I’m writing this at 3.38am, I’ve been trying to get Darcie back to sleep for a couple of hours now, feeding her and rocking her, whilst using the rest of my energy not to fall asleep. She has been up 4 times so far since she went to bed at 8 which was an hour later than her usual bed time at 7. Our problems with sleep are extensive in this house, on any one night she might be hard to put to bed, wake up anywhere up to 5 or 6 times and sometimes she’ll decide that 2am is playtime and take up to 2 hours to go back to sleep. The 4 month sleep regression hit us hard and at nearly 10 months it still hasn’t got much better. Whoever came up with the phrase ‘sleep like a baby’ definitely didn’t have kids!
The downside (in my opinion) to breastfeeding is that the nights are solely my responsibility. I know that a lot of Mums that bottle feed have it the same way but at least they have the slim glimmer of hope that maybe their partner will offer to take over one night. During the day I’m not that tired, I think my body has just given up on sleep and learnt to cope with short, broken nights. But in the middle of the night, I feel beyond exhausted. Every time I’m woken by her cries and have to drag myself into her room to feed her, or rock her, or comfort her, I realise why sleep deprivation is a form of torture and how effective it must be.
I can’t help but feel slight resentment that Dan doesn’t have to deal with this, sometimes he’ll be woken by her if she is particularly loud but he is always able to just roll over and go back to sleep. My rational brain knows it’s not his fault that he can’t breastfeed her but if Santa could have brought me anything that would have been the best! A couple of months ago it made me laugh when I heard him proudly telling people “yeah, she sleeps through”… no Dan, you sleep through! This really isn’t a complaint against him, I’m sure he would help if he could.
At 10 months post partum, I’m feeling ready to leave her with a babysitter and go out for the evening. I’d love to get dressed up and go out for a meal with Dan or have cocktails with a friend. But until she sleeps better I can’t see it happening, I could of course pump but I’m aware now that after 10 months of having me for comfort every time she wakes, not having me there for her might be distressing for her and whoever was looking after her would have a really hard time. Maybe I’m flattering myself, but it doesn’t seem worth the risk and spending the evening just worrying abour her.
I have such mixed feelings about sleep training, there are some gentle methods that I could probably face doing but I’m not convinced how effective they would be for us. I recently read an article about the Wait It Out method which was all about waiting out these sleepless nights so that your baby doesn’t have to cry it out, which I really enjoyed reading. Sleep training or the decision not to can be so controversial and when everyone around you is doing one thing, it’s really nice to read something that I feel I could have written myself if I had the words. I’m often reluctant to open up about our struggle with sleep as I can’t face being told I should sleep train her and hate the thought of being silently judged for the fact I haven’t got this under control. Now that family and friends and people-that-know-me-in-real-life read this blog it feels like a big deal to be writing this post, but at 4am I think my capacity to care is switched off!
If you ask me in the daytime, I’m coping well without sleep and I know it won’t last forever. But at 4am it can be hard to be so positive. I’ve written this partly to fill the time as I rock her back to sleep and also in the hope that anyone reading it might realise they are not alone. Im sure there are millions of us all around the world awake right now desperately trying to help our babies to sleep to the soundtrack of our partners snores. Just try not to whack him too hard when he asks you “how was she last night?” in the morning!