I haven’t really talked much about how little my children sleep. Other parents like to say kind things to us, like, “Oh I totally understand, Junior didn’t sleep through the night until he was five months old!”
And I cry.
We are on three and half years of precious little sleep.
Our fourth baby didn’t sleep through the night until two and a half. He didn’t just not sleep, he screamed when awake. We had everything checked out there is to check out, no physical issues that we found. It turned out he was just an extraordinarily sensitive child, but not quite enough for a sensory disorder diagnosis. Just enough to be bothered by every little thing possible, which would wake him up. Too hot, too cold, jammies aren’t quite comfy enough, noises (oh god, no one put ice cubes in their drinks for years after bedtime), etc. These things affected him.
We did all the things. ALL THE THINGS. Breathable fabrics, sound machine, transition to real mattress on the floor, co-sleeping/not co-sleeping (for clarity, I mean bed-sharing), nursing/not night nursing, all the methods in all the books and the internets done over periods of weeks, etc. The things, we did them.
He just had to get old enough…old enough to do what exactly, I don’t know. But old enough to sleep better and now, mostly he does.
So we totally had another baby! Who sleeps better than his brother but not as good as other babies and nowhere near as good as the first three. And we are in the throes of the 18 month sleep regression. He’s averaging three to four hours of awake time every night, and on a miracle one night a week he sleeps through the night.
The difference between him and his brother is that while Simon is just awake and will cry at times, his brother was pissed off about it and screamed for the entirety of his wakefulness. He was so overtired, it was a huge relief to all of us when he started sleeping, to him more than anyone else. At least Simon follows somewhat of a pattern. He sleeps well about 1/3 of the time. I call sleeping well either sleeping through the night or waking up once to nurse and then going right back to sleep. The other times he’s awake. He doesn’t seem to know why he’s awake either and I can’t wait for him to be able to tell us.
For the mamas or papas going through an 18 month sleep regression, where your little one isn’t sleeping like they used to, I’m so sorry. If you are like us and your kids have never really slept well and now you’re trapped in an overtired nightmare, I send you my deepest condolences. I hope we all get some sleep soon! And thankfully, I know at the end of this regression is usually some cool new baby tricks and a much, much better sleeping baby on the horizon.