Sleep (what else?)

The topic of the month, sleep is something of a non-topic most of the time here. Not that it’s a non-issue, but that we kind of studiously avoid it. When Darwin was a newborn I thought we were so lucky. She would sleep in 2 and 3 hour segments regularly at night and I was more rested than I was during my 3rd trimester. Well, as time went on she continued to sleep in 2 and 3 hour segments at night, even as day time sleep was reduced from napping every couple of hours two every 3 or 4 hours. And interspersed among the nights with 3 or 4 wakings were nights with 8 or 9 (or more), usually coinciding with teeth eruptions or illness.
At around 7 months Darwin stopped going to sleep easily at 7 or 7:30. We tried before bed baths, but often that would bump bedtime back to the point where she would be completely manic (problems of working parents). I started drinking coffee.
She’s now closing in on 18 months and has just begun to put herself to sleep after nursing, laying on the bed next to me. It’s only happened a handful of times but we’re trending in the right direction. Until the back molars start.
All this is to say it’s what I expected but living it is damn hard some days. I have yelled ‘just go the eff to sleep!’, which while completely anti-helpful for the goal of getting Darwin to close her eyes and drift off, has allowed me to release some modicum of frustration when feeling desperate. I have put the baby down some nights and walked out of the room to breathe (Or cry. Or eat a spoonful of Nutella). I have told Leah I’m done and left her to care for an inconsolable child as long as my sanity can take it to get a break. I’ve begged Darwin to go to sleep. On the other hand, I’ve watched her eyes droop and her head nod while nursing until she’s dreaming. She has held my hand while drifting off to a good nurse. She has woken up enough to see my face and gone back to sleep.
Sleep with infant has been hard, good, sweet, exhausting, frustrating, and more. It gets better, it gets worse. There are still often nights where I see every hour of the day, as is not uncommon when nursing and bedsharing. Mostly I can handle it right now. It is worth it to me, and I’m more functional than most people I know in similar situations. Biology? Maybe Darwin sleeps better than I think? Who knows. Whatever the difference, while I look forward to the days when we have kids who sleep more than they don’t sleep, what we have works for us right now. And that’s all anyone can hope for.

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7 thoughts on “Sleep (what else?)

  1. Evelyn has always been a ‘bad’ sleeper and I’ve looked at friends who have children who sleep through the night with serious envy over the years. Now she’s sleeping more than she doesn’t, but my body is so used to waking all the time that the problem is now ME! Anyway – just commenting to say – solidarity. It’s hard.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes yes yes. Our little man is 16 months today and he has slept one time for 5 hours. I remember it clearly. It was about a year ago. Ahhh. 4 new molars here too. We are exhausted…. And getting migraines and wondering where the light it. So please know you are not alone!

    Liked by 1 person

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