Thursday, May 6, 2010

How'd We Get Here?

Or, the post in which I blame authors of books for the fact that my baby can't sleep.

I have talked previously about my decisions about co-sleeping with my infant daughter. We came to that solution as the result of several converging factors. The first contributing issue was that she preferred to sleep touching me. She slept better on someone's chest than she did flat in her bed. We were pretty good about not just letting her sleep endlessly on us. But since she slept better at night in bed with me, in the wee (sleepless) morning hours, that was just easiest.

I went back to work when she was four months old. Prior to going back to work, I read a number of books about working and nursing. The Milk Memos is an awesome book, and I want to buy a copy for every mother I know going to work and pumping. Actually I don't know any IRL, but if I did, I'd give them this book. The second was Working Mother, Nursing Mother. Kathleen is a HUGE proponent of co-sleeping and nursing all night long. She wrote at length about it in this book. I was in love with the idea. It would keep my milk supply up, it would keep us bonded, we could spend time together we didn't have during the day. Who doesn't want to cuddle with a snuggly baby all night long? Besides, we were living with my parents and her "bed" was the cosleeper wedged between the bed and the wall. Being in my bed wasn't that much of a difference, right? So for several months, every time she made a noise in the night, I stuck a b00b in her mouth. It kept her from waking up the whole house, it kept me in sortof a doze, it got her back to sleep, it kept my milk supply up, it kept us curled up in some idyllic vision of mother-and-infant life.

And it taught her to nurse to sleep, and nurse every 3 hours all night long.

I blame Kathleen. It's her fault my baby won't sleep through the night. Long after I need to keep my milk supply up, long after she needs any milk at night, long after we are well bonded, long after WE NEED SOME SLEEP, she still wakes up, and most of the time needs the b00b to go back to sleep.

Oh, sure, I could have helped her learn to sleep, even while co-sleeping and nursing in the night. I could have put her to sleep for naps in her own bed. I could have put her to sleep "drowsy but awake". We moved out of my parents house last October, so I only have that as an excuse until then.

But its easier to blame some faceless author, right?

I jest, because it is easier for me to joke about blame than it is to take responsibility. But I am in the process of doing just that. I'm reading everything I can get my hands on about helping toddlers sleep (in a GENTLE way - no CIO here). I am preparing myself mentally for no longer wrapping my body around my baby in the middle of the night (or, you know, clinging to the edge of the bed because she's rolled sideways and kicked me in the throat). I am hoping against hope that it works and I can maybe get an uninterrupted nights sleep. I have quite a backlog to make up for!

I am going to teach my daughter to sleep.

God help me.


Funky Mama Bird said...

Good luck! We did a gentle sleep training, and while it worked I still remember those moments of anxiety, Will this work? What if it doesn't work? WILL I EVER SLEEP AGAIN?

If you haven't checked out Elizabeth Pantley, I highly recommend her books. We modified her techniques into something that worked for us and in about 2 weeks he was sleeping through.

MommieV said...

I have her first book, it's one that I'm using to work out The Plan. Gentle is good.