Bedtime or, lessons in patience

I’ve been thinking about how important it has been for my state of mind to know that other people have an understanding of some of the same things I’m going through that are so very hard, so this is what’s hard right now for me.

When Darwin was a young infant she regularly nursed to sleep or would fall asleep within 5 minutes with a little walk and/or bouncing. Sometimes (maybe 3 or 4 times) she actually fell asleep while laying on the bed. That miraculous event has not happened since she was around 4 or 5 months old. I tried to foster it, putting her down when she would start to get really slept. But it only takes that not working a couple of times to create a stress response in a sleep deprived parent at the mere thought of the screams that may erupt if the little tyke decides that they’re not actually quite as tired as all that thankyouverymuchnowpickmeup!

There are still nights where she goes to sleep while nursing (few and far between) or after a few minutes of bouncing (a little less few and closer together), but now the majority of our nights are pushing an hour or more before her breathing deepens, steadies, and her feet stop trying to burrow tunnels into my side.

I realized this morning that it has been around a year since I last slept longer than 5 hours consecutively. And I can count the number of times I have slept longer than 4 hours consecutively on one hand. There are moments, after an hour of rocking and bouncing and nursing, constantly stopping her from putting her (long-nailed since she won’t let me cut them currently) fingers up my nose, in my mouth, or in my ears when all I want to do is put her in the (never slept in) pack’n’play and walk away. And there are times when I do, for a few minutes, to gather myself, regroup, and start again.

Bedtime. Bedtime is my hard right now. And it’s okay because I know that Darwin will grow and develop and not need to nurse at night anymore, and some day I will be able to put her to bed and read a story, sing a song and turn on the nightlight and there will be no bouncing or rocking, no nursing or swaddles. There will be other things that are hard and other things that make me glow with pride. Like when she figured out how to sit up on her own last week. Or when she started really crawling. Or when she discovered the joy of blowing raspberries on my belly.

If you feel so moved, I’d love to hear what your hard is right now, and perhaps some of the joys that make it worth it.

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11 thoughts on “Bedtime or, lessons in patience

  1. Sleep/bedtime is an on again/off again battle here, going on 2 years strong! I had pregnancy insomnia and I really haven’t slept HARD in 3 years because of it. My experienced parent friends tell me it gets better once kids are school-aged. Ah!

    Solidarity, friend!

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  2. My sympathy on the sleep front. I’m not even sure where to begin on what’s hard for me right now. Probably the whole establishing a good nursing relationship–although my supply and baby’s latch are good, we’re still looking for our rhythm. Not loving the engorgement or the irregular sleep patterns day to day. As for the preschooler, bedtimes remain our hard—stubborn, overexcited four year olds do not appreciate how lucky they are to have a solid twelve hours of sleep at their disposal! We’ve recently implemented a sticker chart, however, which hopefully will work and bump her constant chatter, whining, and questions to the top of the hard list. ‘Cause that’s no fun now either.

    Joys are the incredible support network we have and, cliche though it is to say it, seeing how much the older one likes the younger one. Also being able to go on outdoor adventures with the two of them–it was a long winter on the east coast!

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  3. Right now out troubles mostly boil down to her wanting things a very specific way, and us both getting frustrated that she can’t communicate what she wants. Makes for epic tantrums because I gave her the wrong cup or cut up her banana when she wanted it whole or put the wrong pair of shoes on her.

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  4. lifeasagaymom says:

    Oh, I’m not sure sleep problems ever get better. Our first son Shawn has ALWAYS struggled with sleep issues, he’s almost five and still has problems. Now, leo the newest little guy. He slept horribly during my breastfeeding, I quit at 6 months and so did his sleep issues. He is seven months and sleeps 10-11 hours straight through. It’s sooooo weird. I’m still going in a million times to make sure he’s still alive!! What baby in the world sleeps 10-11 hours straight. I guess we got really lucky this time. The first six months were worth it. I really feel like a lot of it is the parents, a lot of it is the child. Every child is different, some are good sleepers, some aren’t. I know for Shawn I tried everything in the books to get him to sleep straight through the night. It never worked.

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    • Yeah, definitely about the kid! Luckily most nights once Darwin is asleep she’ll just wake a couple of times to nurse, which is very easy for me to handle. It’s getting her to sleep in the first place that has been the hair puller lately.

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  5. Sounds rough, mate. I’m a terrible mother when sleep deprived so we made the decision when our tot was 6 months old to do sleep training and it really worked for us.
    Our hard thing right now is that the baby is sick. I passed him and my wife my bad cold so everyone is ill and he’s also developed a stomach bug which means he needs changed every two hours and has terrible, painful nappy rash. We got a smile from him for the first time in days today so hopefully he is on the mend.
    Hope the sleep gets easier x

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  6. The sleep is tough, for sure. Luckily, it only lasted for us for the first two months, but soon after that, our boys have been sleeping from about 7pm-5am, they have a bottle and then go back to sleep until about 8.

    our “hard” right now, is the teething. Poor Noah is at his worst since birth. He won’t stop crying, and wanting to be picked up and soothed, which under normal circumstances is fine, except that Levi has somehow become in tune with JEALOUSY and cannot see his brother picked up without breaking out in loud, screeching, ear splitting screams, and yesterday I was at my wits end. I was stuck in traffic, in a hot car for 2 hours with one teething baby who was tired of being in a car seat, and a sympathetic cryer who thought, “Eh, what the hell! Might as well join the choir!” I literally, pulled over, and although TOTALLY not safe, we took them out of the car, on the side of the I-95m and rocked them both until they fell asleep. Took 10 minutes, but it had to be done! I just couldn’t take a full day of crying. It made me think, “I should have never taken the day off today! This has been THE WORST DAY!.” and then I cried the rest of the 45 minutes home. So my hard has been teething babies. It’s super hard!

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