Let's change the subject.
I am hoping that you, in your infinite mommy wisdom, can help me. I have a 3 year old and a 4 month old, and I am at my wits end with regards to sleep. In fact, sleep or lack therof is the reason that we have 3 1/2 years between our daughters.
Kelly, the baby, slept great for the first three weeks and then was done sleeping in long stretches during the day. I didn't like it, but she was sleeping 8 hours a night and taking little catnaps. She would fall asleep in my arms, and sleep maybe 15 minutes once I put her down. Since then, she has stopped sleeping that long at night and won't nap at all unless she is in someone's arms. She wakes up immediately regardless of where we put her--crib, pack n play, car seat, swing, etc. In the last two weeks, she has refused to sleep anywhere but our arms at night as well.
We are possibly dealing with both a milk allergy and reflux, so I don't want to just let her cry too long. We went through this with our first daughter, wound up co-sleeping and it took years to get her to sleep on her own. In fact, she still comes into our bed! I'm not against co-sleeping, but I can't have both kids in the bed. Kelly really doesn't like her bouncy or swing, so I don't know if I should look for a different bouncy that she might sleep in. I am hoping that since you have 5 kids, that you have some really good sleep advice! Do you or your readers have any suggestions? I am exhausted and cranky!
However, if you don't want to deal with this while wallowing, I understand that too! But you could look at this as another good point--hopefully, you are getting more sleep than I am! :o)
Thanks a lot!
I've been letting this percolate in my inbox for DAYS now, hoping that some Wisdom will occur to me, or that at least I'll be able to come up with an Impressive Fake.
Sleep issues are SO HARD. There are many reasons WHY they're so hard:
- What works for one family doesn't necessarily work for another family.
- What works for one kid in a family doesn't necessarily work for another kid in that family.
- What works one week may not work the next week.
- What is a tolerable situation one week may not be tolerable the next week.
- A child may grow out of a sleep issue--only to grow into another sleep issue.
- Sleep problems typically happen during the evening, when you've been dealing with crap ALL DAY LONG and all you want is FIVE MINUTES of free time; or they happen in the middle of the night, when you're not really awake, and your body and brain are weeping for sleep and asking you if you are crazy being up at this hour. These are not Peak Form times for consistent, reasonable parenting policies to be implemented.
Your STUPID HUSBAND is just LYING THERE like he doesn't even HEAR the SCREAMING. I mean, OMG, what if there was a BREAK-IN, with GUN FIRE, would he even KNOW? NO, he WOULDN'T, I'd be ALL ALONE dealing with the NINJAS and things, and he'd just keep SNORING. As soon as I get this baby back to sleep, I'm DIVORCING HIM AND MARRYING A NINJA.
Perhaps first you ask your pediatrician, and your pediatrician says something like, "Don't let her fool you: babies don't need to wake up in the night after they hit 12 pounds"---or whatever. And you go home thinking, "Okay, now I'm not fooled, Baby. You don't fool ME, Baby! No more FOOLING AROUND, Baby!" And yet the baby does not care that you are not fooled, and your new, non-fooled attitude has no effect on whether she wakes up in the night. And now you wish you were married to your pediatrician so you could divorce him/her, and you also feel like you can't bring it up again, since your pediatrician will think there's no helping someone who would be fooled by a baby.
So then you turn to your friends, and you might get some very comforting responses. It'll be things like, "OMG, we had the SAME problem and then we just did X! And he's been sleeping through the night ever since!" And so you will face bedtime with fresh confidence that night, because now you know to do X. And you will try X, and it won't work AT ALL. And you'll tell your friend it didn't work, and she'll think it must be because you're doing it wrong. And you'll be mad, but you'll also wonder, "OMG, am I doing it wrong??"
You'll ask another friend, and she'll describe a plan that sounds really unappealing to you. Or maybe it sounds good, but then when you try it you hate it. But from then on you won't be able to complain to her: she'll shrug and act like you are CHOOSING to deal with the lack of sleep since you're CHOOSING not to handle it the Right Way. And you'll be mad, but you'll also wonder, "OMG, should I be doing it that way?"
PLUS, sleep is such a hot topic! It's just about the hottest one there is! Bring it up and you've got a brawl! Some people will be accusing other people of ABUSE and NEGLECT, or of SPOILING and PERVERSION, or of BEING FOOLED BY A BABY. Srsly! People will be coming up with alarming and imaginative descriptions of how the baby is feeling or what the baby is thinking, and you will end up SOBBING with empathy. You haven't had enough sleep to deal with this.
So, okay. Let me go read your letter again, because I seem to have gotten off on my own here, and although I am using the pronoun "you" liberally, I don't seem to be talking about you at all. Oh yes! You wanted wisdom. Well. Er. Dear, dear. Okay. Here is everything I've got. This is ten years' experience right here:
- When we are not getting enough sleep, the Right Way is whatever gets us the most sleep.
- As soon as we start getting more sleep, we start feeling differently about what The Right Way is. Then we have to make changes. Sometimes these changes suck as much as the original sleep problems; sometimes they're easy. It isn't predictable. It especially isn't predictable based on someone else's experience.
- It can be comforting to think things such as, "She will not want to sleep in our bed when she's in high school." It's not really comforting if someone who's getting plenty of sleep says it to you, though.
Would anyone else like to commiserate with Sara?