Tired Mama

It’s exactly 8 months today that our lives were blessed with such a sweet baby.  Baby boy was born and our lives were forever changed.  Forever changed in a way I only dreamed of, a way I would never ever take back.  I only wish one thing. I wish I was given more than a 3 hour stretch of sleep in the last 8 months.  Yes, you read that correctly. My child has yet to sleep more than 3 hours at a time. Well, thats a lie, he did sleep 4 hours once and I had to hold back from opening the door to check on him because it was a record!  You know when they sleep for longer than normal and then you fear the worst has happened? Yep, that was us, and it was only 4 hours! The first 3 months I didn’t focus on the lack of sleep. We were still in the “Fourth Trimester” and we were finding our groove and bonding every moment we had.  I remember thinking that it would get easier. For jumpin’ sakes I worked as a nanny in the years past and sleep trained other peoples children.  If I could get other children to sleep then I could get my own to sleep! Dominic was a horrible sleeper from the start. Would only sleep in the Sleepy Wrap or in our arms. We bought a co-sleeper for the bed because the all night breastfeeding and wanting to be attached to me was tiring.  Too tiring to even walk two steps to the cradle we had purchased. Forget the crib that stayed in his room untouched for over 6 months!  I would have worn a path from walking from my room to his 500 million times a night. He is a light sleeper to say the least. Even with the sound machine blaring the white noise, rainfall or crickets he knows when I leave the room even for a second.  I did the only thing I could do to survive. We co-slept and he had access to breastfeed whenever he wanted.  It was always a concern that he may be hungry and I didn’t want to deter him from that. Especially all the issues I had with breastfeeding the first 6 weeks I always thought that maybe I wasn’t producing enough for him. Who am I to tell this child that he cannot eat when his only way of communicating with me at such a young age is to cry out?  The nights my husband has given him formula, while I am out at work & I haven’t been able to pump enough breastmilk, babe has not slept any longer. Therefore we knew it was not a hunger issue. It was a habit. A freakin bad habit that we would now need to break. So here we are 8 months in with a child who goes down to sleep in his own crib around 7p.m. and will stay there asleep for 2-3 hours. He then awakes and needs to be rocked back to sleep by his dad because if I come near he wants boobies immediately.  After 2 awakenings with my lovely husband putting him back to sleep babe either wnats nothing to do with him or thinks its then playtime at 3a..m  Somewhere around 2a.m. I usually get so frustrated I put him back in bed with me where he tosses and turns while he nibbles at the breast until he finally falls back into another 2 hour sleep.  Oh yea, those things called naps? Maybe 45 minute nap in his crib unless I am sleeping right next to him. I have read every single book on sleep, sleep training, babies, infants, etc. You name it we probably own it!  I was drawn to Elizabeth Pantley’s “No Cry Sleep Solution” thinking it was a great read and had wonderful techniques we could put to use.  So far it has not been helpful for us.  I have spent 4-5 hours trying to soothe babe, get him almost alseep, put him down when he is not quite asleep. Then he fusses, then he screams, then we start the whole freaking cycle again. So mom’s (and dads!) I need your help. I am tired freakin exhausted and am wanting to break this vicious night cycle. Please don’t tell me that this will pass as your solution.  I am telling you that I will go insane before this passes. I know some people have kindly shared how their child was 2 or 3 before they started to somewhat sleep in 4-5 hour stretches even.  My response back, “I can no longer survive on 2-3 hour stretches, I need to get 4-5 hour stretches.” For some reason I am scared of Ferberizing babe. The fact that it just doesn’t feel right for us makes me not want to fully try it. I hate listening to the crying. We have an extremely happy baby who always has smiles to share and only cries when something is wrong.  To listen to him cry makes me think he may be thirsty, have a sore belly, be wet, or need his mama for something.  Isn’t that my job? To provide a loving and nurturing environment? How can I provide that when I let him scream for hours on end while I periodically check on him? Then of course there are the studies I have read of the brain damage it causes to infants, how it breaks the parent- baby bond of trust and other things.  My husband agrees that the thought of “crying it out” does not really meet our parenting goals and values. So please share your sleep stories, challenges and successes in the comments below so I at least have something to read at night while my child wants to be rocked or breastfed.

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