Sleep Struggles in Baby’s First Year: an Evolving Story

PicMonkey Collage sleep

Good evening! For the first time in several months (and possibly ever – I don’t remember!), I put the baby down to bed without nursing him first. He is 11 months old, and since birth has woken up every 3 hours at night, give or take an hour. By the time he was 9 months old, I felt this was getting, well, old. We started weening our first (pictured on the left of the collage) from night time feedings at 10 months old, and we probably could have done that sooner. So I expected that as we got into the 4th quarter with Joshy, we could really start to expect some decrease in nursing.

As we got to his bedroom, he was more interested in Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown than in anything else in the whole world, and I reflected that what my husband had done in getting him to drink cow’s milk from a sippy cup tonight, just might work in place of nursing. So, we read the book, I said a quick prayer with him like we normally do, said how much I love him and ” ‘nigh’nigh “, put him down, and left the room uttering our custom “shush shush shush” soundtrack.

That was 6 weeks ago, and since then the little rascal has played around in all sorts of unpredictable ways with the morning nap, turned one year old, had back to back double ear infections, a couple of URIs, gotten to be a fiend for climbing, danced quite a bit, has not weened or been weened, and in general has been a delight and an enigma and a little “fuss bucket”, as from time to time we affectionately call him.

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And wouldn’t you know it! There he goes, sticking his tongue out at us as we speak. What a rascal! A love of a rascal!

So as you have probably guessed, my plan to finally get his sleep under control, ergo to sleep a little myself at night, completely backfired. Come to think of it, all my plans for all types of sleep for all of us have backfired over the last year. So you won’t be surprised to learn I’ve been complaining about it! My general view is that we gotta get into “normal” very soon, and at the latest it SHOULD have happened 10 months ago. Wouldn’t you know, I complained so much that folks took pity on me, and they must be praying, because we’ve gone from 3-4 wakings overnight to 1-2. Wahoo! I can’t think of any other explaination.

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I wrote the above roughly 4 weeks ago. This is the beginning of a series, an evolving story. Maybe you have some ideas for us? Let me know. Maybe you struggle with some of the same? Hope some comradery helps.

PS: the one on the left in my top photo is our champion sleeper. I’m beginning to think her little brother is not competitive in the area of sleep. Can you see him grimacing in his sleep? It’s like he does it only reluctantly.

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4 thoughts on “Sleep Struggles in Baby’s First Year: an Evolving Story

  1. Oh MC, I hear ya and I feel your sleep deprivation! I just weaned our little man right before his second birthday (and i believe our boys share their birth date, right?). It was certainly an evolving story. I tried weaning him multiple times and it just was never successful. I felt sooo old. Perfect description. Little man was waking 3x a night at least, and then after our move it was 5x a night on average. Something had to give.
    This time around he was older and seemed to be able to understand what I was saying a bit better – or at least that is what I was telling myself. He never, and still doesn’t, take any other form of milk. I prayed for inspiration. I prayed desperately. And then it came to me one night at his 4:30 am greeting. The Lord told me: you can do anything for 24 hours. Why not try telling him your milk is all gone for 24 hours. And then I decided I would also not offer anything else to “replace” that which was going away. So I told him at 4:30 am that it was gone. I told him I was so sorry – and I was! It was a sad moment for me! But I also told him that I would hold him and hug him and put down anything I was doing, no matter what, to hug and hold and love him when he needed. He said, “uh huh.” With a sad whimper and the 24 hours started. It took about a week, but he started eating more and magically sleeping more – sometimes with me because he just needed the physical connection, but gradually he just slept more and more and his physical connection time became more day time than night time. He is now a champion sleeper (which his sister has always been since 7 months, and which he showed no signs of interest in). And for the first time in 3 years (because sleep during pregnancy did not happen that time around), I am sleeping too. You will get there. Hang in, mama! I feel young and alive again 🙂

    Oh, and with his transition to better sleep came some days of amazing 4 hour naps on top of 10-11 hour nights! He had catching up to do too! So it was not all just my needs, and somehow I found that very helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mary, you’re the bestest in the Westest! I have been replaying your comments in my mind all week (and I loved the post you wrote about weening, too), I am really soaking them up. Most salient, for me this week, is that you “feel young and alive again :)”. This gives me hope that it’s a possibility for me. Because most days, youth and vigor are truly the last thing that seems likely to return. (And I should state here that it’s not just our little man’s sleep habits that discourage me from time to time. We’ve been dealing with enough bugs that when I replay a calendar in my mind of the last 4 years, we have been ill “almost continuously”. Of course that’s not true, but it sure seems to be the case when I bring in the “facts”! So, again, your words help a lot to bring God’s perspective on it all.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, MC. Hang in there! Sickness is a whole other challenge. We are just getting through over a week of that (which is really quite short…) …complete with night terrors for the sick one….and I have been feeling a bit robbed of the young and living side of me 🙂 You will do this. This season will indeed pass, and hopefully much of what you will be left with are memories spending much time with those cute little stinkers of yours 🙂

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