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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm hoping someone has some sort of insight as to what we can do to help our little guy sleep.

background info...
He's 5 months old, exclusively bf-d, no solids yet, silent reflux (that we're treating with Tagamet), and some pretty hefty food sensitivities that I keep in check with my diet. He's also a very very sensitive soul. He startles easily, is a very light sleeper, quite serious, extremely draining and has big issues going from being awake to asleep. He also has no self-soothing mechanism. Won't take a paci, infrequently nurses to sleep and gets worked up sucking on his fingers/hands. He dislikes being confined too. We also have a 2 year old - important to point out since I can't spend every minute working with Roark to get him to sleep.

Our current situation is that we put Roark to sleep initially in his crib in our room. Somewhere between 1am and 4am I pull him into bed with me and we co-sleep until he wakes for the day between 6 and 7am. I cannot lie down with him earlier in the evening because he goes down earlier than our DD and I relish the time after he goes down to have time just with my daughter.

His typical nighttime routine is nekkie time on our bed, new diaper and pjs, read a story or two and nurse in the glider. Generally it takes about 30 minutes total. Then I usually spend about 15 minutes walking him at a quick clip to get him down in his crib. A couple times a week he gets a bath.

Sometimes he's up more than 6 times a night. Tonight he went down at 7:15pm, was up at 8:45 and my DH just got him down at midnight. *sigh* Last night and the night before weren't much better. We actually logged his sleep for a week and he was getting an average of about 10 hours of sleep a day total. Usually 1 to 2 hours of nap sleep (in short stretches though I do try to lie down with him while my DD naps and that nets the best results) and the rest at night. Not nearly enough sleep for a growing baby. He's clearly tired as he's constantly rubbing his eyes and yawning, but he simply refuses to go down easily.

The sling doesn't work for napping - he's too light a sleeper. If I stop moving, slow down, bend down, or DD makes a peep he wakes up. The sling is good for about a 20 minute snooze. The swing was a no-go too. He hates the car and if I walk him outdoors he's too interested in his surroundings to fall asleep (not to mention it's hotter than hades out here this time of year).

We're exhausted. We've tried so many different things and nothing is working for us. I can't bear the thought of CIO with him. We have NCSS but that hasn't worked for us (we tried it when he was much younger). He is so sensitive that the rustle of sheets wakes him out of deep sleep.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. If anyone has survived a baby like this your support would be invaluable.

TIA.
 

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Have you tried a side-car type co-sleeper? It gives him a bit more space and keeps him from being disturbed by your body movements in bed, just like the crib. But, it also keeps him physically close enough that he can hear your breathing, you can put a hand on him to help keep him relaxed, you can hear him immediately when he starts to stir, and you don't have to get up and walk across the room to get to him when he does stir allowing you, perhaps, to get him back down more quickly. Basically, most of the benefits of full-fledged bedsharing, and most of the benefits of seperate beds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
We haven't tried a co-sleeper. The "where" isn't a problem except that I don't want to have to lie down with him at 7 or 8pm to get him to go to sleep. I have a two year old who needs to be put to bed and my DH is only home in time for bedtime 2 nights a week.

His crib is at the foot of our bed so he's easy to access. And when I pull him into our full bed, it's him and me. DH sleeps on the sofa bed so there's more room (Roark's a bed hog).

Our big issue is getting him to sleep period. He took an hour and 45 minute nap today - a huge rarity in our house. Then it took me almost 2 hours to get him to sleep tonight. I cannot begin to explain how frustrating it is to spend so much time trying to get your baby to sleep.

I nursed him, rocked him, sang to him, read to him, gave him the pacifier, patted him, played a leap frog crib soother and tried not to lose my mind. I eventually had to go in and get him so I could get my daughter down for bed at a decent hour. 30 minutes later, I finally got him down.

I don't want to sleep train. I'm so against it but if he doesn't start sleeping better soon I don't know what we're going to do.

Can anyone else offer some assistance??? Please.

 

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At five months of age my dD like to be 'danced' to sleep. I held her a certain way, and put on some tunes (ELO was one of her favorites, lol) and I would dance around the room. Oh yeah, around that time I usually nursed her while we did this. It would take about half an hour, I think, to get her to sleep.

I don't really know what to say about the frequent waking: DD woke frequently at that age, but just wanted to nurse and she'd be off to sleep with me barely waking up.

I'm curious, is the majority of his nightwaking when he's sleeping alone (ie. before you come to bed with him?). I know this isn't what you want to hear, but babies really weren't designed to sleep alone. They want to hear sounds, heartbeats, smells, etc that let them know someone is around. Maybe he could sleep somewhere out where you and DD are playing - sometimes more noise (not loud, just "living" noises) can be soothing.

HTH.
 

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What if you lay down in your bed with him and nurse him to sleep and then get up again so you can spend time with your DD? Thats what I used to do with Jevin. I nursed him to sleep in my bed and as soon as he was out I was OH SO SLOWLY get out of the bed and tip toe away. LOL

It was pure misery when we went to a hotel or travelling cause that was THE ONLY way he would go to sleep and if he even peeped his eye open and saw it was a different bed......oh man, we were in for. He is 21 months and just started sleeping through the night. (He also has preferred his own bed/space since about 10 months.)
 

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Keely - Hugs to you. I take it your dd was not this kind of sleeper? I don't have any concrete suggestions for you, just wanted to let you know that I have btdt with my now 3 yr old and it just took time. I have been where you are and thought half seriously about CIO a few times. What kept me from resorting to it is that I knew that it wasn't how I wanted to parent. I also think something to consider for someone at the end of their rope is that CIO is not a magic sleeping pill. You could do it and it would not work and how much would that suck?!

Just to be clear, I pretty much NEVER think that CIO is okay but I know how when you're going crazy about sleep, it can seem like it might be the answer. Can you change around bedtimes so that dd goes to bed first? Can you try a different sling or a different position in the sling to see if he's happier? Can ds hang out with you and dd while you put her to bed?

Okay, just reread your post and saw that you want ds to go to sleep first in order to spend time with dd.

My biggest suggestion is to let go of any sort of "trying" to get him to sleep and of any kind of expectations of how/when he sleeps. For a few days, don't try to put him to sleep, at all. If he seems tired, nurse him or put him in the sling but don't worry if he doesn't go to sleep. I'm wondering if your expectations of his sleep are based on how dd slept and if they're not right for him. I spent soooo much energy and time trying to get dd#1 to sleep. Hours every day, elaborate routines, bought way too many books, was obsessed with it! It was not fun
For dd's #2 & 3, while granted they're different babies, I have not stressed at all. I find that they've settled into a routine of having a longer nap in the morning and then catnaps the rest of the day. Perhaps ds is okay with just his 20 minute naps? I know my girls are.

If I were you, I would just put him in the sling and nurse him whenever he seemed tired, put him in the sling whenever you need your hands with dd and just try to forget about how much sleep he's getting and see what happens.

Btw, what type of sling are you using and in what position? Some babies can be very picky about slinging. Most babies seem to enjoy (and sleep!) in soft backpack carriers (Ergo, Kozy, Baby Trekker, etc).

Most of all, tons of hugs - it does get better.
 

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Sounds like my son! He is nine months. I just posted a similar Question. My Ped. said if they get over tried it is harder for them to go to sleep. Once they are down for the night and they do not get into a deep sleep they tend to wake more offen and start the cycle again. We found it helpful to go right to him at the first sound. Most of the time his eyes were closed. We would comfort quickly and he wouldn't wake up. If we did this with sucess the first time he started waking up then he would get into a deep sleep and sleep for longer strecthes.

i do not have advice about naps for I so understand. I have a 4 yr old and feel like it isn't fair to him. At least he is a bit older and understands and will play for a bit. I do not know what I would do with a 2 yr.old! So sorry!
 

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no help, but some reasons not to cio from a mama of a baby with reflux (beyond the obvious ones)...

- he needs those night feedings... babies who have reflux need frequent, small meals to help them keep their food down and gain weight. day and night. he will gradually reduce them as his reflux gets better and his flap matures. my dd is now 7 mo and she went from 8-10 nightwakings at 5 mo to 3-4 now.

- babies reflux more when they cry. if your ds cries it out for an extended period, he will be in physical pain from the stomach acids, making it even harder for him to go to sleep. my dd has always been a bedtime fighter and would cry in my arms sometimes. it always got much worse before it got better and she would start to cry as tho she was in pain. i realized that was because she was refluxing and it hurt her throat.

it doesn't seem like much help, but this too shall pass, i promise. once your ds starts to sit up, his reflux will become much less and i am certain his sleeping will improve just like my dd's did.
 

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can you rearrange your time so you get some quiet time with dd not at bedtime? you say he does ok for naps --can the time with dd be then? can daddy be home in the morning to take ds and let you and dd have some alone time?

can you include him in some quiet time with dd? i'm thinking maybe all three of you can do a quiet stroll around the block or stories. I'm thinking lengthen the before bed routine.

ok those are my quick thougts, I'm at work so gotta run.
 

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My DD is not a sleeper and basically never has been. I spent too much time consumed that she was not getting enough sleep (her sleep patterns and behaviors are almost identical to your ds). I finally gave up and put her to bed when she showed the visible signs and forgot about the time.

She will only go to sleep in my bed, if I lay with her. I have to do this for naps and bedtime. Once she falls asleep I sneak out of the bed, but I have to go back several times because she wakes about every hour (all night long).

Since your DH is only home for 2 bedtimes a week... can you try to acclimate your DS to noises/movement while falling asleep? That way you can continue time with DD while he falls asleep? Or perhaps make DD part of the putting him to sleep routine... where she gets to help as the big sister.

I'm sorry I don't have anymore concrete advice, I'm just grabbing at straws here. I liked a lot of the suggestions in the NCSS, I just haven't had an opportunity to utilize all of them yet. We are still working on alternative soothing. Currently my breast is the only comfort measure.

I know how frustrating it is and I know how hard it is to function being woken up so many times a night. I've come to the conclusion that hopefully this will pass before my DD starts college
I would just try everything you can and hang in there. The CIO is probably the worst thing that could happen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You ladies are wonderful...truly wonderful.


As luck would have it (isn't this always the way?), Roark's sleep has gotten markedly better in the passed couple days.


So many good suggestions...

Piglet68 ~ Roark has to be walked a certain way - very quick clip, no pausing, sometimes facing us with his head on our shoulder, sometimes facing away from us. He's very particular. He still wakes frequently when he sleeps with me. He reverse cycles to a certain degree, so he feeds a lot at night (no to mention he's growing at hyper speed). I have no problem with him waking every couple hours at all (DD didn't sleep a 5 hours stretch until she was 9 months old and was still waking 2 or 3 times a night at a year so I don't have huge sleep expectations). The problem is that he'll sometimes wake and stay awake for hours. Even if he's with me, he'll thrash around, pop on and off the breast, kick, flail, startle himself awake, etc. It's those long awake periods that are so rough on us. And sometimes he'll sleep in arms but wakes the second he's put down (either in our bed or the crib). And to top it all, he's an extremely light sleeper like me. Every little noise wakes him. Especially DD. Thanks for the suggestions though! I do love it when I can dance him to sleep...makes us both happy. We'll try it when he's in a no sleep period.


DesireeH ~ I wish that would work. Sometimes it does and I do it in the afternoons for a nap most of the time. At night though, I nurse him right before putting him down and he doesn't fall asleep. If he does, he's up quickly to be burped. I could try nursing him on our bed at night, but I worry about him rolling around and falling off. I need to get a snug tuck pillow soon.

MilkfaceMama ~ My DD was easier in almost every regard - including sleep. She wasn't a great sleeper and we didn't expect her to sleep through the night or anything like that until she was ready to.

I feel the same way about CIO. I don't think it sends the right message to your baby (I'm going to abandon you in your crib while you're upset and let you cry until you wear yourself out and fall asleep alone) and I simply think Roark's too delicate to handle it (not to mention me and DH!).

I've tried flip flopping bedtimes with the kids, but Roark is a basketcase by the time Adia goes down and I can't put her down at 7pm as that's too early for her. She's better going down around 7:45 or 8pm. I wish it worked because then I could spend time getting Roark down without leaving Adia to entertain herself.

I pretty much follow his cues as to when to put him down. He won't just hang in the sling (he dislikes being confined most of the time) while I do housework or play with Adia. He doesn't like the up and down motion and having his legs confined. I've tried! I've got an EllaRoo, a maya wrap, a KK solarveil sling and a KK Fleece pouch. I haven't done any back carries yet with my wrap because I haven't gotten the guts to try it! But I think I need to give it a whirl.

And really, I don't watch the clock or anything for him and naps. If he's obviously tired (fussy, rubbing eyes, starring into space, yawning) I try to put him down. I walk with him all over or just in our room depending on how loud DD is being. If he goes down - great. If not I'll try again, try nursing, try nursing on our bed and then just try again later. I do try to get him down while DD naps and I do try to get him down relatively early for nighttime sleep as he seems to prefer that. I'm really pretty flexible with him. It's frustrating that he's almost always giving me sleep signs and he's obviously tired and is hard to get down for a restful nap. He'll get up from a 20 minute snooze and be yawning only minutes later.

I'll definitely try a back carry with him... And thanks for all the great suggestions.


myboyz ~ we respond very quickly to Roark when he wakes. It's in my mommying make-up to be a quick responder I think (I was/am the same way with DD). Frequently he'll conk out the second we pick him up, but sometimes he fights us. He still has a pretty good startle reflex so as he relaxes to fall asleep his own muscle twitches keep him up. *sigh*.

As for my DD, thank goodness she's so good. Honestly, don't know what I would do if she wasn't! She watches Sesame Street at night when I get Roark down for bed (I know horrible mom, but at least its educational - heck, she can count to 20 and knows most of her alphabet already!). She's an amazing girl and we're truly blessed with her.

Thanks for the support! I hope it gets better for you soon too.

Messy Nessie ~ Aside from Roark's reflux and the calming antacid nature of bm...I'm used to babies needing lots of nighttime nursing. My DD was still up to nurse 3 times or so a night at 1 year old. That doesn't bother me at all. It's the getting up to nurse and staying up that's hard.

And yeah, I know crying is actually counterproductive for him. We pretty much jump when he starts working himself up because he will spit up and build-up excessive amounts of gas and such when upset. I'll be glad when he outgrows the reflux.

He's very close to sitting with support and he seems much happier. He still hates being on his tummy and it never fails to make him vomit.

Thanks for your support - it's comforting to know other moms have gotten through a rough patch like this.


kerc ~ Thanks so much. If I can get Roark to nap - I do get some great one on one with DD. It's just tough because he'll nap for 20 to 40 minutes and be up and usually DD and are right in the middle of something. It's gotten better as his sleep has improved a bit lately. And DH does take DS a lot when he's home so I can devote time solely to Adia. It's just a tough balance and I sometimes feel like I'm failing miserably. Thanks for popping in to offer suggestions!

Icequeen_in_ak ~ The mere thought of letting Roark CIO is so upsetting to me, but we've tried so many different things. I know we'd never really do it (none of us could handle it), but sometimes it feels like the only option left.

Roark won't acclimate to noises while sleeping. Goodness knows I've tried. All it nets me is a 20 minute catnap. He's just to sensitive to sleep in a loud environment. Has been since he was itty bitty. I could vacuum around DD while she napped no problem. If I even get the vacuum out and started in another room Roark is up and wailing. They are as different as can be.

I do incorporate Adia as much as I can. She helps me bathe him and talks to us while I get him dressed and such. Then she knows it's time for me to read to him and to nurse him. She's two and you know how they are - I'll tell her it's quiet time and she'll shush and then shriek about something totally different. It's not her fault - she's only two. She's great though and will watch Sesame street for a bit while I finish up with him. I just wish I could get him down consistently and have him stay down. Some nights it takes some nursing and he's down, some nights it's nursing, rocking and 10 mintues walking. Some times it's 20 minutes walking. Sometimes it's two hours (longer than 20 minutes and I get DD down first then start all over with Roark).

It's tough, but Roark is such a sweet boy and he's snuggly and wonderful. Just very draining and very tough adjustment for all of us.
__________________________________________________ ____________

Thanks to all of you for taking the time to respond. I love this community. It's so nice to know that there are other parents out there who respect their children as individuals and temper their parenting to their children and their individual needs. I like knowing I can come here in a moment of desperation and get great suggestions, but more importantly support. You each reaffirmed what we already knew in our hearts - that CIO isn't right. That it doesn't respect Roark as a person and that there are other ways to get through this tough spot.

Thanks so much for being the caring parents you all are - your children are fortunate in their karma to have parents such as you.

 

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By the time he's showing signs he may be too overly tired to fall asleep. I'd try keeping a journal of when he shows signs, if they are at similar times each day I'd try putting him down for sleep BEFORE he shows obvious signs.

Just a thought,
Heather
 

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a thought here. .Do you use "white noise" in the room he sleeps in?? we run a fan at all times in the bed room to drown out house hold noises.. It may help your babe to sleep longer..

Best of Luck and Warm Squishy Feelings..
Dyan
 

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My daughter is a pretty easy sleeper, but I figured it couldn't hurt to post what works for us. She sleeps well, but I have to be holding her or laying next to her. She's only 2 months old so I don't mind at all. Occasionally I need 20 minutes to take a shower and get something to eat (eating with 2 hands on occasion is so nice). The bathroom fan helps her sleep longer. I will bring her in a bassinet to the bathroom while I shower and then leave her in there while I eat something.

Maybe try some similar white noise while doing his normal soothing routine. By running the fan and vacuuming I find that Kylie gets into a deeper sleep so will stay asleep a bit longer without being in arms or me laying right next to her.

I hope things continue to get better for you both. Hang in there Mama
 

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Just thought I'd chime in here and repeat everything again! I could've written everything you did for my first son. He's three now, and he's never been a good sleeper, but when he was a baby, it was miserable for a while because I just didn't know how to fix it. I used to rock him to sleep and put him down, but the act of putting him down woke him up absolutely 100% of the time, no exceptions. After talking to people, I just had to commit to taking him to bed, nursing him to sleep, and rolling away from him but staying put. I had to do this for a couple of weeks. The minute he woke, I rolled r ight back into position to nurse again until he was asleep. After a period of time (weeks) I was able to get up and do other things, but if I heard him, I was right back into position before he was awake. I also used a little white noise type of thing from One Step Ahead (it's the one shaped like a shell) and kept that close by (he used to sleep in the bathroom while I got ready if I turned the fan on). He also took cat naps after eating, and I just stayed in my rocker until he woke up, because I knew it wouldn't be long. The world stopped when he went to sleep. I can't imagine having an older one during this, though. My youngest is much more relaxed and he would sleep all the time if his older brother wasn't constantly trying to wake him up. He still never sleeps- goes to bed about 10 and wakes up about 6. Good luck with everything- I'll be thinking of you.
 

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Quote:
a thought here. .Do you use "white noise" in the room he sleeps in?? we run a fan at all times in the bed room to drown out house hold noises.. It may help your babe to sleep longer..
We do too! Mostly because the little noises -- putting the silverware away, opening the front door to take the dog out, etc. Wake her up during the first phase of her sleep.

[/QUOTE]She watches Sesame Street at night when I get Roark down for bed (I know horrible mom, but at least its educational - heck, she can count to 20 and knows most of her alphabet already!).
Not a horrible mom. A realist to know that each kid needs you and you have to meet their needs. She's watching something you consider to be quality tv, not "the bachelor" or some other adult type show.
 
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