Posted in Blogging, Parenting

Sleep & How To Find It.

**Warning: this isn’t a how-to post.**

I wish it were, but is isn’t.

No, instead, it’s more of a question.

Or an accumulation of many questions.

And thoughts.  Yes…those too.

Let me lay it out for you (no pun intended).

I’m tiiiiiiiiiiiired!

Seriously.

The little guy is starting to make me question my parenting.  I suppose it’s a good thing because it means that I actually care about the quality of my parenting.  Of course, it also means that something is amuck. Or perhaps it isn’t.

*Sigh* why can’t parenting be easy?

Here’s the thing.  Little Dude is ten months old.  He eats three nicely-sized meals per day at daycare on top of nursing from three to five times in a 24h period (more on the disparity of nursing frequencies in another post).  On a typical day, he sleeps  45 min. to an hour in the morning and about 1.5 hours in the afternoon.  He’s generally up by 6:30am and down for the night at around 7:30pm.  I think we have a good routine going that is conductive to sleep.  He seems to disagree.

You see, I can probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of times that he has slept through the night.  And by slept through, I’m not talking about the theoretical “in the books” definition of 6 consecutive hours.  I’m talking about going to bed at 7 pm and waking up for the day around 6:30 or something along those lines.

The fact is, the Charles wakes up minimally once every night.  On some nights, he wakes up twice.  Now, I know that some of you must have it worse than I do and, in all honesty, it didn’t bother me for a while as I was on maternity leave.  But now?  Now I’m back to work AND I actually need to function.  Of course, when the little guy wakes up, the big guy is usually fast asnore (for those of you who are sleep-deprived like me asnore = asleep + snoring).  He generally stays that way too unless I let Little Dude try to sort himself out for more than 15 minutes.

A night-waking usually looks something like this:

  • Charles wakes up.
  • He starts stirring and semi-chattering.
  • He moves into whiney mode.
  • Whiney mode turns into yelling-at-his-parents mode.  (Ahem: “RA-BA-BA-BA-BA-GA!  RA-BA-BA-BA-BA-GA!…“)
  • Yelling mode turns into semi-crying mode.
  • Semi-crying mode either turns into whiney and then sleep mode or FULL-BLOWN CRYING mode.

Generally, when he wakes up twice during a night, he’ll be able to put himself back to sleep during one of his night-wakings.  Generally.  Sometimes, however, both night-wakings require that I get out of bed (because, of course, the big guy is certainly not going to take the initiative and get out of his toasty bed to try to calm down a screaming baby in the middle of the night – of course, can’t really blame him for wanting to stay in bed ;)).  So, I leave the comfort and warmth of the bed, blindly grab my bathrobe and pull it on before I freeze to death, make my way to my son’s room, pick him up, sit in the rocking chair, stick a boob in his mouth and let him suck his way back to sleep.

Right now, I want him to sleep more.  But I don’t know if I have reasonable expectations.  I mean, is it reasonable for me to expect my son to be able to go through the night without nursing and without waking?  Is he waking up because he knows I will come in and nurse him or is he waking for another reason?  And if he is waking because I created this habit for him, what do I do about it?  Do I kindly wake my snorer and ask him to take care of the little man or do I just let my son banshee himself back to sleep?  I mean, how am I supposed to know if he actually needs that nursing session in the middle of the night or not?

To be frank, if I knew that he needed one MOTN feeding I would be fine with it.  I’d go with the flow.  But if he doesn’t need it…well..I’ll take my sleep.

Insight?  Anyone?  Please?

Author:

Thirty-something year old discovering the joys and bumps of motherhood.

26 thoughts on “Sleep & How To Find It.

  1. I don’t know what’s *needed* per say. I know some people let their babies cry it out much earlier then 10 months. But, from experience: Alex is now almost 3, he didn’t sleep through the night until he was 2 yrs and 4 months old. Seriously. He stopped getting formula during the night at 12 months. I switched it to water. But until he was over two, I had to get up and soothe him or else he would cry all night ( I know because we tried the cry it out thing. For 2 weeks. No one slept) Nick is now 18 months. He started sleeping through the night at the same time Alex did, except he was 13 months old. Again, he got a feeding during the night until 12 months when I switched him to water. Zoey is 4 months old. She sleeps through the night. I mean from 8pm until 7am. All kids are different. But that’s my experience. I hope you get some sleep soon! 🙂

    1. Wow, over 2 year without a full night’s rest must have been exhausting. I mean, I know your body kinda gets used to it, but you’re still tired. Why did you start replacing formula with water at 12 months, was it to try to see if formula was the reason you son was waking at night?
      I’m happy to hear that Zoey is already happily STTN. I know that each child is different, but I wanted to get a feel of how things were elsewhere. Thank you for sharing your experience!

      1. I switched over to water on my Dr’s recommendation with Alex, and just did the same with Nick. I had them off formula and on milk at 12 months and eating 3 meals and 2 snacks so my Dr said it was habit and not hunger at that point. Especially since they would drink 1-3 oz of the formula and be sleeping again. I leave a cup of water in a sippy cup in their beds at night now and sometimes I hear them wake up but they drink some water and go right back to sleep.
        the long time of not sleeping through the night sucked. But I just kept telling myself eventually they will sleep. Lol!

  2. I don’t think a 10 month old *needs* more than one feed per night. Some would say he doesn’t need any at all. I think your child is ypur child and you need to do what you think is best. It does sound as if he has become dependent on the boob to put himself back to sleep so that’s more or less your issue I suspect. If you want to test you could try dream feeding at about 10pm and see if he wakes still. If hunger was the problem he shouldn’t, if it’s a boob to sleep dependency then he’ll probably wake anyway. It’s soooo hard to break these little habits. Ask google and see what other mums with this issue do. Good luck and let us know what you do!!!!

    1. Hum, I actually thought of turning to Dr. Google, but decided to try here first 😉

      I also have the feeling that a 10 month old doesn’t *need* to nurse more than once per night. And, in all honesty, I don’t think he *needs* to nurse at all. I think that he has developed a suck to sleep dependency and that one of the reasons he might still be waking up is to do some of the bonding he doesn’t get to do during the day with me now that I’m back at work.

      I think I may try the dreamfeed, but I’ll do it when I don’t have to work the next day, just in case it messes with his sleep even more.

      Thanks for your input!

  3. I was going through the same but v would wake and nurse every two hours throughout the night. We just started sleep training and im pleased to say he woke twice and no milk from 8:30-5 am so my guess is he doesnt need the feed. My guy is 13 months now.
    You coukd try sleep training to break the habit of waking and nursing.

    1. I remember reading about you being exhausted. It’s easy to understand why given that you were still getting up every 2h after 13 months. I’m happy that sleep training is working for you; that’s great news! We actually did do some sleep training (PUPD) when Little Dude was 5 months old to wean him from the pacifier and the swaddle. What kind of sleep training did you do with Vinnie?

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. Thor is 11 months old and still usually wakes up once or twice a night wanting fed. He always seem to wake up thirsty, and will usually go back to sleep after he’s had his bottle unless the sun is already up. Once the sun comes up, he’s nearly impossible to get back to sleep.

    1. From what I’ve read so far, I get the feeling that I’m pretty much in the norm with regards to night wakings / night feedings. I actually feel better knowing that Thor and other babies are still waking up at night to be fed.

      Thanks for your input!

  5. What your Little Dude is doing is pretty normal. Unless you do some hard core sleep training, which I am not a fan of, he will probably continue waking during the night until he is weaned from the boob. My daughter used to wake during the night just for booby and only started sleeping through when she self-weaned at 16 months. We’ve now transitioned her from co-sleeping back into her cot/ toddler bed at 20 months and she’s started waking again but is much easier to get back to sleep. A friend was telling me about a book that basically says that expecting babies to sleep through the night & alone is just a western social construct – it’s not really what babies are designed to do – we’ve just come to expect it and think that something is wrong if it doesn’t happen. You could try sleep training or night weaning if you are getting really exhausted but otherwise just keep going with the flow – it won’t stay this way forever!

    1. I understand what you are saying about how our expectations of baby sleep are a Western construct. And you’re totally right when you say that when our babies don’t STTN from a young age, we somehow think that something is wrong.

      It’s never easy to know, however, what is “normal” and not – especially when the people around you are always asking if your LO is STTN or not and telling your that s/he should be according to them. I understand the intention behind their comments, but they ended up causing me to question what I was doing.

      It’s funny, because, knowing that it’s not abnormal for my 10 months old to still be waking during the night to nurse kind of makes it easier for me to actually get up and not be as tired if that makes any sense.

      I’m definitely not ready to do CIO with the little guy just for the sake of having him STTN. For now, I think I’ll just go with the flow and when I’ve fed him once and he wakes again, try to get his father to get up and soothe him back to sleep if he doesn’t fall back asleep on his own.

      Thanks for sharing!

      1. We always second guess our parenting choices as first time mums but if your little guy is healthy & happy you’re doing great, just because he’s not sttn doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. I think that getting dad to help is a great idea. You’re little guy might start getting himself back to sleep when he realises that Mum’s not coming in with the goods!

  6. I fully agree with melbournemummy!!
    Because Samuel isn’t weaned yet, he still wakes once per night for milk as well (more on that topic soon!)

    1. Thanks for your input Valerie. I’m happy I turned to my blog to ask the question, parenting is easier when you can find parents who have gone through (or are going through) the same “bumps in the road”. I know I’m not ready to wean Charles yet, and, to be honest, I think that a part of me likes getting up in the middle of the night to nurse him (that would be the part of me that knows that he’ll only stay this young for so long and the part of me that feels guilty that I’ve gone back to work and can’t bond with him during the day as much”, but it is still tiring and some days, I have trouble functioning at work. Looking forward to the (weaning?) post.

  7. Yes! Yes! Yes! Big man has to do the night soothing. It’s the only way to sleep train. We did and LO now sleeps 12 hours straight and self soothes. She’s happy and well rested and so are we. Good luck momma, you’re doing a great job. 😉

    1. Thanks for your input (and for stopping by)! It’s good to hear that sleep training worked for you guys. Just for the sake of curiosity, did you start sleep training to get your daughter to STTN? And how old was she when you started? What kind of ST did you do?

  8. I am not sure that this will make you feel better, but we had a very similar routine at 10 months. At about the same time I was exhausted and I thought that it was crazy that she wasnt sleeping…Finally…at 10 months and 3 weeks…she just started sleeping better. I will not say it has been perfect, but something happened at that point. Keep on trucking!! You can do it and it will get better. My 14 month old still doesn’t sleep through the night every night, but it is getting better!

  9. I went through this all many (many) years ago and I have no answers for you. It seemed like something always woke my son up: teething, growth spurts, temperature change. All just guesses. We had no clue. Once he was off formula, it mostly stopped. Just know it will get better! My daughter slept through the night early on–but she sucked her thumb. It was great that she could self-soothe, but I wouldn’t recommend it. 😉 Good luck!

    1. Thanks for the input. The little guy actually does suck on his thumbs (they both look as though they are irrevocably pruned up), but it just doesn’t seem to cut it. Last night, daddy went in and tried to soothe him when he woke up about 2h after a feed but wasn’t successful, he wanted mommy and no one else.

      I know it’ll pass eventually and I totally get what you mean when you say that you had the impression that there was always something that woke up your son. Perhaps once he’s weaned it’ll be better.

      Time will tell, I suppose…

  10. Manimal (baby # 2) has done the same thing. I cried it out for both my kids once they were past 4 months, but even this didn’t completely “cure” it like I hear about from a lot of moms (it just significantly reduced sleep wakings from 5-10 times a night to 1-3).

    At 10 mo. Manimal was waking 1-2 times a night. Now (at age 2.5) he wakes once per night about 3 nights a week and seems to coincide with tummy troubles. It has definitely gotten better, and it seems like this is a phase he is slowly working his way out of. Both my boys wanted to get up a 10 months and feed, and I think that is VERY NORMAL. Do I get up and feed him now? NO — I give him a tippy cup of water. But I did feed him at 10 months because I just felt way too cruel to ignore his cries. Plus, I think a baby with food issues often has more of a sensitive tummy, which is why they wake for comfort/food… Personally, for me, the hardest part was trying to figure out if he just wanted to play in the middle of the night, or if he was hungry or didn’t feel well. Often he was hungry, but once in a while, I think he just wanted to hang out, and that’s when I met his needs with a diaper change, a quick feed if he was hungry and had to put him back to bed and let him cry — so I could get some decent rest.

  11. Oh, and what really helped Lil Z sleep through the night was a tippy cup of water – but we didn’t figure that out til he was 14 months old. After that, if he woke up, he would drink from it and fall back to sleep quickly (but Lil Z doesn’t like to snuggle). This did NOT work for Manimal, who is a snuggler. I still usually have to go to his room and help him settle before he will go back to sleep. I think it depends a lot on the baby’s personality…

    1. Thanks so much for your insight. I think you might definitely be on to something with regards to the tummy troubles.

      I was actually super relieved when I posted here and saw that many other moms had babies the same age (and older) who were still waking up once or twice (or more often) through the night.

      For now, I’m cool with getting up and nursing back to sleep. Sometimes, my son will actually nurse, other times, he’ll just suckle a bit and fall asleep. I think that he may just need snuggles at those moments. I’ve decided that I was getting up once per night to nurse him back to sleep and, if he woke up again, I would send his father in to try to get him back to sleep. So far, it’s working *knock on wood*.

      I find it interesting that you mention giving water, Lynn also talked about how she started doing that with her boys once they reached 12 months. I think I will probably follow suit.

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