Spencer doesn't sleep. I know that compared to what other women are going through on this board...sleep is relatively inconsequential. Nonetheless, it is a major stress in my life. I find myself frustrated, sad, jealous, and feeling inadequate because of it. I often find my thoughts about sleep and what do do about it have no consistent focus (I guess lack of sleep will do that to you). So, I thought writing them down and being able to look back and, hopefully, see progress would help.
I must preface this journal by saying that Spencer is a healthy, happy, loving, curious, and developmentally advanced child. I love him more than I thought possible. It's the lack of sleep that I don't love.
Here is a brief history...
Spencer slept great the first 4 months of his life. He would sleep 6-8 hours, wake to nurse, and then sleep another 4-6 hours. I didn't understand what all the sleep fuss was about. We had a great sleeper!
Around 4 1/2 months Spencer started waking more often at night. At first we thought it was a growth spurt, but it didn't stop. It just got worse. I tried the "No Cry Sleep Solution" for 5 weeks, but saw no improvement.
We tried having him sleep with us, putting him to bed earlier, later, making the room warmer, cooler, putting him in 100% cotton jammies, swaddling, not swaddling, giving him a 'lovey', keeping him awake more during the day, getting him to sleep more during the day. Nothing made even a slight difference.
By the time he was 5 1/2 months old, he was waking 8-10 times each night. Sometimes he wanted his pacifier, sometimes he wanted to nurse, or be held or just see me. I was unable to function. I was afraid to drive anywhere for fear of falling asleep at the wheel. DH's work was suffering. We started rice cereal hoping that the extra calories would help. It didn't.
At 6 months old we went to see our pediatrician sure that Spencer had some kind of sleep disorder. She suggested "Solve your child's sleep problems" by Ferber. I was against letting him CIO, but I also knew that something had to change and we had tried everything else.
DH and I commited to doing the Ferber Method for 1 week. The first night Spencer cried for 30 minutes before falling asleep (with me going in at certain intervals). He slept for 4 hours and then cried for an hour. He slept for 3 hours and then I nursed him, put him into bed awake and left the room. Not a peep! He woke at his usual time. The second night he cried for about a minute, went to sleep, slept 7 hours, nursed, went back to sleep on his own and slept through until morning. It was a miracle!
DH and I were so happy to only be waking once at night that we didn't concern ourselves with the fact that he didn't sleep well during the day. He'd sleep in the car, or on our laps, or in the stroller.
At about 7 months we decided to try the Ferber Method for naps. Spencer went 4 days without a nap. Not even a couple of minutes! Then he started crying at bedtime and waking more in the middle of the night. We aborted the mission. He went back to sleeping in the car, or stroller, etc.
As the weather has started to warm up, I realized that he would no longer be able to nap in the car. So, I went back to the "No cry sleep solution" for advice on daytime sleep.
At 11 months, I started putting him in his crib for naps and staying with him until he fell asleep. The first day took over 30 minutes for him to fall asleep, but that eventually dropped down to 3-5 minutes. I was fine with staying in his room for 3 minutes, the problem was, he would only sleep 20 minutes and then wake up and not go back to sleep. Every once in a while I would get 45 minutes...those days were wonderful, but few and far between.
DH and I decided to try Ferber again now that he was older. 4 days of crying and no naps. Again, he started waking more at night (by now he was sleeping from 8-5:30 straight). Again, we aborted the mission.
That brings us to yesterday. He had slept from 8:00 - 5:45 am. Took a 40 minute nap in the stroller and a 20 minute nap in the afternoon in his crib. I called my pediatrician. She said that 10.5 hours was very low for a 14 month old (sigh, and his mommy I might add). She recommended a book called "Healthy Sleep habits, happy child" that I am going to borrow from a friend today. It suggests letting them CIO for up to an hour at naptimes (Ferber says 30 minutes). I am hesitant to let him CIO again as we just got him back to sleeping through the night after the last Ferber attempt.
I am distraught. I have been praying for wisdom, patience and SLEEP for 10 months. I don't know where to go from here. I feel like I am screwing up my son and depriving him of the sleep he needs. I am also tired and in serious need of some time to myself.
For now, I am going to go back to staying in his room with him until he falls asleep, keeping track of his sleep and try to make sense of it all. Wish me luck.