Put a Bib on It

Up All Night

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"Sleeping like a baby" ought to mean waking up three times a night.It’s nearly midnight.

I just left my daughter’s bedroom for the third time, creeping across her carpet and the four foot expanse of creaking hardwood right in front of her door. Her night time music mostly masked my exit, and besides, her tummy is full of milk and she has not one but three pacifiers orbiting her head like she’s some mad little planet. She is out.

But I feel relatively confident that I’ll be back in about four hours.

The sleep drama in this house is such that dear friends are sending me blogs to bolster my strength – because I’m certainly not getting the requisite seven hours a night that would make their efforts unnecessary. I decided months ago that I couldn’t let her cry, and I’ve stuck by that decision, even though it is really, really, really hard. I’ve read a lot about more gentle methods of helping her get through the night alone, I’ve kept logs of what she eats, how long she naps, when she wakes, why she wakes. I’ve tried taking the pacifier away. I’ve tried giving it back. I’ve tried not nursing her at night. I’ve tried nursing her as much as she wants. I’ve given her big, healthy dinners and calm, sensory baths.

And nothing works.

The more I stress about her sleep, the less I actually get when she does. And if there’s anything I’ve learned from everything I’ve read, it’s that night waking is normal. It’s just unbearably difficult, some days, for mom and dad. That’s normal, too. The fact of the matter is there are so many extenuating circumstances that affect her sleep that it’s crippling to try and keep track. And frankly, it could be much worse. Most nights, she puts herself to sleep just fine, and most nights, she’s only up twice. Most days, she takes a nap. Most days, it’s long enough.

But some days, she won’t. She doesn’t. She can’t. I cry. She cries, too.

So I tell myself this: I will continue to do the best I can in making her bed a safe, comfortable place. I will endeavor to respect her nap time, even if it conflicts with my desire to take her to the zoo or go shopping. I will remember that this is just a moment in time, and in five years, there probably won’t be anything I wouldn’t do to have just one more day with Miss E as she is now, night waking and all.

Author: Jillian Kuhlmann

Mama. Nerd. Writer.

4 thoughts on “Up All Night

  1. I applaud you for not letting her cry. You’re definitely stronger than I was at moments.
    I found that environmental things didn’t matter so much as trying to teach them how to fall back asleep on their own. I’d lay my baby down in the crib sleepy, but awake, and I’d stand out if sight. If he just fussed, I’d leave him alone, but if he actually cried I’d pick him up and soothe him, and then repeat the process until he actually fell asleep. It took a few weeks, but it eventually worked. And he learned to put himself back to sleep when he woke up.
    Every baby’s different and my comment may or may not work for you, but I thought I’d share. Also, The Baby Sleep Site helped me a lot. I never actually bought a consultation, but they have free articles that are helpful.

    • Thank you so much for sharing what worked for you! I always find it helpful to hear how other parents handle this stuff. And as for being strong, I’m flattered, but I don’t always feel like it. We’ve definitely had times where I’ve had to put her in her crib and walk away for five minutes. I just can’t bring myself to CIO for real.

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