I’m a new mommy and I’m always tired. When I’m not nursing on demand, I’m relentlessly searching the internet trying to determine if my baby is healthy and reaching milestones or if I need to rush my baby to the emergency room. I’ve accepted that I will make mistakes and I’m open to learning more on how to raise a well-adjusted, healthy child.
However, the latest obstacle I’m dealing with is the countless times I’ve read that my daughter should be sleeping throughout the night at just 23 weeks old.
My little one nurses about every two to three hours. Even when she finally goes to sleep she dream feeds and goes back to sleep (if I’m lucky). What are parents and experts doing that I haven’t figured out yet? After 3 hours with no food, she gets cranky and fussy and who wants to deal with a fussy and hungry baby in the middle of the night?
One of the examples I read talked about letting your baby cry it out. It’s a method that is supposed to encourage your little one to self-soothe. But after reading several articles on how that causes more harm than good, I decided not to go that route.
Crying it out sounds awful and because my baby isn’t a crying baby (meaning she only cries if something is wrong like needing a diaper, sleepy or in pain), I don’t want to encourage her to cry when it’s unnecessary.
Another method I’ve read is I should give my baby cereal in her bottle so she will be full throughout the night. Logically, it sort of makes sense; if she’s full she’ll fall asleep and the heavier her stomach is, the longer she will sleep. The problem is, my baby, doesn’t take food from a bottle anymore, and who really wants their baby sleeping 10 to 14 hours without waking up? I don’t understand. Is that normal? I mean, obviously, it is to a lot of moms and experts if I keep reading about it right?
The one method I’ve been trying is the repetitive routine. Every day, I try to create and maintain a habit for her to easily adapt to. Wake up, feed, play time, nap, feed, play, nap, tummy time, bath then proceed to bedtime. This actually worked for a while until she hit those growth spurts and nursed every hour and never wanted to sleep. Now she’s teething and I’m back to square one.
I don’t have the answers, Sway!
So I just gave up.
Nothing was working and I started feeling incompetent because of my baby’s inability to sleep throughout the night. Getting up every 2 hours to feed her wasn’t the answer so I started co-sleeping with her. That way when she’s hungry I can just put her on top of me and allow her to nurse at her leisure. This works 85% of the time for me. She gets her milk and keeps the nipple in her mouth until she is tired of sucking and she picks her head and turns it to the other side. That’s the sign that I know my baby is full and satisfied. She goes back to sleep and does it again in a few hours. This is the only successful method I have thus far.
But now she’s teething.
So now I need to come up with another way to comfort her at night. I’m currently using cold washcloths and refrigerated teething rings. I live in fear now; I have nightmares of my baby biting my nipples until they bleed because of her teething pain. But for now, I’m content with sleeping in bizarre sleep cycles and I’m starting to feel less guilty that my baby doesn’t sleep through the night.