Masthead header

I Am Sleepy.

I remember when I was 79 months pregnant with Jolie and I would read blogs of women who were experiencing life with a baby and toddler and they frightened me.  Their babies weren’t sleeping through the night, their toddlers were acting up, they were finding it impossible to get anything done.  “Surely I’ll be able to handle the short-lived trials better than they,” I scoffed as I scrolled down their pages.

Pride goeth before a fall.

This blog has now become another cautionary tale, literary birth control, if you will.  Two kids have been way harder than I thought they would be.  The biggest problem we’re dealing with right now is that despite her calm and happy nature, Jolie is not sleeping for more than 4-hour stretches in the nights.  And it’s killing me!  I put her to bed at 7 PM each night and she’s up at 11, 3 and 6.  Mercy!  A few nights ago she was up four times, Avelyn was up once (which has, thankfully, become a rarity), and Rolo was whining to go pee at 4 am so Steve let him out only to hear his barking escalate to crazy levels as he was being attacked by a pack of raccoons and came limping and bleeding back into the house so we could perform canine first aid.  At 4 am.  After already being up four times with the children.  You can’t make this stuff up!

For all her spunk, Avelyn was a better sleeper at this point than Jolie and we never had to do the “cry it out” thing until she was close to two years old.  So I am at a loss.  How do you get a 5 month-old to sleep!  Do they still need to eat two or three times a night?  How do I cut back feedings?  Do we go cold turkey and listen to her howl all night?

I told Steve last night that we need to hire someone to come and watch the girls for a week so that when we come back they’ll have Avelyn potty trained and Jolie sleeping through the night.  Any takers?

Hillary - Around month 5 or 6, The Boy went from sleeping through the night to two or three wake-ups, and we fixed the problem by putting him to bed about 30 minutes earlier. But, with Jolie already going to bed at 7, that might not be a solution for you, so …

Lots of caffeine and chanting of “This too shall pass”? Hang in there.

little miss mel - Our efforts with Hola was to wait to feed him till 5am at 5 months old, 6am at 6 months old..etc. Now, of course, if he woke at 430am I would go ahead and feed him, but I tried training him to go all night as soon as I could. (in the 7th month, he could go till 7am.)

The times he did wake up before “feeding time”, we would sleep train him back to sleep. We used a version of The Baby Whisperer’s Pick Up/Put Down. (Patting his butt was his personal favorite.)

Was never a fan of CIO or to be more specific, it didn’t work for Rt’s personality. We used Baby Whisperer for him with success, so decided we would do the same for Hola.

We unswaddled AND sleep trained AND pushed off his feedings till after 5am around 6 months. It wasn’t easy, AT ALL, (teething too) but we were already in the craps of no sleep without doing anything, so the time was right for us. Depends on what you’re up for, really.

I totally agree. The whole non-sleep thing is miserable!!

Angella - We’ve already talked at length about this and…I’ve got nothing.

I’ll take your kids if you take mine ;)

Heidi - In my opinion kids at that age and of a good weight and size don’t need to be fed every 3-4 hours overnight. What they do need is to learn how to get themselves back to sleep without a bottle/breast. It is much easier to sleep train a baby than a toddler. Plus you need sleep. A week or so of sleepless nights sleep training will pay off in the long run!! Good luck!

Jen - Isn’t it amazing how 1 + 1 = 54397920241657510. Atleast that’s how it feels. Two isn’t twice the work, it’s a trillion times the work.

As for the sleeping, I gave you all my suggestions yesterday so I’m fresh out. But I did come across this article and thought it may shed some light on things for you: http://www.kellymom.com/parenting/sleep/sleep.html#normal

Jen - Just saw this and thought I would share:

“In this study, part of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Pregnancy and Childhood (ALSPAC), researchers surveyed the parents of 640 babies. Some of the results:

Only 16% slept through the night at six months old — 84% were not sleeping through the night at 6 months
17% woke more than once per night, ranging from twice to eight times
5% woke once every night
9% woke most nights
50% woke occasionally
16% of six-month-olds had no regular sleeping pattern”

So it’s not abnormal and you aren’t alone. Doesn’t make it any easier though …

Jennifer W. - OMG you poor thing! My Avelyn was 6 months old before we tried the cry it out/Ferber method thing. It was awful. It wasn’t until one month ago when she turned 9 months that she REALLY started sleeping good by herself. I say listen to your heart and your head, which is usually smarter. If you think she would benefit from sleep training now (and you would too!) Then do it. But don’t be like me and hee-haw around for 3 months. She probably would have done better sooner if not for my weakness! I wish I lived in the big C-A. I’d help you out!

Marin - I’d take them, but I’ve got school. So, not really. But if I could, I would. Ish. :)

Amie Wouda - 5 weeks ago Isabelle started waking at night and for the last few weeks has been waking to feed 2-3 times in the night. Yesterday I gave her baby cereal for the first time and last night she went 12 hours….maybe it was a fluke but I hope it wasn’t because it would be too bad if last night was the only night she does it and we spent our one chance at a night of sleep awake, worrying why she wasn’t waking up.

Susie - I don’t have any real advice, except to say while this stage may feel like an eternity, “this too shall pass”. Kynan wasn’t sleeping through the night until he was too, but Ava started at around a year. Every baby is different. Every parent is different. Find something your comfortable with and go for it. You are the best mom for your babies, remember that.

Kandace - Good gravy.

My “baby” just turned 2.5 and we still have trouble with her sleeping through the night. So, don’t listen to my advice, not that I have any.

Having two kids is so much freaking harder than having one but once you find that part out it’s too late to go back. (Not that their joy doesn’t fix all of it but still.)

2.5 years later I am STILL sleep deprived.

I’ve given in to the fact that I’ll be sleep deprived until they are both in college.

Take naps with them…that is my only defense against the deprivation.

Amanda - When Jack was five months old his doctor told me that he should be sleeping through the night and that he was most likely waking out of habit. So I stumbled across this system called “the drill”. It is not at all like letting them cry it out… although it sounds somewhat like it.

Basically you go in every five minutes whether they’re crying or fussing or nothing until they fall asleep. When you go in there pick them up and settle them down, then put them back down, leave and start the clock. Jack usually fussed and then started to really cry right around the five minute mark. So I never felt like a horrible mother or like I was torturing him.

The first night we went in every five minutes for 40 minutes. The second night we only went in two times and from that point on we’d put him in his bed and he’d lay down and go to sleep. Occasionally (if he was sick or had some sort of set back) we’d have to revisit the drill but it usually only took one night and we’d have him back on track.

Good Luck. Just remind yourself that this is all temporary. I have to do so every day. This too shall pass… hang in there!!

Mama Bear - I’d say growth spurt. Personally twice a night at five months seems just fine to me. They grow so quickly at that age, and needing to eat more often is just a sign of their growth. I would never have expected any of my 3 to sleep totally through the night at 5 months old, I would have liked it, but I never expected it. Don’t put such pressure on Jolie, although you want more sleep, she just wanting you and let it feel good. It is 100 times more difficult with 2 little ones, don’t put so much pressure on yourself.

Grandpa - Isn’t anyone else the least bit concerned about that poor family of raccoons?

Mrs. Wilson - Oh boy. I think we let Liliana cry it out at 5 months and she was only up twice a night. If I remember right.

I am probably the least-expert person I know when it comes to potty training. I sent my kid to live with my mother for a month (when I was in college) and she came back completely potty trained.

I’m so sorry you’re getting so little sleep, and I hope your little one changes her ways SOON.

Ashley - Gee thanks Amanda you are giving my future such hope. I am not prepared to sport the toothpick eyeliner look for 5 months!

Just kidding, although we are far from the 5 month mark that is how Bethy was, we found keeping her up a little later and cluster feeding her to be helpful. Also, just finished the Baby Whisperer book. Although it’s not the baby bible by any means it has some interesting and valid advice.

Good luck, we’re praying for you. :)

Tamara - Poor Rolo! That’s crazy. What are you guys going to do about the savage raccoons living in your yard? Perhaps a nice raccoon hat for Steve complete with a tail?

With our kids we did the thing where you go in and comfort every few minutes. I couldn’t wait five minutes so I would go in every three minutes until they started to settle a bit and then stretch it to four or five. The first night it took about 35 minutes, the next maybe ten, and after that it was just a few minutes each night. That also seemed to take care of the night wakings. Jolie is still pretty young, though. She might still need one bottle in the night. My kids were closer to eight months old before I did it.

Laurie - I really have nothing but sympathy for you … however…I WILL come and take your girls for a week if I can, in return, eat my weight in cherries and apples.

Just let me know when all is ripe.

Kaili - Jaia never slept through the night (NOT even close) till 17 months!! It was Hell! Robin and I hated each other it IS SO rough not having sleep!! Gee can’t wait for two! Haha!
My advice, get rid of the dog and hire a night nanny! Hey you asked! Haha!
Hope things get better. Is Jolie teething? This could be making things worse too. Jaia teethed from 3-7 months when we popped 5 teeth in a week end! Oh it was FUN! NOT! Good luck!

margaret - I almost feel guilty posting this but Lorelei started sleeping through the night at four months, Georgia at ten weeks. I’ve never had issues with either of my kids not sleeping but I also didn’t formally put either of them to bed until around eleven after they’ve had their late night bottle. Works for us. Georgia will even sleep as late as nine-thirty or ten if I let her. Maybe try keeping her up later. With Lorelei, her sleep evolved from eleven at night to eight at night over time and by seven months was sleeping from eight until eight. Good luck. As for the potty training, I’m still stuck.

Sonia - I was going to say the same thing as Mama Bear. Sounds like it could be a growth spurt.

Both my kids had growth spurts close to the 5 1/2 – 6 month mark. Both woke up for more frequent feeds during that time. Plus, if teething is happening, it could definitely add to the increase in wakings.

I started both my kids on rice cereal and I think that helped out immensely.

Later when I couldn’t get rid of 1 night time feeding when DD was much older, I ended up doing the pick up/put down method (baby whisperer) and although it was really tough on my back and heart wrenching to hear her crying, it worked! 2 1/2 nights of difficulty for nights of uninterrupted sleep!

I wish you much luck. *hugs*

Andrea - HI Amanda,

I enjoy reading your website and all your updates with your beautiful girls. I also have a five and a bit month old baby. My absolute dream would be if he slept four hours in a row through the night. He doesn’t. He ONCE went six hours. We celebrated and it never happened again.

I am breastfeeding and he wakes every 2-3 hours all night long. He nurses and goes right back to sleep..but I feel your pain. The waking up is hard!!! The getting through the day on the lack of sleep is even harder.

I have had a variety of women come up to me and tell me to, ‘just cherish each minute..it passes so quickly!’. I am sure it is true and try to remind myself when I feel disgusting from the lack of sleep. I feel like my body has aged so much since this all started!

I will think of you in the middle of the night as my little Ben wakes to eat!

Cate - Do you swaddle? I found that swaddling solved a lot of issues!

Good luck!

Marcie - I’m not a believer in the ‘crying out’ thing, especially before six months of age, but that’s not why I’m replying.

Mostly, I’m just replying to say thank you, hehe. I’ve been bitching about my four month old’s sleeping habits on my own blog for weeks now but then I read this entry and thought, “wow, it ain’t so bad here”.

Ava wakes up a lot sometimes, and then not at all others, so I can empathize to some degree. There are also nights that the dog thinks it’s a good time to put her nose to the door. Very frustrating.

I rock my girl back to sleep, usually, but not always, and sometimes it takes her at least an hour to get back to sleep, if not longer. We try and leave her in her crib but eventually she gets angry or loses her bink or…something, and I end up in the rocking chair. A bad habit forming, probably, but what can you do? Listen to your kid scream or help her along. I’ll help her along, gladly.

Our first child didn’t do this. He went to sleep and that was it. We let him whine and cry for about 2 minutes, tops, but he usually quit on his own and if not we picked him up. This child is a whole new ball game and some days I want to hang myself.

We’re feeding the 4 month old 6 ounces of formula in the morning (6am/7am) when she gets up, mixed with 4 tbsp. of rice cereal. She also gets 2 tbps. or as much as she’ll eat of some sort of fruit. She gets 4-6 ounces of straight formula at 10am, 2-3pm and then again before bed around 6pm. At that feeding she also gets 2 tbsp. or as much as she’ll eat of a vegetable. She eats once and once only at night, if she wakes, and its usually 4-6 ounces.

Everyone has advice. I think every kid is just different. Maybe she’s teething. Ava started teething 2 weeks ago and already has 2 teeth coming in, and that was when she started getting up more and being fussier at night.

Know that you’re not alone. It’s suckish everywhere. :) The ped. says babies who don’t sleep a lot have high IQ’s. “Maybe she’ll go to Yale,” she said to me. “If she makes it that long,” I replied through gritted teeth.

Good luck!

Sonya - We are trying this method out for 2 weeks…As of this week only when our 5 month wakes for the 2-3 am feed we have started to feed him water. He has figured out he is not getting the good oil any longer and decided each night he wants less and less. He is getting his full quota of food of stewed veg, fruit, formula and rice cereal in the day plus some more!!. He is a healthy weight and is already 20 pound! We are not worried at all about him not getting enough food. I have no idea if we will crack it or not but so far indications are promising. I admire your honesty at all times and I think you are writing my life on motherhood and I adore your blog.

SarahD - Unfortunately every child, parent and situation is so darn different, that there will be no ONE answer. I’m sure you’ve tried keeping Jolie from napping in the evenings to ensure that she’s good and tired in the nights. And you aren’t breastfeeding, so thankfully you don’t have to ask yourself the question I always was…”maybe I don’t have enough milk??”. She really could be going through a growth spurt or teething, or will just be one of those babies (like my 3rd) who just won’t figure out sleeping thru the night for a year. And I just wanted to reassure you that YOU WILL SURVIVE! Somehow we all do. It’s like looking back to childbirth now and wondering, how in the heck did I ever do that and LIVE!?

Dori - We didn’t end up doing the cry it out thing until my son was 9 months old. Even if you don’t do it now go and get the Ferber book and read it. You can do his method from 6 months. It saved my sanity, and my marrige. My pedi recommended it because the children need their sleep too for proper development so we must teach them how to sleep through the night not just for our own comfort but for their health.

kiki - I’m so sorry! It is super hard. Micah will be 6 months old on March 1st and she started waking two to three times a night about two months ago. She was sleeping through the night. I have noticed on days that she nurses more, she sleeps better that night. Also, both my boys went through this. I just sent them to bed with a sippy cup of water and that seemed to do the trick. I also wake up two or three times a night needing water. Must be some kind of genetic link. My oldest is six and still takes a bottled water to bed. Do you live in the mountains by any chance? I know that can dehydrate kids very quickly and they need more to drink at night. Good luck! Teething doesn’t help either.

Mama Bear - Oh, and also agreed with the Mom who didn’t put her baby to bed for the night until later. Mine all took naps about that 6:00 range, very short naps, then were up to play for the evening and went to bed about that 10 p.m. range. That way they slept longer into the morning as well. It was the way we trained our kids not to be those 5 a.m. early risers, because Hubby and I get up early, but not that early!

Angela - Amanda, I love the way you write. After hearing you talk about your blog today, I wanted to come back and read. You write so well and share your life with people so honestly (bravely). What I also appreciate is that what I’ve come to know about you in person in the little time that I’ve known you is the same as what I’ve read here. I wish that I had some grand words of sleep wisdom but my boys are so different that way that I feel your sleep deprived pain…May you soon experience long nights of sleep…

Steve - I know a guy who knows a guy with access to a bevy of mild mongoose tranquilizers. You could take care of those raccoons AND get the girls to sleep for longer. Just putting that out there…

Kerri Anne - I would totally babysit if we lived closer! Which totally sounds like a cop out comment. Like: Yeah, IF. Suckas!

(Seriously, though. I hope it gets better, soon and very soon.)

trish - was I one of those two kids not coping mums? I promise it gets easier. Fraser’s now only waking once a night around 4am and it’s so much more sane. Plus during the day he crawls around and plays and i can actually entertain both kids at the same time. Some days I even make dinner before Cory gets home.

Danica - I’ll do it, but it’ll cost you a million dollars.

Nerves | The Super Whites - […] at Kicky Boots one of my favourite bloggers, Amanda is admitting the irony of thinking “how hard can it […]