Sleep, Can I Haz?

M didn’t sleep through the night until probably 22 months. For her 1st year she was up to eat at least once a night (2-3 times a night for the first six months); I was breastfeeding and she refused a bottle so I was always the one up with her. I perfected the half-awake stumble to her room and would fall asleep in the rocker with her in my arms. I can still clearly remember the first time I got an interrupted 8 hours of sleep when she was a toddler – I felt drunk! I was a bit woozy and light headed and happy all from a single night’s sleep.

Around 6 months we started to try anything anyone suggested. We gave Weissbluth, Ferber, and Hogg each a month each with no improvement. I read Babywise and The No Cry Sleep Solution but they were no help. We spent months going “by the book” but it always made things worse. She would scream for hours on end. Everyone says “give it a few days! It will get shorter every night!” It didn’t. For about 6 months, each night we’d go through the complicated dance of bedtime, following this rule or that one, and she would always wake up and demand attention. We eventually gave in and came up with a solution which basically gave her 10 minutes to go back to sleep and if not one of us would go in, tend to her and be back in our bed in a few minutes. We got used to the interrupted sleep. And around the time she was 2 she slept through the night; around age 3 we could go in her room and check on her – something unheard of in her light-sleeper infant days.

When we got pregnant with MAD I told the universe it owed me a good sleeper.

MAD slept his first straight 8 hours at 6 weeks. By 8 weeks that 8 hour stretch at night was consistent. At 12 weeks he was clocking 9-10 hours a night without a wake-up, even when I would go in and checks on him. It’s was awesome and I thanked the universe.

He’s always gotten up once to eat…in those beautiful weeks when he was sleeping he’d go down between 6 and 7 PM and wake up around 2 or 3 AM to eat, then sleep another 3-4 hours. I would go to bed at 10 and get about 6 hours of sleep before feeding him and another 2-3 hours after. Life was pretty good.

At about 14 weeks it all changed.

MAD started waking up about every 3 hours to eat. Although he’ll take a bottle Sir Stubborn refuses formula of any brand or type. It’s all boob juice all the time (even though he had formula every day for the first 60+ days of his life…at some point he just started refusing it). By this time I was back at work and barley pumping enough to keep up with his daycare bottle needs so the limited supply couldn’t be used at night. I chalked the extra feedings up to a growth spurt and wearily soldiered on.

At 6 months we started some “sleep training” because I was literally falling asleep work from the sleep deprivation. We tried letting him cry. We tried bottles of whole milk (our pediatrician’s suggestion) and water to get him weaned off those night feedings. We tried stuffing him full of food before bed. NOTHING WORKS. This kid needs to/wants to eat every 3-4 hours around the clock. During the day he gets solids and bottles but at night it’s all me. His cry is more of a scream and he’ll scream himself hoarse before he falls back to sleep.

Now we’re staring down 11 months and he STILL gets up twice a night. Usually around midnight and then around 3 or 4. Sometimes Mark can get him settled back to sleep at the second wake-up, but more often than not I have to go in and feed him at some point.

I’ve done the math and thanks to the joy of pregnancy night trips to the bathroom, I haven’t slept more than 6 consecutive hours in over 13 months. I get weepy when I think about it, because all I want is sleep.

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2 thoughts on “Sleep, Can I Haz?

  1. Oh, I could have written this. Almost word for word. Brinley is up 3-4 times a night and Karenna (2.5 yrs) is up at least once so between the two of them, I am DYING. Not sure what our next steps should be, but just know there’s a fellow member of this torturous sisterhood crying along with you. 😦

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