Maybe He’s Teething? When Science and Sleep Deprivation Collide

Not to brag, but my husband and I seem to have an uncanny ability to make babies who don’t sleep. We don’t want to make anyone jealous, but our babies are professional not sleepers. We have high hopes that one day, in the throes of a fitful night of no sleep, they will find the cure for cancer, or maybe solve that whole world hunger problem. But for now, they just keep us awake while we rock, shush, sway and wonder WHAT THE F*CK IS GOING ON WITH OUR KIDS SO THAT THEY DON’T SLEEP?! YOU ARE SO TIRED! WHY WON’T YOU GO THE F*CK TO SLEEP?!

Okay, that came out a little on the intense side, but I’m feeling a little intense about how much sleep I’m not getting. I am also feeling a little intense about needing to find a solution pronto so that I stop aging faster than Mother Gothel from Tangled after Eugene gives Rapunzel her snazzy new ‘do.

mother gothel


I am not alone in my quest for golden slumber, as my exhausted husband is equally as desperate for some shut eye before he heads back to work next week. And just like when Baby 1.0 was a newborn, even knowing all she needed was time (19 months to be exact), we find ourselves frantically pacing around our living room, a fussy baby in one hand, and a freshly rejected pacifier in the other, wondering what we are doing wrong.

Because we are scientists (okay, I’m not a real scientist, but I once got a 104% on a biology test), we try to talk it out. We try to think through it. We try to be reasonable and rational, and above all else, scientific, because science doesn’t lie like assholes on the internet. And just like any good scientist, we start by asking questions. So many questions. Too many questions. Questions tumble out of our mouths like termites from a broken nest, wriggling around and making everyone edgy. Just this morning, my husband and I found ourselves in an all too familiar question spiral that pretty much went word for word like this:

WHY WON’T HE SLEEP AT NIGHT? Maybe he’s teething? Maybe he’s in a growth spurt? Maybe he’s too cold? Maybe he’s too hot? Maybe we should swaddle him? Maybe we should swaddle him with one arm out? Maybe we shouldn’t swaddle him? Maybe we should change his diaper more often? Maybe we shouldn’t change his diaper so much? Maybe we should hold him more during the day? Maybe we should be putting him down to nap by himself during the day? Maybe I’m feeding him too much? Maybe he’s hungry? Maybe we need to up our white noise game? Maybe it’s too noisy? Maybe I’m trying to put him down too soon in his sleep cycle? Maybe he needs to learn to fall asleep when he’s drowsy but awake? Maybe he has gas? Maybe this is normal? Maybe this isn’t normal? Maybe we should rearrange our room because maybe he will sleep better in that corner? Maybe we should Google it?

And I’m not even kidding, folks. This is *actually* how our conversation went. Sleep deprivation has turned us into crazy people.

Now a good scientist would pick one question, run an experiment to test the variable, and draw a conclusion that addressed their hypothesis. A good scientist would read the research, and trust that our baby, just like every other baby out there, will eventually learn to sleep. A good scientist would be patient, knowing results take time.


My scientific credibilities are about on par with what Bill Murray brings to the table.

But a good scientist, I am not.

I am a very tired, very irrational, very moody, very tired regular person who is very tired, and very desperate to find any kind of help that will give me even the tiniest chunk of sleep. So if you’ll excuse me, I am off to rearrange my room, order the latest swaddle sack off Amazon, feed the baby for 15-20 minutes on each side, burp him, rock him, assess his temperature, possibly change a diaper, turn on an appropriate amount of white noise, and attempt to put him down approximately 5 minutes after he enters deep sleep, which should be evident by slow breathing and floppy limbs…unless of course I decide to go the whole “drowsy but awake” route.

Yeah. Wish me luck.

Image credits: Mother Gothel, Bill Murray, cover image


  1. Yes, we were blessed with one good sleeper (who actually became a crapy sleeper when his sister was born) and thought we were just pretty awesome at this whole parenting thing. Joke’s on us! Was up 4 times with my 8 month old just last night. I feel your pain sister! God speed


    1. Oh girl, we are on the same schedule, but you win since she’s 8 months!! I’d say was should start up a late night words with friends game, but I’m pretty sure all I could come up with are words like Um, Butt, and Cat. And cuss words, obvs.


  2. No truly good sleepers here. First 2 had reflux and the third, well, she’s just the third. Baby crack that works for us (because you need more choices!): the rock n’ play, the Amazing Miracle Blanket, the Merlin Sleep Suit, a noise machine, and beer/wine of choice. Hang in there!


  3. Lol. I enjoyed reading this. I was blessed with a non-sleeper too! I just keep thinking to myself, that ONE day it will get better. We’re currently going through the 4-5 month sleep regression, so getting up every 1-2 hours is definitely wearing me out!


  4. I do wish you a good night´s sleep (or several, sounds like you need them). On the other hand, if you do get some sleep, will you lose your sense of humour? Maybe that would be bad for us, so I´m torn, here.


  5. Hang in there! We are in the same sleep-deprived boat 😦 my husband and I hypothesize a lot as well! But we are also crappy scientists and change our theories each night haha.


  6. Ah, my life.

    I too have the uncanny ability to make non-sleepers (pretty sure it’s my fault because apparently I was a horrible sleeper as a baby and dh was an angel).

    Both my kids were 16 months before they slept through the night (and I mean did it once not made it a habit) I’m expecting #3 in a couple months and occasionally (okay regularly) I wonder what I’ve gotten myself into since it’s pretty much a guarentee I’m not going to get any sleep for the next 2 years. 😢


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