So Very Tired

I have been feeling a bit lackluster lately when it comes to blogging, and life in general.  After the holidays, after all the anticipation, and celebration, family time and cheer, I guess I feel a bit blue, a bit letdown.  Now we are staring into the long winter ahead, without much to break up the months of cold.  In addition, I am on the brink of exhaustion.  Vik- the world’s sweetest, happiest baby (during the day)- is giving us a run-for-our-money during the night.  He is still waking up every 2-3 hours to nurse throughout the night, which is newborn behavior, not that of a 5 1/2 month old.  He has slept through the night a total of 2 times, ever.  I am becoming increasingly tired.  In fact, the world feels a bit foggy.  I’ll be in the middle of a conversation and forget what we were talking about.  I”ll walk upstairs to complete a chore, and once I’m there, forget what it was I was doing.  We’ll be out for a walk, just a few blocks from home, and I’ll get a wave of exhaustion that makes me wonder how I’ll ever make it home.  Exhaustion is permeating every cell of my being.  And so I ask you- have you tried any sleep training methods?  Did they work?  Do you have any book, or website recommendations you can send my way? I’m at the end of my rope, and I’m hoping the advice of fellow moms might help me hang on.

18 thoughts on “So Very Tired

  1. mjb

    Have you tried any daddy rocking to see if he really needs to nurse every time? My son was a terrible sleeper until we did CIO it out at 7 months, but it only took one night for him to figure it out at that stage so we didn't have to use a gradual method. He would occasionally get up after that while teething, etc, but would go back to sleep so much faster and not need to nurse.

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  2. Sara Craven

    Oh, I can relate! But I also found out I was pregnant when my daughter was 5 months old and doing the 2-3 hour…or less…nursing all night. It was a pretty trying time for me. I read through Healty Sleep Habits, Happy Child. I found the book a little confusing in how the chapters were organized. (Or maybe I just thought that because of the sheer exhaustion!?) We were also transitioning from co-sleeping to crib. I started slow and tried to avoid CIO, but at 10 months I did the extinction method, more or less. My thinking was that yes, she cried a lot at once, (and I definitely cried, too) but if I thought about all the times she woke up crying, the overall crying was much less letting her cry for a few nights. (By night 5 she was going to sleep without a peep and slept through the night.) We've had our usual ups and downs of course, but it's been better for my mental health to have her sleeping better. You need to take care of yourself, mama! Another thing that I took from that book was that the way they fall asleep is the way they will need to fall asleep when they wake up during natural sleep cycles through the night. Sorry for the book. And feel free to take it or leave it. I know everyone has different opinions on sleep training, but this is what has worked for us.

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  3. Sarah

    clearly i have none of my own baby experience, but friends swear by this book: http://www.amazon.com/Healthy-Sleep-Habits-Happy-Child/dp/0449004023 which they gave me at my shower. i know reading is probably the last thing you have the energy for though!
    i have to say, as all my years as a nanny, the cry-it-out method seems to be the end all and be all. i know you don't want to do formula, but it does keep them fuller, longer, so maybe 1/2 and 1/2 before bed and then just put in the ear plugs? it will likely take a week for him to figure it out, but then, sanity?
    GOOD LUCK!

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  4. Tara

    I tried the Dream Feed method, discussed in the book The Baby Whisperer. Basically, you feed your baby while he or she is still technically asleep, no burp, nothing. It helps get them into the habit of sleeping for longer periods of time. Personally, even though I was nursing, I found it easier to pump my milk and pop the bottle into my daughter's mouth. The sucking reflex is triggered automatically, it's really quite amazing! Hang in there.

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  5. Frannie

    I've been there too 🙂 I read Ferbers book and also as above, Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child. I still go back to it, as she grows and we have new questions- like right now, transitioning from two naps to one. There is a website, The Baby Sleep Site, that I use all the time too. You subscribe and they give you lots of access to free articles, sample schedules, etc. They do a paid consult if you like, and what I love about them is they will tailor to you- they don't make you feel like you must do CIO if that is not your style, etc.
    My little girl is still breastfeeding (she's never had formula) and I found that she really wan't hungry at night after a while, but she would want to nurse if I cuddled her long enough. As above, if she could put herself to sleep at the start of the night, she seemed to do better through the night. You will figure something out that works for you! We're going through a sleep transition at night too, she must be having a brain growth spurt (she's 15 months old) and I'm SO tired right now too. Plus we've had a cold. Her lovie is wonderful too, it is an “angel dear” lovie. She holds it and puts it over here face these days, but it is a wonderful sleep prop! We have like 5 and one for her daycare also. Here's to sleep, mama! Often they just figure it out, as long as you are letting them drift to sleep on their own.

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  6. nursenikkiknits

    I am a pediatric nurse, I read the books and knew my stuff but when my first baby was 5 months old and still waking every 2-3 hours at night I was so confused by all the different sleep strategies out there that I was paralyzed. Then came a day when I seriously considered asking the neighbour (who I had never met) if she would take my baby for a few hours so I could have a nap and I knew something had to change.
    A friend led me to Helen Sands http://www.helensands.com/ and she made us a very detailed sleep plan specific for our baby. It wasn't easy, there was some crying (both mine and the baby's) but he wasn't alone. Within 5 nights he was sleeping 10 hours straight.
    He is now almost 5 and is the best sleeper in the house.
    This too shall pass. Good luck!

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  7. Kristianna

    My 3rd and yougest still won't sleep alone all night so…. good luck mom. Every one of my kids has come with their own programming hardwired and apparently there are no updates to resolve some bugs in their operating systems.

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  8. LIEF monster

    I had the same with my son. And many people advised me to quit nursing because the formula would keep him satisfied better. But then at 5 months I quit breastfeeding and started formula only to have to make formula bottles because my boy wouldn't sleep through till he was 11 months. So no advice about what to do, but I can assure you, this will pass and there will be nights with lots of sleep in the future. Just hang in there! By the way, he is gorgeous!

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  9. Anonymous

    2 kids close together like yours. first was a horrendous sleeper, second great by our very low standards but still woke up frequently. we tried books and formula and co-sleeping and cry-it-out and a sleep log and everybody still woke up multiple times per night for the first 3 years of life.

    that being said, i'd agree with a previous commentor that he's not waking up to nurse necessarily. babies just wake up a lot. my pediatrician told me when my son was six months old and cluster-feeding at night that it was ok to give him breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bed-time snack, that he was in no danger of starving, and he wasn't. he still woke up, but at least it wasn't a 30-minute process every 2 hours.

    so been at the end of my rope, sleep-wise. see if you can get an uninterrupted six-hours every time you feel like you're going to snap, and know that this too, shall pass.

    mine are 3.5 and 5 now and the night misery of the first two years has faded away, unless they're sick.

    good luck, honey.

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  10. Lynn

    I have 4.5 year old twins and the entire first year of their lives was exhausting, so I feel your pain. Somewhere around 9 months my husband and I realized that I hadn't slept for more than 3 hours straight, night or day, since they were born! Anyway, that's when we decided it was time to make some changes. The girls were old enough and big enough (they were on the small side when born and did need to eat frequently for quite awhile) to make it for longer at night without nursing. So we just started letting them go! One of the girls would cry, and then one of us would go in and give a little cuddle and then put her (or them!) back down and go back to bed. It was awful! And, honestly, resulted in a lot less sleep for awhile. But we kept the faith and each night it got a little bit better, with a little less crying, and within about 6 weeks, they became awesome night time sleepers. And still are! No regrets!

    Different strategies work for different families – there is no right way. Trust your gut and do what you need to get some sleep 😉

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  11. Anonymous

    Swaddled in a car seat by the dishwasher got my daughter sleeping through the night the fastest of any of my children. Giving one of my sons my finger to suck instead of nursing was also effective. The biggest trouble is that nursing is so guaranteed to get you back to sleep the easiest way that we all go on doing it because we can't stand the alternative. There comes a time when your own health, sanity and ability to care for the children supersedes any angst about letting him cry. Sleep deprivation is far more dangerous than alcohol behind the wheel of a car and absent mindedness can cause a fire, so it is time to prioritize your health.
    Best wishes
    Clare

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  12. Hayley Kristensen

    I have a 2yr.old and 6 month old. We just started using the Sleep Lady's Goodnight, Sleep Tight book. It has been very helpful, there is even a section on siblings/twins, which no one else seems to address. Good luck!

    Reply
  13. Anonymous

    Hi I think your blog is lovely, I believe I found you through Soulemama….
    I am no sleep expert but my son seems to sleep much better when a fan is on low in his room-perhaps it's the white noise…Best of luck. Stephanie

    Reply
  14. thebodysleuth

    We have our own set of sleep challenges in our family and I certainly have questioned what we have chosen. But I have one absolute deal breaker, which is that I am completely unwilling to have my baby cry for an extended period of time. And, now that I think of it, a close second in terms of priority is my own sleep. So we are three in a bed, because I can roll over and nurse at any point. I came across this website today and I thought of you given her emphasis on babies aged 4-5 months, and I like that she has solutions apart from the CIO method: http://www.sleepyonhudson.com/
    May the force be with you!
    Change is the one constant.
    Eliza

    Reply

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