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Friday, July 20, 2012 Sleep, Sanity, et al

Well, it appears we have fallen into the 14 Month Sleep Regression with Miss Norah. For about 3 weeks now she has been fighting sleep, nearly every single nap and bedtime. She is waking at night and often screaming or fussing for hours. We're back to giving her bottles in the night to get her back to sleep, and she is barely eating solid food some days. I'm afraid what started as some sleep disturbance due to teething molars has morphed into a behavioral pattern that is going to take some serious willpower to break (on our end, which will be a massive feat given the Willpower of this child).

We have tried teething tablets, Tylenol, Motrin. Calms Forte and Rescue Remedy at bedtime and overnight when she wakes.  Lavender oil on her sheets. Noise machine and nightlight on.  We maintain a stable bedtime routine - dinner, bath, lotion/jammies, bottle, stories, bed. But lately, she often barely eats dinner, throwing food off her tray moments after we put it down for her. Screams when we put her in the tub for bath, and refuses to sit down in the water, saying "Hot, Hot" even though of course it isn't too hot. She no longer likes to be rocked to sleep while drinking a bottle and having a story read to her. She just wants to get down and runs to the bedroom door saying "Up, All Done". Child She often finishes her bottle, is still awake, and then we end up letting her scream in her crib for up to an hour and a half, before one of us gives in and heads back in there, usually with a few more ounces of milk and she finally falls asleep by 9:30 or later.

I want to quit the bottles. I know she's getting too much milk on a daily basis - should be between 16-24 oz a day, and I'm quite sure she gets closer to 30 oz or more many days. She won't take water from a bottle, but drinks water out of a straw sippy just fine. She won't take milk from the cup though. I worry about her teeth, but I also worry that she is filling up on milk only and not eating a balanced diet, and then can be at risk for iron deficiency.  But even more, I want the bottles gone because she relies on them to fall asleep, and expects that we will come in with a bottle when she wakes and we eventually give in because hours and hours of screaming until she pukes just isn't cutting it every single night.

She will SCREAM, bloody eff, she will scream, for hours. She will not give in and fall asleep on her own anymore, she will just continue to scream until she makes herself gag and/or throw up. Then, I come in, clean her up, and we start over. I can't do that for hours on end, every night, and in the middle of the night. She is not getting the point that when it's time to lay in her crib, it's bedtime, time to sleep, not scream.

What's so frustrating is that we've already done this, gotten past it, and she was sleeping through the night. For about 3 months, she was going to bed around 8:30 and waking about 6:30 am, and taking 2 reasonable naps a day. So what the Hell?

I feel defeated. I'm exhausted again. I want to cry on a daily basis, frankly most days I do. I don't even like my kid some days (of course I ALWAYS love her, but the liking part? Mmm not so much enjoying this phase, thanks). I feel like I have to be getting something wrong, or this wouldn't be happening. I feel like none of my friends with toddlers have experienced this, so it can't all be due to "just a phase".  Maybe she does have a strong willed personality (OK, we know she does) and some of it is just her trying to express her independence. But I have to be missing something, because I just do not know what else to try to get her to sleep and stay asleep. I just don't know. But I'm slowly losing my mind, my sanity, and my ability to rationally think through a plan for what else to do.

I've turned into a Me-Monster on Facebook and among my work group of friends, turning every conversation into a plea for sympathy and/or approaches to try. I can't answer the question "How is Norah?" from well meaning friends/family/acquaintances without spinning into a spiral about all of the hairy details of this current pattern of awfulness going on.  Not that they really wanted to know. Sometimes I guess I'm looking for others to say "yeah, we had a kiddo like was rough for a while but we got through it, and hey, she turned out OK".  And sometimes, I don't even know why I do it, because I end up sounding like a complete Hot Mess of Failed Mama Sauce and why the hell can I not just get a handle on my toddler, she's only 15 months old for gosh sakes, who's making the rules here?  I don't know. I guess it just comes down to the fact that I'm exhausted, overwhelmed, and really just want someone else to fix it for me. But you never get that Take a Free Pass card when you're the parent, do you?  Dammit (yeah, I know, she'll be saying that one all too soon, too.)


  1. I'm sorry your having so much bedtime trouble. I honestly have no advice for you. I won't be a parent for another month. Just wanted you to know I stumbled onto your blog when I googled "PUPPS." Thanks for sharing the things you did to get relief.

  2. Hi Amanda - thanks for commenting! I'm sorry you found me by way of PUPPS...I hope if you have it yourself, you are finding some relief! Honestly, now that I'm past it I don't know why on Earth I didn't just try the Prednisone. It finally worked in just 2 days when the PUPPS came back at 3 weeks post-partum, and I couldn't stand it any more and just gave it a shot. I hope your OB/MW can offer you what you need to feel better!

  3. Yeah, sometimes I want to throw my child across the room these days. I'm pretty sure it's my mothering instinct that is stopping me -- but that's the only thing!

    You might want to consider a sleep consultant. The issues you're dealing with seem to be extreme.

    Are you in a Facebook mommy group? I've found that to a lifesaver! You can vent/complain/ask for advice in those types of groups and everyone expects all you'll talk about is your child. :) I'd be happy to invite you in to the one I'm in. A lot of us are located in Northern California, but advice and support doesn't mean you need to be in a specific location! Shoot me an email if you'd like me to add you!

    (By the way, we met in the TCOYF April 2011 baby group :))

  4. Trish - I haven't been over on TCOYF in forever, but I remember you! Thanks for still checking in, and glad to hear you have moments where mothering a 15 month old is challenging (at least I don't feel so crazy mean about it!)

    I *think* we are nearing improvement in her sleep, a little. Her bottom molars and top canines came through, and she's getting over a cold. I think her mouth probably hurt(s) and that had a lot to do with not eating/sleeping well. I'm hoping we are nearing the end of the "14 Month Sleep Regression", but I guess time will tell.