Knowing is half the battle.

The trouble is, we’re not even winning this half. For those of you who are not parents, let me go on the record saying that making decisions that affect your child can be really, really tough. Sometimes you think you’ve made up your mind only to find that you’re not as resolved as you thought. Yes, I am STILL hung up on Sadie’s sleep.

Monday night was awesome. If your name was Brooke or you had fur. For Sadie and Trevor, it meant waking up about every hour. After I got so mad at Trevor for interrupting what I had (at the last minute) decided was THE PLAN for teaching Sadie to fall asleep on her own, he turned around and gave me my first full night’s sleep in over a year. Not too shabby. Now, before you go all Poor Trevor on me, he reported that several of the times Sadie woke up, he was able to get her back to sleep before she even stood up in the crib (which makes me think she wasn’t fully awake to begin with, but who knows).

If you haven’t picked up on this yet, I am a serious research junkie. And this has created some problems as a new parent. One minute I’m all, let’s do this sleep coaching method. Then I’m saying, maybe crying isn’t the worst thing ever. Then I get a full night’s rest and go back to my trusty Dr. Sears and think maybe Trevor’s right… maybe if he just works with her on getting through the night without nursing, her stretches of sleep will get longer. Because what if I’ve been focusing on the wrong thing altogether? What if, because of my increasingly desperate sleep deprivation, I’m stressing about getting Sadie to fall asleep on her own, when maybe she’s just not ready for it. What if what actually needs to change is how frequently she’s waking up in the first place.

Here’s the good news: even with the not-so-awesome nights, Sadie is still thriving. She is happy, she is fun, she is growing and doing all sorts of cool things. So my major stress is not that Sadie’s not getting what she needs. My major stress is that I am not, and that I’m starting to burn out. There, I said it.

I can haz crunchee granola barz?

In reading and in talking to other moms, I suspect a major cause of Sadie’s night waking is the habit of waking up and nursing all the time. I absolutely wouldn’t undo all of the night nursing she and I did, but I do believe, at her age, it’s a habit and not a need. She eats plenty of solid food during the day, she still nurses on demand when we’re together, and she still gets pumped breastmilk in a cup. I’ve been halfway night weaning Sadie for about a week now, and it’s pretty much happened without effort. For several nights I limited her nursing to before 11:00pm and after 6:00am. Monday night she didn’t nurse after her 7:00 bedtime session. Yes, she has definitely continued to wake up A TON those nights, but she’s not demanding to be fed by any means. She has been settled back to sleep relatively easily.

So here’s where we are now: I do Sadie’s post-dinner getting ready for bed routine. Trevor does bedtime story and puts her to sleep. Trevor sleeps in her room with her and gets up to settle her back to sleep throughout the night. Brooke sleeps soundly in her bed, catching up on a year’s missed sleep (if only that were actually possible). The hope is this: as Sadie realizes that nursing isn’t part of the nighttime equation, she will gradually begin to wake up less frequently, allowing Trevor to move back into our bed.

Honestly, I can’t believe he’s signed up for this. Don’t get me wrong, it’s AWESOME. Let’s just hope it lasts and that it works.

Anybody have any thoughts or suggestions? Success or horror stories? Am I the only mom to flip-flop on decisions like this on a daily (or hourly) basis? Parents of fariy-tale babies who have always slept perfectly need not apply :).

7 thoughts on “Knowing is half the battle.

  1. Ashley

    No, you’re not the only one! At least when you began your research frenzy there were some perspectives you were prepared to eliminate outright. I read the WHOLE spectrum of “authorities” on sleep, and what one thought would PERMANENTLY DAMAGE your child the other thought was the only way to avoid such damage. It is overwhelming and frustrating and exhausting (which is the LAST thing a sleep deprived family needs!). The only thing I came away with is this: you have to decide what works for YOUR family – and – you have to decide what works for your FAMILY. By which I mean that every family is going to patchwork together their own answer to this question of sleep and sleeping, but it has to be a solution for the whole family and not just for the infant. Babies don’t know what’s best for themselves. They just know what they WANT and what they want isn’t always what they NEED, i.e. what they must have to be heatlhy. And what they must have to be healthy above all else is a sane, healthy, happy, emotionally available, de-zombified-mama and papa. You’re doing a great job, and I just wish everyone were as honest about their flip-flopping as you are. The worst thing for a fatigued mama who is scouring the internet for help is someone who deals in absolutes and insults their intelligence and competence. So I’m cheering you on: Yay Brooke! Yay Sadie! Yay Trevor! Go Edwardses!

    Reply
  2. Shannan

    Hey Brooke,

    I’ve been reading (and really enjoying) your blog over at OBM. My daughter Aria turned one on the 25th of March so her and Sadie are a few weeks apart. I’ve been wanting to leave you a comment for like a week but like you I’m EXHAUSTED from not sleeping through the night for the past year. We are going through THE EXACT same situation over here and I know that doesn’t really help in the big scheme of things but it makes me feel better thinking that there are other moms of one year olds still getting up like 4 times a night. I, too, go back and forth like a thousand times a day about what to do about it because like you I just don’t know what Aria is ready for. I’m almost positive that it is the night feedings that are causing her to wake up but being the crazy overprotective mom I keep giving in. I’m thinking that I’m going to try to go cold turkey tonight and just stay no to the night feeds. But honestly I don’t know how that is realistically going to go.

    SO…I just want you to know that I am literally right there with you and going through the exact same thing and PLEASE if you find something that works shoot me an email.

    Reply
  3. LindsayDianne

    I have absolutely no advice for you. I start by saying that so that you’re not disappointed at the end of the post.
    Of all the issues I have had as a mother, the sleeping thing was not one of them. But you’re doing a great job. There seems to be people who have similar issues and who you’ll be able to commiserate with.
    When we transitioned from family bed into daughter in her own bed, we would fall asleep or lay with her until she did. She was in a queen sized bed (and still is) to make it work. Like you guys, the plan was to gradually get her used to sleeping without the security, which, in our case, was us.
    It worked really well, so my hope is that this plan works well for you guys too.
    And man.. I hope you get some sleep!

    Reply
    1. Brooke Post author

      Thanks for the encouragement, Lindsay. So how did you gradually move yourselves out of her room?

      Reply
  4. TMae

    I have a 7 month old who is a horrible sleeper. He naps poorly and infrequently (maybe 20-30 minutes a shot, and rarely unless he is in the car/stroller). At night he’s up just about every 2.5 hours from 8p.m. until 7a.m. I’ve been reduced to tears on more than one occasion. I try putting him down earlier, later, warmer room, cooler room, noise machine on, noise machine off, etc. Nothing works twice. I want to strangle mamas that tell me, “Oh, gosh…my baby takes 2 3-hour naps each day and sleeps from 6p.m. till 7a.m.!” I’ve decided they’re all lying. Because it makes me feel awful to consider the alternative; I SUCK at helping my kid sleep.

    Having him in bed with us results in less disruptive night wakings, but I’m waking up in pain from the contortions I sleep in, and cranky from the piss poor quality of sleep.

    I’m eager to hear about your success, as it gives me hope that one day, we’ll hit on it too.

    Reply
    1. Brooke Post author

      Oh, gosh. I definitely know that pain. Especially testing out each of those variables. It’s so easy to convince yourself that THIS! pair of pjs is going to be the right weight, and baby is going to sleep perfectly! I’ll be sharing where we are with Sadie’s sleep soon. I’m a little worried that I’ll jinx it if I say anything too soon…

      Reply

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