Friday, May 23, 2008

Hush little baby, don't say a word

Getting our children to sleep is a constant struggle in our house. It has been for the past 3.5 years. Usually what happens is that we go with the flow until I am about to snap from sleep deprivation and/or lack of personal time. We are about at that point again.

I'm the first to admit that it is our fault. Our fault for not sticking to a schedule, for not being more firm in our expectations, and for giving in to the constant drama. It started with my wanting to nurse ES for at least 12 months. Because I'm a full-time employee, I couldn't nurse on demand. Certainly, I could do that when I was with her, but I wasn't always with her. Check the previous sentence. I work. I work full time. I felt guilty and so I allowed her to sleep with me and to nurse on demand all night. It was a compromise. I would be available to her whenever I was with her. I was with her mostly during sleeping hours, so she got to nurse as often as she wanted. That worked well until I thought I was going to lose my mind from not sleeping well! Then, we changed our approach. I put her in her crib and the very first night she slept all night! Seems she needed some space too.

The reason all of this is on my mind is because I'm about to go through it again with CC. She's 9 months old, only sleeps well when she is snuggled right next to me in bed, and she wakes ever 3 hours or so just to nurse for a few minutes before she falls asleep again. Honestly, right now it would be okay if I didn't have to still deal with ES. She wants to sleep with us. She is difficult to get to sleep. She wakes at least 2-3 times a night and wants to come into bed with us. The other night I didn't even hear her come in until I picked up CC from her co-sleeper (sometimes I can get her in there when she is dog-tired) and ES was snoozing right between L and me. That is where I'm drawing the line. We have the whole family in my queen size bed, I have 6 inches of space where I barely have enough room to lay on my back. Arrgghh!!!

Well, I've been preparing myself for the big change. We have to sleep train CC to sleep in her own crib and get not nurse during the night. We have to be firm with ES that she needs to learn how to get herself to sleep after we read books, snuggle, kiss and then say goodnight. We also need to continue to keep ES in her bed throughout the night. Honestly, it's all too overwhelming right now. I know that it would be better to just talk to L and come up with a plan, but I dread the whole process.

I want my space, adult conversation, time alone with my husband! This is going to have to happen soon because I'm starting to become very,very crabby every night when it's time to get the kids to sleep.


Natalie said...

Sleep is my nemisis.

I've never been able to sleep with an infant attached to my breast. Believe me, I've tried. Our kids were in their own cribs by five months. They, too, slept better. B/c Matt was deployed and I really felt like Liv and I would not survive w/o good sleep, I ended the 3:00am nursing session when she was just under a year, I believe. First I started only nursing her on one side and then, finally, I let her cry it out one night (that's all it took).

But, Lila is 19-months and still nursing 1-2x's a night. I haven't nipped it in the bud (we've tried all the "gentle" methods and they haven't worked) with crying it out only b/c I can't deal with her waking up Liv in the process. I have it marked on my calendar to go to bed early one night next week and do it. But, I just realized Matt will be out of town and I'm not doing it alone. It breaks my heart and I need moral support!

As far as 3.5 year-old drama, we give Liv once chance to cry for us. After that, we remind her that there will be consiquences for getting out of bed and/or crying for us again. We have her repeat back to us the consequence and ask her what choice she's going to make (stay in bed or get in trouble). Seems to be working more and more as she gets older. We hardly ever have problems anymore.

You have it worse than I do b/c you don't have a chance to nap during nap time.

I hope you get it worked out soon. When I don't get enough sleep, I get sick a lot.

When it's really bad, I try to remind myself that I will be yelling at my kids to get out of bed so they don't miss the bus in the future. It'll come faster than I think.

sf mom said...

A few nights ago, I denied Catherine a couple of night time feedings. It was not a great night. She cried and nuzzled next to me, yet eventually went to sleep.

The next day, I woke and almost instantly had a horrible headache. I think that it was related to the two missed feedings in the midddle of the night. It was a terrible headache that persisted ALL day.

I'm convinced that it was a hormonal headache from trying to wean Catherine the night before. Since then, I've nursed her whenever she wanted throughout the night. I'm just not ready. Perhaps it will be more difficult later, but maybe not!