Monday, September 30, 2013

What's with babies and NOT letting their mom's SLEEP?


*picture - theguardian.com
Have you noticed that your babies sleep longer when you cuddle with them or leave them with a blankie or t-shirt that you have used? Have you noticed that as soon as your baby is put in her/his crib and you start doing something meaningful she will let out a wail for a cuddle, attention or diaper change? Is it just Murphy's Law or babies can smell their moms away from them? A baby not sleeping well through the night? Even with baby #2 I am as confused as ever as to when should they sleep through the night, how much should they sleep, should I nurse them in the night? What no BOTTLE, yet for your 11m old?

So, I had almost weaned the 5 year old off my bed but then we happened to have a rat in the house and he refused to sleep alone in his room for a week till the rat was caught and since then we haven't sent him back. The 11m old daughter prefers to cuddle in bed and sleep between mom and dad but she was a great fan of the crib till she was 4months old.

If you're a new mama and like to follow the doctor to the T or read any of the numerous parenting websites and books - you must have a heard a long list of dos and donts by the doctor about breastfeeding, weaning, sleeping through the night etc. But I must tell you, MAMA, you are the best judge about your child. And NO, formula doesn't make your child sleep through the night. If your child needs a nap or is not ready to take one or is getting up in the night because she needs a cuddle or comfort only you can decide how you want to react to the situation.

With my first child, after 1.5 years it was difficult to make him take an afternoon nap and there were nights that I have walked with him for over an hour and yelled at him to go to sleep but he wouldn't budge. I would be in tears because he would be up since 6am and it would be 1230am and he wouldn't want to sleep. I found dealing with my very energetic toddler as tough as taking my toughest Computer Science course in college. They both gave me sleepless nights and I had to have my mind alert at all times. I fell asleep trying to make my toddler nap one time, we were in Vietnam so I was cooking all meals myself and was also my son's only form of entertainment. I woke up with a start to find a very white SUDOCREAM covered toddler staring down at me. If you have used it you know it spread thick and is hard to remove so it was all over him as he had tried to remove it before he came to me.

I would want to tear my hair up sometimes with him I am a bad sleeper - I can't just go to sleep as soon as the baby is asleep or ignore the 100things I have to do in the day and lie in bed in the afternoon while things just lie around in disarray. He could play the night away sometimes and when my husband would come back home after a heard days work he would find a teary eyed, exhausted me trying the hardest to not yell the baby to sleep after trying 100different things and a very wide awake amused baby sitting in his tent playing with his cars.

With my daughter she would barely wake up while she was 4m old and would take her feeds and go back to sleep, then she was napping every 3 hours and now she is not yet 1 and takes just 1 nap. For the last 1.5m she has been throwing her sippy down - refusing water and milk in the sippy and trying to get up as often in the night as she can to nurse. Where does that leave me? 

Sleepless and crazed, I am often seen walking around like a zombie 'coz making sure the older one gets to bed and gets to school on time can be a nightmare with a younger one who has given up sleeping. 

My son is 5today and eventually learned how to sleep through the night. I would just have to read him a book or sing him a lullaby and he would doze of and and sleep even through a date night at TGIF. My daughter is just the opposite. She will get up with a beaming smile even if she hears a slight sound and start waving her hand around hoping to catch someone smiling back at her. There is no right answer to how and when will they start and sleep through the night. I have friends who just can't stop partying or have a need to sleep through the night and have special night nannies who stay up when kids get up, walk with them, give them a bottle and do whatever it is to keep the kid from wailing so their mama's can continue their uninterrupted lifestyle.

What I am trying to say mom's, is that do what works for you to make sure you are not irritable and unhappy. If you think you can nurse your child and cosleep with them and that works for you - do it, 'coz the child cant do it forever. If dropping the feed in the night and letting your child go back to sleep on their own works for you, giving the nanny a bottle works for, go ahead and do it. Being a mom is a tough job and we need to get through it while keeping our sanity and not yelling (a bad day and sleepless nights is me being over critical of my staff or being hard on my son) and that is not great! 

Also, there is no room for regret as you don't get the opportunity to undo your doing - your child is not going to remember whether you nursed him or bottle fed him or slept with him or not - it is your conscience that you are answerable to. And you need to raise a happy, content and secure baby - so follow your instinct and stay true to yourself and try to get some lie ins if you are a stay at home mom 'coz raising kids 1 or 2 or more is a FULL time job! As I always say, if you do anything else besides bringing up the kids then you're juggling multiple jobs :)....

I want to discuss sleep schedules for babies of different ages in my next post and would love to know what some of your 1year old's nap times schedules are like :)!




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