Baby Sleep

I’ve come to the conclusion that baby sleep is an erratic, crazy, whirlwind that I may or may not ever get the hang of.

I’m of the opinion that sleep training works, but that sleep training doesn’t necessarily equal restful nights for anyone in the vicinity of the baby or baby monitor. Sleep training also takes MUCH longer than the few days that the books say. Also, the definition of “sleeping through the night” is an interesting one – I’m still forming my own. I am actually pretty convinced that you’re never NOT sleep training – at least not for a long while.

We never really had the desperate crying for multiple hours type of sleep training (thank you Simon) and anything resembling that is now a thing of the past. We mainly had the “don’t react to every sound the baby makes” sleep training. Come to think of it, maybe it was training me and J more than Simon. 🙂

Simon has definitely learned that his crib is a safe place and I think that he genuinely likes both the crib and sleep. Since sleep training he also takes pretty great naps most days and is sleeping better at night – for the most part. Most importantly, he knows how to lull himself back to sleep, but that’s almost never a quiet process.

The sleep roller coaster that we’ve been given too many tickets to ride is doing loops and riding upside down many nights. No matter what we do, night sleep is completely unpredictable. The thing that is predictable is that tonight will not be the same as last night. Just when I think that I am totally in tune with Simon’s patterns and thinking that we’re going to be on a schedule Simon reminds us that he is not a programmable robot. Of course he isn’t.

I write this in the midst of feeling sleepy and a tad confused. I swear that we do the same routine every day – naps around the same time and bedtime routine / put in crib for the night within 15 minutes of the same time EVERY day (we are serious about our schedules). And yet… every night is different. Not bad, just different. It leaves me sleepily curious…

It feels like one day we’re knocking it out of the park – winning at naps (this is actually happening most days) and sleeping for a chunk of 6-8 hours at night, nursing, and then sleeping a few more hours. Then the next day there are tons of tears and multiple wake-ups through the night.

I don’t get it.

Since sleep training the wake-ups are definitely shorter and we don’t go in to Simon’s room, but they still exist – and in the last couple of days he seems to think that waking up multiple times is the coolest thing ever (it’s not!). It’s like he tries to roll over and forgets that he can or gets stuck in the corner of the crib (he has a thing for sleeping on the shorter, vertical side). I find myself staring into the monitor wishing that he could get his arm out from under him so that he could get more comfortable or wishing he would find the long side of the crib again instead of trying to fit his growing body into a compact space that is getting too small for him to stretch out.

Some nights the short wake-ups happen every couple of hours and other nights (like last night) there are none at all. The wake-ups are typically short – like 2-5 minutes. Not horrible, I know. But I still don’t get it. It’s one thing when they’re happening right after we put him down and another when they happen throughout the night when we should all be sleeping. It leaves J and me perplexed and a little bleary eyed.

As tempting as it is, I try not to run to Simon as soon as I hear a whimper in the middle of the night (before a certain time) because I know that he’s not hungry and I know that he’s old enough to put himself back to sleep. This means, however, that I am being woken up for 2 minutes at a time throughout the night as Simon is settling back in to sleep. Being woken out of a very deep sleep multiple times throughout the night stinks. I’m used to it, but the older Simon gets the more that I would like it to stop.

I say all of this, but…

On the nights when Simon sleeps through his “normal” nursing time (lately that’s between 1 and 3), I wake up in a panicked, sweaty mess, wondering why he hasn’t woken up and staring at the video monitor willing him to flinch or move so that I know he’s ok in there.

Yep, even when I am not being woken up, I wake myself up. In a panic. Is this the preparation for the time when Simon is in high school and going out with friends while I wait up for his curfew? Is this the definition of motherhood?

Will I ever get a solid night of sleep again?

Dramatic much?

I recognize that we are doing pretty well for a breastfed baby who is still really young. I just REALLY miss solid, high-quality sleep.

The good news is that Simon is super happy and seems to be un-phased by the wake-ups. I’m not actually sure that he is fully waking up – he may just be dreaming loudly and whining in his sleep.

It’s hard to be frustrated when I walk into Simon’s room and see this sleepy head peering at me.

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Others have dealt with this, right? The mini wake-ups…?! Any advice?

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10 thoughts on “Baby Sleep

  1. My little guy Alex is 5 months and doing pretty much the same thing. He actually started sleeping through the night (11pm – 6am) right at 8 weeks. This lasted three glorious nights before he started waking up at least once and going back to sleep. Then he wanted to nurse once around 3am. Now (and for about a month) he’s been back to waking up every 2-3 hours – sometimes to nurse, sometimes just for a snuggle. So. Very. Frustrating. Then he wakes up in the morning with his big silly smile and I almost forget how awful 3am felt. What kind of sleep training did you do?

    • Well I am glad that we’re not alone. We did cry it out – which totally worked for whatever it was we were trying to fix at the time but now it’s not that he can’t fall back asleep it’s that he just really likes to wake up a few times to check that his voice is still there :). Here’s hoping that we both find the right balance of sleep really soon!!!

      • Last night was night #2 with the Baby Merlin Magic Sleepsuit. Alex seems to fall back to sleep a little better when it’s on, unless he’s hungry. Good luck to you!

        • That looks awesome – unfortunately Simon is a tummy sleeper these days and it looks like that is primarily for back sleeping. G’luck to you too!

  2. My mom gave me the best advice. Turn off the baby monitor, shut your door, turn on the fan and let him learn to self sooth.

  3. Lots of these mini-wakeups as of recent! Sasha has gone in once or twice a night to give Isla her pacifier when she cries (woops), and then I’ll go in any time after 4am to feed her and then she’ll sleep another two hours (yesterday it was 4, but that will likely never happen again). I want her just to sleep though!! So frustrating! And Simon is a better napper than Isla… need to work on those. Where does he nap when he’s at Cristin’s? A Pack ‘N Play?

  4. Haha, sleep. Around the 4-6 month period Michael’s sleep went pretty wonky too, even though he knew how to soothe himself back to sleep. I think it had to do with all the rolling (he seemed to forget that he knew how to roll back to his preferred position in the middle of the night) – general disorientation, bumping his head, and getting stuck. And then maybe a bit of separation anxiety thrown in. And a bit of growth spurting. We are at 8 months and I am happy to report that it’s much better. We’ve come to accept that the occasional weird night is unavoidable and will usually be inexplicable, and that is fine.

    Noisy resettling – I totally understand. Turn the monitor off, use ear plugs, make sure doors are closed… basically tweak things so that only loud and prolonged crying for more than a few minutes will wake you up. Anything of the grunting, random crying out variety shouldn’t penetrate your sleep.

    All the best! =)

    • Thanks Elisa – glad to know that we’re not alone!! I haven’t yet gotten the courage to turn off the monitor, but it is on the lowest setting. Progress :).

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