You probably know the signs – the red around the eyes, the yawning, the tiny hands, curled up into fists, rubbing their eyes. The baby is sleepy.
Even as adults, when we get overtired, we get irritable. Take that and multiply it by about fifty and you get an overtired baby.
Some might say “well just put the baby to bed,” but we’ve found that it has not been so easy.
Our little guy hates to go to sleep, especially during the day. I mean, HATES it. Once he’s sleeping, he looks like a peaceful little angel, but that’s a long road to get to. He just does not want to nap, no matter how tired he may be.
He screams, he yells, he makes anyone passing by the home think you’re murdering him. We’re talking blood curdling screams some times.
I don’t know if he’s afraid he’s going to miss something if he goes to sleep, if he’s afraid something’s going to happen to him if he allows himself to sleep, I have no clue, but it has led to some very late, very sleep-deprived nights.
First of all, he hates being on his back. He is not the type of baby you can just lay down in the crib or in the pack and play and have him entertain himself, even for a moment or two. No, he will wail to get upright, and since he’s not yet sitting up or crawling on his own, that requires the help of mommy and daddy.
That often leads to a lot of holding between the two of us to keep him from flipping out, something the grandparents have told us is “making him too dependent” and “going to make things harder as time goes on.”
What else would you do, though? We’re not the types who believe in the “letting them cry it out” approach. I’ve read too much that says letting them crying it out makes them feel abandoned, without support or help, and something that psychologically will stay with them as they develop into children and little people. No thank you.
So we pick him up. We take turns with him at home. One cooks, the other holds. One showers, the other holds, one works on house projects, the other holds. If we’re lucky, he might fall asleep in our arms and be able to be transferred to his crib, which leads to a nap and a few minutes for mom and dad.
If not for those moments, though, he would never nap. You can tell he needs to, but he will scream bloody murder if you try to put him down for one, and falling asleep in our arms doesn’t always work. Sometimes the screaming just continues.
Unfortunately, it also makes life difficult for grandma, who babysits him during the day when he’s having a bad day.
When night time comes, we have to work our hardest to lull him to sleep, which has made our attempts at getting him on a schedule difficult since the beginning. We’ve tried singing, we’ve tried cradling (like i say, hates being on his back), we’ve tried reading a story, a bath, etc. Occasionally running the white noise of the vacuum cleaner will work, but not always.
We have some relatives that have jumped automatically to “there’s something wrong” or “he needs to be checked out by the doctor,” but that’s not the case. He’s been to the doctor multiple times and he’s fine. They say he’ll grow out of it. I’ve heard from some parents that it tends to subside when the child becomes mobile, so all of this may be moot in a few months.
However, until he is mobile, we definitely will be, continuing to pick him up, move him around, do tours of the house, and just try so very very hard when he gets cranky to keep him soothed and distracted in the hopes of getting the sleep he needs.
Any parents out there who’ve had trouble with babies who don’t want to sleep?
We’re at 5 months old now, with the norm being two 15 minute naps in the course of the day, but usually a full night of rest, with the occasional waking for a feeding in the middle of the night.
I’d love to hear what worked, what didn’t if there’s any folks who went through a similar boat.