The dreaded topic of sleep. Anyone else tired AF??
Some mornings I feel like I am going to die. Literally. I am so freaking tired I want to cry.
In our home, it’s not rare for both kids to be waking up and sometimes I feel like I don’t get more than an hour stretch of sleep. Anyone else with me??
After I posted about Maya’s sleep improvements a while back, many of you asked how we got there. So here it is! This is in no way the ‘right’ way as there certainly is no such thing (although every mom may have an opinion)…I truly believe each of us has a unique situation and we do what works best for our family. But, I will share how we got to a better sleep situation and what worked and didn’t work for us based on our baby and our comfort level. Please note, we are currently experiencing a major sleep regression so things are not as peachy as they once were.
Maya just turned one…and she hasn’t slept through the night once! I am honestly ok with it as she was only waking up for a nurse around 4am. When she was a newborn, I was following the Moms on Call plan and it was amazing (I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT FOR NEW OR EXPECTING MOMS) – tight swaddle, strict schedule etc and she was sleeping 6-7 hours straight. Crazy good right! And then we hit a few road bumps – Pediatrician told me not to swaddle her anymore and then basically everything went to shit. She just became progressively worse over the months. Waking three times. Then four. Then five. Then I lost count.
She dropped her soother and she was no longer falling asleep on her own. My nips were her human pacifier and basically the only way she would go to sleep or go back to sleep (cue mama slowly going crazy). Her daytime naps she only does in the stroller fyi (she sleeps so much longer than if she were in her crib or if she falls asleep on me…so naturally it’s an easy decision #MomSanity)
Before shit really hit the fan, I was working with a sleep consultant who determined that we should try the dream feed tactic: essentially you wake up 15 minutes before your baby typically wakes (that’s if they are waking at the same time during the night) and dream feed them. This way you break the habit of them waking up and being nursed. You know they’ve been fed when they typically are hungry / used to it, so all wake ups you soothe / put baby back to sleep any other way but nursing (or bottle) to break the cycle. Eventually you time it to cut out a feed, then the next etc (If you need exact info on this I can definitely share!). Maya became so inconsistent that I wasn’t able to implement this plan I had created and we were back to square one.
One night, I woke Jaymie up around 3 or 4am as I hadn’t even gone to bed yet and said ‘I want to jump off the balcony!’ We realized it was time for some parent led changes. And about two months ago, we made our move.
Out of all the sleep consults and reading I’ve done, the biggest thing to do when having a sleep issue is identify the core problem. We knew that my boobs and I were just that – Maya wanted me and she always wanted to nurse. And that’s basically what she kept waking up for. So…. we knew that daddy had to start putting her to sleep and he had to manage all the night wakes.
We decided it was best for me to nurse Maya on the couch and snuggle / play with her in the dimmed light. Then I’d pass her over to Jaymie who took her to her nursery for cuddles and songs. This was not easy for her or for me. It started off with her falling asleep on him (because she was crying and we felt bad doing it any other way) to eventually her falling asleep on her own about a week and a half later, with him beside her — she likes when they hold hands or when he rubs her back (so cute right?!). Often times she stands up and leans over her crib for a kiss, then plops back down on her mattress. (So stinking adorable!). The first few nights he basically camped out on the floor as she was waking up and crying so often.
It took about a week for her not to cry (a lot) but we felt good about the fact that she wasn’t alone and he was always there for her. We realized that the more her and I got to cuddle and play before bed (with a long nursing session) the easier bedtime went for the two of them. She really needs the time to settle, relax and cuddle. We also realized that she still needed a 4am feed (she was going right back to sleep after).
What made it work better for us was being on the same page about what we were comfortable with (ie crying is a big trigger for me, so I wanted to ensure she wasn’t alone). It was also key to identify why she was waking up – what was she needing? What was she looking for? Once we figured that piece out we built a plan and stuck with it.
What I’ve realized after baby #2, is that there is no right or wrong method. People judge you no matter which way you chose (some may think we are too easy on our kids) but hey, they are only little once. Yes, I know she only nurses for comfort and not nutrition. Yes I know she should be sleeping all night on her own. Yes Yes Yes I know! I was just not ready to take away the one thing that made her feel good since the day she was born. Not quite yet, but definitely very soon. Like next month soon! Weaning will be an entirely new challenge as she is showing no sign of doing it on her own.
Unfortunately, we are in the midst of a mega sleep regression (as Maya was really sick after her birthday and wasn’t able to eat but was waking up and only wanting to nurse…so naturally I was there for her). She is now waking up every two hours and will settle with my hubby the first few wakes…but now I am back on call for 3am onwards as she will only settle with me nursing her. So just like that, we are back at square one. Next week we will start the process over again but will look to cut out all the nursing and hopefully wean completely. Sleep always seems like an endless topic with little light at the end of the tunnel. This is my second baby who doesn’t sleep well, and if you’ve ever heard ‘eventually they all sleep’ it is true — Nico now finally sleeps all night…at the age of three and a half!! Only a few more years to go mamas! Ha!
Good luck…and if you’re tired, know you are not alone!