Oh, how I long for those sleepy mornings before I was a mom. I was always a sleeper; I would sleep for 10-12 hours a night, easy. In fact, if I don’t get 8-9 hours, I am extremely negative, cranky, and gently depressed. You could say that sleep really affects my mood & outlook on life. I remember sleeping until noon or one and thinking that was completely normal. Sometimes people would tell me I was wasting my life away, but I thought, ‘what could be better than sleep’?
Then I had a baby.
When LoMo was born, I was up 3-4 times a night to feed him, but somehow it didn’t seem that bad. Don’t get me wrong, it was challenging & frustrating, but he slept in 3 or 4 hour increments. Even though it wasn’t continuous sleep, I could nap when he napped during the day, and I got most of the sleep I needed. I was nursing him instead of giving him formula, and I had read that it takes breast fed babies longer to sleep through the night, because the milk moves through their system faster. I was patient, waking up with him at least once a night even when he was six months old. At seven months, I was talking with my sister about it and she told me I should let him cry it out. (She is a professional in child behavior). I felt bad, but I was ready. And it worked. He cried for about 3 or 4 nights, then he slept all the way through.
I would like to say that was it and my child sleeps through the night every night. But he doesn’t. While he does sleep most of the time, he will wake up if he is sick or teething. And that seems like all the time. If he’s sick, he will wake up the first 2 or 3 nights. And his teething dramas last for about 2-3 weeks. I guess he can feel them before they break through, while they are breaking through, and then for a little while after that. I usually have to hit him with a shot of baby pain killer before bed time. After he goes to bed, he’ll sleep for about 9 hours and then wake up crying. I’ll go in and feed him, and then he’ll go back to sleep. The down side of this is that I have to wake up some time between 4 and 6 in the morning. The up side is that I can fall back asleep, and then I get to sleep in until about 9. Since he’s eating, he has a full belly, so he sleeps longer. But it’s still not uninterrupted sleep, so it kind of sucks.
So, my question for all you parents out there – did your child wake up when they were sick/teething? Did you get up with them or let them cry until they fell back asleep? And what do I do in the middle of the night once I stop nursing him? I have no idea what else to do that will calm him down.
I do try to cherish these moments. The two phrases I read somewhere when he was newborn that I think to myself over and over are:
1. He’ll only be little once.
2. It’s not going to be forever.
Before I know it he’ll be all grown up, and I’ll be sad that I don’t have these moments with him. But right now I would just like to sleep. Uninterrupted.