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When do babies / toddlers learn to link sleep cycles?(13 Posts)
I'm not talking about sleeping through the night. After 14 months of this, I don't need a full night. I would just like maybe 2 or 3 (or 4?!) wake ups a night instead of most hours. I'd like to hear my baby stir and then go back to sleep occasionally instead of needing me instantly.
I have no interest in night weaning yet (I'm sure I will one day but I feel for now he is genuinely hungry at least some of his wake ups) or letting him cry or anything. I guess I just want to hear that they do eventually learn?
I'm fed up of feeling like I'm alone in this and hearing people complain about babies who wake a few times a night. I know obviously it's not a competition but when you've fed your toddler back to sleep 4 times before midnight it's hard not to feel a bit resentful.
They do eventually learn but they are all different sadly sorry you're struggling so much. Does your baby do ANY long chunks at all? Like from 4am sleeps a few hours or something? And is this constant or just really bad during teething etc?
The first few hours are the best. Sometimes he does 2-3 hours. Thereafter wakes just all the time and then from about 4am he's just half awake and restless just feeding and tossing and turning non stop (I think he still gets a bit gassy and it gets worse the longer the night has gone on). It's been pretty much his whole life. We did have a lot of problems with reflux and things when he was younger so sleep was bad but now he sleeps on his tummy mostly and he's just that much bigger I don't think it's really such an issue. He just doesn't seem to ever be able to link cycles, save for every now and then giving me a few hours together at the start of his night.
He actually sleeps well because he just feeds and goes straight back to sleep, he rarely opens his eyes or is actually awake awake (and he goes to sleep incredibly easy, so I have to keep reminding myself of that), it's just me that is disturbed anywhere befween about 6-12x a night.
Sorry you're getting such frequent wake ups, it's torture. In my experience I cracked and weaned my child at 9 months although they would happily have carried on waking up every 2 hours and being fed back to sleep, I offered them expressed milk, formula and water (in case of thirst) and they weren't interested in the milk when it was not their usual breast milk so I presume not hungry, but wanted comforting. We found other ways of comforting them and that in turn reduced the waking. I also had occasional night away to sleep at my mums while DP took him and that's how I survived.
The most ridiculous thing is that I actually really want another one and in my probably sleep deprived dreams I imagine lying between them tandem feeding them both to sleep and it being all lovely and me just being the ultimate earth mother. But really I think the lack of sleep has probably just sent me mad.
I have read your thread and assumed he is sleeping in your bed, but realised you haven't specifically said that. Are you cosleeping all night? Because not going to sleep where baby stays asleep will usually result in waking after a sleep cycle. So if you are feeding to sleep, baby is likely to need to stray there with you.
Another thing to consider is daytime sleep. Good sleep gives rise to better sleep so a well rested toddler/baby will sleep better than an over tired one. An over tired baby is likely to spend more time in the lighter phases of sleep, so wake more easily. At 14 months I was getting two 90m-2h naps - a morning nap at 9am and afternoon nap 1-2pm. No reason these can't be cosleeping naps or in the sling, but the quality daytime sleep does matter and will probably affect your nights.
Some other obvious things. White noise, quite loud, drowns out background noise. Useful if snoring might be disturbing baby's sleep. Also worth considering personal space when sleeping, now baby is older. If there ius not enough space in the bed you may end up waking each other up as you turn over and movie around. Could be worth considering a superkingsized bed?
Haven't you just described your problem and your solution in one sentence?
Linking sleep cycles, and stirring and falling back asleep. Why would your baby do that? He gets cuddles and milk when he wakes up. There is no incentive to do so, so why would he?
To get more sleep, I suggest you wean at night. There isn't much reason to still be feeding throughout the night at this age.
If you don't want to night wean, don't, it you won't get better sleep.
Hm see I would disagree on whether he needs the milk or not. I think he does still - for the nutrition, the comfort .. all of it. I'm not arguing that it is POSSIBLE for a baby to, from about 6 months+, consume enough food and milk in the day not to need it at night but many don't. Mine is definitely far too distracted and isn't good enough at food yet to get quite enough, plus I'm at work so he gets no milk for most of the day so does make up for it at night.
I guess I'm just complaining really. I know a lot of people in my situation with babies that wake up every 3-4 hours for a feed, and I just can't help but feel sorry for myself! He could definitely get enough from far fewer feeds than he has (I just think he needs something) and he uses it primarily as a way to get back to sleep because he doesn't know any other way. I should probably try making sure every night I do use other methods too though, it's probably lazy of me never to try anything but the breast and you're right it gives him no incentive to go back to sleep himself.
FATE - yes we co-sleep. Mostly out of necessity for me but honestly, I also quite like it. We're on the floor though so he does go to sleep where he wakes up (I can leave him for a bit on his own because there's nowhere to fall from). Naps are crap ATM because he's transitioning to one, but then we've gone through periods where he'a napped well and the nights were still shocking. I should work on the sound and the light actually. It's very busy near us and he can hear sirens etc all night, a lot of which I and do much about but maybe adding in white noise - something on al night - might be a reassurance and get me the odd extra sleep cycle.
You're not alone with this, and they do grow out of it when they're ready. DD was very sensitive to all developmental changes and had sensory issues which played a big role (noise and proprioceptive). 14 months was the worst mostly due to teething, also exposure to a virus and so nursing constantly for the antibodies, alongside a cognitive spurt and suddenly realising they're seperate from you and needing comfort in the night. (Another common 'bad' sleep patch is when they get closer to two and a lot of mums say it's like nursing a newborn).
Sleeping through for us came from being dry at night. In between there were lots of weeks of long chunks of solid sleep. It just came with time. Not being stressed, being flexible, napping in the day and enjoying the quiet cosleeping time helped. Once the cosleeping breastfeeding enforced breaks ended i quite missed them and no longer having an excuse not to get on with other things!
I feel for you, and you're allowed to complain
Ps. We sleep with rain white noise all night. My babe is a very light sleeper and this helps massively. We also cosleep so perhaps the white noise will help your little'un to sleep through some cycles. I have also found putting a drop of lavender on her 'lovey' (muslin) every night seems to help!
Looking for the original OP and any update on their child's sleep...I currently have a 14 month old and could have written this exact post and the exact comments in response to people. I'm hoping the OP may be able to bring me some hope!
Our DD started doing longer stretches at 12 months when she started nursery and started walking properly. Coincidentally I also stopped sleeping in the same room as her at that time. (Before then I would sleep on a bed next to her cot). I'm sure yours will slowly learn too, but I would work on breaking the BF sleep association somehow. Get partner to do deal with some wake-ups by shushing, rocking, singing a lullaby etc. I'm not a fan of CIO, but we did let DD cry for a bit sometime. Do you feed to sleep at bedtime? Try to replace that by something else. I know it's hard, but you will get there! Don't worry about stopping breastfeeding, but set yourself some limits. I'm still BF at 18 months, but only in the morning and after nursery. Good luck xx