Please help me! I know you don't do these often, but you do them sometimes. Will you do one now? Will you HELP. ME? I'm hoping you and your fantastic readers can help. Ava is 10 weeks old now and the kid does. not. sleep. She still wakes up every 2-3 hours to eat. And it takes her 45 minutes to eat a 4 oz bottle, so if you do the math (I can't, I'm sleep deprived) I think I'm getting like 18.4 minutes of sleep at one stretch. My boyfriend works out of state, so he's rarely home so it's just me and my 10 year old and I'm pretty sure asking her to get up with the baby is a bad idea. I read "Becoming Baby Wise" because a friend swore that it helped her get her baby to sleep...I read it, and I don't get how it helps your baby sleep. In addition to her constant waking at night, she also doesn't nap. She'll take a 15 minute cat nap here and there, but that's it. I've tried letting her sleep in her bouncy chair and her swing, doesn't make her stay asleep longer. I've tried laying her down in her bassinet or her crib when she's looking sleepy, she wakes RIGHT up and is pissed. I've tried letting her "cry it out", and I hate it. I did it for 30 minutes and she just got more and more mad to the point where she started choking. (Can't do that at night anyway, because the 10 year old will wake up!) The only way I can get her to sleep during the day is if we run an errand (but it has to be longer than a half hour), she'll fall asleep in her car seat and then I just leave her in it when we get home (I know, I'm mean). I realize she's only 10 weeks old and she's BRAND NEW, but when I read that 10 weeks old require 15-18 hours of sleep, I want to cry. Here's what we're doing now: 9pm, bottle, bed time routine & asleep (was doing 7pm, but she wakes up at 10) She's up at 11, 2, 5 and then 6:30 (we never leave the nursery when she wakes) and SOMETIMES I can get her back to sleep until 8. I'm exhausted, my parents have offered to come over during the day to let me nap, but I am seriously incapable of sleeping during they day, unless I drug myself into it, and then I'm a mess the rest of the day. I have to go back to work soon, and there is no way I'll be able to function like this. Do I just have to wait, or do you have some killer advice? I'm hoping between you and your readers, someone can help! I'm going crazy. I realize this email is all over the place, but my brain function is limited these days. If it helps to know, she's bottle fed (formula).
Oh, dude, I SO WISH I had AWESOME EXPERT FIVE-CHILD ADVICE for you, but do you know, I don't think I EVER successfully solved a sleep issue, or at least not without another issue cropping right up. I consider them NIGHTMARES to handle. I will tell you EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT SLEEP, and it will not take long:
1. That thing I read a few other places, about the baby's first nap of the day being about an hour and a half after the baby wakes up. This BLEW MY MIND because it seemed so counter-intuitive: why would the baby go back to sleep again so soon after waking? But indeed, if I put my babies down at about that interval, they DID go to sleep. (This does not mean it will work for your baby; see #2.)
2. That babies are SO DIFFERENT about sleep, and that what works for one person works for someone else only by SHEER COINCIDENCE. This can be excruciatingly annoying when you've got a Poor Sleeper and a friend is telling you that if you would "just" do X and Y, YOUR baby would sleep like HER baby did. When actually what it was, was that she got a Good Sleeper and is crediting her Awesome Techniques for it, and/or that her baby happened to respond well to the particular technique. This is one of the areas where I feel like working in a daycare did me HUGE FAVORS: the more babies a person handles, the more a person is forced to accept that some babies work one way and some babies work another way and there isn't much that can be done to change that.
3. That it also matters what works for YOU the parent. As you've noticed, some people can nap during the day and some can't. People have different levels of tolerance for crying, and different abilities to adjust to different levels of sleep. People also vary tremendously in their willingness to do certain things such as swing sleep, tummy sleep, car sleep, on-me sleep. What works for you will be different than what works for another parent, just as what works for your baby will be different than what works for another baby. And this may change over time.
4. It is worth continuing to try things. There are so many stories of families that struggled and struggled and struggled and struggled, and then they tried their hundredth thing and THAT worked for THEIR baby.
5. But if it DOESN'T happen like that, see #2.
6. Are you able to doze in a recliner while you feed her at night? I did that for a lot of night feedings, but I know people vary in their dozing abilities. I used a lot of pillows to prop everything securely, and then I'd drift off. Sometimes this meant I woke up in the recliner in the morning, baby asleep next to me.
7. When you go back to work, will she be in daycare during the day? I've heard encouraging stories of daycares sleep-training the child during the day, which then results in better nighttime sleep as well.
And now let's turn it over to the group, because THAT is where I think the valuable advice is: when you can see a huge pool of advice like that, you can see the amazing variety of possibilities and you can pick-and-choose and try different things.
(You can also look at the comments from two previous sleep-issue questions: this one is my favorite and I say a bunch of things I would have also said to you except I felt self-conscious about repeating myself, and this one is also my favorite, for the same reasons, and the comments sections on both posts are SO GOOD.)