need some encouragement with cosleeping/night waking - Mothering Forums
Co-sleeping and the Family Bed > need some encouragement with cosleeping/night waking
ramonaknits's Avatar ramonaknits 08:18 AM 10-04-2011

Hello there fellow sleepy moms. My sweet boy is almost 7 months old and the absolute joy of my life. I'm starting to feel, though, like I'm going to go into some sort of a sleep deprived freak out sometime soon. Or maybe that already happened last night after I was up every hour and started crying my eyes out! Thankfully I have a supportive partner who sacrificed his last 2 hours of sleep to get up with our very much awake son at 4:30am.


That being said...I know that it's normal for a 7 month old to wake often at night - despite all of the unsolicited advice from friends, family, and strangers about how we need to let him "cry it out." We cosleep, with our son ending up in bed with us most of the night. We have a "cosleeper" type setup next to our bed (which is currently on the floor because we're staying at my partner's parents house while we finish up work on our place - so his little bed is on the floor as well). He goes to sleep just fine at night and is usually able to stay asleep for about 4 hours at first - although that varies some - but then wakes about every 1-2 hours after that until anywhere between 4-6, when he wakes up for an hour or two and then goes back to sleep for a couple of hours. Usually when he awakes there's lots of thrashing and once or twice a night he'll cry out, sometimes needing to wake up to stop crying...and then we're all up :) i breastfeed, so there's a lot of sucking...lots. Usually he thrashes to root around and won't settle until he's latched on. But then sometimes he just thrashes like I'm in his way and then settles.


He's not the world's best napper, but he does take a couple a day, usually about an hour each. He has a pretty consistent bedtime, but I am going to try to get better about the routine. Maybe having my partner take over some of the bedtime stuff would help.


All that being said, he is going through some developmental stuff right now. He started crawling before 6 months and he's already standing up with only one hand for support (he also does this really cute dancing thing when I hold his hands), so I know that he has a lot of pent up energy at night and that can be contributing to the restlessness. I'm pretty sure that we've ruled out food allergies because he doesn't have any of these issues during the day.


I'm going to try setting up a better bed for him and maybe getting up with him when he wakes to try to nurse and rock him back to sleep. I'm hoping that he'll get more milk per waking this way and perhaps sleep a little better. I'd take 2-3 hours at a time at this point.


I'm just wondering if anyone has some advice or even just some encouragement. I know that this too shall pass, but I am so tired and feeling discouraged.

gitanamama's Avatar gitanamama 11:00 AM 10-04-2011

Hi ramonaknits---another sleepy mama here! Unfortunately I can't offer any advice, just commiseration. My 17 month old still wakes every 1.5-2 hours at night and I'm definitely feeling like a sleep-deprived zombie. We co-sleep and my little guy just seems to love nursing (he still nurses every hour or two during the day as well.) I'm feeling so exhausted and burnt out that I'm considering night weaning him, although I know it will most likely be a huge struggle. I've half-heartedly tried before but it was so traumatic for both of us--even though I was using the most gentle technique I could think of---that I gave up and re-opened the "all night buffet". It's a really tricky situation-- I want to give my little guy all the connection and nursing he desires but the lack of sleep leaves me feeling impatient, grumpy, and unable to mother with the sort of compassion and energy I'd like. Not sure what to do! Sorry if my response isn't very encouraging--hopefully other mamas will have some positive advice. Hang in there!

vegrunr's Avatar vegrunr 06:56 PM 10-04-2011

I just want to give some encouragement as well.  I have a 13 month old who wakes every 2-3 hours all night long.  He always needs to be nursed back to sleep.  I thought by a year this would be over but there is no end in sight.  I also tried nightweaning using Dr. Jay Gordon's plan and though he didn't nurse as much he was still waking just as often and it would take him longer to get back to sleep so I, too, opened the all-night buffet again.  I am also at a loss as to what to do but feel that something has to be done.  I am sooo tired and the thought of having another one seems impossible at this point (though I know someday we'll be ready).  I just tell myself that the next one has to be a better sleeper. 


We have done the consistent bedtime routine, nap routine, etc for a while now and have not seen any changes.  We do try and have a "quieter time" before bed and my son doesn't watch TV which I have heard from others can affect sleeping sometimes.  My lil guy also is not a great napper and is already down to one 1-2 hr nap/day and has been for a few months. 


Sorry I can't be of more help, just know that you're not the only one!  I have read most of No Cry Sleep Solution and like the ideas in it but I haven't really been able to consistently apply them so can't say whether they work or not (for us, anyway). Good luck mama, hang in there.

twinpossible's Avatar twinpossible 09:46 PM 10-04-2011

I have co-sleeping twin girls who sleep for 4-5 hours then wake every 15-30 minutes (but not always at the same time). That is a normal night. To get them to sleep for 4-5 hours with out waking I tried an old wives tale and crossed my fingers for good results. I alternate feedings bottle and breast and at night the bottles have organic rice cereal. The extra calories fill up their bellies and they sleep for a good block of time. If he is that active he might just be hungry like my little ones. I hope this helps, lack of sleep is SO hard!

anelen's Avatar anelen 05:01 PM 10-06-2011

Babies who are breastfed sleep less because their bellies don´t fill up like formula fed babies. We had to stop cosleeping at 3 months because no one was sleeping! and bought a Chicco play yard to have our son sleep in our room but with the MamaDoo Kids mattress topper to make it more comfortable as we were having some sleep problems (the mattress that comes with play yards is hard as a rock). We bought the play yard and the topper because they are both portable and we can also use it when visiting friends or traveling. 

BabySmurf's Avatar BabySmurf 06:14 AM 10-07-2011

Wouldn't it be nice to just have a "wonder baby" that slept awesome?? I know you probably don't want to hear it, but what you are describing sounds pretty normal to me.  And actually the fact that you get a 4 hour stretch of sleep sounds wonderful!!! There are a couple things you could try though.  Here are a few things that I have heard work for other people: (none have worked to get my DS to sleep longer though, although after the 8-10 month sleep regression, my DS is now usually sleeping in at least two hour chunks...for the most part.  It's amazing what I consider a *good* nights sleep now.)


Make sure that DC is getting enough food during the day - they are getting busier and less likely to get a full meal in.  If he is eating solids, try increasing the amount of protein that he gets during the day.


Make sure you allow him to burn off all of that energy during the day.  I think my DS sleeps better after days where he has been able to "run" around, particularly when he's been around other babies.


Try letting him sleep in another room if possible - it may be that you or your DP are accidently waking up the baby....or, when you can, try side carring a crib or adding another mattress next to yours.  This set up can allow DC a little more space to get comfortable at night.


These are all fixes that you should be able to implement relatively quickly, and you can always go back to normal if it doesn't work.


Aaaannnnd, at some point you just have to accept that you have a restless sleeper and not stress too much about what you can do to change it.  Sometimes you just have to let them hit this milestone on their own time.  It does sound like your DC is smack in the middle of some developmental things, so it may get better for you once that passes. 

I can totally relate to what you are going through though.  My DS is 11 months old, and he seems to be starting to sleep a little better.  Although these episodes rarely last longer for a couple weeks.......


ramonaknits's Avatar ramonaknits 06:48 AM 10-08-2011

Hey everyone! We've tried out a few new things (and re-tried some old stuff) for the past couple of nights, and we're all looking and feeling a little better.


Iset up a different bed for him next to ours (it's a super comfy pallet of blankets and his sheepskin) that is enclosed on all sides so he doesn't crawl out of the bed in his sleep (which he has been known to try). He loves the new setup!


I also noticed that when he was waking every hour or so at night that he would often times just nuzzle into my breast, suck for a second, and fall back to sleep. So the other night I tried wearing a clean t-shirt to bed (I usually just sleep shirtless because he was waking to bf so often) to hopefully mask the milk smell, and it seemed to work pretty well. I tried sleeping the old way - shirtless - last night, and we all slept well until about 3am when the thrashing and nuzzling started again. So I think I might be on to something as well.


My partner and I have started a new bedtime routine, with my partner getting him to sleep. We tried it a few times before, but our little guy only wanted to go down if he was nursing or being held by me. It usually just ended up with a lot of screaming and an extra hour tagged on to bedtime. It seems to be working a little better now, though. I bf him until he's pretty relaxed and getting to the point of just sucking and not eating. Then I hand him over and he goes into his bed. My partner rubs his back and sings to him until he goes down, which sometimes includes some crying, and sometimes doesn't. This seems to help with what he expects when he wakes at night.


I tried feeding him solids later in the day to fill his stomach, but after about a week of that (prior to my posting on here), it seemed like that was making him pretty gassy and restless at night. I've actually cut out solids for a couple of days to see if that was contributing at all, but we're going to re-introduce them today.


I know that this is all normal, but I was just feeling a little nutty and needed to hear that I wasn't the only one! Thanks for the support. I'm not expecting a quick fix, just maybe a couple of weeks of better sleep before we start a new sleep cycle... orngtongue.gif

gitanamama's Avatar gitanamama 10:14 AM 10-10-2011

Good to hear Ramonaknits--I hope things continue to improve for you guys sleepwise!