Baby sleep, and how I can’t seem to figure it out

Silas, 6.5 months old, having too much fun to sleep!
Silas, 6.5 months old, having too much fun to sleep!

It’s really hard not to stress about baby sleep, especially as a first-time mom not getting optimal sleep yourself.

In fact, it always seems like the prime topic of conversation among my other mom friends. And I’m sure it will be for some time. I remember the chorus of parents saying “get sleep now while you can!” in the final weeks of my pregnancy. Now I know why…

Baby sleep is like a puzzle, because every baby is different. And as soon as you think you’ve got it figured out, they change.

For us, the big change came around the start of December when Silas was five months old. He was teething and drooling like crazy. He was also probably in a developmental leap, learning about cause and effect and realizing when mom was not next to him.

For background: This baby’s sleep patterns has been like a yo-yo. At first, he would only sleep at night while being held. Then he would sleep in his crib but wake up the typical three to five times a night. Then… seemingly out of nowhere, he started to sleep through the night – those magical words every parent longs to hear.

But just as quickly as it started, it stopped. At five months, just as Christmas was starting to ramp up, Silas couldn’t seem to settle for the night. He would fall asleep, but after 20 minutes to an hour, be awake again. It was very tricky to get him down to sleep again. Since we were busy through the holidays, we ended up keeping him awake till we all went to bed (in the same bed). It’s a sleeping arrangement that leaves no one with a good night’s rest.

Just as I thought we were getting back into a good pattern, we had a horrible evening two nights ago. Silas seemed genuinely afraid to fall asleep.

Now I just assume I will spend most evenings going in and out of his room 100 times, rocking him in the dark. Or, laying on the bed next to him for a few hours until I can oh-so-carefully transfer him to his crib, where he might sleep a few hours before waking, and everything starts all over again.

It can be difficult when you’re in the trenches. You try to enjoy the baby snuggles, the baby’s heaviness and peacefulness. But you also worry about helping them to sleep on their own.

Yes, there are the so-called cry-it-out methods, but we’re not ready for that. I also worry that he’s crying because he’s hungry (from not eating enough in the daytime), teething or in pain. And I have a suspicion it wouldn’t work anyway.

All I know is that everything seems to be a phase, and I hope this is one we figure out soon.

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April Runs On

A writer who loves to run, often while chasing a toddler on the east coast

8 thoughts on “Baby sleep, and how I can’t seem to figure it out”

  1. Awee. I totally know that feeling. My daughter never slept through the night her first year. She just barely started to like at 1 and a half. I remember those long nights all too well. I have so much sympathy when I see or hear about a tired mom. You have a cute little guy 🙂

  2. “Yes, there are the so-called cry-it-out methods, but we’re not ready for that. I also worry that he’s crying because he’s hungry (from not eating enough in the daytime), teething or in pain. And I have a suspicion it wouldn’t work anyway.”

    I’m with you (still – at 15 months).

  3. Stay strong, be brave! Despite the fact that I read a ton of sleep books and lived a lot of sleepless nights I really have no expertise or advice in the area of baby sleep. Such an elusive puzzle! Try not to worry… and whatever you do don’t blame yourself! I personally think we have a lot less control over our children than we like to think… what we do isn’t going to change essential behaviours. Wishing you blissful bits of sleep!

  4. I remember actually getting angry when neighbours would set off fireworks at night when Kate was his age. “Don’t they know some people have babies trying to sleep?”, lol. You’ll get through it, you’re doing a great job!

  5. Our little guy Devon is about 8 months now. We tried to “cry it out” but it was traumatic for everyone: he was just discovering object permanence and separation anxiety at that time, and it got to the point where just setting him down would cause him to cry uncontrollably. Sigh.

    We went back to giving him the cuddles he needs as he falls to sleep and being with him in the room until he’s out. The only thing that worked for us is teaching him that his crib is awesome and the one place where he can get some deep zzzzz’s.

    1. I agree… I don’t want Silas to have negative associations with sleep. Nothing wrong with some extra snuggles. I’m trying to just soak them up. He’s growing so fast! Congrats on your son!

  6. Pingback: He’s 1 | Run on

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