Just the thought is horrifying to most parents. A child that can't sleep. Not just won't sleep, but can't. After all, it's lack of sleep that makes the early stages of parenthood so hard for most of us. But we all take solace in the fact that this bleary-eyed exhaustion phase passes. Eventually, our babies will sleep through the night, the bags under the eyes go away, and the brain fog will start to dissipate. Though new mom Jennifer Stella never experienced that relief even as her daughter Haley neared age 2. Little Haley Rivera has not slept one night since being born 18 months ago, and her insomnia has baffled her parents and doctors.
Jennifer and her husband Edgar Rivera noticed there was a problem two weeks after Haley came home. It was 3 in the morning and the newborn hadn't slept once the entire day. The mom of three was completely overwhelmed. Things didn't get much better. There were times she would sleep two to three hours, but that was far from the norm and never through the night.
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I can imagine how scary and frustrating this can be. There were nights just after we brought our son home that I felt out of my mind with exhaustion. All I wanted was five or six hours of uninterrupted sleep. When that finally happened, I felt like a new woman. I felt renewed. I felt like, "I can do this." I don't know what I would have done if that never happened.
When Haley did actually sleep, Jennifer noticed her gasping for air as she awoke, so she took her to a pediatric pulmonologist and sleep specialist. They conducted an overnight sleep study and found a mild case of apnea, but couldn't figure out why she can't fall into a genuine, lengthy slumber. The conclusion is that it's behavioral and not medical. So what are these poor parents to do?
The recommendation was actually surprisingly simple. The doctor suggested placing pacifiers in her crib. Apparently, it's the ultimate child soother. And while most of us are desperate to wean our tots off these things around 2, for Haley, it could be the key to actually getting sleep. The idea is that when she wakes, sucking on one can help her more easily get back to sleep. I really hope it works for this poor, sleep-deprived family.
How did you fix your child's sleep issues?
Image via donnierayjones/Flickr