I suck at bedtime - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 05-29-2012, 05:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Lately I feel my good, patient, loving and kind day-time parenting is completely cancelled out by my horrible night-parenting.


I feel like I completely shift from my normal self into some irritable monster of a mother at bed-time. It's not every night, though I'm finding this feeling to come on fairly frequently lately, and I come away from putting my sons to bed feeling guilt-ridden over how much I either lack compassion or just plain completely lose my cool. I come away from these bed times feeling so guilty for how I conduct myself. I talk myself down realizing I can just take a few minutes to breathe through it the next time and choose to be better. But often fatigue and the nasty sleep-deprived version of myself comes to the forefront and the next bed time may not be much better at all.


My boys are just over 10 months old now. I've been so fortunate they're big, strong and healthy, and have been from the get go. Which means I end up rocking, bopping, and desperately trying to get my 22 & 24 lb. boys to sleep. I'm tired. My biceps are tired.


I'm not into the CIO methods- I'm sure most involved with the Mothering community are not, and so my bedtime method involved me pretty much always nursing them to sleep. Now though, they're going through a phase of kicking up, not wanting to nurse, then becoming completely unsettled and unruly and I can't seem to calm them at all without picking them up and bopping them about. By this point, I can feel tension well up in my own body, I'm tired and want a break- I especially don't feel like having a baby attached to me- and I often end up just having to plunk one of them down a literally get away from them to go slam a door or have a little yell elsewhere to release what I'm feeling. So in the end, they end up stuck on their own to cry, which I was trying to avoid in the first place.


Oi vey.


No doubt, others have felt this. No doubt, this is coming off a little rant-y, as I type this just moments after I finally got them off to bed. But can someone relate? I think I'd see a glimmer of hope in myself if I even had someone to say, "Yeah, that's me too". Sure, we're not really solving anything. But that whole misery loves company thing...


Oh bedtime. 


I'm off to my own bed myself now. Letting go of the sucking at bedtime guilt, and giving it a better go tomorrow. Here's hoping.


"Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you."

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#2 of 7 Old 05-30-2012, 11:24 AM
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I totally could have written this, though I have NO patience for walking/rocking/bopping, so you are actually a better parent than I am. ;) 


On the upside, they're probably not going to remember this. Really, if how we dealt with bedtime was really damaging to kids, we'd see a whole lot more screwed-up adults around. Almost no one is good with bedtime. (Read "Go the F*ck to Sleep" if you need to be reminded of that.) Honestly, I'm not even sure CIO is a horrible thing in the long-term; I mostly just think it doesn't do much good in the short-term and is kind of mean. 


I haven't had to deal with putting older twins to bet yet, but I've had two singletons. One was a "good" sleeper and one was a "bad" sleeper, but they both had their moments where they slept awesomely or poorly. I have established some rules for myself: If bedtime takes longer than an hour (or you are TOTALLY LOSING IT), I have permission to either quit doing bedtime and try again later, or leave the kids alone (to play happily, or scream, or whatever they end up doing) for as long as it takes for me to get a bit more centered. When I'm angry and impatient, bedtime just takes longer and feels worse for everyone. Being flexible with sleeping arrangements helps, too. My ideal for older babies is to nurse them and put them in a crib in a separate room. If they fussed too much, I'd lie down and nurse, and depending upon how much I felt I could deal with it if they woke up, I'd transfer them to a crib or leave them sleeping on the bed. The worst of times, I gave up my evening of freedom and went to bed and nursed all night. If you're bedsharing, try putting them in a different room. Or vice-versa. As much as possible, I have my husband handle any rocking, etc. I'm very convinced that if boobs are around, babies just want to nurse. They go to bed differently for people who are not mama.


I don't know if any of this helps. But you're not alone in thinking that bedtime sucks. 

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#3 of 7 Old 05-31-2012, 11:23 AM
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*hugs* You are definitely not the only one who is just fried by bedtime!  My husband rotates shifts and I dread doing bedtime alone. 


I nursed mine to sleep almost all the time, for naps and bedtime, for the first year, and then upon finding out I was pregnant again, needed some things to change for mama to keep her sanity!  We tackled nighttimes first and basically had Daddy take over.  What worked for us - I would nurse the babies but not to sleep and then he would take one up to bed and lay down with her and basically let her do whatever and wind down until she was ready to sleep.  Once she started sleeping better, we added the second baby to the mix, and for about another 2 weeks Daddy slept on a twin mattress beside the cribs.  I now put them down for bed/nap with a teddy and a blankie, they give kisses all 'round and then lay down.  When I leave the room, they talk, play, pass teddies and blankies back and forth but settle happily and peacefully. 


Was it easy to get to this point?  Heck no!  I do not support CIO and would not do that to my children, but letting them be settled by daddy, even though they may cry, was what we needed to do to help them learn to fall asleep a different way. 


You are amazing to be doing all that bouncing, you must have biceps like Popeye!  Maybe try laying down with them but not nursing, just let them play or talk or cry or whatever do they have a chance to wind down and you can rest too.  I often pretended to be sleeping ;) 


hang in there!

Married to my love love.gif since 08/12/10, mama to E REPlaySkateboard04HL.gif04/06/01 and twin girls M and Z slingtwin.gif 01/08/11

 We are a  slingtwin.gif  familybed2.gif cd.gif   nursex2.gif family!  Expecting #4 and #5 in September - what a surprise!

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#4 of 7 Old 05-31-2012, 07:16 PM
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I am right there with you. My triplets are 11mths and bedtime is horrible. I never did CIO with my two singletons but I have many days where I think that maybe I've done a disservice to my whole family by parenting the way I do. Some nights are much, much worse than others especially because my dh works so many nights. I wish I had some kind of magical solution for  you.

Leslie, mama to Paige 8, Zara 3 and Audrey, Sophia & Nina June 7/11 @32.6
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#5 of 7 Old 05-31-2012, 08:42 PM
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Bedtime sucks, totally. Or it did, with dd1. I bounced and rocked and nursed sang myself hoarse every night for like 18 months while dinner got cold. I totally relate to the brink-of-tears/full-on angry tears/gotta go slam a door feeling. And the wave of guilt that washes over you (though only after the first waves of RELIEF that they're FINALLY ASLEEP and I'm eating dinner, even if it's cold). Our triplets are 5 months (4 months adjusted) and I keep waiting for bedtime to start sucking but it hasn't yet. Everytime I think - well, it's because we have lower standards this time since it's multiples, and they don't get attended to within a nanosecond of making a whimper, and I'm not nursing anymore...I have the counter-thought -- no, they're just different people than my dd was and maybe don't need the constant bouncing/rocking/singing routine. I don't know. But I tend to think (especially since having the amazing experience of identical twins plus one fraternal, all exactly the same age and treated exactly the same) that babies are who they are: "good" sleepers and "bad" sleepers; and apart from doing our best to make them feel secure and loved (which is what you already are doing of course), there's not much we can do to change how they feel/act at bedtime. I've loosened up enormously on the crying thing though - I've tried to really listen to their cries and decide what they are: sad/angry/hungry always gets attended to immediately. But if I go and hover with the lazy/whiny/cranky/tired  cries, they turn quickly into louder angry cries to "PICK ME UP!" So I try not to show my face during those cries at bedtime. But I have ittybitty babies compared to all of yours, so really no comparison.

(35) Teacher, mother to DD '08 + triplets (identical boys and a girl) born at 36 weeks gestation in ´11.  Passions: gardening, cooking, painting, fishing, wild food gathering, reading, kayaking and more.

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#6 of 7 Old 06-01-2012, 02:51 AM
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This is worth a read - got some laughs out of me, anyway.




"Bedtime should be in the morning -- when we're fresh and kind and sweet -- and decent parenting still seems like a very real possibility. But no, the hardest parts -- dinner and baths and bedtime -- arrive at the end of the day, when we have nothing left."

(35) Teacher, mother to DD '08 + triplets (identical boys and a girl) born at 36 weeks gestation in ´11.  Passions: gardening, cooking, painting, fishing, wild food gathering, reading, kayaking and more.

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#7 of 7 Old 06-01-2012, 06:17 AM
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I have 11 month old twins and I have to admit we did a version of cry it out.  I had an easier time than you because mine fall asleep while nursing but for a week, if they got up in the night they got Daddy and not me.  If I went to them it was just screaming frustration because I would not nurse them so I asked my husband to fill in for me.  He would hold them/rock them and they still screamed at him and would just refuse any comfort.  They were six months old at this time.  He finally would lay them back down in their cribs and yes they cried themselves to sleep.  In two nights they had the hang of it and slept 7-5am.  It sounds horrible and I know many people think me cold hearted but something had to give.  I had been nursing my twin around the clock every two hours for six months straight.


I AP in all other ways but I do think we have to set limits with our kids and not let them push us to unsafe places. During the day, I nurse them anytime they want and as much as they want but they have to sleep at night.  By unsafe I mean a mother who is so sleep deprived she starts having thoughts of just walking out the door and never coming back.  I have been at that point.  My twins were getting up every two to three hours at six months old.  I was a night time pacifier for my first two sons which was not so bad because I could just lay there and let them nurse.  With twins, there is no just latching them on and going back to sleep.


The only way I got through it was knowing that my husband was with them when they got up.  They were not alone or left to cry they just did not get the boobs. 

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