Sigh. I had hoped we wouldn’t reach this point, but I need you, my village, to help me raise my child. Well, no, to help me get my child to sleep. I’m not even looking for Eli to sleep through the night (yet!), my aspirations are not that high. I just want him to sleep in his crib.
A little background:
When Eli was tiny, like, from day 1, he had reflux. It was pretty ugly and initially our doctor didn’t want to medicate him. One of the things we did to try to help was put him in a Rock n Play (which will henceforth be referred to as his bunny bed) for sleep, which actually made a tremendous difference in his sleep. He gradually got pretty good at sleeping in it and would go 6-7 hours without eating. Once he actually went all night. Once I said.
At 6 months we moved him to his crib in his room. The first night was so bad we moved him back to his bunny bed in our room. The next few nights got progressively better and better and within 2 days he was sleeping in his crib all night (with a break to eat at least once, very occasionally twice). He even slept happily in the Pack n Play over Thanksgiving with one (very late) wake up a night. It was a miracle.
And then he got sick. And I kept up with the crib through the bronchiolitis and right up until the ear infection. Every time I laid him down in the crib he would scream. I mean scream as if the world was ending. And so we pulled the bunny bed back out and let him sleep in that until he got better. And he got better so we went back to the crib…until he got sick again. This time he slept on me for 2 days and then we went to my mom’s house for Christmas where he outright refused the Pack n Play, so he slept in the bunny bed. Then he got sicker, with a sinus infection and the pediatrician recommended keeping him on an incline. We tried wedging the crib mattress but he would immediately shimmy to the bottom of the wedge, so it was pretty worthless.
So now he’s healthy and I’m ready for him to sleep in his crib again. Most nights (save for the few where he is overtired) he goes to bed in his crib without a fuss. Like last night I put him in it wide awake, he played with his feet for a while (they had monkeys on them) and then laid down and slept like a rock…for 3 hours.
Every night for the past 4-5 nights, he wakes up 2-4 hours after going to bed, hysterical. Like screaming. And when I pick him up he won’t snuggle and often won’t calm. Sometimes the bottle doesn’t even help. Last night he kept pushing it away, arching and screaming. Some nights if I put him in his bunny bed he’ll then eat and calm, other nights, like one last week, he’s awake and screaming for an hour. I mean screaming when I hold him, screaming when dad holds him. Screaming if we put on Sesame Street, screaming if he sits on dad’s lap and watching him play video games (which is a thing we reserve for when he really needs comfort). Screaming with a bottle which is usually the cure to any nighttime ill. Several times he’s screamed until he has vomited despite me being there, holding and comforting him.
One night last week, he didn’t. He got up to eat twice (which, yes, sucks, but 8 month sleep regression is upon us and to be expected and I can’t tackle that just yet), but both times he went back down in his crib without any tears.
My husband thinks that it’s behavioral, but my gut says otherwise. The eating all night long may be a habit at this point and that is something that will need to be tackled, I’m not pretending otherwise, but the screaming. The severity of the crying, the duration, it’s just so very atypical for him. He’s usually all business at night. He wakes up, cries for a bottle, eats it and sleeps. So being inconsolable is troubling. And even if it IS behavioral, I have no idea how to get past this without considerably and frequent puking, which just seems like it will not improve the sleeping situation.
And I’m just…I’m stumped. He doesn’t seem sick, but he has been aggressively scratching the inside of both of his ears a lot lately, which I’m really unsure about. No fever, perfectly happy in the morning, but hysterical at night (always between 10:30 and 1am). And I am completely unsure of what to do. I refuse to make a fight of it because that’s just not my style, but I don’t know how to get us over this hump. How to help him stay calm, how to reduce the screaming, how to get him to sleep in the crib. He’s gradually creeping up on the weight limit for the bunny bed, so there is a deadline, though we have some wiggle room.
So, I’m soliciting advice. There’s no assvice here, tell me what you think. He’s on a good nap schedule where he sleeps usually 2.5-4 hours during the day in two naps. He has a good bedtime routine of bath, book, bottle, bed, that we’ve had in place for probably close to 7 months. I just don’t know what else to do- how to make his crib a happy place to sleep, how to reduce the nighttime hysteria.
I’m ready for him to be able to sleep in a crib and then, someday, SOMEDAY, through the night more than once. Help? Please?
Update from last night: Literally one minute after I hit send, he woke up, after an hour of sleep and freaked out. He was wide awake, not in pain, but did not want to be in his room. We tried cry it out again and it was awful. I lasted 25 minutes before I moved him from his crib to his bunny bed, where he cried a few more minutes, much less vigorously and went to sleep. He wasn’t in pain that I could find, wasn’t hungry, refused (with anger) his pacifier, and would cry when I held him, rocked him, put him in his crib. The only thing that made him stop crying was if I took him out of his room, which to me says he just didn’t want to sleep (which, TOO BAD CHILD. YOU NEED REST). He went back to sleep around 10, got up at 1:15, ate, nearly settled back down and then cried off and on until about 2 (cried in his room, cried in his swing, cried on my lap), slept until 6, ate a little, got up for the day at 8. I am so tired.