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The universe apparently doesn’t like me very much

I thought that we’d gotten over the no-nap hump on Saturday. Apparently, I counted my chickens a little too soon.

Joshua has decided that 30 to 45 minutes a few times a day is sufficient for napping. It has me completely baffled and incredibly frustrated. Sleep is so important and I want to make sure he’s getting enough of it. I feel like I spent almost all of Sunday trying to get him to nap. This was a problem because we were at a friend’s house throwing a wedding shower for our other friends. Cooking for the shower, getting ourselves dressed and ready, and getting Joshua to nap felt like three full-time jobs.

The thing about all of this sleep (or lack of sleep) stress is that it’s making me feel like I’m doing something wrong. I’m feeling like a really inept mother these days.

I mean, it’s hard enough that babies don’t come with owner’s manuals (and really, they should…), but when you have a baby that miraculously starts sleeping well during the day and then suddenly stops, it can sort of make your head spin.

And I hate that I compare Joshua to other babies, but when I hear about other babies who are sleeping through the night or who are taking good naps AND sleeping through the night and my child isn’t, I just wonder if there’s something I’m doing wrong. (This same comparison applies to everything–why doesn’t my child roll over when so-and-so’s does? Why doesn’t my child want to bat at toys when so-and-so’s does?)

I’ve read in several blogs lately where the new mother wrote that when she first laid eyes on her child her heart swelled up with unconditional love and that after a couple of weeks, she just instinctively *knew* what her baby needed when he or she cried. I can’t say that I had that experience.

Wait, wait, let me explain.

The minute I heard Joshua cry, I cried tears of joy and I have never heard a sweeter sound in my life. My son was born. Hallelujah! He was healthy and perfect and I was so excited to get to hold him and love on him. But, I think I read too much beforehand and worried too much in the beginning about doing things “right” and I think I sort of got us off on a weird foot.

All I could think about after he was born was getting him to breastfeed because I was terrified of breastfeeding not working for us. Seriously. That’s almost all I could think about post-delivery while waiting for them to wheel him in to me from the nursery. Would he take the boob?

Since bringing him home, I haven’t really reached a point where I instinctively know what he wants or needs. For a time, I thought I could tell when he was tired, or hungry, or just plain irritated, but now, I am never sure what he needs. This leads to me constantly second-guessing myself on everything I’m doing for him. Am I feeding him too much? Not enough? Is he too hot? Too cold? Is he getting enough sleep? Is it quality sleep? Am I doing enough to further his emotional, physical, and mental development?

I am making myself crazy with all of this second guessing.

But, I don’t know how to stop over-thinking things. Like the sleep issue.

I thought we were getting things figured out. Then, he decided that wasn’t cool anymore and he needed to shake things up. This sleep thing may be a result of changing his reflux meds, but until things change, for better or for worse, I have no way of knowing that definitively. So, until then, I’m left to over-think, and it really stinks.

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Thursday 9th of July 2009

First of all, you're not the only one whose child struggles with sleep. My little boy JUST started sleeping through the night at 5 months and once he began solids. And it's still not every night. Some nights, he's up several times. Some days he naps well (2 hours or more), some days I'm lucky if he takes two 45 minute naps.

I believe that boys are worse sleepers than girls. I have nothing scientific to prove this, but I have lots of friends with girls and they all sleep better than my son and other people I know with boys. Whether boys need to eat more often, or they're systems are more sensitive, or whether they're just needier, I don't know. Add breastfeeding to that equation, and you're in for even worse sleep (I also BF my son).

I could probably have written this post a month or so ago. I always talk about how Holder throws me for a loop once I think we have a good thing going. And he still will. I am waiting for the day he starts cutting teeth or sitting up well and the good sleep we have going on now will go to hell. I know the time between when he began to roll over and when he knew he could roll back to belly and belly to back at will (about a month), was not a good period of sleep. I think he was too restless with the new milestone to settle well.

I guess my point of all this is you are not alone. You are not the only one who struggles knowing what these little humans need and want all the time. You are not the only one who can't "get" their child to sleep (you should have seen me struggle to get H to nap yesterday in the mall). And it will get better. Small consolation right now, but one day he will sleep through the night. And so will you (not that I do yet, but I get a long stretch before I wake up wondering if my baby is okay in his room since he's been asleep so long). I don't think we'll ever know what our kids want/need 100% of the time, because I don't think they know half the time! We just do the best we can. The fact that your even care so much means that you're a better mom than a majority of the ones out there.


Wednesday 8th of July 2009

A generation ago, people would tell you to let them cry it out and don't pick them up too much, or you'll spoil them, or put dip their paci into a little Jack Daniels...


Wednesday 8th of July 2009

"But, I don't know how to stop over-thinking things. Like the sleep issue."

You're right, we are the same Mommies with the same babies. So why can't one of us figure this out?

At least we've got the power of the internet to bring us together. A generation ago we would have been wallowing in our neuroses alone. Sad face.

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