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Night 11 and the Etiology of Night Waking

March 4, 2011

Fancy title, isn’t it?

Well last night was just about terrible. Actually, it started out great. She fell asleep on the opposite side of the bed from me, and slept solidly until 11:00 or so.

But then there was the Night Waking. And I’m actually convinced there’s a physical aspect to her night waking. Last night before she went to bed her belly was ridiculously bloated. Huge. She has kind of a big belly anyway, but it was enormous last night. She was happily running around naked, and didn’t seem to be in any discomfort, but the bloated belly concerned me.

Like I said, she slept well from about 8:30 to 11, then throughout the night she shouted out in what seemed like pain off and on until we got up at 6:35. Now, before I present to you my diagnoses, I’d like to make a disclaimer. I know that people all over the world love to make a diagnosis based on some stupid article they’ve read on the internet. And we all know that the internet is an open forum–yada, yada, yada—where anyone can say anything, and there are no fact checkers.


I am proud to say that I diagnosed my dog with hypothyroidism when she was 3. The vets all said she was too young, and didn’t even want to test her. I pushed for them to, and voila. She was on the extreme end of hypothyroidism. I had spent hours carefully researching her symptoms, and came to the conclusion that she was hypothyroid.

I’m not saying that I’ve diagnosed Amelia with anything, but I have some ideas that I can at least take to the doctor to discuss. The first is this: peptic disorder. My mom and I both have acid reflux, so I know it runs in the family. This article from the American Academy of Family Physicians discusses abdominal pain in children and its causes. Check out this blurb, emphasis mine:

Peptic Disorders
The peptic disorders include reflux esophagitis, antral gastritis, gastric and duodenal ulcer, and H. pylori infection. Gastroesophageal reflux in children has recently been reviewed in another article.9

As we mentioned in the section on history, the signs and symptoms of peptic disease include early morning pain, early satiety, night arousal and a positive family history. The pain may be epigastric or periumbilical and is remarkably consistent in character. Occult bleeding is frequent with ulceration and less common in gastritis.10

The major risk factor for peptic ulcer disease in childhood is genetic predisposition: 50 percent of children with duodenal ulcer have a first-degree relative with peptic ulcer disease. The prevalence of duodenal ulcer is two to three times higher in boys than in girls. Gastric ulcer occurs substantially less often than duodenal ulcer, but the prevalence is equal in boys and girls.

Amelia is positive for all of those: early morning pain, early satiety, night arousal, and a positive family history. Now, of course I know that there could be other reasons for her night waking, early morning discomfort, and the fact that she seems to get full really fast, but it is interesting to me that this fits the bill.

Duodenal ulcers (I can’t imagine what would have caused her to get an ulcer) are made worse by the presence of acid, so once the food is digested it becomes painful. In other words, duodenal ulcers feel better in the presence of food. This would explain why she wakes up and really, really wants to nurse early in the morning, when her dinner has been completely digested. She doesn’t need nursing to settle earlier in the night; she’s fine with cuddles, or rolling over and falling asleep on her own. But in the morning she seems to be in pain until she can nurse.

There’s definitely a chance that this is not what it is. She also had a ton of dairy yesterday evening. This could’ve caused bloating and gas, which could’ve kept her awake throughout the night. Like I said, last night was especially worse, and she had more dairy than usual.

I’m going to try holding off on the dairy for maybe a couple days, and see how she sleeps tonight.

But does this make sense to any of you? Have you ever had a child with an ulcer or chronic abdominal pain?


Night 10

March 3, 2011

Same. Early morning discomfort. She was awake and wanting milk by 6:15. This is a kid who used to sleep until 8. Part of me wonders if I should go ahead and nurse her in bed early, just so we can sleep more. But that might lead to all night nursing again.

This is difficult. There’s no easy solution.

Night 9

March 2, 2011

The crying and discomfort was especially bad this morning. It was very early, I don’t know when, but she had such a hard time settling. She’d cuddle up to me, then suddenly cry out and kick and wriggle, then cuddle again, shift around, and start the whole process over again. Could it be that she’s really hungry?

Other than that, things are pretty much the same.

Night 8

March 1, 2011

La la la la la.

Night 8. Pretty much the same. A couple instances of water drinking, I think, and then some discomfort early in the morning. She requested milk, very sadly and adamantly, but finally fell back asleep til 6:35 or so.

I really wonder what this discomfort is. Is it a hard time settling? Is it a pain? Is it a need to connect? Is it a need to distance? I can’t tell, but it’s usually remedied by some intense cuddles. Anybody out there experience something like this–a child who seems to feel okay, except at certain times? Maybe it’s gas? Maybe it’s teething?

Nights 6 and 7

March 1, 2011

Nothing too eventful. Last night I think she got hungry earlier because she was awake for good at 6. We didn’t get out of bed to go nurse until 6:20 or something, but I was kind of disappointed that we were awake so early. We didn’t get to bed last night until later than usual, so I had hoped she’d sleep in. Alas, she did not.

On night 6 she started making little sounds early in the morning like she was really uncomfortable. She was thrashing around and letting out little squeals as though a pain was shooting through a part of her. It could have been a tummy ache–? I’m not really sure what it was, but she didn’t ask for milk until even later.

It’s too bad I don’t have more exciting news. Check back in tomorrow for the beginning of Week 2! I can hear your cheering and applause from here.

Oh, actually, I do have more to say.

The reason we fell off the cosleeping through the night wagon before is because I wasn’t sure what direction we were headed in. We tried to sleep apart, but that didn’t work for any of us. Then she got a crazy high fever, so I nursed her throughout the night to comfort her. Of course, after she got well I continued nursing her at night again, though not until after midnight.

I questioned our decision to cosleep (was she happier with more space? should I teach her to sleep alone?), but realized that the three of us are overall content to sleep next to each other. When she was in her own room one of us would be next to her in her little twin bed pretty much all night. So we decided it was stupid to sleep in the small bed, and we revived the family nest after a week or so out of it.

So I’ve really come full circle in some ways. The blog was designed as a way to figure out how to cosleep through the night, and that’s what we’re doing now. We’ve gotten very close this past week. Aside from a couple water breaks every now and then, she’s sleeping much much longer. I think developmentally she’s ready to night wean, and emotionally I am.

That’s why we’re doing what we are doing.

Night 5

February 26, 2011

I think the milk pleas didn’t come til pretty early this morning, maybe 5 or so? I didn’t look at my phone/clock because my own sleep has been so fragile that the smallest thing can completely awaken me now.

But, she was very sad and desperate for milk at around 6:20. I told her I really wanted to sleep for ten more minutes, but she was crying and crying “milk! some! milk! some!” So we got up and went into the other room and had milk, some. I do think that she’s really hungry when she’s inconsolable like that, and I’m still trying to get her to eat more dinner so that she stays full longer.


Night 4

February 25, 2011

Last night seemed better. The little bean fell asleep relatively easily, after asking me to sing “Mitchell,” which is her way of saying Joni Mitchell songs. We sang “A Case of You” twice, then “Carey.” Then we cuddled, tight, and she fell asleep.

She only asked for water once or twice during the night, and her longest spell of crying for milk was maybe 2 minutes. I have a feeling this is going to be a successful transition into night-weaned-ness. Night-weaned-hood?

And, this is the best part, she slept until 6:50. I actually woke up before she did. If she can sleep til 6:45 or 7 everyday, I will be so very happy.

I have no idea if anybody is still reading this blog, 7 months after I started it. If you are, raise your hand please.