Tuesday, April 5, 2011

To sleep, perchance to dream

Yeah. I'm tired. Babies are nine months old tomorrow, and we are having sleep regression issues. I think we have a lot of reasons for it, but it's still frustrating. Here are some points about it:

1. Turtle has been sleeping through the night pretty regularly, but we've been swaddling him pretty much since birth. My hubby thought if it ain't broke, don't fix it. But I could tell he didn't like being swaddled and you can't do it forever. He'll be walking soon. And he was getting his arms out every night, so effectively he wasn't really swaddled anyway. So we've stopped swaddling him.

2. My husband is traveling a lot, so we have a constant rotation of helpers, all of whom do something different. Some don't let either baby cry at all. Some pick them up when they cry (we've never done this, we just try to feed them or comfort them in their cribs). My in-laws are now bringing Tadpole to bed with them. And yes, we DO tell them how to handle the babies, but it always starts evolving differently with different people.

3. The regression started with Tadpole waking up at 5am every morning. My husband started giving her a few ounces to get her back to sleep, then Turtle would get up at 6:30 and I'd get up for the day. Hubby kept insisting he didn't mind getting up for a few minutes at 5. Then Tadpole started getting up one other time during the night, usually any time between 11pm and 3am. Now sometimes it's three times. I try to let her have only a few sucks on the bottle and then give her a pacifier, and it works. So I don't think she's hungry. But she keeps doing it, night after night.

4. Sometimes one of them will wake up and cry for over an hour for no reason. I'll try to calm them, feed them, give them a pacifier, and eventually pick them up and rock them, and they just scream through all of it. It's very frustrating. Eventually I turn on the light, undress them, and look for some physical reason, and I never find anything. Could this be night terrors?

5. The babies napping habits are terrible, partly made worse by our constantly changing living situation (traveling husband, various visitors and guests, loud construction, etc.). When I have a stretch of time alone, I get them on a fairly regular nap schedule at 9:30 and around 2ish, but they traditionally have take short naps - 30-45 minutes, or sometimes an hour or a bit more when I'm lucky. They often nap in the stroller or car instead of in their cribs. Even when I have them sleeping regularly at home, the construction workers wake them up often.

6. We don't have a bedroom for Turtle. He goes to sleep in a pack-n-play in our room, then we move him when we go to bed - to the office when we don't have guests, and to the living room when we do. This can be problematic for many reasons - the cat wakes him up, if Tadpole gets up first, she can't go play in the living room, etc. We won't have a bedroom for him for several months, probably.

Last night went like this:

7:30pm - babies go to bed, obviously tired. (They got up at 5am yesterday morning).

10pm - I go to bed.

10:15 - Turtle wakes up screaming. I try to calm him, and eventually pick him up and feed him (my MIL put him to bed and he only drank half his bottle, so I knew he was probably hungry).

12 - Tadpole is up. I go give her an ounce or so, and then her pacifier, and she goes back to sleep.

3 - Tadpole's up again. I hear one of my in-laws go, so I don't know what they did.

5 - Tadpole's up again. Ditto.

5:15 - Turtle is up. I try to calm him and comfort him by putting my hands on him and patting him, but nothing works. I let him cry, and he goes back to sleep on his own after about 5-10 minutes. (He did this yesterday, and when I tried to rock him, he woke up even more, so I knew that wouldn't work).

6:15 - Tadpole starts talking in her crib. FIL goes and brings her to bed with them. She keeps talking, so I know there's no way she's going back to sleep.

6:30 - Turtle wakes up screaming. The night is over.

It's ok with my in-laws here - handling this many wake-ups with three people is ok. It's not TOO bad when my husband is here, but it's not great, and he's not going to be here much in the next month. I really just want them to sleep, rather than constantly worrying about who's going to help me. I want a plan for when my in-laws leave that doesn't involve rocking and feeding and crying five times per night.

In general, I feel help is a double-edged sword. It's AWESOME to have people around to play with the babies, get up a few times at night, and let me have some free time and some sanity. The problem is, the babies and I all get used to having extra people around who have nothing else to do but play with them. They don't keep their normal schedules and routines. My helpers tend not to respect the rules and limits my husband and I have worked out. They spoil the babies, give them whatever they want, don't put them to nap at the right times, etc. It's a lot of work keeping on top of multiple people and making sure everyone is doing everything right. I let a lot of things slide, and it comes back to bite me in the arse every time.

So here are my questions:

1. What would you do with the slowly regressing night-time habits we're developing?

2. How do you handle help? Do you boss your friends and family around, or give them leeway to do things their way? Do you chastise them when they don't listen to you, or just give thanks that someone is here to help at all?

3. Do you think 7:30 is too late of a bed-time? Too early?

Thanks for any help!


  1. I posted an almost identical post just last night! We are also having many of the same problems. Several people have left some really good comments of things to try... Come on over and check it out! Www.4frozendreams.blogspot.com

    Good luck... To both of us!

  2. It seems like this is happening with a lot of folks right now. I HIGHLY recommend the No Cry Sleep Solution. It saved our sleep!!

    As to help, I prefer being alone to help that screws up the schedules. That may sound crass, but it's true and I've made it known. When people visit and want to help, they know the rules. They either do it like mom/dad do or they dont do it. It's hard to break them of their own habits, but these are YOUR kids and you have to do what works best for you.

    For us, and our twins are almost 19months, 7:30-8pm is their bedtime with a 6:30-7am wake up time. They take one nap (1130-130 ish or noon-2ish).

  3. I just realized you commented on my post too! Ya.....I'm a little tired. :)

  4. Ok - my post ended up being near novel length... I'll post it on my blog instead so I don't clog up your comment screen.

  5. I'm sorry you are struggling. We are blessed with a great sleeping baby. Here are my thoughts:

    1. Stay consistent. Are they teething, learning a new skill, or going through a growth spurt, too? I've heard this can all affect sleep.

    2. If we're at my house or I'm around...yes, they follow my rules. We are leaving Drake with my parents in a few weeks so who knows what they will do, but they have to deal with him. when I get home, it's back to my rules. :-)

    3. No. Drake goes to bed at 7pm, but some days he doesn't fall asleep until 7:30. We followed Babywise and loved it. They suggest getting in a routine and to start it with their wake up time. So, we woke Drake up at 7am every day (even if he was up at 5am) and then he worked into our schedule - nap at 9am and 1pm. Of course, now that he's 14 months, things are changing again. :-)

    Just remember this is a phase. Hopefully they will be sleeping great for you soon!

  6. Thank you so much for commenting on my "eye" post- it helps to have people share their points of view when going through similar issues.

  7. We're still trying to switch days and nights around. S L O W progress, but we're getting there! I'm exhausted, so I'm right there with ya!
    I have to say, I'd rather have help than do it on my own. We couldn't do it without my mom. But we're still really early in. Your family should realize that being consistent would be best for your babies!

  8. I just sent the Peanut away with her grandmother and aunts (her first time away). I told them before I made the decision to send her that I wanted her kept on her schedule. I typed out a detailed schedule; complete with how to handle exceptions (like her not falling asleep at nap time). I also sent an entire page on feeding and packed so that it made it easy to do things my way. Such as I had one bag with everything for the beach and everything for her nighttime routine was in a plastic bag inside her suitcase.

    My suggestion to you, since these are people coming into your house, would be to have lists and rules taped up around the house. I routinely leave written instructions when help comes into the home.

    Sleep routines is a whole different set of advice and I don't think I'm the best person to ask because it came easily for us. SORRY!

    Good luck!

  9. My daughter was still getting up at least once during the night at 9 months and I would nurse her back to sleep. At 10.5 months, I finally did "baby boot camp" as we called it. We just let her cry it out. The first night she only cried for about 12 minutes. Each night after that, it got to be less and less. By the 4th night, she was sleeping 12 hours.
    When I have help - no one gets up with her in the night except me. I'm a control freak. I give specific instructions on how she should be taken care of and what her scheduled should be. It may not be the right way, but, she's on a great schedule and we are all happier people because of it. I do try to relax a little when it's the weekend and we have visitors or we are visiting someone, because I know they just love her and want to spend time with her.

    Good luck!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!