You're invited: Midnight parties at our house

My youngest son isn’t sleeping. He’s almost 9 months. He’s breastfed. He hasn’t slept through the night once since he was born. The most sleep I’ve had in one stretch is 6 hours, but it’s been 6 months since that happened. My first son didn’t sleep through the night until I weaned him at 13 months. I was so hopeful this time would be different.

Instead it’s much harder. Why? Because focusing on a baby and a preschooler is much harder than just focussing on a baby and I’m not doing a great job with either. I’m exhausted, done, finit, caput. I NEED sleep. I need a good stretch of it, several nights in a row. Even before I had children I was never good on less than 9 hours a night. It’s a family joke. If you call my place after 9:00 p.m. you’ll probably find I’m in bed.

But here’s the kicker. Even though my first son never slept through the night, I could always nurse him quickly back to sleep no matter the time. I was up lots, but it was short wake-up and then we’d be back to dreamland. This time around is very different. Not only is the baby up for long stretches of time in the middle of the night (no kidding, last night it was 1:00 – 3:30), but he isn’t interested in nursing when I try. He isn’t necessarily unhappy when he’s awake, he’s just awake, and calling, and talking and cranking. He keeps us all up. He’ll get quiet for 10 or 15 minutes and I’ll drift blissfully back to sleep and then he’ll ramp it up again.

I am not ashamed to admit it is wearing me down. So much so that when we are in the thick of it at night I feel close to going off the deep end. I don’t know what to do. I’ve tried just about everything. I’m at a loss. Letting him cry won’t work, because, well, he doesn’t cry. Consoling him doesn’t work because he just keeps calling. He won’t nurse. He just won’t sleep. It’s a nasty cycle, because he’s tired too. During the day he’s fussy, wants to be cuddled all the time, and naps for short intervals. By 5:30 he’s losing his mind with fatigue. He goes to bed without trouble and has a great nurse at around 9:00. And then bang, at around midnight the cycle starts again.

It’s not only affecting the two of us. I’m certain he’s waking my 3-year-old who also seems to be getting progressively more tired and cranky. And of course, my husband who might be able to sleep through the baby, but certainly can’t sleep through me crying in frustration.

If it would work I’d bring the baby to bed for a few nights just so we could return to some form of sanity. But when he’s in bed he wants to play, he doesn’t sleep. He pokes, prods, fusses, whines. It’s as if he’s saying “This is BORING, mommy“.

I could go on and on. I know the theory that sleep begets, sleep. I believe it to be true. But how do you beget sleep if there isn’t enough to start with? I have no idea what to do. I need to solve this and pronto for the sake of my entire family.


9 thoughts on “You're invited: Midnight parties at our house

  1. Nena says:

    I feel your pain. My 3 yo DS did not sleep thru the night until he was 2.3 years old. Pretty much the day I came home with Baby #2. He was the exact same way. he would wake up in the middle of night and want to play. he would be awake for 2 hours – each and every time. Today – he sleeps. He hates going to sleep and doesn't fall asleep till 10:00pm – but he does sleep through the night.You might be thinking – thats good – now you sleep. No I don't!My DD is 8 mos old and she does not sleep through the night. she wakes up once roughly – some nights twice. it depends. I have had no straight sleep for more than about 5 hours in 3 years. 3 years – no sleep. Im exhausted."the days are long, but the years are short" you should read my recent blog.

  2. Capital Mom says:

    That is so tough. Bringing the boy to bed no longer works either because he just wants to blow raspberries on any exposed skin he can find. At 14 months he doesn't always sleep through the night, what with teething and being sick. But he sleeps most nights. The only reason he does that is because I stopped night nursing. That worked for us. The husband has to go in and get him back to sleep instead and by the third night he decided he would rather sleep then deal with dad. I did the same thing with the girl. By 10 months I just couldn't handle nursing at night anymore.I really really hope that you can get some more sleep and figure out something that will work for you.

  3. Sonya says:

    This is EXACTLY what I'm going through right now. DD was a great sleeper. My DS (almost 9 months) isn't capable of going for more than a few hours at a time. He surprises us every once in awhile with a 6-7 hour stretch, but it is rare.It is SO exhausting. And with taking care of a preschooler, it's not like you can catch naps during the day either.Here's hoping things get better.

  4. Loukia says:

    I never really had any huge sleep issues, mainly because for the 6 months of my oldest son's life, he slept in our room… then when he went to his room, I put a mattress on the floor and slept in his room… until we got him a queen sized bed right before his baby brother was born… then when baby number 2 arrived, he slept with us in our room again, and some nights, hubby slept with our oldest son. At 6 months we moved baby into his room and he does good there, for MOST of the night, however, without fail, at 1 a.m. every single night, he wakes up, calling for me, and I bring him into bed with me… hubby sleeps with our 4 year old. I am not really complaining, as I love sleeping with my little one's… but I know this pattern should come to an end soon-ish… also, both our boys do not sleep unless we are lying down beside them… I've never left them in their beds to sleep alone… again, I think we should work on this! Good luck with your sleep issues… sorry I don't have any real solid advice!

  5. Tiffany @ Lattes And Life says:

    Oh, hun…**hugs** I'm so sorry. If left to my own devices, my body gravitates to ten hours of sleep a night..which, as you know, is just not gonna happen for a very long time. I certainly hope you can get some rest and figure out a solution. I wish I had some advice for you!!!

  6. Some kind of Wondermom says:

    Your story sounds familiar. I think we can all relate on some level or another. My 5 month old has slept through the night twice. She often does that you were saying, getting up in the middle of the night and just being awake – not crying, not wanting to go back to sleep. I'm a super light sleeper and while my husband snores next to me, I lay there wide awake waiting for silence so I can go back to sleep.Have you tried a white noise machine? A friend suggested it, and I tried one that came with my pack&play. It works well, if anything, to drown out the sound so I can go back to sleep.I also have a large air filter upstairs in the hallway that I use for 'quiet time' for my 3 year old. It drowns out his chatter so the baby can sleep. Hang in there, it will pass soon enough.

  7. Some kind of Wondermom says:

    Oh, also my mother likes to tell me that she didn't sleep through the night for 12 years – 6 years difference between my oldest and youngest brother, and the younger didn't sleep through the night until he was 6.

  8. desajair says:

    Hi, I hope you don't me commenting–found you through a friend through twitter and have just now found your blog!Just wondering if you found any solutions? I'm in the same boat right now with my 9 month old little guy–he's up 3-a million times a night. Breastfed too.Hope things are better and that you're getting more sleep now!Desa

  9. Christine says:

    Sleep has improved here, though it seems to be a bit of pendulum. My husband started taking over some of the night shifts so that the baby would learn that he wasn't going to feed every 2 hours. Now we space feeds 6-7 hours, any wake-ups between that my husband handles. Tucks the little guy in and reassures him. He seems to just roll over and go back to sleep.

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