I can’t believe I even have enough energy to type right now. I don’t really, I’m practically asleep.

I don’t think I’ve ever been more mentally and physically drained. It’s worse than labor. Well, almost.

I did great for 6 months. Getting up at one, four and six am to rock & nurse Lucas back to sleep. I was sleep walking. I was a pro. I could still wake up in the (actual) morning and not even remember the night before, because my body was so used to waking up.

Not anymore.

I’m exhausted. I can hardly stand I don’t have any energy, much less the energy to hold and play with my baby. I need him to sleep. Why won’t he sleep? It’s not waking up and nursing back to sleep anymore. It’s waking up and he won’t fall back asleep. And I’m just begging him, please baby sleep. Please. Mommy needs you to sleep. Please.

He cried more last night then he ever has. Minutes here and there. I had no strength to even get out of bed. I would just lean over the crib and rest my head and rub his belly. Stumble to and from the rooms while bumping into things. Cry. Baby please, just sleep.

He will just look at me and scream. I don’t have a choice but to pick him up. I can’t say no to that face. He wants me. He needs me. I am his mother. I can’t say, no baby. I won’t cuddle you. I won’t pick you up. I won’t rock you.

I think he’s teething. Probably growing. Learning how to talk. Learning how to crawl. His body and mind are busy right now. But he won’t rest. He will nap, if I’m lucky, two hours a day. Don’t tell me that’s a lot. Because it isn’t. Do the math please. 8-12:30 up. play play play 12:30-2:30 nap. 2:30-7:30 play. I don’t have energy.

Maybe I should try changing his nap schedule again. Again again.

I feel sick. I’m sweating just sitting here. My head hurts. My eyes are droopy. I napped today while he did. Didn’t help.

I don’t even know how I had the energy to write this. There are probably more than one grammatical errors in it. Whatever.

How do you guys do it? I don’t think I ever understood the words Mom is a super hero until now.

Yes, he is eating solids. No, it’s not helping. Yes, I’ve let him cry for minutes here and there. No, I won’t let him CIO all night. At least not on purpose. Yes, I’ve tried co-sleeping. He doesn’t like it. No, the likelihood of my husband taking “night duty” one night isn’t great. I wake up anyways. I’m already up. I won’t even get started on that.

Lord, give me strength.

Published by Samantha Mellen

Certified personal trainer & health coach helping women transform their lives through fitness, abundant mindset coaching and internal peace. Mom of two boys, living life in Alaska.

31 thoughts on “Exhausted.

  1. Let me tell you a little story.

    Six years ago, I was you. Exhausted, tapped out, not one more inch to give, frustrated, emotional…all of it. If I had known what a blog was, I definitely could have written this post.

    One night, I accidentally fell asleep in my bed with my son. I was *just* going to nurse him and then put him back and I accidentally fell asleep. I woke up in an absolute panic, several hours later, sure he had died or I'd squished him or he'd rolled off the bed…something. We had sworn off co sleeping, partially because of those theoretical risks, but also because we had heard it was impossible to break a child of it and it was a really bad *habit*.

    Well needless to say, my son was just fine. He was sleeping peacefully. Since I was so exhausted I decided to just go back to sleep. We both woke up again in the morning, feeling totally refreshed. We never looked back. I started putting my son to bed in his own bed and then as soon as he woke up the first time, bringing him into my own bed where he would stay for the night. He didn't always sleep through the night, but he woke up less and was less disruptive when he did.

    Fast forward to baby #2 on the way, my husband actually says, “We're just going to bring him into our bed from the start this time, right?” He remembered clearly how much more sleep everyone started getting after we welcomed his big brother…who, by the way, was now sleeping through the night in his own bed after gradually lengthening the amount of time he slept that initial part of the night.

    #3 is just over a year and at the same point in her transition where she is beginning to sleep longer in her own bed the first part of the night and then join us for the end of the night. I don't doubt she will also soon be sleeping through the night in her own bed without coming for visits. I'm not at all worried about it.

    So I feel your pain…I remember it clearly. I don't regret the choice we made one little bit! Just wanted to share that with you to let you know you do have another option!


  2. Try the “No Cry: Sleep Solution” book…it saved me! My little boy never slept through the night and I refused to let him cry! This book was awesome and reassured me that there are other ways than CIO. Good luck!

  3. I feel your pain. With three under 2, I'm still exhausted and they (mostly) sleep through the night. Desperation led me to the “cry it out” method w/ the twins. They were nearly 10 months old and I was already pregnant again (which meant complete and utter exhaustion). One of them slept ok, but the other literally woke up every couple of hours. And yes, like you, I woke up every single time, even if my husband ended up getting up with the baby. And the cries so shock my system that I have a hard time getting back to sleep. I'm still not a huge fan of crying it out, but with one of our children, that was the only thing that worked. But if I've learned anything, it's that every child is different and every parent is different and you have to find what works for you and yours. Good luck. I am praying for you to find rest.

  4. I liked No Cry Sleep Solution, too, but what REALLY seemed to get it for us was putting Jude down 2 hours after he first woke in the morning, then after that nap, putting him down 3 hours later, and then bed 4 hours after that nap. He was taking TERRIBLE naps and waking tons up till that point. Now he takes two naps of 1 – 2 hours each and only wakes once or twice a night. It was a gradual process and I do not know if it will work with your little one. I hope you find something!

  5. My now 3 year old was the same way. I also worked the first six months and there were nights when I would just lie beside his crib, touching his face and crying. It was awful. It was insane that a baby could go for so long with so little sleep. People looked at me like I was making it up when I told them. He still doesn't sleep like a “normal” child and I have my doubts that he ever will. It does get better though, but that doesn't help much when you're not sure you will survive another day.

  6. Did you guys get more sleep the other night when he slept with you? I don't think I'd be able to survive without co-sleeping. Just the fact you're getting woken out of a sound sleep would be hellish, add in the baby is wide awake from trying to get your attention so you have to work to get them back to sleep…I can see why you're exhausted. With co-sleeping, my sleep is in sync with his, I wake up gradually as he stirs & nurse him before he's even really awake & he goes back into deep sleep quickly so I can too. Maybe try it for a week or 2 & see how you're feeling?

  7. I've been there, sister. And like you, my daughter didn't do cosleeping, she would stay awake to play and hit us in the face. And my husband couldn't ever calm her, so it HAD to be me. I know it sucks, but it will pass. We also read the No Cry Sleep Solution and it was a little helpful. We did a lot of what she said in there, but there were some tips, get it from the library at least and look at it. The naps are important!! More naps equal better sleep at night actually. Good luck, we're at 16 months now and it's a lot better 🙂

  8. I think it comes in waves, the exhaustion that is. With my 1st, who bottle fed, she slept through the night at 9 wks – ahhh. But with this one, he is up every 3 hrs wanting to nurse (and not to scare you… but he is 13months). We do co-sleep and he usually nurses and is then back to sleep. Actually, come to think of it, his eyes don't even ever open lol, he just turns his little head to me and opens wides -sorry for the TMI overload. You just do what works best for you and your family and co-sleeping is for us, but not for everyone. One thing to keep in mind, as trite as it may sound, is that “this too shall pass”. I know it is of no consolation now, and all you want is sleep, but is is true:)
    You are in my prayers.

  9. Baby #1 Slept so good. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with other mothers. He slept from 9-11 a.m., 1-4 p.m. and 7 p.m. – 7 a.m. like clockwork. Each subsequent child was a little worse of a sleeper until we hit #5 – the no sleep baby. Now she is 2 1/2 and usually sleeps all night – but no naps. I didn't realize how much of a zombie and not nice person I was after 18 months of that. Most traditional advice did not help with her. If you can – sleep when they sleep during the day! And don't try to be supermom or do tons of extra stuff. At some point you'll feel human again but it was better for me to tell people I just could not do a lot right now. It helped take the pressure off and allowed me to rest when it was possible instead of feeling like I should be doing millions of other things. All the other stuff will still be there when you wake up and you'll be a happier mommy for your sweet baby! Blessings to you!

  10. Wow, so glad I stumbled upo your blog. I am going through the same thing right now. It used to be easy to nurse and rock back to sleep, but lately, at 8 months, my baby will push away and try to climb over me and scream etc. and it is wearing me out. Just sleep through the night sweet baby boy. Please. I feel your pain. I can't do CIO. I tried a few times (for about 10-20 minutes) and it breaks my heart to think I let him cry for so long without feeling comforted. I don't do that anymore. I pray that the L-rd gives us both strength 🙂 We WILL sleep again, one day, it WILL come. All the best.

  11. My son did that back in April(he was 6 months old too) (ironically at the same time my DH left on deployment). He screamed every time I laid him down. He still woke up every few hours to be nursed.
    I just let him sleep with me. I was exhausted. I had no help, no one to hand him off to… I just had to do it. I am not a fan of CIO, plus if he did it would wake my other two and then I had 3 kids up in the middle of the night.
    We did that for 3.5-4 months. THen he finally started to go to sleep in his crib.
    Now, for the last month, I can lay him AWAKE in his bed and he goes to sleep. He still does NOT sleep through the night. But I'll take what I can get.
    Hang in there, I know how tired you are. But one day he WILL sleep through the night. Do what is right for you, I had plenty of people telling me to let him scream it out all night. I couldn't do it.
    Just hang in there, this too shall pass!

  12. My heart goes out to you. I went through the same thing with Faith when she was young. All I can say is try to steal like 15 mins naps here and there. My mother came to stay a day or so when I got to pure exhaustion.

  13. I hope you can get some rest. I wish I had the magic answer for you. One thing my pediatrician stressed to me from the very beginning is to get their calories in during the day. Of course as newborns they need to be fed every 2-3 hours but at 6 months of age he should be able to sleep through the night without nursing.

    If you can wean him from the night feeds that should help get him out of the habit of waking at night. No reason to get up if mama's bar isn't open. That goes for night time interaction as well. Make it as boring as possible. If mama's not talking and interacting, no excuse to wake up. But in the meantime see if this helps…

    So, you're getting a 5.5 stretch between 7:30 and 1. Try giving him a dream feed before you go to bed to “top him off”. So if you go to bed at 11, go in and nurse him and put him back to bed and then hopefully you'll get that 5.5 hour stretch from 11-4:30.

    If you can get a 5.5 hour stretch of sleep, you will feel so much better!

    I hope it gets better for you! Fortunately mine sleeps at night. But unfortunately he doesn't nap much at all during the day!

  14. Sorry you're having such a rough time! One thing you might try is getting him to take a least 2 naps during the day. My 9 month old still takes 3 naps and then sleeps about 11 hrs at night. I wish he would go down to 2 naps and have tried to “force” him into it, but every time I do, he starts waking up earlier in the morning and even during the night. I think that when they get overtired they have a harder time sleeping. Hope this or some of the other suggestions you've gotten helps and you get some good sleep soon!

  15. My son was easy- slept thru the night at 1 month. My daughter was more difficult- she and I co-slept from birth until she was about 5 months when my husband returned from deployment. Once she was in her own bed she hardly slept at all! It was stressful, but we finally started to let her cry for 5 minutes (any longer and I couldn't take it!) and now at 11 months she sleeps great. I hear her at about 4 am stirring but she usually babbles to herself and falls back to sleep. It's hard to hear them cry, but it doesn't hurt them!

  16. 😦 I feel this pain. I've done this with 3 kids. In 2 years you will barely remember it. It seems like an eternity now, but it's such a short sliver…just a phase.

    I am so very sorry. Sleep deprivation is just evil. You will make it, just like millions of mother before you.

  17. I feel your pain. I remember lying on the floor in my daughter's room crying along with her. Nothing seemed to help either of us. My husband tried to help but it was me she wanted and he only made things worse (unintentionally). It does get better. Hang in there! Soon he'll be grown up and you'll wish you had this time again (ok, maybe not the sleepless time but you know what I mean).

  18. Aww, what a rough time! I've had those nights where she wakes up and won't go back to sleep too and it is awful! I agree that the more sleeping during the day the better. I have had to really work to get my daughter to take more naps during the day, and it seems to pay off at night. As soon as she gives me the slightest sign of being tired, we go into a nap routine (either bouncing, nursing, or on a walk) and I don't give up until she sleeps for at least 20 minutes.

    Like the other mamas said though, every baby is different and every situation is different. I know you will find what works for you and you will get through this. Remember you can always ask for help too! Maybe someone can come over to play with him for a couple of hours during the day so you can get some extra napping in? My heart goes out to you. Keep us up to date on any changes!

  19. I was at this point about a month ago. I had sworn that CIO was not for us and we wouldn't try it. I was exhausted, she was exhausted. She wouldn't sleep in our bed, her bed, if I was holding her. She would wake up and wouldn't go back to sleep. I would just sit there and cry in the middle of the night. Finally, I was desparate and tried letting her cry a little while I was standing right there rubbing her back. She cried 20 minutes and was out for the rest of the night. Since then I have realized she wants to put herself to sleep, but she needs to cry a little to get herself there. There were a couple of really hard nights, but now she is rested, I'm rested and we're both happier. Not saying try it or that it will work for you. Just telling you what we finally did.
    He should be able to not nurse quite so much at night by 6 months. Try increasing his calories during the day so he at least doesn't wake up hungry.

  20. Oh I am so with you right now! If I had the energy to post about it I would. I don't even blog any more. LOL
    I have 4 children, 8, 7, 3, and 7 months. I also homeschool and run a crochet “business” (on DS). My husband was in school full time and working nights until a few months ago. It was supposed to get better when he got his new job, he was supposed to be home more, help more, help ME! Well, sadly, this new job takes more time than his old job and school combined. I have officially reached the point of “I can't take it anymore.” I have no family around (or willing) to help out. My baby has been doing the same thing as yours, and we co-sleep and nurse. He is teething. It's awful. Nothing helps. I am sooo exhausted every day, I suffer from headaches. I have days where I literally feel “sick” and can't move. I've been to the dr. for blood work but my intuition tells me it's stress and exhaustion. I try so hard to keep up with the house, all the kids, home schooling, errands, crocheting, cooking etc. I feel old (I'm 28), and ugly and fat and tired. My relationship with my husband is going down the tube because I am resentful of him and he thinks I should suck it up because he's too busy to do anything about it. He's not the same. I cry. I hope and pray it won't always be this way, but lately it feels hopeless. Oh and my 3 year old is waaaaay spirited. I feel you, I really do. BUT I want to tell you that the teething stage doesn't last too long and it does get better.
    Sorry if I just depressed up your comments section…but sitting here with my headache, messy house, teething baby, and busy husband I guess I just needed to get it all out.
    ((hugs)) to you

  21. I think CIO gets a bad rap, mostly from parents who have never done it properly. Letting your baby cry for a few minutes until you can't stand it anymore isn't “crying it out.” CIO means letting your baby cry until he stops. It is harder on the parents than on the baby. My first baby was still waking up 3 times a night to nurse at 10 months. She wasn't hungry, it was just a habit we had gotten into. I was exhausted and needed help so I decided to try crying it out. The first night when she woke to nurse, I did not go into to her and she cried for an hour and 45 minutes before falling back asleep. I cried most of that time too. The next night she cried for 20 minutes and night #3 she niever even woke up. She slept through the night every night thereafter. Was cry it out hard? Yes. But it worked. My baby woke up smiling! She didn't feel abandoned or unloved. Babies need to learn to self soothe and it is impossible to do that when mom or dad is constantly picking them up when what they want is to sleep. Those are just my two cents. Best of luck figuring out what works for your family.

  22. I am in the same place. This week, after 14 weeks of waking up, I just suddenly realized I am a zombie walking and I feel like I can't do it another night. I swore I wouldn't do cry it out…and I still can't stand to hear her cry…but I'm terrified,because my husband is leaving soon for a school the Navy is sending him too…I don't know what I will do if I don't get more sleep and I have to do it all by myself.

  23. Around 6 months with both of our kids we talked with our pediatrician and got to okay and decided to let our babies CIO when they woke up in the middle of the night to eat. It worked wonders both times. 1 to 2 nights was ALL IT TOOK…a total of a few hours combined… and we've had babies that sleep through the night ever since.

  24. looks like you got alot of response from others. personally, i “sleep train” my babes from the start. i can't have my baby sleep in my room for more than a couple weeks or i don't get good sleep… and i think it's important that mommy is well rested.

    my daughter was a much better sleeper. my son (now 8 months) took some more time. but when i knew he didn't need to nurse in the middle of night, i just let him fuss it out. it's sleep transition. babies need to learn how to put themselves, soothe themselves back to sleep on their own. in the moment, it's easy to rock him back to sleep in order to just get some rest, but i'm a firm believer that it creates bad habits.

    after we stopped nursing in the middle of the night, i would sometimes lay with him in the couch if he cried for more than 10-15 minutes. but eventually, i blieve, you need to let them go. cuz then he's 1, then 2, then 3 and he can't go back to sleep! personally, i don't want that. my son still fusses at times. usually around 5:30 or 6 am and i just give him some time to go back to sleep. does he take a pacifier or suck his thumb?? that was huge for us when noah started sucking his thumb b/c he doesn't take a paci. now he can soothe himself back to sleep.

  25. *ahem* Well, last night was fine and today I'm feeling a little silly for a my previous response. I guess I was just “in the moment.” It's really not that bad. *blush* So excuse my previous rambling.

  26. Awww… it's too bad he doesn't like to co-sleep, since that's how I get Baby H through rough nights. Sometimes she's just too gassy, and sleeping with her tummy up against me seems to help her, and the snuggling lets her go back to sleep faster. (And, of course, nursing in bed when you're just too exhausted to get up is wonderful.)

    On the plus side, it probably won't last all that long if it's just started happening. Baby H went through a growth spurt (plus some early teething) and it was about a week and a half of getting up every 45 minutes for the first half of the night and then only sleeping in 2 – 3 hour spurts after. But then she went back to sleeping 5 – 8 hours at a stretch.

    If you think it's teething, maybe try some baby tylenol before bed?

  27. Ahhh, poor mama. I remember the depth and breadth of that kind of exhaustion. I, too, remember not having the energy or ability to think and leaning over to rub my baby with my head resting on the co-sleeper. Breastfeeding in bed helped me get more rest, napping WHENEVER I could helped too. It will pass, hang in there.

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