Dear fellow parents,
I have a wonderful 10 month old boy that is a night nurser and whom, most of the time, still needs to be rocked to go to sleep.
Issue #1. While my husband and I have nurtured his sleep needs, we have recently begun feeling burned out. The every 2-3 hour night wakes have taken their toll for several reasons. We are often awakened from a dead sleep to our crying baby, As a result, many time I cannot get back to sleep and am left wide awake in the early morning hours. Most of the time he cannot sooth himself back to sleep. By the way, he shares our bed. I sort of feel guilty for complaining about this because, after all, he still is a baby. Has anyone experienced this issue? Please share.
Issue #2. As our baby is growing rocking him has become exhausting. Sometimes he is rocked for 15 to 20 minutes before he is asleep. When he was 9 lbs. that was not an issue but now that he is heavier this routine is starting to cause chronic pain in various parts of the arms and lower back. Has anyone experienced this issue? Please share, we feel helpless.
Could he be overtired? How much sleep is he getting overnight and for naps? DD always has a worse time falling/staying asleep if she's overtired so naps are crucial for us.
So my suggestions are
- dark room and white noise
- consistent naps to make sure he isn't overtired
- take advantage of nursing lying down and nursing to sleep.
Good luck, I hope you find something helpful.
We went through a rocking-to-sleep-only phase with my dd. I think she was 20 pounds by 5 months old, so I understand how taxing it can be on your arms/back. 15-20 minutes of rocking doesn't sound like that much compared to how long it would take my dd sometimes. Are you using just a rocking chair? Can you mix it up to give some relief to your different muscles? Some ideas to try...
1. Various pillows to prop arms on to make holding baby in the rocking chair easier and to mix up arm positions.
2. Using a baby carrier while dancing... the rocking step of a waltz works like rocking. Dd LOVED to fall asleep waltzing either in arms or in a carrier.
3. Different rocking chairs with different armrests to mix it up... we used a vintage folding rocker and a porch swing some in addition to the glider. Also a desk chair that swivels might be enough, just going side-to-side a little.
4. A baby swing... we didn't often use "contraptions", but the swing was a last resort sometimes when my arms gave out. Usually dd preferred to be in my arms but the swing worked when she was overtired.
I'll try to remember other things we did, but I think I've blocked a lot of it out! As for the frequent night waking, my dd did that for a long time... she would wake up to breastfeed, then wake up because she had to pee, then again when the diaper got uncomfortable, would go back to sleep but then wake again during light sleep because of the wet diaper. If you're not already, you could try changing wet diapers during the night instead of waiting till morning. You could try offering the potty during the night when he wakes if you're up for trying elimination communication. Both of those things helped us get through various phases of frequent night waking... there were other phases for frequent night waking too, like growth spurts and teething (which led to more night feedings/wet diapers) and developmental phases like learning to crawl and walk. But these phases will pass.
It's really hard for me to fall asleep after being awakened from a dead sleep too... I thought I was going to go crazy getting up 5 times a night to pee when I was pregnant this last time. Usually I can fall asleep pretty well the first time or two, then I can use breathing and relaxation to help fall asleep another time or two, but after the 3rd or 4th time and it's after 3 or 4 in the morning, I might as well just get up and do something because there's no way I can relax after that.
I appreciate your feedback...
Skycheattraffic- I certainly should not be complaining given I'm dealing with this at 10 months and not 18. I wish you luck as well.
I nurse him to sleep that is working great and when he used to wake up in the middle of the night to 'hunger-nurse' that was no problem as I sometimes did not even awaken myself; however, most of the night-nursing is now associated with habit - I am sure, because he nods off a minutes later.
As for naps, in the earlier months we struggled with those but having realized what you mentioned ' dark room and white noise' that problem has, for the most part, been taken care of.
Treehugz - I think you are correct when we consider the reasons why something else could be happening the reasons are numerous. The frustrating thing is that at 7 months he and I tool a trip to see my mother in a different State and ever since I've returned from that trip this constant night waking began. Prior to that trip he was waking up one a night to feed! I think one of the things that also could be happening is separation anxiety because he used to stick like glue to me while sleeping and recently I've noticed that he's sleeping more separately. It's just a speculation.
As for rocking chairs, we never did that; just the waltz move or what I would call for us balance's :)
p.s I am reading the Sears 'Baby Sleep Book' and it is making feel more accepting.
Look at the bright side... you and dh will have fabulous calf muscles!!
That sounds like good mommy insight about the trip and the separation anxiety... my dd was pretty high needs and very attached to me from day 1. We went through a couple of separation anxiety phases too that were triggered by specific incidents. Good for you for listening to your instincts!