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When Your First Kid Spoils You

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

It's been a tough week.

Elnora slept through the night at seven weeks. In fact, she slept through the night EVERY single night from seven weeks to seven months. (Don't hate me!) Then she started teething and from seven months until about 18 months she woke up about once a night a few days a week.

Emmitt on the other hand...well...the boy does NOT like to sleep. He might nap a total of two hours between 9am and 10pm each day. He also wakes up 3-4 times a night. He slept for six hours straight ONCE, but most nights, he wakes up every 2.5 to 3 hours.

Man that's rough. Especially when you can't nap during the day.

What's funny is that I knew that when I chose to breastfeed instead of bottle feeding that there was a good chance that Emmitt would take longer to sleep through the night. (Why is that? Elnora had breast milk too...simply from a bottle...do they just eat less at a time when they nurse?) Quite honestly, for the first four months it didn't bother me to wake up with him. I'd get up, nurse him, go back to sleep.

But this last week or two it's really draining me. There have been one or two times that he's gotten up every 2 hours at night...and by the third or fourth waking I'm actually ready to cry at the thought of having to get up again. I'm fine by morning (because it won't last forever) but there...in the moment, in the middle of the night when I'm so tired I can't see straight...I want to cry.

What makes it more frustrating is that in the morning he'll go a good five hours without eating. (Eats at around 6am or 7am, then not again until 11 or 12.) Why can't he do that over night?

The funny thing though is that a common response to this problem is "well why not just give him a bottle?"

Which cracks me up.

Umm...hello? Even if he drank a bottle instead of getting it from the tap, I'd still be the one doing all the feeding. In fact, I'd get less sleep. Right now, I wake up, roll over, pick him up (he sleeps 2 feet away in his pack n play) nurse him, put him back and go to sleep. I never even have to leave the bed. If I bottle fed, I'd have to get up, go to the kitchen, get a bottle, heat it up, feed him, put him back to bed, go put the bottle in the fridge and then go back to bed.

By the time I did all that, I'd be wide awake. I know, because I did it for those months before and after Elnora slept through the night.

So why, pray tell, do people think bottle feeding is easier on moms at night? Even if Greg did get up with him on the weekends (he did with Elnora) that would still leave me doing so much extra work five nights a week.

I'm too lazy to bottle feed...but man would it be nice to sleep through the night just once. It's been about 8 months since I've slept more than four or five hours at a stretch. It's been 5 or 6 months since I've slept more than 3 or 4 hours at a stretch.


  1. Anonymous Alena | 7:18 AM |  

    Jennifer, dear, it's been 2.5 years since I slept more than 4 hours in a row. My son is the worst sleeper ever. He's the best in everything else, so I can't complain too much. But the boy does not sleep. I think the fact that he's still nursing is definitely not helping, since he wakes up often and asks to nurse.

    If you figure out how to make Emmitt sleep through the night, let me know.

  2. Blogger heidi | 7:30 AM |  

    I commiserate- Molly spoiled me from 2-6 months, when she'd sleep in her crib for 4-8 hours. Now? 24/7 nummins. She won't sleep alone (last night's fluke notwithstanding) and she nurses between 3-6 time at night. I'd lose my mind except: we cosleep and I barely wake up to feed her, and I work away from home 4 days a week so I crave the snuggling bonding time. Plus, she doesn't drink EBM well so she needs the night nursings very much. I think the comfort-link is probably stronger with Emmitt since he nurses directly, but of course it may just be the different temperaments. My friends swore it would get better when we started solids, but no such luck- it got worse.

  3. Blogger Jennifer | 7:31 AM |  

    Alena!!! Don't say stuff like that!

    You'll make me lose hope!


    I hear whisky works...though I'm not quite clear about whether you're supposed to give it to the kid, or take it yourself. ;)

  4. Blogger Lori | 11:53 AM |  

    My son is 16 months now and has slept through the night a total of 5 (random) times. It's not because he breastfeeds, it's because he doesn't know how to soothe himself. He used a pacifier until about 10 months, but then gave it up. When he wakes up (usually 2-3 times a night) he either needs to nurse or have a bottle (we had to start supplementing at 9 months as my supply dropped) in order to go back to sleep.

    We have been adamant from the start that the "cry it out" method was not right for us, but we didn't provide enough opportunities to help Pete learn how to fall asleep or fall back asleep on his own. I recommend doing this before they can sit up and definitely before they can stand up. Pete knows that we will come rescue him from his crib shortly after he wakes up.

    Yes, sometimes he nurses b/c he's hungry or is teething and needs comfort. But he doesn't need to eat every single time every single night. There have been nights where my husband got up for all the wakings and he never breastfed. He had a bottle a couple of times or was rocked back to sleep.

    We also sleep with him on the couch sometimes (usually not in our bed - that way someone gets some good sleep) when he is getting up too frequently in his crib.

  5. Anonymous Anonymous | 3:52 PM |  

    Well Alina is 9 months on Friday and she is finally down to once a night. She has never been one to stay up and "play" and has always just wanted the boob and back to sleep as quickly as possible. She has been in her own crib since 5 weeks old across the hall from our room(we have a tiny house) so I do have to get out of bed, but for me it has made for better sleep when I am sleeping vs. having her in bed with me. I know I sound like one of those woman, but I swear CIO won't work on her. She puts herself to sleep every night and has since she was 6 weeks old. She has nursed to sleep 10 times max. She is just not that type of baby. She is literally just hungry. It drives me crazy too because she doesn't even want to nurse in the morning before I go to work so she can go quite a long time between sessions but for some reason she wants/needs to nurse at night. Guess I will get sleep some day..

  6. Anonymous S | 5:26 PM |  

    Izzy does that when he's not eating enough in his day-feedings. Have you tried to trick him into eating more before the two of you go to sleep? ie: nurse one breast out, switch to the other one and nurse it out, then switch back to the first? He'll try to fall asleep after he's done with one- but if I compress the breast and make it squirt more milk into his mouth he'll wake right up and start feeding again. Or if I burp him rigorously.

    Once he's done a night-time power-nurse he won't wake up unless he pees himself through or has an explosive BM.

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