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Friday, November 18, 2016

The Novice Mom: Sleep, what is that?

My baby is now 7 months and, for the women who keep asking me, no, she is not sleeping through the night.

Is she supposed to? Because I'm really starting to think it's impossible. With the restless, uncomfortable nights of sleep from the second trimester of this pregnancy, coupled with those early days of nervous-new-mom-sleeplessness and the past 7 months, I haven't truly slept in over a year.
It's maddening. If it wasn't for naps during my commute and accidentally falling asleep during pumping sessions at work, I'm not sure how I would be functioning right now.

I have read so many stories about 'sleep training', theories and methods about baby sleep patterns with age but, to be honest, all of the 'Get your baby to sleep through the night using these X amount of tricks' articles in the world can help me. Maybe they will work for you, I won't be a total Debbie downer. I mean, they must work for someone because people keep writing them! But, in all of this time they have never worked for me.

I tried the night time routine. So many of the articles on Parenting, Baby Center, What to Expect, etc. tell you to establish a nighttime routine. Give your baby a warm bath with lavender scented soap, put on nice, clean pj's, read her a book, play the 'bedtime' song and boom! Your baby will know that this means bedtime and boom, you're off sipping wine and watching Scandal.

Well, sadly this never worked for me. With working full time, planning a wedding and just being lazy in general, I can barely establish a nighttime routine for myself. I'm lucky if I get a shower every day, so no, I'm not giving Baby P a warm bath every night. And after nights of her remaining wide awake during both the nighttime song and the book (if we had time for both) I gave up!

When she was old enough, I even tried adding cereal to her bottle. This was the main advice I got from every woman in my family. Most of whom scoffed at the fact that I was waiting until 5 months to give her cereal. So I tried it thinking that the thicker milk would keep her knocked out longer. Wrong. She woke up in three hours looking for more. That sweet, greedy child of mine!
So all this really did was leave me with an awake child and engorged breasts from skipping my usual before bed feeding.

So what I've been doing is paying attention to my child and following the beat of her drum (certainly not my own, which would have us both in bed at 8pm). We don't have a special nighttime routine. I generally just try to keep her from taking any long naps after 5pm and keeping her awake and entertained until 9. By that time she is generally ready to go to bed but fighting it. Fighting her sleep is her favorite past time. On good nights, I can turn down the lights and nurse her to sleep while I scroll through facebook. Other times she will finish her nursing session and be playfully awake. Those are the best nights (sarcasm). Generally she is down by 10 and I lay down right with her, scared that if I don't she'll wake up and I'll miss a few precious hours. Then after 3 hrs shes reaching for my boob in her sleep.

Life will be better once I can figure out how to wean her from night feedings. But for now, I don't sleep. Not all night anyway. I'm in a perpetual state of fatigue, which is guess is a normal part of parenthood. The silver lining is that when I see her smiling face the fatigue isn't that bad. I just say to myself "Who needs sleep? You'll be fine".

-end rant.


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