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Am I being unreasonable .. about sleep

(458 Posts)
TotsDaddy Wed 28-Oct-09 13:00:13

We have twins, now aged 2y10m and a little girl aged 11m.
The twins didn't sleep through the night until they were a year old, both had a 10pm and 4am feed. The 10pm feed continued untill they were over 2, I was exhausted. At the time my wife declared that she didn't believe in sleep training techniques, and there was nothing we could do except grin and bear it. It was if fact so bad, that that the constant waking damaged my eyesight ( No I'm serious, the consultant said, even before I mentioned our situation, "This sort of damage to the cornea is caused by stress and continued sudden waking")

When we had the little girl I hoped we could do better. She is now almost 1, and has been cuddled/fed to sleep on a regular basis. Again any form of sleep training has been rejected outright. She still feeds at 10pm and 5am, and for the last week has spent 2am until 4am awake while been cuddled back to sleep.

I'm told that this is all just normal and if I really asked people in private they would admit it was quite typical.

So.. am I being unreasonable about sleep?

Alibooobaandthe40phantoms Wed 28-Oct-09 13:03:54

This is normal.

I am a little hmm about the eyesight thing. Infants waking at night and their parents then waking to feed and soothe them has been a feature of human existence forever. Why are we not all experiencing this damage?

claw3 Wed 28-Oct-09 13:04:28

That depends, what is that you want to do?

claw3 Wed 28-Oct-09 13:05:06


TanteRoseFromTheDead Wed 28-Oct-09 13:08:02

Completely normal - never heard of the eyesight thing either. Not sure about "continued sudden waking" - you said that your twins had a feed at 10pm (before you were asleep surely...) and then woke at only waking you up once.
Anyway, yes, YABU - human beings can survive on very little sleep.
But you could always look into the No-Cry Sleep Solution (I've never used it, but people have mentioned it as an alternative to CC)

dinkystinkystein Wed 28-Oct-09 13:09:13

Tis normal am afraid - little ones arent generally good sleepers. You could try gentle sleep training but need both you and your wife on board and really, you'll still have broken nights for abit of time to come - and when teething/illnesses etc strike. Who is taking the brunt of the nightwakings? Could you maybe get a family member or sleep nanny in overnight once or twice a week to let you and your DW get some sleep in while they deal with wide awake kids? I know it hard but parenting often is... and it will pass eventually...

TotsDaddy Wed 28-Oct-09 13:09:43

I admit it not common and the consultant got all his students round for a quick tutorial, but never the less... 1772224/

eggontoast Wed 28-Oct-09 13:16:58


I think you will find that there are few children who fit into our lives exactly as we would prefer them to.

Choices: Grin and bear / adopt strategy for change.

Problem is a lot of the things we want to change are hard to change and upset is part of the change. A lot of people can bear that, a lot cant. Thats why some of us (like me) put up with sleepless nights/co-sleeping as a coping method because the alternative is even more unbearable.

Unless you can find a softly softly approach to change the situation you are stuck with it if your partner does not want to do any harsh forms of sleep 'training'. (I have not looked into it myself, but perhaps there are no cry solutions etc??

It is not unreasonable to hate the situation and moan about it because it is difficult. It is not unreasonable not to like or want to adopt the strategies that can change it. It is not unreasonable to adopt difficult strategies if you are at your wits end.

However, I do think it is unreasonable not to consider all your options when you are at your wits end. (but I dont agree with ending up with a child that feels abandoned as a result of harsh sleep training.)

I would try and find a strategy that you both agree will work and is reasonable, given the circumstances. Then try it. I'd try others until I found something that worked.

I found co-sleeping. My three year old has slept through the whole night without waking/crying since I started it, and so have my husband and I. We have a relaxed chilled out life because we decided not to put up with the waking and adopted the strategy we felt most comfortable with. It's not for everyone and not without risk.

Either change or grin and bear. You are not being unreasonable IMO to hate it though!!

juuule Wed 28-Oct-09 13:22:54

As others have said the night wakening is normal. In fact if you are only being woken the once at 4am with your twins and 5am with your little girl then that's not really that frequent anyway.
And compared to my children, your twins sleeping through from 1yo is wonderful. Mine were around 3yo before they reliably slept through.

I've never heard of night waking causeing eye damage but maybe you have a weakness with your eyes and so it affects you. If you do have a medical problem with your eyes and so have to keep them closed from the time you go to bed until it's morning perhaps it might be wiser to sleep in another room until your little girl sleeps through.

ImSoNotTelling Wed 28-Oct-09 13:27:57

I was up 11 times the night before last. Oh yes indeed <conks out on ground>

I assume your DW isn;t BFing? Are you doing the majority of night-time feeds/cuddles etc? Why is that?

Here I BF and am on mat leave, DH works, so I handle the majority of night feeds. It would help to know your situation as maybe there would be a better way of sharing out who's doing what.

biggirlsdontcry Wed 28-Oct-09 13:28:41

omg shock i am surprised i am not blind by now then , my ds was a nightmare at that age , he woke up on the hour every hour until he turned 2yrs old .

juuule Wed 28-Oct-09 13:29:30

Just read your first link (2nd one didn't work for me). It seems to say that EMBD is caused by malnutrition or faulty metabolism and that visual disturbance is a symptom.

If you EMDB then perhaps you should be having treatment for it or at least advice. The first link doesn't seem to say that it can be caused by being constantly woken at night.

ImSoNotTelling Wed 28-Oct-09 13:33:02

Night feeds and waking I meant. I have a 2.4yo and a 3.5 mo.

ImSoNotTelling Wed 28-Oct-09 13:35:03

<gropes around room>

Yes DD1 has started having nightmares and her molars are coming through. DD2 obviously is feeding and she's started teething as well. Or maybe it was growth spurt. Or both.

Luckily DD1 is usually quick to settle and DD2 feeds quickly, so I'm only up for 5 or 10 mins a time. But still, it was hell!

LittleOneMum Wed 28-Oct-09 13:38:30

Everyone is being so mean!

Poor you sad. It is really hard being awake lots of times in the night over a long period.

I think my DH would die if he read your story. Our DS slept through 7pm to 7am from 3 months (woken at 11pm for a night feed until about 6 months) and has ever since. Maybe I was lucky, but I didn't believe in cuddling/feeding to sleep. i always put him down when he was still just about awake and he taught himself to go to sleep/back to sleep. I wasn't a mental controlled crying freak either.

I am expecting DC2 now and maybe life will be awful but I am really hoping the same technique will work.

I only posted to say that although what you describe is normal, no one should belittle what you feel and you should be allowed input into how your children's night time waking is dealt with.

TotsDaddy Wed 28-Oct-09 13:38:35

I hadn't spotted the malnutrition in that particular article, interesting.. I was told I probably had a genetic disposition to "weak" corneas, and what do you know, when I mention it to my mum, she said, "Oh yes I've got that too"

claw3 Wed 28-Oct-09 13:45:44

Is this thread about your eyes or are you asking for advice on sleep?

AvrilH Wed 28-Oct-09 13:50:59

Why do you do most of the getting up at night?

And why don't you have input into how you deal with the waking up?

TotsDaddy Wed 28-Oct-09 13:52:39

You're quite right, sleep it is

Stigaloid Wed 28-Oct-09 14:01:18

Not normal for those i know. My son slept through rom 14 weeks and only occasionally gets up - in fact if he gets up at 6am i consider that a bad night. Same with all the other mums i know either family or friends. Have the occasional bad spout due to illness or something but in general sleeping through 12 hours a night from around 3-4 months is the norm. But then again we all used sleep routines. It may also run in the genes - i slept through from 8 weeks apparently so maybe nature and nuture both play a factor.

Sorry you are so tired. Have heard about the eye thing too. My sympathies - my eyes got damaged when dealing with the stress of my father dying and have never fully recovered,

TotsDaddy Wed 28-Oct-09 14:04:33

And why don't you have input into how you deal with the waking up?

Well I'd like to understand what is reasonable first, hence the post. She does not believe there is anything wrong, anything that can be done, and that everyone else is the same. If that's true, and posts so far seem to back it up, well fair enough. If there is something that can be achieved it might be worth investigating

motherlovebone Wed 28-Oct-09 14:11:42

Of course, there are things that can be done.
Health visitor might be a source.
You could have a look at the sleep threads for more information.
You could also start taking turns to comfort the children.

AvrilH Wed 28-Oct-09 14:20:15

just because it is fairly normal does not mean that nothing should be done about it

sleep deprivation is hellish

AvrilH Wed 28-Oct-09 14:21:59

If you are both happy with the situation, then it is not a problem

If you do most of the getting up, why? If not, just invest in some earplugs.

ImSoNotTelling Wed 28-Oct-09 14:22:34

Are you doing most of the getting up at night though? Are you SAHD?

TBH if you are the one getting up then I think you should have most input into how to manage it/improve things etc. If your DW won't consider trying anything to improve matters then maybe she should be the one to deal with it.

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