When does sleep deprivation end? Need some encouragement from moms who have BTDT. - Mothering Forums

When does sleep deprivation end? Need some encouragement from moms who have BTDT.

Redmom's Avatar Redmom (TS)
10:53 AM Liked: 27
#1 of 14
12-20-2011 | Posts: 192
Joined: Jul 2011

Hi Moms

 

I have a nearly 13 month old DS who wakes every 1-2 hours.  My DH and I have tried lots of things but ultimately it has not improved so we have come to accept that this is how DS sleeps.  We do take turns co-sleeping with DS and one of us sleeping on the couch, then swapping through the night.

 

Some days/weeks I feel like I am handling this crazy sleep deprived existence OK.  Other days/week I feel so incredibly down and angry/resentful/upset/depressed about the hell that my life has become since becoming a mom to such a poor sleeper.

 

My question is....when does this craziness end?

 

Will it ever end?

 

Will my DS ever sleep....better....I'm not even talking about STTN, but just a decent amount of hours?

 

Will I ever feel better? 

 

In particular, the dark and negative thoughts I have are hard to deal with, since motherhood is "supposed" to be such a fulfilling experience.

 

I just can't see the light at the end of this horrid sleep deprived tunnel.

 

I'd love to hear some perspectives from any moms who have trodden this path before me.

 

Thanks in advance, this forum is one of the few things that has kept me sane.  I really appreciate the words of support.


cyclamen's Avatar cyclamen
09:15 PM Liked: 711
#2 of 14
12-20-2011 | Posts: 1,308
Joined: Jul 2005

I couldn't read this and not post.  You sound like you need some relief!  It does get better, but until it does... is there anyone you can call to come over and get up with the baby?  Someone who will just be there lovingly, even when baby cries?  (ANd you put on some noise cancelign headphones? or sleep at someone else's house/in amotel?  I never can sleep when DD is cryign.) A grandma or a good friend or an auntie?  Heck, a hired babysitter?  Human beings can only function so much on interrupted sleep. 

 

I know it sounds drastic, but if you are stretched to your thin threads, you cannot be the fully funcitoning parent your child needs.  Human beings, babies and their parents, need to have more support than the nuclear family can offer.  Your sleep is important - both for you and your baby.

 

When DD was about 15mo I began night weaning her and it helped immensely, but it was tough, and it was not 100%.  She is lately waking at 4am..... for the day..... ugh.


Daffodil's Avatar Daffodil
09:38 PM Liked: 304
#3 of 14
12-20-2011 | Posts: 3,578
Joined: Aug 2003

I bet things will be a lot better a year from now.  But if your kid is like mine, it may not be all that much better 6 months from now.  My DD was a similarly horrible sleeper.  At 18 months, she still rarely slept more than 2 hours at a stretch.  By the time she was nearly 2, she was starting to have some longer stretches of sleep, but it wasn't a huge improvement.  Just before she turned 2, I nightweaned her, and that definitely helped (and it was much, much easier than I expected it to be.)  The fifth night with no nursing, she slept through the night for the first time ever.  She didn't start sleeping through the night all the time, but she did start waking less often and gradually started to have more and more nights when she didn't wake at all.  By the time she was 2 1/2, she probably slept through the night half the time.  She moved into her own bed next to mine at 2 1/2, but maybe she would have slept through the night even more if she had been in bed with me.  She has always slept better when she sleeps with me.  When she was a baby/toddler, I occasionally experimented with not having her sleep in my bed to see if she might be less likely to wake up then, but it never helped.  She would still prefer to sleep with me, and whenever she does, she falls asleep more easily and has an easier time getting back to sleep if she wakes in the night.  She's almost 9 now, and she's still not a great sleeper.  Up until last year, she often woke at night and had trouble getting back to sleep.  This year, that has been much less of a problem, but she has a hard time falling asleep initially. 

 

 


D_McG's Avatar D_McG
06:52 AM Liked: 151
#4 of 14
12-21-2011 | Posts: 2,998
Joined: Jun 2006

Why don't you let us know what you've tried.  If you have already tried night weaning and it hasn't worked I would look for other medical causes at this point.


Redmom's Avatar Redmom (TS)
02:50 PM Liked: 27
#5 of 14
12-22-2011 | Posts: 192
Joined: Jul 2011

D McG what medical causes are you aware of?

 

DS is partially nightweaned, he nurses once or twice a night.  All other times we rock him back to sleep and co-sleep with him.

 

We have tried:-

 

- Using the Pantley method for progressively reducing rocking/nursing and placing him asleep on the bed drowsy but awake.  Until he was about 11 months he would scream unless he was placed in the bed completely asleep.  From 11 months onwards, I can place him on the bed awake and he now actually does fall asleep on the bed with me lying next to him and he rolls around for a few minutes then falls asleep, but this made no difference to the nightwakings.

 

- white noise

 

- introducing a lovey

 

- experimenting with earlier/later bedtimes

 

- experimenting with earlier/later naptimes.  He currently has 2 good naps per day.

 

- me eliminating dairy and gluten from my diet.

 

- experimenting with warmer/cooler room.

 

- using black out curtains

 

- using lullaby music

 

- having DS sleep in his crib and co-sleeping

 

- having DS co-sleep separately with me and my DH.

 

- offering him plenty to eat during the day

 

- offering him the breast plenty of times during the day as well as on demand

 

- ensuring that he gets plenty of play time during the day to wear him out

 

- we have a solid bedtime routine

 

- various other ideas from the Pantley book, eg using keywords when he falls asleep.


Phycologia's Avatar Phycologia
06:24 PM Liked: 11
#6 of 14
12-22-2011 | Posts: 33
Joined: Sep 2010

Waking 1-2 hours is usually a sign of a sleep association, but since you are able to put him down drowsy and have him do the falling asleep part on his own, it definitely sounds like it could be a medical condition. Have you had him tested for allergies or did you just try eliminating dairy and gluten? It could be soy or even more rarer allergies such as corn.

 

Hugs, mama. When my DH was still around he and I used to do is take 5 hour shifts, so that both of us would have an uninterrupted stretch of sleep every night. I wore earplugs and had a fan and a white noise machine when it was my turn to sleep, and I left him a bottle of pumped milk for the first feeding. I had to start going to bed at 8:00 (blue light blocking glasses in the evening helps with this!) but it really helped me keep my sanity. Are you doing something similar or are you swapping multiple times at night?


D_McG's Avatar D_McG
11:41 PM Liked: 151
#7 of 14
12-22-2011 | Posts: 2,998
Joined: Jun 2006


Quote:
Originally Posted by Phycologia View Post

Waking 1-2 hours is usually a sign of a sleep association, but since you are able to put him down drowsy and have him do the falling asleep part on his own, it definitely sounds like it could be a medical condition. Have you had him tested for allergies or did you just try eliminating dairy and gluten? It could be soy or even more rarer allergies such as corn.


Agree.  or some kind of sleep apnea?  tonsils?  What actually happens when he wakes.  Does he seem uncomfortable?  Have you tried completely nightweaning?  Cutting out the rocking?  When I was tackling my kids' sleep at night I tried to do nothing major to replace nursing.  I did more talking/humming.

 

I would probably 100% wean at night and look for a sleep study if that didn't at least make it more manageable.  

 


APToddlerMama's Avatar APToddlerMama
12:00 AM Liked: 805
#8 of 14
12-23-2011 | Posts: 2,130
Joined: Oct 2009

Nak so this will be short but It does get better.  My ds was this way and worse until we might weaned completely.  Also found out he had several food allergies we didn't know about.  I would definitely nightwean.  A rested mama is better than milk at night.  


Tattooed Hand's Avatar Tattooed Hand
01:43 PM Liked: 14
#9 of 14
12-28-2011 | Posts: 1,079
Joined: Mar 2009

Wow, sounds like you have tried everything. I have to say that my DD did what you are describing until we had her tested and realized she had leaky gut. We treated it with diet and some other measures like probiotic, glutamine, fish oil and bone broth and I have to say, within a week she was sleeping 5-7 hour stretches. She had also been really high needs during the day and this eased. The problem with leaky gut is that it's a moving target, as long as the child has this condition, many thing that they eat alot of, they become allergic to. So we have her tested every six months.

 

It's very hard. I have to journal her sleep, her poops, and her food. I also have to cook everything she eats and most things I eat because she is still pretty heavily breastfed. But you know what. Being able to sleep 5-7 hours at a time was worth it, both for the amount of sleep and her less agitated state. Like you I tried everything in the NCSS book and nothing worked. I did the IgG test and this told us alot. IT's got some problems, like if she hadn't eaten something, then she would not have shown a reaction to it. But I would encourage you to seek medical reasons.

 

But also, note: my DD also had other signs, like crazy bad digestions (gassiness, 4-6 poops a day, all loose), rashes, hyperactivity, other types of extreme behavior along with the bad sleep. She also slept less than 12 hours a day from when she was 5 months old and was clearly EXHAUSTED. When we fixed her diet, she began sleeping 11 hours at night and 2 hours at nap time at 13 months, more than she did at 4 months old. so before you deprive yourself of food, ask yourself if there are other problems to go along with it. If there aren't, still get it checked, but don't deprive yourself of food (on top of sleep) if there are no other signs...


zinemama's Avatar zinemama
02:27 PM Liked: 195
#10 of 14
12-28-2011 | Posts: 6,298
Joined: Feb 2002
I am so sorry. I know how you feel.

My advice is to nightwean completely. I waited till my son was around 18 months to nw, and I wish I'd done it earlier. After he nightweaned, we put him to sleep on his crib mattress, which was wedged into a space at the foot of our bed. He would wake once during the night, get into bed with us, then go back to sleep. I'm not sure how long that went on, but I didn't care if he woke up during the night that one time, as long as he went back to sleep.

My kids are 12 and 9 now, and I can assure you, this horrible sleep-deprivation will pass. It really will. You will look back on it and shudder one day, but you'll be getting a good night's sleep.
KarenEMT's Avatar KarenEMT
04:55 PM Liked: 19
#11 of 14
12-28-2011 | Posts: 1,438
Joined: Aug 2002

My DS#2 was just like this.  Nothing helped at all (I tried most of the things you tried) until I nightweaned him at 2.  I truly wish I had done it sooner!   He was actually pretty easy to nightwean and soon after would sleep 4-5 hours for his first stretch.  By the time he was 3 years old, he was finally sleeping through the night for 7 or 8 hours for 6 out of 7 nights and I felt semi-human again!

 

My son is now almost 10.  I don't even want to think about all those years of horrific sleep!   (my DH works nights and I had basically no help the entire time....)   I will tell you that my own health and physical and mental well-being have gone 100% to the better after I am finally getting some sleep. 

 

It WILL pass and I hoping you get some relief very, very soon!


LCBMAX's Avatar LCBMAX
01:38 PM Liked: 47
#12 of 14
12-30-2011 | Posts: 944
Joined: Jun 2008

I always WISHED I could find a medical-type reason, but for us it was just the way it was. I tried night weaning at I think 14 months, and got a really strong instinctive hit that it was the wrong time for my son. At 25 months, it was a piece of cake. I then moved out of the family bed for a year and my husband and son deepened an already close relationship while I recovered some energy (still not done with that, but I'm back in the bed.)

 

That said, my confidence that night nursing and co sleeping were the right things for my son were the only positives I had for that time. I was miserable, exhausted, depressed, in physical pain, blech blech blech. I don't second guess our choices, because I was very clear at the time that my son's needs came first, but wow did I take a big hit in my health and happiness. 

 

IF your son can fully night wean now, and you can feel fully on board with that, then definitely go for it. Then, put dad in the bed with baby til you're recovered enough. In our case, although my husband suffered some with sleep deprivation, it was never near the level that I got to, and my interrupted sleep was so much more interrupted than his, there was just no comparison. I'd spell him from time to time and a single night off was always enough to get him rested up to go back to the nighttime parenting.

 

If your son can't fully night wean now... god, I have nothing to offer. I just stuck it out and it was the hardest time of my short mothering career thus far. Hugs.


Redmom's Avatar Redmom (TS)
12:58 PM Liked: 27
#13 of 14
01-02-2012 | Posts: 192
Joined: Jul 2011

Thanks all for sharing your experiences and encouragement.

 

I may seek advice about allergies, although he does not show any other symptoms.

 

The strategy that DH and I use is that, when DS wakes, DH will rock him and if that does not work I will nurse him to sleep.  By the time it's 4am onwards, I end up nursing him back to sleep because it's the path of least resistance. 

 

So I guess we are on the path to nightweaning but DH LOVES LOVES LOVES the breast so I sense that he will not give it up easily.


LCBMAX's Avatar LCBMAX
11:36 AM Liked: 47
#14 of 14
01-03-2012 | Posts: 944
Joined: Jun 2008


Aw shucks, it's nice of your DH to love love love the breast, but hopefully that won't get in the way of you nightweaning your DS!

 

(darn these pesky abbreviations, right? tee hee.)

 

(One thing I have to offer about night weaning - for us I felt it had to be all me, no husband on night duty. My son had to hear that the "no milk" message was coming from the source, not an intermediary. I had to get totally behind the process because it meant me doing ALL the night time parenting during the process - but then I was free. It took about a month or less. And it occurs to me that if your husband is rocking, and then you still have to show up with the milk, you're both awake when perhaps just one of you could do the job, preferably not you.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Redmom View Post

 

The strategy that DH and I use is that, when DS wakes, DH will rock him and if that does not work I will nurse him to sleep.  By the time it's 4am onwards, I end up nursing him back to sleep because it's the path of least resistance. 

 

So I guess we are on the path to nightweaning but DH LOVES LOVES LOVES the breast so I sense that he will not give it up easily.


 

 


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