Posted by: emjb | April 5, 2006

Last resort

After nearly five months with Nathan, I’ve discovered there may be different rules for huge, strong babies. Especially when it comes to sleep.

For one thing, we haven’t been able to swaddle him since he was 3 months old. Some babies go up to 7 months with swaddling, long enough to transition them into more mature sleep patterns. Not our Hoss.

For another, although we cuddle him constantly, we can’t carry him anywhere in a sling or a Snugli–because you don’t know pain until you try to carry 23 pounds of squirming, flailing, not-yet-sitting-up baby in a piece of fabric slung around your middle. So “wearing him to sleep” as suggested by the good Dr. Sears–out.

I don’t know if this is related to size, but he mostly hates co-sleeping. And a 27-inch long child can kick you hard in tender places when he flails about at night. So feeding is complicated (he’s in a crib, he’s heavy to pick up and put down all night), and so, yes, we have been known to bottle-prop. I know. We’re going to hell.

Oh yeah, and that whole keeping him on his back thing till he’s a year old? I don’t know how we can do that, now that he’s figured out how to flip over, short of tying him down, which I can’t imagine CPS would find OK. We tried putting him in a curved padded changing pad with a sheet on it, to keep him in place…and he can wiggle himself right around and out of it. Hulk smash. Hulk no want to sleep on back…Hulk’s parents out of luck.

And tonight we’ve had to give up one more good-parenting bit of doctrine, and try letting him cry himself to sleep. Because we’re done. Zombies, the walking dead, feeling-that-you’re-not-far-from-death done. We can’t keep it up. I don’t remember what it felt like to have gotten enough sleep, and I need my brain back, I need to function.

The funny thing is, I didn’t know how bad it had gotten until Matt started staying home and took over Nathan duty at night. I was used to my suffering, but I couldn’t stand watching him suffer through it, because I knew just how bad it was. Nor could I keep doing it myself while working during the day, not that Matt would let me do that. When you get to the point where you can see no relief in sight, ever, then you have to do something. So we are.

So far he’s woken up a couple of times, cried about 5 minutes, and gone back to sleep. But this is usually the best part of the night for him, so we don’t know how he’ll do between midnight and 7, the worst part. And in some ways, we don’t even care. Hell,we’re not sleeping anyway. Not sleeping because you’re waiting for him to wake up and complain and not sleeping because he’s already complaining and you’re just waiting him out feels about the same.

Nothing else has worked–not the things I’ve mentioned above, not the things others have told us to try. Not feeding him cereal, more milk, elevating his head. Not the crib vibrator thingie, or music, or white noise, soft lights, or a toy to hold. Not cuddling, not songs, not baths, nothing. Nothing has kept him from waking up every 2-3 hours and needing us to get up and soothe him or give him a bottle to go back to sleep.

So this is all we have left; let him cry. Hope he’s old enough to learn how to put himself back to sleep. He’s not a hysterical cryer as a general rule, he actually hates crying, so I have hope that he’ll decide the whole thing’s not worth the effort and not cry very long. But I have no idea what will actually happen. Matt and I are sleeping in the living room tonight, because there’s no way we’ll sleep if we’re in the same room with him. We’ll check on him if he cries, make sure he’s safe, but that’s it. No getting up till 7.

I’ll let ya’ll know how it goes.



  1. ooh, good luck. Every baby is SO different; you just have to figure out what works along the way. I cannot imagine a 23-pound 5 month old; my guy is just 23 pounds now, at almost two. So I had the luxury (?) of wearing him forever. No way that would have lasted long if he hadn’t been such a peanut.

  2. I’ll be doing that in May after we move to Louisiana… best of luck to you! You never know until you try, right? I’ve read in more than one place that 4-5 days usually does the trick. As they get older I think it’s a little easier to let them fuss. They aren’t these little helpless lumps anymore… I never knew time could pass so quickly.

    I think Ethan is about 14 pounds now at nearly 15 weeks, and my back KILLS after a walk with him in the snugli. I (almost) feel your pain!

    P.S. Nathan is so adorable!!! GAH!

  3. Kelsye was 27 pounds at 6 months and I feel your back pain. Cosleeping worked for us, at that age, but… I remember when my neice was one, she and my sister were living with us and she would wake up and just cry and scream and they would do nothing and I would feel all condescending… and then when Kelsye was one, I wanted to go back in time and smack that condescending bitch.

    Good luck.

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