Ask SIFTW: Early Wakeup Calls

February 17, 2008

ok, so i just wrote the world’s longest post, published it and then somehow (don’t ask me, i’m tired) deleted it. i’m sorry. i’ll try to recreate my genius tomorrow. in the meantime if anyone has any super ideas how to retrieve a lost post from wordpress, i’m open to suggestions.

and if anyone subscribes to us on a feed and happens to be able to magically copy and paste the text of that deleted post (with the above title), i promise you many many years of sleep filled nights. nah, seriously, i will send you a copy of Pantley’s No Cry Sleep Solution for your efforts.

It was a stupid rambley post anyway. Sigh.


Ask SIFTW: 18 months is not a time for sleeping

February 11, 2008

A writes to us:

Well, I have a sleep problem to ask you about, like everyone else… I have a wonderful and very active 18 month old son. He was breastfed until about 8 months.

He has no problem at all being put to sleep initially. He drinks his bottle, finishes it, and drifts off in his cozy crib with no protesting. He even seems to enjoy being put in his crib when he is sleepy. He also takes good naps.  He has a great attitude and during the day is super mellow and easygoing.

The problem is this…. He goes to bed between 7 and 8. All is fine. Until… Anywhere between midnight and 2 am is his first wake up. Then he wakes up like… every 30 minutes to every hour.  Totaling anywhere from 4 to 10 wakeups a night.  This all started a few weeks ago. I have heard that there is something about the 18 month thing… He’s also had some behavioral changes. He all of the sudden has separation anxiety which he never seemed to have before. He is also getting more molars in (he seems to be teething constantly!!) I can see them coming in all red in the gums, hands in mouth, etc.  He also just started saying real words, all of the sudden… So there is a lot going on.

What have we been doing? Well I don’t feel right doing any form of “Cry it out” method while he is experiencing this new separation anxiety, so… he comes into the bed with us. He is soothed and falls right back to sleep, but the wakeups KEEP happening even in our bed. We have TRIED The cry it out method in varying “Strengths” But it definitely seems to leave him more tired and agitated than anything else.  He is very persistent.

Tonight I have decided to not bring him into our bed, because nobody can sleep, but instead bringing a small mattress into HIS room for ME to sleep on. I will soothe him and try to put him back in HIS CRIB
afterwards.  At the very worst he’ll still be in his room, not our bed. Ugh. Any ideas?

My son is 13 months and so I am dreading the onset of the 18 month sleep regression. I haven’t been there yet, but I’ve heard it is oh so common. And oh so annoying. But the good news? It will pass. It will apparently pass whether or not you try to do anything about it.

And you’ve said it yourself. There is a hell of a lot going on. Molars, talking, separation anxiety, physical accomplishments and god knows what else in that magnificently developing mind and body of the 18 month old.

I’m no expert on the 18 month thing, so I’ll defer to my preferred font of all wisdom, Moxie who says:

“Your kid may have a serious, mind-blowingly awful sleep regression at around 18 months. It’s not your fault, and it will pass.”

Hopefully by 20 months, this phase will just be a vague memory of a horrid sleepless time. In the meantime, it’s probably a great idea to take turns camping out in his room so at least one person in the house can be getting some rest. Take turns, offload some responsibility if you can for the short term. And count down the days. And maybe dare I say the occassional shot of calpol in the night if molars seem to be really getting the better of you both.

Can anyone comment of their 18 month sleep deprivation and how long it lasted?

The other side of sleep deprivation

February 7, 2008

This is not going to be a smug my-baby-sleeps-through post, partly because he has reverted to waking before 6am and we are feeling a little frazzled.  Still, we have our evenings back which is fabulous.

This brings me to the point of today’s post: the other things that fall apart when you’re not getting enough sleep.  The obvious candidates are housework (what housework?), laundry, co-ordinated outfits, pampering (remember when your sole aim wasn’t just to get vaguely clean before you had to leap out of the shower or bath?), hot meals, any meals that involve more than 5 minutes preparation, polished shoes… and functioning relationships.

After a whole, ooh, month of time to myself in the evenings and sleep at night (OK, slap me now) I’m wondering how I managed to get through that first year without getting divorced, sacked, ostracised from my family and losing all my friends.  I put it down to being surrounded by exceptionally nice people.  Relationships are hard when you’re not sleeping.  Marriages are particularly tough, especially if as in our case you’re co-sleeping and sharing childcare so neither of you are getting a break.

I’m not sure I have any answers, especially as I suspect I made a balls-up much of the time, but here are some things that might help.

1. Do not make any life-changing decisions when you are going through this.  Your partner does not hate you, your friends aren’t ignoring you and your family aren’t being any more irritating than usual.  Step back from edged weapons and anything involving a lawyer.

2. Be kind to each other.  Really, try.  One good tip I heard is try treating your partner like a work colleague and be polite.  This is harder than you would expect. Also, think about your family and friends once in a while.  They’ll probably forgive you for neglecting them, but you might miss something important.

3. Remember that this will not last forever.  At some point you will be sleeping for longer than an hour or so at a time and you will be amazed at the difference it makes.  In the meantime, give yourself some slack and afford the same luxury to others.

Rocking to sleep

February 6, 2008

When the Imp was little and I told people he didn’t sleep, they’d give me that accusing all knowing look and say “Aha, you’ve spoiled him by rocking him to sleep haven’t you”

To Moxie you listen. By any means necessary. Any. Rock your baby to sleep if it works. Just get yourself through the nights with a modicum of sanity. The first year is hard. The second year … we’re about to find out!