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Night 6

August 26, 2010

I feel so repetitive. Things were the same (bath, books, nursing, cuddling, singing, settling, asleep by 8:20, sleeping well until sometime around 1am). But I didn’t nurse her for awhile last night. Not sure what time I actually did nurse her, but those other times, when I was trying to help her sleep without the breast, she was screaming so loudly. Oh, my poor neighbor. Andrew kept saying “shhhh” from his side of the bed, while I tried to help her settle back down on her twin bed. She would quiet down and I’d think she was asleep, then she’d move and I’d know she wasn’t planning on sleeping until she got the breast. But finally she fell back asleep for real and I got to go back to the big bed. Unfortunately, she was up for the morning at 6:40 climbing on me and nursing standing up from her bed. It’s amazing the kind of contortions that child pulls off in the name of nursing.

I’ve been thinking a lot about some of your comments and ideas, and yes yes yes, I need to just let her be upset for a few nights while I don’t nurse her until, say, 6. But it’s so hard. And it’s hard for selfish reasons, not because I’m worried about her emotional health by letting her cry. I know she’s safe and loved, and she’s crying because she’s angry (protest crying, as Linn says). So it’s not that, it’s that I know she’ll go back to sleep instantly with the breast, even if it means she’ll be latched on most of the night. Also, Andrew and I both work most days, so I don’t want her to keep either of us up all night. And then there’s the neighbor. He’s so nice and so quiet, and I feel bad that he’s probably rudely woken at 2am. Amelia doesn’t just cry, she screams at the top of her lungs. It’s so loud it hurts my ears. I can only imagine how frustrated he must feel. Maybe the gift basket with ear plugs, booze, and maybe a Sweet Action gift certificate will sweeten him up. Or at least help him not hate us quite as much as I would were I a childless neighbor of a screaming toddler. I wish I could afford to put him up in a nice hotel for a week. That would be great.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 27, 2010 1:55 am

    A couple thoughts and a few suggestions.

    I understand your selfish reasons. Truly I do. Been there, done that. The question you need to answer is whether or not you can continue this pattern of dozing through the night for another year. If Amelia is latched onto you chances are excellent that she’s not sleeping well either and she needs a good night’s sleep to grow and be healthy. You and Andrew need a good night’s sleep so you can do more than just function. I swear to you, you are going to enjoy your daughter, and each other, more if everyone is well-rested.

    Amelia screams because it works. She screams for a long time because it pisses her off when it’s not working. Amelia screams because right now her ability to self-soothe is limited at best (SG was like that from birth and is, to some extent, still not a great self-soother). She’s learned that mom and dad will cave eventually, she just needs to be really loud. Frankly, she doesn’t *need* to nurse in the middle of the night, I don’t think she’s hungry and I don’t think any harm whatsoever will befall her if you deny her the boob.

    I recognize this because we’ve done this- with SG and with XC so please don’t think I’m finger pointing. With SG it was for very similar reasons as with Amelia. With XC it just became a habit that, really, was relatively easy to break.

    Ask your neighbor if he can hear Amelia screaming in the middle of the night. If he can, apologize profusely and, should you decide to sleep train, give him at least a week’s notice. If he can’t, you’re off the hook but you might want to let him know anyway, just in case.

    It’s going to take a solid 3 nights to break what is a habit so, if possible, arrange your schedules so that you’ve got 2 days of no working. That way you can take care of Amelia while Andrew naps and vice versa.

    I think you need to leave after her bedtime, go to your parents’ house, take 2 (or 3…or 4) Benadryl and sleep there for at least the first night. Also, to prepare for a night of little to no sleep and a very angry, very tired little girl, Andrew should probably spend the night before elsewhere as well. In fact, and Andrew I’m very, very sorry to put this on your shoulders, I think it would be best if Natalie and Amelia were NOT in the same room at all until Amelia is solidly sleeping through the night.

    I just looked on Denver Craigslist and you can get a a/c window unit for well under $100. So whoever (you or Amelia) is sleeping in the 2nd bedroom won’t sweat to death.

    If you decide, really decide, that it’s time for Amelia to sleep through the night, then you need to dig in for the long haul because you’re not doing her any favors by waffling. She doesn’t know the difference between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. You need to decide what an acceptable time is to start her day- let’s say 6 a.m.- and you need to establish that there is no nursing before it’s time to start her day. If she’s up at 6 then you need to get out of bed, go to the couch, nurse her there and start the day. The more backtracking you do, the harder it’s going to be for her, for you guys, for everyone. But, again, you have to decide if you’re willing to go through hell for a few days or if you’re willing to be a virtual zombie for another year.

    I wish you weren’t going through this. We were in a similar boat with SG and I hated it. I almost dreaded going to bed because I knew that I was just going to be even more tired in 2 hours when she woke up screaming. It was awful.

    • August 28, 2010 3:18 am

      Sounds intense! Won’t it be even more jarring for her if I’m suddenly gone one night, since I’ve been the one consoling her throughout the night since she was born? But yes, Andrew has more time off work now, so it’s possible that we could do this. We just have to truly commit to it–both of us–if that’s what we want.

      It’s interesting because Amelia seems to self-soothe okay now for the first half of the night. In fact, as I was sitting here writing the most recent blog she cried out for a couple minutes, then went back to sleep when I didn’t go into the room. She does that many nights as she’s going through sleep cycles. She NEVER used to be able to do that before I started this, um, program–? She’d wake up and cry for me after 3o minutes, and not be able to resettle unless I nursed her. So I know she’s capable of self-soothing, and it wasn’t too difficult to get us to this point. It’s just interesting that she can’t self-soothe after a certain time at night. But yeah, it’s my fault for sure for nursing her every night at that time. Interestingly enough, last night when she was really upset, it was Andrew’s “shhhhh” that finally calmed her down. Hopefully that’s a sign that she will resettle okay with him.

      Also, that’s sweet of you for checking out the window unit on Craigslist! Fortunately the 95 degree days will be ending soon, and in the meantime if I’m sleeping away from Amelia I can just use the fan (we can’t do the fan for her because it cools down so dramatically at night that it’s impossible to dress her for the night. Does that make sense? If I put her in appropriate clothing for 8:00, which would really be nothing but a diaper, then she’d be freezing by the time 2am rolled around because the air outside is 20-30 degrees cooler than it was when she went to sleep. She doesn’t understand the concept of blankets yet, so she would just be cold and uncomfortable.).

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