Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sleep is under rated

Remember here when I said they were sleeping better at night? Psh.

The red numbers on the alarm clock glow in the dark, mocking me as the hours drag on. Maxwell has woken up yet again and I wonder for the millionth time, 'Am I doing this wrong?' I have a pile of books by the side of my bed, all tell me something different.

*Cry it out. The patterns you are establishing now are the key to happy babies and happy parents. They are now old enough to learn when bed time is and it is OK to let them cry if all their needs are met. But for how long? I let them cry and they didn't stop. It just got worse. And they're so little. And I'm so tired.

-OR

*Attachment parenting. Your baby is crying because they need to be comforted. By responding to their cries, they are getting the message that they are safe and they can trust you. But at what point do they learn to comfort themselves? And there's two of them! How can I possibly respond to their cries when there's two? When Mike's home from work we do it together but for the love of god...I'm tired.

*You need a routine. The baby who feeds on a schedule gets fuller feedings and establishes a healthy routine. If the baby feeds on demand, you end up with a fussy baby who wants to snack all day and night. During the day your baby should feed/wake/sleep. This sounds great! I need a routine with two! But wait, I just fed one and now the other is falling asleep. OK, now I'm feeding at the same time. But Ella needs to be burped so let me put Max down for a minute- wait-you! Don't fall asleep yet. You're supposed to feed/wake/sleep. And what happens when Maxwell wakes up from a nap and is hungry but Ella's still sleeping? Do I wake her too? But she cried for awhile and they didn't fall asleep at the same time. I think she still needs to nap. But now we're off of our schedule. Ahhh...

-OR

*Breastfeed instinctually. Babies will let you know when they need to be fed. They'll also let you know when they just need to be comforted. Women around the world have instinctually breastfed their babies for generations without a schedule. Put the clock away. Use your intuition. If baby needs to be comforted, snuggle up and show him you love him. Ahhh. This makes so much sense. Why wouldn't I want to show my babies love and security? They stop crying every time I give them the breast. I'm happy. They're happy.

But, hold on. Wait a minute. I am trying this and now Maxwell wants to nurse ALL NIGHT LONG. IN BED WITH ME. (I'm afraid to type that because I think the Baby Wise doctor is going to do a TV special on indulgent mothers like me. I said I would never sleep with them). Now he seems happy, but wait! What about me? I'm a human pacifier. The kid literally won't stop crying until my nipple is in his mouth. And can you blame him? NO. You can blame me. Because I tried to use my 'womanly intuition that mother nature gave me.'

Now it's one...two...three o'clock in the morning and Ella is finally asleep again. I tiptoe back to bed and as my head hits the pillow I hear the cry. No. Not Ella. It's Max. Of course it is. He's hungry and it's his turn to eat. But when he's done, he starts smiling. He doesn't want to go to sleep. After all, he just slept from one-three. He had himself some rest time and now he's all smiles. Time to start over. Burp/Clean diaper/Rock/Walk...but wait, he doesn't like that, Ella does. Max likes this better...the red numbers laugh at me again...four o'clock....

Maybe this is ridiculous. Maybe I'm just a new mom and I need to realize that babies don't need a routine yet? Maybe they are just itty bitty and this is the deal. But Baby Wise says...

And even if I do pick one way or the other- Baby Wise vs. La Leche- it seems like the babies respond differently. Ella does well when it's nap time and I put her in her crib awake. Generally she will fall asleep on her own. I can do the exact same routine, consistently for a week, and Max still hates to be put down without nursing first. So what's a mom to do? The obvious answer is to do what works best for each child. But there's two. And it's hard. And did I mention I'm tired? Again I ask myself, 'Am I doing this wrong?'

What has worked for other moms? At thirteen weeks, what were your babies doing?
*The past week has been rough, but I realize that it's not that bad. For every time they cry, I forget about it when they smile (they laugh now too!). And if I was really THAT tired, would I take the time to blog? I'm just learning how to be a mom.

7 comments:

C.J. and Jen said...

Oh man, I TOTALLY feel your pain. The whole sleeping through the night and getting rid of night feedings was our HUGEST struggle. We tried everything, just as it seems you have. Nothing worked. When we tried to make him cry, he'd scream for 2 hours straight. When that didn't work after 6 months of trying EVERY night, I decided to just feed him whenever he wanted it at night and then go back to sleep as fast as I could. Finally, at 11 months the little guy just decided it was time to sleep through the night, and it was as easy as that. But I kinda think all the advice in books can just stress you out. Honestly, if I were you, I'd stop reading the books and just do what feels natural for YOU despite what anyone else would think or recommend. After all, whatever gets you the most sleep at night is the way to go...even if it means you sleep with Max on your boob all night. At least you're getting SOME rest. Good luck. And hang in there....eventually it will work. But I totally understand what a struggle you are going through. I would definitely say that some of my biggest "I will NEVER do what when I am a parent" thoughts I had before my son was born have been completely thrown out just so that I can get sleep. And because of that, he still has his pacifier at night and he's now 2...but hey, at least we're all sleeping happily!

THE WHITTINGTONS said...

Hey there... Someone gave me "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby" by Tracy Hogg when I had Jackson. It's more of a middle of the road book between the baby wise and attachment parenting models. It really helped me, and I passed it on to a few other mamas who loved it as well. I know it's another book... but for what it's worth... Jackson was sleeping through the night at 3 months, even with all the craziness he's been through.

Oh, and by the way, your babies are gorgeous.

Sarah R.Conley said...

I am sad to tell you that Nikao is 21 months old and still doesn't sleep through the night. We have tried everything... faithfully, with perseverence and NOTHING helps! The kids will cry four hours...seriously no exageration.. hours, like 4 hours and never go back to sleep. He is the most strong willed baby I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I say that you throw all those books out the window and do whatever helps you ge the best rest. I just finished reading "the no-cry sleep solution" It hasnt helped me but I have heard it has been helpful to others. I keep repeating "This wont last forever" to myself. That also hasn't realy hepled me but what the #%&****# else can I do!ha ha ha

Leanne said...

Hi sleepy mama! I remember those days, but its pretty normal for their age (sorry to say!). We co-slept until 6 months, when he was old enough to start sleeping longer, and then we used the Ferber method (modified a little), and aside from nights when he is teething really bad, he sleeps thru the night in his bed. We also do a bedtime routine of bath, nurse, book and Ben puts him to bed with some rocking and quiet time. When we co-slept he would nurse every two hours. We just started doing one less feeding at a time, and starting solids really helped. Their tummy's just arent big enough yet to stay full thru the night, but it will get better!!! I promise!! I guess you guys just have to find what works for you, its much different with two babies than one! Maybe ask your pedi, ours was the one who suggested Ferber.

Chris and Amanda Nichols said...

Meghan - First off the twins are adorable! Congrats to you guys! Secondly, we did baby wise and it seemed to work, however that being said, my doctor said that it doesn't work for everyone, because some babies are schedule babies. We happened to get one that loved routine! I would agree with Jen - you have to do what you feel is right. She was a great sleeper until it got lighter outside earlier in the morning, so we just put a black out shade up and she is back to her good sleeping. I also found that when I supplemented 1/2 formula and 1/2 breast milk at her last feeding she slept through the night. Hope this helps! Blessings to you and your family!

Katee Grace said...

Oh gosh I am so sorry!
I hope you get to sleep tonight! :) and all weekend--- good sleep!
BIG HUG MEGHAN!

THE WHITTINGTONS said...

I just remembered another tool one of Jackson's therapists recommended. It's a series of CDs. We put Jackson to sleep with the Sleepy Baby CD. Here's the link: http://www.abtmedia.com/products_mfb_moreThanMusic.asp.