11 Month old son sleep disturbances

Melissa - posted on 09/30/2009 ( 10 moms have responded )

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Hello everyone,

I have asked Public Health Nurses for help, but they were at a loss. My son will sleep solidly beside me from 9pm until 11pm when he starts to cry out loudly. I reassure him that I'm there and rub his tummy but he keeps crying until I pick him up and nurse him. This continues until I can't tolerate it any longer and then we get up at an ungodly hour like 4am and I force him to wake up. He farts like a tiny trucker and I think this will help him and I to sleep comfortably...but again he only wants to be nursed and held upright. Is this probably a dietary problem? Gas? The odd thing is that he is crying in his sleep and doesn't wake up until I talk loudly to him. The cry itself seems to be one of pain. He is not teething at the moment either and I don't think it's a growth spurt. Any possible suggestions? I'm growing tired of people telling me that he'd be "more comfortable" sleeping on his own. Obviously not!

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Kate - posted on 10/10/2009

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Hi Melissa. I realise I am a bit late joining this discussion, but I just read this thread and could really relate. My 21mth old still nurses frequently during the night - sometimes more than others (up to every couple of hours). There have been phases of really restless sleep that seems due to discomfort that I cannot exactly pinpoint the cause of, but for which nursing seems the only thing that will give him some comfort and rest. His recent phase I think is possibly due to the emergence of 4 eye teeth at once, though not sure. The messages here though really reinforced for me that a large part of the reason this has been stressing me out (apart from the sleep deprivation) is the fact that, from talking to others (non-AP parents), I am generally left feeling like we are abnormal and there must be something wrong. Knowing that this is not that uncommon (amongst AP breastfeeding families anyway), and I am not the only one that feels that if nursing seems to be what he needs right now, it is fine to do it and the phase will pass eventually, is really helpful. I hope your son's sleep improves and I would definitely encourage you not to be conned by others into thinking that you should go against your instincts and try other sleep arrangments etc.

Aleks - posted on 10/07/2009

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My 7 and 1/2 mth old daughter also constantly wants to feed/nurse at night. In fact, she probably gets most of the breastmilk at night than during the day! Yes, it is soooo tiring, and yes, sleep deprivation sometimes drives one mad, ventful and just plainly grumpy. Which doesn't bode well for both the baby and the 4yo. But, at least I know that she gets all the nutrients and liquid she needs, not to mention the comfort, warmth and attention. We have recently bought a new house, and the current one needs to be prepared for sale, and there is a lot of work to be done... having a very wakeful baby who wants to nurse sometimes up to 4 times in space of 2.5hrs when I couldn't get to bed earlier than 1am is not fun. But I still wouldn't give it up. Oh, and my little one has NEVER slept through!!! Though she happily goes back to sleep after nursing for a few minutes :-) that is a total blessing :-)

Lily - posted on 10/07/2009

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My son went through the same thing at around 8 months old. Then from there to about 15 months old, he went through phases of sleeping through the night or waking up screaming & crying. He started sleeping through the night starting at around 5 months old, so it really felt like he was going backwards. Sometimes it was from teething. Sometimes it was from nightmares. Then, I was told that sometimes it's just from developmental process (growing brain developments, new phases & milestones in life, etc.). It usually took him anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to calm him back down to sleep.

I am very blessed & thankful that my husband is on board w/ co-sleeping & AP. He does work in a stressful environment (law enforcement), but we've made it work. He does complain now and then, but overall, we all enjoy cuddling with each other as a family. My son will be 3 in January. I have to admit, the day that he sleeps on his own will be a very, very sad day for mommy. I love the bonding moments. I, too, get tired of hearing about AP not being the norm. You know, I used to be that way, but reading about it from Dr. Sears books really blessed me and changed my point of view. I wouldn't do it any other way. The only thing I would do differently was being able to nurse...sadly, I had "milk duds"...my lil' one was drinking from a dry well!

Geralyn - posted on 10/03/2009

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Melissa, I totally understand what you are going through. I was never able to just sleep through the night with my son popping on and off the breast. I think, too, for some moms, just having the baby close to you can keep you from going into a deep sleep for most of the night. I always feel like I am drifting in and out of sleep just to check on him - even when he doesn't need checking on! Which is most of the time! I get exhausted, and that is when I have my hubby take my son and I sleep in or try to catch up.

The only thing that gets me through is that I absolutely love sleeping next to my son, I love being there for him if he were to ever need me, I have had several experiences where I have detected a high fever that I never would have known about.... I love (for the most part) being my son's pacifier if that is what he needs, and he has had spurts of that... But for the most part he is on a path where he is sleeping longer without nursing and is becoming more independent. At 17 months, his latest thing is that he wants to climb on top of me to nurse! Its actually cute and funny, and thank goodness he only does it when he's getting ready to sleep and waking up in the morning, not in the middle of the night. Just another phase....

You can vent with me any time... Venting doesn't make us bad parents, and it doesn't mean that we are not fully supportive of AP or co-sleeping. We are just venting because we are tired. Seriously, see if your hubby could take him on Saturday mornings for a couple hours. Sleeping alone for those hours will help to recharge you...

Geralyn - posted on 09/30/2009

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For at least the first year, my son would wake (not fully though, it was more like half-wake, his eyes would be closed) crying every 1 1/2 to 3 hours and I would just nurse him back to sleep. I remember rocking his legs to help him with gas when he was a little one, til that subsided.... Now he still wakes up to nurse. He can go longer stretches now, but the crying has mostly stopped.



How old is your little one? Do you co-sleep? If nursing is readily available, does he still cry? It must be a combo of gas and wanting to reconnect through nursing. That's what I always felt the purpose of the night nursing was primarily about. Then, as the night went on, it was also hunger and thirst. Once the gas passes, it'll get easier. And my son has definitely become a better sleeper over time, not waking up as much. Hopefully, these stages will pass for your son as well.... Good luck!

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Melissa - posted on 10/10/2009

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Thanks Kate. Also of interest: if you look into sleep stages of babies and toddlers, they actually spend very little time in deep sleep, some time in REM sleep and the bulk of time in light sleep where they are easily awakened by pain, fear and other disturbances. The more I learn about this, the better I feel about co-sleeping.

If anything, it tears at my heart to know that there are poor little babies everywhere, stuck in their cribs, feeling alone and sad and in pain and wanting the closeness, comfort and security that we provide for our little ones and that helps our little ones develop into secure, whole, compassionate people.

One day, probably when our children are teenagers, we will get to sleep again! Cheers everyone!

Melissa - posted on 10/08/2009

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: ) It's lovely to hear from everyone who has the same type of "problem".. Guess it's not so much a problem as a stage that will end soon, with some sadness even, as our babies don't need us as much. I feel much better about the situation now. Thank you everyone!

Melissa - posted on 10/07/2009

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This is the best thing about having this forum to connect with other AP Moms...I know what's normal. So many of my friends claim their children "slept through the night" at a young age. Seeing as my friends all had their children 7 years ago and my hubby and I are relatively late family starters, I always took this with a grain of salt, thinking that maybe my friends just didn't remember what it was like to have a baby in the house. I have one friend who inspired me to try AP whose son is absolutely wonderful and the relationship she has with her son is beautiful. That is what I aspire to: a wonderful relationship with my compassionate, kind and sweet boy.

I'm just so glad there are so many AP moms to give me encouragement and to vent the more trying times with.

Melissa - posted on 10/06/2009

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It would be fantastic if my hubby were on board with AP...but his job is stressful and he claims that since he "works outside the home" (yes, this had made me angry) he needs sleep more than I do. I've just accepted the situation. I try to take naps with my son and this seems to work sometimes. Sometimes, Grandma comes over so I can nap alone but I find I just spend my time thinking about my son. I can't sleep with him or without him.



Thank you so much for replying. I'm just glad to know that there's nothing seriously wrong with my little guy and that it can be a normal stage.

Melissa - posted on 10/01/2009

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Yes, I have been co-sleeping since birth and wish to continue. My little guy is 11 months old...and since he was 6 months he wasn't nursing at night so much, maybe twice. Now he seems to have reverted to nursing all night. I feel like a pacifier and sometimes I get only 3-4 hours of actual sleep and I'm starting to resent this. I keep telling myself that this stage in his life is relatively short and that I should enjoy the closeness, but the lack of sleep is affecting my everyday functioning.
Sometimes I think I just want to vent and know that other mothers have been through the same stage so it feels easier. So thanks for sharing your info with me. I know that it's probably normal for my baby and other babies too. It's really annoying that most people don't understand AP and that it isn't the norm.

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