So it is well after 1am here, and the baby has been asleep in the carseat (with husband) for at least 45 minutes, but I'm too depressed to sleep, and so frustrated that I can't relax. I should be sleeping because I'll have to wake to feed her in a hour and a half at most, but I just can't. I'm in need of both advice from anyone who's BTDT and encouragement.
She will go through repeated nights (going on one week now this time) where she wakes repeatedly - I can always get her to go to sleep: singing, pacifier, nursing, bouncing, rocking, rubbing, patting, etc. However, she will just wake up again after 5-10 minutes, and this will keep going for 1-3 hours at a time. I cannot go to sleep - I have to keep watching her until she stirs again, and then repeat one of the above soothing methods. I have tried every method mentioned in the Sears and no cry sleep solution books, and none of them are any different. It seems to me that they are all advice for how to get the kid to sleep in the first place, but useless at getting her to stay asleep. Sometimes she sleeps just fine for 2 hours (or even 6 hours on rare occasions), but right now at least twice per night she does this repeated waking for hours routine. During this repeated waking time, she is clearly sleepy - she acts as though she may actually be half asleep, but she keeps crying and writhing around, and if I don't do something to sooth her, she just gets more and more worked up. We cosleep with all of us on the floor, with her either in bed with us or on the mattress next to us (I've tried keeping her closer or farther away from me but I notice no difference either way). I have not tried having her sleep in another room, but I really don't want to do that - we don't even have a crib or a baby safe room or a baby monitor, and I'm not ok with letting her cry it out. (I have even tried letting her cry it out in our arms, though, and that didn't seem to work either.)
She doesn't do this all the time - we'll get a few weeks of gradually improving sleep, and then suddenly this again. The problems this week were probably caused initially by a bad reaction to the rotavirus vaccine, because she was initially up crying until she farted/pooped, but now that it seems to have passed, and I can't get her to sleep properly again (and there is always some reason that one can come up with for her sleeping badly!). She has no other signs of illness (other than a chronically semi-stuffy nose, but that has persisted for months though both good and bad sleep patches), and she has no signs of teething, even though she is a week or so past 6 mos. She is still EBF (we've started baby led weaning with solids, but she hasn't actually eaten anything yet). I'm worried that she may still have some kind of health issue (otherwise why would she wake repeatedly after falling asleep, unless she's in pain or something?).
Does anyone have any ideas about what could be wrong with her, or about what could help?
Or, if you don't have any ideas but feel like offering encouragement, I would welcome that, too. :)
DD born at 40w2d on 1/19/2011
DD born at 40w1d on 3/1/2014
Oh, mama! Just wanted to say I feel your pain. My DD couldn't stay asleep unless she was latched onto my boob. I slept with her latched on for her entire first year of life. Now at 3.5 she is finally sleeping all night (in her own room! by herself!) about 50% of the time...
I'll go ahead and suggest another book: Sleepless in America. It talks about the different temperaments that can cause sleep trouble, and it gave me some ideas that nothing else did for my DD. Granted, none of them helped her sleep more, but they were at least helpful for me in understanding her better.
If your baby were a newborn I would say to wait it out, but at 6 months, if it were my baby, I would start to wonder if there were some medical/physical factors. My DD has recently been diagnosed with sensory processing disorder, and I credit a combination of supplements and therapy as the reasons she is sleeping now. When she was a baby I just thought she was normal and all other babies (you know, the ones that sleep! ever!) were weird, but now if I had another kid like that I would have them evaluated sooner. Just to see if there could be other factors. Do you have a pedi or family doctor who you trust to not just tell you to CIO? If so then I would talk to them about it. When my DD was 2 I tried to nightwean her, and she started staying up all night long...literally all night, she would go to bed at 8, wake at 11, and then cry/try to sleep for 6 hours till 5 am when I would finally nurse her. :( While DH and I took turns trying to comfort her with everything other than nursing. She was of course a lot older than your DD but the pattern you describe sounds similar to me; my DD would TRY to go back to sleep, lie still for a while, and then after 15 or 20 minutes she'd start writhing and crying again. Of course I was trying to nightwean her, but really, I think most kids are capable of nightweaning after age 2 without so much trauma. Our doctor ended up doing a neurotransmitter test in the middle of the night (we took a pee sample) and found out that she had really high levels of several hormones and neurotransmitters that are associated with highly alert and agitated states...basically she was waking up in fight or flight mode in the middle of the night. So now she's on supplements that help with that, and it is making a huge difference. Of course I don't suggest you put your infant on supplements!--but it would be helpful to know if something unusual like that is going on with her brain, you know?
Did she have any health issues when she was younger, like reflux?
Trust your instincts. If you feel like something is off, you're probably right.
Thanks for the reply, lisaverk. She actually slept a bit better last night, at least for two hour stretches each time, and she didn't "re-wake" too many times, which is the first night in a week, so that's a relief. Although last night and right now she's been wide awake after eating at 10pm instead of falling asleep - she's been bouncing madly for the last hour and a half...
It's interesting what you found out about your daughter - I didn't even know such an issue could exist - it's great that you found a doctor that would test. Our pediatrician generally has a noninterventionist approach, which I like, but is very in favor of CIO, which I don't like - I've been thinking that maybe we should look for a new pediatrician, but I'm not sure where to start. She had an undiagnosed tongue tie that got corrected at 3 months, but no other health problems. She does have a chronically mildly stuffy nose, so I did try elevating the head of her little mattress (on the floor next to ours on the floor), but she hasn't really slept on it yet since she fell asleep on our bed and I didn't want to move her.
Thanks for the book recommendation - I will definitely look into it once we get back home in a few weeks (if only there were an ebook version!).
Thanks so much for the encouragement - it really means a lot to me.
DD born at 40w2d on 1/19/2011
DD born at 40w1d on 3/1/2014
This sounds so horrible for you, and I hope it is getting better.
Two thoughts that I had that reminded me of my DD were trying to let her sleep with her head slightly elevated. If she is congested at all or having trouble breathing with her stuffy nose, then that could be waking her. Also, you may want to use a humidifier (even in the summer) if you have air conditioning. My DD had sinus issues her first year, and it clearly disrupted her sleep!
Plus, I know she's a little old to suggest this, but is it that she starts moving around and wakes herself up? If so, could you try to swaddle her? DD did this around 3-4 months, and we found a large swaddle that we used until she was almost 7 months old (when she could finally get out of it). But, it kept her asleep for good 6-7 hour stretches.
I would absolutely talk to the pediatrician about it, and see if there is anything like reflux to worry about. And on that note, if you are thinking of switching, I would do it. We were able to get a free with some doctors and interview them before DD was born (ie. about vaccines, working with autism, sleep training). They were all prepared with info and it was very helpful in finding what worked (and didn't work) for us.
I know exactly where you are, cww. My 6 month 2 weeks old DD does the same thing, and I too am feeling very bad & depressed about the whole thing. She is clearly tired, but can't get past the first sleep cycle without waking up anymore. She used to sleep pretty good, but the last few weeks have been very rough for both of us. I'm sorry I don't have any answers, I'm just starting the no-cry sleep solution. Hopefully knowing others at this stage/age have the same issues helps. I will also be checking back to see if anyone else has some good tips/advice/encouragement.
If you find something that helps, would you post back?
Loving this Mama's life!
Id on't have advice. I'm going through something very similar. DD is 4 and1/2 months old and for the past month she's been sleeping awful. My husband is gone till October so being sleep deprived and a baby and 3 yr old has been so hard. DD wakes every hour sometimes crying but a lot of times talking and blowing rasberries. I don't even go to bed before 10 or 11 pm becuase I know it's pointless because she will be up at east 4-6 times before then. And she's usually awake between 4-6 am so I don't have advice but wanted to tell you that I'm going throuhg the same thing. It's really miserable. I jsut cry at night because I want to sleep so badly.
Thanks everyone for your replies. lunabin, we were actually swaddling her every night (only around the arms actually) until this last sleep regression, and then I just stopped b/c it didn't seem to make any difference and she was prying herself out of it whenever she got agitated. I did try elevating her little mattress, but it didn't seem to make any difference. I think I may go looking for a different pedi - just not sure where to start - ug.
chrisnjeri, thanks for the encouragement, and sorry to hear that you are going through the same thing! If we find any good solutions, I will definitely post again. Please do the same! :)
mom61508, I'm so sorry to hear that you are going through the same thing. We also had a bad time around 4 months, and then it got better before this regression again at 6 mos, so I'm hoping things get better for you soon!
lisavark, I've been reading Sleepless in America and finding some of the information there useful. I've been thinking in particular about trying to keep her calm before bedtime (DH likes to roughhouse a bit, and I've tried to discourage that before sleep...). Also, it seems that our daughter has all five of the temperament traits that make it more likely that she will have trouble sleeping.
We still don't have any improvement, unfortunately. Last night she was up 10 times. She went a few times for 1.5-2hours, but mostly woke up after 15, 30, 45 minute stretches. I think the pacifier is a part of the problem - she never needed it when she was younger (couldn't even keep it in her mouth until we fixed a tongue tie at 3 months), but then after 3 months MIL and DH used it every time they put her down for a nap or bedtime, and now she can't sleep without it at all, even though a month ago she could do that sometimes. During the day she can locate it and put it in her own mouth just fine (been doing that for months), but at night, she can't even do this if I put it into her hand for her. Every time she wakes up I have to replace the pacifier. I've tried the techniques of removing it as she is falling asleep to try to get her off of it, but that just wakes her up and makes her thrash around and scream, so we can't make any progress in getting her off it. I don't know what to do about that. (Have tried all the techniques in no cry sleep solution for this...)
I don't know if some of this is developmental? I know that babies sleep badly around 9 months b/c of a bunch of developmental stuff, but she's doing a lot of the physical milestones for that time right now - she's crawling, pulling up to standing, and standing without support from a grownup (as long as she can hang on to something like a chair). Sometimes when she wakes up she is rolling over onto her tummy and pushing up like she wants to go somewhere. (She could of course also be teething - although we see no signs of teeth in the gums yet, she is drooling again, which went away months ago, so we'll see. I hate to blame teething when she has been having sleep problems forever.)
The most frustrating thing is that she is actually sleeping worse than when she was a newborn - back then she would sleep in a 6h stretch once a week, and often went as long as 4h, although she would have this repeated waking thing on and off then, too (just not every night!). I simply can't find any book that gives techniques for getting a kid to stay asleep for at least 3h at a time - they all just seem to say that you should not change the environment after they fall asleep and that if you can get them calm and easily falling asleep, that should make them better at staying asleep - this has not been true for us. Our daughter seems happy and well rested during the day, and falls asleep pretty predictably - just not for long!
The only remaining thoughts I have for her are to keep trying to get her off the pacifier, and to try to work on getting her to bed earlier and at more consistent times (difficult b/c her tired times are never predictable!), but I figure it is worth a shot to try this for a while. We'll be changing 6 time zones in about a week, so I don't think we'll get much in the way of results for several weeks, even if this does work. I will try talking to our pedi at the 7 mo appt, but I'm not sure how well that will go since they are so gung ho about CIO. I'll report back eventually (hopefully to say that things are better soon!).
Thanks again for the advice and encouragement. :)
DD born at 40w2d on 1/19/2011
DD born at 40w1d on 3/1/2014