‘MY BABY JUST PUT HERSELF TO SLEEP AND IS SLEEPING ON HER OWN!!!!’.
I know I mentioned in Part 2 that I had a lot self reflection to do, but I have to confess I read ahead in the book. I was desperate for some small things I can do NOW to help with this situation. I’m hoping these small things have led to THIS moment and that it’s not just a fluke – ’cause I could get used to this. But I digress, before we get to the nitty gritty I have to rewind back to the folded page and do the work. The next step in this program is to answer some questions to assess the situations effect one’s life. Below are the questions AND my answers:
Q: Am I content with the way things are, or am I becoming resentful, angry, or frustrated?
A: It depends on the day (or night). Some days I am so happy to ‘have’ to go to bed at 7pm and cuddle with my little one. Usually I’ve had a long active day and bed seems like the perfect place for me at that time. Then there are days where she refuses naps and nights where she will just NOT STOP nursing, I desperately want to have some time to myself, but it just seems impossible. I can get really frustrated and impatient with her – which is not at all how I want to feel towards her.
Q: Is my baby’s nighttime routine negatively affecting my marriage or my job?
A: You betcha! Going to bed at 7pm can seriously put a damper on your relationship. I miss my husband and the nights we spent together. I knew life would change when I had a baby, but I would really love to spend at least a little bit of time with him…alone. As far as work goes: I am a business owner so I do not get Maternity Leave, and even if I did, I probably wouldn’t take the full year. I love my job, I crave the work, I am lucky to have an amazing business partner to pick up my slack but I would be so happy to contribute a little more. I must have been delusional when I thought I could be back to work by this time – I honestly thought I could work during naps and after bedtime!
Q: Is my baby happy, healthy and seemingly well rested?
A: Yes, she is happy (almost) all the time. She’s growing like a weed and hitting all the milestones. To look at her you would never know how little she sleeps during the day.
Q: Am I happy, healthy and well rested?
A: Is this a trick question? I’m exhausted! I have not slept longer than 1 or 2 hours in 6 months. Although, I do have to admit that I am happy. I have wanted this for a long time and there are days where I cannot believe my good fortune. A few months back, the answer to that would have been no, at that point I was too wrapped up in what ‘should’ be happening that I was not paying attention to what ‘is’ happening. Once I accepted this routine as the new way of life for me, I could finally relax and stop watching the clock. I could grab a latte while on one of my many ‘nap walks’, or I could catch up on some reading while lying in bed with her. Once I stopped resisting, I became happy again. I know it sounds funny to want change if I’m happy now, but I wish to be happy AND well rested. As far as healthy goes, I could stand to do a few more squats!
Q: Based on facts, what is a reasonable expectation for my baby at her age?
A: Two naps with total length of 3-4 hours, 10-11 hours of broken nighttime sleep (waking up about every 4 hours to nurse)
Q: What nap time, bedtime situation would I consider acceptable?
A: 2 naps a day, one in carrier one in the bed (with me some days, without me some days) – I’d love these naps to be at least one hour in length. As for bed, I would like to read her a book, give a little baby massage, feed her and put her down to sleep. I could then spend a few hours by myself or with my hubby and curl up with her when its bedtime. Waking up 1 or 2 times during the night to feed feels acceptable to me at this point.
These questions were easy enough to answer, but the real doozie of a question lay hidden quietly in the text of the pages and it went a little something like this: “In your heart of hearts, is your baby’s sleep habits truly upsetting you, or do your problems lie more in the perception of those around you?”. Such a good question, one that took me a very long time to answer. While I truly believe I need more sleep, I also believe I wouldn’t want it half as bad if I knew I wasn’t alone. Everywhere I go I hear stories of babies who slept 10 hours a night by this age. I have grown tired of people asking me if my baby is a ‘good’ baby which is really code for ‘does your baby sleep through the night?’. I do not consider Sadie a ‘bad’ baby because she wants to seek comfort from her mommy after a long day, I just consider her a baby. Whenever I mention bed sharing, nursing down or carrying my baby, I am told that I am spoiling her and creating bad habits.
So yes I guess a lot of my reason for wanting to change our situation is because I’m tired of feeling like I’m doing something wrong and that is why my baby does not sleep well yet. I think in a perfect world (a world where I did not have to work or clean or shower), I would be quite content to have her attached to me at all times. The truth is, I do not live in a perfect world, not by any stretch of the imagination. I’m tired and need to make some small changes for me… at least I hope I am doing them for me.
It’s bedtime for me, I promise part 4 will have information on what has brought us to this one beautiful night.
This is Sadie-kins, daughter of bebo mia c0-owner Natasha Marchand and secretly evil non-sleeping villain. She looks sweet in this photo, but really she is plotting more ways to keep her mom up all night. In Sadie vs Mommy challenge, who will win?
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Glad to hear you are having some success! I wish I could put Abbey down to settle herself, still no chance of that with me yet! Totally understand where you are coming from with your comments about everyone else having “perfect” babies that sleep through the night, I know some mums who announce this regularly but the one thing I will say is that every single one of them is bottle fed which I think makes a huge difference! Thankfully I have some friends who are in the same situation with sleeping habits so at least we can swap tips and keep each other going!! Looking forward to part 4!!
Hi Natasha! I took the prenatal exercise classes you taught on Mondays up until you went on maternity leave, Congratulations on your wonderful little girl! My daughter is almost 7 months now and I laughed when I thought about writing down our sleep schedule. She sleeps in our bed and she nurses sometimes two or three times in an hour. I get one good stretch of two hours around 3 a.m. and then she’s basically just attached to me as I try to stay horizontal and napping for as long as I can until my toddler wakes up. I think the only real difference is that I’m not stressing about it this time (now don’t get me wrong, I’m tired – weirdly lacking in social skills tired, and I’m interested to hear how the No Cry method works for you – I’d take more sleep if it was offered!) but the worry is gone. I know it gets better. My older daughter is 2 1/2 now and the only part of the sleepless nights with her that I regret is the worrying; hearing everyone else saying at music classes and mommies groups that their baby slept through the night (are they serious?!?), and wondering if I was doing the wrong thing. This time around it’s so much easier to ignore all the ‘advice’ that doesn’t match our parenting goals and we turned the clock to the wall last month when I started thinking “when does this part end again???” and that’s helped too. So do what feels right for you (I’m a big believer that if you’re not happy, then something should definitely change) but you’re not alone! Good luck, and congratulations again!