How bad has it gotten for you?

[deleted account] ( 5 moms have responded )

I'm talking serious sleep deprivation. My two children (2 years and 4 months) are both struggling with sleep. (Not so much my 2 year old, she is quite good now but we have had trouble getting here). Some nights, and days are devoid of any decent sleep. I feel like I have been in some sort of sleep deprivation for over 2 years with some periods far worse than others. I haven't slept longer than 3 hours in a stretch for 2 years and recently if i get 2 hours straight it's a miracle.

Please note, this is not a whinge. I am vey happy with my decision to use gentle and supportive sleep techniques as opposed to other techniques in order to teach my children to sleep. I am aware that my choice is most likely (can't be sure) aiding in the longevity of my sleep deprivation but I know this is the best way for me and my kids.

So tell me your sleep deprivation woes and we can console in the knowledge we aren't the only ones out there in a constant haze of lack of sleep!

5 Comments

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Tracy - posted on 12/23/2009

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Hey I'm in the same boat as you and I only have one child, so i can only imagine how you feel. My daughter wakes up sometimes every hour. She just wants to see my face and then goes back to sleep. Some nights are better than others but it's killing me cause all my family that could babysit works during the day. Sometimes I get so tired I feel nauseas and get migraines... Hang in there...you are doing the right thing!

Crystal - posted on 12/23/2009

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Holy cow Renae, how did you survive!! You just made me really appreciate my daughter..

Amber - posted on 12/23/2009

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I am going on 3 years of sleep deprivation! My oldest is starting to sleep through the night, but is up and ready for her day around 5:30! My one year old still wakes to nurse every few hours.. plus it takes me forever to fall asleep. So, I feel like I have just fallen asleep when she wakes again! I am more than fine with it though. They are only small once and I just don't have the heart to let them cry-it-out or something.

Renae - posted on 12/23/2009

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My baby is only 9mo and I hope that in 2 years I will be sleeping! So I haven't endured sleep deprivation for as long as you have. But what I did endure was quite severe.

At worst I slept for a maximum of 30 minutes at a time, total 2-3 hours per day for nearly 5 months. (When my baby was finally admitted to hospital they sent me for a psych evaluation!) Towards the end of our saga I was co-sleeping because then as soon as baby fell asleep feeding I could just close my eyes and sleep without having to put him back to bed.

My baby had a feeding disorder caused by abdominal pain, he would not drink more than about 20-40ml at a time so was ALWAYS hungry... and hungry babies CAN NOT sleep. He is also unable to suck on a bottle, so had to be exclusively breastfed. For a long time he fed every 45 minutes, 24 hours a day, so by the time he went back to sleep and then I laid down to sleep I usually only got 15-20 minutes. My poor baby ended up so sleep deprived that he is developmentally delayed. I used to sit and rock him for hours and hours so that he could get some sleep - I don't know how I did it. But because I continued to kill myself feeding him all day and all night and making sure he got as much sleep as possible (about half the requirement for his age) he was not diagnosed as failure to thrive so it took months for a doctor to listen and help us. I called every helpline and saw about a dozen GP's literally walking in and just saying "help me, we need help" but they all thought I was exaggerating and I accused me of being one of these mature (30yo) mothers who expected the perfect baby and when they didn't get it they wanted something medical to be wrong. One GP told me "if you get any sleep at all in the first 6 months count yourself lucky" at that time I hadn't slept for more than 1.5-2 hours a day in 20 minute increments for 10 weeks.

As soon as the feeding disorder got a little better at 7mo and he could go a couple of hours without feeding we used a crying method to teach him to sleep for longer. The problem is that the feeding disorder caused a sleep disorder and the sleep disorder was preventing his body from developing to get over the feeding disorder. It becomes a viscious cycle. I studied psychology and was strongly against crying methods because there are many other no-cry methods so I thought that mums who use crying instead of no-cry are just being impatient. Well, I tried every method in the book. All it did was make him worse. He now slept for 15 minutes at a time and I was having to leave him crying while I got 30 minutes sleep because after being awake for 20 hours at a time doing a "gentle" sleep method on top of the sleep deprivation I had already been through I literally couldn't stay awake. Have you ever got to the point where your body forces you to lie down and close your eyes by making you feel SO sick that you can hardly breathe without wanting to puke and literally feel half dead? That is where I was.

I had consulted about 8 behaviourists specialising in infant sleep multiple times and chose one that seemed to understand what I was going through the most. My baby was the worst case of sleep deprivation and took the longest to learn to sleep of any baby she has worked with in 20 years! She taught me "cry interpretation". I had studied it but it is difficult to understand from reading it in a book you actually have to hear the cry and have someone tell you what to listen for. I am now an advocate of crying it out ONLY with cry interpretation. I absolutely do not agree with control crying and now understand why cry interpretation is very different to CC. For us, this was almost the last straw, if my baby didn't sleep he would have to go back into hospital, be put on a constant feed through a tube and be knocked out for 10 hours every day with drugs. To me, CC was the last very last option AFTER drugs.

My baby is now nearly 10mo and wakes 3-4 times a night to feed. We have tried making him go through the night without feeding (they say he will automatically feed more during the day - most babies do - mine didn't) but he lost 500 grams in a week. So he needs these night feeds for now. Now I get 2-3 hours stretches at night and he actually naps twice during the day for 1.5 hours now!!

If you are interested, I am happy to share what I've learned about the difference between cry interpretation and other crying methods and an easy way to interpret cries that I can explain in writing.

Crystal - posted on 12/21/2009

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Belinda good for you for putting your children first, I am also into the gentle sleep techniques, and they do take sooooo much longer BUT it sounds to me like you need someone to be with your kids while you get some much needed sleep. Don't you have anyone who can be there for you, you deserve a night off! As much as you are doing a fantastic job with your kids, you are not looking after you :-)



I am lucky I get a 4-5 hour stretch overnight now, some days I would just cry all day because I was so exhausted! Everyone thought I had PND but I was just tired..



2 years is a long time love.. get some help :-)

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