When Melissa asked me about writing a post on sleep habits, I had no idea what I would say. Because the reality is that I’m still not sure how I feel about sleep.
Let me clarify: I personally love sleeping. In fact, you can ask my college friends. When they woke me up, they got the stink eye. And a very unpleasant friend (or roommate, depending on who it was.) You can even ask Melissa. There were many times when we’ve stayed at their house when Aunt Jen would roll back over while Uncle Drew tried to make the kids be a little quieter.
And then Abby was born. When I first realized I was having labor contractions, I was getting ready to take a nap. It really was downhill from there. I spent nearly 24 hours in labor, and even after she was born, I couldn’t sleep. I maybe slept 6 hours while in the hospital, and I was there for over 2 days. Now, she slept. I was uncomfortable, so sleeping was minimum. Still, after we were home, I realized I was getting more sleep than I had the last month or so of pregnancy when I was up frequently due to heartburn and restlessness. That made me happy. For a while.
As a new mom, I quickly realized that I could not let my little girl just cry. It broke my heart, and I decided that if I could comfort her, I would. For the first few weeks, I just let her go to sleep when she fell asleep. This worked fairly well because if she went to sleep later, then she woke up later. And I am not an early riser. This also worked when my husband was working the evening shift because she would go to sleep shortly after he came home around 11 PM, and we could spend quality time together.
But babies grow and change. And so has our lifestyle. I realized while traveling that if we turned off the lights at night, Abby went to sleep around 8 or 9. She did wake up earlier, but it was a good change for me. Of course, this does mean that she wakes up a little more at night. And coupled with this change has been her move from her bassinet to the play pen she now sleeps in. She has had only a few nights where she didn’t wake up more than 2 times in the play pen, the latest being just the other night. I’m not even sure what would have caused her to sleep all night long, but I’ve been feeling the lack of sleep more keenly since. I guess I had been so used to not sleeping that even getting a little extra has made me realize how much I really need more sleep.
And yes, I nurse her to sleep when she wakes up at night. I’ve finally gotten to the place where she hasn’t needed to nurse to go to sleep at bedtime. And I think that’s because I’ve been better at having a bedtime routine. There have been several times when I’ve used a pacifier in the middle of the night successfully, but it’s rare.
Honestly, while I would like to get a little more sleep, I also know that these days are flying by. She’s already 7 months old. Even if she keeps waking up during the night until she’s 4, these night nursing session will stop being part of the picture at some point. She won’t need me to help her get to sleep at some point. So while I do spend many days just trying to make it through the exhaustion, I know it’s worth every extra minute I have with my girlie.
ETA: And of course the week we’re talking about sleep my little girl would get sick and wake up several times every. single. night. There have been nights where she was up literally every hour, and those nights I’ve given up and let her in bed with us. I will say this: her sleep patterns change so often that I doubt we’ll have a solution to our sleep any time soon. But maybe she’ll sleep for just a little longer once she feels better again? I sure hope so!
This post is part of a series on sleep. Meg, Melissa’s sister, wrote a post last Monday, and Melissa will finish the series this Monday. We would love to hear your thoughts on each post, as each Mama has a very different style.