“Sleep when the baby sleeps”, they said

THEY. Bunch of freaking know it alls if you ask me. 

My baby catnaps for 20 mins only. Sometimes she will resettle to make the full 40 min sleep cycle but that’s usually about it, regardless of whether I wear her or drive her or hold her. Holding her has the most success though. Sometimes she will then allow herself to cross into another cycle. And I mean maybe once every three days when I need to go to the bathroom and it is either put her down and have her wake or hold her and maybe pee my pants a little as my pelvic floor has not yet recovered enough to allow an ongoing busting situation. 

So there’s not much baby sleeping time for me to sleep.

At night we don’t do that much better but it is better so feel I should be grateful. We were getting a 2.5-3 hour cycle overnight (so that is from the beginning of one feed until the start of the next one – it is not all sleeping time) and I could deal with that. The last two nights we have regressed to a 2 hourly cycle and it is killing me. I am hoping it is just a growth spurt and it doesn’t become a habit. PLEASE GOD. 

Sometimes she wakes after only 1.5 hours. When that happened last night I did manage to resettle her but had to have her next to me in bed so I could hold her dummy in forever. Co-sleeping doesn’t seem to make a lick of difference unless she is actually ON me and well, that isn’t good for MY sleep. 

This morning I tried swaddling her again (she hates it) and still only a 20 min nap except this time we started it with a few minute scream-a-thon in protest of the swaddle. I am now holding her and sitting in the rocking chair to extend the nap. Ugh. She is actually pretty happy during the day despite all this but if she doesn’t get enough day sleep it is a witching hour scream-a-thon and that sucks. Plus sleep is supposed to be restorative and I feel like she isn’t getting enough of the good juice for her brain. I want her to have a healthy brain! Just one good sleep a day would be so good. I can handle cat naps after that. And decent night sleeps of course. 

So at 6 weeks in I am feeling so weary. I am starting to say things like “I want to give up breastfeeding” which I won’t do but damn, I find it tough to be the only one that can soothe her or sort her out with what she needs when she seems to need it so frequently. And she seems to have gone off Eric for now so it really is only me who can hold her/feed her/soothe her at this point.

My last one was a tricky sleeper. I thought I was supposed to get a cruisy version this time???? Lies. It’s all lies. I feel so guilty too as to spend time with the baby trying to get her to sleep more I am spending less time with my big boy who is missing me and needs me. 

 I don’t think I would ever get a cruisy baby. Both my babies have been the reflux/colic types and I think a lot of it has been down to the dairy thing. I’ve cut it out now and she is a lot more settled for it – doesn’t grunt and groan as much when trying to sleep – so we will keep on with that. But with two parents who are dairy intolerant there is now way I am going to get a baby who isn’t bothered by it and when they are bothered by it you get bad sleeping/reflux/colic. I think that’s why the idea of a third is so stressful for me. It is truly a season of tough sleeplessness. 

All this is impacted by the fact that I am still trying to work from home a little. There really isn’t that much to do but when it is stop/start/stop/start it gets hard to get it done. If she’d just have ONE 1.5/2hr sleep per day I could squish it in probably no more than one, maybe sometimes two days per week in the sleep time. But nooooooooo. 

Anyway I’m an old pro at this baby thing as I’ve been there before so I know that things change all the time. It may get inexplicably better soon and it may get inexplicably worse. We just have to ride it out. Eventually you get through to the other side. But today I just felt like having a vent.

My new favourite saying is For Fucks Sake and I seem to be using it a lot as sleep deprivation makes me clumsy. Have you noticed that? When you are tired everything seems a zillion times more difficult and life in general just seems so easy to fuck up. 

So here’s my vent.

Tricky sleepers suck! And I just pulled a hair out of my boob. For fucks sake. 

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44 thoughts on ““Sleep when the baby sleeps”, they said

  1. Poor thing. I hope she starts taking better naps during the day, and sleeping a bit longer at night for you soon. There was actually an article on one of my pregnancy apps about the whole “sleep when the baby sleeps” thing; saying that it’s impossible because you have other stuff to do that you can’t do while glued to a baby, and that a lot of times they won’t sleep long enough, so basically do what you can and don’t beat yourself up for it. This post just makes me think of Faye and baby F and all the struggles they’ve had!! Try to hang in there, hopefully she will learn to settle for longer soon so you can keep your sanity!!

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    • Yes I have thought of Faye a lot too. I did used to get a sleep when Monkey slept when he was this tiny. Although he was a trickier sleeper he would do better day stretches. Anyway there is a season for this and a season for that and it all passes eventually. I am just moaning about it today!!!

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  2. Oh for fucks sake, Holly! GTF to sleep! No seriously, I hope she at least gets her night sleep together a little for you. You probably have, but if you haven’t, please watch the Happiest Baby On the Block DVD. I swear by it. He says all babies hate the swaddle when you put it on and then you have to jiggle them and/or use white noise to calm them. Does she sleep with loud white noise? Sorry, you’ve prob tried everything — just grasping at straws to think of how I can help. We are still getting cat naps during the day too, but the swaddling/jiggling and white noise helps extend W’s night sleep a bit. Hang in there, mama. This is the hardest part!

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    • Ooo I haven’t watched that or read the book and I have heard about it around the traps. I will seek it out. I will try swaddle again tonight. I did try last night at bedtime but it almost seemed to wake her up. I will be more persistent and jiggle πŸ™‚

      Oh my heartaches for our no 1s right now. Sax says to be he feels lonely 😦 Breaks my fucking heart.

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    • Just researching that happiest baby stuff and funnily enough I had started sleeping Holly on her side and it seems much better for her for nighttime and doesn’t stress me out like tummy sleeping does.

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    • I love that comment – the only way out is through. It is so true. I think part of the problem for me is that I need a routine so I can schedule the rest of our lives and at the moment she isn’t ready to do that so it is making it a struggle for me. Currently she is crashed out on the couch next to me after her 6 week needles. I should be sleeping! Ha! I’ve already put up the flag and said I’m not cooking dinner tonight! And poor Monkey as it turns out has a flipping chest infection. Poor kid.

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  3. Lol ohhh dear! Seems like ages ago AND like it was just yesterday I was living that. It’ll pass very soon. 6 weeks is the peak of hard times, from what I’ve gathered. If you find time for the happy sleeper book, give it a go. You can’t do the sleep training stuff until 5 months or so, but you can do the soothing ladder stuff which I found helped a lot. That being said, for us (me & K) it was up & down for months, until we finally got to the age where we could try some of the more routine methods – and omg has it helped as long as we stick to the predictable routines! Knowing the differences in sounds they make is key. You’ll get the hang of it sweetie. Pretty soon, you’ll be past it. That 4th trimester really is a thing. I spent many months cosleeping, where I literally ended up finding comfortable positions that would allow me to safely pop a nipple in & fall back asleep while she nursed. Eventually she’d pop off and stay asleep. With M I never tried that, and found myself much more exhausted, as I did when I tried sleeping in a different room than K. Now that she’s over 7 months, she isn’t sleeping well in the bed with me, so I have been nursing then placing get back in crib after feeds. The more she is able to sleep in the day, the better her nights are too. It’s a huge learning curve thing, and every baby is SO different! You’ll get the hang of each other. Xx

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    • Yeah I really NEED a routine so I think that’s why I am struggling so much right now. She is just so unpredictable. We will find our rhythm Im know. This morning I just felt like we were never going to get there 😦 xx

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      • It’s hard when you’re in the thick of it! Tonight, I fell asleep on the couch for maybe an hour really early on, then dw sent me to bed around 930pm and of course I’ve been wide awake since. I nursed at 1230, then she awoke again at 230 (good thing I was still wide awake!!). I think it’s a room temp thing. It’s always something, hey. I’m going to be sleeping when the baby sleeps tomorrow…fingers crossed that she sleeps!!

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  4. Ha, that was my most unfavourite statement people used to say to me too! Yeah right, how can I sleep when he either doesn’t nap, naps in the pram/buggy/car seat when we are out, or naps on me. I think I managed one hour nap once, and one half hour one.. In almost 5 months! Ethan didn’t like swaddling either and I gave up on it, but part of me now wishes I’d persevered with trying it. We are still in 4 month sleep regression here so I’m feeling your tiredness pain. I have to teach him to self settle…somehow….

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    • Oh the 4mth sleep regression was the worst with Monkey. At about 5 mths it was still going and I was starting to lose my mind. That’s when we started a proper routine and it really helped. In that I got the day sleeps sorted and the night one just followed. I’m sure it won’t work for me this time but passing the info on in case it works for you πŸ™‚ ha! Good luck and I hope it eases soon X

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    • Hehe oh these newborn times are intense. I laugh too when I can otherwise I might die right here. Seriously! Thx for the love and always feel free to laugh. I like when people get joy from my posts X

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  5. Oh the catnapping is the worst! It makes the days so hard. Not sure if you remember but Heiks was terrible, I couldn’t get anything done. One day when she was four months she slept like an hour in the day suddenly, I nearly cried with happiness. Walt never slept well at night and is still pretty crap honestly but the long day sleeps made a big difference. Hope it gets better for you soon – I will be right there in the trenches with you before long! So you can sadistically feel happy about that! Haha xx

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    • And I wanted to say, with the two kids you never get the balance right. There is that constant feeling of guilt towards one or the other – initially it is towards the eldest but it ebbs and flows. It is the hardest thing to get used to I think. I have no idea how I will spread myself across three!

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    • I have been thinking of you and Heike and the catnaps! I remind myself of how crazy you felt trying to get her to extend them so I try not to spend too much time on that. It helps having another child as I often don’t have time to try to nap extend! Or I will do it by holding her and rocking her just so she gets a restful sleep rather than standing there and shushing in the bed etc. I just don’t have time for that!

      Oh and the guilt thing, I have started to notice it is across both already. I find I feel guilty with Holly a lot as I don’t have time often to sit there and stare at her and interact with her the way I did with S. She spends a lot of time under her jungle gym hanging out and chatting to the soft toys lol I am trying to do more but there are only so many hours in the day.

      And yes, you have all this to look forward to again soon! You are so lucky! πŸ˜‰ well lucky for the baby snuggles at least xx

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      • She will be very adaptable for it, don’t feel too guilty! Yes NEVER try to resettle her it is just bullshit haha. I learnt that the hard way. Yes the good outweighs the bad at least, or we wouldn’t keep doing it πŸ˜‰

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      • Oh, good! I’m a bit behind as we are on vacation visiting my family. And the internet connection/cellular connection here is awful! Like the only three places in the United States where there’s no coverage. I’m exaggerating a little, but it doesn’t feel like by much.

        I love my kiddos, but I’m glad that’s behind me, that no sleep stuff. It’s really hard. So I’m glad she gave you a couple of better nights.

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  6. Tricky sleepers…. Oh man. They slowly destroy everything you ever took for granted. Memory. Physical agility. Tolerance. Sense of humour. The list goes on. You have my UTMOST sympathy because it has been pure hell here, and still is on at least two nights out of each week. We were on a two hourly wake cycle for most of the first four months and IT NEARLY KILLED ME. Sigh. I really don’t know what to suggest – some babies are just clingier and needier. You said something to me ages ago which has stuck with me and I still think of it when baby F is being a terror. You told me that she had wanted to be with me for as long and as much as I had wanted her to arrive, and that’s why she wouldn’t settle or sleep anywhere but directly on my chest. It still brings tears to my eyes to think that maybe her little spirit was as desperate to be with me as I was to have her, and it always softens my demeanour when I’ve just about had it and want to scream with frustration and exhaustion. Perhaps it’s true. Your baby girl waited and waited and waited to meet you, and she isn’t going to give you up any time soon. On a more practical note, I eventually found, with weeks of practice, that F got used to co-sleeping right next to me (and I mean my face right by hers so she could see me constantly). After every feed I would ease her down onto the bed (sometimes this would take two hours of repetition before it worked). At about 3 months she got used to it and would sleep next to me (but still on me in day). Somewhere around 5 months she went in the cot. The biggest thing was to disassociate breastfeeding from sleeping. At night it was impossible, but in the day I tried over and over and over to unlatch her before she dropped off. It was a ridiculously difficult endeavour and I never, ever want to go through it again, so I can well imagine that “for fucks sake” is an oft-used phrase (I think I too have said that more times this year than at any other point in time, lol!!). Rambling comment – I really hope she settles. Dairy- free really helped us, as did less chocolate (contains theobromine, which is a stimulant that goes into breast milk). I read several studies that correlate fussy behaviour with stress hormones in the mum, and to be honest, I am more chilled now than I have been since she was born, and she’s distinctly happier… But at the end of the day, it’s all speculation and guessing. I hope things change for the better asap xxxxx

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  7. Oh dear. Poor thing. You need one of these http://www.kitschykoodesign.com.au/listing/385643112/free-shipping-ffs-necklace-ffs-yolo-wtf !!
    My girlfriend had a similar problem with her first born. She used to give her hubby one of her shirts she was worn for a few hours so it would smell like her and her milk and apparently bubs found that soothing. It was something to do with the smell of milk being nearby that the bubs found soothing. Perhaps this would help you get a half hour or so to yourself to pee and what not? Worth a try right? You could choose a shirt with sparkly unicorns all over it and make him wear it πŸ™‚

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  8. Aww sweetness, I know it sucks so hard right now. Hang in there…this too shall pass and all that bullshit. πŸ™‚ You know what I mean though. EVENTUALLY, she will sleep longer than 90 mins… xoxo

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  9. I hope it gets better for you. My twins scream at the top of their lungs for about 7 to 8 hours a day (I timed it all yesterday). It doesn’t matter what I do. Doctor says its normal. I spend about 10 hours a day trying (and often failing) to feed them. They spit up everything. Can’t remember when I slept more than 15 minutes. Sometimes I wish I could return them (that’s probably the worst thing a parent could say) or at least have 5 minutes of peace.

    Hopefully its a phase.

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    • Oh you poor thing. It sounds so intense. Have you tried going dairy free? We were getting intense reflux and screaming and unsettled times and I have done that and it helps. I’m also about to drop eggs as lost night was horrendous and she was screaming in pain from feeding and I had eggs for lunch. It’s not the first time I’ve noticed a connection either. Hope it eases for you soon xxx

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      • My milk never came in after 2 weeks pumping every 2 hours so they are actually on formula now. It’s this crazy expensive preemie stuff so I assumed it’s pretty good. I can look into it.

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        • Oh you have been through the wringer! That is intense in itself. I hope so much it calms for you soon. So much screaming is hard on mummies. I know!!! Sometimes I want to return my too if that makes you feel any better. It is a hard slog this first baby season. I don’t know if you read the other comments on here but someone said “the only way out is through” and it is so true. With every week that passes they get a little bit easier and it gets a little bit better. I promise with everything I have that this is the case. The start is the hardest part xxx

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