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Sleep(lessness)

2011 March 15

I’m starting this post with a very cute picture of our sleeping baby before I talk about how our nights have been going. Let’s just say, this isn’t always what Ethan looks like at 3am!

For the most part, we have very little to complain about. Ethan has never screamed all night, in fact he never really screams at all!  But he does have a little problem with ‘fighting sleep’. We experienced this at it’s finest on Sunday night. Ethan slept a total of about 30 minutes between the hours of 9pm and 6am…it was brutal.

Our night routine has really only included me so far, because Stu is not lactating and therefore can’t do the feedings. You might say “Why not use a bottle so Stu can help?”  but I’d have to get up anyway to pump, so it’s just easier for me to handle all night time feedings on my own. Plus, Stu goes to work all day. Most of the time, we have about 3 – 3.5 hours between feedings. This means that 3 – 3.5 hours go by after Ethan wakes up, gets a diaper change, eats, and goes to sleep until he’s hungry again…it’s not like he’s really sleeping for that entire time.

Some nighttime techniques we use regularly include white noise (we use the Rain track on the Happiest Baby on the Block CD), dim lights, rocking, limited talking/stimulation, and swaddling.

But Sunday night was a perfect example of sleep fighting. Ethan was just wide awake and quiet…if I was holding him. When I’d try to put him in his crib, he’d start grunting, then crying. Thinking it would get sleepy any minute, I kept holding him and rocking. But every time I’d get him down, he didn’t last more then 15 minutes before I’d have to go in and pick him up. I got so tired, I had to wake Stu up around 5am so he could take over…I just needed 30 minutes of sleep before he went to work. He, of course, was mad that I hadn’t asked for help sooner. But we can’t BOTH lose sleep every night!

Because I was so tired, I forgot to try things that we know work. Like his car seat…I should have put him in there! Or his swing. I should have tried turning on the hairdryer…he loves that. But I just got so tired I couldn’t think.

So on Monday we reevaluated and adapted. After asking friends for advice and skimming a few of our baby books, we put him to bed extra early Monday evening and it worked! He went down after every feeding and we got our 3 – 3.5 hour segments back. It’s a learning curve for all of us…wish me luck tonight!

3 Responses
  1. March 16, 2011

    I hope things get better! Otis hasn’t ever slept in his crib, it’s more of our oversized changing table right now…He usually sleeps in our bed with us, but the past few nights he’s been in his swing right next to us. I don’t know, I think just having someone near him comforts him, if we had him in the exact same position but in his own room, he’d be up. Do you think it’s b/c of the NICU? They learned to sleep with tons of noise and action and movement, it must be strange to then have it be still and quiet!

    From our experience with Ingrid, though, some kids just sleep better than others, no matter what you do. You get used to it and it becomes normal to get up. I don’t know if you want to hear that, lol! Hopefully Ethan grows out of it and learns how to sleep peacefully!

  2. Abbie W permalink
    March 16, 2011

    Reading this post this morning has given me a little comfort in the fact that I am not the only one who didn’t get much sleep last night! I feel for you though because I know exactly how you feel. Ashton is just over 4 months now and he still isn’t a good sleeper. Last night he was up 4 times throughout the night. He is not eating everytime, but he seems to wake up, realize he is alone and need some re-assuring (and a pacifier) to go back to sleep. Like Amber said though, every kid is different. I keep waiting for Ashton to snap out of it and into a good sleeping schedule because Aidric was down to waking up once a night by this time and was so much better at being left alone in his crib. Aidric still sleeps best in his own bed, in his own room by himself.

    We too, use white noise, more to block out the craziness of having a three-year old in the house but it does seem to help a bit. We also found that using the Fisher-Price Newborn Rock ‘n Play Sleeper (Ashton hated being laid flat on his back ever since day one and as a newborn wouldn’t sleep in his crib or pack n play) at night and it has been a God-send! It keeps him in a more upright position just as your car seat or swing would but it brings him more to the level of your bed. It was also nice because I as able to reach over and lightly rock him in the middle of the night while lying in bed without having to leave him in a swing all night. Most times (unless he was hungry) all it took was a gentle rocking motion for a min for him to drift back to sleep. The only problem is that we have been trying to transition him to a crib now for the last month or so, and he still doesn’t like sleeping in his crib for very long periods of time and he will be too big for the napper very soon.

    Good luck and keep trying new things! There has bound to be something that will work perfect for your little Ethan.

    • March 17, 2011

      So I say this about Sunday night, and last night (Wednesday) he slept like a log!! I actually had to wake him up because I was afraid his diaper was nasty AND I needed some relief…the ta tas were full. Ethan eats every time he wakes up, except when he spits up in his sleep…he’ll let out a scream, I’ll wipe off his face, and he goes back to sleep for a little while. We think he might be going through a growth spurt because I weighed him today and he’s gained a pound in a week! He’s almost 9 pounds! It’s amazing.

      I cannot even imagine having a 3 year old in additional to Ethan. All you second time moms are amazing!

      If Ethan doesn’t get better at sleeping in his crib, I may look into the Newborn Rock ‘n Play Sleeper…we just never planned to have him sleep in our room, so we didn’t look at any of the options. I’ll bring him to bed with me sometimes if he won’t go down and I’m exhausted, but otherwise he sleeps in his crib or a couple nights we’ve done the car seat. I just don’t want to run out and buy anything until we’re in a more normal pattern of sleep…like we know he hates his crib or that the crib is working. Still changes on a day to day basis. Fingers crossed he’ll start sleeping longer!! Thanks for commiserating!

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