Sleep (the serious lack thereof)

Okay. I am in serious need of help, or at the very least, commiseration.

E’s sleep is atrocious.

Of course I realized that having a newborn meant I would be missing out on some precious sleep, but I didn’t realize it would continue this long. Or that it would get worse.

Currently, E is only sleeping for an hour at a time at night.  When he wakes up (4-5 times per night), he wants to eat, which takes an hour as well.  So, I’m getting an hour (if I’m lucky) of sleep at a time, broken up by an hour of being awake with him.  We go to bed around 8; I’ve tried for earlier bedtimes for E, but he hasn’t gone for it.  No matter how early I start getting him ready for bed, he always seems to go to sleep around 8.  And he is wide awake around 4am.  To counter this, I have been bringing him to bed with me, where he nurses and naps until around 8am.  So at least there’s that little bit of sleep I’m getting.  Although I worry that it will be a hard habit to break.

I thought before having E that I would want to co-sleep, but it turns out, I like sleeping without him.  With my wife.  Crazy, I know.  I don’t know what to do.  I was all gung-ho about sleep training a week or two ago, but I think he’s too young.  No object permanence means he doesn’t know that I’m still around when he can’t see me.  And it breaks my heart to think that he would feel abandoned.  But at the same time, I am desperate for some kind of solution or hope. How long can one continue on this much, low quality sleep?  It is affecting my mood, all the time, and Michelle and I are snapping at each other often.

There’s the daytime sleep problem too.  E takes naps after being awake two hours (usually 3 per day), which range from 30 minutes to an hour.  30 minutes is an average nap, an hour is a great one.  He naps in the Ergo carrier.  And needs to be walked around for much of his nap, so I’m seriously limited in what I can do.  Which is a problem when I am 1) a neat freak (messes affect my sanity) and 2) a full-time graduate student.  I have zero time to clean or do my schoolwork, which is making me crazy and stressed.

I have read a few sleep books, Ferber and The No Cry Sleep Solution, but I don’t think he’s old enough for Ferber, and I’m already doing everything suggested in No Cry except co-sleeping.  Elizabeth Pantley suggests considering these questions:

1) Am I content with the way things are, or am I becoming resentful, angry, or frustrated?  No, and yes.

2) Is my baby’s nighttime routine negatively affecting my marriage, job, or relationships with my other children?  Yes!

3) Is my baby happy, healthy, and seemingly well-rested?  No

4) Based on the facts in this book (see Chapter 2), what is a reasonable expectation for my baby at his age?  10-11 hours per night!  And 15 hours night and day!

5) What naptime and bedtime situation would I consider “acceptable”?  Um, 3-4 continuous hours of sleep? Only nursing 2-3 times per night (instead of 4-5)?

6) What naptime and bedtime situation would I consider “pure bliss”?  Two four hour chunks of sleep with only one nighttime nursing!  Aaah… that would be bliss indeed.

I actually guffawed reading 1-3.  Like “Ha! Good one!”.

We have some serious sleep issues here… help


10 thoughts on “Sleep (the serious lack thereof)

  1. I actually heard co sleeping helps infants sleep more soundly and longer. They tend to wake less often and nurse themselves back to sleep.

    • thebings says:

      I have heard that as well… co-sleeping just isn’t ideal for us. I don’t want to implement that now, since I don’t want that for the long term. It seems like when he’s in bed with me, he just eats a ton, then wets his diaper a ton, then needs a new diaper more often, etc etc. Plus I don’t sleep as well with him in bed, and I miss time with my wife. I wish there was an easy answer! Thanks for your suggestion!

  2. jhottinger says:

    I am no expert, but we are following the baby wise method of feed-wake-sleep and it’s working for us. I have a schedule I can email you if you like…we are getting about two 4 hr chunks at night with a feed in the middle. Naps are 1-1.5 hrs about 4-5 times a day.

  3. Isa says:

    Do you swaddle him? Swaddle the hell out of him! Even if he starts off not liking it. My little E went downhill around 4 months, too, but when she was wrapped up nice and tight she would sleep for longer. I can’t co-sleep, either–all the sweet baby snuffles keep me awake and it’s almost worse than just getting up. Good luck!

    • thebings says:

      We do swaddle him.. Although we haven’t had much luck with using a blanket; he’s like Houdini! So we use a swaddler with the velcro. Not as tight, but he hasn’t escaped yet! Thanks for your help! Wish us luck! I am one tired Mommy…

  4. How old is he? Even the most gentle sleep training isn’t recommended until after a year at least. I promise you, things will get better! I wish I could tell you when or how to make it happen, but there is no magic spell. I can tell you what has helped me and maybe it will help you. Swaddling, white noise, the right temperature, a full belly have all been factors to better sleep for Wallace. When it’s teething time, Camilia homeopathic remedy has helped a lot. Making sure the surface I set him onto is not cold. Better daytime sleep generally yields better night time sleep. I used to try to get him into his rock n play most of the night, but I couldn’t handle sitting up awake for an hour or more. I switched to nursing him a bit, then lying back and going to sleep. I go to bed when he does, or shortly thereafter. I sit down for his naps, which has worked better than ergo naps for him. I camp out on the couch with phone, book, crochet, water bottle, and a snack with a blanket and white noise. I used to get 30-60 minute naps and now I get 2-4 hour naps. Maybe that would allow you to get schoolwork done? I also keep reminding myself that though this isn’t ideal for me (my dream goal is 3 hours of sleep with him off me at a time), this is his biological norm and I am meeting his needs for food and comfort. We’ve had a rough week for night sleep and I’ve fantasized about escaping to the far side of the house and curling up on the floor to sleep.

    • thebings says:

      He’s four and a half months old. That’s why we felt he was still too young. I’ve heard six months is an okay starting time. Swaddling, white noise, full belly, check! I so wish there was a magic answer. Thanks so much for your suggestions! Maybe trying to sit with him for naps would help. It’s so hard for me to sit still when I could be getting chores done! =) My dream goal is three hours as well. Wish me luck!

      • Yeh that would break my heart at that age! I get antsy during his naps but once I started doing it this way, he really was in a much better mood the rest of the day. It made it so I could set him down and get chores done or wear him and he would be content. He’s now getting more independent so these naps on me will one day be scarce and precious.

  5. Roxxroxx says:

    Hey.just seen this. One odour girls is a nutty sleeper too, but she has settled down. Still rough, but more like one or two interruptions. We co-sleep and I worry about it. I mean, the habits it might form. But I have to believe that I’m doing things in a very natural way when I’m home (and it is to try to make up for the full time work I’m off doing during the day). Good luck. I believe it will work out xxx

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