My almost 9 month old baby's sleep has gone down the crapper. It started falling apart about 5 - 6 weeks ago. I'm aware of the Wonder Weeks concept and thought "no biggie, she's 34 weeks. The book says this will last until 37.5 weeks. It will all be better then." Well fast forward to my dd being 39 weeks and I actually think it's gotten worse the last week. Before this all happened, she was taking 2-3 pretty good naps between 45 min - 2 hours. At night, she would fall asleep relatively easy, wake up 45 mins in and about 2/3 of the time we could resettle her and actually be grown ups. The other third she would be awake for awhile, and we just rolled with it (at the time, this frustrated me, but I would give ANYTHING to have this "normal" back). Nighttime usually wasn't too bad - we cosleep and she often would nurse around 10, 2 and 4. She has always nursed or been rocked to sleep.
I used to be able to nurse her on the bed, then slip away and let her sleep. I can't do that now. I have to lie down with her and let her nurse for the entire nap, or she will wake up. Her naps are much shorter now as well. Night time is what is so hard though. We get her to sleep, put her in her baby hammock (like always) and then she will wake 30 mins in. When we try to get her back to sleep by rocking the hammock, it will sometimes work, but as soon as the hammock stops bouncing she will wake right up. We can rock that stupid thing for 25 minutes, and she will still wake up once it stops moving. Inevitably, I end up nursing her back to sleep in our bed, and then I'm stuck there the rest of the night because if I leave she'll wake up. During the night she nurses more frequently - hourly or every two hours
I've also noticed that she is so much more wakeful in her sleep than she used to be. She will nurse, then flop around, then nurse, then flop around. Once she falls asleep, she will startle and open her eyes much more often than before. It's like she wants to sleep, but can't get there.
If I wear her in the evening, she will resettle easily when she wakes up and I can keep doing whatever I'm doing. Problem is, she's a chunky baby. She gets heavy. Part of me wonders if it's related to separation anxiety, since she will sleep much better if I'm next to her. She doesn't show signs of separation anxiety in other ways though...
My worry is that this is the new normal. Dear God, please don't let this be the new normal. I know there is the 9 month sleep regression, but since hers started early shouldn't it be done by now??? Mamas, did your babies go back to "normal" after their 9 month sleep regressions or did it completely change their sleeping habits? Also, how long did it last?
I'm not familiar with Wonderweeks in particular but I do know that there are major developmental hurdles between 9 and 12 months and it can be a very unsettled time, until locomotion (walking) helps to tire them out a bit more.
I developed a slogan when my kids were little that helped me through the insanity related to the 'new normal.' It was "a new baby every day." I really think they grow and change so quickly when they are little that it is impossible to ever think that any pattern is going to be how it goes 'from now on.' Until they are teenagers!!
So some of it is kind of cognitive restructuring for us. We have to kind of surrender to a new way of being. Babies like to nurse a lot, not in the way the books describe it, but more like you are experiencing it. It will not last forever. When she is older you can begin to carve out a pattern that works better for you. But she's very very little!
Surrender! I don't know if this is helpful or not.......
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Alas, it's so true! New baby every day! I just feel like I keep waiting for her sleep to get better, and it will and I will be SO happy, and the something will happen and it will fall apart. It's tough when you get a glimpse of having a "normal" life again and then it all changes. I guess I just need to roll with it. :-) She is pulling up and cruising along furniture now - maybe she will start to walk soon and it will help tire her out, like you said.... We will see....
Thanks for the response. :-)
My daughter is 28 months old now, and we've had a number these setbacks. I understand how you feel. You get to a new standard of "good sleep" and when she slips from that standard, it's frustrating and angering all over again, even though it's nowhere near as bad as even the good nights from a previous phase. If it's any consolation, I do feel pretty well over my frustrations with her sleep now. Even her bad nights at this point are pretty manageable. So, it won't last too much longer on that timescale.
For the present, you didn't mention where she's at with teeth. My daughter didn't have any at that age, but the sleeping pattern you describe sounds just like my daughter when she's having major teething pain. Have you tried giving one of the homeopathic remedies? Or ibuprofen, even? I know many people don't like giving drugs if it's not necessary, but you really may be kicking yourself if you suddenly see a tooth sticking out of her mouth and suddenly realize that she was in pain all this time.
It's so frustrating when your "go to" strategies stop working! It may be a sign that your little one is ready to start falling asleep on her own. There are lots of different methods of sleep coaching. The most infamous is "cry it out". I couldn't stomach that for my kids and went with a much gentler approach that allowed me to stay in the room with them as they learned the skill of falling asleep on their own. I ended up getting help from a sleep coach. It worked so great that I trained to become a sleep coach myself.
I would suggest that you start to separate the nursing from falling asleep. Still include it in your bedtime routine, just don't let her fall asleep on the breast. Get her to the point that she is satisfied, drowsy, but still awake. Then put her down in the bed or crib. Let her practice putting herself to sleep, but stay close by to offer a gentle touch and verbal encouragement.
Hope this helps!
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The nap problems may also contribute to night time issues. Around 10 months my DD went on a nap strike. What helped was blackout drapes and white noise. They also help her at night; and really she stays asleep with a fan's noise MUCH better than in silence. I hope this stage passes quickly for you.
Thanks ladies! I really hadn't thought teething pain could be the problem but maybe it is. She has cut the bottom two and the top two so far. She is a sensitive little teether and the top two were pretty much awful. I had to give her way more ibuprofen than I was comfortable with, but no one got any sleep unless we doped her every night. Indeed, what she's doing now is pretty much what she does during teething - the restlessness, inability to fall asleep, etc. The constant nursing is new though. She also wakes often crying with teething, and she hasn't done that as much lately -though we did have a few nights where she woke up crying during the night. :-( Maybe I will try giving her ibuprofen tonight and just see if it helps.... It would just feel better knowing there was an identifiable reason for the sleep crappiness. I guess there already is one and it's called "being a baby" but I'm hoping for a more concrete reason. ;-)
Jennifer D- Yes, sleep is so tricky and frustrating. I'm glad the sleep coaching helped you! I'm not really up for teaching her to fall asleep on her own. I've tried a few times and am unable to do it without tears on her part, and I'm not really wanting to go there. Generally, I like nursing or rocking her to sleep. It's easiest for me, and I'm a bit of a lazy mama and do what's easiest pretty much all the time. :-) Thanks for the advice though.
JenniferD - welcome to Mothering!
Thanks for sharing your very helpful information and advice. Unfortunately I had to remove your link as it is inappropriate to post to direct traffic to your site or page. Hope you understand. Thanks much and we look forward to seeing you become an active contributing member. :)
Well, I tried the iburofen and it sort of helped and sort of didn't. She slept longer before her first wake up (an hour instead of 30 - 45 mins) but she was still pretty restless while I was trying to get her to fall asleep the second time - rolling around and flopping over and such. I'm not sure what it tells me, other than I guess it's not 100% teething related. Good info to have, nonetheless.
In other news, yesterday I was able to nurse her down, then unlatch and leave her napping (haven't been able to do that in awhile, I've had to nurse the length of her naps). Her first nap was only about 35 mins - shorter than before this thing hit - but the next nap as 2 hours! Glory be! ;-) She hasn't had one that long - without me laying next to her - in a long time. Hopefully we're on the tail end of this thing. Night time still stunk last night, but I am making peace with that, so there you go. :-)
I was reading that around 9 months to maybe 13 (?) babies spend more time in light sleep, perhaps having to do with his/her brain learning/preparing to learn to walk. I know that's not a solution, but it's what's keeping me sane with a 9 month old! So, maybe it will be the new normal, but at least it could end when your baby learns to walk.
Sounds like your baby nurses to sleep all the time, which I am so torn about with mine. Why is something so natural a sleep association to get rid of? Maybe if you do the "Pantley Pull Off" it will help? My little stinker doesn't fall asleep from nursing half the time and I pat him instead. Last night I had to lay him down gently over and over when he started crawling around and rubbing his eyes instead. I also sing sometimes, but I realize that can be stimulating.
I feel your pain! Good luck with everything you try and do try to take a nap.