Monday, June 6, 2011

Charlotte - The Sleep Thief

I've made it no real secret that we've struggled with sleep 'round these parts.

I know that every child is different, and I've even made myself believe that nothing will actually help her except for Time. All of the reading and research and tips and tricks are only serving as a distraction, and after a year of trying everything, she'll have outgrown her hatred of sleep and I won't know who to credit because I have indeed tried everything.

But here I am, looking for help. I know you moms have lots if ideas, and I'm willing to try them.
First, you need to know what I am doing and what I have tried.
Here is a pretty good idea of what her day looks like:
I follow a general Eat/Activity/Sleep routine. No need to read the details if you don't care. She's on about a 3 hour schedule.

7:30am: (and she's always happy - good sign) Milk
7:40-9 or 9:30: play & 10 minutes of quiet time before nap
9-10:30: Nap with a little help after 45 minutes. I sneak in and gently jiggle the crib mattress. She calms down right away, and often sleeps for another 30-60 minutes.
10:30ish: cereal/vegetable <--just started veggies
11:00: milk/formula (6 oz)
11:10-1ish: drooling, squealing, blowing raspberries, tummy time, loving life.
1-2:30ish: nap time! Same story as above - sometimes she sleeps straight for an hour and a half, other times she needs help.
2:30 or 3: milk/formula (6 oz)
3-4:30: kicking, cooing, avoiding smiling at the camera, general baby shenanigans
4:30: short nap (meaning, I don't work to make it longer)
5:30: Milk + formula  I know my supply is low since going back to work. I tank her up at night with both so I know she's full before bed time.
Play until 7:30 or shows signs of sleepiness.
Bedtime routine is about a 1/2 hour total consisting of bathtime (doesn't happen every day), Peanut Butter Jammie Time!, snuggling in the rocker and maybe reading or singing
7:30: to bed for the night. <---she's always put down while she's still awake, and puts herself to sleep without any problem.

After this, she might sleep straight until 11 when I feed her again (because I know then she can make it to morning without a problem). OR, She might wake 5 times by 11. Then after I feed her, she is awake at least every two hours. Many times, we can give her paci back and she's right back to sleep.
My habit of late is to go in, give her a paci, and go back to bed. I do not intentionally let her cry, but I don't go in and pick her up and rock her either.

Here is what I have tried, and does not work, but should mention I do not want to make a habit of it either:
  • Rocking
  • Checking Diaper
  • Nursing
  • Bringing her into my bed (which takes a while to get her back to sleep and then I can't sleep comfortably
Here is what I've tried but probably have not been consistent enough with:
  • Hearing her cry, waiting 5 minutes, going in and giving her paci back. (she then goes back to sleep for an hour or two - so never get to build up more time letting her cry)
  • Hearing her cry, and turning down the monitor so I can only hear her quietly over a fan and through two doors, and waiting to see how long she cries. I usually fall asleep, but wake a half hour later to her (still?) crying (again?)
Do I force myself to stay awake so I know how long she's crying? I thought this crap took like a week or something. I am fairly certain that there was one night that she cried straight for 3 hours, but I would drift in and out of consciousness.
She is swaddled at night (and has rolled over onto her belly while swaddled! Can also roll belly to back while swaddled)
She is not swaddled for naps.
She freaks out and does not sleep well on her back anymore, so she sleeps on her side or her tummy.
I've tried cereal in a bottle before bed. Inconsistent results. Sometimes it seems she slept better, other times it's still Open Crib Party!!
What I feel is kind of crazy, is that she wakes SO happy in the morning! But I am bleary eyed and exhausted.
All I want is like 4 hours in a row of sleep. Each night. I don't feel that that's asking too much of a 5 month old. There have been plenty of nights where she's giving 7-9 hour stretches and I love love love it....but then it's followed by No Sleep. I just want a little consistency.

I'm asking for your help. Even if you don't know me or have never commented, I'd love to hear your suggestions.
BTW, She's napping now. She woke after a half hour. Took her a good half hour of crying on and off (with my help) to finally go back to sleep and it's been close to two hours now.
She clearly hates sleep. One of the best gifts from God, and she hates it.
Is the pacifier the bad guy? Swaddling? Do I move up a size in her diaper at night? (she's often wet in the morning these days) Is her bedtime the right time?
I would be okay if your suggestion was for me to take up drinking. Because I've already done that.
Thank you in advance.


  1. I have no great advise for Charlotte, because I barely survived Ethan's horrible sleeping and still have nightmares about it. ;) What did help ME, however, was sharing feedings with Mark (I realize Charlotte is breastfed, but she will take a bottle too, right?) I would go to bed at 9 or 10, and Mark would stay up for the last feeding (11pm usually). The next feeding would be 3-4 hours later, and I would get up (but by that time I had 5 or 6 straight hours of sleep, so I felt pretty good.) Hope it helps a little!

  2. Trista - good suggestion. I have had Marcus give a bottle around 11, and it does seem to help. It seems that she sleeps a little longer after Marcus goes in to check on her, as she doesn't associate him with being fed. I'm goin balls to the walls tonight and we're gonna make this work dammit!

  3. I am on Darren's account as I can not access you on mine. I heard a suggestion for babies wh leak through the night. To help from having to change the bed and wake a child this mom puts a maxi pad at the front of the diaper to absorb any extra urine. Not sure if it works or not - I wish I had though of that when my guys were little. Worth a shot if she is a big wetter. Best of luck. Otherwise you could sign her out to those who wish thay still had little ones on rotating nights. Then you get sleep and friends get their baby fix. (Just an idea) LOL

  4. I'm so sorry she's not sleeping for you! So frustrating!!!
    We've done the thing too where I go to bed at 9 or 10 and Matt stays up and feeds him at 11 or 12am, then I could at least sleep before being up again. Brady also cluster fed at night, eating every hour from 6-9 or 10, then he could make it longer. With H, he sleeps on his tummy w/ the crib mattress slightly elevated w/ a blanket underneath and I did move him up in diaper size after someone suggested that to me b/c i think that was waking him up. He doesn't have a strict bed time, depends on if he has an evening nap & how long that is. I'm not sure if any of this will help, but I hope your nights and hers get better!

  5. Hey Emily... I have had a good night time sleeper and a bad night time sleeper. Tyson would eat, wake up one time and go right back to sleep,,, now alex on the other hand is almost 5m old and he wakes up probably 3 times a night still... it was like 4-5 so he is doing a little better.
    So this is what I do, take from it what you will. Alex goes down at about 7:00/7:30. I try to be very consistent with this. He gets a bath, pjs, and bottle. If he falls asleep after the bottle, fine, if not, i put the pacifier in and leave. Some people don't like to feed right before bed but it worked for tyson and alex. And it was not hard to week tyson off of it when he was 1. Some times he falls asleep some times i have to go back in and put the paci back in. Usually does fairly well... we have done this same bedtime routine since 1 week old, obviously not this early though. So he knows -- bedtime. Then lately he had been waking up at 10:30... I put the paci in and rub the tummy and leave. I do not talk, i do not turn any lights on, i keep it very very dark. then he wakes up at 1 or 2. I feed him a bottle so i know he is getting enough to keep him sleeping. I keep all the lights off, i change diapers in the dark and if he isn't too wet i don't change it. Then he will wake up again at 4:30-5:30 and same thing put paci in and leave. We are lucky because the paci usually works. Only occasionally do i have to pick him up and rock him. Now, when he turns 6m, we will let him cry it out. All 3-4 times. His doctor says he does not need foot at night after 6m. He cries for 3 hours, he will cry for 3 hours. Tyson went through it and he is fine. :) we hope. haha. I am not looking forward to that day but he has to learn to sleep all the way through. So that is what we do/have done... consistancy i think which is so easy to say but so hard to do. i feel your pain especially when you love sleep like I do. :)