So, I have been trying really, REALLY hard over the last 10 months or so to get Savannah to sleep well. I have read enough about baby’s sleep to know that both naps and nighttime sleep are vitally important to their growth and development. Not enough sleep and they can’t concentrate and learn things, plus I think just physically it can impede growth if they are not getting the restorative sleep they need.
So, yes, sleep is very important to me. I have been trying to keep a schedule for her for a long many months now too. From what I understand, routines are ALSO important to babies. It gives them comfort to know “what comes next” and to be able to count on consistency and routines. So, I try to make sure the days follow a fairly consistent path from one day to the next. There are different things that we do sometimes, like trips to get groceries, or appointments that we have. But I have been trying to make sure we get back home at reasonable times so that we can hit those elusive optimal nap times and to make sure she is fed regularly, etc.
I have to admit, this has all been rather hectic for me. I’m not sure why it seems like so much work, but it does. I spend time planning meals and trying to be sure she is getting a good mixture of fruits, veggies, grains, meats, dairy. And now that I’ve introduced snacks, well, gosh, it takes even longer for my poor sleep deprived brain to figure out what to do each day (yes, I ensure my daughter gets her sleep, but me, on the other hand, I am the all night breastaurant still nursing her every 1, 2 or 3 hours when she wakes briefly so that it is, indeed, brief and we can go back to sleep and not stay up for 2 HOURS).
Should I do peas for lunch? Dinner? Have I given her something green? Yellow or orange? A fruit? A veg? What grain did I give earlier? OK, maybe I should do this. How about some dairy. Oh crap. What meat am I going to make or use? Hmmmm. How long will it take me to cook some pasta and add frozen beef puree so that she gets a meat in?
I swear, it is a full-time job for me right now.
I wonder to myself often how other Moms do this and make it look so darned easy?!?! Seriously!
I am sure that my sleep deprivation is not helping either as I KNOW I have had “attitude” with the dog and the cat when they meow or bark and wake the baby. Then I’m seriously NOT happy with them. One day I was certain I was shipping the cat off to the SPCA I was so frustrated with him… hopping into the crib, meowing to get out of the crib, hopping onto the bed, meowing and pawing at me. GO. AWAY. NOW. CAT. IF. YOU. VALUE. YOUR. LIFE.
Oh, yes. And let’s not forget my poor hubby. Sleeping in the basement as it were. Because, yes, I am the bad Mom who still co-sleeps with her daughter at 10 months of age. I just can’t bear night wakings that require me to physically get OUT of bed, so I do what is the path of least resistance. And, what has felt right for many months as well. To be there physically to comfort my baby girl. To build that connection. To “Attachment Parent” if you will.
But the time has come where I really am starting to think it is in everyone’s best interest for us all to get better sleep. I need to sleep in order to function at a higher level. My daughter needs to learn how to go to sleep without requiring nursing to do it (it has to happen sometime, although I am glad to say that I have given her this comfort for this long). My hubby needs to come back upstairs (besides which, when he is back upstairs and Savannah is sleeping in her crib by herself, when she wakes early on weekends I might actually *gasp* get a day to sleep in and Daddy can get up with the baby… God I can dream about it… if I could only sleep…).
Anyway, so I have gone ahead and contacted a sleep consultant. It occurs to me that my foggy brain is no longer competent to sift through the rubble and books and make a good plan for us. So we have help on the way. A person who has helped other Mommies and Daddies I know. She comes highly recommended. And so I am putting my trust in her to help me “sleep train” (choo choo) my daughter. I am SO nervous about the crying part. I never ever wanted to resort to CIO. It truly is, for me, a last resort. But I am trying to remember that I have given her a really good start with 10 months of cuddles. And I will make it up to her with as many daytime snuggles as she needs. But at some point, I am realizing she also will need to learn the hard lesson that Mommy can’t always say “yes” to all her demands. That sometimes, when something is better for her, I will have to say “No” much as it may pain me (and her).
So, I will continue to be “working on the railroad” with my daily routines and schedules and meal planning. That part of this choo choo train will keep on turning. But hopefully, in the not so near future, at least the sleep train will involve ZzzZzzzz’s for all. And when it does (crossing fingers and toes), I am going to join
my Belly Buddy (oops… she reminded me, we aren’t pregnant Belly Buddies any more, so I am going to have to start referring to her as “little mama g”) my friend little mama g in a Slumber Party!