Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I feel like a failure

I should never write positive posts because they come back to bite me in the bum.

I am knackered from last night.

Monday night Connor only woke up once but last night he woke up THREE times.

Why is it that they regress just as you think things are coming together?

I really had to work hard on keeping my attitude positive in the middle of the night.

It also doesn't help that I'd been chatting to my friend, R, on facebook and her babies (who are 8 weeks younger than mine) have been sleeping 10 - 12 hours a night forever, and even now they're on holiday in Cape Town, same thing.

So in the middle of the night, that's all I'm thinking of.

It is SOOO hard not to compare your children with others. Maybe I should stop entering into conversations about sleep?

Kendra slept as she normally does BUT would not settle down. I got so frustrated I just put her down in the camp cot so as not to wake her brother and left the room. I just left her to cry and D had to get up to attend to her while I lay in my own bed crying a little.

I felt and still feel like such a failure.

WHY can I not settle my own daughter?

I suspect that I might be pre-menstrual and that's why I'm feeling so terrible but pre-menstrual or not, they're not sleeping very well.

On the bright side, it is still TONS better than when they were newborns. How's that for cheering me up?

Any tips are welcome! Amy, if you're reading, tell me more about the crying it out. Did you leave them in the same room? Did one stop sooner and then start up again when the second one was crying?

I'm desperate.


  1. Oh man! I wish I knew how to solve your problem. As an update to my previous cry for help, Josiah spent 2-3 nights waking up every 2 hours, but then when it was Jesse's turn to get up with him the next night, he slept 10 solid hours. Since then, he's been sleeping a good 7-8 hours before eating once and then going back to sleep for another 3 hours or so. It's great right now BUT he has gone back and forth every other week since birth. As soon as I think we're in a good routine, he gets all screwy. And then I'm at my wit's end and he sleeps perfectly well. I don't know how much my own schedule (or even lack of one) or eating needs or growth spurts have to do with it. I haven't really tried letting him cry it out since I have discovered that he'll go to sleep by himself if I don't let him get too tired. And if he is too tired, that's my fault for keeping him up. I think I may need to break the habit of using a bottle to get him to sleep, though... maybe... maybe it's fine since it's working now. **shrug**

    I'm sure the issues of sleeping and crying it out are much harder with 2 babies. I'm glad that you just put K down and went to cry yourself. It's not easy, but you need that break.

    I really hope you can find some answers about why C has been waking up more often or why K won't settle down to sleep. Or... maybe the answer is that they're babies. Life doesn't always fit a certain pattern. I mean, we've already learned that sex doesn't always lead to babies, and pregnancy isn't always the perfect 9 month experience. Maybe we just need to accept that babies don't adhere to a one-size-fits-all formula where if you feed, change, and lay them down to sleep in the same manner each day they will act the ideal way. I'm just trying to keep it real too.

    I hope, regardless of the answer, you find some resolution in it all.

  2. Ugh! I'm not an expert, but I do think the boys sleep well. We did have to have Tommy cry it out, as Liam is a great little sleeper. Liam will actually fuss and cry when he's tired until you lie him down and then he acts all happy and falls asleep in a few minutes.

    Tommy on the other hand hated sleeping. Thankfully, Liam doesn't care if Tommy is crying so when we cried it out, we had them in the same room. They are in separate cribs by now as they move around too much. We let Tommy cry it out about a month or two ago and after a few nights things were great. I will say though, he didn't try my patience too much by crying for longer than 10-15 minutes. He does still cry sometimes when put down to sleep for the night or a nap, but I've learned by now how to tell if he's crying because he still has another burp or if he's just tired. So I will go in and see if he has another burp if he sounds like something is wrong.

    Hope this helps and things get better. And yes, much better than the newborn stage!

  3. My kids went back and forth...they still do. I sometimes think that crying is what they need...a way to self-soothe. I know it's frustrating, but you'll slip into a routine eventually. They're still really young! It is hard not to compare kids, but just remember...for everything you're jealous of, someone else is jealous of you. It may not be for the same reason, but it's the truth! Try not to be so hard on yourself!

  4. Well you have to remember that I am three years out but my first piece of advice would be to take a deep breath. The reason you are so obsessed with sleeping is because you are tired. That's when you make bad decisions and get a little obsessed with things.

    Most of the medical literature says you should not cry it out before 6 months adjusted age. You can obviously do it before then but one of the critical factors is that kids needs to understand cause and effect. This generally happens in the 5-6 month range. Crying it out then is more likely to "stick" when it's done once the kids understand how to self soothe at this age.

    Anyway that does not help you in the short term. I think one of the hardest parts of parenting is NOT comparing bc there is always going to be someone in a "better" position than you are. And believe me, the people whose kids are good sleepers eventually end up with their own sleep problems bc they didn't work SO HARD to earn that nighttime sleep. HA!

    The other thing that helps is a little perspective. You have to think of nighttime sleep as oscillating towards a mean. You are going to have some good nights followed by some bad nights until their bodies develop enough melatonin and get physically mature enough to sleep. The best thing you can do is develop a strategy BEFORE you go to bed on how you will handle things. For us, we found it easiest if both of us got some sleep, so we set up time slots. One night one parent would take 9-3 and the other parent would take 3-9. Then each parent would get some serious sleep in there.

    Didn't want to leave a super long comment without the critical info. Yes we did cry it out. We cried it out at 6 months. First we read Ferber and made some schedule changes then we went for attended cio. We CIO in the same room bc we needed the boys to be able to share a room and self-soothe even through another crying baby.

    Alex only cried 3 nights and was just like the books predicted. Nate cried a little bit for two weeks. But in the end, Alex is a light sleeper and Nate is a heavy sleeper. The ONLY TIMES Nate has woken in the middle of the night for THREE YEARS is when he has a fever. Alex on the other hand wakes during each sleep regression and teething and illness and is still an early riser.

    Hang in there, I think the hardest part of the first year is the lack of sleep and lack of CONTROL over sleep. But know there are lots of us out there who've been through the same thing and made it out okay!!

    (Feel free to email me if you want to chat!)

  5. Ok so I grazed over the comments but didn't really read them so sorry if I'm repeating. You need to not be so hard on yourself, they're babies and still figuring everything out! So here is what we did/are doing. It seems to be working.

    The girls eat every four hours, usually 8,12,4,8. Bedtime is between 8-9. Pajamas, diapers, bottle, book, bed! They get a bottle at 8 but if feeds are off we'll wait till 9. They get a big bottle and are encouraged to take as much as possible. We'll even let them take a break if its before 9 and try again in 15 minutes to finish. but 9 o'clock is the deadline. Tucked in, lights out. Then they are usually good till 6 o'clock at the earliest but have been lasting till 7:30-8.

    In the beginning they would fuss a bit and I would let them go for 10 minutes before I went back in to soothe. But I only settled them and put them right back. Sometimes I didn't even pick them up, just rubbed their tummies.

    The girls also only take three two hour naps each day. Sometimes they're only an hour or so. That way they are tired at night. Their last nap is usually around 4-5 and is a quick nap(hour) in a bouncer or swing while we make dinner and eat. The rest of the day I try to keep them busy and occupied so they don't fall asleep on their own. If they start drifting before bedtime we'll play with them to try and keep them up, and then sleep feed them at 8-9 if they aren't up so we keep the schedule going.

    How much are K&C sleeping during the day? Our girls also share a room and I leave them together even if the other is crying. They have their own cribs and don't seem to bother each other. I sure hope you find the sleep fairy soon!

  6. oh my gosh, you poor thing!!

    We used 'the sleepeasy solution' at about 4 1/2 months and, don't hate me, but both the babies are sleeping for at least 12 hours now! YAY! (we wake them at 10 or 10.30 for a 'dream feed'). The book is really good because it is VERY structured and easy to understand... and also SO very sympathetic - it has a lot about all the emotions involved. I did have to have a will of iron to NOT go and just rock them back to sleep the first few nights, but it worked INCREDIBLY well adn the babies are now getting about three hours more sleep each day than they were previously. Obviously we are getting mor esleep too, but THEY are no longer sleep deprived. I know Im' gushing, but it has really changed our lives around here!!

    Good luck, and BE KIND TO YOURSELF... I think the sleep deprivation is pretty much the worst thing in the world. Hang in there!!

  7. ps you are NOT a failure!!!

  8. OMG - Mandibula has amazing sleepers. Definitely finish Weissbluth if you haven't yet - it's my bible and I started following it when they were 4 months old. Despite what LauraC says I did CIO at 5 months and it was so worth it. I also (shhhh!) put my son on his tummy for nap time (after I was sure he could lift his head no problem). I did CIO for naps and for nightime. They went down great but wouldn't stay asleep. I did have to suffer very early morning wakeups as a result (5-5:30 am) but that faded by 6 months and I napped in the AM when they did. I was back to work at 6 months. We don't have rituals but we always had a bedtime routine - bath, bottle, book, bed. We still "top them off" at night at 16 months old. I had friends with singletons who started sleeping through the night (girls, ALWAYS girl babies) at 8-10 weeks - ON THEIR OWN. I was so jealous. But after reading Weissbluth I decided to take control of the situation instead of just trying to be positive and letting them dictate all the rules. Then we moved on to the next battle - table food/eating (my daughter didn't eat very much but that's a whole other discussion). Good luck - but I feel like I know you some from your blog and you'll feel better with a plan - so get a plan, including writing out your "perfect" schedule for the kids and try to stick to it (read Weissbluth for amount of time they should be awake/asleep). Good luck!

  9. You are not a failure! All babies are different. I agree with almost everything the previous comments. We had to CIO about 3 nights, the longest lasting 30 minutes. We kept them in the same room so they would be used to sleeping with the other crying. It sucked but it worked. We would gop in and rub tgheir backs after about 10 minutes but would not pick them up. They fed off of each other the whole time, crying back and forth but eventually fell asleep and stayed asleep. But they did mess with us and digress a few times. It would make me crazy. Just when I thought things were falling into place they would start reverting to their old ways. Everyone told me this was normal and they went through it, too. And it passes :-) I promise! Keep a schedule, put them to bed around 7ish and let them cio. This baby thing is sooo hard!!! I was just reading all of my journals entries from 3 am, 5 am, etc from the first 3 months, when I thought it would NEVER get better. But it did....12 hours can happen! Also, I would tell myself that no matter what, if they woke up, they were not getting a bottle because they did not need one. And we stuck to matter what. Sorry this is one long paragraph! Please email me anytime if you want to talk. amy_coffaro04 at yahoo dot com

  10. Your babies may not sleep as well as some others but HECK they're cute! :) Is there any chance they're triggering one another off in the same space? Just a thought. Can you top C up with more solids at night? Just a thought. Hang in there. You are so not a failure. Chin up - Santa's sleigh is about to depart x

  11. So, I left a comment yesterday and it isn't showing up...don't have the energy to repost but just know that you are doing a great job and it will get better!!

  12. I just thought of something. When you put your babies to bed, are they in a quiet room with no noise? If so, maybe you could put a fan in their room...or something that makes noise. We have an air purifier and it is pretty loud. I'm so used to it now that I can't sleep without it! Or, you could get a white noise machine. Not sure if that will help...but it's a thought!

  13. Oh Leigh, I know exactly how you are feeling!!

    Please if you get a recipe that work, pass it on to me. I am thinking of taking mine to get some help nwxt year. I am tired and can't go on like this, 9,5 months was enough now!!

  14. There are so many reasons why a baby will sleep really well and be on a great schedule and then, bam, you suddenly feel like everything is falling apart.

    Remember how fast these little guys are growing. Every week you have a new set of problems, accomplishments, and learning experiences. It will slow down as they approach 3.

    Reasons they suddenly get off schedule? Growing so hungrier than usual. Too hot, too cold. Ate too much. Bad dream. Something hurts (ear, throat, tummy, a bug bite, itchiness). Overstimulated and can't relax. Slept too much and can't relax. Growing pains. Gas bubbles. New food not digesting well (anything eaten in the last 48 hours can affect digestion).

    It's not easy, but most kids even out by 18 months at the latest. The older they get, the more they are able to self sooth or help you understand what they need.

    Hang in there.


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