Thursday, August 13, 2009

How To Sleep?

I know this is now yet another mommy blog, and it's not even unique. But this space was always meant to serve as a record of my life, the only journal I keep, so I have to write honestly. And right now it's all about that 10 lb, fighting, sucking, feeding, farting poop machine currently trying to put himself to sleep upstairs.

Last night was torturous. He would fall asleep, sure, but he wouldn't stay asleep for longer than 20 minutes at a time. Of course, it was his first time spending the whole night in the cradle as opposed to sleeping with me. I also forgot to swaddle him properly and then I think I over swaddled him. I almost cooked him! And once I even turned on the light to feed him. New mom mistakes.

The worst stretch is 3AM to 7Am. I call it The Dark Hour(s). I get so tired and discouraged and borderline suicidal (not really, don't call the authorities. I'm just saying). I'm not a crier. I barely cry when people I love have died, and yet from 3-7 AM, I bawl. And last night when he started fussing and fighting sleep again, I actually yelled at him, told him exactly where he could go. Unfortunately my rage and subsequent guilt didn't help him sleep any longer, anyway.

So I'm witnessing another of my parenting ideals bite the dust (along with an all-natural labour and unassisted breastfeeding). I actually always thought I would co-sleep. It just hasn't been working. Co-sleeping simply meant he woke up just as much and I spent the night too scared to move a muscle. Irrational - he was in no danger - but who can be rational in their sleep? Not moving was killing my neck and back and I definitely wasn't getting quality rest even when he did sleep. Then he'd have a five hour nap all alone in the cradle, proving that he doesn't give a crap either way.

So it's the cradle for him. He's a newborn, so we'll still respond by picking him up whenever he cries, of course. But what we're not going to do is rock him to a dead sleep in our arms anymore or stick him on the boob to graze until he falls asleep. It's been killing us. Instead, we're going to try to get him all fed, calm and sleepy, then put him in the cradle and using just touch and a pacifier, sooth him all the way to sleep with just the rocking. If he cries, pick him up again and get him back to calm and sleepy, then back into the cradle where hopefully he puts himself to sleep with just our touch and a 'sucky'.

And, knock on wood, I think he's just kept himself asleep up there? In a couple hours, we might wake him up gently, give him a feed, some play time and go for a walk for some fresh air. Tonight around my bedtime, I'll feed him to within an inch of his life again, make him comfortable and cozy, pray to the saints and cross my fingers. Could we please, please get four hours in a row?


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Anonymous angdesj ~ 3:53 PM

I had less then stellar moments as a mother.....still do. I was once in the doctors office and my then 5 and 2 year old had me on the brink of mental breakdown. My doctor, good bless him, looked at me and said "Don't you just want to suffocate the little buggars sometimes". I laughed so hard and totally apprciated his honesty! I felt and still feel like that sometimes. And for him to say that out loud comforted me in a way that no one else could.  

Anonymous Work At Home Mom ~ 9:57 PM

Swaddling always worked for my little boy.

--Work At Home Safari  

Blogger Jack ~ 10:31 PM

I would recommend an electric swing. We had two and they were life savers, literally, the kids didn't know how close they became statistics. Granted we may have abused the swing a bit by leaving them in there for a long stretch but it gave us 3-4 hours of uninterrupted sleep when we needed it most. I will check and see if we still have one around if you are interested.  

Blogger Robin ~ 11:07 PM

I second the swing. Lifesaver with both of my kids.  

Blogger Naomi ~ 9:44 AM

There are some recent safety considerations about sleeping in a swing - see the article about SIDS-related carseat deaths - same principle applies, I think.  

Anonymous James ~ 8:33 PM

I'm not a huge fan of co-sleeping. My 19mo old is still keeping us awake some nights in our bed. It can be good for the first few months and give parents better sleep, but if it ain't working for you than I actually envy you. You'll work through this period and then have a baby who sleeps away from you for several hours at a time. And when he's older, you won't be going through what we're going through.  

Blogger Dawn ~ 2:55 PM

Motherhood can be such a shattering experience sometimes. Now that my babies are older and sleep through the night, I've completely repressed those tortuous early months of sleepless nights!

Lovely blog, by the way! :-)  

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