Sleepless in Santa Clarita

Sleep:  What I'm not getting.
Sleep: What I’m not getting.

I’ve read the books. The blogs. The message board posts. Sleep is important for babies.  Sleep is important for mommies and daddies.  Sleep is so important that not enough might kill you, or cause cancer, or lead to some other debilitating chronic problem like OMG-I-lost-my-phone/keys/wallet/thebaby-is-this-a-one-way-street absentmindedness. The importance of sleep was made even more obvious by my first few months working as a private investigator.  I was struggling through database background training by day, and fighting the nod doing surveillance by night, even when a disgruntled resident, of the hood I was posted in, decided to silly string the van because I was parked in front of her house.  Despite the excitement of being accosted by a middle aged woman and a can of hot pink silly string, I still could hardly stay awake.  But somehow, because mommy hormones are powerful stuff, I adjusted to short stretches, and now, after just 5 hours of fighting for space in the bed with a man, two dogs, and a baby, a baby who likes to sleep sideways, and burrow under pillows and armpits, I wake up feeling pretty darn fresh. But what about Baby D’s little developing brain?  How can she possibly be at optimal functioning when what is supposed to be a 12 hour snooze sesh is a jumbled mess of waking up every hour to 4 hours from 7 PM until 6:30 AM?  Here I thought I was blessed with an easy baby.  Ha.  I was blessed with a beautiful, healthy, not-colicky baby sure, but easy?  Not. At. All. And that’s okay.  She wouldn’t be my daughter without a little fire in her eyes. But I think it might be time to do something different. Just now, for example, after three tries, I was able to get her down, in her crib for her morning nap.  I expected a 1.5 hour snooze sesh, as WAS typical before the last week.  Instead, she woke up 20-minutes later crying like a baby abandoned in a dumpster (a horrible image, I know, but that’s how she cries, and that’s how it feels lately, when she wakes up alone in her crib). Similar things have been happening each night for the last five nights.  I get her down and she wakes up an hour or so later. I then fight for two hours to get her to stay asleep in the crib, rather than only in my arms.  And it’s all me here.  If Merp tries, she wails.  There’s lots of crying in general actually… ESPECIALLY if we don’t leave her room.  If I take her to the rocking chair in the master she settles.  Eventually.  Last night, though, I had to lay her down next to me until she fell back asleep and I could finally transfer her an hour later to the Pack And Play next to our bed.  But then, she woke up AGAIN, an hour later and I just caved and let her sleep in our bed, because I was just so tired… What the hell is going on here!? Here’s what I think.

  • Weeks 32 through 37 are a Wonder Week zone.  The book says, “She May Sleep Poorly.  Your baby may start sleeping less well.  Most babies do. She may refuse to go to bed, fall asleep less easily, and wake up sooner.  Some are especially hard to get to sleep during the day.  Others at night.  And some stay up longer both during the day and at night.”  D will be 9 months old on January 14, which makes her just shy of 36 weeks.
  • She cut a new tooth on Sunday, with another on the way.  That can’t be fun.
  • She has been co-sleeping with us from 11 PM on for about two months now.  She now seems to realize that snuggling up with the pack is far more fun than facing the sandman all by herself, in a room full of stinky diapers, annoying changing tables, and clothes she hates being dressed in (not only is she a nap fighter, but she is a stage four wiggle worm who can’t lay still to have her diaper changed.  It’s a battle every single time.).

So what do I do? Do I let her cry it out, just for naps?  Any half-hearted attempts so far have back fired.  She plays in her crib.  Or screams. Do I try CIO at night?  Do I wait until this Wonder Week is over?  Until the second upper tooth has cut through? What books should I read? Should I ignore the books and just trust my instincts? I hate, hate, HATE, the idea of CIO, but something’s gotta give over here.  Please offer me some suggestions, I desperately need them.

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18 comments

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  1. recurrentlylost

    I don’t really have much of a suggestion, but I know the feeling. My daughter is 5.5 mos, and she has recently gotten this way about naps. Screaming and crying the moment I set her down, 30 to 45 min to fall asleep, then waking up after 30 min at most. She sleeps in a crib at daycare (sometimes for hours on end) so it doesn’t seem to be because of the the crib. her doc says it’s separation anxiety, no suggestions on what to do about that. I’ve basically been trying to get her as sleepy as possible but not actually asleep before I put her down. Sometimes helps a little. Cio deffeels wrong to me, so I guess I’m just going to hope it’s a phase and push through :(.

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    • Steph Mignon

      Ugh, at least yours is sleeping at day care. It’s like they know they can mess with us! And Daphne’s separation anxiety started around 5 months too, it’s ebbed and flowed since then it seems.

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  2. Daryl

    As far as advice, I have very little. Baby girl has never been “by the book” when it comes to sleep. I also hated the idea of cio, and it has in no way solved all our sleep problems, but we have seen some improvements. Before cio (with checks), she would scream, even in my arms, for up to an hour before falling asleep. Now, after our bedtime routine, I can put her in the crib and she goes to sleep on her own. It hasn’t prevented her from waking multiple times at night, and since she’s in our room, there’s no crying it out in the middle of the night. I used to be able to nurse her and put her back in the crib, but since we lowered the mattress, she’s not having that either, so she stays in bed with us. CIO was also a disaster when she could pull to stand in the crib but couldn’t get back down. I don’t know if Daphne is doing that, but it significantly increases the screaming. I used to have a hard time getting comfortable with baby girl in the bed, but it’s gotten better, and now I actually get more sleep that way. It’s tough figuring out the best solution, though. Seeking out advice is good, but ultimately, you have to go with what works for your family. Good luck!

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  3. jonsie13

    I agree. Every baby is different. Use your instincts. Oliver is younger than Daphne, 7 months last week. He has never been a great sleeper. He fights sleep a lot. He had never slept with us, but just going to sleep, anywhere has been our battle. For us, I haven’t ever let him CIO, but I have let him cry it almost out. I let him cry until he’s almost too upset. Then scoop him up & rock him to sleep. The crying & hysteria wears him out. It works for him.
    I wish you luck. I know how frustrating this can be.

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  4. nickeecoco

    Bayliss is exactly a week younger than Daphne and this exact thing is happening to us now. Sunday night was the worst night we have had since we first came home from the hospital. The sleep routine is taking hours, and both my husband and I have to take turns rocking her because we get so tired. Sooo yes. No advice, just sympathy.

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  5. jebhow515

    I read the books and always took one step forward two steps back when trying any sleep training. I now follow my instincts and it just feels right to cosleep. I felt more tired on the nights that i had to leave the bed to get my baby. My body aches from sleeping all catywompus but i keep reminding myself that its all temporary. So my advice is to do what feels right to you ;). Also….i have a very good friend who just moved to Santa Clarita from Colorado! :). She hated the cold (shes from El salvador)

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    • Steph Mignon

      Come visit your friend and we’ll all hang out! Yeah, CIO seems weird, but I currently feel like I’m being held hostage by my baby’s sleep schedule or lack thereof. A few days later, and things still haven’t gotten better here…

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  6. journeyformybaby

    I hate CIO too but eventually you just hit a wall with no sleep and there seems to be no alternative. It isn’t going to fix everything but it does help. We eventually had to implement CIO in the middle of the night after the requisite diaper check, bottle, soothing. It finally seems to have cured us of having too many mid night wake ups. There are still some on some nights but seldom involving crying anymore. I hope you get it all figured out soon one way or the other. It is one of the hardest parts of raising a baby.

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    • Steph Mignon

      That’s what we’re approaching, the wall. She fights sleep ALWAYS now, and has ended up in our bed by 9 PM every night which means we go to bed at 9 PM too. The time is coming for desperate measures… And I’m nervous!

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  7. Kimberly

    Ugh who has time to read books!? I i hear that during the wonder weeks you shoukd not take away comforting things that are working, but you should also not add any new sleeping crutches. Does that make sense? We dont CIO but we do let them fuss and go in and rub their backs, etc to try to soothe them when i know they cannot be hungry!

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  8. bipartisanmom

    I had rule that once we put our kids down in their room for the night we didn’t take them out till 7 AM because that’s an acceptable hour to be awake for the day. I would sit in the glider and rock them feed them in there and I have two boys who sleep 13 hours at night. I did do CIO at nap time with both of them. I felt like at night was torture for everyone. Naptime was a shorter interval of time. Good Luck sleep training is the worst!

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      • bipartisanmom

        I would turn the sound off on the video monitor made it easier just to watch and not hear I called it screamming hour but every day the periods of crying would get shorter and the periods of quiet got longer. I did it for an hr after three days screaming hour turned into screaming half hour. And now no one screams at naptime lol. Both my kids enjoy their cribs/bed will stay and them in play. My toddler goes in his room everyday for an hr its his time he can sleep read his books play with his trains whatever but i attribute his ability to do that to screaming hour. Thats what worked for us good luck

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