At this point with Joshua, he was totally off the boob. He’d decided he couldn’t be bothered to drink from the tap because he didn’t have to work as hard with bottles. I was exclusively pumping and he was combination fed. I knew exactly how much he was getting and how often. He’d sleep for two good stretches a night, usually only waking up once. MAYBE twice. And I thought I had it bad.
I complained and whined and moaned about how my kid didn’t sleep through the night and I was so tired.
Emma has only slept longer than three hours at a time, at least at times when I have also been able to sleep, twice in the past two months, one five hour stretch and one four hour stretch. Twice. In two months.
NOW I’M TIRED.
And when I look over the fence to the other side of the motherhood pasture, I keep thinking that if she were bottle fed things would be different. I wonder if I’m doing the right thing. If it would be easier to just stuff my bra full of cabbage and close up shop.
I look at breastfeeding moms with babies who sleep through the night and even though I know I shouldn’t, I compare myself and my baby and just think that I’m really screwing this up.
Why do they get to sleep and I don’t? What are they doing that I’m not?
And to further my latest existential crisis, why does everything in my life have to be so hard? And why do I have to work so hard to get anything good?
I thought things were supposed to get easier. That as Emma got more mobile, she’d be more content to not be held all the time. She’d wear herself out during the day exploring and start to develop a regular sleeping pattern. She’d sleep for longer stretches when I am also asleep.
I thought that as time went on I would be a better mom. That Joshua and Emma’s schedules would sync up and I’d have just a little time to decompress. That I wouldn’t want to snap at both of my children for whining and crying and needing me. That I’d be able to actually finish the laundry instead of washing the same load three times because I can’t ever seem to get it switched into the dryer.
Things aren’t getting any easier. In fact, I think they’re just getting harder and harder every day.
And I’m really starting to doubt every decision I’ve ever made about parenting, especially breastfeeding. The thing that should be so easy. So portable. The thing that IS so easy except for when it’s night time and I can’t settle her any other way.
I love nursing her. I love looking at all 16 pounds of her and knowing that I did that. My body did that. I grew her and I’m continuing to grow her and there’s a beauty in that.
I do not love being up five times a night to nurse her. And I just keep thinking maybe she’d sleep if I were doing something else. But she gets so unhappy and uncomfortable that this is the only thing I know to do.
I know I won’t just quit breastfeeding. But I definitely think about it.
If I said I weren’t struggling at all right now, I’d be a lying liar. Because I’m struggling.
carrien - she laughs at the days
Friday 12th of October 2012
I didn't have any that really slept more than 3 hour stretches. I've had 4 btw. The 2 year old still wakes up in the middle of the night. But I do have a secret that has worked beautifully for our family.
I co-sleep, and I nurse in my sleep. Totally serious about that. I've been doing this so long that my toddler can wake, climb into my bed from his and I'll get the boob out so he can latch on and I won't even know I did it until I wake up and he's asleep beside me. Still latched on, I might add. I prop myself with pillows, learned how to nurse both sides and burp without changing positions and now I just sleep through those night time feedings. I wake for a moment, help the baby latch on, and then we both drift off again gently, without ever having really been awake. Plus, it helps extend the time between feeding eventually, because when they start to stir and immediately find you nearby they often settle again quickly, without waking enough to nurse again.
I know that co-sleeping isn't for everyone, but I was a much more well rested mama once I learned how to do it. Check out askdrsears.com for specifics on how to prop pillows and positions for comfort and safety. And good luck.
Whatever you choose to do, I promise you will get sleep one day, some how or another. They all grow up eventually.
Thursday 4th of October 2012
I so remember this. The breastfeeding, the not sleeping, the going craziness (that's not a phrase), and the constant need for caffeine, except in small amounts because of course, you are breastfeeding. I had a love/hate relationship with breastfeeding. My first goal was to nurse for 6 months. Then a year. Then whenever my son would just freakin stop! He wound up nursing until he was two years old. I never planned on being that mom, but it's just what happened. Coincidentally, he also did not sleep through the night until he was...two years old. I don't want to blame breastfeeding. Maybe sleeping just isn't his thing. But I do think that breastfeeding is as much about nourishment as it is about cuddles, and breastfeeding babies just seem to want that...even in the middle of the night. I do hope that you get more sleep soon, I truly do. And for all the benefits of breastfeeding...I wish someone had warned about the lack of sleep involved!
Wednesday 3rd of October 2012
I TOTALLY relate! When we were checking out of the hospital after I had my daughter 4 months with our three year old in tow, the nurse assigned to us that day kept saying "one plus one equals eleven" I must have kept looking at her like she was crazy - and she kept repeating it. Now I know. It is harder. My boy was an angel baby - perfect in every way. Now he is a miserable whiny toddler. And this new beautiful creature I call my daughter - has one volume - "IT IS THE END OF THE WORLD" and still needs to be feed every two hours. Except from the time I get home from work until the time she goes to sleep - then she needs to eat constantly... I have many years to sleep - you know, when they go to college....
Wednesday 3rd of October 2012
I nursed all 4 of mine& not 1 slept through the night until they were weaned! In fact, about every 3 hours was average waking time now that you say that. I agree with the other Mom who said that they start sleeping after weaning because it's not worth waking if the comfort isn't there. Side lying nursing saved my life! I didn't know about it with#1. I remember sitting up crying with exhaustion when I would nurse in the middle of the night. It was torture. The other 3 I just pulled into bed with me & fell back asleep while they nursed. Wonderful! Sometimes I would wake back up to put them back in their crib before the next feeding; but usually I ended up just rolling over to switch sides 3hrs later. I hope this has not discouraged you. Take heart that, like you said,6mo passes in the blink of an eye &6 more will too.
Tuesday 2nd of October 2012
Hang in there, Mama! You're doing an amazing job. I have two super crappy sleepers and it's awful. So I totally feel your pain.
Hopefully they'll sleep when they're teenagers, right? (For the love of God and all that is holy please let my children be sleeping through the night by the time they are 13
Really, you're doing great and you can do this! One day at a time.