to sleep or not to sleep... (or one mom's journey into the dark abyss of no sleep) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 04-05-2003, 12:51 AM - Thread Starter
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so...forgive me all you far-more-experienced thread-posters...i searched and searched and alas, could not find any place else to put my i started my own.

i am desperately tired. worn out, strung out "hung down and brung down on all kinds of mean old nasty stuff" okay, well not really ALL kinds of stuff- just the fact that i have yet to have slept for gosh, lets see, at least 15 or 16 months. my dd is just 9 months old and has never, i repeat, never slept through the night ( or anything remotely close). we co-sleep occasionally, which actually gets her right back to sleep, do not entertain her when she does wake up and i know for a fact she's not hungry (like when she just ate 2 hours ago...still bf...) and are toying with the idea of "just letting her cry". but i've got to tell you- that sucks. the poor thing starts out with a wimper. and then a whine and by 5 minutes, she's wailing like a siren, hanging over the edge of her crib (which, for good or for bad is 3 feet from our bed), tears streaming down her face.

i ask of you, please please tell me what you have done. i'm not asking for miracles. i don't mind even getting up once a night. but waking up at 10, 2, 4 and then 5 or 6 for good is way too much!
au-natural mommy has taken to wearing a little concealer under her eyes, so as not to arouse concern for the general public- i look like a raccon who has not slept in, well, months!
HELP!!!! (me get some )
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#2 of 14 Old 04-05-2003, 01:25 AM
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i hope you get some helpful feedback. i can tell you're feeling at your wits end.

for us one of the reasons we always cosleep is so that we can all get better rest. that way when she wakes or stirs you can immediately nurse her so that neither of you are forced to awaken fully.

your daughter is still so young that her needs and wants are still one in the same. i assure you it's not uncommon for a baby her age to be waking as much as she is. and needing to nurse even as much as every couple of hours is also not uncommon. she's not "acting up"----again, her needs and wants are one in the same.

letting a child "cry it out" is never a justified answer. regardless of how tired you get you will never regret sticking it out and being there for her.

it does get easier. hang in there.
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#3 of 14 Old 04-05-2003, 01:38 AM
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Oh I feel your pain! You are not alone! My first daughter was only waking once or so a night by 8 months but my second one, who is now 8 mo.s, is pretty much on the same schedule as yours. We have tried it all. Co-sleeping, not co-sleeping, stuffing her at dinner, only having dad settle her back to sleep, etc etc etc
I think the truth is, some babies just aren't biologically ready/able to sleep through the night at this point. So, what to do?
Well, I nurse on demand. I let my dh get her a lot at night. We try to keep a fairly regular and predictable routine at bedtime. And we just try to keep it in perspective. This will not last forever. She will sleep eventually. And I try to savor the holding and rocking and swaying. As I know you know, when you're totally exhausted and all you want is 2 straight hours of sleep, this is not always easy to do. But, I just know that soon, she will be sleeping through and I will be soooooo well-rested!
Hang in there! It does get easier.
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#4 of 14 Old 04-05-2003, 01:48 AM
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Have you checked out the co-sleeping/family bed forum? Lots of tired mamas in the same boat there, for help, advice, and commiseration.

Have you read Elizabeth Pantley's No Cry Sleep Solution and Jay Gordon's Good Nights? Lots of helpful suggestions, they don't work for everyone but they work for a lot of people.

Oh, just a point from your post: if your baby is breastfed it's very possible that she's hungry even if she "just ate" 2 hours ago. Breastmilk is so quickly and efficiently digested that their stomachs will be empty in two hours. Some babies just seem to be able to go longer without eating than others but at 9 months she still needs to eat.

I second the idea to take her into your bed. If you all get better sleep that way then try it.

Hang in there mama!

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#5 of 14 Old 04-05-2003, 02:00 AM
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I dont have any advice but can comiserate with you. My oldest dd is 3 years old, she didnt start sleeping through the night till after #2 dd was born. So for about 4 years (couldnt sleep throught the night while preggo, to many potty stops : LOL ) I havent been able to get a decent nights sleep and i'm a person that NEEDS 8 hours of slepp minium.

Fortunately my dh works nights so by the time he got up in the afternoon i was very ready for a nap and could take at least a 2 hour one. For 3 months he was on days and I thought i was going to die, couldnt wait for his days off so I could nap. I lived on a caffeinated drink every day he worked.

For some reason dd #2 does most of her nursing at night, during the day I think she is to distracted by watching and playing with her sister. She does the very 2 hours or sometimes just an hour apart nursing. During the day she will go like 5 or so hours, my poor boobs dont appreciate that at all!

Sending sleep vibes your way and hoping somebody has some good advice for you.
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#6 of 14 Old 04-05-2003, 02:06 AM
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Sisters in concealer, Unite! Power to the make-up.

I'm with you, honey. My kids are 16 (stepson, but 100% family,) 28 mos and 11 mos. Luckily, the 16 year old is sleeping through the night, but no one else is and I haven't slept through in 3 years. I'm getting gray hair, literally.

As you might imagine, I've tried almost everything. Here's my experience. Co-sleeping worked beautifully until it didn't work anymore. Both my little ones shared our bed until their regular waking was getting worse instead of better. With ds that was at around 9 or 10 mos, dd is there now. It seemed in both cases as if the allure of my breast so close was just too much to resist. As if I tried to get a good night's sleep in an ice cream shop. So, dh convinced me to do a modified cry-it-out. Which really became just getting up with them and not nursing until it was apparent that they were really hungry. Ds was sleeping most of the night within a week. Dd is in process right now. In each case, they really both slept better when I wasn't too close. But I can't let 'em cry.

Good luck. I'm finding out that just when they learn to sleep, they start waking with scarry dreams and leaking diapers. Once that's over, they start driving and you just stay up worrying. Well, maybe there's a couple of years of sleeping in there, somewhere.
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#7 of 14 Old 04-05-2003, 03:06 AM
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I would be a zombie if we didn't co-sleep. I know, it doesn't work for everyone, but my daughter sleeps much better when she is near me, and so therefore, so do I. I do have to put up with her flopping around and sometimes kicking or head butting me, but I go right back to sleep. Most babies don't sleep through the night by 9 mos-heck, most adults dont' actually sleep through the night. There are other reasons why babies cry besides hunger. With my daughter, (I did try to have her sleep in her crib for a while) it was loneliness, not hunger. When I gave up on trying to make her do something she wasn't ready to do (sleep alone) all our lives got so much easier.

That being said, some babies do nurse more when they are close to their mamas. Bed sharing is worth a try, though. You don't have to stick with it if it doesn't work.

Also, I recommend "The No Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley.
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#8 of 14 Old 04-05-2003, 03:33 AM
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Do you work? Do you have other children?
I'm in the exact same boat. My son is 9 mo., and he "reverse cycles" since I work during the day. (Meaning he'll only take a little ebm and solids during the day, then eats A LOT when I'm home, including during the night.)

One thing that saves me is I'm able to feed him and take a nap with him right when I get home--from about 4 to 5 pm. If you could nap during the day with your little one, it would definitely make you feel better!

Now I'm up 'til almost midnight finishing a work project!
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#9 of 14 Old 04-05-2003, 08:21 AM
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My ds is a horrible sleeper and at 9 months, dh and I were so exhausted we were barely functioning. I worked part-time when ds was 4-8 months (unfortunately, it was autumn and cold season) and ended up quitting because he was sick and his sleep was so poor (waking every 2 hours to eat and very restless). When he became well, he woke up every hour! We had always co-slept, but tried the crib in case we were disturbing him and causing the waking. We nightweaned him first -- which took a bigger sleep toll on dh since he held him for a significant part of the night. If my son smelled me, he wanted milk. The transition to the crib went fairly smoothly, but dh and I were up all night holding his hand so he would go to and stay asleep.

We tried Pantley's "solutions," and nothing resulted in a great change (although moving him to the crib with her method worked for us). We got lots of suggestions from people (many swore by using a lambskin), but nothing helped.

We tried letting ds cry for a few five minute periods (couple exhaution with insecurity), but he became very worked up and it was evident that the anxiety he was feeling was too great for us to even think of trying it again.

We are all back in bed now, waking up every 3 hours. I've heard from a number of parents who had children who slept better in their second year or during the summer if the child was active (this is what we are hinging all hope on).

Really, when I think about all I've read about sleep from people with different points of view, they seem to agree that expecting a child to sleep through the night when sick, teething, or hitting dev. milestones is unrealistic. How can I expect ds to sleep through the night before he's two? So much is going on for him now.

One thing that helped dh's and my sleep was when we were someplace with a relative we trusted to care for ds, that person would take him when he woke in the morning and let us sleep in until 8 or so. We both felt extremely refreshed after that. If you have any relative or friends close by, they may be able to help you in that way.

I wish you the best. I napped with ds yesterday, so I feel okay today, but I've had many days of being too exhausted to be the best momma that I want to be.
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#10 of 14 Old 04-05-2003, 09:48 AM - Thread Starter
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hmmm. thank you for all the words of wisdom. we're waking up from a semi-restful night (up 3 times). it's hard because for the most part and since dd was born, i've always really enjoyed our time at night. just us- quiet. but it gets hard when i start getting frustrated- so we try really hard not to be... (see thread "what do you do when your 14 month old won't stop crying" there is so GREAT suggestions on keeping it mellow!

so the co-sleeping thing i'll try again. my dh orginally didn't care, but then said no and actually dragged the big crib into our room so that she would be close to me (i threatned that or he could find out how nice the couch was...)

so, i've slowly (almost every night) been bringing dd into the bed anyways, cause it does really seem to work.

yes, i do work (although i'm trying not to), so i'm not suprised that others have had similar experiences of dd/ds wanting to eat at night.
mamajulie-- sounds oh-so-firmiliar. nothing like up until 12 only to have to feed at 2 & 4??

even though i know we will get through it, it is really reassuring to know that others have had success .

ShariMama-- thanks for the reality check though! i'm imagining finally getting into a routine of sleep only to realize that she's a teenager and getting home late from a date!!!
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#11 of 14 Old 04-05-2003, 09:53 AM
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I'm probably not much help either because dd, 14 months doesn't sleep through the night either. BUT... I've recently seen an improvement. We co-sleep and are very committed to it, so a crib was never an option. Dd does not like to even be put into it to play, let alone sleep. At around 8 or 9 months, when her first teeth started coming and she had a cold, she was up every 37 minutes (the exact length of her sleep cycle) and needed either parenting or nursing to get back to sleep. I had (and still do have) dark circles under my eyes and so did dd (hers are gone now). On the worst days I would be short-tempered, tired, and not a pleasant person in general. Dd was always cranky.

It did get better after those first two teeth came in, and now, it's even better after the top two broke through. But I'm sure that as the other teeth come through, we'll have sleeplessness again. Also, somtimes I think she doesn't sleep well because she's too hot or too cold. These days, with the weather getting nicer, we also get out during the day more. She gets to run around and wear herself out. She's also just started eating solids more regularly and with more gusto. She gets dinner around 6:30 - 7:00pm, then goes to bed between 8 and 9 and many nights does not wake for the first time until 4 or 4:30. Sometimes she wakes at 1:30 or so, but not often anymore, and I can always pat her back to sleep without nursing her. Then she wakes to nurse at 5:30 or so and up for good around 7. I can live with that. But the key factors for us were: teething, temperature, eating solids well, wearing herself out during the day, and also health in general.

P.S. Dr. Jay Gordon's method helped us some, but it is not recommended for children under 1 year old.
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#12 of 14 Old 04-09-2003, 11:14 PM
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You are so not alone pahkahsmom! My ds is just now 7mo. We co-sleep and some nights he wakes up every 45 min to an hour for several hours straight to nurse for only a few minutes, then drifts peacefully back to sleep. However, he never sleeps for longer than 3 hours at a time. There was a time when I thought I was doing something wrong or that my baby was just not a good sleeper, but I've realized two things through this experience: if he's happy and alert the next day he must be getting plenty of rest & since I'm able to function, then co-sleeping is the way to go fo us.

I hope you find an arrangement that works for you. And if you can, take advantage of some morning and afternoon nap time. It keeps me from having to use the concealer!
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#13 of 14 Old 04-10-2003, 12:17 AM
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I'm a bit slow here, but I'm moving this to the nightwaking forum so you can get yet more helpful advice.
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#14 of 14 Old 04-10-2003, 10:30 AM
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...hang in there Mama! Just remember, in 18 or so years your life will get back to normal!!! I love my ds, he just sleeps like is father....Up til Midnight and then at 6. I am getting a little more sleep than you, but I have a body that requires 8 SOLID HOURS or I can't seem to function normally. We weren't able to bf, so I live on coffee. I do mean LIVE. I drink so much that it actually effects my appetite. . I also am able to take naps during the day, but I don't think this works, it's like I am teasing my brain with the sleep that it needs and I usually feel awful after those naps!

Good Luck and I hope you get some soon!
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