Porter is a terrible sleeper. He wasn't always bad...he started off pretty normally I think. He was up every three hours at night but would eat and go right back to sleep. He had an issue where he would only take naps while he was being held and go down for the night swaddled but at least he was sleeping. As the weeks passed, his nighttime stretches were getting longer for the most part. He still wasn't sleeping through the night but he would go six hours pretty regularly and a couple of times even surprised me with an eight hour stretch. I was surviving.
Right around five months, not only was Porter up every two or three hours to eat, now he was also waking up from naps after only 30 minutes. And he was mad! The only thing to stop the crying was to nurse. So I did. Most of the time he would fall right back to sleep. I knew I was creating a monster...especially when he would seal his lips tightly and not take a pacifier when he knew I was trying to get him to sleep. Only nursing was acceptable. I called the doctor. The nurse that I don't particularly like called back and without asking me a single question said that he was teething and to give him Tylenol and Orajel every night before bed, put him down and leave him until morning. I tried to tell her that he already had his bottom teeth (she said that he would be teething for the next two years and that he would get his bottom row of teeth and then his top row which is obviously not the case at all) and that there were no signs that his top teeth were coming in. She said that I should know he wasn't hungry and that I was spoiling him and to let him cry himself to sleep. Even though I knew he wasn't teething and the cry-it-out method is painful for me, I knew she was at least right when she said that what we were doing wasn't working. So I decided to try. That day I put him down for his nap without nursing him to sleep. He cried for about 15 minutes and then fell asleep. He stayed asleep for two hours and woke up well rested. I did the same for his next nap and he only cried for about 10 minutes. I was excited. I hated the crying, but it was working! He was learning to put himself to sleep.
That night was the big test. We swaddled him and I nursed him to sleep, knowing that his night would be tough and we should at least start it comfortably. At midnight he started crying. I put his pacifier in and he went back to sleep. At 1:26am, he started crying again. I put his pacifier in but he spit it out and kept crying. The kid cried for 59 minutes (I cried most of that time too because I felt so bad, but I knew he wasn't hungry and was just hoping I was helping him in the long-run). After an hour, I was done. I couldn't handle another second. I nursed him back to sleep.
I wish this story had a happy ending...I'm sure eventually it will but not right now.
So here we are...he has gotten good at naps. Most of the time he will go straight to sleep without even fussing. Sometimes he cries for a few minutes before falling asleep. His naps are the appropriate length and he wakes up well-rested. Then there's the night time. He is literally up every 90 minutes to 2 hours. The only thing that gets him back to sleep is nursing. I have tried everything: him in the room with us, not in the room with us, bassinet, crib, in my arms, swaddled, unswaddled, oatmeal before bed, veggies before bed, cluster feeding before bed, formula before bed...everything I can think of. None of it makes a difference at all and I'm at a loss. I'm exhausted. I know this is just a season and it will pass and he will eventually sleep, but right now that seems awfully far away.