Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sheer Exhaustion

Do you remember when I bragged about how good of a sleeper SYT was?  He was regularly sleeping from 8 or 8:30 at night and would only wake up once a night to feed, usually between 4-5:30.  There were even a (very) few nights when he slept all the way until 6.  Hello, ladies, that is 10 hours of sleep.  Amazing.  Well, those days are over.............................

Apparently there is a known phenomenon called the 4 month wakeful period, and we've hit it.  There is no known reason why babies who have slept through the night before now decide that they want to be awake during the night.  Theories include hunger, wanting attention from mom, being distracted during daytime feeds, so needing extra feedings at night when it's quiet, growth spurts, and the ever so popular, "we just don't know."  Well, for the past three weeks, Spencer has decided to join this group of babies and has started to wake up 3 or 4 times a night.  It's not just "oh I'll fuss a little, hand me my paci, pat my butt, rub my head, and I'll fall back to sleep".  Nope, this is "I'm starving, mom, and I don't care how tired you are, I need to eat NOW".  He's still going down at the same time (8ish) and his first wakeful period is between 11:30 and 12:15.  He then wakes again between 1-2 a.m. and then usually twice between 3:45 and 5:40. 

At first I was worried that I would "spoil" him by getting him up and feeding him; however, after the first time I let him just cry, 20 minutes later my heart was breaking, he was screaming, it was obvious he wasn't going to give up, and even more obvious that he really, truly needed something.  I talked with one of my docs at work (he's a pediatric sleep doctor) and after I told him what was going on, he said he truly believes in the 4 month wakeful period, and that he thought SYT was really hungry.  So, I've been feeding him regularly when he wakes up, but gosh darnit, I'm exhausted. 

We started rice cereal the other day (he's 4 months now and can have it) to see if this would help.  The two nights that we gave it, he did only wake up twice rather than 3 or 4 times, so that's an improvement.  But still, it's not what I knew and loved before.  He does seem to really like the cereal though.  It's way cute :)  We have a pediatrician's apt this Friday, so I'll definitely be asking for other suggestions.  Maybe I should try the cry it out at least once a night, but it is heartbreaking to do and he's still just a baby.  I don't want him to think we're abandoning him.  But I also HAVE to get some sleep.  I'm torn, I guess.  I wish I wasn't working right now b/c I wouldn't mind all this so much if I also got a 45 min nap every afternoon.  I'm not saying I'd always have time for that if I was a stay at home mom (b/c I know they often don't), but on the really bad days, I would find a way to make it happen!

Anyone out there in blog land have any suggestions for me?  I'll take anything! 


  1. I am so sorry to hear that SYT is having such a tough time with sleep. Little Pit just got a cold yesterday and it's as miserable as I thought it would be. Since she doesn't know how to blow her nose it's so hard to clear it out and she hasn't been sleeping or eating...being a parent is hard huh? I hope he gets over this soon! Have a good rest of the weekend!

  2. Give the cereal around dinner time or right before bed so his tummy is really full. I understand sleep issues! They are exhausting, especially when you are working. Hang in there.

  3. I thought for sure the rice cereal would do the trick! You must be exhausted, but I promise you will get through this! Hopefully, in a few months, he will tire himself out crawling & getting into mischief, and he will sleep right through the night :)

  4. You poor thing! It's definitely a regression. Try the Aveeno Calming Lotion (Lavender) and Body Wash (also in Lavender). It too shall pass. I'd know. My son woke up 2-3 times a night until he was 14 months old. We survived:)

  5. :( oooooh I so wish I had words of wisdom for you, all I can say is that I'm praying for you guys and "this too shall pass"



  6. Hi Annie. Sorry to hear you're in a tough sleep stretch. Seriously though, it gets better!! We NEVER had more than 3 or 4 hours of sleep at a time in the first 6 months and it sucked, but it's over now, and it's just a distant, blurry memory. Honestly, we didn't do CIO until 6 months and it worked great then, but I don't really think it would have worked that well before then. Leah and Elliot just weren't ready to sleep through the night and I wasn't ready to listen to them cry. You will get through this! I promise.

  7. I don't have kids so I don't speak from personal experience. But I know many friends who do what they call a dream feed. They give the baby a bottle (so either breast pumped or formula) either right as he is falling asleep or like 2 hours after he falls asleep. To sort of top off the tank. They all swear that fills the belly enough to ensure at least four solid hours of sleep. Hope that or something a more experienced person says helps!!

  8. Ugh sounds rough! H has regressed but it is due to teething and trying to crawl. Thankfully these are just phases! I'm really hoping it gets better soon-I know how hard it is for my boss to go to work after H has been up at night :(


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