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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Something's gotta give

I was just managing, trying to hold it together and get through the nights. The boy has consistently been up at least twice a night these past few months. I would take him to bed with me the first time he woke up and nurse him back to sleep in our bed. The second time I would just roll over and nurse him. If I was lucky he would quickly fall back asleep. Sometimes I wasn't lucky.

Monday night pushed me over the edge. The boy was up six or seven times that night. The next day I was a mess. In my calmer moments I was frustrated. In my worse moments I was filled with anger. Angry with the boy for not sleeping through the night on his own. Angry with almost everything the kids did. Angry at myself for not coping better, for struggling so much.

I made it through Tuesday night, hopeful that things would improve. I felt better, more positive the next morning. Wednesday night was long and hard and once again I was a mess. This time I was beyond angry. I was despairing. I was empty. Something had to give. I was afraid it was going to be me.

When I spoke to the husband Thursday afternoon he was worried enough talking to me that he came home. We spent hours talking about what to do. Obviously the status quo wasn't working but I still needed to be convinced to make a change. That is the problem with exhaustion. You lose all perspective and can't see beyond that moment.

Finally a decision was made and I am grateful to the husband for making it. We decided that the husband would take over night parenting duties for the boy. What this meant for me was that I would stop night nursing. It was a hard decision to make, I struggled with feelings of guilt but I was at the wall. I was more than at the wall, I was in a brick cage with a cement floor.

The first night was difficult. The husband was able to resettle the boy easily each time he woke until 3:30 am. That time the boy finally realized that he wasn't going to be taken to our bed, that he wasn't going to see me. He cried for an hour and a half. I could hear him through the wall. The husband was amazing and kept cuddling him and singing to him until the boy finally fell asleep. The second and third night the boy woke numerous times but each time the husband was able to settle him back to sleep without any crying. I hope tonight will be even better.

I think that ten/eleven months is my limit for night parenting a baby. I went through these same feelings when the girl was this age and the husband had to take over night parenting then too. I comfort myself with the knowledge that she is a great kid and it didn't do her any harm.

This has been my journey this past week. I was afraid to say anything sooner. I wanted to wait and see how we were coping and managing. But I also wanted to share it with you.


  1. Hi,

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    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

  2. You've done great lasting this long! It's SO hard being Mommy and trying to take care of everyone and everything all at once that often we forget ourselves. I'm glad you've come up with a solution to help you get over this hurdle and hope your son will soon be sleeping soundly through the night.

    My almost 7 year old STILL wakes up at night. Usually once some times more asking to come and sleep with us or be tucked back in his bed. I know how frustrating it can be. We haven't found a solution...

  3. Sounds like things are working themselves out. I'm so glad that you and your husband took the time to make a sound decision to save your sanity, and in doing so, everyone else's. Don't feel guilty for too long. Like you said, the girl is a great little kid. The boy will be too.

  4. I totally applaud you for finding a nighttime solution more creative than CIO. Dads should do their fair share.

    I'm at almost 20 months of night nursing (for the second time), and I am DONE. Problem is, baby's not. But I have greatly reduced the amount that I will nurse her at night, and she has cottoned on to this, now only waking once a night (unless something's going on). I can handle this for a bit longer.

  5. Hang in there! I have to say I have been in your shoes and I understand completely. I know the horrible anger that comes from not getting enough rest and it's very brave of you to talk openly about it.

    We followed the same solution as you -- switching to dad support at night -- for our kids and it did work out well. Good luck and get some good sleep! It'll all be okay :).

  6. It's so hard when we go on so little sleep. Good for you and your husband to team work this one.

    Weaning my son at night (about 15 months)was harding then weaning him for good at 20. The first few times he woke in the night he bawled when I offered water and snuggles instead of his beloved nursing. But it really only lasted a few nights.

    Good luck...

  7. I've been in that place of just not functioning. It's not a good place to be. It sounds like you found the best solution for your family, and I'm glad that it's working.

    Here's to better nights ahead. :)

  8. Thanks for all your comments! I am feeling good about our decision. The husband is very tired but I am more rested. :-)

  9. Sometimes the best way to be a good Mom is to take care of yourself. I remember those feelings too when my kids were babies, but sometimes sleep has to come first. :D It's hard to stay calm when you are sleep deprived.

    Hope some good nights asleep are in your future!!!