That said, I need to rant a bit. Tonight it took over TWO hours to get him to sleep and like all nights I don't know when the first of at least 4 wake-ups will be. Today I let him take a really late nap, AND he is getting a tooth. I completely understand those factors. But I hear people say that their babies aren't sleeping well b/c they're getting a tooth, or are sick, etc. And they say it in a way that you know that poor sleep is not an everyday occurence at their house. Well, it is VERY hard to have a lot of compassion when EVERY night is a crapshoot still. It's all just varying degrees of bad.
I have one friend whose daughter had some of the same issues, but sometimes I wonder if they really were like my DS's. It feels like others with children this age have turned some corners in the sleep department. Of course, DS sleeps WAY better than he did as a newborn, but I just wonder WHEN he will sleep for more than 3-4 hours? We've had ONE stretch of 6 hour sleep in 12 months. And that was when DS was about 4 mo.
I know a lot of you probably have similar stories, or maybe my DS's sleep doesn't even seem so poor to you. But I am feeling really low and need some encouragement. I don't feel like the best mom when I have to walk away from my son b/c he is making me so angry b/c he won't settle down (we let him play on his own until he tuckered himself out tonight). My confidence is at an all-time low. I feel like my mothering is the worst at night. I don't have a chance to be that compassionate, loving, understanding mom when DS is STILL so high-needs.
Help! TIA for any words of wisdom. And thanks for letting me rant
But is it possible he'd sleep more soundly if he weren't aware of you in bed?
Also, do you have a night-time routine? Snack, brush teeth, story or sing or rock, kiss daddy, kiss mommy, and into bed?
Both of our children let us know they're tired at night by acting like they've just snorted cocaine. When they start climbing walls, we know they're moving just to keep from falling over. Does this make sense?
Some kids just won't sleep more than your ds is sleeping now at one stretch. That has to be hard to hear, I'm sure. But I'd be all for trying some alternatives to see if you can't all be more comfortable.
Good luck and get some rest, mama!
He's been wired differently since birth. I know this. It's just really hard to experience many crazy nights and feel like we're back in the thick of things again when some small portions of this should be getting easier, right? I guess my feelings of being a bad mom at this point just color everything.
I can't offer any advice you probably didn't try, my dd just grew out of that stage and finally can go to sleep on her own without me staying with her. It does get better. I think the smarter they are the more their minds are whirling around and the harder it is for them to settle down. It's just a personality type. And of course teething doesn't help - try some homeopathic remedies like Camilia (Boiron).
I'm sending strength vibes your way- then again theres always mommy valium!!
PS - one thing that kept things together for us was to keep our room dark - and the areas surrounding our room so that there was no temptation to play. If she saw lights and toys then she was more awake and treated the sleep she got like a power nap.
Maybe when you are *in the moment* you can remind yourself it won't be this way forever....that always helps me alot.
It also helps me to remind myself that I am *choosing* to deal with it and it makes me proud. You could stick him in his crib and let him cry it out....mainstream parenting boards talk about it all the time...even when the baby cries to the point of vomitting....they stick it out and in a couple days they have baby that goes to sleep on his own AND sleeps through the night. OMG!!! Obviously you/we could never do that..so when my ds is crying and is dead tired and won't sleep and I am ready to just drop from exhaustion I remind myself of the options and the kind of parent I *don't* want to be....and it gives me the strength to keep cuddling and trying...and in no time at all my ds is finally asleep and not only can I go to sleep....but I can live with myself. So, when your ds is draining you and you are about to loose it....remind yourself that you are *choosing* this type of parenting and be proud of it...your an AWESOME mom!!!!!
Obviously you are compassionate, loving, understanding mom...check out some mainstream parenting boards and you will see just how lucky your ds has it.....and it's OK to walk away to gather your thoughts and regain energy!!!
Take care....and your doing a great job!!!!
Chicklet-I TOTALLY agree with the smart thing kinda keeping their minds whirling. My DS does not miss a beat at all. He is like the energizer bunny with brains. And I am convinced that he knew I was going to blow my stack tonight and I was trying desperately not to let on to him. He just had this look in his eye and it broke my heart. I need all the strength I can muster some nights. I wish we had groups of women IRL that could just surround you at least 1x/week and let you know that you're doing an okay job.
kindred spirit-Even though I know in my head that I give more to DS than lots of people do (like the CIO folks), I sometimes wonder what I'm doing wrong. The more mainstream moms I know seem well-rested! And of course, I know why. But on nights like tonight, it's hard to see the payoff. Although I know first thing in the morning I'll see it in my DS's eyes. Okay, maybe not first thing. And maybe it will be in an hour and not the morning!
Is he nursing every time he wakes up at night? I know he's still very little, but is your room childproofed? Could you put quiet things for him to do in one corner of the bedroom and if he wakes up, you just keep on sleeping? If he's in a safe place he can't get out of (your room), maybe you could continue to snooze a little. He can get back in bed whenever he wants.
It was at about 9mos to a year when each of my kids realized that mommy and daddy stayed up at night. They wanted to do the same. At first, I let them. I quickly found out that they weren't getting enough sleep and they were miserable the next day, even with a nap. It was a VERY hard time for us after being spoiled with children who slept through the night at 8 weeks old.
Good luck, hang in there. He won't be this little forever and you'll miss it. AND you probably won't even remember how hard it was.
By the way, only good moms worry about whether or not they're doing a good job.
That said, last ngiht I also felt as you, wondering if I am doing things "right". I spent over an hour trying to get DD to go along with our routine that usually works so well. THese past few nights she has been staying up almost 3 hours later than normal for her . . .I guess she is just changing and we are going to need to adapt . . . frustrating for mommy!
Despite the occasional (okay, more frequent) bedtime issues, in the morning when DD wakes up and smiles and laughs with me, twisting my nose and exploring my face, I am grateful that we haven't tried these other more mainstream methods. Reminding myself that this won't go on forever helps, but seeing the light in DD's eyes in the morning makes it all worth it!
Coffee helps, too.
mommy to Greta 3/14/02
Good Luck, and it's true, it does go by SO fast! Ds#1 is 18 today!
Also i just wanted to offer you sypathy. There must have been something in the air last night. Dd who usually goes to bed at 8:00 was up until 1:00am. And screaming the whole time keeping the other two up against thier will : So they screamed too.
DD#1 was such a great sleeper. Anywhere, anytime. 3 hour naps until she was almost 4 yo 12 hours at night, rarely woke up at night from birth. then came dd#2 who just didn't sleep. period. one nap a day if we were lucky from the time she was 4 months. She absolutely wouldn't sleep unless she colapsed from exahstion and/or had my nipple in her mouth. it drove me to near insanity. The desire to have a third child came streight from God because I wouldn't have risked having another like her if I had been in my right mind. I just remember feeling so resentful towards her. She was so sweet when everyone was rested but when one of us didn't have enough sleep everyone was misreable because of it. I truelky recommend the book above. It totally saved us. Also weaning at night helped improve her sleep dramatically. We used Dr. jay Gordans method.
The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it. We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.
If it wasn't for these boards I would REALLY think that we were the only ones with a child like this. It seems so many people I know have children who sleep, or who aren't so dang inquisitive, etc.
lilyka-thanks for the book suggestions. I've read a bit about both and will investigate. That was my next question-even if we've accepted that this is the way DS has been since birth, is there a way to ENCOURAGE better sleep? Sounds like the Pantley book is one of the ways.
Chellemarie &kimber-we have recently more fully babyproofed our room. He doesn't usually want to get outta the bed in the middle of the night, but when trying to fall asleep he is all over the place. We now let him run around and try not to force things.
Last night was another killer. I knew it was particularly bad b/c DH-who has the patience of GOD-was getting really, really frustrated. And started complaining and walking around in a huff like I do. On nights like last night I seriously feel like I am at my wit's end. I have a tendency to not see the forrest for the trees. I also have a tendency to think that the moment will last forever. I can easily become SO negative. It's just a bad cycle when your kid is like this b/c I always end up being frustrated and storming around. And although I've never yelled at my boy my insides are screaming! Then I just end up feeling like a lousy mom.
Thanks chellemarie-I hope I'm a good mommy. It's all I've ever wanted to be. Off to make some coffee
HELP! I really need some help and have turned again to these boards. I need major encouragement AND some coping skills.
DS IS definitely getting a tooth and now has a cold, which explains everything that's been going on this week. But can I just run-down our evening for you all??
Tried to help DS to sleep at 7:30. By 8:15 he was out. Left the room, he woke up howling. Nursed him again and he stayed asleep for about 45 minutes. Woke up two other times before 11:00 howling (oh, I should say that this IS typical. He always wakes up crying-except for the morning). He woke up about twice before 4:00, and then at about 4:45 he was just UP, but miserable. We made sure there was nothing he could get into and let him wander and play in the room with the door closed. That last 5 minutes. Then he wanted to be with us on the bed. When he was up he wanted down, and vice versa. He literally was inconsolable. The only thing that we could think of (well, DH thought of it) was to turn on the small t.v. in our bedroom and see if there were cartoons on. DS NEVER watches t.v. and we NEVER even have it on when he's up. We found a Pooh cartoon and he just sat in front of it mesmerized for about 15-20 minutes. And we weren't even doing it to get some rest. We were doing it to compose ourselves b/c we had both reached our limit.
Oh, and the wake up at 4:45 was precipatated (sp) by DS wanting to nurse laying on top of of me and when I switched to my side he just screamed.
When he's like this we do EVRYTHING to try to help hime hold him, I nurse him, we rock him, sing to him, let him play, but he just cries. I can't stand the crying anymore!! Lately it has been bad, but he is generally a crier at night and it's not pretty.
I had to leave to room at one point and I went to the bathroom and pounded my fists onto the door. And also when DS was inconsolable I just looked at him and in a not-so-nice tone said, "CHRIST!CHRIST!". I could lie and say I'm religious and needed some divine intervention, but that wasn't it.
So, I need some major coping skills for times like these. And I know there will be many, many more times like these over the years. And sometimes I don't feel remotely equipped to handle them. DH says that I am like a sponge emotionally and just keep taking everything in, feeling everything, analyzing everything. I have no filter or deflector and that kills me in these situations. DH (okay, I know he's a man) has a sort of nice, healthy way of detaching in these situations just enough to retain his sanity.
Please help. I feel terrible. I feel like b/c DS is unhappy right now and that in turn gets me frustrated that it's just a really bad cycle and that I am scarring DS for life.
Other than me telling you that it is obvious you are a great mom and that you're doing a wonderful job with your ds, I do have one suggestion. This worked for me, when my twins were waking up (not nearly as often or for as long as your boy, but I remember saying Christ! Christ! in a very non-spiritual way !
Put him down to bed one hour earlier and make sure he gets enough nap time. This is totally counter-intuitive but I remember thinking I will try ANYTHING, and surprisingly, it helped. Seems if little ones are sleep-deficient, they wake more and have a harder time sleeping.
I'll be thinking of you today. Remember that this is incredibly hard work and that you're doing an excellent job.
You know I've seen with my DS that the better he naps the better he sleeps. And I think I've read somewhere that sleep begets sleep. The more they sleep, the longer they want to.
I'll try getting him to sleep a bit earlier tonight and see how things work.
After my morning coffee, some things seemed a bit better. I just need help in the confidence department. And mothering without it some days really sucks. Thanks again.
Just anything to make the little one very comfortable! All I can think of...good luck
We use Hylands tablets, and Motrin & Oragel when needed, too. We do try everything we can think of when he's uncomfortable. I know he must be very unhappy and in pain. It's very sad to see.
I have to keep reminding myself that this too shall pass OVER and OVER. It's easy for me to get really negative with little sleep and an outta control child.
It only seems like forever. You will get there. I'm even thinking about getting pregnant this summer and doing it all over again. That says a lot.
You need to do what you need to do to be rested. My lack of sleep let to undiagnosed clinical depression and anxiety that sent me into the hospital this past september for six days and forced me to wean my two year old. Take care of yourself and experiment to see what works.
I'm going to move this thread to the nightwaking board to see if you can get any fresh advice there. Good luck and know that you are definitely not alone.
I know from friends, books, and here that many babies don't sleep through the night (or something like it) until 20 months or so. I can accept that during the day and when the week hasn't been so bad. Then, there are nights like the past few where even my DH will say HOW LONG is this going to go on??
DS is a very high-needs baby and has been since day one. He did this colic-type thing in the early months that after a while we just learned to accept and stopped fighting it. I want to get to that point with this new phase. And although I know that a lot of this chaos is due to teething AND a cold, I realize that his patterns might be changing anyway. I've heard a lot of people say that at about 1 year old their child's sleep pattern-particularly naptimes-changed.
I guess I just need a mantra ALONG with the sleep. We haven't slept for the past year. I'm used to it. I just wish I could get used to the crabbiness, etc that goes along with it. What helped you get through those 20 months? The good nights here and there?
Sorry to hear that you had such a rough time in September. I totally get how these things that we just deal with as moms creep up on you and wreak havoc on your mind and body. I hope you are continuuing to get better and that you are now getting some sleep!
I inadvertently posted in the Life with a Babe forum. Thanks for moving it. Hopefully I'll get some good words of wisdom here.
Our ds who turned one on Jan 11th has always been so high needs. I don't think I sat still the first 3 months he was alive. We were always rocking, walking, bouncing, nursing and still he did so much crying. I know what you mean about them being 'wired differently'.
But, don't you find your ds to be extremely bright? Our ds knows probably 50-60 words. He doesn't miss a beat. He's also very sensitive to every sound, taste, sensation. He's definately a special kiddo, but so much more challenging. I know you know what I'm talking about
Anyhoo....I wanted to tell you a little something that helped us at night. Our ds has always been such a restless sleeper. Even when he could go longer between feeding we were finding him waking up very frequently. We got a fan in our room and keep it on all night long. It doesn't blow on us or cause us to be cold, but it makes a nice little hum and it seems to drown out some of the normal 'house' noises that seemed to wake ds at night. Since we've initiated the fan, he'll sleep for 6-7 hour stretches *most* nights. Usually 4 out of 7. Not too bad.
I wish I could be of more help or that we lived closer together. I'm sure we'd have a lot in common. You seem like a terrific, in-tune, attached mother. You are doing the right thing for your little guy. I think if we can just hang in there, we are going to be rewarded with children whose intelligence, sensitivity and independence will blow our minds.
Ooh, gotta go put ds back to bed for the THIRD time tonight. Sigh....
lisa-mama to ds 1-11-02
I'll be sending good SLEEPY vibes and hope things get better for you.
PS - we have had a fan in our room since dd was a baby - the white noise helps us all sleep better. I would definately give it a try!
And a big thumbs down to the authors and docs and other parents in our culture who don't tell moms that these hard times are NORMAL in the life of a toddler, that they come and are exhausting and THEY WILL PASS!!!!!!!
If it's not illness it's teething, a growth spurt, or some other reason...but a one year old who wakes frequently CAN grow into a child who sleeps soundly (mine did) when THEY are ready.
I just read Our Babies Ourselves (Meredith Small.) One anthropologist studying traditional cultures found that the fussy babies were most likely to survive childhood in those hard, hard worlds. They demand the best attention, and they get it. In "primitive" cultures it was found that the passive, easygoing children were not as likely to survive childhood, in those cultures with high childhood mortality.
In other words he's just doing what he needs to do to get what he needs. Wish I could email you a pot of chicken soup and help you hug that baby....these hugs will have to do:
just wanted you to know you're not alone. it must get better than this, how could it be worse? ooh, jinx I'd better not say that!
I am NOT a good nighttime parent. It has taken me a long time to accept this and not beat myself up (too much) over it. Any moments in my short parenting career that I am not proud of are directly related to sleep. I have thrashed about in frustration and swore in the middle of the night when dd has woken for the 10th time after just falling asleep 5 minutes earlier. I have begged dh to take her away at 5:30am because I just couldn't deal with her anymore. I have gotten angry and frustrated and, in the clarity of the moonlight, I have understood how people can lose control enough to hurt their babies. It frightens me to death that I can understand that, not condone it of course, but understand it.
I think you are doing a great job. Whenever I would get to the breaking point, dh would say "well, we could just let her CIO." He knew that that would help me regain my perspective because honestly, there isn't much in-between, is there? You can either parent your child to sleep or not. I choose to parent my dd to sleep and I know I'm choosing the hard way in some ways but I also strongly believe that it's worth it.
Now, my dd is 23 months and it's much better. She's nightweaned and, although, she still wakes at night, she usually goes right back to sleep without any fussing. It can still take up to an hour and a half to help her fall asleep but that is very rare and it usually takes more like half an hour.
I agree that in my dd sleep seems to beget sleep. And do read the wonderful book "Our Babies, Ourselves", it will make you feel much better about things.
You should be proud of yourself - you're doing a wonderful job and things will get easier.
Hugs to you.
The Lucky One-Sounds like our DSs are very similar. And mine has been VERY high needs since birth. He is very bright, however, and I think that's some part of why he is the way he is. He doesn't miss a beat, he is talking up a storm. Will follow simple commands-like "go get a book and bring it to mommy", etc., etc. I meet a lot of other one year olds that seem so much like babies (and there's nothing wrong with that at all). But my DS (and sounds like yours) has seemed older from the start. We have a little white noise machine in our room. But I will go pump up the volume on your advice. It may drown out some household noises for him. BTW-our DS was born 1/17. Could it be a Capricorn thing????
Chicklet & Serenity-thanks for the support. It can only get better, right? Knock wood.
Momtwice-I've been seeing a lot of references to Our Babies Ourselves recently. That may have to be my next book purchase. Very interesting about the more demanding little ones getting what they need to survive.
Milkfacemama-I am not a good nighttime parent, either. I have to mentally pump myself up with positive vibes before bedtime to get through it. And that's something really hard for me to do. I've had friends and others say the same thing about understanding how someone could hurt their child. Not condoning it, of course. But even DH and I have discussed this. If I didn't have him, or vice versa, or whatever lack of resources/help/encouragement, etc., it would be a bit easier to take that step. If I get frustrated and annoyed and amazingly stressed, and I have a modicum of support, how do you do it solo? (and I just don't mean without a partner.)
Today DS and I had a great day. Full and fun. Who knows what the night will bring. I'm trying to stay positive. I am indebted to you woman for telling me exactly what I needed to hear
Okay, I realize that this forum is not just a therapy session for me, but I really have no where else to turn and I think I'm even beyond the point of losing my mind...
We had such a fun, great day yesterday and I was so hopeful (but realistic) about last night. I wrote down DSs wake-ups b/c I've heard that that can make you see patterns, etc., in your child's sleep. And also usually makes you realize that it's not as bad as you think.
DS was up 4x between 7:15-11:45. Then 2-3x between 12-6:30. He is now up for the day. I've haven't seen it this bad since DS was a newborn. I really feel like I have a brand new baby in the house. And I am beyond exhaustion and I think I am getting depressed. Wouldn't the combination of all these factors make anyone depressed?
Not only does he get up, but he flails around and hits his head against the wall, our faces, etc. He also has started to pull my hair when I won't respond to him. Nursing seems to settle him for only about 5 minutes, then he rolling around, thrashing. Then, if we put him on the floor to play and we get into bed, he just starts to cry. I've tried not to say anything to him, kinda "play dead" and that doesn't work. Although it does help me bite my tongue and not say anything stupid to him or about the situation that I will feel guilty about in the morning.
We have the noise machine running, he's had meds or gel or Hylands for his teeth, he's not hungry. His cold was not as bad last night, we have a vaporizer running, I offer him the boob whenever he wants it. And one or both of us is always rubbing his back, etc., to try to help him. We've also stopped talking so much in the middle of all this to see if that helps.
What am I doing wrong?????? I really think that I am beyond losing it. What's that called? I am angry at him, depressed, you name it. It was almost BETTER when he was a newborn b/c this was more expected and we seemed to have more support in some ways then.
I'd love responses, but that's not even necessary. I just needed to vent. It HAS to get better, right?
When he was a newborn I would just catnap with him on the couch in front of the tv and watch bad television. He was up all the time then, and it seems that way now.Perhaps I should just pretend he's a few weeks old again, but I can't.
Thanks for listening.
My middle ds didn't sleep through the night until he was 2, but he only got up once! Now he's pretty mellow...not as active as my first ds who slept through the night pretty good since birth!
I noticed your ds is "napping" from 7:15, not really down for the night...and I know you could use sleep at that time....but have you tried keeping him awake until 9 or so?
My dd is 4 months now, and she'll have a cat nap at 7, but I get her up before 8 pm or she won't go back to sleep until 1 am!!
She will go to bed the odd time around 9 and sleep until 11, but lately she will sleep until 1 or 2, feed, and then get up between 5 and six to feed again.
With an older child who is used to being up so much, it will be tough! Maybe he only needs 8-10hrs... 9pm -7 am....like my dd.
For a while we were up until 11pm every night, then she'd sleep until 2 am and get up every 2h after that.
Sleep begets sleep, but an active child often needs less than 12 h of sleep a day after getting older...my ds is up in his room at 8:30, but falls asleep closer to 10, and then is up for the day at 8 am no problem, he's five next month. My 11 yr old is in bed at 9:00 and falls asleep right away until 8 am.
Anyway, keep us updated! We sure don't mind the "therapy sessions"!! I do the same!