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My son is turning 11 months old next month, and I love him to death and back, but there's something that's been frustrating me nearly every night and I don't know what to do about it.

My son goes to sleep between 8 and 9 PM. Every night, he wakes up at around midnight, usually coughing a bit and always in need of rocking.

My frustration comes from trying to figure out what he needs to be put back to bed.

I rule out his diaper first (I change it if it is heavy and wet) and I try to rock him back to sleep if possible - but if these don't work, I try to give him a bottle to help with his hunger - but even when he seems thirsty or hungry (making sucking motions with his lips) he refuses to take the bottle, preferring to roll himself into my body and sleep.

This wouldn't be so bad - but unless he gets some of the bottle into him, he'll almost always wake up again several times after being put down, sometimes for a solid hour, before he'll either take some in and fall asleep, or simply drift off on his own (with the bottle going to waste).

I try my very best to set him down gently, even though he usually rolls himself over immediately as he hits the mattress. And I try to count to 30 to make sure he's drifted off, but sometimes after a few minutes he'll be right back at it.

My wife tries to help feed him and hold him but she's also usually much more tired than me and can't get up as many times as I do.

I don't so much mind that he does this - but I mind that it's starting to get really frustrating for me and I don't want to reflect that frustration onto my son. I love him, but I'm worried that this nightly fight to get him to sleep might be testing the limits of my patience.


What can I do to save myself some of this frustration, or at the very least manage my frustration better.

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    Have you heard of teaching a baby self-soothing/self-comforting? A search of these terms on this site might help. In terms of managing your frustration, the only thing I know of is to reframe everything, e.g. your expectations, what gives you joy, etc. Easier to teach self-soothing! Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 14:26
  • @anongoodnurse I have heard of it yes - I've considered just letting him soothe himself to sleep. But I'm not sure how to tell the difference between needing soothing and needing a drink.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 14:33
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    Nights awake comes with the toddler package. I would try not to look too hard for solutions to what is merely the natural state of the newborn child. If there is no apparent need to be fed, perhaps the need is simply for closeness? A whole night is a long time to be out of touch with your attachment figures. Have you considered cosleeping? That lets you satisfy that need without being awake. Read up on safe practices if you decide to go that route.
    – user36162
    Commented Jul 27, 2022 at 22:13
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    Babies cry. Cats catch birds and dogs bark. You cannot be unhappy at a baby crying for the same reason you cannot resent a lion for catchin gazelle. It is just what they do. Sleepless nights with an infant should be considered a parental rite of passage.
    – Neil Meyer
    Commented Jul 31, 2022 at 11:37
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    Can remember walking up and down the kitchen getting a fractious kid to sleep at 2, 3 and 4 in the morning with work the next day. Got through that. Talked to0 a colleague who is doing the same thing at the moment, sympathised and said we have all done it...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Aug 4, 2022 at 14:02

1 Answer 1

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First, if the temperature change between you and your son's mattress is significant, this can contribute to him walking several times.

One solution is to use a warm water bottle to warm the mattress while you're holding your son. Of course, before putting him back on the mattress, remove the water bottle and check the mattress temperature to make sure it's warm but not hot.

By warming his mattress the temperature change between you and mattress will be small, and this may support him staying asleep.

Second, if being held for a while gets your son back to sleep, he's not hungry, and trying to feed him will be a struggle, so it's best to just hold him and accept that babies do what babies do, and that you'll be up with him in a few hours to feed him.

Third, when he's hungry, he'll eat and hopefully go back to sleep quickly, so that you can go back to sleep as soon as possible.

Forth, feeling frustrated is a normal healthy feeling for any parent. Parents are people, not saints, so it's important to validate your feelings and do what you can to address them, while keeping in mind that parenting changes as your child grows, so this stage for your son will pass, and he will sleep all night, eventually.

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