17 months of sleep still sucking

Life lately has been fairly busy. Work has gotten a lot more manic, which I’m enjoying, and having a 17 month old toddler definitely makes life hectic. But the lack of sleep that continues for us is the killer.

I wish I could say that the sleep had gotten better, but it hasn’t. I mean there are definitely better days and worse days. Overwhelmingly though, sleep is poor. I appreciate it might not be the most exciting of topics to discuss, especially if you don’t have children, but I want to keep it real and document the realities of having a small child who apparently doesn’t like sleep.

Throughout Isaac’s life he has always slept less than he apparently “should”. As a newborn he wouldn’t sleep in a cot, only on us or in a Cuddlepod thing (which we reluctant to allow as they were said to be unsafe). But newborn life you expect sleep to be terrible and you roll with it as this is a BRAND NEW HUMAN.

16 months on though and I would have hoped sleep would be better. On a good night Isaac will wake up once, then easily go back to sleep after a quick feed (yep, still breastfeeding over here) and then wake up post 6am (6.30am is an utter dream). However these nights are few and far between.

We normally get 2+ wake ups and somewhere around 5.45am full wake up. On worse nights we get 3-4 wake ups and a 5-5.30am start to the day. On truly terrible nights, like last night, he’ll wake up at 10pm and then stay awake till 1am. I go in, I feed, I try to leave; he loses his mind.

We can’t bring him into our bed as he starts playing and crawling/walking around. I can’t stay and sleep in his room (as I attempted last night) because he then stands and peers down at me or peeps his head through the cot, like a terrifying horror movie ghost child.

I’m not as naïve to assume Isaac would be consistently sleeping through the night but I don’t think it’s wholly unreasonable to have thought waking 2+ times during the night wasn’t ideal.

Isaac has recently been popping canines out like nobody’s business and has been jumping from colds to ear infection back to colds. And of course the dreaded 18 month sleep regression everyone keeps harping on about… Who really knows what’s happening? We sure don’t.

Of course we’d love to assign reasonings behind why these disrupted nights are happening (a lifeline to desperately hang on to so we can believe it will end) but in general we always go back to the fact that we’ve never had Isaac sleep through and he generally likes to be awake.

On the truly terrible nights there is definitely an element of external factors (teething and illness), but the general consistent wakings is a mystery. Have I made a rod for my own back by always attending to his cries? Should we have sleep trained? Am I overindulging him? Spoiling him? Creating habits? Letting him learn that when he does X, Y will follow.

Perhaps. There are a lot of opinions out there (social media, books, family and friends). But when I’m lying in my bed listening to my son scream for me, I cannot ignore him. I’m not judging anyone who can go through a process of sleep training but I’m not sure it’s for me.

We have a slight hope that things might change in January when Kyle and I go on holiday for nine days without Isaac (don’t even get me started on the mum guilt I’m already experiencing about this upcoming trip). He’ll be potentially unlearning habits when he stays with the Nanas (who, by the way he tends to sleep absolutely fine for!).

Time will tell.

Do you have any experience with the above?

How many hours a night to get to sleep?

5 Replies to “17 months of sleep still sucking”

  1. Hi Anna, my son is now 8 months and for the first 6 months of his life, sleep was a nightmare. He would only sleep in our arms and this summer, we suffered a lot of the heat and on top of this, holding him most of the night. It was so bad that I ended up sobbing of exhaustion and despair most nights while holding him. I sometimes got angry at him and resented him for not falling asleep. I tried to get him to sleep on his own while holding his hand or rubbing his back. But nothing really worked and he cried a lot through those attempts.. until I decided that it could not go on, I would lose my sanity and he deserved proper nights of sleep. It was also hard because the only way we could get some sleep was that my husband and I slept separately.
    Although I had spent months saying that I would not sleep train and let my baby cry, this is exactly what I did and it worked wonderfully. Within a few nights, he was able to fall asleep on his own, he stopped waking up at night, and now he can sleep 10 hours in a row. Sometimes he still wakes up once for a small bottle.
    I know how hard it is to listen to your child cry, it’s heartbreaking and devastating, it seems like the worst thing, but I am 100% convinced that I gave my son the chance to learn an important skill, which is to fall asleep on his own.
    I don’t know if this works for every child and it gets probably more difficult when the child is older, I’m no specialist. For myself, I believe it was the best solution and I’m really happy I made it.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. Wow that sounded like such a tough situation. You are incredible to have survived that for as long as you did!! I think you’re right though. In the new year we’ve definitely got to think about whether we make a change or not and do something active rather than passively let this continue. It’s just so hard to hear him cry but like you said, long-term it is for the best to help them sleep.

  2. I have nothing useful to add except that I’m sure you’re all doing your best and that at some point Isaac will realise how this all works.

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