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Night 4

August 24, 2010

Once again, I spent a good portion of the night on a twin bed. I realize that what’s happening here is that I’m helping her build a habit that isn’t constructive, but I’m not sure how to change it. She really really wants to nurse, starting at 1am or so, and she doesn’t want me to be away after that. I can cuddle her, try to soothe her, but what she wants is milk, or the soothing feeling that nursing provides. She’s been gushing massive amounts of drool, and one of her top molars is starting to poke its way out, so I know that’s part of it.

She fell asleep at 8:20, after being more upset than usual. I couldn’t get her to take her afternoon nap yesterday, and her morning nap was only 1 hour 15 minutes, so I know she was way over tired. I’ve learned that it’s really not a good idea to give her morning naps any more, because it often means she won’t want to take an afternoon nap. We do well with one 2 to 2.5 hour nap a day. She finally fell asleep after some crying, yelling, standing, and crawling off the bed. I almost fell asleep too, cuddling her to sleep, so I stayed in the room and read for a long time, rather than getting up and working on the computer or cleaning up. She slept fine until that magical time late at night/early in the morning. I tried to cuddle her back to sleep, then nursed her, and stayed on the little bed all night.

Could she be really hungry? Is she not eating enough dinner? I just can’t understand why she’s so desperate for nursing early in the morning. Other times cuddling her works, but not then. I just need to figure out how to help her nurse less. If I don’t nurse her she screams and screams until I do, and it’s honestly really hard to shake myself out of sleep enough to be patient with the yelling. Nursing is such an easy and quick way to calm her. Oddly enough, she’s been nursing a ton in the day lately. When we’re hanging out together, just the two of us, she does the milk sign pretty much once an hour, so we nurse briefly, then she goes off and plays. I wonder if there is something going on developmentally to cause her to have a resurgence of the need to nurse a lot. From about 10 months to 13 months she rarely wanted to nurse. But now she’s back!

So, let’s see. My goal is to think of a way to help her get back to sleep at night without nursing, but I’m at a loss. I’ll keep thinking about it (despite how braindead and exhausted I feel), and hopefully I’ll be able to come up with a compassionate and workable plan.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Yoon permalink
    August 25, 2010 2:02 am

    Okay. So this is going to be an unpopular “expert” opinion, but what I’ve read (from books that have worked for us…granted, they worked for us when Oscar was MUCH younger than Amelia) says that an empty stomach really has no relation to sleep duration and that babies are capable of going through the night without feedings by about 6 months. (I’ve always felt that was too early, but I have many friends whose babies did just that.) Anyway, these child sleep experts claim that we as parents train our kids to expect/demand night feedings, and if we simply stopped, then they would break out of that cycle. Well…easier said than done, of course. However, if you have the stamina (I know very well how easy it is to rely on nursing when exhausted and not thinking straight), you might try withholding the boob until 6 or so, just be there to hold her through the night. Tons of screaming and zero sleep for sure, but three nights seems to be the magic number (with the cry-it-out method and with cutting out night nursing). I know you might be very opposed to this tactic, but I thought I’d put it out there. If you’re really consistent with it, at least you wouldn’t have to wait ten nights. You’ll know after three to four nights if it works. Hope you don’t think me a monster for suggesting this!

    • August 25, 2010 7:50 pm

      I think you’re right, Yoon. I imagine that I probably do just need to not nurse her until 6, I just get sort of concerned for my sleeping neighbor in the middle of the night. We share a wall, and I know he can hear her screaming. Early in the night, when she’s going to sleep, it’s not an issue because I’m sure he doesn’t fall asleep by 8:30. But at 2am, 3am, that’s when I get really concerned. As for the three night rule, it’s tricky. She still wants to nurse to sleep now, and we’ve been not nursing to sleep for almost a month. I’ll nurse her, then stop when she’s still wide awake so she can settle herself to sleep. However, she still stands up and signs milk over and over again every night. I have this irrational fear that she’ll just cry like crazy every night for a long time if I try not to nurse her before 6. But, I know I should just go all out and do it. I wonder how I can convince my neighbor to stay at his boyfriend’s house for a few nights.

  2. weller permalink
    August 25, 2010 4:17 am

    yowza natalee, you’re dedication to this is inspiring. I’m definitely taking notes over here. a baby’s hunger/thirst/ability to sleep thru the night is a mystery to me, but here’s my 2 cents… I think that there is a big difference btwn a baby ‘crying it out’ alone (boo: no one cares, I give up) and being with you when she cries (yeah: someone is listening) she obviously has a lot of feelings over this and it may just take a lot of listening to her process that (ie. cry). it’s easier said than done but maybe you can see her crying (with you) you as a way to work through it? if you can physically manage it, that is. at least with the wee ones in my life, after listening to some major bouts of tears, I notice they are much clearer/at peace once they’ve been able to get some of the bottled up shit out. it’s amazing.
    I’m gonna go cry now.

    • August 26, 2010 10:55 pm

      Amy, I definitely agree. I don’t really have a problem with her crying, but I’m just sometimes so tired and I feel bad for my neighbor and for Andrew, that I just nurse her to get her to go back to sleep. I know it’s a bad habit, and I’m trying to just let her cry a little longer to get her frustrations out. But last night she was awake for so long when I wouldn’t nurse her, and she wasn’t even crying the whole time. It’s like she can’t figure out how to resettle at that point in the night. Sigh. It’s just a vicious cycle: baby wants boob to sleep, mama wants sleep. Mama wants more sleep so mama takes boob from baby. Baby gets mad without boob and doesn’t sleep, and mama sleeps even less than when mama gave baby boob, which wasn’t enough sleep then either. But, I know that in three years I won’t even remember this. Unfortunately the sleep deprivation today is real and present.

  3. Yoon permalink
    August 26, 2010 5:05 am

    I hear giving gift baskets containing ear plugs, alcohol, and bath salts at least breaks the ice when informing neighbors of the cry-fest that is about to ensue. That is fortunately something we never had to deal with. And, it also means you have to figure out a time YOU don’t have so much work or other plans that require you to be alert and well-rested. Sigh.

    But reading your latest post, I am in hearty agreement with you. There really is no love quite like the love a parent has for a child. And no responsibility quite like having pure beauty placed under your care! Here’s to the extremes of parenthood!

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