Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Post About [Lack of] Sleep

My husband and I sleep with our feet touching.  It is all that is left of our “perfect spoon”—the position we would curl up in each night when we would lay down to sleep, ceiling fan whirling, blinds pulled tight.  The position we would sleep in for afternoon naps, windows open, breeze blowing in.   All we have now are those toes touching.  The spoon is gone.  The naps are gone.  The sleep is gone.
It’s not all bad.  I mean, the divider between us when we lay down in bed just happens to be the most beautiful baby girl I have ever seen.  She is the sweetest little thing.  But she HATES sleep.
Lyla is now 8 months old and still in our bed (I hadn’t even planned on being a co-sleeping family) and has been waking every two hours since month four (she never was a great sleeper, but we used to at least get 4 hour stretches out of her).  I have grown a bit attached to having her sleep beside me.  On the [rare] nights we lay her in bed before we ourselves lay down for the night, I sit in the living room watching TV, longing to go curl up beside my girl--to put my hand on her belly and feel her breathing.  But two hours after lying down she awakes, rolls on her belly and crawls on top of me, looking to nurse.  Sounds kind of cute, doesn’t it?  Sometimes it is.  But lately by the second wake-up I find myself seething.  I am so frustrated that I can’t even see straight.  Muffled curse words spew from my clenched jaw.  I lift up Lyla and hand her to her daddy for fear that I might squeeze her just a little too tight.  I immediately feel remorse for being so impatient with her.  “She’s a baby,” I tell myself, “She doesn’t know any better.”  But there’s just something about being woken up in the middle of the night that puts you in a different mindset.  Personally, it makes me a crazy person.  In the morning I'm fine.  Lyla is an angel and the horrible night before is a long lost memory.  But the night....
Something has got to change.  So far our efforts have been in vain. We tried techniques from “The No-Cry Sleep Solution.”  We tried crying it out.  This past weekend I tried to wean her from nighttime nursing and gave in on the second night. I feel like Lyla’s sleep has gotten worse with each attempt to make it better.  She is a willful little baby.  So should I just keep following her cues (at the sake of me and Andrew’s sanity…and intimacy)?  Or am I being a ‘softy’ and I need to work harder at sleep training?  My sleep-deprived brain can’t think properly—am I missing something obvious?



kristen said...

I have no words of wisdom to offer you because I'm not quite sure how I myself got through that stage of my little man's life - it is draining! ..... BUT just wanted you to know that you're not alone in your thoughts!

I used to get so irritated after months & months of being woke up every 2 hrs for him to nurse. Like you said, things seem so much worse during the middle of the night... in the AM they don't seem as irritating.

Ohhh and Little Man is till in our bed because he likes to sleep cuddled up with us. No help for you on that one! lol

Tiffany said...

I am living this as well. I linked to your post, I hope you do not mind. Just really feeling this and one thing I believe in is talking to and listening to other women's/moms stories. It has been very helpful to me. Sleep when you can mama!

Jeanette said...

Wow, I don't know what to say! I really feel for you on the sleep deprivation part...I think every mom does. The nursing, sadly after 3 weeks of trying and not producing milk, I didn't get to do. The bottle feeding time was always in a rocker or cuddled on the couch @ night. Sleeping, was a bassinet next to the bed for two weeks (or until I didn't feel so much pain from delivery) & then the crib.
It was not perfect, but it was my plan and I stuck with it. Even on the nights there was crying...
I hear about and read about so many co sleeping families that love it, but I just couldn't see it working for us.
At 6 mos. both of my babes were sleeping from a 10pm feed to a 5 or 6am feed...so i don't really know if waking that many times is just a comfort thing for her as opposed to a hunger thing!?
I hope you get some rest, it will all pass. Sometimes as moms we are our own worst critics! Do what feels good for you, do what feel natural to you!
Lots of love and Luck!

daydreamme said...

I hesitate to write as I am a new mom and have less experience than you. And I have no idea what you have tried or not tried.
My baby is not exactly a great night sleeper either. But we have found the glow worm & paci to help. If she wakes up at night we just push the glow worms belly which lights up and plays music and she "usually" goes right back to bed and also make sure the paci is in her mouth (unless she IS truely hungry). But obviously each baby is totally different and I have learned that it takes a couple days to get her to adjust to new things. I guess what I am trying to say is maybe if you find something else to comfort her instead of nursing. (again I am sure you have tried) but maybe put a stuffed animal next to her everytime she falls asleep in your arms or is nursing so she gets the smell and used to having it around when she is comforted and hopefully eventually that object will become her comfort instead.
Will she take a bottle? Maybe for night feedings you try formula? I am a breast feeding momma as well and love it, but can not pump much extra. I realized instead of stressing myself out the very few times I leave her, that formula feeds her and she does fine. It gave me a break and gave other people a chance to help out. Maybe if you tried formula for just the night feedings it might fill her up more and keep her sleeping longer? Also, your husband could try and feed her to give you a break (but it sounds like he is getting as little sleep as you :)
What I have learned most from becoming a mother, is to surrender and know you are doing the best you can do. I was against a pacifier and formula "before" I had a baby, but realized you do what you need to do. Each baby and each household is different and you do what you need to, to keep all parties sane ha.

daydreamme said...

Also, when I moved her from our room to the crib, she cried the first two nights. I sort of did a cry out method, but held her hand and stood next to her until she stopped crying and fell asleep. It took a little while, but eventually worked. I was still comforting her, but not holding her.

I wish you luck and lots of sleep momma!

Sugarpetite said...

Hi Jayme. You don't know me. :) But, I was reading this post, and it pulled at my heart because your Lyla sounds just like my Daisy as a baby. We went through all that hard sleep (or lack thereof) stuff with her. When she was 8 months old I thought I would lose my mind from lack of REM. I loved having her near me, but I did feel like a human pacifier with the night nursing. We did make some changes at that point. But it was tough. I could write a book about it. I'm not sure anyone would find it useful though. :) Good luck, mama!
~ elizabeth