Monday, August 30, 2010

Advice, please

Okay Mamas. I'm calling on you again.

I have a baby who hates sleep.

Like, HATES sleep.

Right now, she's exhausted. She's actually been showing signs of sleepiness since about 8:15am (It's 9:15am). I've been battling with her to nap since 8:30am. Fighting to go to sleep is a very regular thing for us. In fact, if she's down in 45 minutes, that's a good day. It takes over an hour most times to get her to bed at night.

The frustrating thing is that this is *relatively* new. Up until about 4 months, she slept great. She would nap for a long time and barely needed any help getting to sleep. She slept for long, long stretches at night and didn't wake up frequently at all.

Even after 4 months, until about 5 months, getting her down to sleep wasn't that tough. She wouldn't sleep long at all during naps, but getting her to sleep was relatively easy.

Now - it's a whole new story. Anna will be 7 months this week, and it's a battle to get her to sleep and to stay asleep Every. Single. Time she goes for a nap or to bed at night.

She doesn't want us to hold her (she arches her back and fights and cries), but she doesn't want us to put her down in her crib either. That just wakes her up and she rolls around and plays with anything she can get her hands on (like the side of the crib) and then she starts crying when she realizes we're not there. Once she's asleep for the night, she wakes up frequently, crying and upset. She used to just need her soother and would fall back asleep. Now, sometimes she just needs her soother, but most of the time she needs us to hold her or me to feed her before she'll calm down and go back to sleep.

I've tried putting her down when she's pretty much asleep. I've tried putting one of my shirts in the crib with her so she would know I was still "there". We've tried lowering the crib and putting a breathable bumper on so that she can't see as much, and won't get caught in the sides. I've tried lavender oil and lavender cream. I've tried letting her cry a little bit. I've tried the "pick up/put down" method. I've tried putting my hand on her until she drifts off to sleep. I've tried putting her down earlier (at the very first sign of tiredness), and I've tried waiting until she's definitely sleepy. I've tried giving her more solids during the day. And I've tried giving her more breastmilk, too. I've even tried putting her in the swing.

And every time I try something new, I'm consistent with it for several days to a week to get her used to it. (I know consistency is key). (Then again, why be consistent with something that doesn't work after a week of trying?)

I know that one day she'll sort herself out and all will be right in the world again. The only thing is... I'm just about at my breaking point waiting for her to get there.

Maybe it's because I had two late nights out last week (a party and a wedding), which makes the night time wake ups and the nap battles that much worse the next day. Or maybe it's because I've been dealing with some sort of sleep issue with her for 3 months now. All I know for sure is that I'm cranky, I look and feel like crap, I get irritable more often and I'm not that much fun to be around.

Woe is me.

So anyway... if you have any advice to offer, if you went through this too, even if you just want to tell me you love me, I sure could use it right now.

Many thanks, from a VERY tired Mom.

PS: Anna is lucky she's SO freakin' cute.

Who, me??


  1. We've all been through it Heather. I remember being exhausted and feeling helpless. Here's a couple things I've tried - not saying they always worked, but I tried them. I would put Chris in his car seat on top of the running dryer. He liked the constant vibration I guess. I've also resorted to a warm bath at 2am. Worked sometimes.
    When all else fails, take her for a ride in the car. There are hundreds of parents every night who are driving around their neighbourhoods trying to get the baby to sleep. Sometimes they are stopped by a roadcheck. Not really a problems unless it's 2:30am, you have bedhead and are wearing your pj's. Even then, you don't care. Not really. The police? They've seen hundreds of us exhausted moms doing the exact same thing.
    Hang in there Heather. It's just another phase she's going through.


  2. No advice here unfortunately. Sounds like you've tried everything under the sun! I know it doesn't feel like it now, but it will pass.

    Please let me know if you need anything! I totally know what you're going through!


  3. Thanks so much for the post Heather - this is our life too and I'm at my wits end as well. Olivia is 8 months old and she will only nap on me or beside me and she hasn't slept in her crib in 2 months. Every night she goes to sleep without issue in my bed and Daddy sleeps in the spare. Even if she's been asleep for 3 hours and I try to get her into her crib she wakes immediately and freaks out. I've tried everything and I finally gave in because I couldn't take it. I only shower if Olivia comes in as well, my kitchen is only clean if I can get her to sit in her high chair and eat by herself. The only good news is that one day soon Anna and Olivia will sleep til noon on Saturdays before going out with their friends all night and we'll be lonely for these days :)

  4. Love your blog. I just wish you'd try to be a bit more honest and open, though. Ha ha.

    But really-really seriously ... Being tired is up there with the worst ailments of all time. Been there, done that. Unfortunately, I don't have any advice. Just keep trying and something may work. If not, eventually she'll be in college.

  5. I don't have any advice wrt to Anna sleeping, but I know I can help you to get some sleep! Call on me whenever you need a break! Mom's live to help their daughters...

  6. Have you tried playing any music for her? If she were my baby, I would put some Fleetwood Mac, Midway State, classical symphonies or some other soothing music in the CD player and see if that helps at all.

  7. Remove a nap in the daytime.

    Signed, sealed and delivered.

  8. Heather, I am not sure I have advice but please know we are here to help you out and give you a break. Anna is such a wonderful little girl who really wants to stay awake so she does not miss anything. Andrew was a terrible sleeper, could it be in the genes?

  9. No advice as E does not sleep either but I think the root causes may be 1) she is learning new skills so wants to practice i.e. rolling around, playing etc. and 2) you have been away so she is out of her routine. Some of that will just be fixed over time....


  10. You are going through exactly what I'm stll going through (Sarah is almost one). I also have tried everything, still don't have a solution, and can only hope it will get better one day. Hang in there and be glad you don't also have a crazy almost three year old.

  11. A couple of things that worked for us.
    1) the swing - we let her fall asleep there and only took her to bed after she was deep asleep.
    2) we put a wedge under her mattress - she HATED sleeping flat on her back
    3) dropped the morning nap - I know that sounds crazy but she only napped 2X a day for 30mins and I couldn't deal with the fight so I said forget it. Dropped on nap and then she was good in the afternoon and at bedtime.

    Good luck!