bedtime is driving me crazy! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 09-15-2011, 08:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all,

 

I'm looking for some encouragement and maybe ideas. I have an almost 4 mo son and we co-sleep (he's in bed with us - he was not into the co-sleeper next to the bed.) Bedtimes are nightmarish. Here's what our day looks like:

 

around 8 am - wake up. 

around 9:30 - nap.

 

After his nap (which varies in length), he's awake for 1 to 1.5 hours before going down for another nap. This pattern continues all day. Sometimes he has short naps and ends up having 4-5 naps throughout the day because he doesn't have much tolerance for being awake longer than 1.5 hours (although sometimes lately he's making it to 2 hours.) 

 

About 1.5-2 hours after what I think should be his last nap (usually wakes up around 7), we go to bed. Before he's too tired we take a bath together...he loves this. Then I'll nurse him. He goes to sleep easily every time. This is usually around 9 but sometimes closer to 10.

 

Then - this is where it gets difficult - he wakes up. He thinks he's going down for one last nap rather than bedtime. This is pretty much true no matter what I do - even if I nurse him in bed and stay there with him (although this SOMETIMES works to keep him asleep, it's not fullproof.) If I don't nurse him in bed - say, I nurse him in the rocking chair and he falls asleep there, he'll wake up, either before I lay him down while he's still sucking or certainly if I lay him down (even if I lay down with him.)

 

Then, when he wakes up, he generally has a full awake cycle (1.5 hours) before being ready for sleep again. Last night, though, he went to sleep at 8:30, woke up at 9, and was awake til midnight. I have no idea why he wouldn't go to sleep before then - he was exhausted out of his mind but nothing worked. Not nursing, not rocking, not walking around with him in a wrap. We finally took a second bath and then he calmed down enough to nurse. We went to bed at 12:30.

 

I started back to work last week (thankfully only part time, 12 hours a week, from home...not bad but still - I can't nap with him every day anymore) and I am going crazy with this bedtime "routine." I am SO TIRED and a lot of nights I just bawl my eyes out while I'm walking him to sleep at midnight. My husband is awesome and does as much as he can but he has to get up at 6 am and I don't so...

 

Is there anything I can do to help him stay asleep when he goes down at 9? Or is this just a phase I have to ride out? For awhile I got through it by telling myself that 9 pm was his "first bedtime" and I just planned to have a second one later. But now that I'm working, and I'm exhausted, I'm not handling that as well. It also used to be okay because he was sleeping 6-8 hours once he finally went down, but I think we're in the 4 month sleep regression now so he's generally waking up more like 3 hours after he finally goes down. 

 

Help! Or at least tell me it won't last forever...

 

If you read this far, thanks. :)

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#2 of 7 Old 09-15-2011, 05:58 PM
 
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What you do is way different than what went on in my house. My children never "went down" for naps or bed. They didn't lay down and sleep by themselves. The would have mini-naps in my arms after nursing. They would sleep on my chest or in the sling. The didn't have andy kind of schedual except we woke up about the same time every morning.

 

We have skin problems and the kids could only take one or two baths a week. That is all most kids need. Maybe all those baths are stimulating the baby instead of calming the baby. If you are crying hormones are going through your milk to the baby. You don't have to do any bedtime routine. I never did.

 

I suggest not letting him nap so much laying alone during the day. Some babies don't nap at all.

Don't do a bedtime routine if it is difficult for you.

Watch tv, read, hang-out, what ever you want in the evening and let him be with you and let him fall asleep when he is ready in your arms.

Take him to bed with you.

If he wakes at night make it boring - no lights, don't do fun stuff. You can condition his sleep to one calm music cd. When he wakes play the music. I had my grandson conditioned to fall asleep to Goodbye My Lover by James Blunt.


: Grandmother , 3 Adult Sons

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#3 of 7 Old 09-15-2011, 06:28 PM
 
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The wonderful thing about sleep at this age is that it's always changing!  It sounds like it's taking your LO a little longer than some to "settle" into a pattern where night time is for sleeping and day time is for being awake - his biological rhythm still has that wakeful period in what we consider the middle of the night.

 

One thing you might try is when he wakes up around 7, try soothing him back to sleep in whatever your normal way is.  Maybe he is actually ready to start night time sleep at an earlier time?  I know around that age my LO started wanting an earlier bedtime.

 

But even if you don't change anything, I bet it will change on it's own in a few more weeks.  I know that seems like a long time when you're sleep deprived but a year from now you'll hardly remember any of this.  Hang in there, you're doing a great job!!


Mumma to DS July 2010 and expecting another baby boy late July 2012 belly.gif

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#4 of 7 Old 09-16-2011, 08:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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foreverinbluejeans - thanks for your input. I know babies don't need naps every day - my little guy was born at home and didn't have a bath for almost a month! But after a couple of baths we realized he LOVED the bath. I know a lot of babies get stimulated by a bath, but it seems to have a calming effect on him - sometimes if he is super fussy it is the only thing that calms him. He has nursed and even fallen asleep in the bath! So we're only doing it because he loves it so much, it gets good skin-to-skin time with mom, and seems to make him drowsy and calm before bed. 

 

As far as naps, when I say "goes down" for a nap I just mean "falling asleep." Sometimes I lay him down, but sometimes he sleeps at the breast or in the wrap. I do notice that he sleeps better and longer if I lay him down, so generally that's what I do. I know some babies don't take a lot of naps or need much in the way of naps, but my little guy does - when he has good naps he's happier. As I mentioned, he doesn't have a lot of tolerance for being awake - after about an hour he starts getting cranky and tired. We don't follow a schedule but since he wakes up around the same time every day and has consistent awake times (1-1.5 hours) every day ends up looking roughly the same, the only variable being how long his naps are. 

 

Also, he doesn't just "fall asleep in my arms when he's ready" - this is a baby who needs help getting to sleep. Sometimes he'll nurse to sleep (my personal favorite), but his personal favorite seems to be walking to sleep in a wrap or mei tai. Very rarely he'll let us rock him to sleep. At a wedding reception recently I watched a friend's baby of similar age just "fall asleep in her arms" while she was sitting. My little guy would never do that...he's too high strung. Her baby is very chill and also doesn't nap much at all but is happy. Babies are different, and my baby is not like that! 

 

To reiterate, it's not our "routine" that's difficult, it's the fact that he wakes up just when I am ready to go to bed. :)

 

LittleBirdy - your post was very encouraging! I think you might be right about him needing to go down earlier. I'll try that. And you're right...sleep changes so much at this age. He was born three weeks early so maybe he's a little late to the biological rhythm party. 

 

Of course yesterday after I posted this, he went to sleep around 9 in the wrap, woke up about half an hour later while still in the wrap. We transferred to bed where I nursed him back to sleep and we all went to bed by 10. That's a bedtime routine I could handle! I was rather surprised he actually went back to sleep while nursing...usually once he wakes up he's UP. But I'll take it where I can get it. 

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#5 of 7 Old 09-16-2011, 10:57 AM
 
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My baby is the same age and just recently organized/consolidated her naps during the day so now on a good day it's pretty predictable.  a morning, afternoon nap (both long-ish) and then a short nap around dinner time. 

 

I think your DS's bedtime is pretty late?  DD goes to bed at 7 and then sleeps until 7 (not straight through or even close.  waking to nurse every few hours but it's definitely her nighttime.  no extended waking).

 


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#6 of 7 Old 09-16-2011, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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D_McG - Bedtime has always been pretty late with this little one. When he was a newborn we were in bed by 10. Around 6-8 weeks is when he started this going-to-sleep-then-waking-up-for-a-full-awake-cycle thing. Other than the first couple weeks when he was sleeping ALL the time, he's never slept more than 10 hours at night. Usually more like 8-9. He just doesn't seem to need as much nighttime sleep as some babies. But also, until recently, he was sleeping 6-8 hours without waking so maybe it was just really refreshing sleep? I don't know. I can try an early bedtime, but I don't know if he'll go for it...we can see. The pessimistic side of me says this would result in an even more long drawn out bedtime process, but...we'll see. 

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#7 of 7 Old 09-16-2011, 12:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilddreamergrl View Post

D_McG - Bedtime has always been pretty late with this little one. When he was a newborn we were in bed by 10. Around 6-8 weeks is when he started this going-to-sleep-then-waking-up-for-a-full-awake-cycle thing. Other than the first couple weeks when he was sleeping ALL the time, he's never slept more than 10 hours at night. Usually more like 8-9. He just doesn't seem to need as much nighttime sleep as some babies. But also, until recently, he was sleeping 6-8 hours without waking so maybe it was just really refreshing sleep? I don't know. I can try an early bedtime, but I don't know if he'll go for it...we can see. The pessimistic side of me says this would result in an even more long drawn out bedtime process, but...we'll see. 



that is normal but then it (typically) gets earlier.


DS (6.06), DD (10.08), DD (05.11).

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