Sleepless Nights

I’m a daycare provider and former nanny. I read all “the books.” Other mom friends came to me for advice for their babes. My theory has always been, be as informed as you possibly can be, but in the long run, follow your mom instinct.  I considered myself a bit of a “sleep expert” and crowed with pride when O started sleeping through the night at 2 months old. I bragged on face book, “I am probably jinxing myself, but Little Man is sleeping through the night!”

I felt like wonder mom.
Don't worry, his crib was lowered the next day.
Happy Boy loves his bed. (Don’t worry, his crib was lowered the next day.)

Until he hit 4 months, and began night waking. My mom instinct faltered.
“Oh it’s a four month sleep regression” I explained away.

“Well he could be in a wonder week

“He’s teething.”

“He’s learning to crawl”

I took him to the doctor, twice, suspecting ear infections (I’m never wrong about ear infections. I was wrong.) I was sure something was wrong. Then finally I decided, “Well some babies just don’t sleep through the night. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe I just got lucky with Imp.” I questioned everything I knew. I questioned my mom instinct.

I waited until he started solids, hoping then I’d could cut out these constant night wakings. Maybe then I could night wean.

6 months hit, O started eating his homemade purees. I drank coffee and zombied through the day. But every night, multiple times, my happy man would wake screaming, arching his back.
I’m not saying this was some casual, oh, once a night gig.
I’m talking anywhere from 3-6x a night.

For three months.

I can’t describe the sleep exhaustion. Did I mention I run a daycare? And that my husband works evenings? I am Johnny on the spot mom, all day, all night. Showers became a luxury. My memory was failing, I couldn’t tell you what I ate for lunch yesterday. Yoga pants and coffee became my best friend.

Mom instict Breastfeeding world
We nursed almost every time he woke. It was the only thing that comforted his night wakings.

Searching for an Answer

My husband kept insisting he needed to CIO, a successful technique we used with my Imp. This wasn’t that, I said. Imp would cry and cry, we would walk her for hours every evening just to get her to sleep. She couldn’t soothe, even with help. That wasn’t O. I watched for his tired cues from day one. He goes to sleep great. I lay him down, happy, awake but drowsy, and he puts himself to sleep. He takes good naps, he has a consistent bedtime routine. Early bedtime. He knows how to self soothe. This is something more.  My mom instinct said this was something more. But no one, not my loving Hubs, and not my doctor could tell me what, if anything was wrong.

Not Giving Up On My Mom Instinct

So I started researching. Google, mom boards, facebook groups, WebMD. I read and read. Someone on my local moms board suggested silent reflux. At first I was doubtful. I knew what reflux looked like, and while the arching back, his raspy voice, and the night waking’s fit, I knew O had never been a baby that spits up a lot.  I looked it up. I learned that with silent reflux, the baby swallows back down the spit up, so it frequently doesn’t present as a symptom. With so much happiness I called and made an appt with our family Doctor. They got me in the next day.
He reluctantly wrote me a script. “If he’s not better in a week, you’re going to have to let him cry. Go next door and have a cocktail, if you need to. Mom’s have a heard time with it. He just needs to self soothe.” My gut screamed, “this isn’t that. I know something’s wrong. This is it. This will work.” I bit my lip and took the script.

mom instinct, breastfeeding world

Day one: down at 6:45 pm, woke at 3:45 am, back to sleep until 7:45 am.
Day two, down at 6:45 pm. Woke at 6:30 am (my boobs were rocks!) back to sleep for another 45 min.

Other than a nasty respiratory bug that swept through my daycare and resulted in ear infections for Imp, O, and another child, we have had easy nights ever since. He wakes once in the middle of the night. We nurse and snuggle for ten minutes or so, and back to sleep.

I’m so happy, for O’s health, and my sanity, that I didn’t give up. I knew something more was going on with my baby. Moms, Dads, if you feel there is something more going on with your little one, despite what family members or your doctor says, follow your gut.

Don’t give up on that parental instinct. My only regret is that it took me so long to figure out what was happening.

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Lauren Lewis
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Lauren Lewis

Early Childcare Educator at Lauren's Little Ones
Lauren Lewis is no stranger to childcare development, having spent over 10 years as a nanny or family childcare provider. She's the wife of a travel geek, mother of two vivacious children, and has an amazing talent for trailing lost things behind her a la Hansel and Gretel.Her passion for lifting up women and advocating for children pours out in her work as a Central Indiana Event Coordinator, Writer, and Social Media Relations Director for Breastfeeding World.Her life is full of busy, crazy and LOUD. It is full of love and hope, ups and downs. And coffee, always lots of coffee- but she wouldn't have it any other way.
Lauren Lewis
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