Co-sleeper needs support

[deleted account] ( 14 moms have responded )

Ok here it is: my 14 months old is a miserable sleeper. Falling asleep, staying asleep, napping - it all does not come easy to her, or me that is. We've gone through plenty of phases, none good, all exhausting on my part. There were those first three months were she only napped in my arms, then those four months were I was up all night every night rocking her heavy self while spending all day trying to get her to nap, then came the morning nap refusal combined with tired crankiness, and last but not least those way-to-early wakings that have been going on forever it seems. Rocking, swaying, singing, nursing - you name it I'm doing it. I know more than likely none of you can fix this for me (not even Elisabeth Pantley can), but it would be so lovely if some of you could just tell me that I'm doing ok. I'm just so tired of not being able to moan about this without someone making me feel that I've brought this all on myself by not parenting my daughter 'the right way' (ie Ferber & Co.) or worse, that I am somehow harming my baby either by not giving her enough sleep hence hindering development or by not teaching her to sleep independently (we are co-sleeping). Thanks for listening - feels good even to write it down!

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Minnie - posted on 11/06/2010

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The book Raising Your Spirited Child has really helped me. Intense children tend to have difficulty sleeping. They're so active, alert and sensitive. Miniscule things that we don't pick up on can bother them, they're irregular in their body rhythms and just so much more, lol, than other children. As a mother of two children like that I know how frustrating and tiring it is.

Vanessa - posted on 11/09/2010

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I didn't really read any other posts. I don't have a lot of advice, just support. It can be tough, and it can last a while (I'm still going...my son is 2y9m, and has never been a sleeper). I'm really not trying to discourage, but it sounds like you are doing what you can. And that is all you can do. It is all you can expect of yourself. I have just started reading Elizabeth Pantley's book, and I am running into "I already DO almost ALL of these things." My kid just doesn't sleep well. It does help to know that it is normal, as far as a human sleep cycle, and that eventually, I am sure he will grow out of it. But on those days where the sleep deprivation catches up with you finally, and you've heard for the THOUSANDTH time that you "could do this..." or "well, have you tried letting him cry", or "just MAKE him go to sleep"....it can be enough to make you feel you are going crazy. Some people have no respect. Some people have no real knowledge of children. Some people, I think, are just mean. But you are doing a great job. Just being consistent, and staying true to the parenting you believe in. I will offer you this: we are breast feeding co-sleepers as well, and it did help for me to move my son to a separate mattress, right beside my bed. It afforded him the room he needed to toss and turn without waking me in the process. I did start to get a little more sleep then. *hugs* to you. And hope all turns out well.

Tameka - posted on 11/07/2010

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I feel your pain!! I truly do!!! I have a terrible sleeper and it has been a very looooooooooong road to get where we are now. For her first nine months my daughter would scream and scream and scream. It didn't matter what I did or how I did it she continued to scream. I used to get between 1-3 hours of sleep for the first nine months. I tried adjusting my diet thinking the screaming was caused by a food intolerance, but no. I have paid hundreds of dollars in doctors fees to be told information I already knew. Like you, Elizabeth Pantley's books never worked even though I followed them to the letter for 168 days.

Now that my daughter is ten months things have started to improve. One of the things that I did was stop trying so hard. If she was resisting sleep I would get her up and play quietly until she got cranky again, even though I knew she was tired and was some un-godly hour. I still get the odd horrible night. Just a few nights ago I didn't get to sleep until 3:30am. I have no idea what upset her so much but she didn't want to nurse (how I get her to sleep) and kept arching her back and kicking while screaming when I attempted to sooth her cries.

What you're doing for your daughter is right and you are doing a brilliant job. Yep, it's hard and praise from others is few and far between but keep going. Know that what you're doing for your daughter is positive and your relationship with her is going to be so strong because of it. Keep going Supermum!!

Katherine - posted on 11/06/2010

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Well I can tell you right now studies HAVE show co-sleepers are actually more confident and more independent.

That being said there is obviously something else going on. You child HAS to be sleep deprived. Has he been teething? My daughter (19mo) is still teething and sleeps horribly when she does. Another thing is that she always wakes in the night ALWAYS. 6-7 times. She has yet to sleep the entire night. Whatdoes the doctor say, beides put him in his own bed?
My daughter is lactose intolerant, does he cry a lot and get gas at night? I would go and see a holistic doctor IMO. Maybe they can help, and they're less judgemental.
Good luck and let us know!

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Claire - posted on 11/20/2010

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hi there, I just wrote to Mary on her recent related post. Read "The no-cry sleep solution"! Really, it's soooo worth it - helped us so much.
good luck!

Alicia - posted on 11/16/2010

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I could point out too that my son as well had to have his adenoids removed, it didn't make a difference though. I used to call it his " I might miss something syndrome" because he just never got tired, well that's not true, he was beyond exhausted as was I. He had colic until he was one, and like you had a very difficult birth; his apgar was 1 when he was born. He was put on Melatonin when he was 3 by his pediatrician and his pulmonologist. He has always been super high energy and very sensory sensitive (we use the brush, body sock,deep pressure therapy ect too). He was having night terrors so his pediatrician had me wake him slightly 2 hrs after he went to sleep so that he would skip that particular sleep cycle, that helped a little. Anyways, 3 years and 4 sleep studies later he is being tested for Asperger's Syndrome. I am in NO way saying this is the problem for you so please don't be offended. Just offering you some support from yet another mom that would love to remember what a full night sleep feels like. Good luck!

Alicia - posted on 11/16/2010

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Sounds like our first.... not fun at all. I tried letting him cry himself to sleep like people kept telling me I SHOULD be doing but honestly it broke my heart as well as his and I really don't understand what is so wrong with co-sleeping. (as long as your husband agrees) with co-sleeping children go to sleep feeling safe and loved, how can that be wrong? Will it screw their sleep pattern up later, I don't know, but for now go with your gut and cross that bridge when you get to it. And I mean really if anyone is going to get any sleep co-sleeping is sometimes the only way. You are a marvelous mommy, and your daughter knows it, why else would she want to be strapped to you 24/7?

Katherine - posted on 11/16/2010

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My son was much the same way. Until 18 months he was up almost every hour. Turns out he had gigantic tonsils and swollen adnoids, which caused his apnea, and thus the terrible sleeping. He's been without them for 3 weeks, and we're down to one, one a night wake up. It's amazing. I realize this won't be cause for every kid who has sleep issues, but it might be worth looking in to, especially if your little bit snores. *hugs* You're doing great momma. Remember, this too shall pass.

Christi - posted on 11/12/2010

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My son was a terrible sleeper for 16 months. He still wakes up in the night once in a while, but I can definitely sympathize! You are doing a great job, don't let anyone tell you differently. One thing that might help - take some time out for yourself. Leave the little one with daddy or a sitter, and go get a massage or do something to relax. Babies and toddlers can also pick up on their parents' stress, so just making yourself feel better could help too. Good luck! I like a quote that Dr. Spock said, "Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do." :)

Katherine - posted on 11/07/2010

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I was going to say too, that high energy children really nedd to be pooped out. My daughters are both that way and I have to run them ragged!!!! Literally. We have a lot of playgroup meet-ups. I am a member of meetup.com and a mom's group so they have stuff to do everyday. It's really great. I always tell everyone to check it out :)

[deleted account]

Thanks so much for all your comments, it's nice to know you are not the only one out there with a not sleep-trained 'good' baby (though I think my baby is the best baby on the block!).
Vicky: I've been to a cranio-sacral therapist a few times, who thought there was a little bit of tension probably from the difficult birth, and a little later I went to an Osteopath who came recommended and thought she was fine. Can't say she enjoyed the treatment greatly though, never one to relax!
Katherine: Yes, teething definitely makes her worse. I don't think it's an allergy issue though, she is just so wired. My doctor is actually very nice. He gave us an anti-histamin which has the side-effect of drowsiness. I know it sounds awful, but a few months ago we really didn't have a choice anymore, she was absolutely miserable and on such a downward spiral, we just couldn't make it better. Once she started napping again (with lots and lots of rocking) we stopped it though. No long-term solution of course so I might look into a holistic doctor alright.
Lisa: Thanks for the book recommendation. And: You have TWO of those?! And there I was hoping the next one would be a placid one... Though I have to say, if Nina didn't have that larger than life energetic temperament I wouldn't have learned half as much about baby's needs. She made me read up on so much stuff, sleep-deprivation aside, I really am quite grateful for having such an 'assertive' little one.
Tameka: Wow - and I thought I had it bad! I tried to go with the flow too, but it really didn't work for either of us. And once we had more or less stable bed-times for her, any other time didn't work anymore at all! Thanks for your kind words though - everyone should be called Supermom once in a while!
April: Thanks for the link, I might give some of that stuff a go. At the moment I am rubbing her back a lot and that seems to relax her, so no harm in trying a little bit extra. As far as exercise goes, we are bringing her to the beach almost every day, where she is running around for ages. Lots of rough play with daddy (not before sleeping time), chasing the cat in the yard - nothing wears this child out! She'll be an athlete later in life, I am sure of it!

April - posted on 11/07/2010

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Daniela, I was just reading another thread where you posted that your daughter is very energentic...maybe that is tied to her sleep troubles? Maybe try some calming techniques..such as brushing her arms. http://www.therapyshoppe.com/therapy/ind...

Also..I just signed my son up for a gymnastics class and i noticed Thursdays (class day) are the only days he takes a 3 hour nap. All other days I'm lucky if he makes it to 2 hours on the nap.

April - posted on 11/07/2010

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@Tameka...sometimes I do that too! I bring him downstairs to play for about a half hour and then try again with the nursing to sleep. Even though it might be some ungodly hour, sometimes it is the fastest way to get us all back to bed.

My son is almost 23 months and is teething very badly. I've never seen him in so much pain before...he's getting something in the neighborhood of 10 teeth (including all molars and eye teeth). It's horrible!! 2 nights ago it took him til 4 am to fall asleep.

And Daniela...keep up the good work!! Don't let anyone make you feel bad about your parenting practices. They don't know what they're talking about. Every baby is different!

Vicki - posted on 11/06/2010

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Love to you Daniela. You ARE doing a a great job. I often doubt the way I've chosen to parent but always come to the conclusion that I have chosen the best way, as have you! My nephew has always been a cot sleeper (although not ferberized or anything awful) and he still gets up at night lots, he's 19 months. Whilst I sympathise with his mum having to get up at night it kinda makes me feel better about my cosleeping boy waking up so much!

Have you tried taking her to a chiro or osteopath? Maybe there's some other issues keeping her awake.

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