in dire need of Mr. Sandman

Ok, this might make me a terrible person, but I’m going to complain about my baby here for a minute.

Back before I got pregnant with Lucy, I used to joke that Catie had such horrible sleep habits as a baby, that God owed me a good sleeper on the second kid.

You know what? GOD STILL OWES ME. Only I don’t want more babies, so maybe He can make it up to me another way. A million dollars and a weekend spa retreat would be a good start.

Lucy's big grin
Don’t even try to act like you’re all sweet and innocent here, missy.

Back in January, I let Lucy cry it out a few times, and it seemed to work. We had a few blissful months at the beginning of the year where Lucy slept great. We eventually settled into a pretty predictable routine – I’d put her down around 8 or 8:30, then she’d wake up around 10:30 or 11 for what I call her “bonus bottle” before she’d settle down to sleep for the night.

I’m not sure exactly when it all changed, but it was a couple of months ago. She started freaking out when I put her down and waking up several times a night. At the advice of our pediatrician (who gave me a good long lecture about how learning to self-soothe is a skill that has to be taught), I managed to bust out some CIO techniques again to get her to go to bed without screaming.

The problem is, she’ll go to sleep with no problem. But she wakes up every 3 hours or so, screaming, “Mama! BAH!!” (Translation: Bottle!). And I don’t know what to do about that. It’s not like she’s up for very long. She sucks down her bottle and goes straight back to sleep. But the sleep interruptions are KILLING me.

I’ve tried out a few different theories. Is she teething? I tried some baby Motrin at bedtime. Didn’t help. Is she waking up because she peed and it feels uncomfortable in her (cheap, Target generic) diapers? I invested in some expensive Huggies Overnights. While they do help with leaks, it hasn’t helped with her sleep at all.

A couple of nights ago, she woke up & started to fuss right as I was walking past her door. I crept in & saw that she had rolled over and banged into the railing of her crib. (Her crib doesn’t have a bumper – partly because the AAP says not to use them anymore, but mostly because the one from Catie’s bedding set ripped and I was too lazy to buy a replacement.) I rolled her back over and patted her until she went back to sleep.

So, I thought… Maybe the problem is that she’s just too big for her crib? It certainly makes sense, right? She’s only 16 months old, but she’s wearing a 2T (and a 3T in some things), so girlfriend is *big*.

I threw the question out on Facebook (is 16 months too young to move up to a regular bed?) and got lots of positive feedback from my friends & family. That helped me feel a little bit validated.

My parents had a spare twin-size bed in their attic, so yesterday, my dad and I got it down, hauled it to my house, disassembled the crib, and set up Lucy’s bed. (I’m not using the frame because I want it low enough where she can climb in & out herself. It’s just the mattress & box spring on the floor with a guard rail to keep her from falling out.)

When Lucy got home, she seemed to dig her new big-girl bed.

Lucy was very excited about her big-girl bed when she got home tonight.

And she went down for the night with no problem at all.

Tiny girl, big bed.

So, I thought, oh see? This is just perfect. We will all sleep blissfully well through the night from now on! Huzzah!

Then Lucy woke up basically every hour on the hour last night. She never tried to climb out of the bed, she just sat up and screamed. Over and over. All night.

My guess (because, really, all I have are guesses when it comes to this kid) is that she woke up and everything looked unfamiliar, and that’s why she freaked out. So maybe tonight will be better? Because I’m not putting the crib back together. I’m not. I refuse. I hate the crib, I’m so done with it.

Hopefully this phase will pass quickly, for my own sanity if nothing else.

And if anyone has advice on what to do with a child that seems to wake up “needing” a bottle every few hours (and believe me, it’s not that she doesn’t eat enough during the day because OMG she can out-eat her big sister any day), please let me know.

4 thoughts on “in dire need of Mr. Sandman

  1. We had a REALLY horrible sleep regression with Alex around 18 months old. Of all his sleep regressions, this one was the worst. We CIO at 6 months but whenever we traveled, we would have to re-CIO. He is/was a light sleeper and all these sleep regressions seemed to hit him hard.

    Anyway we are not a co-sleeping family (we sleep like logs and I am deaf in one ear!) but to get through his sleep regression, we would put him to bed like normal then when he woke up, we would bring him to bed with us. It was better than the alternative which was waking every couple of hours all night for weeks! After about a month, it stopped.

    But… on the bottle front, I’ve had this happen to friends. Really they don’t need food at that time, it is just a comfort thing. They started putting less and less in the bottle, a little less each night until it was down to one ounce then stopped it.

    Totally rambling but two points:
    – The nighttime bottles sound like a habit to me.
    – 18 months was our worst sleep time.

    And back to a plan:
    – if you’re committed to the bed, stick to the bed
    – if she’s crying anyway, might be a good time to cold turkey stop the bottles. Rip off the band aid since it all sucks anyway!
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  2. You know I am no help. I still let Colin just climb into bed with me because I’m too lazy to go put him back in his own bed.

    But I don’t think 16 months is too young for a bed. We moved Colin at 14 months because he was climbing out of his crib.

    Do she and Catie share a room? I think that helped mine – in some ways. Made it harder in others.

  3. Long-time reader and first-time poster. (I followed you over from MamaPop a long time ago.) I hope that doesn’t freak you out. 🙂

    Three of my five kids have something called Glycogen Storage Disease. They are physically incapable of maintaining a steady blood glucose level, and it’s horrible at night. My oldest son was about Lucy’s age when he started waking up every night, needing something to eat. (He was diagnosed a few months later when his liver measured too large and his liver functions were off the charts.) He is 13 now, and if his blood sugar drops too low, it will wake him up, almost always between 11 PM and midnight.

    We were instructed to give the kids a carb and a protein just before they go to bed (like a slice of turkey and a couple of crackers, or a piece of cheese and some toast), and since then, the nighttime wakings are few and far between. It might be worth a try.

    I agree that some behaviors are learned and become a habit (that’s what we thought about our son for YEARS… it’s a wonder we didn’t accidentally kill him!), but there might be something else causing Lucy’s sleeplessness. Everything you’ve described fits my experience with low blood sugar.

    Good luck! I hope you’re all sleeping peacefully SOON! 🙂

  4. We went to a twin bed at 16 months because she was climbing out and I didn’t want to buy a crib tent. First we tried a toddler bed but it just didn’t work out, too flimsy.

    I do remember the sleep regression though. She is too young to go with less nap during the day, but I second the idea of something to eat before bed. Liquids run right through them, and some cheese or meat with crackers might be just the thing to tide her over.

    Wishing you easier nights!

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