Monday, May 2, 2011

Sleep regression

I'm at the end of my rope.  I just can't be an effective night-time parent.  From everything I've heard of how motherhood changes you, I guess I was expecting that my body would go through some chemical adjustment that would let me be sleep deprived but still functional.

No such luck.  I still struggle at night, and if I don't get 7 hours of sleep I'm an emotional mess.  When I was pregnant we were aware of these issues.  Nate is a total superhero who can function on 4 hours of sleep, then go to work, come home and fix all the door hinges and still have energy to listen to me go on about my day.  So before Cupcake came into this world we agreed that he would be on night duty, while I was in day duty.  At the time we imagined him resettling cupcake a couple of times a night and maybe giving her bottled breast milk.  Meanwhile I could sleep and not get migraines. 

Then reality hit.  Cupcake needed to feed around the clock, so I was just breastfeeding her around the clock.  And because I was feeding so often, I couldn't really get enough pumped reserves, which meant I wasn't getting a break at night.  And so on, and so on.  All of the sudden our nighttime plan wasn't really working.

Before I ever thought of having children, I remember talking to a couple of women with babies who said that after giving birth your relationship to sleep changes.  You no longer *need* as much sleep, your needs just shift naturally.

This is not biologically true, in my experience.  I still need sleep to function as a sane productive person.  And after almost 7 months of getting up during the night no matter what, my body is giving up.  It's done.  Finito.

Last night Cupcake woke up and cried for about an hour and a half.  We have no idea what was actually wrong with her.  Teething?  Growth spurt?  Allergies?  Cold?  Gassy?  Digestive issues?  Separation anxiety?  She'd cry, and our usual system of patting her wouldn't work, so Nate would pick her up, and she'd calm down, then the second he'd try to lay her down on her crib she would start the crying again.

After 45 minutes of this he also gave up (I had thrown in the towel a long time ago and told him I was fine with just letting her cry).  And we did what I swore I'd never do, attempt to let my baby cry herself to sleep.  We were there, next to her, and Nate had his hand on her chest, but still.... I can't believe I was ok with it.  I was just sooooo tired.

She whined and moaned for about 20 minutes, then it looked like she was going to sleep, then she started to cry loudly, went back to sort of sleeping and then she started screaming hysterically at about the 35 minute mark.  And my husband is much more sensitive than I am, because he just couldn't take it.  I ended up feeding her at that point and she zonked out (and stayed asleep for over 4 hours!).  Too little too late though.  And I honestly don't think feeding her at the beginning would have helped, she'd just eaten an hour and half before, she wouldn't have been hungry at the beginning.  After the hour and half, then yes, totally legitimately  hungry.

I don't know what to do.  I don't want to keep co-sleeping.  I was happy with it before, but now she likes to stick her hand in my mouth as she drifts off to sleep and it just hurts. The crib next to our bed was working, but now she doesn't seem to be ok with it.   I don't have the stamina to get up at night, but I don't agree philosophically with CIO as a means to self sooth.  I'm at an impasse.

This little 18 lb princess is kicking my a$$.  Though she didn't seem happy with last night's fiasco either, at least she had the decency to wake up cranky and not well rested.  I know, I know, it wasn't pleasant to deal with her in that mood, but I think I would have been really annoyed if after such a horrible night she was all smiles as if this was the most natural thing in the world.  The fact that she didn't enjoy it either gives me hope that this is not the "new normal."

I have faith that at some point this will all sort itself naturally.  After all, my parents never sleep trained me, and at some point I learned to sleep through the night.  And I've never met a teenager that needs to be rocked to bed, so it does stop.  Just... when?  How much longer will this go on?

1 comment:

  1. Oh I sympathize and I am only at month two. I am delirious and sometimes do not know if I am coming or going. It has been Friday all day today and nothing I can do will make me believe otherwise. And by the way. Those women were lying, I can't imagine that I will ever be adjusted to this. Hang in there!