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#1 of 12 Old 07-21-2010, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have accepted the fact that our DS (18 months) is 'not a good sleeper'. However, lately our sleepless nights have escalated - from night wakings every two hours to it taking sometimes three hours to getting him back down. We are at the point that we're all overtired and losing our patience. I am losing my patience. I feel that because of this constant lack of sleep (then one night, decent sleep), I am unable to stay cool and collected and be the mother I want to be day or night.

As an overview, DS has 'slept through the night' once, and on good nights, wakes up 2-3 times. We do not co-sleep. We have tried, it kept both DH and myself up (nightmares, fear of smothering, etc.) when he was an infant and now DS just plays when we are desperate and try to co-sleep again. DS and I napped together when he was little, which worked somewhat. Our problem first stemmed from not being able to transfer him from a sleeping state in-arms (he has always been nursed down) to his crib. Then it became better and now we are back to where we were a year ago for naps. They are not happening at all. He has never consistently napped for more than 30 minutes. As a result, his bedtime is early (between 5-6pm) which he is more than ready for at the end of the day and goes down fine. He sleeps off and on until 5-6am. This morning, however, it was 4 am. Argh.

I am currently a SAHM, we babywear, breastfeed and do everything with our DS. We live away from family, do not have a support network where we live, and hence, are coasting on fumes. Whenever we visit family (min. four hours away), it sets DS back if he has made any progress whatsoever in terms of sleep, which makes traveling the last thing we want to do. I have not left the house after his bedtime since he was born. I'm feeling trapped. Before becoming parents we traveled and explored places and now we feel like rigid monsters. But my DS needs his sleep. He needs the rhythm I constantly tweek to his needs. And that's ok, I know it is temporary, but is it?

I've read the lit. on CIO and while my heart is against it, I know we need something other than what we are currently living. It pains me to admit we tried it when he was younger and are teetering on it again. Please don't think I don't love my DS because I am desperate for my and my husband's need for sleep. I don't want to be a monster with DS because I don't have anything left from trying to soothe him and calmly hold him while he cries to play or watch the cars out of the window two hours into trying to get him back down in the middle of the night. I am so happy that he is so curious about this world that he wants to constantly be a part of it, but it is not healthy for our family. I am so worried about long-term damage of any kind to him. I don't know what to do. I love him so much. But I am so so so tired.

While I keep trying to convince myself that I need to stay strong for DS and be there for him until this night waking stage is over, I know that his sleep is progressively becoming worse every night as his lack of sleep accumulates. What is worse...I don't know. I sometimes feel I should be institutionalized because I can't make it through this anymore. Maybe I shouldn't have become a mother if I can't carry on in this state.

Does anyone else feel this way? Anybody had similar experiences and found a way out?

bf, cd, no circ, selective vax, attempting toddler ec'ing, kick off your shoes at the door while we trying to simplify our lives kinda family.
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#2 of 12 Old 07-21-2010, 02:10 PM
 
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I have been there Mama! Around 19 months I nightweaned DS using the Dr. Jay Gordon Method (you can google), but took it a little slower (a month, whereas he recommends a 10-day). He went from waking hourly, to sleeping 5-8 hour stretches. We did bedshare, but after he started sleeping better and wasn't nursing at night anymore, we moved him to his own bed and now DH handles wakeups. We are all much happier for it. I thought that it would involve lots of tears/hard nights, but actually it went really well. DS fussed a little but no tears. It was so worth it.

I also recommend reading the book Sleepless in America. It has some great tips on structuring your day for better nightime sleep.

hang in there! it will get better!

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#3 of 12 Old 07-21-2010, 02:36 PM
 
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My son went through a terrible sleep regression at 18 months. His sleep had never been great but at 18 months it was off-the-charts terrible. For a brief time I worried that I might slip into depression from lack of sleep and general lack of joy.

My son was a co-sleeper until his first birthday. He spent about six months sleeping in the crib and it was at the 18 month mark when things were so bad that I brought him back into my bed. It did take him awhile to get used to co-sleeping again, but since then we continue to co-sleep with no problems. If that doesn't work for you, another option is to make a little bed on the floor next to your bed. I tried this for awhile with my son before we returned to full-time co-sleeping.

In your situation, I would definitely try to get longer naps for your son. Have you read Pantley's No-Cry books? You can get nap ideas there. I know if my son misses a nap his nighttime sleep is often shot to hell. We have found that the "sleep begets sleep" theory is definitely true for him.

Other than that, this is just a tough period and you have to get creative in order to survive. Night weaning might work, but then again if this is developmental and if he is chronically overtired then there might be other issues at play.

Sorry. After my son's 18 month sleep regression he went on to sleep very well, though he has still never technically slept through the night. We're both happy and well-rested and that's what really matters.

Baby Boy 9/08 & Baby Girl 3/11

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#4 of 12 Old 07-21-2010, 02:57 PM
 
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I second the No-Cry Sleep Solution recommendation. I have the original version from the library right now. My 4 month old has transitioned to a completely different baby without needing to CIO. I imagine it's tougher to transition with an 18 mo old, but I'm telling you, it's worked miracles. Definitely worth giving it a try for a couple weeks.

. I'm so sorry for your struggles. Lack of sleep really does mess with the balance in your life. You need it! I'll be thinking of you.

Amie

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#5 of 12 Old 07-21-2010, 03:21 PM
 
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My DD was a terrible sleeper at that age as well, due to undiagnosed reflux issues from birth to 6 months -- she couldn't sleep very long then due to the pain, and it just became a habit!

We tried No-Cry Sleep Solution, and it just didn't work for us.

Around 18 months, I was also losing it. We finally night-weaned by having DH go in to her during her wakings. She cried a little bit, there was probably a time or two that she cried by herself for a while (DH is a heavier sleeper than I), but it worked quickly and within a couple of days, she was sleeping through the night.

I think this worked because she was really ready for it -- if it hadn't worked quickly, we probably would have backed off and tried something else.

Good luck. I know how rough it is. I still stumble across the journals where I tracked her wakings, and I can't imagine how I managed to stay sane.

Jen, former sys admin and current geek , wife to DH , SAHM and Montessori homeschool teacher to DD "Nugget" (05/07) and new arrival DS "Sprout" (03/31/10)
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#6 of 12 Old 07-21-2010, 08:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all your posts! It is a change to read other mums going similar issues (instead of family and inlaws telling me what to do...or saying 'how strange' i've never heard of such problems...must be because you're breastfeeding him).

We also tried the No-Cry Sleep Solution very early on. It absolutely did not work for us. I stood over DS taking his nap, waiting for the moment just prior his 30 minute mark to pick him up and sway him like a circus clown and it did not extend his naps. Nothing has extended the naps aside from luck. I constantly review the days they are longer than thirty minutes and I can't find that variable that makes it happen again. Same for night sleep. I've had theories...maybe it is gas, maybe it was the beans, maybe it's his very mild eczema, maybe we walked by his room at the wrong time, etc. (we have wooden floors and call the hallway leading past his door to the bathroom 'the plank'...we just don't want to wake him up!). But so far, we're at a loss as to whether there is something to pinpoint. As for nighttime, I de-latch him or at least coax him to do so all the time because he falls asleep...anyhow.

Before our last trip to see family, we had the best experience putting him to sleep. He actually would delatch on his own, point to the crib, and blow me kisses as I walked out. He started that completely on his own. But then we traveled...and here we are.

I've also read Sleepless in America and will pick it up again. Thanks for the reminder. I try to run him ragged outside so he will sleep longer....but that doesn't work either. These days it's especially tough as our time outside is limited by heat (90-100F). But re-reading can't hurt.

Thanks for the link on nightweaning...I kept thinking I needed to try.. but lately he escalates his crying when DH goes to him at all at night. So that's been discouraging altogether. But I think this is the venue that we haven't tried that we should.

I'm sorry I'm very unfamiliar with how to reply and quote the threads...but thank you all again.

bf, cd, no circ, selective vax, attempting toddler ec'ing, kick off your shoes at the door while we trying to simplify our lives kinda family.
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#7 of 12 Old 07-21-2010, 09:08 PM
 
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Just wanted to say that we are also in the middle of a sleep regression, and DS is guess how old? 18 months! He's also not been a great sleeper ever, usually waking 1-2 times @ night, needing lots of help to fall asleep, etc. But lately, he's been waking more, and sometimes taking 2-3 hours to go back to sleep. We had sucessfully night-weaned a couple of months ago, and now I've found myself nursing at night again.

I just finished reading the No Cry books, and are working on changing some things. We're seeing some small sucesses, but it's a slow, gradual process, I guess.

I guess I just wanted to comisserate and let you know that you're definitely not alone. I know what you mean, landgyrl, about it being nice to hear about other people with similar issues.

Amanda- mama to Lincoln 1/09 and expecting #2 10/11!
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#8 of 12 Old 07-21-2010, 10:32 PM
 
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Just a thought- you said he has eczema? Have you looked into food intolerances? Eczema can be caused my a food allergy, which can also affect sleep. Worth looking into!

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#9 of 12 Old 07-21-2010, 11:01 PM
 
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i know this is an AP board and i don't want to come off as anti-breastfeeding or anything, but i think nightweaning may help based on my experience.

i have 18-month-old twins, who i weaned fully @ 15mos (night was the last to go). prior-to, they had always nursed down. but it was taking longer and longer to get them to sleep... and both were progressively sleeping worse. one much worse than the other, waking every ~2hrs. and getting them back down in the middle of the night involved insane amounts of nursing... the time was right.

anyway, almost immediately after they began sleeping through the night. they still pretty much do, waking maybe once around 5am and coming into bed with me for another 2hrs or so.....

i think they didn't know how to mellow out without nursing... now, i lay with them and after bopping around for a while one falls asleep, the other likes to be patted. so much better. and weaning wasn't really that horriffic - they were ready. maybe your bean is too?
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#10 of 12 Old 07-23-2010, 02:43 PM
 
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Nightwean!

We nightweaned DS at 18m (he was waking every 45-90 minutes to nurse). It was a tiresome couple of weeks during the process, but it changed EVERYTHING. He still wakes up once a night and occasionally will still ask for milk at night, but I can snuggle and sing him back to sleep in about 5 minutes.

We started with no milk from 12-4 and then moved to bedtime (8pm) until 4. What a lifesaver. I've had no supply issues and he still loves to nurse 4-5 times a day and at bedtime.
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#11 of 12 Old 10-28-2010, 11:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm very late at updating this, but for anybody reading this searching for help with their babe going through something similar...here is what has happened with us!

I took the advice to nightwean, but only after we had a lengthy holiday away from home and were settled back in. I also flew it solo. My husband was out of town, so I coslept with DS during the first nights of nightweaning. I believe this helped tremendously as he was not happy to have his (as others have also said) relaxation/ sleep inducing aid cut out. But cuddling certainly was a good second option and still is when he tries to get milk 'before sunrise' as the longer darkness is helping us keep bf for daytime. He still tries to ask here and there for it but overall, not a problem. Also! around the time we nightweaned, he decided he wanted to start using the potty. We've had it around since the beginning of the year and have been cuing etc. but were not pushing to get him started. However, can I just say, nightweaning + pottying = full nights of sleep? Oh my goodness, it really is glorious compared to where we were in July. He had been fighting the changing table since he turned one. Well, now it's a bit of a song and dance to get him to bed (he wants to pee as a delay tactic), but nothing compared to our experience two months ago. He stays dry all night. He went from terrible sleep, waking all the time, to down most nights til morning and dry!

Needless to say, we have challenges but they are not the magnitude of the sleep kind that they were.

Thanks again for all your posts!!

bf, cd, no circ, selective vax, attempting toddler ec'ing, kick off your shoes at the door while we trying to simplify our lives kinda family.
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#12 of 12 Old 10-29-2010, 02:41 AM
 
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I'm so glad you found a solution that worked for you. Lack of sleep is the worse! I was going to suggest herbal remedies for sleep.

Herbal baths filled with lavender, chamomile flowers or lemon balm herb is very calming and relaxing. Or you could make a tiny "sleep pillow"......fill a small square cloth with lavender and lemon balm.

What works for me is cosleeping. I hardly have to wake up to put him on the breast and he just nurses himself back to sleep. I hope your methods stay successful!

Crunchy Christian mama to my home birthed, unvaxed, uncirc boys Shane and Cody!!joy.gif
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