on sleep–or the lack thereof

Today marks five weeks since we returned from our lovely little cottage trip.  It was during that fateful trip that Ender stopped sleeping.  Prior to the trip, he had taken two predictable naps per day and slept from 7 pm to at least 4 am.  During the trip, he began going down hard—crying when we’d start heading for his pack ‘n’ play, taking longer than usual to fall asleep, waking once or twice in the first hour after he went down at night.  Then he started waking earlier in the morning, at three or even two instead of four or five am.  Once we got home, he progressed to waking every 20 minutes from 7-9 pm, waking twice in the middle of the night, and needing to be held while he slept restlessly from 2 am on.  At naptime, he might sleep for an hour if I were exceedingly lucky; he also might fuss and scream and refuse to nap for eight hours at a time (like today).

Our doc increased his dose of Pepcid, which enabled him to fall asleep at night and eliminated our annoying multitude of early wakings—joy!  But the remainder of the night (and day) continued to worsen.  She tried moving his medicine to nighttime, splitting his dose between morning and night, adding Tylenol or gas drops at bedtime—all to no avail.  She tried Maalox at bedtime (kept him sleeping until at least midnight, but he was worse than ever thereafter) and added Prevacid (no change yet).  We’ve also seen another of the peds twice; both times she claimed he must be teething or hungry.  Tylenol doesn’t seem to have much effect on his sleep, and he hasn’t popped any teeth through in this five-week span.  He eats a hearty dinner, and I increased the amount of oatmeal he gets in his nighttime bottle.  (We have to add oatmeal to his formula or it comes right back up.)  Besides, you can’t tell me that he is hungry two hours after that heavy bottle.

Last weekend, poor Ender contracted a bad case of the runs.  He was having ten dirty diapers a day.  We were told to take him off his formula and instead give him Pedialyte mixed with rice cereal and baby bananas.  His meals were to consist of only the BRAT Diet foods (if you have kids, you know this—Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast).  Miraculously, our raw-bottomed baby started sleeping again.  He had diarrhea for three-and-a-half days, and for four nights he slept like the proverbial baby that so few of us have in reality.  I was thrilled!

After a full day of fewer yucky diapers, I re-started the little guy’s formula on Tuesday.  Tuesday night, he started crying out in his sleep within an hour of going down.  By midnight he was in our room, alternating between being held and dozing in the pack ‘n’ play; by 3 am I had to move downstairs to the couch so he didn’t wake the rest of the family with his perpetual fussing.  Wednesday night was a repeat of Tuesday.  Today he took a two-hour morning nap and then screamed whenever I tried to put him down in the afternoon, preferring instead to motor around the house and fuss.  The night has begun with two interventions needed in the first two hours of his sleep.  This does not bode well.

The doc informs me that it’s highly unlikely that he’s developed an intolerance for his formula, since he’s been on Nutramigen since six weeks of age.  But I’m running out of ideas, and so are they.  I’ve gotten the distinct impression that they are tired of my complaining: “Sometimes babies go through bad sleep phases–they get teeth or hit a growth spurt.”  This is my third kid.  There’s bad sleep—waking up three or four times a night for a pat on the back over the course of a week—and there’s this—crying out in your sleep almost hourly, unable to sleep more than half the night without being held and occasionally jiggled.  We’re tired.  I don’t think this is normal.  But I’m at a complete loss as to what to do.  HELP!  Are any of you feeling insightful?

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8 thoughts on “on sleep–or the lack thereof

    • The longer this goes on, the more I question myself, thinking I must be insane. Then again, the last time I thought I must be insane because no one could find anything wrong, they finally decided I had cancer. Let’s hope that’s not his problem. I guess I’ll keep plugging.

  1. The first 6 months with my daughter were a nightmare! I was convinced that she had reflux or something, but just kept getting told that she was fine! Every time she had formula milk she would scream and wince and she also had the runs quite regularly. At my wits end, I rang the help number on the Cow and Gate milk. They told me that they thought that she was lactose intolerance. I changed her milk to Omneo Comfort (don’t know if they still do it) that was made using potato starch. I noticed a different almost immediately. My doc didn’t seem to care, they just said oh wel if it’s working and sent me on my way. My daughter is now 6 and they still won’t test her. She used to come in hives when she had yogurt, ice-cream cheese etc, but it seems as though she is slowly growing out of it.
    The other thing that helped me was cranial massage. My daughter was a c-section, and someone told me that as she was forced to come out when she wasn’t ready, it might help. I wasn’t sure, but I tried anyway. Two sessions later and my daughter was a much more relaxed baby. The chiropractor told me that she was very tense, but was great, and after two sessions said she didn’t need to see her anymore. My daughter was much calmer and settled much more quickly.
    As a mother, we know our kids, and we can tell when things aren’t as they should be. Don’t give up – I know that it is hard when you are lacking sleep, but it will be worth it in the end.

    • Thanks for the encouragement. My mom said she’s pretty sure I was lactose intolerant as a baby, but the docs couldn’t figure out why I was always so miserable; I must’ve finally outgrown it. My little guy didn’t do well on regular formula so he’s on a specialty kind for babies with milk-protein allergy–but he’s been on this for something like six months and only been miserable for the last six weeks. I’ve tried everything I can think of. I guess I’ll keep pestering the doc and hope they’ve got something more helpful than what I’ve already tried. Maybe I’ll have to look into cranial massage or something similar.

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