Thursday, June 16, 2011

Through the Night

The first question people ask me when they see Baby Lawns, after her age, is always the same.

"Does she sleep through the night yet?"

I don't know why people ask this, but it makes me want to stab someone in the eye and I think it makes me mad because the answer is a resounding "NO! No she does not sleep through the night." Then I feel like I've given the wrong answer and like I'm bad and like my baby is bad and like we're already some dysfunctional pair with her being up all night and me being a sleep deprived zombie head.

I'm almost 38 years old and I still don't sleep through the night. I've always gotten up once or twice a night to pee, to read or to have anxiety attacks. I like waking up a couple times.

I do not like waking up six or seven times and then trying to get back to sleep. I have a hard time falling back once I've been awakened by my baby who doesn't cry, but instead kicks her mattress violently until I come and get her out of her bed and nurse her. She wants to nurse all night long. I don't. I'd like to sleep.

The pediatrician says I've created a bad habit and that this is my fault, but I didn't know any better and no one told me what to do. At the hospital they said nurse her every two hours, then it was nurse her on demand and so I did all that. I thought the way it worked was that you did that and the baby eventually, one magical night, just slept all night and that was the end of it. Clearly this was not the case, although it has been the case with lots of other people I know, so I don't know what went wrong here. I keep waiting for the magical night to happen, but it's become like The Rapture now and I've just given up waiting for it to come. Our souls aren't getting whisked up into Heaven and my baby isn't going to sleep through the night on her own.

I've come to the end of my rope and no amount of praying to the Virgin Mary statue about this issue has worked. All of our friends swear by Cry It Out, but this seems so mean to me and I can't imagine doing that. In fact, one of my earliest memories is of being made to cry it out in my crib and obviously it was so traumatic to me that I still remember how abandoned and hopeless I felt. I can not do that to my baby.

Yet at the same time it does seem as though she has developed a bad habit and that she needs to learn to get herself back to sleep without the boob and without waking the mama. I haven't slept more than two hours straight in eight months and it's taking a toll on my mental and physical well being. It's making me depressed and resentful.

Our friends who have a one year old used a modified method of CIO to help their son learn to sleep without nursing all night and we are thinking of trying it this weekend. The husband slept on the floor of the baby's room and the mother slept away in her own bed so the baby couldn't smell her, because they can do that you know. When the baby awoke, the husband comforted him and got him back to sleep to break the habit of having to nurse. They said it took two nights and the baby, who is healthy and securely attached and totally normal now, slept through the night ever since. We're thinking of trying this for the good health of everyone in the family. Have any of you tried it? How did it work?

Does anyone have any advice for me regarding this problem? I hate to go all Mommy Blogger on you, but I am freaking desperate and Baby Lawns is tired and crabbed out all day and won't eat normally because she's up nursing all night. And remember, I don't care about waking up once or twice or about nursing her once or even twice, but six or more times has to stop. I think we'd all be much happier if we could get a good night's sleep around here. Please help oh wise Internet people.


GrannyPam said...

Well, I've been there. I have slept in a rocking chair with a nursing baby, and in bed with a nursing baby. It is so long ago, I don't remember how it stopped, but it did, for all three. The solution you offered seems like a good one, and I hope it works for you.

Personally, I wouldn't leave a baby so young to CIO either. However, I might an older one.

One more thing: Since when is wanting to be close to one's mother a "BAD HABIT". Children learn security from bonding from their mother. They can't remember she exists when they are not in her presence until approximately 3 years of age. Likely an infant of eight months just knows that something is missing, and you are it.

Good luck...

Alessandra said...

I´m not a mother myself, but I´ve heard that it is extremely important to establish a routine that works and always repeat it. A technique I´ve seen people raving about is, when the baby is put to sleep and starts crying (usually it´s not really desperate crying, just "Hey, I´m lonely, anybody there?" crying), you wait one minute, go there and talk to her in a soothing voice to let her know you can hear. Maybe touch her hand or head, but DO NOT PICK HER UP. When she calms down (and if she´s not wet or hungry she probably will), you go away. If she starts again (very likely), you do the same, but wait two minutes before going in. Keep raising the distance between 'visits' until she falls asleep. Repeat as needed. From what I´ve been told, this will help her realize that you are there in case she needs you and there´s no reason for anxiety. Hope it helps!

FreeDragon said...

This is what the docs say NOT to do, but my friend swore by it- she nursed her son while she slept. She lay him beside her, gave him a boob and went back to sleep. He nursed as much as he wanted without waking her. He never choked and she never rolled over on him. Of course, she was a single a mom with no husband to help. Your husband sleeping by the crib sounds like a good idea. And I don't think wanting to feed your child or comfort her is a 'bad habit' or your fault. Shame on whoever said that. I wouldn't leave my child to cry it out either. And as far as the sleeping thru the night question- just lie. How would anyone know anyway? Go head and say you have a perfect baby.

My Name is Not Important said...

Perhaps praying to the actual Virgin and not the statue would help. ;-D Sorry I couldn't help myself (lordy emoticons are dreadful).

I wish I had advice for you, but I'm childless. My sister is almost ten years younger than me and I remember them making her cry it out. It was horrible, but it did work.

Also, why can't people mind their own business about your child's sleeping habits. People can be so weird and nosey.

Anonymous said...

When my daughter was about that age, I started giving her a bottle of formula at bedtime--formula is more filling than breast milk. The baby gets bigger and demands more nutrition. You'll sleep, she'll sleep and you will both feel better.
(My daughter is now 26 and wasn't traumatized- did the same with my son's only sooner as they were very demanding eaters)
Hope this helps! I know the LaLeche League doesn't want to see formula advice but that's what worked in my house.

Carol in SC said...

I have an old family secret handed down for generations. After the newborn stage is over, feed the baby some baby cereal mixed with breastmilk or formula at her last feeding of the day. The complex carbs in the cereal will keep her feeling full longer. Works like a charm.

Head Ant said...

My son slept through the night at six weeks. My daughter was a she-demon and slept in a swing for the first six months. It was the only thing that kept her asleep long enough for me to get sleep in order to function. Then, she outgrew the swing.

Fast forward... The kids are almost four and five. They had been going to sleep somewhat decently. About a year ago, we had the time change thing and they refused to go to sleep. I've had them stay up until midnight or 1am. She's especially bad.

Now, if my husband puts them to bed, it takes him 20 minutes to get them to sleep. It takes me three hours. You are not alone.

Robin said...

I do not have children, I want to preface this with that statement. However, what you're describing is something that I run into with pets very often. You have spoken a lot about how incredibly smart your daughter is and I suspect that is very true. She's figured out how to get what she wants at a very early age- she's got you trained rather than the other way around. She figured out that when she wakes up all she has to do is kick kick kick and there you are! Not an easy habit to break but it's certainly not BAD by any means, just frustrating.

Anonymous said...

My sister (who is a doctor) had the same problem. It turns out the baby wasn't getting filled up enough from nursing. My sister simply couldn't keep up with the demand. She added a formula feeding before bedtime which all but eliminated the constant wake-ups.

craftevangelist said...

My 3rd baby (a boy) was born a couple of weeks before Baby Lawns and I only got him sleeping though the night in the last week or so. Even though I got 2 others to sleep through the night earlier than this one, I still needed reminders of the good habits that we were missing.

I read this eBook ( beware signing up for the emails, she sends a lot, not every day, but enough to be annoying) and it reminded me that what my son needs at this age was a consistent predictable bedtime routine about 20-30 minutes long, a full tummy (which my nursing just can't provide him right now so he gets a bottle at bedtime) and a 7PM bedtime. After that, we CIO. The author doesn't call it CIO if you've prepared her for bedtime with her routine; she calls it letting her learn to fall asleep on her own, but it's CIO if you ask me.

My husband and I don't have near the patience to sleep on the floor of a baby who won't sleep and to calm him down without the boob, so CIO is better for our baby than us losing patience with him. If your husband can do it without pulling his hair out or shaking your baby, I think it sounds so much more gentle than leaving her alone.

Most babies work it out within 3 nights.

Good luck. Think of it as not only getting sleep for yourself, but training Baby Lawns for a lifetime of good sleep patterns.

Living in Muddy Waters said...

I was a huge "Breastmilk only" mom but in the end I ended up giving E one bottle of formula at 10:00PM every know and then so help ease MY resentment. She slept better those nights and so did I. One bottle once in a while is not a bad thing.

Also, when the teething slows down, you should see it get better. You have to wait out the teeth, though.

Handy Man, Crafty Woman said...

I feel so bad for you. I've been there. My son didn't sleep through the night for AGES. and all the little old ladies would ask me in stores "ohhhh he's so cute. does he sleep through the night?" after like 2 weeks.

Yeah right.

It sounds like I had the same baby as you, but as a boy. it. SUCKED.

I don't see how the suggestion of having your hubby sit in with her is going to help. She wants YOU, and something tells me she will not be satisfied with him. she wants to nurse. I had the same problem.

One book that (sort of) helped was Healthy sleep habits, happy child. this helped us with the daytime schedule, because he was the WORST napper. Seriously, if baby books said "at this age, baby should be sleeping 12-16 hours in a 24 hour period, mine would sleep (maybe) 9 hours. 15 mins here, 20 mins there, 2 hours there, 3 hours here. it was a nightmare!

getting the day sleep a bit more regulated (thanks to the book) did help him a little at night, so you may need to work on day time sleep as well, which the book says helped with night sleep.

also, the "put rice cereal in the bottle" thing NEVER worked for us. Please try it, maybe it will, but just warning you, **EVERYONE** says to do that and it didn't work for us. I actually sat down and cried when it didn't work, since so many people swore by it and I was so desperate for sleep.

I swear, I was such a sleep deprived zombie that I can't really remember WHAT worked for us anymore. It was a combination of a lot of things: him getting bigger, us (finally) getting him to sleep better during the day, him eating solids...and also letting him fuss (not scream, but fuss) at night a little bit. I used to run in at every little peep, but then I finally found that if I let him fuss just a little bit, even just 5 mins, sometimes he'd fall asleep.

other people found it unnerving to listen to him fuss before napping or at night, but it was his "thing." It was like he had to calm himself down and "talk" to himself for a little bit first.

I hope you can figure something out. I really do. Maybe start with the rice cereal at night thing first.

rosie-b said...

Ok, here's my experiences with my two (very different) boys. My older one I didn't have much of a problem with the waking thing or transitioning to him sleeping on his own. The (HUGE) mistake I made with him was to nurse him while we both slept. I read a La Leche League book that recommended this and said that he would not get baby bottle mouth like a child left with a bottle of formula would. They were wrong. His front teeth on the top rotted and he had to have some pretty awful (and very expensive) dentistry while strapped to a papoose board. It was a nightmare, don't sleep and nurse after there are teeth.

Boy number two is high-spirited and very determined. In other words he can be a royal pain in the ass at times. Even after weaning he refused to sleep more than 2 hours at a time until he was 2 and a half years old and I had tried everything except CIO because it sounded so harsh. It's not at all how you hear it described on the internet and if Baby Lawns is more than 6 months old (sorry, I forgot how old she is now) you can try that method. It worked beautifully for us, I only wish I had read the book a year and a half earlier.

The book is called "Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems" by Richard Ferber. The basic idea is that you can't be apart of her falling-asleep process and then leave. Dr. Ferber said it was kind of like if someone took your pillow in the middle of the night, you'd wake -up and go get it.
I'm afraid I'm not explaining it very well but please read it in it's entirety before making any decisions. I hope it helps you as much as it helped me.

Hang in there, it's not forever :)

BoB said...

I can't remember any of the timeframe, but I do remember sleeping on the floor by our son's crib and later his bed. Then I remember taking him back into his room in the middle of the night to help him get back to sleep. And I remember sleeping on his bottom bunk to keep him in the top bunk. I think this all pretty much stopped when he was 4.5ish.

I don't remember when we moved his crib out of our room but I think it was about 1 year. I remember him being in the bed when I woke up in the morning. I remember putting him back in the crib when my wife kicked me. I remember talking through the possible danger of him sleeping in our bed all night and one of us rolling over and smothering him.

I don't remember ever seriously considering letting him cry it out. I also don't remember smothering him to death. I remember him kicking us and lying sideways and taking up way more bed than an infant should. I have these vague memories of being really tired at school.

I know that our son is a caring little guy and he still calms down when we hold him. I don't think that infants have complex enough brains to intentionally manipulate adults. I know that they have needs, lots of needs. I know that I considered myself the caretaker of those needs, because he couldn't take car of them himself.

After all that, I don't have any advice. No, wait. I do. Do what feels right to you and your husband. Fuck everyone else, she's your daughter.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I'm a fan of CIO! Oh it sounds so mean! But it's the best thing for Baby Lawns! I know you love Baby Lawns and will do even something difficult (like CIO) to get her to sleep. You teaching her that 'we sleep at night and eat and play during the day' is crucial. They aren't born knowing that and only you can teach her. And the bottle/formula worked well for my children too. It's hard, ask Husband to help you! Use ear plugs at night. Do whatever is necessary. You will be teaching her difficult lessons for a long time to come. This is the first of many. Love you sister!


k2 said...

Our little one did not sleep through the night until we had her on solid foods. I bet if your little on wants to nurse all night that you haven't "spoiled" the child but that the little tyke is hungry.

Also, you will make yourself nuts trying to worry about what happens when for little babies. I am a psychologist who specializes in children. I KNEW better than to do that with my own, but I did it anyway. Honestly, the doctor will tell you if the child is delayed. Otherwise, just enjoy the little one, and stop with the comparisons. They do you (and the child) no favors.

sarahtnickel said...

I also have vague early memories of crying in my crib to no avail! I had the same situation with my first daughter who is now 10. By the time she was about 6 months I was borderline psychotic from being sleep deprived for so long. Although crying it out seemed cruel, and instinctively wrong to the nurturing mother in me, I attempted it. Thank goodness I did. It was an excruciating 4 or 5 days of listening to her cry for an hour or so most times I put her down to sleep alone in her crib. By the end of a week, she was going to sleep quickly when placed in her crib. When she woke during the night she would wimper for less than a minute and return to sleep all on her own. Her naptime sleep increased in length from the too short 40 minute nap to longer naps that lasted from1.5 to 3 hours. One of the most striking things I noticed with my new "ferberized" child, was that she was in a better mood. She was no longer falling asleep all the time anywhere, better rested and more relaxed. I have no doubt that she was actually happier being a child who could fall asleep on her own without my assistance. I think that falling asleep on ones own is a skill that can be taught, and a skill that makes for a happier baby. I love your blog! Good luck with baby lawns!

Anonymous said...

I, too, was wondering if she isn't full enough to sleep for more than a couple hours at a stretch. It may be that your body just can't produce enough milk to really fill her up before sleeping. One of my cousins had this problem and had to supplement with formula. If this an issue, you might be able to pump during the day to stockpile milk or even get a prescription for additional breast milk if you don't want to use formula. (As an aside, it is crazy that one needs a prescription for breast milk.)


Converseleigh said...

Don't take the questions from old ladies personally. Chances are they have been in your position and are just trying to commiserate on the exhaustion and frustration you are feeling. Trust me every mom has been where you are.
Ignore your doctor, he is an idiot, you didn't do anything wrong. Doctors know how to keep your child healthy. They don't get courses in child rearing at med school. They have the same problems with their children as you do. I know this because I am related to several doctors.
You have gotten some good tips so far, the only one I would add is look at Baby Lawn's nap schedule. Is she taking a late nap that is making her less sleepy at night?
Remember no one knows Baby Lawn better than you do. Trust your own judgment,you will do great.

catherine said...

My oldest daughter wouldn't sleep through the night either. My pediatrician told me to give her rice cereal just before her last bottle at midnight, and the first night she slept til 6 am. After I had my panic attack and ran to check to see if she was still breathing, I did the happy dance! He said she needed a little extra to fill her tummy so she wouldn't wake up hungry.

Ardy said...

Cereal? I bottlefed my babies, but around 4-5 months, they started getting some cereal in the evening before bed. It filled them up so that they weren't waking up hungry. Seemed to do the trick for us. CIO does seem awful and I had a very hard time doing it with my oldest, but it really only took about two nights and he was set--I just went in and soothed him without speaking or picking him up and eventually he was reassured that if he cried, I would come, but he was NOT.GETTING.UP.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

First of all, if you take advice from anyone, take it from the mamas/grandmas around you. Doctors (especially male ones) are not the experts. To give you a comparison, 40 years ago babies were on cereal at 3 months, baby food and regular milk at 6 months. Listen to the other comments, if she's waking every two hours, she's not getting enough to eat to sustain her longer than that. Give her some cereal. Never had luck with putting cereal w/formula in a bottle, they seem more confused as to why it's different than their regular milk than actually taking it in. Sit her down in her high chair (any kind of seat- just don't hold her!) Have the cereal in a bowl, real soupy at first, spoon it in her, fill that tummy! She'll be learning to eat from utensils and will love to bang on the tray and interact with you. Also, great way to teach her sounds and words as she'll be watching you so closely. Give her a few days to adjust, don't give up. Good luck!

Miss Kitty said...

Try to keep in mind, WL...this will be past relatively quickly.

And GrannyPam says it SO well: Since when is wanting to be close to one's mother a "BAD HABIT". Children learn security from bonding from their mother. They can't remember she exists when they are not in her presence until approximately 3 years of age. Likely an infant of eight months just knows that something is missing, and you are it. She knows what she's talking about. And Alessandra's advice sounds good, too; when we're little, we all need to know that even if Mom's not right there all the time, we can just yell and she'll be there shortly. It's part of our learning that we are separate people from our mothers. Just talk to Baby Lawns through all this, too, just as you would an adult...and tell her what's going on. I think babies/toddlers understand a LOT more than they can express in words or gestures. After all, they spend 9 months in the womb with Mom's voice piped in via Bose stereo.

And while we're on the topic of obstetrics: FUCK your doctor's sloppy, lazy, shitty reasoning! As soon as he has a uterus and can carry a child to term, and then nurse it and stay up with it and deal with his boobs KILLING HIM because they're so swollen and never knowing why he always feels like crying when he should be happy with this adorable little baby...well, THEN his opinion about whose "fault" ANYTHING kid-related is will actually be worth something. Easy to say "it's mom's fault" when you have a penis and M.D. after your name. (Should have "DOUCHE" after his name.) Our society blames so much on women, anyway, so why not this too. Yeah, nice going, Dr. Dickwad.

Baby Lawns will be your child try to keep in perspective that this awful never-getting-any-sleep phase will be over relatively quickly. A few months of little sleep is a blink of an eye compared to the many, many years you two will be together.

By the way: My mom (of "Ask Mom" fame) says my sister and I finally started sleeping through the night when we were around 9-11 months old. And she was relieved, too. If you'd like some advice from her, she'd be glad to talk with you on e-mail or phone. Just let me know. She knows how awful it can be, and how society expects you never to have any human emotions while you're dealing with all the changes a baby brings.

As always, sending my love & hugs to you, Baby Lawns, Mr. Lawns, and Canela (I think that's your kitteh's name...?). :-)

Miss Kitty said...

And speaking of (sleeping) all through the night...

Sunny said...

I think the best thing I did as a young mother was to trust my own instincts. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE has advice about being pregnant, giving birth, childrearing. According to the natural birth movement and La Leche League, I was destined to fail miserably as a mother and my two boys wouldn't grow or thrive or learn to read, or other such nonsense. I had two cesearans (first one unexpected, second planned), couldn't breastfeed well, went back to work. Blah, blah, blah. Apparently, I figured it out because they grew up to be bright, engaging, strapping young men well on their way to successful lives. Listen to what others say, because you may find the answer you are looking for from them, but use what works for YOU and YOUR CHILD. The only other advice I will impart is that they HAVE to sleep and so do you, so try some of these things and then use what works to that end. I used several things, a little cereal in the last bottle of the night, kept daytime naps short, slept on the floor next to the crip to let one CIO, visited and patted, but didn't pick up. Also, I stroked the bridge of their nose between their eyes and rocked them to get them drowsy, but let them get themselves to sleep in the crib on their own. GOOD LUCK

joannabug said...

Oh, a long-time lurker, and rare commenter here.

I'm not a fan of CIO, especially because their brains get flooded with cortisol (same chemical in stroke victim's brains) when they're left to cry alone. But mainly because it felt wrong, and I generally trust my intuition.

What about moving the crib into your room?

We have twins, and I know that it can be so hard. A few things we tried:

*Tummy time/play time in the evening with daddy. This seemed to get them tired quickly.
*Swaddling--the swaddle-me sleepers were amazing.
*Cluster feeding before bed
*Letting them stay up late before bed (and later on, putting them to bed earlier when they were older and showing signs of overtiredness.
*Sometimes it's just a phase, and some babies need less sleep than others.
*You didn't cause this, and nursing is really good for brain, immune system and attachment. You're doing great! The nice thing about having twins was seeing two very different babies, different sleep patterns, etc., and realizing that we didn't "cause" it. My daughter needed to be cuddled back to sleep, my son just wanted to be hugged, dropped back in his crib, and left alone.
*Sometimes, we would switch off, I would pump (or even use some formula) and let them have a daddy night, or visa-versa. This would give us enough rest to keep going. On a usual night, we were both involved, and that helped.
*Is there anything else going on--teething? Growth spurt?
*It feels like it lasts forever, but it doesn't. Hang in there!!!

kellymom is a great website, lots of good advice around breastfeeding topics. So is the Dr. Sears website. And the Baby Whisperer has lots of suggestions, and is very practical.

jessica said...

These were worth reading (even tho' I am beyond child-bearing range and never DID have children), just to read Miss Kitty's response. Way to go, Kitty!! You tell 'em!

Anonymous said...

I have a 18 month old now. I also have a 6 yr old son. I did the bed-sharing thing. Doctors don't recommend this, but I am not from the US and in my country, all mommies sleep with their babies.

My 18 month old started "sleeping through the night" at about 3 months, if you can call sleeping without waking from 8pm-1am that. Which I do. Even now, he wakes and nurses after 1am every 2 hours. But I get to sleep from 9pm-1am uninterrupted and with that, I function.

Eventually, as with my older son, I know that my younger son will sleep all through (10pm-8am). But that didn't happen until 3 years old.

You can bring the baby in your bed and see if she sleep longer. You'll still nurse, but maybe getting a larger block of sleep will hep.

Anonymous said...

Argh. Cry it out is about the most unnatural thing we can do to children. We evolved to be close to our caregivers when infants. Crying at the initial separation is a warning call to retrieve the baby before it is eaten by something. The crying eventually stops if there is no response because the best hope for survival is to not continue to warn predators that a helpless baby is available for a snack. But the cessation of crying does not mean the baby is "over it", it means he or she is cowering in fear. Every study that follows co-sleeping children through life finds mental and even physical positives. IMO, what they are actually seeing is the base case, it's the other kids who are suffering from the effects of our unnatural preference for keeping babies out of sight and mind.

I do second the advice to encourage good sleeping habits during the day. This will lessen the need for nursing at night. Also, co-sleep. You will not be bothered nearly as much by her wakings, eventually you will more or less sleep through most of them. When she gets old enough, you can follow the advice from Dr. Jay Gordon to lessen the number of feedings. It worked very well to get my son down to one feeding per night.

Finally, some aspects of bringing up a baby properly are very difficult for the parent. But you (the parents) made the decision to have the baby, so you are the ones with the moral responsibility to take care of those tasks properly.

I believe you have the Dr. Sears book. Give it another read. You may also want to look at The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night by Elizabeth Pantley.

Mary Grace said...

Have you read Baby Wise? That is the method my husband and I used, and my baby was sleeping at least 6 hours together by 10 weeks or so. It might have been that she's a naturally good sleeper, but I plan on using this method again. It puts the baby on a routine where they don't need to nurse to fall asleep. It's written for babies from day one, but I think it could be adapted. You poor thing! I don't know how you're functioning!

Kirby said...

My son slept throught the night first time after peditrician said to give him a couple spoons of cereal for dinner. We added a few spoonfuls of very liquidy baby cereal around 6 pm (I fed him w/ spoon - NOT in a bottle) and wow he slept 6+ hours that first night and every night since!

sandra said...

The book "The sleep lady's Good night, sleep tight" helped me out. Check it out, I hope it can help!

Heather said...

Full tummy before bed is a must. Same routine every night that doesn't wind her up also good. Then go stay at your mom's house for two nights and make your husband sleep train her because if you're anything like me you will not be able to leave her alone to figure it out on her own. :)

Just like grown-ups babies have to get used to changes in routine over time too. Oh and make sure she gets naps during the day, you need sleep to get sleep.

Finally read this book, it'll make you laugh at least.

LegalMist said...

Follow your instincts. Don't make her CIO. I tried it and it didn't work for my kid AT ALL. All it did was traumatize her. I like your "modified CIO" thought, though, and I hope it works for you.

This stage felt like it lasted forever, with both my kids.

But it does eventually end, and they do eventually learn to sleep.

The sleep deprivation is AWFUL, but I PROMISE it WILL end. Just keep on keeping on for now.

It does NOT make you a bad mom, or your kid a "bad" baby.

Good luck to you. :)

Anonymous said...

Mama, babies aren't supposed to sleep through the night. They get about 30-40% of their calories at night feedings, plus, not going into prolonged deep sleep is what protects them from SIDS. the idea that babies should sleep alone and all night is a Western one, most cultures recognize that babies need parenting and companionship, as well as nutrition, during the long nights. You don't need to post this, but your baby is fine, and normal, and you are doing a great job caring for her. Listen to your instincts, not the so-called experts or others. Honestly, most mothers exaggerate about how much their babies actually sleep, along with how early they started solids, how soon they crawled, and how quickly they teethed, so they will appear to have a "better baby" and appear to be better parents by proxy.

bottlecappie said...

My baby wasn't a great sleeper and CIO did not work for her. She just cried until she vomited and got really violent was awful (but I too was half crazy with lack of sleep).

She was a big night-nurser as well and what worked for me was bed sharing. I could nurse her lying on my side and never really fully wake up. And I took naps as often as I could to make up some of my sleep deficit.

For what it's worth, all babies are different and CIO or sleep training will work for some but not for others and that is NOT YOUR FAULT. My daughter continued to have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep until we got a new doctor who suggested that her insomnia might be a symptom of ADHD. Now she takes melatonin before bed and sleeps beautifully. She is 9 now and obviously you can't give melatonin to a baby - but I'm sure glad I didn't go against my instincts and continue with the CIO (Ferber) sleep training plan.

There's a book called The No-Cry Sleep Solution that has many strategies for helping babies sleep. Besides that, just trust your gut. And remember, this stage won't last forever.

Pickyknitter said...

I'm going to park myself in the LOVE YOUR BABY camp. She is just a baby! It seems mean that people advise abandoning her because it is annoying. I am sad that it is frustrating and tiring for the Lawns family... I hope something works. Did anyone advise swaddling yet? /lurker hug

Anonymous said...

I thought of you this morning when I saw Sheyne Rowley interviewed on The Kerri-Anne Kennerley Show.

I hope that you and your husband get some much needed sleep soon.


Tara said...

I always went to her when she cried, but I stopped night feeding much earlier than 8 months. Give her a drink of water in a sippy cup and put her back down. She'll cry but fall back asleep. She will eventually learn to go right back to sleep when she wakes up in the middle of the night. CIO sounds cruel, but it doesn't last long enough to matter...because it works.

Ben's Mommy said...

I get kind of annoyed when people say that CIO is "best" for the baby. They don't know. They just say that because THEY want to feel good about THEIR choice to let their baby CIO.

Jean_Phx said...

I would just like to address those that ask if Baby Lawns is sleeping through the night. We're not trying to be rude - just sympathize with the cause. We're sorry and will try not to ask again :-)

Anonymous said...

Dear WL, I haven't read all of the comments but I did a quick search and I think this hasn't yet been suggested: No Cry Sleep Solution. I found it very useful. Also I have not read the Ferber book but I have heard that even if you do not feel that his system is right for you, he includes lots of info about the science of baby sleep and development. Finally, you might want to consider lurking or posting to TheBump's Attachment Parenting message board. I am not particularly AP but I used to lurk there all the time. I found the moms there to be non-judgmental, supportive, and able to suggest a range of perspectives and options for dealing w/ various baby issues.

Anyway, more than that: BIG HUGS. You are a seriously fantastic mom. No baby is perfect and everyone has issues they struggle with. You are obviously doing the best you can. All babies sleep through the night eventually. Maybe you will figure out a magical solution, maybe you will figure out a solution that works for your family even if the pedi gives it the side-eye, maybe you will just hang in there 'till she grows out of it but again, you're a great mom. You know your baby better than anyone else, and you know your family better than anyone so it is OK to trust your instincts and do what you need to do.

One Crazy Chick! said...

My 'baby' is almost 5 and was just like Baby Lawns. She was all nurse all the time unlike her brother who started sleeping long stretches as soon as he hit 3 or 4 months. She just isn't a great sleeper. She'd rather not miss anything. Party Animal I say. Send me an email when you figure out how to help Lawns, I'm exhausted. Seriously, it doesn't bother me except for the extra coffee. If it bothers you, try whatever you think is necessary to aid her sleep. I will say, there will come a time when you long for those snuggles. Those days are a fond memory and they will stop on their own even if you do nothing.

Anonymous said...

My baby was born Nov. 9th, so my little critter is younger than yours. He would eat 24/7 if he could. He was waking up every 2 hours to feed. We did a modified CIO method - our trick is that we were just trying to get to 2am. So, if he cried before 2am, my husband would go in and comfort him. DO NOT PICK THE BABY UP. Just rub her belly and whisper soothing things. Then leave. Do this in increments of 3 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes if the baby is still crying. Each night, lengthen the intervals a little. The first night he cried for 45 solid minutes. It's been better since then - the longest he has cried since then is 20 minutes. He is actually feeding a lot better since he knows absolutely no food until 2am.
Two things to keep in mind - no matter what you do, be consistent. Consistency is the most important factor in sleep training, no matter what you do.
Also? "Sleeping through the night" is 6 hours. Pediatricians consider babies to be sleeping through the night if they can go 6 hours without waking.

Anonymous said...

This may be a crazy idea, but is BabyLawns cold? My new baby kicked his legs a lot this winter until I realized he wasn't warm enough, and added another layer on him. I've also heard that this is what babies do to warm up. Maybe not Florida babies, though...

And contrary to what all the formula and rice cereal people say, I've also heard that a baby's ability to sleep through the night has to do with her brain, not her stomach. I hope you all can get some more sleep soon. Please don't feel bad, that you've created a bad habit, or did something wrong. Babies constantly change and learn and keep us on our toes with new things.

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