Saturday, January 29, 2011

Total Exhaustion

I am ready for any and all advice on sleep training. Bring it on. At this point, I am 9 months pregnant, sick with a cold and sleep deprived. So, I'm at my breaking point. Jackson needs to be swaddled and rocked to sleep for every nap and every night for bed. And I will do that if he needs it. I know the Babywise method says he should go to sleep on his own, but he has never been able to do that, so I gave up on that. BUT, what I am done with is the constant waking up for naps AND at night now. He needs nothing, he is extremely exhausted, but he won't sleep. And I am not holding him for hours at a time to keep him napping or sleeping.

At this point, he needs 3 naps a day. What that looks like is swaddling him, rocking him, putting him down, then having to go in constantly to pick him up, re-bounce him to sleep, and repeat. He does NOT just cry himself to sleep. At least not in the 20 minutes I'll let him lie there on his own. He just gets more and more worked up. At night, he goes to sleep around 10:30pm and then is up within an hour or two needing to be picked up and bounced back to sleep, then again in another couple of hours. Then he will sleep from 3-6ish, then up again. He doesn't need anything. He doesn't need a bottle. We just re-swaddle him and bounce him back to sleep and he sleeps until 8:30-9:30am, at which point he wakes up happy and I know he is ready to get up. So, my question is, how do I get him to stay asleep when he is clearly tired and needing to sleep? Because I am now refusing to hold him through his naps, he is now not napping well, which has led to a constantly tired baby, sleep issues at night, and just overall miserable days. I just don't understand. He needs nothing. Nothing. He just won't stay asleep on his own. And I just can't do it anymore.

I have never been a huge fan of crying it out, especially when they are really young. But he is almost 6 months old, and it seems to me that he should be able to take an hour or two nap without waking up every 15 minutes screaming. And if he doesn't need to eat at night, shouldn't he be able to sleep through? What am I missing here? Again, any advice is welcome...but please be really specific. If something worked for you, let me know when you started it, how long it took, exactly how you did it, etc. I'm really picky with my advice, huh:)? Thanks in advance!


  1. ugh i wish i had advice for you. but i am in the same boat (minus the being extremely pregnant part). my 6 month old tops out at 30 minute naps; so he needs three of four of those per day. and he is up like anywhere from three to six times at night. he needs lots of interventions to get to sleep. i cant wait to see what other people tell you so i can learn too.

  2. Unfortunately, he is probably too big for truly effective swaddling now. They are swaddled for the first four months, but then after that they are usually strong enough that they can get their hands up from their sides, thus not stay swaddled. (Be sure to swaddle your newborn from the beginning, and add a pacifier, too. I recommend the Miracle Blanket. But it must be snug! There is a video tutorial on the site:

    For a six month old, it's not so easy. While I would never let a brand new baby "cry it out" (nor expect a newborn to soothe himself), you're past that moment with Jackson. He is in a bad habit at that moment. It's going to depend on how much you can handle. I know it's terribly hard and exhausting. I guess if I were in your shoes (and I have been), I would either decide to let him cry, or decide to co-sleep. Whatever gets you the sleep you need. Although with a new baby coming, co-sleeping may not be an option.

    I'm actually pretty sure that was not much help at all, but I want to scream "miracle blanket" from the rooftops, for your new baby. (But if it's not snug and used as designed, it won't work.)

    Praying for you!!

  3. Oh dear, if only I had amazing words of advice here. But I find myself if this continuous cycle of good sleep-no sleep-some sleep, etc. She is never consistent and just doesn't seem to require much to be happy.

    Just this month, she's started screaming in her crib at night which is quite disturbing. And it doesn't matter if she sleeps all day (which is never) or misses all naps. I can't figure it out.

    So, what I can offer is to say that you are not alone. And I'd love to have a sleeping baby too. But you're my hero for doing this while 9 months pregnant!

  4. Many moms I know swear by the book "no Cry Sleep Solution."
    Like Leila said, he's just in a bad habit now. I would sugest NOT picking him up to bounce him again. Let him lay in bed while you pat his back (silently). He gets the comfort of you being there but not extra stimulation. It took my daughter about 2.5 days to stop needing up to 2 hours to get to sleep (night & naps) every time she woke! I also put 3 or 4 pacifiers in her crib with her so the likelihood of her finding one on her own was better if she lost it in the middle of the night.
    I do recommend that book based on lots of other moms. And "The Happiest Baby on the Block." both are good. Good luck!

  5. Hi! I've been following your blog for a while now and I just wanted to say I know what you're going through. My daughter would not sleep on her own; the moment I tried to lay her in her crib, she'd wake up and cry. That led to many a sleepless, tear-filled night on my part sitting in a rocking chair rocking my infant to sleep. I just couldn't bring myself to let her cry herself to sleep, and eventually discovered the wonderful swing. I put the swing right next to our bed and let it run all night with the baby in it. She used it until she was 5 1/2 months old and I got a good 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night. At six months, she'd worn the motor out from being too heavy and I was at a loss for what to do. A few more sleepless nights later, I decided that it was time for her to sleep in her own bed.

    Let me tell you, I cried. I put her to bed and she immediately started screaming. I said goodnight, turned out the light, and closed the door. I sat in the hallway for 5 minutes, then went back in her room to comfort her. As soon as she stopped crying, I put her back down. This time I waited ten minutes. The third time was 15. On that first night, I got all the way up to the 45 minute marker and it just broke my heart. But the good news was she finally went to sleep and slept all night. The next night she only cried for five minutes--I didn't even have to go in there one time. She's slept on her own ever since.

    At this point Jackson is old enough to create a healthy sleeping habit, but you'll have to help him. Try the swing first if you're anxious about him crying. But really, give the 5 minute method a try! It's hard on the mommy, but it's better for the baby in the long run. Good luck!

  6. My baby is eight months old and has been sleeping through the night since she was three months. Let me qualify that by saying she 'sleeps through the night' when she isn't teething or having some other issue. She will go several nights and sleep ten hours without waking, then the next night she'll cry off and on for hours. How do you know if they are wanting to be held or having some sort of pain? I don't mind letting her cry for a little while, but if she's hurting I want to hold and comfort her. Glad to hear we aren't alone in this!

  7. If you remember, I had a similar issue with Eden not wanting to nap more than 20-30 minutes at a time during the day a month or so back. Finally, I started a routine of putting her in her swing at the EXACT same time everyday. After about 10-15 minutes of fussing, she would fall asleep and stay asleep for 2-3 hrs. We kept her on that schedule and now she naps everyday in her swing. She now associates her swing with nap time, so I don't put her in it unless it is time for a nap or else she falls asleep.

    As far as bedtime, we also stick to a routine. She gets her last bottle at about 8:30, gets into her pj's and we try storytime to settle her. She is usually still somewhat awake when we put her in her crib, but falls asleep within minutes. We have the Rainforest Soother in her bed which we turn on EVERY night for her. She loves it! She watches it until she falls asleep.

    So, I guess my advice is to stick to the SAME routine for naps and bedtime and to use all of the cool devices they make now for babies, i.e. swings, soothers, etc. I don't know how they did it in the "olden days"! :)

  8. Sounds a lot like the issues we were having with our baby girl. L is 3 mos old, and was waking up every 10-30 minutes during naps and nighttime. I found out by accident that if I did not lie her flat, but instead put her in her Boppy (only when I am nearby) or her carseat or swing so she was partially upright (and also felt snug and secure) she slept much better. She actually sleeps 4-5 hours at a stretch now and it is a beautiful thing. I also put a cd player in her room and play a lullaby cd very quietly while she is sleeping. She seems to need the white noise and it keeps other noises from disturbing her. The only problem now is that the other night she slept just over 8 hours...after a momentary panic when I woke up and saw what time it was, I missed her! I actually woke her up shortly thereafter. However, with my first daughter, NOTHING worked - she was never a napper or a good sleeper until she hit the tween years (she is 15 now). Good luck with your adorable little guy...hope you find your snooze groove with him soon!

  9. I know this is not specific like you asked but here's my advice for what it's worth.

    Every baby is different so there is no cookie cutter way of sleep training. That said, a baby is going to expect what happened last time to happen the next time. So if he cried for 20 minutes and you went in and bounced him back to sleep then next time he will cry again...expecting you to come in...probably even for 30 minutes...