Tuesday, March 20, 2012


My baby doesn't sleep. Still. She's 13 months and a week old. Still up five times a night, usually (more often now than she was night waking at 16 weeks) - nursing every time, because it's easier and kinder to all of us for me to bust a boob out and be back in bed 15 minutes later than to lie there for an hour not sleeping, listening to her cry until she cries so hard she throws up and then spend the next half hour scrubbing puke out of the carpet. That's my effort at letting her self-soothe and it does not work for this baby (and I feel like such a JERK for lying there while she is upset, too). I have tried more than once but it just doesn't sit right with me to ignore her cries. CIO is simply not for us. It doesn't work and it makes us all miserable.

I have ended up using overnight disposables at night (cloth during the day) because I was changing her three times a night with cloth. Yes, doubled-up with hemp inserts. I tried all kinds of things. She's a super heavy wetter and with so much night nursing, cloth just doesn't work for now. I still change her disposable at 5am because if I don't, she's soaked through her sleeper and the crib sheet by 7.

Bedtime is often a battle, involving crying. We have a bedtime routine - a sleep sheep, a bottle of water in the crib, a favourite bunny, bath time, stories and cuddles. Some nights she is so tired she crashes fast. But it's still a battle. She wakes after about an hour and a half every night, crying. I could set a clock by it. And then at 11, 12:30, 2:30, 5, and sometimes she will wake just 15 minutes after I get her back to sleep, crying. Bad dreams? Maybe not all the burps came out, although I do burp her after every nurse? I don't know.

And she doesn't nap without a good hard fight, either. Some days she does not nap at all and those are long, long days. Some days she will have two naps (rare) and those are great days.

Meanwhile, I'm exhausted... so tired all the time. I haven't gotten a solid night's sleep in over a year and a half (I couldn't sleep through the night myself when I was pregnant). I can't even imagine waking up feeling well-rested.

When did your little one sleep through the night? I want to hear from the long-haulers, the mamas who stuck with attending their babies when they cried, the night nursers and attachment parents. Tell me this will not go on forever.

True story... as I was writing this, she woke up, 40 minutes after she went down at bedtime... sigh.


  1. other than my youngest son (who slept through the night at 7 mos), the others were much younger. I don't know how you are surviving all this time with so little sleep...
    silly question but have you looked at your diet? ARe you drinking too much coffee, tea or coke? Caffeine can come through breast milk

  2. Hi Emily. Harlow ha JUST started sleeping through the night at (14 months) I think the reason being is now she is off the boob and on the bottle at night, AS I now work in the evenings. My husband has been putting her to bed and she goes without any fuss whatsoever..... I even get him to put Harlow to sleep when I am home to as I love the sounds of silence when she is placed in bed for the night. (not the same if I try putting her down) I have no suggestions for you Emily.... seems like you have tried everything..... Hope a switch flicks on sometimes soon with regards to sleep with little Mia for your sanity xxxxx

  3. So sorry to hear that Mia is still not sleeping well. I was lucky; my boy started sleeping through the night (for up to 10-12 hours at a time, no less) when he was 6 months old. He is almost 4 now and he still sleeps for 10+ hours at night (though now this is backfiring as he sometimes ends up wetting his bed by the time he wakes up).

    Both of my nephews, on the other hand, didn't start sleeping through the night until they were 18 months. I think sleep habits are very individual and unfortunately cannot always (or perhaps ever?) be controlled by the parent.

    I also couldn't stand hearing my boy cry and always ran to soothe him whenever he woke up (or made hubby do it on occasion :)). I did start giving him baby cereal before bed when he was 4 months old. I don't know if that really had any effect on his sleep, but it didn't seem to hurt..

  4. Is there a chance she has acid reflux? I know it's late for this to creep up but my daughter was still up every 2 hours at 7 months and every doctor/nurse said she needed to learn to self sooth...and I wanted to punch every one of them because I *knew* there was something else going on. She started medication and it made a difference in her going down (as in, not so angry every time she layed down).
    We also started giving her a bottle of formula for her bedtime feed. I know you are against formula because so was I but it made SUCH. A. DIFFERENCE. I think my milk may not have anough fat for her or she just digests it WAY too fast. Once her night sleeping got better her naps started getting better and better until she was down for 2 hours at a time! It took a lot of convincing for me to give her formula because I was so against it, but honestly I wish I did it sooner. Some advice I was given in making those choices....What's best for the baby? What's best for you? What's best for the family?SOrry ofr the long comment but I hope you get some sleep!

  5. I forgot to mention that my daughter is now 10 months and wakes once to nurse at 5am. We also co-sleep which makes a huge difference to my daughter, she hates being in her crib at night.

  6. My daughter is turning 4(years) in two months, I didn't let her "cry it out" and she nursed until she was 2.5. Around age 3.5(years) she started to go to bed in her own bed, but she still gets in my bed every night. She's never slept through the night but it did become easier around age 3, she slept with me but she didn't wake up during the night. Sorry I know that's not helpful and probably seems like a long way off, but you did say you wanted to hear from the long haulers. No advice, just hang in there...

  7. I love hearing from you all! Thanks for taking the time to comment. It's a rough road with her and sometimes I really feel like I'm going to lose it... then we have a decent night or a good day of naps and I'm okay with it all again. I can't imagine the bliss of having a good sleeper.

    Renee, I switched to decaf 3(ish) years ago when we first started trying to conceive and haven't gone back. I don't miss it at all. Once in a while I will have a caffeinated coffee or tea, but it's rare, and I don't drink pop. Good thinking, but that's probably not it.

    We don't co-sleep because we only have a queen, and my husband is a deep and active sleeper. We just don't feel comfortable with the safety of it for us. And I know that I don't get nearly as good a sleep when she sleeps in the same bed... I'm constantly waking to check on her or my limbs go numb from arranging myself around her sprawled little body! I love her baby cuddles, but she does tend to want to fall asleep on the boob and stay that way (for hours if I would let her).

  8. Mia, Mia, when will you let your mummy sleep?? Hope it's not too much longer of non sleeping for you and Mia. Nothing worse. Just remember she's so cute, cute and cute, and that she'll eventually start sleeping through..... :)

  9. I have been right there, with both of my babies! I nursed my first son for 12 months and he stopped on his own, cold turkey and never looked back. From then on he slept through the night without the blink of an eye. My second son is 16 months old today and we JUST got him to sleep through the night. He was an all night nurser too, even though he ate, I believe he wasn't really hungry. He just wanted the connection and comfort. But, there was no telling him that in the middle of the night. Like you, I was at my wits end. No sleep for over a year and a half. I was going crazy. I started giving him whole milk mixed with breast milk in a sippy cup for every meal and snack. I still nursed in the morning, bedtime and middle of the night. And then my husband and I went on a weekend getaway. I took my pump with me, but I thought about it the whole time - if he had had a good weekend without nursing, then I was thinking I would be done! Even though this was so scary, it was more important for my sanity. And guess what, he had a great weekend, slept through both nights and was a perfect angel for his grandparents (which made me look like a complaining idiot, but that is beside the point). So we are done. And he is sleeping through the night. And I am finally sleeping like a rock.

  10. I never did CIO with my babies as I think it's akin to torture. I can't imagine the trauma that a child who has to go through CIO would receive as a result but I imagine it's high. But I did do sleep training with both my boys from day one and they are both amazing sleepers. I'm sure it's a lot of luck but the sleep training was also really helpful! There are so many different views on sleep training but I liked the Baby Whisperer way. It's really respectful, honours your child, increases their security and stability and helps them sleep better! Accidental parenting is so much easier but often leads to bigger issues in the end (this is all just my personal opinion so take what you like and leave the rest).

    There are a few parenting experts in the Calgary area that I would suggest though. One of them that is held in a high regard (and an RSW friend of mine used her and loved her) is Kitty Raymond. She does classes and also one-on-one consults. I've heard amazing things about her but only from people that were actually ready to commit to making changes. If you do consult an expert I would just suggest you look at their credentials first to make sure they have insurance and are actual professionals. And I would see how they speak about children (do they seem to honour children or do they call them "monsters", etc).

    Either way I hope you get some sleep soon! Seriously, nothing is better than a good sleep :) And don't be worried that it's going to be like this with baby 2 (if you want a baby 2 that is). I have SO many friends who's first babies were awful sleepers and then the second was wicked!

  11. That sounds just like Sebastian a few months ago. He is getting better recently - I'm really hoping it isn't a just phase! We too just go with nursing, mainly because my husband gets so mad when the baby is crying in the middle of the night, even if we've agreed to make night weaning attempts. At this point (18 months), sometimes Sebastian wakes up every couple hours but he's also been doing three-four hour stretches pretty regularly. Hope you get lucky soon! I was losing my mind for awhile for sure.


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