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Monday, October 25, 2010

Sleep - with Post Edit

Okay, I'm desperate enough to plead for help. I've hesitated, in part, because I haven't wanted to come across as complaining or whining, but after a really long night of very little sleep, I need to know how people do it. How do you get your babies to sleep through the night?

Ben is doing pretty good. He has a couple of nights here and there when he'll be upset for a chunk of the night, but he'll usually get in a couple of good stretches, at the very least. But, even he could be doing better. I think his longest stretch has been 7 or 8 hours. I want to know how parents get their babies to sleep 12 hours straight!

Hugh is another story. Last night he was up almost every hour. Not just stirring and making cute noises... but, crying and upset. He hasn't ever gotten close to sleeping through the night. The best night we had was him waking up at 2am and then again at 6am. But, that has only happened once or twice.

We have a really good bedtime routine - bath, massage, feeding. Everything goes smoothly through all of that, as well as putting them both down initially. I guess it's keeping them asleep for longer periods. Does it just come naturally for some babies to sleep longer? I just can't help but feel like there's some trick we're not aware of.

I've tried the "crying it out" with Hugh and it honestly just makes things worse for the poor kid. If his last feeding was more than three hours before, then I'll usually end up nursing him back to sleep, but last night was insane.

Here's the run down - he finished nursing at 8:45pm and went down great. But, was awake at 10pm crying, so I rocked him back to sleep (took about 15 minutes). Then he was awake again at 11pm. I decided then to feed him, hoping it would help him sleep better. Instead, he was up and hour and a half later, then again at 2am and 3:15am. The first two times I rocked him back to sleep, trying different sleeping positions each time when I laid him back down. At 3:15am, I decided to just wait and see if he'd fall back asleep on his own. Forty-five minutes later and two rounds of "This Little Light of Mine", he wasn't screaming, but was wide awake and still a bit fussy. So, I fed him at 4am (thinking he must be so exhausted... I'm sure he'll sleep until 8am). He finished by 4:45am and then was awake again sometime around 6:30am. I pulled him out of the crib and rocked him back to sleep laying on my chest. That lasted for an hour and then he was up for good. I'm not exactly sure how much sleep I got, but my longest stretch was maybe 90 minutes. That's hardly even a good nap.

Fortunately every night isn't as bad as last night, but his nights seem to be getting progressively worse and I don't know what to do. We both need a better night's sleep. I know some things that work for some babies won't work for my baby, but for those of you who have any ideas or things to try, I would love to hear them.

And, if I win this giveaway, I'll do my own giveaway of the same CD to whomever offers the idea that helps my baby sleep through the night. And, actually, if your trick actually does work, I'll be so thrilled I'll do the giveaway whether or not I win the giveaway.

So, get those ideas a-coming... it's been far too long since I've slept through the night.

POST EDIT: Wow, thanks for all the ideas so far. I just wanted to clarify a few things:

- Our boys are both tummy sleepers. I'll usually start Hugh off swaddled and then after his first wake up I'll lay him on his tummy. He does seem to sleep much better on his tummy.

- I feed Hugh about every four hours during the day, usually for 20 minutes on each side... except the last feeding of the night always goes a bit longer.

 - Hugh isn't on solids yet and he doesn't take a bottle.

 - One thing I worry about with leaving him to cry it out is that he rams himself up against a corner of the crib and then pushes his head up against it, making himself cry even harder. I worry about him getting stuck or hurt by doing that.

 - There are no signs of him teething yet.

 - It could be diary. It could be acid reflux, though he doesn't have the same signs of it that Ben had. 

Thanks so much for all the ideas and sharing in my pain! I appreciate it all more than you know!


Deetsgirl said...

So...this is just a quick idea. Bronson was a preemie so he had some other issues, but we fixed the sleeping through the night after we took the milk away. While I was feeding him complete breastmilk I wasn't able to consume milk myself because it made him sick. He would be really fussy and couldn't get comfortable. When he was 1, we started him on whole milk and he wasn't able to sleep through the night anymore. As soon as we switched him to rice milk (allergic to soy too) he has been able to soothe and sleep through the night. If you try this and it still doesn't work try using a warm blanket from the dryer and wrapping it around his belly before you put him down. It helped Bronson. Hope this helps.

LilMisfit said...

This is a huge No-No to some people, but all 4 of my babies slept on their stomachs. Have you tried that? My oldest didn't sleep well when she was young. She would nap great on her tummy, so I started putting on her belly at night and it worked great. I talked to my pediatrician about it (feeling super guilty) and he said, "Do you like to sleep on your back? It's just uncomfortable. Put her to sleep however you want to." And so all 4 of my kids have been tummy sleepers ever since.

I also agree with the comment above. It sounds like maybe he has a tummy ache or something that is waking him up. Is he getting new teeth?

I am also a huge believer in crying it out. My kids did that right when they turned 4 months old. That led to them being able to easily put themselves to sleep at night, for naps, and also in the middle of the night. I had multiple kids that had to re-cry it out when they were like 7 or 8 months olds. They would have a cold or something that kept them up at night and then it would totally mess them up so that they kind of had a few bad weeks of sleeping -- until I had them cry it out again (when they were totally healthy!). That always took a few TERRIBLE nights, but it was so worth it.

A book that I loved is called "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child." You might get some tips there.

I'm so sorry for your sleep deprivation! I wish I could do more to help you.

Karilyn said...

Hi, Momof2~

I feel for you so much!

My 7 children were born within 11 years, and I had MANY nights when I was scared to pieces to put one baby down for fear he would wake his brother...

They were born in '84, '85, '87, 91, 92, 93, and '95. (the months gap were 15 for the first two, 2 years and 2 days for the next, then I had a divorce... remarried in '90, and had #4 in '91 when my oldest was still 5 years, but she was such a little Mama! #5 came along 14 months later, which gave me two babies to carry around, since Adam wasn't walking yet (he didn't walk until 16 months old, that little guy was born with an ear infection, which I didn't know until MONTHS of this sleepless bahavior you describe. #6 came along 16 months later, so I had everyone at church asking me, "Don't you know what's CAUSING it???!"

*sad face*

21 months later, I had my last, and again, my oldest had just turned 11 - so she was again, a little Mama to the newest angel (the prior three were all boys, so the last was extremely welcomed by my older two daughters, the first and third-borns).

I did have two collicky babies, they also behaved much as you described. I agree 100% with the prior poster who gave you good advice, except for the "cry-it-out" -- I figure if a baby is crying, there's a darn good reason, but they are NOT able to tell you what that reason is, it's up to us Moms to find out.

The best advice I can give you is to pray about it, Heavenly Father will let you know -- you are entitled to His guidance. I know you have a wonderful husband, you might ask him for a blessing to help you know what is best for the babies.

If you can, have a doctor check their ears, and definitely look at the dairy allergy side -- my #4 (who is now 19-and-a-half) is still allergic to dairy products. My 2nd born has Aspergers, so he can't (shouldn't) eat grains or dairy (it makes his Asperger's much much worse).

Oh! Another thing: never ever let a doctor medicate your children for what they like to label "ADHD" -- as a mom, I learned how horrible the reactions are to the meds, and now as a medical student, I am learning so much more than I knew while going through all the Mom stuff with each one.

Yeah. Now I have everyone and their dog asking me if I had/have triplets -- the Three Muskateers even sound almost alike, voice-wise, and they are all very close. My 3rd-born, now 23 years old, is a young mom to 4 little ones of her own (she has a terrific husband) - Meaghan decided she wanted her children to all be close in age too, after growing up so close in age with all of her siblings.

Another suggestion: let the house-cleaning go, you need to rest (nap) during the day while your babies do - you can always catch up on the house part later, believe me.

Another question: does your husband know what's going on, sleep-wise, or are you letting him get his rest, like I used to do?


And get a good book, you might get some excellent reading time in.

Something my daughter has done with her babes: she bundles them up in a receiving blanket like a burrito (her youngest is now 3 months, with a just-turned 2, another one almost 4, and another one just turned 5) -- it's helped calm them down many times when they were fussy~

KieraAnne said...

I'd say that yes all babies are different, so it may just be him. Is he teething at all? That sometimes keeps them awake. Or like the first commenter said, try removing dairy from your diet. It took me three kids to figure out that that's what was causing them all to scream so much. The first one I just figured it was a phase and lived with it. The second one I thought it might be acid reflux and got a Rx, then the third I stopped drinking milk or eating too much cheese and that totally helped. Also, it doesn't sound like you need this, but try and make sure they nurse at least 10-15 minutes per side before going to sleep. Sometimes if they don't nurse long enough they don't get the higher calorie hind milk and thus wake up hungry earlier. I don't know if this will help, but let us know what you figure out!

Nicole said...

White noise or music in their room may help them recognize "sleep time" and help them sleep longer stretches.

They may be too old to start, but swaddling helps. I liked using a SwaddleMe with my youngest.

Rocking them to sleep each time may be making it worse. Try setting them down when they are still awake and let them fall asleep on their own. Do this gradually. Start by rocking him 90% asleep, then lay him down and continue stroking him and soothing him until he is asleep. If he screams, pick him up and rock him a little more then lay him back down still mildly awake, and pat him until he is asleep. Once he gets used to this reduce the amount of rocking slowly each day, until you are able to lay him down completely awake. Once he is able to fall asleep on his own, he will be more likely to put himself back to sleep when he wakes at night.

Beckstead Family said...

I agree with the belly sleeping. All three of my kids have much preferred sleeping on their tummies and it does seem to help them sleep longer.

About crying it out. I actually had that method recommended to me by one of my pediatricians! Here's the thin about it. you do need to check that there is no underlying reason for the constant waking, such as ear infection, colic, gas, allergies or whatever. BUT having said that, all three of my kids doctors have said that by 4 months of age NUTRITIONALLY there is no reason for them to be getting up during the night. They should be able to go about 9-10 hours between feedings. It's alright to tell your baby, "I love you, but it's time to be sleeping." Then close the door and turn off the monitor. (if they somehow manage to hurt themselves in their crib, they know how to scream loud enough to wake you up anywhere in your house.) 2 bits of advice about it though. 1: don't worry about waking up the other baby. My kids have always shared rooms and the other one just learns to sleep through it. And most times they won't even wake up for the crying at all. We all have pretty selective hearing in our sleep. We've all experienced being able to hear the slightest breathing change in the next room but slept through our husbands snoring!
2: It can feel heartbreaking, like you're not giving your child the love they need, but they don't really know what they need. It's up to you as the mom to tell them, and sometimes what they really need is just sleep! And sometimes it can get worse at first. Like with everything it takes consistency. With my first, I let him cry for an hour before he fell back asleep, and after the first night he never woke up before 9 hour was over again. With my second it took 2 wks of doing that! But after we got through that rough patch we were both better rested and happier. So I guess I would say that if you can do it without feeling to guilty, then it really works, and in a very short period of time your babies will sleep through the night.

Becky Rose said...

feed them cereal before bed. Their tummy will be fuller!

Inkling said...

I can totally relate. My 21 month old still wakes up once in the night and asks for "bah", which means a bottle of milk. (He weaned himself from nursing a few months ago, much to my dismay.)

We were told to try cry-it-out, but that does not work at all for our little one. He could cry for hours, take a ten minute break, and then cry for several more hours if we let him. So I just listen to my mama's heart and hold him until he settles back down. It is tiring, but it is the best solution for us at the moment.

He does sleep with us, since he got used to that as an infant when he was dealing with GERD and it was taking me a long time to convince my doctor to listen to me and help him with meds. My doctor had told me he was just colicky and to let him just cry himself to sleep, but I knew something was bothering him. Sure enough, it was GERD and he was dealing with painful reflux/heartburn that felt horrible when I'd lay him down. When we finally got referred to a pediatrician and got meds, it was a whole new ballgame. He still wouldn't sleep in his cradle or crib, since he was used to being in my arms, but he finally would sleep for more than an hour at a time.

One book that was helpful for us was the No-Cry Sleep Solution. Some of the things really helped, especially her suggestion about what to do during their naptime when they wake up 45 minutes in and still need to sleep some more.

I think some babies are just super sleepers and others are not. We have tried everything under the sun to get our little guy to have the typical baby sleep cycle, but he's like me through and through (a nightowl and a late morning riser). So I just comfort myself with the fact that he will be sleeping on his own and talking and doing all the things I worry about now by the time he's 16. That's a little tongue in cheek, obviously, as I know he will do those things much earlier! But I say that to myself to remind me that this is just a season and that it really won't last forever, even on nights when it seems almost eternal. I'm learning to treasure it, but I totally know what you mean about just wanting some sleep.

I know there isn't good advice in my comment, but I hope it at least lets you know that you aren't alone in this.

Carrot Jello said...

My kids never slept through the night until they were 2. Until I had my fifth.
I just stuck him in a room by himself, and let him cry.
Do you have a crib bumper?

Liz said...

Honest to goodness, I can't give you one piece of solid advice. I'd like to say that after three children and a step-son, I have parenting figured out. Nope...not a clue.

I do know that I had plenty of sleepless nights with all of my children. My oldest is five and he still gets up once a night to use the restroom and get a drink of water.

I know this won't help much, but everytime I wake up with my Emma (she's going to be our last), I just remind myself that in 10 short years, I'll be trying to think of ways to get them OUT of bed! :)

I've done the bottle of formula before bed, even though they're all breast babies and that did seem to help. I've also done swaddling, co-sleeping (not a fan), and tummy time. The one thing that has really helped has been our silly Fisher Price mobile. It is a mobile that has light shining through cut-out shapes as it spins and you can either add music or not. I turned of the noise part and let the lights spin and spin. Once the babies were old enough to watch, I guess it entertained them enough to let them fall asleep. The mobile turns off after about 10 minutes and has a remote so you can turn it on from the door. I LOVE this mobile. It even has a stand so you can set it on the bookshelf when they're old enough to start reaching for things. Even if it doesn't help the babies fall asleep, it's still really fun to cuddle with them in the rocker and watch!! I've fallen asleep to it at least a dozen times myself.

Good luck with your sleep and enjoy your precious (and might I add...adorable) sons!!!

Marc and Megan said...

@ CJ - so maybe it runs in the family? We do have a bumper, but he somehow manages to pull it down.

Liz said...

As for a crib bumper...I bought this breathable crib bumper from Amazon and love it. I read that bumpers were dangerous for the babies so I love how this one keeps them from getting stuck and allows them to breath if they get too close.

Once again...good luck!!

mindyluwho said...

One of my children would only stay asleep if left in his car seat, so for about a month I put it on the floor right next to my bed and then when he'd start to fuss I'd rock it a little and he'd fall back asleep. That got us through a tough time. Another one liked to sleep in the automatic rocker that we had, so I did that for a little bit to get us through that tough time. I guess you just have to keep trying different things.

I don't have much more advice, except "this too shall pass"! Babies are so wonderful, but so exhausting at times, especially when you have two so close in age. And you wouldn't be normal if you didn't whine a little bit about not getting any sleep!

Good luck!

KellyLady said...

I sypathize!!!! I have 3 little boys and not one has been a good sleeper :( I can't tell you how many nights I woke up after falling asleep for hours in the rocking chair with him passed out on me, put him back in his crib, tip toe to my bed and be back up again 1/2 hour later to a screaming baby. Our best solution came when he was about 13 or 14 months and we moved him into a double bed with his older brother. He's not a perfect sleeper but much improved! Maybe your two would benefit from sharing a crib? I've heard twins do well and since they're so close in age maybe it's worth a try. Sorry if this duplicates someone else's advice...I didn't read through them all. Good luck!

Erica said...

All I have to say is, read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, by Dr. Weissbluth. It changed our lives. Put them to sleep awake, but drowsy, and teach them to self soothe. Our daughter was sleeping through the night and self soothing by 7 months, and now our 5 month old son puts himself to sleep for all naps and bedtime, and sleeps 10-12 hours every night!

Fire said...

Serenity has only had one great night. Here we had her out in the living room. So she would sleep well until I turned everything off to go to bed myself. I have now moved her into the big girls room. This way she won't hear the tv so much and not hear me taking off to bed. Also I find that her being farther away at night I can't hear her little sounds and moving around.(So I sleep better!) And in turn she can't hear or smell the mild maker so near by. Last night went pretty good. She woke once and I brought her to bed until her squirming kept me awake. With a diaper change I just put her back into her bed and she slept till 7:15.
Hope you can find something that helps soon. I know the feeling.

Erica said...

Saw this on FB today and thought of you:

Allred Fam said...

hi there!

haven't read any other comments to see what others have suggested- but here are some ideas that worked for us- not that they necessarily will for you- but here they are- (by the way, I'm feeling TIRED for you- I KNOW what it's like!)-

Book- Babywise (discusses putting baby down to sleep while still awake so they don't need you to rock them/feed them to sleep, feeding schedules, etc. etc.)

Possibly start feeding every 3 hours during the day just until he has learned to sleep through the night. I can't remember exactly but I think "they" say (who are "they?") not to let them go the 4 hours at night until they are able to go 8+ hours at night.

Possibly introduce some cereal at night but if he has another little problem causing pain this might make it worse. I think he should be able to sleep through the night whether he has cereal or not.....

Maybe let him cry it out for a few minutes the first night, and then comfort him, and gradually increase the time he must cry it out over the next few weeks??

Good luck, I feel for you!

Ence Family said...

You are getting lots of good advise. I feel your pain!! With my boys I would give them a bottle of formula for bedtime even though they weere nursing babies. The formula seemed to be a lot more feeling for them. Also I would suggest starting him on rice cereal at night. My boys started that early too because they were always so hungery. But he may have a milk or dairy allergy that you might want to look into. My boys were also tummy sleepers too. So much advise I hope something works for you. Our 4 year old still wakes up 2-3 times a night still and he likes to go get into bed with his older brother.