Sleeping Through the Night… or Not

Almost everything I read, almost every post I see, even the advice from the pediatrician, indicates that Lady Jr should be able to sleep through the night (i.e. 5 or more hours) by now. That she shouldn’t be waking up every 1 to 2 to 3 hours and have to eat 2, 3, 4 times at night.

We hit the 4 month sleep regression early and then there was daycare and then there was sickness after sickness and now we have a healthy, happy baby who will fall asleep on her own for naps and bedtime but won’t. stay. asleep. I’d say I’m at my wit’s end, but I haven’t cracked yet, I just cry every time I see that someone else’s baby has slept for 4+ hours.

We room share and we’ve all been sick, so trying to do any sort of sleep training for those night wakings has been pushed off and pushed off. I worry that we’ve created a habit that needs to be broken, but I also worry that she’s legit waking because she’s hungry and needs food. I touched on this in the last post, but she’s a string-bean and I can’t say for sure she doesn’t need the extra calories at night.

Then I read something else that says she should be able to go 4-6 hours without a feed at night and I question myself all over again.

Then I read something else that says it can also be normal for her to keep waking like this all the way up to 8, 10, 12 months and I wonder just how long I can keep doing this. It’s not just that I’m tired. It’s that I spend 10, 11 hours in bed just to get enough sleep to function and I’m still tired and then I have less time to do anything else. I have precious little time to myself to begin with, and lately it’s been verging on nonexistent.

I just. I don’t know. I have no idea. I would sleep teach, but I don’t know where to start. I would try to wean her off of one of those feedings, but I lack the conviction that that’s the right thing. I’m just too damn tired to make a decision, but making a decision is the only way I’ll be less tired.

Blrgh. I want advice, but I also know that every baby and situation is unique. So maybe I just want to know I’m not alone.

Also if I read one more thread on this reddit board where somebody’s baby is sleeping 8+ hours at 4 months I’m going to scream.

(not really)

(maybe)

Edited to add: Our current schedule looks like this –
6-7pm go to sleep
8-9pm wake up crying, nurse back to sleep
11pm-12am wake up crying, try to hold/shush/pat back to sleep, end up nursing
1-2am repeat
3-4am repeat
5-6am wide eyes and happy smile as if ready to start the day, hold until she goes back to sleep
7-8am wake up for the day for real

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21 Comments

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21 responses to “Sleeping Through the Night… or Not

  1. Would you consider moving her into her own room to sleep? We had high hopes of cosleeping, but Little Bear slept so loudly as an infant that we moved her into her own room before she was a month old. Lady Jr might sleep more soundly if she can’t smell your milk, and if you and Dr Lady have been sniffly that would be another reason she’d wake easily.

    It’s a legitimate worry whether she’s getting enough calories, but she’s not going to starve over the course of a night or two. She will make up for it by cluster-feeding during the day. And if you’re worried about not producing enough milk for that, it’s okay to supplement with formula.

    • Oh, that’s fair. I hadn’t thought about the fact that she would probably just eat more during the day. That makes me feel better, actually.

      We’re trying to put off moving her as long as possible, partially because getting up and going to another room seems like it would be more disruptive and partially because that other room would be my office and I’m not ready to share my office, lol. But each night that she doesn’t sleep well, I’m considering it more and more.

      • We also got the advice that she would make up for lost calories during the day. I haven’t bitten the bullet yet, but we’re getting close to encouraging her to work through some of those night wakings on her own. (At 8 months).

  2. shawnsorcade

    I don’t have any advice because I literally haven’t slept more than four hour chunks since ev was born two years ago but I will say that in my experience and talking to tons of parents there are very very few babies who sleep through the night before a year. The ones that do honestly seem to be the ones that mythically have since birth or who are sleep train and even then parents who sleep train will tell you 100% they have to re train after teething and regressions. In regards to my own kids everly literally nursed every half hour through the night with a solid block between 1-5am of nursing. This was co sleeping. We night weaned and she slept thru the night at ten months but that lasted only until 18 months. She now wakes up between 8-12 (goes to bed at 6) and comes to our bed. Damn you co sleeping lol. Abe is huge. Over 20lbs and by all accounts should not need to eat but I am certain he is hungry at night. He is bottle fed and gives me slightly longer but really I think I have shit sleepers. He’s been in a crib in his sisters room since birth. Until five months he had to eat every three hours at night. He puts himself to sleep and just needs a bottle but he is hungry. Five and six months he took a bottle at 12 and 4 am still going to bed at 5pm and waking at 530am. Now at seven months he’s moved to one bottle at 3am.

  3. Vanessa Fawley

    One thing I’ve learned to use as my rule of thumb is that babies aren’t electronic devices. By that I mean…There’s no manual. It would be so helpful if there were of course. But you can read one thing that says they should be doing x and another says they should be doing y but they’re humans. *I* still don’t sleep through the night! Trust your instincts. If you think she needs to wake up and eat, let it go for a bit. Babies exclusively on breast milk do get hungry faster and once you start food she may sleep better.

    • I’m hoping I can make it until solids. Hah, but you’re right – I would definitely wake up at least once even if she didn’t. But I’m okay with that; it’s the 3, 4, 5 times a night that’s hard.
      This, too, shall pass. I just wish future me could tell present me how much longer…

    • I just re-read my post and realized I didn’t specify that by “sleep through the night” I meant the medical definition, which is 5 or more hours. Wow. I’m kind of out of it, lol.

  4. AndiePants

    My personal opinion is that 4 months is still very early for any sort of sleep training, but I also knows folks who have had good success with it. Ansel woke to nurse 1-3 times a night until 13 months. Especially if you’re away from her during the day, she may really need this calories. Ultimately, though, the best thing to do is whatever is best for you, lady jr and your family. I have no advice but deep empathy.

    • Oh definitely, 4 months is too early in my opinion too. And I don’t think it would help our situation. She goes to sleep just fine, she just wakes up every 1.5-2 hours.
      I also just realized that I didn’t specify that by “sleep through the night” I meant the medical definition of 5 hours or more, lol. I’m so out of it. I’m gonna go edit that.

  5. I have no advice not yet having a baby myself, but a friend shared this recently so thought I’d share

    https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.buzzfeed.com/amphtml/patricksmith/its-evolution-baby

    Xxx

  6. And I know there’s loads of research to show that light sleeping and frequent waking in young babies is a protective factor from SIDS xxx

  7. Amy

    This looks very similar to our schedule, although I have noticed things improving, slowly and naturally, as we approach 6 months. The 4 month regression fucked up our lives for 2 months. It took/takes a level of patience that I didn’t know was possible. Self-care went out the window. I also ended up in bed at 6pm every night to get her and keep her to sleep. I really hope that a) the trend of improvement I am noticing is somewhat linear, and b) your situation will follow the same pattern and improve very, very soon.
    Reading things is the worst. I agree that “experts” who say babies can sleep through the night by whatever age are just being cruel. I found that surrounding myself with commiserating parents who also get no sleep and feel near death really helped, and letting go of sleep training expectations and letting things transpire naturally was way easier.
    Good luck, friend. You are NOT alone.

    • Amy

      Oh and to clarify – we bed shared to get through the worst of this sleep regression and THANK GOD that worked for us, but it wasn’t a sustainable option for a few reasons, so now we are trying to move her to the crib (hence our schedule looks more like yours again). However, I found that “habits” didn’t seem to stick. I let her nurse back to sleep whenever she wanted through the night – I slept through it. But when she started showing signs of being ready for more independence we went with her cues and she doesn’t need to be nursed back to sleep every time now. Try not to worry too much about habits. Babies’ brains are malleable and I think its pretty easy for them to get used to a new normal when the time is right for a change.

    • This is really good to hear. Knowing that things can improve even without active sleep training is really helpful.

  8. Darwin didn’t regularly sleep more than 3 hours in a row until she was two. But she would wake up and go back to sleep pretty fast with nursing and we coslept. You may be able to convince (‘train’) to sleep somewhat better, but try to take a deep breath and think about what works for you. Is what you’re doing working for now? Do it until it doesn’t. Remember that the rate of development in babies is astronomical and just because something isn’t working this week (like sleep) doesn’t mean it won’t be better next week. And remember that anyone who says ‘baby should be doing X by now’ without recognizing that for most things there is a huge range of normal, is suspect.

  9. I know this is wishy washy, but spend some time really meditating on your instinct. Read less and listen to your heart and your daughter’s energy and see if you have some clarity. You may find out that your instinct says you just need to get through this with less sleep. Or you may find that you have a lot of confidence in her to get through this without so much help from you.

    • No, that’s absolutely what I need to do. I just need to somehow empty my head out first so I stop having all these contradictory answers pinging around in there.

  10. I did all the ‘wrong’ things with Ali, nursed her to sleep and bed shared and everything else you can think of with no real lasting effects. That being said, I’m a big fan of sleep training and did do it when she was more like 6 months. If that’s something you decide to do, I’m totally behind you! A well rested mom is a better mom than an exhausted and frustrated one!

  11. Ladibug21

    I wonder if those statistics about sleeping through the night at this age are not for babies breastfed through the night? My guy was the SAME way and it made me INSANE. Honestly he woke up every 2-4 hours until I nightweaned him at 18 months. Looking back I wish I’d nightweaned him much, much earlier because sleep deprivation was doing a number on me.

    I did find that a white noise machine, black out curtains, and having him sleeping in a space close but not touching me did help him sleep longer stretches. We moved him to his own room when he was 20 months and the first night he slept like 11 hours straight.

    We never sleep trained but I did use Jay Gordon’s method of nightweaning and it was a breeze.

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