The intensity of my sleep deprivation this last month has been pretty insane and probably the worst I’ve ever experienced (Madison included). Mila turned one and it seems her sleep habits instantly changed from the moment she blew out the candle, but I expected big changes once she turned 1 as Madison did the same. But the habits are totally different, which has been a big adjustment for me and leaves me scratching my head about what to do. Madison was much more of a night owl, she always liked going to bed later but would wake up early – and by early I mean like…9am! She would very rarely wake up through the night (maybe if she had a bad dream or a very wet diaper) and she was no longer being breastfed so that was a non-issue for us.
But not my baby bird. Mila likes to go to bed early, which I have no problems with but she wakes up at least twice throughout the night to feed, and sometimes doesn’t always go back to sleep so I’m left playing or reading books at 3am. She is not and was not bottle fed and therefore likes to be rocked and nursed to fall asleep, which is why she winds up in our bed by the middle of the night.
Getting her to stay asleep as of late has been a challenge as I was not expecting to still be breast feeding, and while I am more then happy to BF (breastfeed) her, the night feedings and then up all day with her and Madison is the tough part. Unfortunately all the so-called ‘solutions’ are less then favorable. I can stop breastfeeding her – ironically, most of us moms want so badly to be able to breast feed our babies, and now I’m just going to cut her off, seems a little cruel and unnecessary.
I can let her cry it out. Now this is a big one as it is what most people will tell me to do, and I can say with all confidence that this is not for me. No judgment – we all have to do what we feel comfortable with when regarding our kids and if that works for you, I can understand. This does not work for me. My husband and I definitely have differing opinions on this, and we have tried it his way before with both girls, and the physical and mental reaction I get when trying the CIO method tells me it is not worth it for me. The discomfort I feel when doing CIO is overwhelming – I have this intense urge to go running to my crying baby and hold her, tell her everything is alright – It’s not for me. I don’t need to do something because it is recommended or it worked for ‘her’, if it’s going to make me unhappy and feel bad about myself as a mom then I know it will not work for my family. I would rather stay sleep deprived lol.
Truthfully, I am not in as much of a rush to ‘fix’ her sleep regression as I was with Madison. When you’re a first time mom, everything is so urgent and feels like it needs to be done now or else something is wrong with you or your baby. Why can’t we take our time to soak up the moment and go with the flow? Is she not allowed to discover how to fall asleep comfortably and gently, without the pressure of us adults trying to remedy her habits? Yes, there is a line and a limit to certain scenarios and again, I am talking about my baby and my family and this is what my heart and my gut keep telling me. After reading the sleep solution books and trying different things, getting frustrated – and then emotional, I decided I was going to let Madison do what felt comfortable and I was going to go with it, and she did. By 2 years old she was sleeping alone in her toddler/big girl bed. Now this was a lot easier to manage when there was just one of them, I was able to have time to relax as appose to this time around. Where there is no downtime especially now that Madison no longer naps. So I really try to channel that energy into something positive, when Mila goes down for her nap, I like to enjoy time with just myself and Madison. Maybe doing crafts or playing outside, sometimes we bake. And if I am really tired I bribe her with popcorn and a movie! lol. I’m not saying it’s easy – there are some really tough days but this is the choice I am making.
So rocking, and singing and feeding it is. I really feel that with persistence and time she will slowly ease into her own and begin to be able to fall asleep on her own. Madison learned and I know Mila will too, they just have such different experiences that I can see where the struggle comes from. So with all the reading up on “Get your baby to sleep today” and “Buy this book and get some sleep”, I’ve decided that there is no magic touch, formula or method that will get babies to sleep. It really is all about their personalities and maybe a bit of luck.
I think the best thing we can do is be there for them, because I know leaving her to cry alone in her crib isn’t helping or teaching her how to fall asleep on her own. And me sobbing in my room while she cries definitely isn’t helping me get anymore rest either. And sometimes that’s what I need to remember, is no matter how hard and exhausting these days are, they are fleeting. None of it will last forever and these littles are constantly learning and changing. I don’t want to do something just for my benefit when it’s about getting Mila use to all the changes she has coming up. I’m choosing to wake up, slip out of bed half asleep and feed my baby, hold her and cuddle her for as long as she needs me to, it’s all about her and this time that we have together. I want to enjoy it and hug her as long as she will let me. My ‘method’ is to hang in there, stay positive, love these moments and above all else, drink lots of coffee!
Michelle and the minis xo