Sleep Slump

Christopher is now thirteen months old, and he refuses to sleep for more than twenty minutes if he is not touching me or his Daddy. At first it was only affecting night time sleep, but it has spilled over to naps and the last few days he has cried for me and then immediately fallen asleep on my shoulder when I get him out of his crib.

At night, we have given in and resorted to just bringing him into our bed. Dave and I are sleeping so poorly with this arrangement (how can such a tiny person take up so much room?) but it is better than the almost zero sleep that we were getting when we kept getting up, rocking him back to sleep, and putting him back in his own bed, only to start the cycle again forty minutes later.

As if exhaustion weren’t hard enough, now that he has decided my shoulder is the only place he will nap I am falling way behind on my school work. I usually try to get as much done as I can during nap time, but with a snoozing babe in my arms I can only read, not type assignments.

To make matters worse, the solutions and expert opinions are all over the place, confusing my addled, sleep-deprived mind further. Some say that babies need to be close to their parents when they sleep and that is supposed to be the natural order of things. Others say  he needs to learn to self-soothe and that I have to let him cry it out. Some experts tout a happy medium, but to me those all sound very similar to crying it out.

We let Leah cry, using the Ferber method. Some of my very first entries in this blog are about that. She turned out fine, and is in fact a great sleeper now. However, I continue to feel guilt for the nights where I sat outside her bedroom letting my own tears fall as she screamed out for me. To let my child cry goes against every natural instinct that I have as a mother. And yet, my own daughter is proof that it works, that she is still a happy and well-adjusted child, and that she continues to be affectionate. So then, why can’t I bring myself to repeat the process? A week or two, and this could all be over. We could have two children sleeping through the night, I could be getting my homework done during naps, and less cranky.

I don’t understand how this happened. Did I hold my babies too much as infants? To me, it didn’t feel like I got to hold them enough. That time passes so quickly. Maybe it’s genetic. Maybe I’m a pushover. Maybe I am not at fault in any way, and this is just how things are.

Either way, I would love to hear what you did in this situation.

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7 thoughts on “Sleep Slump

  1. It’s no way you’re fault! I don’t believe you can “spoil” a baby. Have u tried white noise,your jumper in his cot, his cot right up to the edge of your bed? Sorry my little one is only 5 months old so I don’t have too many suggestions! When Alice is fighting sleep I put her down in her cot with a blackout blind, give her a Muslin to play with cover her with a blanket and put Ewan the sheep on. I’ll let her fuss but if she screams I gently remind her she has a thumb she can suck!
    I really hope you get some rest soon x

    • Thank you for your comment! I agree that babies can’t be spoiled and even if that were the cause I doubt I would go back and cuddle them less. They are babies for so short a time. I have tried most of your suggestions, but perhaps we an try putting his crub next to my bed!

  2. It goes so fast! In a couple of years, we would offer up our birthday cake to have our kids sleep on our shoulders. But, I believe, as with all things baby….this is probably a phase you are going through 😉 Hang in there. My 13-monther has not slept more than three hours at once ALL HIS LIFE. Eeek!

    • Christopher has really not slept in his entire thirteen months, either! Once he slept six hours, but I think he was just messing with my head 😉 You are right, though- as soon as it stops we will miss these times of endless baby snuggles!

  3. You don’t hold your babies too much, hrs impossible. You’re doing a great job. I am not an expert but bedsharing has worked out great for us. Yes, I sleep badly a lot, but it is – as you say – better than getting no sleep and my kids know I’m right there so they settle right down easily. Hope that helps

    • Thank you! That is what we have been resorting to, but it isn’t working too well. Last night, for instance, he kept just rolling back and forth from me to my husband. Maybe if we get a bigger bed it will work out better!

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