Crowdsourcing Baby Sleep

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.

77 Responses to “Crowdsourcing Baby Sleep”

  • kimybeee:

    i would guess tummy ache on the screaming till puking – but i have a 19 year old and an almost 17 year old. my baby advice has a lot of rust on it.

    the second thing that popped into my head was night terrors. don’t know anything really about them – but if he is inconsolable until he vomits, then that may be the time he realizes he is back in the real world.

    just sharing what it could be from my perspective – i do know that no matter how old your kids are, your heart hurts when they are in pain!

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    Katie Reply:

    @kimybeee, It definitely could be his tummy. He’s been having some constipation issues as of late, so that might be the issue. I did look up night terrors and while it seems to fit the timing, according to what I read, he’s too young. Or maybe he’s just a prodigy? I appreciate the suggestions!

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  • Reading your post brings back memories of what my son was like (he’s now 18 years old). He ended up having Pyloric Stenosis and had to have surgery (had the projectile vomiting). I hope and pray your situation improves and fast! Sleepless babies are stressed and so are their sleepless parents! Get rest when you can. Blessings!

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  • You could also call his pediatricians office or the nurse line for your health insurance company. It sounds medical related to me but at the same time there’s that advice out there about letting the baby just cry themselves back to sleep.

    Here’s another resource at the Erickson Institute I doubt they’re open now but you could try tomorrow! 1.888.431.BABY

    Good luck!!

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    Katie Reply:

    @Camper Jen, Pyloric Stenosis is scaaaaary. We actually had some concerns when he was little that that was the issue (my husband brought them back up recently due to some spectacular projectile spit up, but we know he’s told old now, blessedly), that must’ve been so scary. I’ll definitely check out the Erickson Institute. Thanks!

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  • I read in the Ferber book about night terrors, and it sounds similar to what you’re describing. I can’t remember what was prescribed to help. Maybe check it out? Poor kid.

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    Katie Reply:

    @Tamara, I’ll have to take a look. I didn’t realize they could start this young. God I hope that’s not it.

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  • I haven’t followed every detail of your situation, but I’m wondering if he absolutely must learn to sleep in his crib right now or fall asleep alone? I know that you have a serious schedule to keep, but the amount of time and energy you must be expending on all this night-time drama might be better spent just letting him fall asleep in your arms and then left to sleep where he is most comfortable…? In my opinion, babies and little children don’t seem to like to be left alone in the the dark and cannot comprehend that it’s safe and you will return. It might sound crazy to you, but my daughter is about to turn five and she falls asleep with me right next to her every single night… and then I get up and leave the room. I know she will not be doing this forever, and it seems like all the inconvenient things I have panicked about her needing to move on from have really just happened despite/in spite of me trying to force it, from stopping nursing to eating certain foods to potty training, etc. Just a thought, I truly hope you can find some peace.

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    Katie Reply:

    @Jennifer, He falls asleep alone already 99% of the time. He will even fall asleep in the middle of the night (usually only after eating) when he wakes up. It’s just that he won’t sleep in his crib. It’s not absolutely necessary that he does it now, but there’s a 25 pound weight limit and I’d much rather he move into the crib when it isn’t dire and there’s no alternative, you know? He’s way more comfortable in his bunny bed for sure and if it didn’t have a weight limit, I wouldn’t push it. I don’t want to fight him, but we eventually have to get him out of there.

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  • Juli:

    Sounds exactly like night terrors. I had them as a child and as an adult I watched my nephew have them from 8 months old until he was 2.5 years. It is scary because the poor babies doesn’t know that comfort is there. Seems like he isn’t actually awake. Advice from my mum ( 4 kids, 5 grandsons) is to just hold him and rub his back or pat his bum until he comes up and out of it. Also ear plugs are good for when he is screaming in your arms. Hope this helps!

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    Katie Reply:

    @Juli, I had no idea that these could even be night terrors. All my research made it sound like they happened later in life, but I guess that’s not the case? I think I’ll have to do a bit more investigation. Thanks for the suggestions!

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    Juli Reply:

    @Katie, i confirmed with my mum and according to her and my older sisters mine started very young and lasted until i was almost 4. i hope you find an answer soon!

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  • Yeah, the inconsolable part sounds like night terrors, which I also didn’t think started this young, but who knows? We’ve had just a couple of those episodes with our gal, and it was horrific. If that’s the case, I hope there’s a relatively simple resolution for you.

    I have no words of wisdom otherwise, but I REALLY wish I did.

    Just know that you are a rockstar mom, truly. xoxo

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    Katie Reply:

    @Nanette, Thanks. xoxo

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  • Barbara:

    My son does exactly the same thing when new teeth are coming in. He gets frustrated when eating because the sucking causes even more discomfort and he just seems pissed because of the pain.

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    Katie Reply:

    @Barbara, Yea, I’m increasingly thinking teething might be part of the issue. He refused a pacifier over and over last night, which is very unusual and he’s chewing on it like mad today. I don’t see any tooth buds, but on the top, I’m not even sure what to look for. Ah kids, always making it complicated.

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  • Almamay:

    I think your gut instinct is right. It is probably the reflux. We had exactly the same problem at the same age. Our boy had silent reflux so we didn’t have the diagnosis till 7 months. We stopped giving him formula/milk after he went to sleep and gave water. The lactic acid in the formula/milk causes the pain and screaming. We also continued with the baby Gaviscon, we are in the UK so it might have a different name.

    Our boy didn’t grow out of the reflux till he was just over a year. After a we sorted the problem by giving water at night (it took about a week) he became a champion sleeper.

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    Katie Reply:

    @Almamay, We have an appointment with the pediatrician in two weeks, I think we’ll check then. It would have to be silent since he doesn’t do the choking he did when he was tiny, or even really spit up anymore. Sigh, babies are complicated.

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  • Kristina:

    Hi Katie – I’m a long time reader but I don’t think I’ve ever commented before. I’m going to second some of the other suggestions and say it’s reflux or teeth. Is he still on medicine for reflux? We had to adjust my son’s dosage frequently because he was growing so fast. As for the teeth, ibuprofen before bed usually kept my kiddos asleep for the night or there are also some natural, organic remedies at the drugstore (although check with Eli’s doc, because my doctor does not recommend some of those, but I know a lot of other docs do). Good luck! Almost everything at this age is just a stage so I’m sure you’ll figure it out sooner than later :)

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    Katie Reply:

    @Kristina, He’s not on medication for reflux. He seemed to grow out of it completely around 6 months so we stopped (with ped recommendation). I do think it might be teeth, so I’m going to give the Motrin another try tonight. We did it last week after a particularly bad night, but I can’t remember if it helped or not (all the nights are bleeeeeending to one, long, wake up.)

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  • Amy:

    My son is almost exactly a month younger than yours and I found Nancy Holtzman on twitter has helped soooo much. She’s w Isis Parenting and she has so much knowledge on sleep issues. Isis also does sleep consults. If its a medical issue maybe they can at least help eliminate anything else. Their website has tons of webinars on all sorts of baby topics-some are on YouTube. And she’s always on twitter answering question/giving advice. For us the white noise/humidifier has been key-Helps keep him asleep, though I know your problem is more complex than ours. I hope you can find an answer soon, I know that must be heartbreaking and frustrating for all three of you.

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    Katie Reply:

    @Amy, We’ve been using white noise (we have a white noise machine and a HEPA fan that makes noise) and it has definitely helped, especially for naps and so we can actually live our lives when he’s asleep. I’ll definitely check out those sources you recommended. Thanks so much.

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  • Oh, that sounds awful! Maybe you can email your pediatrician to see what s/he thinks? With my older son, we noticed that sometimes the only thing that calmed him down when he freaked out at night is to get him to wake up completely – turn on the lights, talk at a normal volume etc.
    My younger son was born the day after Eli, and his sleeping has been horrific the last week or so. Stupid sleep regression! He’s also been doing the ear-pulling and ear-scratching, which at first freaked me out because I thought he may have an ear infection, but it seems babies do that when they’re teething and when they’re tired (mine is doing both). So at least Eli’s ear-pulling is most likely totally harmless.

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    Katie Reply:

    @Sonja, I think his ear stuff is probably nothing major too, though I would love if he would stop making the insides of his ears bleed. I can only trim his nails so much! And yes, this sleep regression bites big time. I haven’t gotten more than 3-4 hours of sleep in a stretch in almost a month. I think I might be unraveling slightly.

    I will try turning on the lights, that’s actually a pretty good idea we hadn’t tried. I think we’ve tried to keep him as close to asleep as we can at wakeups so he’ll go back to sleep, but perhaps that would help with the screaming wake up. Thanks for the suggestions, I hope you guys are over this regression soon, too.

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  • Susan:

    Have you tried “Sleeping Through the Night” by Jodi Mindell? It was a lifesaver for me. My baby is now 17 months old and I remember those awful nights filled with crying and flailing. Have you absolutely ruled out an ear infection? The ear-poking sounds suspicious. I would take him to the dr first and make sure there’s nothing medically wrong. Then I would try the Mindell book–it’s sleep training, but it really does work. The first 3 nights are the worst but now she goes to sleep in her crib and sleeps through the night pretty much every night (she always cried for about 2 minutes at first and then falls asleep–I can live with that). I had been nursing her to sleep until recently but she’s been biting so much lately that now I just do the bedtime routing without nursing, and it’s working!

    Anyway, good luck, and sorry for the long reply.

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    Katie Reply:

    @Susan, No, I’ve not read anything. I just bought one last night but so far, I’m already doing everything the book suggests, so, super glad I spent 8 bucks on it! I will definitely take a look.

    We haven’t ruled out an ear infection, but he just doesn’t seem to be in that much pain the way he was the last time. When he had the last ear infection, every time we laid him down he immediately screamed his tiny head off, then would calm down completely when picked up. It was like there was an invisible switch that he hit when horizontal. This is like 2-3 hours later. Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll check out that book for sure.

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  • Susan:

    Oh, one more thing–if he’s teething, a dose of baby Motrin before bed would probably help him. And then if he does wake up, have you tried letting him play with water in the tub? For some reason, that always soothed my baby–distracted her, I guess, and then she was sleepy after the Motrin killed the pain.

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    Katie Reply:

    @Susan, I think we’re going to try the Motrin again. He tried it sometime last week and though I cannot remember if it helped, it certainly can’t hurt!

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  • MLB:

    Here comes stream of consciousness assvice. Feel free to ignore. :)

    Night terrors are definite possibility. Especially since he’s screaming and it’s so soon after he’s fallen asleep. Check out both Ferber and Weissbluth.

    Take him back to led one more time to rule out any medical reason. Ears, reflux, anything.

    Is a pack-n-play an option? Is co-sleeping just with you since your husband objects?

    Take turns. You and your husband need to come up with a sleep plan before he goes to bed. Whether its both of you dealing or just one make a plan and then stick to it for that night. No one is judging you. No one. You are the worst judge of yourself. You need to come together as a team to create a plan. (And just because I said team doesn’t mean you both have to be up with him). The fantastic thing about bottle feeding is that you both can do it.

    I would check the AskMoxie archives since she deals with this so often and so well.

    Here’s the real piece of assvice – give CIO another shot. Go in and check on him but do not pick him up. He may still need middle of the night feelings but not hour in. He’s a good napped and he puts himself to sleep so you have a lot going for you. This may be something he needs to sort out for himself. Just because he’s little doesn’t mean he can’t.

    Good luck and remember no one is judging you. Please try and get some rest. Take turns if that will help you. Moxie is really great on this point.

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    Katie Reply:

    @MLB, The Pack-n-Play is definitely an option, but sleeping in our bed isn’t, even without my husband, I’m too afraid to do that. We have been discussing the need to take turns and once my husband gets over a big work hump (they’re switching to an online documentation system today and it is likely to be a total shit show, so he’s working crazy long hours), we’ll probably do something of that sort.

    We tried CIO again last night and it was a horror show. I did the do not pick him up, just check on him, tell him he’s okay and leave. He screamed his tiny baby head off for 30 minutes, until he was hoarse and I couldn’t do it anymore. He had been asleep for an hour before that. I finally had to move him to his bunny bed and leave, and he continued crying for 2-3 minutes and then settled. I honestly don’t know if he would ever settle in his crib. If history is any indication (he cried for 2 hours last time we tried), the answer is a hearty no. I’ll definitely take a look at Moxie. Thank you for the suggestions and reassurances.

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  • Scott:

    My little guy definitely had a major nightmare at about 8 months. But he had just the one where he woke up inconsolable. it freaked us out. So I think it could be nightmares. That said, the fact that it’s happening consistently and your mention of ear poking sure sounds like something physical. And if the bunny bed’s on an incline, but he’s flat in the crib and uncomfortable there after sleeping for a while, that’s suspect too.

    has he latched onto a comfort object of some sort? Our boy sleeps with what were originally intended as burp cloths. Most kids latch onto some little stuffy or something and you end up buying 3 or 4 of them but he hooked onto “cloth” He uses it for comfort when he’s awake and upset and he needs it to sleep. He’ll hold it up to his nose and rub his face with it. The combination of cloth, his own thumb, and the ability to get onto his stomach on his own were his big sleep breakthroughs (He’s 14 months now)

    they’re all different and their sleep cycles change so quickly as they develop so it’s definitely a challenge. It sucks cause what you try may seem to work or he may have just grown out of whatever he was going through and you really don’t know.

    [Reply]

    Katie Reply:

    @Scott, He has a little blanket that he sleeps with and loves. He will pull it to his face at night when he’s trying to go back to sleep. It’s adorable. And he’s pretty good at putting his pacifier back in, though he refused to take it last night altogether, so I don’t even know.

    I hope you’re right about the rapid change. I would very much like to grow out of this stage pleeeeease.

    Thanks for the suggestions!

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  • My son did this and wouldn’t seem to recognize us or respond to any soothing. I finally took him to the doctor–after a bunch of tests it was determined that he had a nocturnal seizure disorder. (though night terrors were the other suspicion) We declined to medicate for a variety of reasons. He eventually seemed to grow out of it.

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    Katie Reply:

    @Tarrant, Wow, I have never heard of that. I’ll do a little research, but I’m hopeful that that’s not the issue. Glad he grew out of it!

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  • purplebreath:

    I loved the suggestion of writing out a plan and sticking to it, Follow that up with writing down how it worked so you won’t need to remember. Taking a turn away with earplugs might be the sanity saver that you need.

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    Katie Reply:

    @purplebreath, Yea, I’m reading the No Cry Sleep Solution and a big part of it is making these chart things. So far I’m already doing everything else she suggests (apparently I am a natural baby sleep expert, my child is just not), so maybe tracking will help. I honestly have no idea.

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  • Lex:

    Have you tried Hylands teething tablets? That helped when we had similar inconsolable crying episodes. They truly are a godsend. I feel for you!

    [Reply]

    Katie Reply:

    @Lex, I haven’t tried them, but I think we’ll definitely try Motrin tonight to see if there’s a pain issue. If that doesn’t work, perhaps I’ll go on a Hylands mission (I thought they were recalled?)

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  • Becky C:

    This sounds exactly like what I went through with my son at 8 months. The doctor diagnosed it as night terrors. He would wake up screaming his head off and if I picked him up, he pushed me away and looked at me like he had no idea who I was! The doctor said it was common and not a big deal (I’ve since switched doctors, for many reasons). He told me he would outgrow them and to just put him down in a area where he couldn’t hurt himself and let him go. I took him to the living room, because we only had a couch and loveseat, but no tables. I’d put him in the floor and he would scream and thrash around for 20-45 mins and then crash and sleep the rest of the night. It only happened once or twice a week, but for about 2-3 months. He’s never had another episode and we still don’t know why it happened. I’ve heard that lack of sleep and not enough good, deep sleep, will cause this. Since my son had horrible allergies and was always congested, I’d believe that. Since Eli was sick for so long, it may just be an adjustment from all that. I pray you find an answer soon. It’s so rough when they can’t tell you what’s wrong! :(

    [Reply]

    Katie Reply:

    @Becky C, Oh man. He seems to come out of it a bit more quickly than that, but he is just SO upset. It’s hard, he does know who we are, he will settle sometimes with some distractions. I just don’t know. I would really rather it not be night terrors for a number of reasons, but hopefully if it is, he’ll outgrow them soon. This is harder than I imagined.

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  • MissMary:

    My kids are grown & gone but both had sleep issues and it’s miserable for everyone. I’d get him into the pediatrician to check his ears (since he’s scratching at them) and his belly (since he’s been inconsolable). My policy is if they sleep, it doesn’t matter where (my oldest, slept on our chests on & off for a year). Sleep is good for ALL of you! Don’t let anyone tell you you are creating a sleep issue, they adjust when they’re ready. Cutting out or down a daytime nap may help him be a bit more tired as well. Good luck!!

    [Reply]

    Katie Reply:

    @MissMary, I am the only one putting pressure on myself (well, my husband also, he would very much like Eli to sleep through the night, which WHO WOULDN’T?), and perhaps that’s the biggest problem here. I can’t decide if it’s better to keep offering the crib at night or if I should back off and try again in a few weeks. I wish there was a book of right answers for this kind of thing.

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  • Tricia:

    Hey Katie,
    I feel so bad that you are going through this. Sounds to me that he already knows how to self soothe and get himself to sleep, I’d think this is either something physical, or some sort of night terror. My son did this several times during his first year. He had no fever, no cold or outward indications, but after about four nights of the screaming you described, I finally took him to the ped and turns out he did have an ear infection (at that point a double), even tho he wasn’t acting sick during the day. He ended up having a pattern of that – rarely a fever with the ear infection and pain. But, considering he was such a good sleeper once he got to sleep, I finally figured out something else was up. It was like you. Always an hour or two after he went in his crib. I think teething might create fluid buildup in the ears too, which can intensify the pain, as the ped explained to us. I’d also think seperation anxiety, but then it’s not an issue to get them back to bed. Hope it all works out, you’re a great mom!

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    Katie Reply:

    @Tricia, Interesting. I guess I assumed all his ear infections would present the same way, good to know that’s not necessarily the case. There is definitely some separation anxiety in play (last night was a definite example of that), and it seems to be at it’s worst when he is overtired. A part of me wonders if that’s what’s happening at that first hysterical wake up, but I just don’t know.

    We have a ped appointment coming up, so hopefully that will help us determine if there’s something physical (ears or teeth or reflux or, I don’t even know). Thanks for your kind words and suggestions. I really appreciate it.

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  • Poppy:

    Hugs from me. It sounds like you’re doing all the right things – trying lots of different things to see what, if anything works. Sleep deprivation is a terrible thing. I think a visit to the docs is in order and if you find that there is nothing physically wrong then I would get a sleep consultant in. I’ve had friends who’ve used them and it was such a relief to put a plan together that they all agreed on and to have an expert that they could talk to. Good luck.xx

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    Katie Reply:

    @Poppy, I think you’re probably right. I did not even know these sleep consultants existed until very recently. I have no desire to become one, but what a cool thing to have available! Thanks!

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  • Jaida:

    I have a few thoughts for you:

    The first is that if he’s had ear infections and sinus infections, the bacteria could be gone but not the fluid. I’d get that checked out as it can be irritating and put pressure on the sinuses/eardrums even if it’s not specifically painful. I’d also check out silent reflux. I think it’s more common to completely grow out of reflux around a year. I know from personal experience too that if I take a break from Prevacid I can feel ok for a few weeks but inevitably symptoms come back.

    Before you put yourself and hubby through the stress of sleep training, definitely rule out physical problems. A dose of Motrin before bed for a few nights just to ensure teething isn’t the source of the problem never hurt anyone. It’ll be a lot easier to stick with a plan when you’re sure he’s not crying due to pain/discomfort.

    And finally, I would personally not make the crib an issue until you need to. If he can still sleep in the bunny bed, why mess with that? Deal with it when you have to deal with it, and perhaps at that point whatever else is going on will have sorted itself out.

    Good luck. Middle of the night screaming is the WORST.

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    Katie Reply:

    @Jaida, I think we’re going to try Motrin tonight and see. I don’t know why I feel compelled to ditch the bunny bed. He’s safe in it, happy in it and all that. I think there’s just this nagging feeling about him not sleeping in a crib like he’s “supposed” to. I know it’s arbitrary and silly, but I just hate that he’s not doing something that other babies are. I suppose it’s time for me to get over that before it becomes an even bigger issue.

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  • kimybeee:

    looks like i might not be as rusty as i thought on some of these. i think a recurring theme here in all the comments (i read them all) is that you are too hard on yourself and all that matters is that eli is safe and happy.

    i am sure that you are scared of having eli sleep with you because of crushing and smothering – but we did the family bed and wouldn’t change for anything. so if you feel the need to lay down with him on your bed – try it!!! try laying across the bed instead of the regular way so even if you doze off you will be aware that things are different.

    if the kid will sleep better in a bag swinging from the ceiling fan, then but him in a bag and hang him on the fan and turn it on lol lol who really gives a rats ass if he sleeps in a crib – nobody does. just let the little man and his parents get some sleep.

    i would move up the peds appt if i were you and check on his ears. scratching till he bleeds is not normal and as an allergy sufferer – my ears itch like crazy when the weather changes, especially to rain. if he has been constipated, he could even have an impaction that is causing that horrible screaming. more water in his diet will help with bowel issues.

    keep us posted!

    [Reply]

    Katie Reply:

    @kimybeee, The constipation is suuuuuper mild and is easily fixed by eliminating rice and bananas (apparently he is that kid that will be great with a BRAT diet someday!), but it just has resulted in a few days of him being upset and uncomfortable. I think we’ve gotten it sorted out now. I spoke with my allergist today about the ear scratching and she recommended recording when I notice it because sometimes it’s a sleep cue, other times it’s an allergy, so we’ll see how that develops.

    As for co-sleeping, it’s just not my thing. I totally respect that some people do it, it’s just not for us, and while my husband feels more strongly about it than I do, I think that at this point it would be a backward step toward our end goal of him sleeping in his crib independently. Right now, when the crib doesn’t work, the bunny bed does, so we have an option for when he’s rejecting the crib. But I really appreciate all the suggestions.

    [Reply]

  • Almamay:

    Oh yes. Completely forgot about the teething thing and reflux. The change in the acidity in the saliva plays havoc with the tummy. And the ear ache, ouch. The combo must be painful for the poor mite. We used paracetamol and ibuprofen (I think that is Tylenol and Motrin in the States) for the teeth and he slept through the night. Sometimes he would cry so much he was rigid and then we would give him the pain relief and you could tell when it started working as he would collapse in our arms and fall straight to sleep.

    [Reply]

    Katie Reply:

    @Almamay, I hadn’t thought about the saliva activating the reflux, that’s true. I’m going to give Motrin tonight before bed and hope that works. Thanks!

    [Reply]

  • Mom in MN:

    My now 9 year old son had night terrors, but he was toddler age. I don’t know anything about terrors in babies though…might be worth some research.
    He also would not sleep in a crib. He slept (with no issues) in a pack ‘n play in our living room; because our kids had to share a room, until he was about Eli’s age. When we tried to transition him to his crib he would not sleep. Ever. I thought the screaming would be the death of me. Then, one night at about 2am in a fit of utter sleep deprivation, I set him in the pack ‘n play, tossed the crib mattress out of the crib and onto the floor and then put him on the mattress. From that day forward the kid slept without issue on his crib mattress on the floor – like a frat guy. He never got off of it either. I would hear him babbling in the mornings when he was a baby and I would go get him up. Once he got older he would call to me in the mornings to let me know he was awake and then would wait for me to tell him that he could get up. We laugh about it *now* because based on his personality it seems as though the boy just did not like “to be caged”.
    I hope it isn’t a serious medical issue with your little one and that maybe he just needs to “be free” like my little man!

    [Reply]

    Katie Reply:

    @Mom in MN, Haaa. You know, I wondered about the floor bed option, but his room isn’t baby proofed, so it’s not really an option. It’s definitely something I might try if we continue to have issues down the road. I totally do not see him staying on it if not restrained, but que sera sera. He’s going to have to learn to stay in a bed at some point. :)

    [Reply]

  • Karen Ferguson:

    I have twin boys, now three. One of my guys is a VERY light sleeper, the other can sleep through anything … even his brother crying – it’s kind of amazing.

    One thing we found that helps my light sleeper, is a sound machine. We set our to “waterfall” which to me, sounds like static or simple white noise. Surprisingly, it has helped him sleep through the night.

    Also, we found that a night-light helps. Both of them didn’t like a completely dark room.

    Just some thoughts. Good luck!!

    [Reply]

    Katie Reply:

    @Karen Ferguson, Good suggestions. We use a white noise machine (set on rain) at max volume and have a little night light that doesn’t make it super bright, but makes it light enough that he can find his pacifier at night. It does seem to have helped a lot, especially the white noise. Thanks!

    [Reply]

  • Katie:

    Hi Katie,
    I think you’ve got a load of wonderful suggestions and I agree with all that you are being too hard on yourself (but aren’t us Mommies always are own worst critics)?

    One thing that I would try after you have the sleep issues figured out is give him play time in his crib. We spend time during the day or when I get home from work playing in his crib. We lay with stuffed animals, play peek-a-boo and just generally spend time there. My Mom had that idea that you have to make it a place that they want to be in and that seemed to do the trick for us!

    Good luck!

    [Reply]

    Katie Reply:

    @Katie, We do a little bit of that (he plays in it while I get his bath ready) but we could certainly do more of it. Good suggestion for sure. I think we’re also going to start crib naps on Thursday after I lower his mattress again (I’m not worried about it for nighttime as he shows no interest in pulling up right now, but during naps he has a tendency to be more active before falling asleep, so I worry a little). Perhaps the combo is what we need.
    Thanks!

    [Reply]

  • I can’t offer any advice, as my nearly 8 year old still tends to wake up 2 hours after she goes to sleep and raise hell. Usually it’s simple, a glass of water or just wants a hug. But still. My advice is of no use. But I do like the cute little look on his face as he is debating life on the baby monitor.

    [Reply]

    Katie Reply:

    @Shamelessly Sassy, He’s checking out his monkey feet!

    [Reply]

  • Em:

    Ugh, sounds like everyone is over tired! So sorry that Eli is having trouble sleeping :( is his bunny bed in his room? Even if you have to go back to using it door a awhile, it will be easier to transition him back to the crib if the surroundings are the same :)

    Good luck, hope everything is ok!

    [Reply]

    Katie Reply:

    @Em, Yes, the bunny bed is in his room. We really want to make sure that he sleeps in his room for now, regardless of what he’s actually in/on.

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

  • First of all, anyone who is experiencing baby sleep problems has my upmost respect and support. I went through hell and back with a sleepless baby and I get it. It’s so so so hard.

    I am probably the last person in the world who should be dispensing sleep advice since my 2.5 year old is STILL co-sleeping (and we’re not really down with that, but she has other ideas, but we’re also down with getting a full night’s rest, and this seems to be the ticket, so.) Still, we have suffered from just about every sleep problem under the sun, I’ve read all that I can cram into my head, I even hired a sleep consultant. Let’s just say that for the first 18 months of parenthood, the subject was all I thought about.
    The night wakings sound like night terrors. My girl had them at 4 months. Give it an ol’ google, it sounds like a classic case. Night terrors typically stem from overtirdness (if he’s recently been sick for, like, ever, his body maybe needs extra recovery time?)
    I would suggest getting him down for a nap IMMEDIATELY at the first sign of tiredness (first jerky movements, first fist to ear, first wandering of attention). For several days, focus on getting his naps sorted, getting him down as soon as he’s tired, and then that will probably lead to a better night’s sleep.
    You could also try putting him to bed earlier. Counter intuitive, but proved helpful when my girl was about E’s age.

    Ummmm, as for getting him to sleep in his crib??? I dunno. Do you know how to get my kid to sleep in her own room? ;) Blind leading the blind.
    I’ve opted for the path of least resistance, secure in the knowledge that she will not be sleeping in our room 10 years hence. And until such a time as she’s ready to sleep solo, I’ll just keep enjoying a full night’s rest.
    So I’d say to you, work on the night terrors (more sleep should do it) and let E sleep however gets you three the most rest. It’ll sort itself out in time.

    Good luck.

    [Reply]

    Katie Reply:

    @erica @ expatria, baby, The naps are actually going really well. I do put him down at the very first hint of fatigue, though he tends to follow a pretty good pattern with them, so it’s easy to see when he needs sleep. I think I might put him down a little earlier when possible. There are some nights (like tonight) where that earlier bedtime isn’t feasible, but others where it is. Here’s to hoping that the 8:15 bedtime doesn’t result in more of the screaming, or if it does that it’s quickly resolved.

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

  • Lindsay:

    My third son is a week younger than Eli and has had (from what I experienced with our older two) two night terrors in the last month. I also thought he was a little young, but it was a classic night terror–rigidity, flailing, screaming inconsolably, and not responding to any of our or external comforts like he usually does. Maybe we just have advanced babies (hehe), or maybe the terrors align with some eighth month development.

    I agree that teething could be an issue, but as to the other medical issues, it seems strange that they would not present themselves during naps if he’s napping we’ll in the crib or other flat surface. One final suggestion is trying a sensitive formula where the lactose is broken down. Like you, I’m a big supporter of breastfeeding, but like you, I’ve gone through hell to make it work (or not) with my second and third sons. My third son had horrible reflux. We discontinued medication at 6 months, but since I’ve stopped nursing we have played formula roulette. Initially he had to be on Alimentum, and now we’ve weaned to Similac Sensitive. I don’t love the idea of it because of the increase in sugar (I’m a little nuts about kids and healthy eating), but it’s literally the only non-Alimentum formula our son can tolerate, and the wee peanut needs to eat.

    One final note, this month we’ve had major sleep regression issues too. Hang in their mama, you’re not alone.

    [Reply]

    Katie Reply:

    @Lindsay, He is actually not napping in his crib yet, which is going to be my next move. I tried a few weeks ago, but it was just before he started crawling and all he wanted to do was practice, but that just resulted in him laying on his stomach and screaming. We will be starting the crib naps either tomorrow or Monday, depending upon whether or not I remember to lower his crib mattress in time tomorrow. :)

    The formula could be the issue, but he’s only taking 1-2 formula bottles a day and they’re actually usually the bottles he gets *after* the screaming wake ups, so I don’t even know.

    [Reply]

  • Melissa:

    Unfortunately, I have nothing helpful to offer as my youngest is now 12 and I have thus forgotten anything useful for that stage of life. However, I will say, having a child that did not sleep for his first two years of life, that this too shall pass. Every kid will sleep eventually. I know it is hard now and I just wanted to say I sympathize and you are not alone.

    [Reply]

    Katie Reply:

    @Melissa, Thanks. I’m looking forward to eventually. :)

    [Reply]

  • GreenInOC:

    Have you considered a co-sleeper such as the ones by Arm’s Reach? You’re sleeping next to him but he’s in his own space and not actually in your bed.

    I had a friend whose baby (about the same age) was affected by the television and video games. The baby would nurse and the parents would watch their adult (violent) shows. Of course, it never occurred to them that it could affect their little guy. They tried turning it all off when he was awake and it made a huge difference.

    I have to say I’ll never understand why a baby who wants to eat at “odd” times would be considered regressing! If he’s hungry, he’s hungry (or needing comfort). We eat when we’re hungry which aren’t always at consistent times and sometimes we wake up in the middle of the night hungry! I’m in the camp of following that baby’s lead.

    Good luck to your sweet family in solving this mystery soon and getting some restorative sleep for all of you!!

    [Reply]

    Katie Reply:

    @GreenInOC, Honestly (and I say this as judgment free as possible) I’m not interested in him sleeping in our room. I know that everyone has differing opinions on where babies should sleep and we decided that we want him in his own room, in his own crib and since we moved him out of our room 2 months ago, I think putting him in our room might actually make the long term sleep goal achievement worse.

    The tv theory is an interesting one. The baby currently does not watch any tv. He was watching some Sesame Street and I did have the tv on when I pumped in the middle of the night, however, I lost the apple tv remote about a week ago, so aside from 20 minutes of MegaMind the other night while he was hysterically crying and I was at my wit’s end, he’s been tv free for almost 2 weeks. Our tv screen does scroll through pictures during the day, which he likes to look at, but that’s it. And the video game he watches my husband play is very not violent. Also rare. I would never let him watch something violent, whether cartoon or real action, that’s just not okay to me.

    As for the regression, it’s not eating at odd times that I consider the regression, it’s not sleeping for long durations like he has been for the past several months. He went from sleeping at least 5-6 hours at a time (even once he slept 10 hours straight), to sleeping 3-4 at a time and to me, that’s a regression, regardless of eating. He could not eat from 8-8, but if he was awake as often as he is now and needing attention, that would still qualify as regression in my dictionary.

    We’re going out of town this weekend and Eli will be sharing a room with us, so I guess we’ll see if our presence makes any difference. I suppose if he’ll sleep flat in his pack n play next to us that perhaps we’ll have it give it more thought since there’s got to be something about our presence that’s making the transition to flat sleeping easier.

    Thanks for the suggestions- they’ve definitely got me thinking.

    [Reply]

  • Bella:

    No advice but I hope things improve for you.
    My baby is about to turn 18 years old. We had some rough colicky nights but eventually things improved. Parenting is quite a wild ride.

    Hang in there!

    [Reply]

    Katie Reply:

    @Bella, Thanks!

    [Reply]

  • Here’s a somewhat weird, new-age-ish suggestion. Have you tried taking him to a chiropractor? I know he’s beyond the colic stage, but it was the only thing that worked for the Poptart’s godbrother with his colic.

    He may not be in pain, but experiencing some sort of discomfort – and a chiro can help with that. Find one who is used to dealing with kids.

    [Reply]

    Katie Reply:

    @Nicole, Hmm, I’ll consider it, but I’m one of those people who is very, very skeptical of chiropractors, especially for kids. I’ll look into it because I’m desperate, but I have some reservations.

    [Reply]

  • Jean:

    I know this is a little late, but I’m just catching up on my blog reading – this advice may no longer apply (I hope it doesn’t!). Anyhow, I think we have lived parallel lives at some point. My son is about a year older than yours, but he had the hardest time sleeping soundly through the night at that age. We went through much sleep regression, which sucked mostly for me because I was nursing and basically a human pacifier until we sorted some things out I don’t know too much about medical reasons for waking up crying as that wasn’t the root of our problems. I basically figured that the majority of the time, my son just wanted to be soothed back to sleep. Unfortunately for us, this meant sleeping in his swing after he would be flipping out in the crib for longer than I could stand. Let me say this, the swing: not a great long term solution. Ultimately what worked for us (and I think is my very best sleep advice) is purchasing a sheepskin crib rug. They are soft, soothing, warm when needed, cool when needed, and just make for a nice spot to lay your head when mom’s chest is not an option. (Bonus: They also muffle the crying!). Maybe the more inviting and cozy the crib, the less it will seem like a compromise? Good luck – it does get better! I can say that now, a year beyond where you are, sleeping is no longer on our radar. (but a million other things are! yay motherhood!)

    [Reply]

  • Kath:

    OY, I hope is isn’t the one you use. http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2013/Fisher-Price-Recalls-to-Inspect-Rock-N-Play-Infant-Sleepers-Due-to-Risk-of-Exposure-to-Mold/

    I feel badly posting it, because it kind of ruins everything, but I can’t not let you know.

    [Reply]

    Katie Reply:

    @Kath, It is, but we don’t have mold in ours. Honestly, that recall is so ridiculous to me. Do they recall bowls because they can get moldy when no one cleans them? Gah.

    But I really, unsarcastically, appreciate you passing it along.

    [Reply]

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Welcome!
I'm Katie, a 30-year-old, wife, mom, former teacher-turned PT, who also had brain surgery in November of 2007. This blog chronicles my daily life, from mundane to crazy, often with far too much detail. Sit down, get comfortable and stay for a while.
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