no time at all? Seriously if she's like this at 13 months what hope is there that I will ever get any time for me or Dh?

I would eliminate her nap all together (and I can't wait to do so) if she could get through the day without it, but she can't.

I guess I just needed to vent as there really isn't a solution except to accept this is my life now. And I have looked into everything like her diet etc. Nothing has changed. I've tried literally everything I can think of.
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#2 of 11 Old 11-23-2008, 01:13 PM
 
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I don't know if I have any advice...but I was just about to post something similar. It is soooo hard to have a lousy sleeper. Sometimes I feel like it is my fault somehow and I imagine that my DH blames me too somehow(even though I know that he doesn't). I really did feel hopeless last night too. I also have to go to bed with my DS, who is 12 months, and have barely any energy to give to my DH. We used to spend sooo much time together and now it is just shared moments and even then I can feel that many times I am not totally present with him. DS has always been a terrible sleeper and I kept thinking that it would be better by now. It is better than before, but it is just different now. He wakes up at least twice a night and one of those times he is up for an hour or so. Your LO sleeps much less total hours than mine, so I know that must be so hard, especially with other children to take care of. Maybe someone will have a suggestion that will help. Can DH watch him for an hour or two in the morning when he gets up so you can sleep until 7 or 8? On mornings where we are able to do that, those one or two hours can make me feel like a new woman. But of course that is a temporary solution and I would love to find something that actually helps in the long run too!
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#3 of 11 Old 11-23-2008, 01:20 PM
 
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Oh my. I'm so sorry. The only thing I can think of is to limit the nap to an hour, or the least amount of time that seems to refresh her. My DD can get a second wind on just 20 or 30 minutes nap, so maybe that would be enough and you could add another hour at night.

Mama to a daughter (3/2008) and a son (7/2011)
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#4 of 11 Old 11-23-2008, 02:11 PM
 
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I'm so sorry mama! ((((HUGS))))

Can you and dh rotate who gets up with her at night so you can get more sleep?? If she's still nursing, he could bring her to you to nurse and then take her out. Just an idea! I hope you guys can find some common ground and find a solution that helps you all get through this tough time.
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#5 of 11 Old 11-23-2008, 06:12 PM
 
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Hugs mama!

How 'bout makin her bedtime a little later? Possibly she would sleep a consecutive 6 hours instead of broken up with lots of awake time in between. Does she have a safe place to play in the middle of the night when she wakes up? Maybe provide a few toys with dim light and you continue to doze while she plays in the pnp or crib. Is she very active during the day? With my first (but not my second) the thing to do was to tire him out. Lots of physical activity and noise, people, whatever.

It is ridiculous how difficult it can be with a bad sleeper. You are doing better than you think. And I second the suggestion for "calling in the troops". Do anything to give yourself a good nap.

Hope this helps.
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#6 of 11 Old 11-23-2008, 06:41 PM
 
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When she wakes at 2am, what do you do with her?

Does she just lay in her crib and babble or does she cry if you don't take her out?

I'm just wondering if you just lie by her side next to the crib in the darkness and wait, hour after hour, each night she may get the message that it's sleep time for everyone else, even if it isn't for her?

Maybe you already tried this?

I think even if she cries you can hold her and comfort her and then put her down again and say it's time to sleep and see what happens?

Maybe you already tried this? I hope I'm not making you bang your head further, just trying to help!

It sounds like she is in a pattern so she's not going to change unless you make a change? Maybe maybe? I don't know - wishing you all the best
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#7 of 11 Old 11-23-2008, 08:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Today I only gave her a 45 minute nap. I'm going to try to keep her up later as well.

If I don't take her out of the crib she cries unless I stand over the crib and pat her. I've done that for over an hour sometimes and it's just so tiring. I've taken to putting a pillow on the edge of the crib and laying my head on the pillow while I pat her. She repeatedly stands up and I have to lay her back down.
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#8 of 11 Old 11-23-2008, 08:54 PM
 
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Have you tried putting her to bed earlier? For my son the lousy sleeper some times putting him to sleep earlier would result in overall longer sleep. Longer naps would NOT they would make him have to go to sleep later and sleep shorter. I'd just keep fiddling with her schedule and see if you can find a way that works better. Put her to bed at midnight if that gets you 6 unbroken hours, or keep her up when she wakes up at 2 am and don't let her sleep til her next nap, see if that starts her extending the first sleep cycle.

If not well.. hang in there. I never thought my son would sleep through the night. Now at almost 4 he sleeps through more often than not at least and he sleeps a reasonable 11 hours a night most nights. He still is kind of a crappy sleeper in that I don't know that many four year olds who do go through the middle of the night waking stretches that he does, but it is about 10 times better and at least 75% of the time he gets a full nights sleep and so do we. There is an end to bad sleeping eventually.
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#9 of 11 Old 11-23-2008, 10:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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avivaelona,

My DS was a crappy sleeper too, just not nearly as bad as DD. Just to give you even more hope. My DS was still waking at 4 years old some of the time as well. At 5, unless he has a nightmare, he sleeps all night every night and we have to wake him up at 7:30 to get ready for school.
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#10 of 11 Old 11-23-2008, 11:16 PM
 
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I hope I'm not violating forum rules with my post (bc just for the record I am all for co-sleeping ... when it works for you) but I just thought I would share my story. My son slept with us until he was a year old. It was exhausting and draining and taking a tremendous toll on my marriage. He nursed continously through out the night and never went more than 2 hours without waking. If I ever tried to deny him a nursing session he was inconsolable. (We are both working parents btw so daytime naps and sleeping in are out of the question.) My husband and I finally decided to try a crib next to our bed. While DS quickly got used to going to sleep on his own, when he would wake a few hours later he would sob in his crib until we took him into our bed. Then it was back to the old routine. Leaving him to cry in the crib meant even less sleep. We moved him into a separate room after a month of that and while we ended up going into the room to comfort him quite often in the night, about 4 days into the transition, we awoke shocked at 7 in the a.m. wondering what had happened. He had slept through the night! It was mind boggling. This is a babe who had never slept longer than 4 hours at a go. Ever. Now, it's not been all peaches from there on out. There are plenty of nights where he wakes and doesn't go back to sleep on his own and we go in to comfort him but for the most part it's just gotten easier and easier.

I say this not to push a separate room but to say that I wish I had experimented with it earlier. I was so afraid that it would be this endless cry session or that my son would be traumetized by the transition (and guilty about being away from him for much of the day as well), that I completely overestimated the difficulty of the transition. And the entire family is in a much better mood for getting a good night's sleep.

So mostly I should say that I completely empathise with how you feel dealing with so little sleep. I spent so many hours patting DS's back and singing and rocking and nursing. So good job to you! Just wanted to say that if you feel completely maxed out with the current routine, you could experiment a bit more with not sleeping in the same room. It was just too hard for DS to be in the same room as me but not with me.

Just a few thoughts ... hope you find a solution soon. Big hugs.

Mother of two since 2007 and 2009. Hoping third time's a charm in 2012.

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#11 of 11 Old 11-24-2008, 08:51 AM
 
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I know how dreadful sleep deprivation makes you feel, (I am there myself right now too) but I wonder if you keep laying her down for the full 3 hours, night after night, she will get it and understand that it is time to sleep?

My Mum and Dad said they used to have to do this with me, I was in a cot in their room and when they came to bed, they'd have to turn the light on to get ready for bed, I would wake up and want to play, but they lay me down again and again and ignored me! Initially I was upset about this, but I soon learnt they said that it was night-time and I shouldn't stand up and play, I think I was around 10 months at this time

I'm not saying you should do ignore DD, times have moved on! but she is old enough now to understand that it is no longer night-time play-time if you are consistent with her night after night, I think that's the key to it, is being consistent and not giving up, even though you may be shattered and completely bored with the whole thing of laying her down repeatedly

To an outsider, DD is having all her needs met, yet DH, DS and you are not so it's not balanced anymore, you have to take a little control back from her (for her best interest) and very kindly gently let her know that it is time to sleep for everyone in the house, including her!

It's really a tough call, at some point we start to have to withdraw a little from baby controlling the house, to us controlling them a little as they grow up, now if only I could take my own advice I'd be doing really well But my DD is only 6 and half months so we are some way off yet of her really understanding why she is being denied something

You could try reading/googling Dr Jay Gordon for his advice on night-weaning - it might help you look at this as a habit and his night-weaning plan gives very kind advice on how to break a baby's habit of nursing all through the night, in a very kind way, lots of people use it on this forum and have good things to say about it It seems like after 12months, babies understand that they aren't always going to get exactly what they want and this is not going to hurt them as long as it's done in a kind, consistent loving way

Anyway, hope the 45 minute nap helped! Hopefully you won't need to think about any of this any longer and can ignore everything I've written here!
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