My daughter will. not. sleep.
Don’t get me wrong. Things have improved DRASTICALLY since we have started the No Cry Sleep Solution (which I barely even do anymore because holy hell am I tired, but still).
Baby love has now a few times fallen back asleep after I lay her down awake.
She naps. Regularly. For at least an hour. Multiple times a day.
She can be startled half-awake and go back to sleep.
She can go down for a nap with no special anything, even just sitting in her carseat while we’re out if I time things right.
She goes back to sleep very easily.
She will lay in her crib and entertain herself and get sleepy before I come in to finish putting her down at bedtime.
All of those things I would have KILLED for two months ago. And I do love them.
But do you notice what is missing?
Her sleep DURATIONS will. not. increase.
She is still getting me up usually every 1.5 hours at night. Often every 40 minutes. Sometimes I get 2. If I’m very lucky I may get 3. Those are the stretches I praise heaven for.
Did you know that we really need two complete back-to-back sleep cycles to feel fully rested? And that that takes 3 hours? And that if you don’t get that regularly you go slowly insane?
I have some living proof of that for you RIGHT HERE.
I am so frustrated. I’m in a moms support group. We were there today. My baby is the oldest in the group by 4 weeks. Most are at least 6 weeks younger than her. And yet every. single. one. of them sleeps better than mine. The worst gets up 3-4 times a night. Even the ones who were bad sleepers have outgrown it.
And it’s not fair. I did everything right. I had her fall asleep different ways from the start (in my arms nursing, in the car, in her swing, etc.). I always laid her for bed on a flat surface, even if it took a dozen tries. I most definitely never responded to her every whimper, but made sure she was really, truly awake before intervening. Etc. Most of them didn’t think about it, or didn’t think about it as much, yet their babies sleep. There isn’t much I could have done differently with my baby love except to fight the fall-asleep-not-on-the-boob-but-in-my-arms thing more fiercly when she was tiny (but plenty of people say it’s fairly impossible to fight then, and I did try).
I’m a horrible sleeper. I have a very difficult time sleeping. I have a very difficult time falling asleep. And staying asleep. And napping. Etc. See: “insomnia”. My daughter seems to have inherited this from me. So no matter how much I set her up to succeed…she doesn’t seem programmed to sleep well.
I am so frustrated. Today, after wearing her for 50 minutes of napping (we were at my mom’s group and she needed to nap) my back was giving out because I couldn’t sit down and I tried to transfer her to laying down in a friend’s pack and play. And she woke up. And I lost it.
Not mad at her. But just EXHAUSTED. There was so much going on, not the least of it being stress over student teaching and my SAnD building up to get me to near-breakdown point. But her waking up from that nap, which she needed, was just the final straw.
So I hid in a back room and I cried.
Then tonight I laid her down for bed and she went easily. And I was slightly mollified.
Until she woke up.
And I wanted to cry again.
As I left her room, 30 minutes later, I was feeling defeated.
How can I keep going when my daughter needs me so many times in the night? What else can I try that we haven’t already been doing or attempting? I don’t need or want her sleeping 12 hours continuously…but 3 would sure be nice and seems reasonable.
I was exhausted. And beaten down. And overwhelmed. And just wanted her to learn to sleep on her own.
And then I stopped. And I reframed it for myself.
In not-that-many-years my sweet baby love won’t need me in the night anymore.
She’ll roll her eyes if I stick my head in to check on her.
She’ll push me away if I suggest a nighttime snuggle.
She won’t cry for me in the night, for something that only I can make better.
No matter how long it feels like it has been now, this is very, very temporary.
And no matter how tired I get, this will end.
And I will miss it.
I do love my nighttime snuggles. I love our nighttime nursing. I love feeling her warm body melting into mine.
So while I may want it less frequently, I will try to embrace it while I have it.
And when I am exhausted beyond reason and just DONE with the whole thing, I will remember: This too shall pass.
And when it does, I will miss it.
Or at least a part of it.
Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s been 40 minutes again, so I must go put my screaming child back to bed.