Friday, March 26, 2010

Sleep Deprivation 101

I know that every kid is different, but I never expected to have a toddler who gets regular insomnia!

I hope someone can give me some insight into Henry's sleep issues. Here's the story.

I never thought I would share a bed with my baby, but living on the boat it has just ended up that way. When Henry was six months old and could stand up we felt that he was no longer safe sleeping alone in the v-berth with the railing we built for it. Rather than risk him falling out, I opted to sleep there too. Eight months later I still do. So, maybe that was my first mistake.

Henry starts his day between 7:30 and 8:30am, depending on his night. He normally naps just once a day now, usually from about 1:00pm-3:00pm. By 8:00pm he is ready for bed. He usually goes to bed quite easily, falling asleep within half an hour. I lay with him in the bed until he's asleep.

About an hour after he goes to sleep he wakes up and fusses. We pat his back and he goes right back to sleep. These awakenings can happen anywhere from 2-10 times a night. I'm used to this now, and as long as he settles right back to sleep I'm hardly disturbed at all. The major issue is that quite often, probably almost half of the time, he will wake up in the night and stay awake. He is perfectly happy most nights, just tossing and turning, and tossing and turning...for up to three hours some nights!! Why can't he go back to sleep?!?

I've tried giving him a bottle, which he drinks happily, then tosses and turns for a couple of hours anyway. I've tried changing his diaper, not changing his diaper, giving him Tylenol, rocking him, singing to him, not talking to him at all, getting him up, leaving him be...nothing seems to get him back to sleep any sooner.

My only idea is that it could be diet related, so I've started to keep a food journal to try to see a correlation between what he eats and whether we have a good night or a bad night. Henry also seems to be allergic to dairy. He is still drinking his milk-based formula, but can't tolerate homogenized milk, goat's milk, or soy formula. All three made him spit up. Also, when I first gave him milk and realized he was having issues with it I stopped giving him yogurt and cheese. This seemed to clear up the patches of rough skin (eczema?) on the backs of his arms.

When I asked our MD about his sleep he just said that if he didn't wake up crying or in pain he wouldn't worry about it. Easy for him to say, he gets to sleep all night!

Any suggestions? Thanks!

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