Top Ten Tuesday: My Baby Hates Sleep

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David is an angel baby. He is smiley, happy, cooey, albeit pretty drooly. He nurses happily, happily spits up, and giggles as he gets his clothes changed.

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But he hates to sleep.

At four months, the longest he has ever slept is 6 hours. And that is very rare. I am so tired I feel like I am sleepwalking a lot of the time. It is hard to have an infant and a toddler. HARD!


David is a tummy sleeper; he will only sleep about 15 minutes on his back and then wake up and cry about it. For the past three weeks, since he learned to turn from belly to back, he will roll over every 2-3 hours all night long, and then wake up and cry. He can’t roll from back to belly.

Again … it’s a good thing he’s usually happy and insanely cute.

My happy guy

Mostly in jest, here are 10 ways I have considered getting David to sleep longer.

1. Duct taping him laying on his tummy, as suggested on my Facebook Fan Page.

2. Swaddling. SwaddleMe? Nope. Miracle Blanket? Not a chance. He will wriggle until he is free or scream bloody murder until released from the restrictive cocoon. (If anyone would like to purchase an open but very much unused Miracle Blanket from me, shoot me an email. jessie at vanderbiltwife dot com.)

3. Co-sleeping. I like co-sleeping in theory. But in practice, I have a really hard time sleeping if there is a baby in the bed because I roll around a lot. I cannot get comfortable and therefore am getting even less sleep than I was before. We often end up co-sleeping some of the night if I fall asleep while nursing. The rest of the time he is still in a pack-and-play right by my side of the bed.

4. Just swaddling on the bottom half so he can’t roll over. We tried this. It worked for two nights, and then he figured it out. Dang it!

5. Putting him in his crib in another room because maybe he would sleep better if he couldn’t hear us Mr. V snoring or our moving around. Wrong. I have tried this a few nights but I just get frustrated walking the entire length of our ranch house back and forth a million times. If he’s going to sleep the same in the pack and play or in his crib, I’d rather have him where I don’t have to get out of bed.

6. Permanently attaching him to my chest. At least he’s quiet then.

7. Duct taping the pacifier to his mouth. See: #1, also: child abuse. David knows the paci puts him to sleep, so he rips it out of his mouth constantly.

8. Blanket sleepers. It is already 85 during the day here. I don’t want him to sweat and be miserable, not to mention I probably don’t need another SIDS risk.

9. Nursing every hour during the day in the hopes he wouldn’t get hungry at night. I would honestly do this if I thought it would help. But he’s not going to eat if he’s not hungry, so the chances he would do it are slim to none.

10. Trying to enjoy babyhood and remembering this too shall pass.

Do you have any super tips for me? Cause I have to go … he’s awake. AGAIN. (No, he doesn’t like to nap either.)

Please don’t leave chastising comments about all the reasons I shouldn’t co-sleep, have him tummy sleep, etc. I have a pediatrician to tell me those things and I know the risks.

Added to Top Ten Tuesday at OhAmanda.

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28 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: My Baby Hates Sleep

  1. No advice, just understanding. Margot hated swaddling and screamed like were were pulling out her toenails. Co-Sleeping is what does it for us. Here to hoping you'll get more sleep soon.

  2. Caroline sleeps in a) the bouncy seat or b) the swing. Oh and c) the car seat when we come back from car trips. I know I'm setting myself up for disaster later but I went through 1 baby that NEVER SLEPT and if this one will give me 8 hours a night in the swing? Fine by me.

    Have you tried white noise? It's like MAGIC for Caroline. I even use a white noise app on my phone when we're in public and she conks right out.

  3. Oh goodness. You know I'm not an expert!! I've heard (and it seemed to be true w/ mine) that sleep breeds sleep. I had to start with long naps to get him to sleep through the night. Unfortunately, that meant a modified version (meaning very loose) of cry it out for a couple of days. But, after that, he actually did sleep longer! But, you have much more experience that I do so you are more of an expert than I am ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Poor sleepy momma! After getting four kids through babyhood, you would think I would have some answers, but I got nothin'. It will be gone before you know it. Here's hoping you get some rest soon.

  5. Girlfriend, I have no idea! I had 3 sleep books I read and tried every single thing in all of them. Would it pain you to know Asa just started sleeping 12 hours about a month ago?

  6. No advice, just hang in there. Isn't it incredible how different our children can be. My oldest of 3 had trouble sleeping, and I just thought all babies were like that. I was pleasantly surprised when #2 was a great sleeper. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Now that my oldest is 11, he still has trouble relaxing to fall asleep sometimes. But now he doesn't keep me up!

  7. Oh, I so wish I had a magic formula for you…

    My best advice is to try the ideas of friends and families (as long as they're simple and fit with your parenting philosophy), but don't hang all your hopes on any one idea. (I do second the recommendation of white noise if you haven't yet tried it!)

    As you already know (though it's no comfort when you're exhausted), it won't last forever. Perhaps that handsome little man just wants to spend as much alert time as possible with his Mama. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. My kids are now teenagers and they never want to get out of bed so my problem is opposite of yours. Maybe that will encourage you to know that one day you will be able to sleep. ๐Ÿ™‚

    When my kids were babies my second child was colicky, didn't want to nurse and if he was sleeping and you tried to move him to place him in his bed…well, forget it. I thought I was going to pull my hair out. He spent more nights (or partial nights anyway) sleeping in his swing or carseat then I care to admit but at least it worked. Hope you get some sleep soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Neither of mine were good sleepers, although Kelly at least napped. Chris never napped and was a poor sleeper at night. Like someone else mentioned, we put Chris in his swing. He slept more in that than he did his bed. I was so tired I would have done anything … including feeding him steak and potatoes if it would have filled his tummy and made him sleep. Finally my pediatrician gave me a prescription for something (I have no idea what) that helped him sleep. It was a temporary measure that helped him get into the habit of sleeping.

  10. I think I found you thru org junkie, but I can realte! My now 4 yr old son still doesn't sleep. Hated swaddling, hated pacific He has never been able to rest well-enter amazingly wonderful pediatrician to discover his body isn't producing enough melatonin. Half a dropper at night and he now sleeps 9 hours. My 15 month old daughter looooves sleep. She has always slept so great that as a newborn I would have to get up and pump at night or my cups runneth over. Been there, done that, and he will eventually sleep

  11. I feel your pain. I have co-slept with my 2 kiddos. So 6 hrs at 4 mos doesn't sound that bad to me. But then, I RARELY have to get out of bed, and am usually only awake for a few minutes once or twice a night. I'm sorry that hasn't worked for you.

    I read approximately 10 sleep books with my first child. They only get you so far. I think #10 is the best to keep in mind, but also: lower expectations (for sleep and anything you will get done during the day), try white noise (you probably already have), and try to think about how cute your kid is. That's what gets me through the day.

    My kids are also poopy nappers, but now my 3.5 year old (who was a very poopy sleeper when a baby) sleeps great. So I guess they usually grow out of it eventually.

  12. Have you tried praying for an answer? You tried the SwaddleMe which would have been my advice. Our LO went through about a month of standing-in-the-crib excitement that kept us awake a lot. Hubby and I took turns sleeping upstairs near the baby and down in the blissful silence of the basement. Try to keep the temperature down to 70 and I hope God helps you find a solution.

  13. I feel for you! I hope Daddy let's you get some nap time in occasionally:).
    The white noise worked for us too. I bought a machine on amazon for $25 and it was money well spent as it has been used every night for the past two years and has traveled across the country with us.
    I would also recommend a Woombie, which is a swaddle thingie that is made of stretchy material and zips up. The baby has room to move their limbs, but is loosely confined. It worked awesome for us. It's one of the few things I saved in case we ever have another baby.
    Good luck!

  14. I'm so sorry :(. What a blessing to have a happy baby though. My daughter slept in her swing for some time. Now, we have a fan in her room – it truly is a life saver. Hopefully you can do a follow-up post and you can try some of the techniques offered in the comments.

  15. Zero judging from me. I am the mom of a chronic non-sleeper. The kid was born that way. She has never has been a fan. Once I gave up on the idea that she HAD to sleep X amount of hours it got better. I just had to let it go. But I know full well how people like to give you grief over a nonsleeping baby. They make you think that if they aren't sleeping through the night by 12 weeks and napping on a regular schedule that you are doing something wrong as a mother. You're not. Every child is different. I was in a lot better place mentally when I came to that realization. Now the sleep deprivation nearly killed me but that's another story. LOL! Good luck.

  16. I'm a big fan of the swing, big fan, my first was a terrible sleeper and that really helped us get a few hours out of him. My second slept well at night but had trouble napping, the swing saved the day again. I know they're expensive, but so worth it. I recommend the kind you can plug in, saves a TON on batteries. Good luck!!!

  17. I can relate to your frustration! It's nice that you are able to have some humor about it.

    My daughter, now 17 months, started sleeping terribly around 3 months. I would put her in the Miracle Blanket after she fell asleep and it worked great, for a while ๐Ÿ™‚ but then she fought it, like everything else.

    If we were good friends my advice would be to do anything and everything you can now, at the youngest age possible, to help him sleep. Speaking from my experience only, after reading endless sleep books, everything on the Internet, attempting to sleep train, but still waking every 2 hours after 14 months, I couldn't take it any more and stumbled upon the Baby Sleep Site. I did pay for a consultation package and it was worth every penny! Nicole, the consultant, customizes every sleep plan so if you don't want your baby to cry that's fine. The best thing, better than any book, is that you can ask her questions about your specific situation, and there's a guarantee. My daughter still struggles with sleep and naps here and there, but went from waking ever 2 hours to sleeping 10 – 12 hours straight at night.

    I can't tell you how much less stressful I am and how much better my marriage is! I definitely wanted to punch those people in the face who told me their baby slept 10 hours a night, so I'm sorry I sound like that now. But, it was such a rough first year for me with my daughter not sleeping, I hate to hear when others are experiencing the same thing. I remember crying to the Lord, "please, please just make her sleep !" Lol!

    Sorry for the lengthy comment. Best of luck!

  18. Oh dear! I am in the same boat!! Baby boy is 2 months and just will not sleep during the day…unless he is attached to me, of course. At night he sleeps for 3 hour stints, and believe me, I'm thankful for that! Also, he's a tummy sleeper too!

    Loved your suggestions! Sadly I don't have any suggestions to help. But, when you figure it out…spread the wealth of knowledge my way ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Oh how I feel your pain! My 13 month old still wakes up at least twice at night. One thing that we have done with all three of our kids is to prop them up a little. When they are very little I put the pillow under the crib sheet so they don't get stuck under it. That really helped my eldest, who is still not a sleeper, get a little extra shut eye.
    Hope you find something that works!!

  20. Well, he IS insanely cute!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    That is HARD. I have no advice, just sympathy.

    And this bit of encouragement: this too shall pass. ๐Ÿ™‚

    ((hugs))

  21. My suggestion for the rolling would be to try towels rolled up close to him. I had the opposite problem, my 20 week old baby hates being on his tummy but automatically rolls onto it without a barrier there and refuses to roll himself over even though he can. now i tuck towels around him and they stop the rolling.

  22. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have an 18 month old and a 4 month old. Ive got the same problems except they both wake up every couple of hours. I think Ive adapted to not getting any sleep. I know the dark circles under my eyes are now permanent! Good luck and I hope you can find something to help him sleep!

  23. Wow! This is EXACTLY my daughter. She is now 13 months and nothing has changed. What did you end up doing? Did David just grow out of it?(And if so, at what age?) Or, did you finally find a solution that worked. I’m so tired of feeling like a zombie every day! And I too have a baby as well as a toddler… And a nine year old AND a fourteen year old – ALL of her older sibs, LOVED their sleep, btw!! So I never imagined I’d still be here after her first birthday.

    • Well … I hate to tell you that David never slept through the night until 15 months. But here’s the thing – he was sharing a room with his sister from about 8 months on. As soon as we moved her to another room (uhh … closet) he slept all night. He was just a high maintenance sleeper. I hope you find your solution. He sleeps greT now if that helps!

  24. Thanks… I wish we could easily put her in her own room but she shares with her 2 sisters. Our oldest who is a boy has a room to himself. But 15 months is not TOO far away. Even if she comes around by 18 months. I’m just hoping to find a light at the end of the tunnel. I (slept?) with one arm and one leg hanging off my bed when she did finally crash last night… Or should I say this morning!!

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