Exhaustion is An Understatement

Sleep has become a fairy tale in our house. Sweet Boogie sleeps as deeply and as beautifully as Princess Aurora, and Bubby…. Screams. And screams. And screams. Bedtime routine is a breeze most of the time, we bathe every 3rd day, brush teeth and hair, put on jammies, read books and devotional, hugs and kisses, and then Bubby gets his mommy milk time. For the most part, both kids go to sleep fairly well and Bubby sleeps until midnight or 1am. Or if my eyes close and I start drifting off to dreamland, Bubby’s “mommy is asleep!” censor goes off and all hell breaks loose…. You may think I’m kidding, but I’m really not.

Last night was one of the worst nights we’ve had in a long time. As usual little man went down fine and slept for a few hours…. Then things went south. The first time he woke up he started with the screaming and hitting and thrashing, then when I finally got him calmed down he went to sleep fine! He second time, which was just a short hour later, it took J and myself 2 hours to get him back down. That involved more screaming, more thrashing, more hitting, more tantrums… Yay. He finally went back down and then woke up again an hour later.

This time it took us 2 1/2 hours to get him down. Tempers flared, tears were shed, begging and consoling occurred. It was awful. Headaches, dizziness, nausea… Pure exhaustion. This child needs to sleep. This is NOT normal! Waking every 2-3 hours with a newborn is easier than this. I’m at a loss, we’ve tried everything. Music, white noise, co-sleeping, shared room with Boog, different bedtime routines, warmer/cooler jammies, changing nap time, wearing him out during the day (that just means he goes down even easier at bedtime), etc.

Have you ever been through this? I haven’t even really described how he acts during these wake up times, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t embarrassed by his behavior during those times. And I’m ashamed to say that I have considered weaning him because of how he treats me when I deny him milk (in my defense, if I nurse him one time at night he thinks he can stay latched to me all night, so when I unlatch him he becomes violent and inconsolable). I don’t know what to do. Any advice? Tips?

To Co-Sleeping, With Love – Guest Post

It’s that time again! I’m still really behind and have two more guest posts coming after this, I promise! Erin contacted me wanting to write a post about co-sleeping. Her story hits SO close to home, as I’m sure my readers remember! We co-slept with Boogie for a long time, and now at 3, she sleeps independently and actually prefers NOT to have any cuddles at night (how crazy is that?!). Our son is a CRAZY sleeper, so we have not continued co-sleeping with him, but even still, sleep has been a battle in our house. And as always, please remember that if you DO choose to co-sleep, do so in a safe manner! There ARE safety concerns when co-sleeping! The main causes of death while co-sleeping are from parents drinking alcohol, doing drugs, or taking prescription pain meds that place you in a lethargic state. You HAVE to be alert! Like Erin states in her post, mom’s have an inner alarm when it comes to our children, but if you inebriate that alarm… accidents can happen! Thank you Erin for submitting such an open and honest post… and as a sidenote…. sex doesn’t have to be out the window while co-sleeping, you just have to get CREATIVE! 😉

 

Nearly two and a half years ago, the hubby and I were changed forever by the birth of our son, Joshua Noah. Our little miracle instantaneously became the light of our lives, the holder of our hearts and the ruler of our roost. We knew the second we heard his first cry that we would do anything — literally, anything — for him.Little did I know that “anything” would include co-sleeping.

Joshua slept like a dream (no pun intended) in the hospital, and this beautiful stretch of consistent sleep continued for about a week after we brought him home. And then, one night, he woke up and started screaming. He screamed and screamed, for hours on end; milk, clean diapers, swaddling, burping, cuddling, rocking, singing and reading didn’t calm him down. Gas drops and gripe water were useless. Placing him in his swing didn’t help. Even the pacifier — which he would much later come to call “Beya” — may as well have evaporated into thin air. The longer he cried, the more I wanted to cry.

Eventually, I couldn’t take anymore and broke down, weeping and rocking and holding my baby close. Telling him that everything would be alright, and that I would figure out what he needed and fix it. The hubby took him from my arms shortly thereafter, sensing that I needed a little break and feeling that he might be able to solve Joshua’s problem. Gradually, Joshua did relax and return to dreamland, and I climbed back into bed; the hubby simply held me as I laid there, tears streaming down my face and leaving little wet spots on my pillowcase. It took a while, but I eventually fell back asleep too.

The sudden switch to spending half the night awake in a zombie-like state with a bottle in Joshua’s mouth was a rude awakening (pun intended). World News Now became my frequent overnight company; most nights I never even bothered turning the TV off just so my eyes would have an easier time adjusting when the inevitable wake-up call came. I learned to function on very little sleep, as most moms do, but I grew increasingly jealous of my hubby as I watched him sleep through every wake-up call, night after night. I wished he’d be the one to wake up to feed Joshua, but simply tapping him on the shoulder or shaking his arm was never enough to rouse him. (Sometimes I think he’d be a perfect addition to The Walking Dead.) After having a conversation with the hubby about this, he agreed to make a stronger effort to get up during the night to give me a hand or, at the very least, to keep me company while I fed and changed Joshua.

He got so much better at helping me that he started taking over some of the overnight feedings and changings. I could literally hear angels singing when he told me one night the he had it and that I should go back to sleep. (HALLELUJAH!) I fell back asleep in no time and slept wonderfully for the first time in months.

And when I woke up, I opened my eyes and rolled over to thank my husband and discovered Joshua, fast asleep, on the bed between us.

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How long had he been there? Why wasn’t he sleeping in his bassinet, or his bouncer, or his sleeping chair? Was my husband completely insane? What if one of us had rolled over onto him and smothered him during the night?

I selfishly couldn’t fathom the idea of Joshua sleeping in our bed. Our bed. Hubby’s and my bed… not hubby’s and Joshua’s and my bed. Hubby already took up a lot of space in the bed as it was — he loves sleeping spread out — and Joshua may be small now, but he’s only going to get bigger. What if this continues? What if Joshua develops a preference for sleeping in our bed instead of his own? What was I going to do? All the parenting books I’d read said that babies should be sleeping independently in their own spaces… this went against everything I’d read and thought I’d believed. I immediately confronted the hubby and asked him not to let this happen again.

But it happened again. And again. And became more and more frequent until it was the new normal. No matter how hard I tried, Joshua would not sleep in his own space. When he outgrew the bouncer and the sleeping chair, I resolved to get him to sleep through the night in his crib. When he inevitably started crying, I would drag myself out of bed and hang over the side of the crib, placing my hand on his back and holding still until he returned to sleep. the minute I’d exit his bedroom and close the door, he’d be on his feet and screaming again. Let him cry, I told myself.

And cry he did, until he threw up. That was when I knew I was doing something wrong.Tough love was one thing, but allowing my child to scream until he gagged and vomited all over his sheets was not okay with me. This was a step beyond tough love; I knew that my six-month-old was incapable of purposely throwing up just to manipulate me. That was the night I caved in and consciously decided to bring him to bed with me. I knew that I’d rather have Joshua sleeping in my bed than throwing up every time I left him in his crib. Shortly thereafter, he started climbing on his crib rail and nearly hit the floor head-first (and he would have, had I not caught him just before his skull collided with the laminate).

With the help of my mom, we upgraded Joshua to a twin-size bed and dismantled the crib. Initially, he slept wonderfully in his new bed alone but after a week or so, he started to miss us. Even now, one of two things will happen; either Joshua will cry for Daddy until the hubby climbs into bed with him (and stays for the night), or he’ll just get out of bed, come into our room, and get under the covers between us. I know that one day he’ll outgrow this and want a whole bed to himself; while I look forward to the day that my bed becomes mine again, I know I’ll miss not having a little boy to cuddle with.

The moral of this story? Co-sleeping wasn’t as terrible as so many parenting books made it out to be. I accepted that this would be our best bet for everyone to get a good night’s sleep. We’d all be so much happier in the morning, I realized. We started allowing Joshua to sleep in our bed whenever he needed to, and now it’s our normal. Yes, you have to share your bed and no, your child isn’t sleeping independently. Yes, you have to be careful with a child in your bed. And sex, which may or may not have been happening before we started actively co-sleeping, went completely out the window. But has it been worth it? Absolutely! Everyone gets a full night’s sleep and much-needed family time (even though we’re all subconscious or unconscious, we’re still together, and much of the time we have skin contact, so it counts)!

I thought I’d hate co-sleeping; I thought it was the wrong way to get a child to sleep; I thought it was dangerous, frankly. But I’ve learned that parents, especially moms, have something like a built-in red flag that wakes them if they’re potentially endangering their children. I’ve never covered Joshua’s face with a pillow or blanket, or with my bod, and neither has the hubby. Everyone’s been fine, we’ve all slept fine, and we’re all happier for it.

Co-sleeping, I’ve come to realize, has saved our family a lot of stress and heartache, and for that reason I’m now a believer. I love co-sleeping!

Hi! I’m Erin, otherwise known as the Read-At-Home MamaIt’s nice to meet you! Books, dancing and sweets are my greatest weaknesses. After struggling with reading comprehension as a little girl, I mastered that skill and subsequently fell into a love affair with books that still carries on today. I have a friendly relationship with credit cards and chocolate — if you send me shopping, or give me a Hershey’s Special Dark Bar or a Reece’s peanut butter cup, I will love you FOREVER. As a child, I dreamed of becoming a ballerina AND (not or!) an author; when I didn’t find myself on Broadway or on the New York Times Bestseller List, I got a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education. After a brief teaching stint, I discovered I was pregnant and Zofran became my best friend (and I will always know that whoever came up with the name “morning sickness” never actually experienced it in all it’s 24/7 glory). Two-and-a-half years ago our little miracle, Joshua Noah, was born, and this became my motto: “My heart resides in the library, my soul can be found in the kitchen, and my spirit is always stretching at the barre… but my happiness lives in my two-year-old.”

Connect with Erin on her blog, via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+. And don’t forget to follow her HERE!

What a Monster!

My sweet little boy has been a bit of a monster this week… I’m sure you have noticed that I haven’t been posting as often as usual, and he would be the reason! I have pretty much held, wore, or laid with him 24/7 this week. I don’t know if it’s teething, a growth spurt, or him feeling yucky, but whatever it is, I am wore out! I need a mommy break, that’s for sure!

So, please pray for us, pray that Bubby starts sleeping better again and that we can get him back into his crib (we moved him to his crib a month ago, 2 weeks in he started this whole waking up ever 45 minute thing), that whatever is bothering him eases off, and that we all get some rest SOON! This momma is EXHAUSTED.

I’m hoping to get the last installment of my pumpkin recipes/tutorials posted tomorrow, so be looking for that! Praying I can get Bubby down at the same time Boogie and Miss V go down for a nap! We are also finishing our A is for Apple tot school stuff this week, so I’ll be posting a little about that as well!!!

Until next time, God Bless!

Operation I Want My Bed Back

Yep… Operating I Want My Bed Back is under way! Last night was our first night getting Boogie to sleep in her own bed and in her own room. I’ve been fighting with myself as to whether or not this was the right time to do this or not. Boogie is 9 months old now and while I LOVE cuddling with her, she takes up SO much room in our bed, and she had started nursing ALL night long. The night before last I felt overwhelming peace that this decision was right, that not only Boogie was ready but I was ready to let my baby girl grow up. It’s hard… because you don’t want your children to get big, but it has to happen. I prayed and prayed about whether what I was choosing to do was healthy and good for Boogie, and I think my Father approved! So this is how it went…

7:00pm: J gave Boogie her bath, put on her nighttime dipe and pj’s, read her her books, and then I nursed her and rocked her.
7:20pm: I laid her down, and she DIDN’T WAKE UP. I was shocked! I didn’t have to fight with her at all!
8:20pm: An hour later she woke up, she was a little upset but nothing too serious in the beginning. After about 30 minutes of her trying to stand up, fussing, and us laying her back down, she got so upset that (as in real crying, and not fake crying) that I picked her up, rocked her and nursed her until she went back to sleep. She woke up when I laid her down, but once J started rubbing her head and I started singing “You Are My Sunshine” to her, she was out!
9:15: This is what time she went back to sleep.
11:30pm: She woke up fussing, so nothing to serious. I just went in and patted her for about 5 minutes and she got very upset. So I picked her up and just held her and she immediately went back to sleep. I laid her back down and she was out.
11:40pm: Asleep
1:20am: Woke up just like before, went through the same routine.
1:34am: Asleep
This is where it gets rough.
3:10am: She woke up very upset, so I picked her up and did the same rocking/bouncing routine as before. She immediately fell asleep.
3:12am: Asleep in crib
3:15am: As soon as I got comfy in my bed, she was super upset again. So I repeated the steps I did before.
3:17am: Asleep in crib.
4:15am: Fussed and fussed… then started laughing and cooing so I sat in my rocking chair for about 20 minutes while she did this and laid her back down every time she sat up or stood up. After that I went and laid down and just listened to her babble hoping she would go back down.
4:45am: She started getting upset, so I went and patted her belly and sang to her, but nothing helped. At about 5am I took her out, rocked her and nursed her for about 5 minutes and laid her back down.
5:10am: Asleep in crib
6:15am: By this point, I’m exhausted… Boogie woke up crying real tears and no matter what I did she wouldn’t go down. I rocked her, patted her, bounced her… nothing. So fighting tears myself, I took her back to bed and nursed her and we both slept until 11:15am

So. There you go. Wasn’t a horrible night, it was exhausting, but better than I thought it would be. I hope to not have to bring her to bed every morning like that… but for the time being and for my own sanity that’s what I’m doing until she sleeps a little better at night. Since we woke up so late, I’m going to just get her down for 1 nap, hopefully in her crib.. .and then we’ll repeat our night time routine with J and he will be able to help over night this weekend since he’s off!

If you want more info on this type of sleeping training, it’s a type of Non-CIO training I found in The No Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep by Elizabeth Pantley combined with some tips on a sleeping board on babycenter. Here’s a link to the post I used: How to Sleep Train Without CIO

Patience

Patience… that’s something I’m struggling with lately. We’ve started Boogie on a schedule of sorts, we’re not necessarily making her nap at the same time everyday, but we are having her nap every 2-3 hours. So far, it’s working fairly well, however, bedtime is an entirely different story. My girl sleeps GREAT… once she gets to sleep. After trying CIO for about an hour during a nap one day, I have decided that it’s really just NOT for us. Not only was it very upsetting for me, but Boogie was hysterical… gasping for air, turning purple. And that, I was not OK with. The plan is to have her nap every 2-3 hours all day, which usually means 3 naps a day, nursing before each nap. Then, bedtime routine was starting at 7 (or depending on her last nap a little later if needed) with a bath/shower, 30 minutes of playtime, 2 or 3 books in bed, and then we lay down and I nurse her to sleep. It had been working… until tonight. I’m thinking 7 might be too early, so we might go back to 8, and work our way down to an early bedtime. She fought me and J all evening. We did our routine as usual, and she DID fall asleep, but she woke up after 15 minutes ready to play. I tried nursing her, rocking her, holding her, walking with her, everything! I was incredibly frustrated and quickly losing my patience, so we finally just sat in the floor with her and played for an HOUR until she was too tired to play anymore. I nursed her for 7 minutes and she was asleep.

I really didn’t mind waking up with my newborn every couple of hours to feed her, because I knew at that time in her life she NEEDED that nourishment and mommy/baby time. NOW… I’m not so patient or excited about it. Boogie sleeps through the night, she is very capable of doing so without nursing… so when she wakes up wanting to play or be cuddled… I do it, but I’m usually very frustrated about it. We will continue to co-sleep, for everyone’s sanity, but after her 1st birthday, when I feel like she is ready and can understand a little better that when it’s time for bed, it’s TIME for bed… then we might revisit CIO. Until then… I’m staying FAR, far away!

Please pray for my sweet Boogie, pray that she finds sweet dreams and has a pooplosion tomorrow. (Really… she NEEDS to poop). Amen! 😉