I did EC with my kids, and DD (my terrible sleeper) was a huge EC success story. She started sleeping diaperless at night around 7 months (with pretty much no accidents ever.) She usually didn't need to pee at night (despite all the night nursing she was doing), and when she did need to pee I could tell, because she wouldn't nurse right back to sleep but would be more restless. I would take her the bathroom then. So needing to pee would occasionally disturb her sleep, but in general I knew I was taking care of that need - and she was still a terrible sleeper. I think that's just the way she is. She still (at 8) regularly has a hard time falling asleep and is more likely to wake up at night than her little brother. Her dad has always had trouble sleeping; maybe she inherited it from him.
Surprised to see all the comments about EC babes needing to pee at night. DD (7.5 months) is dry through the night so I just assumed that means she doesn't need to pee. But perhaps that's part of what all of her fuss is about with her half-wakings, half-nursings......... yes, think I will take her potty when she wakes tonight.
Sleepy, running, wife to DH 08/09 - Mama to DS 8/08 & DD 1/11
"Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare. " - Japanese Proverb
Thanks everyone again for your replies! I wish I had time to reply more individually, but things are a bit hectic here and I didn't want to delay updating further. binga, thanks for the tips on sleeping with a mattress on the floor (and for the night waking sympathy!). LansingMom, thanks for sharing your experience - I'm really sorry that you had to go through that. I do believe that most doctors are actually well-intentioned, but they really can brush us off and miss important stuff because they don't listen, which is such a big problem! I'm so sorry you didn't sleep for so long (!), but I'm glad to hear that you are finally sleeping now! mamabatty and LeslieintheKeys, I'm sorry to hear that you've being going through rough nightwaking also - I hope things get better for your soon. Thanks for taking the time to lend me some moral support! I found everyone's comments about EC interesting, too - I had been interesting in doing this, but just haven't had the time to learn how. I don't think our LO has issues with this in the night, but it's interesting to see that that seems to be a factor for others.
Here's my update: The good news is that her sleep has remained somewhat improved over the last week or so - she seems to have settled more into a waking every three hours type of routine (sometimes more often, especially near morning), which is manageable. I'm beginning to wonder if teaching her to fall asleep on her own did actually help with the night waking but that maybe it just took a month after she learned to do it to really help with the middle of the night? Or maybe she just finally grew out of it. (Or maybe this is just a short respite and she'll return to the repeated waking soon - I hope not!)
She has had a bad cold for about 5 days, which didn't help, but miraculously that resulted only about 1.5 really sleepless nights (waking every 5 minutes, fussing and then sleeping again on her own, poor thing), and even though she is clearly still stuffy and coughing, etc, she is sleeping ok. Her first tooth has also been visible just under the gum for several days now, and no disrupted sleep with that so far as I can tell.
I still think she is not always getting enough sleep at night - sometimes she sleeps 10h, but often it is more like 7-9h, which if I understand correctly is not really enough at her age, so I'm going to try to work on adjusting naptimes to see if that helps (I haven't wanted to mess with her while she is getting over the cold and teething, but once that passes, I'm hoping I can gently try to get her into a little more regular of a schedule to see if that helps?).
For other people looking for solutions, I think teaching her to put herself to sleep on her own did help her sleep some, whether it's the primary reason for our improvement of late or not. I didn't let her CIO, but I did use techniques from a ton of different books. I worked to replace the pacifier and nursing to sleep with other soothing techniques like rocking and walking around etc. I did let her fuss on her own some, since sometimes she would do it anyway no matter what we did to soothe her: I wasn't ok with her crying, but she does seem to often make fussy noises as she is going to sleep, which don't exactly sound happy, but which aren't quite totally unhappy either - it's like she's on the border between crying and deciding to be happy and can't make up her mind, so the sounds can quickly devolve into either happy noises or crying. I try to wait this out, and only interfere if she starts crying. I think in retrospect that eliminating the pacifier did actually help, but it took weeks for us to gradually start to see any effects (I think it gradually made it more possible to go from nursing to sleep to nursing, then taking her off and letting her go to sleep on her own - before we took away the pacifier, this seemed to be impossible). We also did things like walking her in the carriage until she was falling asleep and then gently stopping the movement until she was totally asleep (although this does not always work - if she starts to wake up or get agitated, we have to abort this attempt and just keep walking the carriage). I think getting rid of the suck to sleep association and letting lots of people (grandma, me and DH) put her to sleep in lots of different ways and in a lot of different places probably all contributed to our current improvement. Clearly for some of this to work the LO just needs to be ready for it, but I think some of the steps we took did in fact help, for what it's worth. For anyone else suffering with extreme night wakings (or even just run of the mill ones!), I really hope you can get some improvement soon.
Thanks again to everyone for their recommendations - I really appreciate it. I hope we don't need to come back to the suggestions in this thread again, but if we do, I'll be really glad that they are here - and I hope that they help other people with similar issues!
DD born at 40w2d on 1/19/2011
DD born at 40w1d on 3/1/2014
Us too...our baby only wakes at night because he needs to pee! :o) We've done EC from birth.
Oh, and sometimes we give teething meds in the middle of the night if it's not hunger or pee-needs.
Glad to hear sleep is going better for you, cww!! :)
Andrea Olson, DS 2.5 yrs, DD due 10/9/13
Author | EC Simplified: Infant Potty Training Made Easy
Owner | GoDiaperFree.com
I'm really new here and probably know absolutely nothing, but here's my experience - kind of related to yours.
Our little one came to us a month ago, he was 6 months old. Since we only had him 4 days a week until recently, we tried to keep everything as similar as we could. Grandma kept him in her room, because he woke so much during the night, she figured it would be more convenient to have him right there.
He was waking on average 4-5 times a night, often only going back to sleep with a bottle.
She frequently mentioned that he doesn't want to miss anything, which I noticed to be true. If there was so much as a light in the room to look at, or warm arms to hold him, he was NOT happy about sleeping. There is just so much to experience, after all!
Last week we got him full time and we'd set up a room for him to test a theory - that was that if I, or my husband, were in sight and he did one of his restless wake ups like you mentioned, he would realize that we were there and could hold/feed/comfort him and he would start to cry. Of course, we did all those things, depending on how awake he was. Sometimes he'd fuss and go back to sleep if he was very tired.
We are now on night 3, and each night he has slept a solid 10 hours. He wakes hungry, and then sleeps for another 2 hours, totaling 12 hours a night. Naps went from 45 minutes (with us in the room) to 1.5 to 2 hours!
My husband purchased me a baby monitor to help ME sleep through the first night, and I heard him be restless and roll around a bit, but only once did he cry in the 3 nights, and that was his pain cry (teething).
It's been a few months, and I wanted to come back to update, in case it helps anyone else. When DD was pretty much exactly 9m old (about 1.5m ago), we gave up finally on bed sharing (sadly) and had her first sleep at night in her car seat (which she was used to from many nap times) and then after about a week and half we transitioned her to a peapod baby sleeping tent. Our bedroom is separated into two mini-rooms by a set of glass doors, and we put her behind those - we could still see her, and hear her if she made any real noise, but it meant that she couldn't smell us, and she couldn't hear every time we rolled over in bed, and we couldn't hear her every peep, but that we would wake up if she actually fussed at all. After about a week of this, we even switched to my husband sleeping in the master BR with her behind the glass doors, and me sleeping in the baby room, since he is woken less by her non-crying noises, and he is not so stressed out by having to get her up when she is crying to soothe her.
We agreed that with this arrangement, we would not get her out of bed unless she actually started crying and getting agitated - if she just fussed a bit, or made noise, we'd give her the chance to try to go back to sleep on her own. Once we started this, she still woke up several times per night, but the frequency went down almost immediately from 8-10 times per night to 4ish times, and only one of those times did she actually need to BF. For about a week she continued to want to eat once in the middle of the night - then we started picking her up to feed her before we went to bed around 10pm-ish, and we worked on just rocking her back to sleep instead of BFing in the middle of the night when she got agitated, and this seemed to work after several days to a week - for about 3 weeks she woke pretty regularly twice per night but was able to put herself back to sleep within 20m each time and didn't need to BF between about 10pm-7am. Occasionally she went through that time without waking at all. The last two weeks she has gone back to wanting to BF once in the middle of the night, so my husband just brings her to me and we all pile into the bed in the BR while she eats and then she goes back to her tent in the master BR. Occasionally she has wanted to eat twice per night, but not very often. We've been thinking about trying to test whether she needs the middle of the night feeding by working on rocking her without BFing again to see if that can work, but I wasn't sure if she needed to eat more because of a growth spurt, so I haven't been in a rush to try this just yet - maybe in another week or so if she is still waking for night feedings then.
We never did try any CIO techniques. But we did discover that our DD really does make lots of fussy noises that aren't really crying (but can sometimes progress to crying, which is part of what makes it tricky), and that she often does this as she is falling asleep. So we try not to disturb her just because she is making noise. (I've definitely spent some time at the bedroom door with a book, listening to see if she is starting to shade into crying or if she is just gurgling, squawking, or whatever.). We found that if she started to get agitated, the best thing to do was to try to get her calm using a variety of methods (rocking, jiggling, BFing, back rubbing, singing, sliding the tent back and forth, etc) as quickly and calmly as possible, but that once or if she was making non-agitated noises, it was better to let her be. (But sometimes it is hard to tell which type of noise she is making, and then we sometimes guess wrong. More than once I thought she was just gurgling herself to sleep only to have her grow more agitated and start crying in earnest, and I felt horrible for not going in as soon as she made any noise; at the other end of the spectrum, yesterday after hearing several minutes of fussy noises during a nap and thinking that she was crying, I walked right into her bedroom, opening the door with a bang and talking in a loud cheerful voice, just to realize that she was actually asleep! - Luckily my noise didn't wake her...)
She never uses a pacifier anymore (we weaned her back around 6.5m), she is not swaddled, and as long as we time putting her to sleep well, we can usually get her down by BFing (although this can be skipped if we add in extra rocking/jiggling time), then doing some jiggling/rocking in arms for a few minutes, then putting her in the tent, maybe rubbing her back for a few minutes, and then zipping up the tent and closing the doors. Sometimes she does squawk for a few minutes, but we've found that sometimes she just wants to make noise as she settles and that there is a difference between her settling-down noises and her agitates noises that was very hard to decipher at first without waiting 10 minutes to see if she calmed down or not. Now we can usually tell the difference pretty easily, although sometimes we misjudge and go into her when she is actually asleep or wait out the squawking for 10 minutes only to realize that she is getting more upset and that we need to go in to sooth her. It is still tricky because sometimes we accidentally wait to long to put her to bed, or we try to put her into the tent too early in the routine, and then she needs a lot of soothing. But usually when we time things correctly (which we do maybe 70-95% of the time?), she can be fed and put down in a matter of minutes after she's done eating.
I'm sad that we are not bed sharing anymore - I had wanted to keep doing that for at least a few years (especially since she's been too active for cuddling since she was about 5-6m old and that was our only cuddle time!), but we just weren't getting any sleep that way, and for us, our current arrangement leaves all of us much happier and more well-rested. We really tried everything, trying to get her to sleep for longer stretches in the bed with us, but either she is super-sensitive, or I am, or both, and we were just waking each other up 8-10 times per night a lot of the time. I still think bedsharing was the best situation for us when she needed to eat all the time as a newborn, but sometime between about 4-8m, it became a problem more than a solution. I suppose we should have tried the baby tent several months earlier, but even if it could have gotten us better sleep earlier in her life, I really didn't want to resort to that until we had given everything else a trial opportunity so that we could know for certain that if bedsharing didn't work it wasn't because we didn't try.
I am hoping that we could all be back in the same room again sometime soon, but since my husband has been willing to be the one to cope with her wakings and to just bring her to me when she needs to eat, I've been unwilling to give up my new experience of sleeping decently again! (I don't know if I'm super sensitive or just a normal mom, but I really can't sleep if I hear any noise coming from her in the night, even when I know she doesn't need me just then!) I keep hoping that she'll get to a point where she basically does just sleep from 10pm to 7am or thereabouts, without making waking noises in between (and then we could all sleep in the same BR without having to sacrifice sleep!).
What I do like about our situation is that she does seem to be flexible at sleeping in different places - we have traveled with her and she can sleep with us, or in her tent, or in her carseat in a plane or a car, in the same room with us and in a room next door where she can't necessarily see us, and as long as we time naps and bedtimes well, she seems to sleep well in all of these different situations. I'm really pleased that we've finally found a way for all of us to get enough sleep (most nights, anyway) - it makes our time together in the daytime so much more enjoyable. So for anyone else dealing with repeated night wakings - I just wanted to give some hope! We did find solutions, it did take some time (months and months!) and we did have to give up bedsharing, which I didn't really want to do, but we also didn't have to use any CIO techniques, which I really would not have been comfortable doing. Our solutions may be totally different from whatever you may find works for your family, but hopefully we all find something that works!
Good luck to the rest of you, and thanks again to everyone who posted here!
DD born at 40w2d on 1/19/2011
DD born at 40w1d on 3/1/2014