What's with the prolonged night wakeful periods?
January 12, 2012 11:57 AM Subscribe
My 16-month old has 2.5 hour night awakenings at least 3 nights a week. This has to stop. Please tell me it can stop...
posted by kitcat to health & fitness (51 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
This will be disjointed because my brain is not working. I want to know why this is happening and what I can do. Conjecture, anecdotes, witchcraft spells - I'll take anything. I just started school, I'm walking around on 5 hours of sleep for the nth day and I'm going to lose my shit.
She just started daycare and is now on: bed 7 or 8pm, wake 6 or 7am, nap 2 hours from 12-2. Her wake up times and nap time are not negotiable. The variability here is because she's still getting used to daycare, sometimes sleeps there, sometimes doesn't, comes home extra tired, and I'm trying to figure out what the best times are for her to go to sleep. But if you think this is the cause, she's been doing this schtick for months.
During these awakenings, she's always up for 2.5 hours. It's always 6-8 hours into her sleep, and almost always at exactly 4am. She wakes up quite upset, won't take the bottle I bring her, and eventually has to be picked up.
This has been going on for almost 3 months, and there have been stretches where she's done it 5 days in a row, but most often it's more like an every second day sort of thing. It can go away for 4 or 5 days, but always comes back.
Things we've tried:
1. Rock her back to sleep (we always rock her to sleep anyways, so you'd think this would work). She tolerates it for a while - an hour, even - but eventually wriggles herself out of my desperate grasp and starts babbling happily - ie. "I'm awake! Let's do stuff!"
2. Let her cry it out. I've tried up to an hour of crying. Even if I leave her and she eventually stops, she plays in her crib in the dark for whatever's left of the 2.5 hours. The crying and the playing alone in the dark break my heart.
I've concluded from these attempts, repeated countless times, that (as per Ferber's book) she is physically incapable of sleep during these periods.
3. Waking her earlier as per Ferber, who suggests these awakenings happen when a child is getting more sleep than she needs. I thought it was working because they subsided a bit, but then they just came back. These awakenings have persisted through these attempted changes to her routines:
bed 8pm, wake 8pm, 2 hour nap at noon
bed 9pm, wake 8pm, 2 hour nap at one
bed 8pm, wake 7pm, 2 hour nap at one
It's not because she's hungry. When she wakes up hungry (which she does as well at least once a night, even though I try to stuff food into her AND put rice cereal in the last bottle of the night), I give her a bottle without picking her up and she's fine with it (yes i know this is ill-advised).
I don't know what to do next, if anything. Please help me. Please...