Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Night dread

Night dread is that feeling of anxiety you get from around 4 pm or 5 pm as night approaches, knowing that, first of all, suicide hour is just about upon you and then, that you'll be dealing with one or more screaming babies for hours on end.

Not only that but once they eventually fall asleep, one or both of you will be getting up a combined total of 6 times a night, wake up the next morning knackered. Then, forget about it because your brain's total mush only to have the night dread creep up on you again at 4pm.
Has anyone else experienced this?

For a good few months, probably up until 12 weeks or so, I experienced what I call night dread.

I would literally feel the muscles in my neck and shoulders get tense.

Then we got better at handling them, certainly more confident, and also they started behaving better - not so much crying and they'd go straight to sleep after feeds.

And the night dread faded.

D figured out that Kendra liked to drink two bottles, one hour after the other, in her cot, and after this that she wanted to be turned onto her tummy to sleep. And then she'd sleep 6 - 7 hours straight.

Connor would start yawning, we'd put him on his tummy, put his dummy in his mouth and he'd sleep without so much as a peep, also for 6 - 7 hours.

They each went through a bit of a wobble once they could roll, mainly Kendra. We'd find K on her back but unable to sleep so we'd have to apply deep pressure (hold her down!) and let her ease into sleep. Connor just falls asleep on his back.

I really thought the whole night dread thing was in the past.

BUT two things have since happened:

  1. Two weeks ago they had their 7-month sleep regression.
  2. They (mostly Connor) now cry when I put them down to sleep at night and OH MY WORD it drives me BONKERS.

Last Sunday night I'd had it and we decided to let them (they were both crying that night) cry it out. They'd both been fed, changed, etc, etc.

Here's how long they cried:

Sunday - C 90 mins, K 30 mins
Mon - C 15 mins, K 2 mins
Tues - C 5 mins
Wed - C 2 mins
Thurs - C ups the ante and goes for 20 mins
Fri - 9 mins, stops and then another 30 mins
Sat - 20 mins
Sunday - NOTHING
Monday (yesterday) - C 40 mins, K 2 mins here and there, about 3 - 4 times

(I was fully intending to bunk gym BUT I was so stressed I NEEDED the workout. Of course I got back and they were all cute-looking in their cots, like there'd been no crying the whole day)

We have made some mistakes - the first night I went in to try and comfort them/ check that they were still okay which made Connor MORE crazy, if that's even possible.

Now we stay out and he literally screams the house down. It's quite amazing how persistent he is - when I think the crying is abating, it's almost as if he remembers why he started crying, feels sorry for himself and starts all over again.

I fully expect someone to ring my intercom and announce they're from Child Welfare as there's been a report of babies screaming uncontrollably.

Is this crying not supposed to fade away to nothing? How long do I carry on?

(D asked me this question so I said I'll ask the internet :))

Eventually they wake for feeds (these days at around 11pm, even with the solids & the protein, and then again around 3 - 4 am) and we do our thing as if the earlier episodes never happened. They have their bottles, we change nappy if necessary and they go back to sleep with not a peep. In the mornings they're their normal selves, chatty, happy, smiling, gurgling babies.

So it's literally just this 5 - 5:30 craziness. I've tried to move the bedtimes - it makes it worse so I've accepted that these kids like to go to bed between 5 & 6 and leave it at that.

All that to say, afternoon dread is the new night dread!

P.S. My etsy stuff arrived yesterday and I love my things. I'll post a pic of my favourite piece.

P.P.S. This post is for SteadyMom's 30-minute blog challenge


  1. Josiah doesn't freak out too often, but when he does, it sounds like Connor. He'll just cry and cry and cry, and instead of calming down and going to sleep, he gets more and more upset. Furthermore, if I go in to comfort him, he gets REALLY upset and screams even more. Sometimes he gets quiet for a bit and I think he's falling asleep, and then, like you said, it seems like he remembers that he's supposed to be crying again.

    For me, it's so few and far between that I don't worry too much about it. I don't have night dread too much. However, I do want to add that "crying it out" doesn't work for every baby. I've tried to look into other methods, and haven't really found clear explanations of them, but it may be helpful.

  2. Oh yes oh yes - I remember this only too well but your post has only just reminded me. I used to dread each night wondering what it would bring.
    It is not so bad now - luckily.

  3. Yes. I remember night dread. Thankfully, it stopped about November or December. We had to CIO with Tommy. Liam had no sleep issues. He cries until you put him in his crib when he's tired. Tommy still might cry for a few minutes, but not that long and most of the time these days he won't at all. Hang in there.

  4. I used to have this! I probably would still have it, but I'm too tired! Do you try to go in after 5 minutes, then after 10, then after 15? That helped with my kids...my sister used to scream for 45 minutes before going to sleep. If my Mom went in before 45 minutes, she'd have to start all over again...another 45 minutes. There is no science to it. Ugh!

  5. i'm scared to let alex CIO one day- i know i'll fail big time & go to save her. oy!

    i also wonder how kids can SCREAM for hours on end- really?! SLEEEEEP!

  6. I was just thinking that I'm not looking forward to getting up again in the middle of the night with a new baby (I love my sleep). Your kids don't need to eat in the middle of the night - not at 11 pm and not at 3/4 am. I promise. They eat because they are used to it. Part of CIO is to rewire their brains so that they will sleep and not be looking for you to comfort them (turn them over, give them a paci, etc.) or feed them. We did sleep Ned on his tummy because he went to sleep more easily and slept longer. I *think* (I'm no expert!) that your kids are still waking up so much because there are times when you are willing to go in (to feed them). They dont' understand what "time" is so they just fuss until you come in since you do go in sometimes, you know what I mean? Basically, I think you need to have Nanny V come over for 4 nights and you and your husband need to go to a hotel and she can do full CIO for you if you can't. :) I'd offer to come (I'd love to meet you!) and do it myself. Hee!


Thank you so much for leaving a comment and filling my love tank. I appreciate it!

I'd love to answer your email so please make sure your email address is enabled. In Blogger, go to Edit Profile, and under Privacy, tick the 3rd block and then Save Profile :)


Related Posts with Thumbnails