Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sleep Battle Royale

There is a serious battle going on in my house right now over SLEEP.  Wonderful, refreshing, elusive sleep.  I love sleep.  Ryan loves sleep.  Mally, Sage and Jigs love sleep.  Mac HATES sleep.  See the problem?

I'm not saying that we are at the mercy of the baby all the time, but WE ARE AT THE MERCY OF THE BABY ALL THE TIME!  And when he doesn't want to sleep, none of us sleep.  Well, the cat sleeps, but that's it.


This all started about a month ago, I think.  But let's back-up so you get the whole picture.  When Mac was around 6 months old (November), we did a modified form of sleep training, where we put him to bed, gave him a dream feed bottle around 11:00 p.m. (maybe change his diaper) and then if he woke up again, we'd let him cry it out until he went back to sleep, and usually he'd sleep until around 7:30 a.m.  We let him cry it out a couple times (not more than half an hour) for about four nights in a row before he figured it out, but did well after that.  And this worked for quite a while.  Not perfectly, but pretty well.  

Then sometime around late January/early February we tried eliminating the dream feed bottle and we had a few nights where he slept through the night.   All night - 12 straight hours - no bottle.  Sometimes he'd wake up briefly but then go back to sleep pretty easily. It was wonderful.


Then, towards the end of February we all got sick again (and again and again).  We've battled two rounds of the stomach flu, strep throat and ear infections.  Needless to say, this royally effed up everything.  Night-time wake-ups were frequent and involved some combination of bottles, puking, diarrhea, outfit/diaper/bedding changes, snot sucking, Tylenol dosing or all of the above.  This threw everything off.  He was sick, so letting him cry it out wasn't an option.  We were responsive to every cry.  We held him and let him sleep in our arms.  We rocked him to sleep.  We sang, we bounced, we coddled.  We thought we were being good, loving, caring parents.  Apparently not...we created a monster.

We're now over the stomach flu and back to feeling better, but the wake-ups continue.  We've tried going back to the original 11:00 dream feed schedule, but that doesn't work.  Either he wakes completely up at 11 and wants to hang out for hours or he still wakes up two or three times a night and we get even less sleep than before because we've stayed up until 11 to do the dream feed.

The last two nights he's gone to bed easily at his normal bedtime, then woken up once (where we give him a bottle because he's been sick and we thought he was hungry and needed the calories), and then had one more wake-up an hour or so later, where he screams bloody murder until someone picks him up and he falls back asleep in our arms.  And then last night he went to bed easily at 7:30 p.m., then woke up at 9:30 p.m. and was up on and off until 3:30 a.m.  THAT'S SIX FUCKING HOURS!  Not cool.  He'd fall asleep in our arms then wake up as soon as we put him in the crib.  Repeatedly.  We even let him cry it out for a while, which just made him more awake and more pissed off.  Fail.  Can I just say right now that he's VERY lucky he's so cute.



So, dear readers, friends, family...I'm here begging for your advice.  What in the hell is going on with this child and how do I fix it?  Is this normal for a 10.5 month old?  Is it a growth spurt?  Is it teething?  Is he still sick?  Is is just sleep regression?  Or separation anxiety?  Have I completely ruined my kid already?  

Here are a few more details (because I know you'll want to know):

- Our bedtime routine bath, bottle, bed - at the same time every night.  Yes, he falls asleep in my arms when I'm feeding him and I put him in his crib asleep with white noise.  I've read the books - I know that's not ideal, I know I should put him down awake, I KNOW!  But here's the thing, I love rocking him to sleep.  It's the highlight of my day. I miss him so much all day long and I cherish that half hour when I get to hold his little warm body next to me, snuggle him, smell him, kiss his head, sing to him.  I love rocking him to sleep.  I love bedtime.  I don't want to give that up.  Is that selfish?  Does that make me a horrible parent?  (please say no)


- Crying it out does not work any more.  This kid is persistent.  He will stand in his crib, stare at the door and scream bloody murder at the top of his lungs for hours.  Or scream so hard he throws up.  I am not kidding.  Crying it out is torture for all of us.  We can't handle it.  (I can't handle it, I'm such a softie.)  He seems to have no self-soothing ability any more.  What happened to it?  Iis there any other way to get him to develop this now without doing cry it out?  

- We already do white noise all night long. He does not take (and has never been interested in) a pacifier.  He does not care for stuffed animals or lovelies.  He takes one 2 hour afternoon nap every day.  

- I don't think he's waking up because he's hungry.  He eats well during the day: has three solid meals, snacks and a couple bottles.  We've been giving him a bottle at night mainly because it calms him down and helps him get back to sleep so we can get back to sleep.  He doesn't finish it and probably doesn't need it.    I'm fine cutting out this bottle or keeping it.  I just don't know.


- In the last couple weeks he's been particularly clingy and whiny in the evenings.  He acts fine and plays all day, but when I get home from work, he doesn't want to play or do anything other than be held/carried by me.  I thought this was because he wasn't feeling well, but it's continued.  He just wants to be held, which I don't want to deny him after being at work all day, but I wonder if he's not sleeping at night because he's not wearing himself out in the evenings like he used to.  He cries if I put him down for just a minute, so I usually just hold him and talk to him and we walk around the house and spend time together.  Sometimes we go for walks (with him in the stroller) or to the grocery store (with him in the cart), which are both visually stimulating and keeps him entertained, but definitely doesn't wear him out.  I'm not sure what's going on with this behavior. 

So...advice?  Suggestions?  ANYTHING?  I'm not asking for a miracle...I don't expect him to sleep 12 straight hours every single night.  One wake up would be fine.  How do we even get back to that?  I love this kid to death and will wake up and rock him for hours upon hours every night until he goes to college, but I know that's not the answer.  I know I'm probably not doing him any favors by soothing him at night (with rocking or a bottle), but what else can I do?  Why does loving and spoiling my kid make me feel like I'm a horrible parent?  Ugh.  I just want to make him happy.  And make him sleep.  And get some damn sleep myself.  



P.S.  You don't even have to leave advice...feel free to just leave a comment commiserating saying, "Dude, that sucks, I feel your pain.  My kid doesn't sleep either."  Because really, as parents, don't we all just want to know that we're not alone in this and our kids will eventually turn out ok despite our screw-ups?


P.S.2  Please don't be hateful and leave rude "Anonymous" comments.  That doesn't help and they will be deleted.  Don't be a hater...ain't nobody got time for that.

48 comments:

  1. All four of my kids got crazy with sleeping at about 9-10 months. I took one child to the pediatrican thinking there MUST BE SOMETHING WRONG and she told me that babies at this age tend to peak with separation anxiety. When they stir at night, they wake up and freak out because they want you They also start having dreams that scare, excite, etc. They end up become so exhausted that they can't sleep. She recommended a second round of sleep training...let cry for 15 minutes (or 30 if you are me) and then pat back and leave. I didn't sleep train again (too lazy) but did let them cry it out as much as possible. The moral of this story is I think that it is a phase...and he will grow out of it. I will discuss this with him tonight over cocktails.

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  2. Hi, I've been following your blog for some time now (you're son and dogs are adorable!!), and I totally feel your pain. My daughter was the same way at that age (and unfortunately, it didn't change until she was 18mo). But good news is, eventually it did get better. The only thing I could suggest (but I don't know if it would work for you at this time) is that the puking from crying stopped when we stopped giving her a bottle before bedtime. The unsettled milk was the culprit when she'd work herself up from screaming. We weren't ones to let her cry it out ever (I'm a softie), but at 18mo we'd had enough. Hopefully you guys don't still have this problem then. Good luck with it!!

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  3. P.S. you are bringing booze, right? if not, i will dispatch my hubs.

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  4. (Been reading for awhile, but this is my first comment! Woo hoo!)

    I had a similar issue with my oldest a few years ago (she was a bit older than Mac, around 2, but I was in my first trimester with her little sister and working full time as a 2nd year associate, which made the lack of sleep SUCK SO VERY BAD OMG I WAS A ZOMBIE). Best thing we did (probably still best thing we've ever done) was to call an expert. Like, a real expert. We had a sleep consultant weigh in over the phone and she was amazing. She gave us a personalized plan for our girl over the course of two hour-long phone calls. It was awesome. Here's the link to the service we used: http://www.isisparenting.com/product/ISSVV_SSC/ They're in Massachusetts, but it's a telephonic service anyway so not a big deal that you're not.

    (Love your blog btw, and good luck figuring this out!!)

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  5. This blows. Did you ever feel like sleep was a precious commodity? I didn't. However now, I fantasize about those college days when I had one class at 4pm, and I could sleep until 3 pm if I wanted to. I rarely did, but I could... Swoon.

    Anyways I digress, SS did some sort of crap like you mention above for a bit, but then she realized I was much nicer on a few hours of sleep and went back to regular sleeping. I am going to diagnose this as a phase, so that you have hope that it shall pass. Helpful?

    There are a bunch of growth spurts/brain development milestones around his age. That could just be overwhelming him...
    He is so stinking cute!

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  6. We recently went through something similar with our 14 month old son. After weeks of being sick he developed some serious night waking issues - 3-4 times a night. I think it was a combination of good and bad parenting that brought us to that place, the good parenting being responding to my sick baby's needs and giving him the benefit of the doubt until I was absolutely sure he was feeling better, the bad parenting being my willingness to do whatever it took to get him to go back to sleep (breastfeeding, bouncing, rocking, getting into the crib, bringing him into our bed, etc...) once he was feeling better because I was just so darn TIRED and wanted to get back to my bed as quickly as possible! I finally realized that there were just too many things to do / reasons for him to wake up at night and cut everything out. The routine became: let him cry for 10 mins max, then go in and lay him down and pat his back, and then leave. I wanted him to know that I was there but that there were no more fun night time activities to wake up for. It seemed to work (although it did take a couple nights of crying), and he's back to his good sleep regime, if he does wake up now he puts himself back to sleep quite easily. He does however fall asleep on his own at night, but I'm not sure if that makes a difference.

    You're not alone!! Good luck :)

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  7. Sucky! Been there, done that. We went to the Sleep Lady which got her to sleep and it was awesome. She still occasionally has a few wake-ups and would NOT be rocked so you're lucky you get that. :-) I know the keys she gave us was to put her down awake (AR is smiling at me as I turn the light off), white noise and we'd dropped the night feeding at like 4 months. Oh and one two-hour nap? You rock Baby Mac!

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  8. Oh my goodness. I have no idea what to tell you. That is the one thing I worry about me becoming a parent - I don't do well with little sleep. YIKES!

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  9. YOU ARE A GREAT MOTHER! And holy shit, the not sleeping thing sucks. I bet this is just a phase. He's probably teething/experiencing separation anxiety/some baby shit that makes him act all crazy. But he'll get it sorted out. It will get better.

    I am a big softy too so I totally get that the crying it out thing does not work past a certain point. I can handle a couple minutes but after that, I'm done for. If she says "Mama" in that sad, pleading voice? Forget about it! If you can manage it, I've been told that the best thing you can do for them when they wake up in the middle of the night is to wait a bit and see if they put themselves back to sleep. If they don't, go in, pat their back for a second, reassuring them you're there, and then leave. Don't talk, sing, hold, coo, etc. Give them the reassurance that you've not abandoned them and hightail it out of there. Stay out for as long as you can manage and repeat until they fall asleep. They swear after a few days of this they will learn that going back to sleep is the path of least resistance and that waking up hollering at night won't get you fed, held, etc so why bother. When Blaire hit rough patches with sleep, I tried to do this as much as possible. (Of course I failed at it constantly and held my crying baby - I'm a mom, for crying out loud!) but it helped. Or she outgrew it. Who knows. It's a crap shoot this parenting business. Until then, I wish you car naps at lunch and wine after work.

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  12. My thoughts, for what they're worth, having been through/going through some of the same issues w/ Lana (and not reading any other responses):

    1. It's really early for him to be down to one nap a day. It's much more normal to drop the am nap between 14-18 months. Even if he's taking two shorter naps, he may do a lot better with two. I've noticed with my second child, that she seems to have an innate circadian rhythm that dictates the number of naps she needs per day, regardless of how long she sleeps for any of them, and messing with that really messes with bedtime and night sleep. Consider even adding in a morning catnap in the stroller or the car, if you don't think he'd take a full-blown am nap.

    2. How are his ears? We're going to an ENT tomorrow - I finally put it together that Lana's ears have been bothering her off and on since she was born, and after two back-to-back ear infections, I've realized how differently she acts and sleeps when she's feeling better vs worse. Has he had an ear check recently?

    3. Ain't nothing wrong with rocking to sleep. I nurse Lana to sleep for every nap and bedtime (afraid I'm creating a monster over here too but it works for now so I'm not sweating it). But - here's the big "if" - it can be a problem if he's unable to put himself back to sleep without your rocking during his normal night awakenings. If he's capable of falling back asleep in his crib between his sleep cycles, then rock away and don't give it a second thought. It's a lovely ritual and you should enjoy it.

    ~~~
    Here's what I'd do if I were you: Reinstate the morning nap somehow. Make sure his ears are good and he's not sick. Make his favorite, softest stuffed animal or blanket into a lovey by holding it throughout the bedtime bottle and rocking (we've had really good luck with loveys but of course YMMV). Slowly transition to putting him down a little bit awake at night. Like, almost totally sound asleep but just awake enough that he'll roll over or sigh or otherwise be aware that he's in his bed now and not in your arms. Let him moan and whimper as long as he's not escalating and waking himself up more. Do what you like with nighttime bottles, but I'd work towards cutting them out since it sounds like he doesn't need them and you might as well shoot for sleeping all night - it may even help him sleep better through the night if he's not expecting a bottle at some point. It's okay if he screams his fool head off during the night as long as he's in someone's arms. Trade off night wakings with R so Mac doesn't train himself to only fall asleep with you. Do that for a week or so and then reevaluate.

    I did benefit from the Sleep Lady's help w/ Lana, but she was much younger when we went (and I think her ears have been a persistent issue since then) so her advice to me back then isn't helpful for you now. But if you're at the end of your rope, I'd definitely recommend making an appointment. She books out a few weeks, so you can always make it and cancel if Mac gets his act together. :)

    Good luck lady! Sleep issues SUCK. The good news is - Julia is a wonderful sleeper. Some day eventually, he'll get it, I promise.

    Have some wine. (btw want to get together for wine sometime soon?)

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    1. Jess, thank you for this! I'm now really curious about whether the whole one nap vs. two naps is really an issue. He dropped his morning nap back in January. I knew it was a little early, but it didn't seem to really bother him much. I know every kid's different, but I didn't realize he was SO early on doing that. Right now during the week, he's a pretty good and consistent napper for the nanny. He goes down easily and sleeps from 1.5 - 3 hours. Sometimes (when he's sick) he'll take two shorter naps, but that's not his norm. The weekends, however are a completely different deal - he absolutely fights his nap and it takes quite a while to get him down. My theory is that he's usually got both Ryan and I at home on the weekends and he doesn't want to miss out on anything. I know that might sound stupid, but I think he just wants to hang out with us longer so he doesn't want to nap. (Don't get me started on how much this breaks my heart.) I'm wondering if she'd have better luck getting him back to 2 naps, at least during the week. I don't think there's any way in hell he'll do 2 for us on the weekends, but maybe once he's used to it during the week we could try picking it up. It's worth a shot.

      As for his ears, we've been to the doctor twice in the last 2 weeks and both times they said his ears were fine. He did have an ear infection a few weeks ago, but had antibiotics. I know that doesn't always clear things up, but his follow-up appointments made me more confident that the ears weren't the problem.

      Thanks for the advice and HELL YES to wine sometime. LOTS of wine!

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    2. Oh good I'm glad his ears are ok. I knew he had that infection so I just wanted to make sure you checked that out after the antibiotics.

      The fact that he's waking early on in the night, rather than later in the night, suggests to me that it's a nap issue rather than an "I can only fall asleep with Mom rocking me" issue. They usually sleep more deeply at the beginning of the night, and have more arousals in the early morning hours. If he was waking at like, 4 AM, I'd think he was having trouble falling asleep without you. But, the wake-up relatively soon after bedtime makes me wonder if his body thinks that bedtime is a nap - hence why can't fall back asleep easily. If it was a mom-rocking-me issue, you think you'd be able to repeat the bedtime routine and he'd go back down fairly easily because he'd still be tired.

      It's not stupid at all that he wants to stay awake and not miss out on things! I bet that's exactly what's going on. But if he needs to take two naps, then he needs two naps, sorry kiddo.

      Lana takes two short naps now. They're usually 30-60 min, sometimes 90 min a few times a week, and she sleeps about 10-11 hours over night, all night. Total daily sleep is important, but the timing of that sleep can be important for some babies too. If Mac were sleeping well at night and doing well with one nap, I'd say it's still early to drop down to one but carry on because it's working. But something's not working for him right now, and the nap seems a likely culprit.

      That said, every kid is different and maybe it's teething or something else that no one's thought of (probably). You know him, so take all of my advice with that grain of salt. :)

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  13. I'm not sure if I have any helpful advice. We had heard it was okay to rock/snuggle them to (almost) sleep. To put them in thier crib when they are so close to falling asleep. THat way they realize they can fall asleep without you holding them. You still get the snuggle time, but not to interphere with your sleep. My understanding of it is that they don't become alarmed and unhappy when they awake alone. They know they can put themselves back to sleep. This works for us - and about once a week I break the rule and hold him long past the asleep timeframe. But since that is not the norm - he can calmly put himself to bed. This has been helpful on the few occasions (NYE) when we had friends over. We can put him to bed when he's wide awake and he calmy lays there, playing with his toes or listening to his lullby music and falls asleep. (We do a bottle/dark room/music as the bed time ritual). There has been a few nights where he screams and screams, but I can honestly only think of a few. I don't know if this will help -or if we've been blessed with a good sleeping baby. Good luck though!

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  14. oh man I would probably be losing my mind! Hudson was a great sleeper until 2 1/2 and then it was like he decided that he didn't need to sleep...walking up and down the stairs all night and then holding his door shut as he screamed bloody murder was effing torture.

    It sounds like Mac is going through a little regression plus sep anexity all in one. Hudson did have a brief time with the sep anexity around that age too. Our routine was dinner,bath,low key playtime in room w/bottle, and then we would read a book or 2 while rocking, say prayers and put him down. He never took a paci either, we put a lovie in the crib with him but he didn't really start getting attached until later on. I never gave him a bottle at night if he woke up, just tryed to rock him until he calmed down but wasn't totally asleep. For us we decided not to do the white noise just because we didn't want to have to carry one with us when we traveled. We did have a little music box that we would turn on for him though.

    Good Luck, I know it is tough! Hang in there!

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  15. Elyse went through a crazy sleep spell at 9 months as well & I contacted Moms on Call via Facebook. Several other bloggy mommas swore by them and their techniques so that's what I resorted to. They have a seminar online that you can register for or they also offer email consultation to guide you through it.

    I agree with another commenter, Elyse is almost 16 months old and still takes 2 2-hour naps a day, goes to bed at 7:30ish and wakes up at 6:30ish...I realize every kid is different, but he does seem really young to be giving up that first nap.

    thankfully for us Elyse will take a pacifier and LOVES them, of course I'm going to be jealous of you when we try to break her of that habit in a couple months!

    Hang in there mommma, this too shall pass and he'll be back to sleeping like an angel in no time...or even if he doesn't, he'll still be absolutely stinkin' adorable and you'll love him to pieces anyway!

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  16. Oh momma, I DO feel your pain!!! We went through the same thing in January because Cam was sick, so I held him all the time, then he got attached and kept waking up and screaming his head off. We finally did let him cry it out (once he was 100% better) and it worked for us, so I have no advice for you. :( I'm so sorry...are you doing Tylenol before bed? If it is teeth, that may help. I am sure it is just a stage, but I hope it ends quickly!! Sleep deprivation is not good for anybody!! xo

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  17. We had some of the same issues with Jackson. He was waking up at least once a night for a bottle at around the same age. Our Pedi. suggested letting him cry it out if he woke up in the middle of the night. I wasn't thrilled with this idea, but I knew we needed to try something. So we tried it, setting a time limit of 15-20 mins. Thankfully, he never went passed that amount of time (he got close though) and eventually after 3-4 nights, he was sleeping through the night. I too rocked Jackson to sleep every night with a bottle. In fact I just wrote a post earlier this week about how we weaned him from the bottle, finally at 18 months. Ha.

    It is tough, but hang in there. It somehow works itself out and they get it eventually.

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  18. No advice but just letting you know you're not alone! My 7 month old is getting over an ear infection as we speak and we are also in the process of weaning the dream feed (cutting it an ounce at a time and 15 min earlier each week until I get to an ounce and then it'll stop all together). I kicked my husband to the guest room so Landon could sleep in our bed (and I wouldn't freak out about one of us rolling over him...my biggest fear, weird, I know) while he's been sick. I still nurse him to sleep (which my ped did say was fine) and I selfishly refuse to give that up as well! Good luck mama!

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  19. I TOTALLY feel your pain! You are not alone. My son did the exact same thing at that age, and we finally figured it out. He was starting to walk, and was having nightmares about falling. Henceforth, why he was screaming bloody murder when he just woke up as he thought he was falling. We as mothers naturally pick up and reassure our kids when they are hurt, so we picked him up and gave him reassurance in the middle of the night. He wasn't sound asleep, but he wasn't a ball of terror tears either when we put him back down with his pacifier. I can only handle 10 minutes of the crying it out so I totally get your point on this. Now my son is 13 months old, and he has a bottle at 7:30 while one of us is rocking him to sleep. He wakes up between 1 and 2 for another bottle and then sleeps til 6. He has only had 1-2 hour nap (if you're lucky) since he was 6 months old. My kiddo has never been a great sleeper. It is honestly what works best for you, no one has the exact solution for your situation.

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  20. Baby girl went through the same exact thing around 11 months minus the sick part. It was miserable and no matter what we did, she just didn't want to sleep at all. She was much happier just hanging out with us and the minute we walked away it was chaos again and her life was over. I would love to be able to tell you what we did to get her over that 2 months of hell but I still don't know what worked, I think she just got over it and decided sleeping was more fun. So I guess that's the best news of all -- he will get over it and sleep through the night again. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you that it's soon though -- you deserve some sleep!!!!

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  21. I think the sad truth about parenthood is that sleep regressions never seem to end. Just this last week, Nora was waking up multiple times a night again... who the hell knows why?? This is just to say I hardly have all the answers...

    ... but I think the first thing I would do is to try some medicine. It could be teeth, which is what we always blame it on. Baby ibuprofen works well. If the medicine doesn't seem to help in about an hour (ie he should be asleep after an hour and stay asleep), then you'll at least know it's not pain causing the problem. I know, over-medicating is not really the best thing, but my husband is almost a doctor and he says it's fine. :)

    Aside from that, I hate to say it, but I think the rocking might need to go?? I used to love rocking too... but there came a time, right around the age Mac is now, that DD would *only* fall asleep if I rocked her. Yes, I loved that time, but did I love it enough to do it 4 times a night? I decided to put my foot down, put her to sleep awake right after we read books. She was upset the first few nights but I found that once she put herself to sleep, she stayed asleep the whole night- basically because she didn't wake up not knowing how she got into bed by herself. I know you want to keep rocking, but I think at some point you'll find the snuggle time right before bed time very sufficient. :)

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  22. This all sounds so familiar! We did the sleep training when Little Man was 5 months (I was losing my shit over not getting any sleep). And, for the most part it worked great. However, any time Little Man is teething (which, right now, it seems every freaking week we're getting a new tooth), or if he's sick, he's up. So, to comfort him we go in and rock him until he calms down.
    Side note: Little Man just turned 1.
    We stopped giving bedtime bottles around 10-11 months. So, he doesn't get a bottle if he wakes up in the middle of the night. Just some time in the rocker. When he seems to be sleeping we make sure to put him in his crib when he is at least somewhat awake.
    With all this ridiculous teething we do give infant tylenol and all natural OraGel. That seems to help some.
    Hang in there momma, at some point (maybe when he's 12), Mac will want to sleep all night long in his own bed.

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  23. That stinks - I'm so sorry you are going through this!! I sleep trained my son and it was the best thing we ever did. Seriously. Sure, I don't get sweet cuddle time as I rock him to sleep, but I also don't have to rock him to sleep!! He goes in wide awake, grabs his lovey, rolls over and goes to bed 99% of the time. It is worth it.

    When we first sleep trained, my son would SCREAM through the bedtime routine - he'd drink his bottle and then scream through story time and it SUCKED. Now, that is our cuddle time. After his bottle, he cuddles up and listens to a story and then cuddles in my arms as I sing him a song before he is placed in the crib. Sure, it isn't that sweet, rocking your bbaby to sleep experience, but I think that may be causing your issues. Little Mac needs his mama to rock him to sleep!

    Here are a few tips that worked for us:
    1. Stop rocking him to sleep - bath, bottle, story, song, bed. Night night. (white noise, lights off, leave the room)
    2. I agree with the previous commentator that this is probably very early for Mac to only have one nap. I'm surprised he doesn't make it clear he needs one in th morning?
    3. Try giving him a lovey. Add it to your routine (hold it while you do story time etc). It may not stick to begin with, but once it does it is great. Mac can wake in the night, roll over, find his lovey and go back to sleep. It is the only "prop" my sleep lady said was good.
    3. If my guy cries in the night, I leave him for 10 minutes. If he hasn'tgone back to bed, I rush in, check he isn't sick (but don't pick him up) and give him a few pats and then leave. At least then if I have to let him CIO, I KNOW he isn't sick/stuck/hurt etc. My son hated the whole "go in every ten minutes to check on him" and it only made him cry louder.

    Remember - giving him the gift of sleep is worth a little heartache. He will feel SO much better when he wakes if he has had a good, peaceful sleep. As will YOU! (and that is seriously important).

    Email me if you want more info about how we did it :-)

    PS - make sure you don't let him cry for a while and then go in and pick him up and rock him. That will definitely make things worse (as in he'd think that if he cries for 30 minutes, then mom will come in and rock him).

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  24. I have no words of advice, beyond when he wakes up, coming in, not saying anything to him, and just laying him back down and rubbing his back. That works on Sadie when she gets up sometimes or wont go down for a nap. And then I lighten the pressure my hand is putting on her back in a few increments until I'm barely touching her, and then peace out.

    But hang in there! It has to get better.

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  25. You poor thing! My little one doesn't sleep well either, we are at the 8 mo sleep regression. No one tells you these things are part of parenthood. I though the sleepless nights would end after the new-newborn phase was over. No such luck.

    So I have read that they become extra clingy right before they are about to start walking on their own, he there yet? I can't remember but that might explain it. Or you are just that awesome and he knows it and wants to hang out with your when you're home.

    Also, as far as putting him to bed and letting him fall asleep in your arms. Any way you can wake him a bit so he's awake, but not fully awake and then put him down? I know that sounds like crazy talk, WAKE a sleeping baby?!!?! But it might be one way to try to start to teach him how to self sooth.

    I have always put L down awake so he can't stand being held or rocked to sleep and that has seriously backfired on me. Like on an airplane when smart mom decided to fly at bed time - oppes! So don't beat yourself up over it, no way is perfect.

    Good luck and know I feel your pain!

    -AMC

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  26. I've been reading for a while, but this is my first comment. Your son adorable and I like your blog. I am a lawyer/mom, too, and it is refreshing to read someone who is in a similar situation.

    Anyway, I have a son that is about a year older than Mac, and while he started out as a great sleeper (6-8 hours at 8 weeks!) he has regressed, improved, regressed, etc. For example, it is now not unusual for him to wake up once or twice a night and cry. I just want to sleep, so I go and put a pacifier in his mouth, and then he is fine. But last night that was not enough. I tried from 3:30 until 4:40, then I had to resort to co-sleeping, which really means baby wedged between me and my husband snoring so no one but baby can sleep. I don't know what was going on last night- maybe teething?? Good luck with your dilemma!

    Also, don't give up the rocking and cuddles. I do that with my son (yes, still) and it is a highlight of my day. I love that little punk and realize that he won't let me do this for much longer in the grand scheme. To sum up my thoughts, you are doing great, this is probably phase, and there is nothing wrong with doing whatever it takes to maximize sleep for everyone!


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  27. Omggg! Totally feel your pain here, lady! We battled sleep for what seemed like ETERNITY. Which it obviously wasn't because E is only 16 months, but seriously, felt like torture. We would go back and forth about how to get her to sleep. We would usually let her cry for up to ten minutes in the middle of the night and for while she wouldn't go back and we would have to go back in, pat and comfort and then she would go back. I nursed her at bedtime until she was 15 months old (the equivalent of your rocking) and I do not think there is anything wrong with you wanting to rock him. That is totally not what is messing with him. We did eventually get it so I would nurse for a set amount of time and weather she was asleep or not, I would put her down and if she cried we let her cry for increments and my husband would go in and soothe her. Usually not picking her up, only if she was really out of control. This started getting her used to more self soothing. I totally know what you mean about feeling like he can cry forever--we have had those times too, IT SUCKS!!! Anyway, don't know if this helps or makes sense at all but hang in there. She is 16 months now, and sleeping through the night for a few months. (Here, I probably just jinxed it for tonight! ;) ) You're doing great and there is nothing wrong with loving, coddling, rocking and soothing your baby. AND I totally think he just wants mama time in the evenings when you get home, just like you crave the Mac time!!

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  28. Oh girl...it's like you are telling my story! Caleb was was the same way at that age. We were at wits end! But things just seemed to right the self with time. He was down to one nap shortly after turning one and once we quit bottles he would go up bed while he was still awake ( after a 5-10 minute snuggle)! Hope things get better soon!

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  29. I'm sorry dear- just what you need after that miserable last weekend.

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  30. I feel your pain!! My baby is 13 months old and for the last 3 weeks or so has slept great with only one wake up! Finally!! Knock on wood!

    She slept horribly from 10-12 months and I am convinced it was because of teeth. What I finally started doing was putting a half dose of Tylenol in her last bottle at night. My pediatrician said that if babies are waking up every hour then it's their teeth because that underlying pain is just enough to wake them from sleeping. That half dose of Tylenol was just enough to keep her asleep and to get her back into the "sleep is good" pattern. It took about a week of Tylenol doses and she was back to sleeping. Now we give her an 8oz bottle at bedtime, 8:30. She sleeps until around 3:30am when I give her another 8 oz. bottle, and I wake her up at 7am.

    I also rock my girl to sleep every single night. As a working mom I feel the same way that you do, it's my only snuggle time with her!! I'm not planning on giving up that time together even if it means she regresses again. It's just too important to me.

    Good luck!! I'd totally try the Tylenol though. I hate to give my daughter any unnecessary medicine, but for us it broke the waking up cycle and gave us all some much needed peace.

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  31. My kid doesn't sleep for shit either. She loves to fall asleep in our arms then SNAP awake when put down, usually wakes 2-3 times per night, and will NOT allow any sort of CIO in this house. Unless we want to hear her hysterics for 1+ hours at a time which always results in a toddler wake up, as well. Shoot me now. Seriously.

    I have no advice. I know Truman did this shit, too and he usually sleeps great now at age 3;) It will get better somehow! I promise. It might not even take you 'fixing' it---which is the hardest thing ever, I know.

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  32. I have nod advice, but, I think we just need to take a second here and accept that what I have said from the time you were pregnant with him--HE IS YOUR CHILD. Crying until he throws up because he's so stubborn? Why do i feel like you maybe did this as a kid.

    Also, I suggest tying a piece of food or something to Sage, you know, something he'd like and then just letting him chase Sage around. Would that tire him out?

    I'm not a parent, so, I don't know, but, I'm trying to think of what would work for stubborn ass people like you and me. Maybe it really is the not being worn out thing? You know if I'm not sleepy I will stay up all night.


    This kid better figure this shit out in the next two weeks, all I'm sayingg.

    ps. Can we give him some bourbon?? ;) (worst.aunt.ever)

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  33. We recently went through this with our son. We have learned that picking him up just amps him back up. He associates getting out of the crib with play time. So, we go in and tell him he is okay and to lay down. We then pat his back until he calms down- sometimes it takes 10-15 minutes. Usually we leave and he will cry, but it is about 5 minutes until he is out.

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  34. Ohhh bless your heart!! We had sleep regression with sickness a couple times, and it's miserable! I wish I could help :( Have you ever tried just giving him water in the bottle when he wakes up in the night? I've heard people have success with that. Or co-sleeping? HA! I'm so not a co-sleeper, but I did do it twice when we were getting over the sickies. Exhaustion=Desperation. Hang in there, mama!!

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  35. Oh, and I just saw the suggestion of adding in a 2nd nap, and I TOTALLY agree with that if you can make it happen. Sleep begets sleep, right? Even if it's just a quiet/rest time in his crib, it's worth a shot! Jaqs sleeps a lot better when she's rested well during the day.

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  36. Amen sister! I was going to respond at 4:00 am when I was up for the 5th time with my 8 month old, but I was too tired to type on my i-phone. It's nice to finally read a blogger who's talking about this and not trying to sugarcoat it. I have no advice (clearly, since I got no sleep last night and the past week has been a veritable 'round robin' of beds between me, my son and my husband), and I truly feel the range of emotions regarding this subject. Part of me blames myself for his sleeping issues (although we've tried CIO and he just cries more and more and I can't do it anymore), and part of me just tries to keep it in my head that there are thousands of people out there who wish they could simply hear the cries of their babies again, or who wish this was their biggest problem with their kid. And, then there's the part of me that is just frustrated. I'm an attorney too, and trying to wade through pages of legalese after a night without sleep is B-R-U-T-A-L! This is just a 'thank you' for writing about it, and an 'I hear ya!' Good luck...hopefully we both sleep someday soon!
    p.s. Dr. Karp of "The Happiest Baby" fame has a new book out about infant through toddler sleep that I have being overnighted as we speak. I'm crossing my fingers!!!

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  37. L does not sleep. nope nada never. Past 3 months have been hell I am in tears sitting on his crib floor listening to him "cry it out" so hard that he actually chokes on his snot. I attempt the "pat on the back" and walk out and that pisses his off even more. I have tried everything EVERYTHING we have probably 5 bottles on his night stand from midnight until 4am, he obviously doesnt want food. So I did a bunch (ridiculous amount) of research on baby chiropractor's and brought him in (for his frequent ear infections and reflux) we have only had 1 treatment and what do you know, he woke up once last night (but then wanted to be up at 430am for the day.fail.) so maybe with your little ones ear infections it might be something to look into, make sure you find someone that specializes in infants/children, it really does do wonders.

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  38. That totally sucks, getting NO sleep is seriously the worst thing EVER!!!! Estella never took a paci either so I felt like she didn't have anything to help sooth her if she woke up or to put her to bed not asleep! Once I started letting her have her favorite blanket in her crib she can now go to bed with out being totally out and if she gets up she usually always put herself back to sleep (not when she's been sick, I don't think anything works when they are sick) and that never happened before the Blanket! Does Mac have a fav toy, blanket or lovie you can try? This works great at night but nothing seems to work for naps for us! I'm that mom that still goes for a drive to get her to nap, I didn't think I would still be doing this but I feel whatever works.. and somedays you just have to do what you gotta do! I hope he starts sleeping again very soon for you, Good Luck Mama!!

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  39. Holy crap you've gotten a lot of comments! I didn't read through them all so ignore me if this is repetitive.

    1. D still wakes up about once a night on average, screaming his tiny head off. We usually let him CIO for a little while, and if that doesn't work, then end up picking him up and trying to assess the problem. Did he leak? No. Is he breathing fine - meaning, does he need his boogers sucked out? Usually, yes. So we do that. But if it's not either of those, we rock cuddle him for a minute and put him back.
    2. Do not feed. I can see why you would when he was sick and that's good because you don't want to risk dehydration, but now he doesn't need it. If he's getting between 24-30 oz each day, he should be fine, according to my pedi.
    3. If he goes down for naps without being rocked, then I wouldn't think the bedtime rocking would "ruin" him, but I don't know. Totally get wanting to rock him to sleep all the time though. But maybe you could try just rocking until he's drowsy and putting him down? Not completely asleep.
    4. It honestly could just be a phase of sleep regression. Their little brains are developing at rapid speed so wakeups just happen.
    5. D definitely sleeps better when we don't let him nap in the evening and he's nice and exhausted from his day. Maybe instead of carrying him around, you could play games with him on the floor? We do a lot of ball tossing, practice standing/walking, wrestling, climbing (like him climbing over my back), and whatever we can do to wear his little booty out!

    That's all I got. Sometimes babies just hate sleep, man. Hang in there! It will get better!

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  40. I agree with what everyone else says and also commiserate with you. Baby I is so hit and miss with his sleep. Last night he stayed up from 4:30am playing, whining, and crying. Somethings got to give.

    For your baby I think it's separation anxiety -- which would make it all the more important to put him down drowsy but awake. You can still rock him if you want but probably should stop before he is asleep.

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  41. I don't know how you working moms do it! I'm a stay at home mom and I don't know how I would survive a job after being awake all night. My son is 2 1/2 and I took the lazy route and he has slept in our bed pretty much since he was born. I tried moving him to the crib (which is in our room) a couple of times but he would wake up all night and cry forever. I just wanted to go back to sleep, so back into the bed he came. He also didn't go to bed until we did so he didn't have much of a bedtime routine.

    One weird thing is my son usually falls asleep fine by himself in his crib for his daily nap. Don't know if it's because it's light out or I just stuck to a stricter routine for naps. However I've noticed every time after he is sick it screws up his naps. He WIlL NOT sleep! This usually lasts for a few weeks and then straightens itself out. The phases never stop... as soon as you get comfortable with your son's routine he'll change it!

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  42. Do you think he's getting teeth? About the time my babies started sleeping through the night teeth started coming in. DREADFUL!!! I mean why can't they just be one of those kids that come into the world with teeth already?! Anyway we had a friend tell us that their pediatrician suggested rubbing Benadryl on their gums. It makes sense because it reduces swelling which is what causes the pain. Also it gives just enough to calm them and put them to sleep. With our second child we did it anytime she was extremely fussy "just to make sure it wasn't teeth!" Haha just dip your pinky finger in and and rub it on.
    I am SO sorry! I can handle anything with sleep. No sleep = pissy mommy!

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  43. It could definitely be the teething. Max did this and if I thought he was sick or having serious teething pain I'd go in and feed him and try to lay him back down. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't and I'd have to bring him to our room to watch some cartoons and try again since he never would sleep with us. It's probably just a phase but we used Moms On Call when he was around 6 months (it sounds like you did similar thing) and it's worked for us, but Max hasn't been that sick so we haven't regressed as much as Mac seems to. I say rock away, they are only this small once. I hope these other ladies could help you better.

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  44. I really don't have any advice as I'm struggling with sleep issues with my 6 month old, but just wanted to say "don't give up your snuggle time!" If this makes you happy continue to do it...this too shall pass, but you will never get the time back. Love on that little boy as much and as often as humanly possible!
    And you definitely haven't ruined him. He's just going through some sort of phase and you will soon figure out how to manage it and then he will change again, sorry to say, but that's just the nature of children. You're doing great Momma! Hang in there and I hope the sandman finds you all sooner than later.

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  45. The last picture - you both look adorable in it!
    I wish I had advice to offer you...but we are kind of in the same boat here(only a few months behind, of course). Colton has a shitty sleep schedule, for real. All of my friends boast about their babies sleeping through the night. Colton is up 3-4 times. I've started dropping his night time feedings, which is HELL. He won't go back to sleep without being picked up..most times.

    I really hope you find a solution, I hope Mac starts sleeping better. I don't think there is anything wrong with snuggling him to sleep, either. He's still an infant - go for it! He won't want to do it forever, take advantage of it. I mainly say this because C will only fall asleep while I'm feeding/rocking him, and need to feel better about it. Oops.

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  46. i always rocked my daughter to sleep. i loved it like you do after being away from her all day. She is now 3 years old and she still insists i rock her to sleep. she feels huge laying there on the boppy, but i still do it. they will only be little for so long. so i of course do not think you are a horrible mother. she has always been an unpredictable sleeper. she still wakes sometimes at night and just wants to come sleep with us. and i let her. heck it's the middle of the night, i have to wake up in a few hours to work, so i just plop her in between us and we are all fast asleep in minutes. yes i started a horrible habit, but it works for now. and i secretly love having her snuggle up against me at night :) hang in there. it will get better and you'll almost forget just how tired you were.

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