That said, if he is a year old, and you just can't handle the night waking anymore, you may want to night wean him. A combination of night weaning and your partner soothing him back to sleep may work well for your family. If you do want to night wean I suggest checking out Dr. Jay Gordon's approach, it's on his website.
Please remember that if you or your husband are with DS when he is crying it is not crying it out. CIO is when you leave the child alone to cry alone. There will likely be tears over night weaning but this is normal.
I think your behavior is a NORMAL response to an abnormal situation. (It's abnormal to be so sleep-deprived, both of you.) I just wrote another post about feeling obliged to follow attachment-parenting-by-the-book instead of meeting your child's/your family's/your own needs, as well as just using plain common sense, is so detrimental to mothers in particular. You're not doing life-long emotional damage to your son by being worn out and frustrated. What kind of mother are you? An exhausted one, not an evil one. But you DO need to make sure your needs and your child's, for sleep and sanity, are met - otherwise you WILL go down an ugly road.
I had and have two terrible sleepers. We eventually put the first in her own crib, first across the room, and the following year, in her own room. Because I was going crazy, instead of spending hours walking her to sleep each time, I put her down in the crib one day for a nap and rubbed her back. I was too tired and emotionally frazzled. She did not like it, but she screamed no matter what I did, so what was there to lose? As the above responder said, "please remember that if you or your husband are with DS while he is crying it is not crying it out." Your child will know that you are there for them. From then on, that's what we did, and after only a few days, she went into her crib quietly and slept soundly. She was tired too! When she was in our bed, she'd smell me, and wake, or if we moved, she'd wake, etc. Even while in our room, she's wake and cry if, God forbid, I sniffed during the night or rolled over. That's just how she was. After she was out of the crib, and into a toddler bed, (back in our room,) she began waking again a few times a night, and would appear at the side of our bed asking to come up. We always unhesitatingly let her.
She's five now, and she sleeps in her own room again. She sleep 11 hours straight and sound. I can't remember the last time she woke at night. She just needed a very quiet environment, as well as the reassurance that we were there for her, and once both needs were fully met, she turned into a champion sleeper. She knows we love her dearly.
I'm not saying you have to stop nursing/co-sleeping at all - I'm saying, figure out what works for you and meets your child's needs and your family's needs; don't feel you have to follow a book or movement's standards. You need a happy, healthy family. You have no obligation to a child-rearing "expert" you've never met, or anybody else's standards or beliefs.
I've been there and feel for you! Please read my last couple of posts to another mother in a similar situation.
To me it sounds like the op is a loving mama at the end of her rope, who needs to get help. Feeling out of control and reacting disproportionately to the situation are mental health red flags worth discussing with a health care professional. Hopefully that professional will be able to offer the help or support the op needs.
I sincerely appreciate all the resopnses and take them all to heart. I really think each one of you have given me some good things to think about, there are so many factors at play here and it's so great to hear all different perspectives and experiences from other moms. It's so important for people to be open and share what we go through.
I agree trying to speak to a therapist would help. Also I haven't met any other moms near my home since we moved not long ago so I think I really need to connect and share motherhood experiences (whyI came on here). I have a lot of support on my side, just need to tap into any resources I can to make things better.
Will hang in there and focus in the moment as best I can, be there for my son and what he needs. And will pay attention to what I need so I can best help him. I definitely need to be out more, do things to take a break here and there, started doing that yesterday and it helped. Also see me dr. this week….I can pretty much chart this all started when my cycle came back after 8 months of absence from birth. So there may be something physically going on, good to check.
I also have dealt with anxiety and depression a lot in my life,….family history of it. I have overcome a lot and really have come a long way, just need to figure this one out. I realize I just haven't been doing a lot of things for myself that I know can help (aside from checking with my dr.) like meditation, prayer time, more exercise, listening to good music, doing a few more things that are "mine"(that give me a break for a moment here and there from being consumed by motherhood 24/7). Finding more activities in my area for me and my son, connect with my church, a friend suggested taking him to the local library kids time….great way to meet other moms and he really needs the time to play with other kids. I need to make all these steps to have a more positive day to day experience. And yes, rest and sleep when I can. Exhasution really triggers the irritability.
Went out on my own for a walk, some errands and some quiet time to contemplate last night. Really helped. And I was able to write down a lot of good thoughts, positive things to help me through this. I forgot how much journaling is so therapeutic. Have gotten away from that. These posts are a form of journaling too.
Have I mentioned I'm a perfectionist?? And I have some skewed thinking that I'm not allowed to make any mistakes in my own life, and now with my son. I know this is so false but I have thought this for so long that I have come to believe it!! YIKES!! I'm working on this, and just letting go of so many things, habits take a while to change.
I can start by each time I feel I make a mistake, choose what I do with that. rather than go downhill and fall apart, if I can help it, I can choose to turn things around. Be an example of this for my son too. Mommy makes mistakes, but I can be okay. It's what I do with it that matters. Keep moving forward and just be there for him as best I can. And seek help from all different places when I need it.
THANKS again!! You are all so kind to post your thoughts and suggestions. Blessings to you all!! ;)
I've heard good things about the no cry sleep solution. Also as others have said some babies sleep better when it's totally silent & still so you might try moving him out of your bed and or room if he's in it. Definitely sounds like it's time to night wean. Night nursing is only good if you're not going nuts in the process. He needs you to be at your best so that means putting your need for rest over his need/habit of nursing at night. It will get better! Talk to him about it too. Explain how tired you are and that you both need better rest and that you know it's going to be hard to not nurse so much at night but you'll be there for him and it's ok to be sad, etc
Janet Lansbury http://www.janetlansbury.com/ has some wonderful articles about communicating and treating our littles with respect, especially in times of transition.
That's a rough spot mama. I remember being in a similar spot with my first around that age. For me it was definitely a combination of things... lack of sleep (HUGE), PMS (which I had kind of forgotten about, but I really get irritable), sudden increase in nighttime comfort nursing, yucky days (because of crappy nights), etc. I really got stuck in the funk for a minute. And then one night we both got a great night sleep and I saw a light at the end of the tunnel. I think that is when the phrase 'this too shall pass' really sunk in for me. We returned to our horrible sleep patterns for a bit, but my attitude had changed, and that was the key! Realizing that these moments are all fleeting, (even though I feel like I will be nursing every night for the rest of my life, it's only a small fraction of my and my child's existence -and such an important part to me).
Don't beat yourself up about potentially "doing some terrible emotional damage" to your son, it only makes things worse for both of you. Don't get me wrong, I think that it is important for you to remedy your situation for everyone's future well-being. However, you are starting a mean cycle of guilt that can be really hard to break out of.
Some practical everyday things that helped me...
-I put a rolled up blanket between us (we were cosleeping). This bought me a little extra sleep every night, but allowed us to keep cosleeping. We would nurse to sleep every night, then I would put a tightly rolled blanket between us. If he rolled over during the night he rolled into the blanket rather than my boob (which would have led to nursing and me waking up). This would work until about 5am if I remember correctly! It was like a whole new world for me For our next trick we side-carred a toddler bed to our bed which allowed for even better rest for everyone!
-I started cycling again after I started working part-time when DS was 9mos old. Having that work time away really helped give me a little personal space and adult time (I worked mostly alone in a creative atmosphere, so that also helped). As soon as I noticed any signs of PMS though, I would take a little extra time to myself. That also made a world of difference for me! A long walk with the dogs, then a trip to the market, then home for an extra hot shower... sooooo good! Or DH would take DS out and I would stay home and indulge in whatever was my thing at the time. I really took this time to embrace myself (I am not a very indulgent person, so a little bit goes a looong way for me )
--I started over. I started over because I would mess up. I would lose my cool and get frustrated, or upset, or whatever, but I would take a deep breath and know that I didn't want to keep feeling like that and so I would start over. We can't undo, but we can start fresh. I STILL talk to DS about how we are always learning and always becoming better a better 'us'. I also do my best to let him know that when I get upset, frustrated and so on that that is my stuff, not his, and it is for me to work through.
Good luck mama! Every day is a new one!
He has been sleeping in his crib across from us in our room since very early on, he actually used to sleep through the night from 2.5-5.5 months, it was bliss! Then slowly started waking once, then 2-4 times a night as he grew. I guess I thought it would be the other way around, start out feeding many times at night as a newborn = no sleep, then eventually start sleeping through the night as he got older. I realize I have held many expectations over my poor little guy's head, I need to let go of those. When I do, I am more calm and there for him whenever he needs anything, I'm able to just be there for him in the moment. When I expect certain things, especially with sleep, things go downhill fast!!
I actually have a copy of the No Cry Sleep Solution. I read through a bit of it but I think I now want to go back and read a bit more.
Yes, my husband and I agree it's time to start night weaning soon. Thanks for the link prescottchels, will look into this!! And you're so right, talk to him!! He understands EVERYTHING, I'm truly amazed. He and I are so connected he will understand and take it to heart if I'm genuine to him. :)
Any good links out there about night weaning gently?? I am a bit concerned because when he wakes at night, he really puts up a fuss if I just try to hold him wand walk him back to sleep without breastfeeding. When he breastfeeds he usually goes right back to sleep pretty easily. Although lately he has been waking when I stand up from the rocking chair to put him back in the crib, he gets super squirmy and really fussy, cries so hard. Maybe from teething or I just stood up to soon before he was in a deep sleep, not sure. But last night I decided if that happened I would just be calm and comfort him, and it worked!! I was able to do that and help him through his struggle. And I had been more rested last night so that helped!
And yes, he has become a light sleeper, he does nap well during the day if there is complete silence, other than the music we play for him. I'm sure we're waking him at night just as we sleep. But strange, when we slept in the living room several nights he still woke about twice a night. So many reasons he could be waking.
Mama505, your kind words are so comforting, I really appreciate you taking the time to write to me and ease my mind quite a bit! It really helps. I am going to read your message many times I'm sure for comfort and direction. :) He is definitely comfort nursing these nights, and even in the day I notice. I really want to follow his lead to self-wean in the day, that's totally fine with me. We actually did sleep better last night, almost all through the night!! fed him really well flror dinner and I definitely think stimulating him enough during the day, especially when he has play time with other kids makes a difference. I also have been really stuck on focusing on the problems and the negative, when we have a good night, I expect more of that and when it doesn't happen, look out!! THANK YOU for your positive outlook, you're right, there is a light at the end of the tunnel! THIS TOO SHALL PASS!! I remember thinking that as I lay in the hospital in pain but manageable from the c-section (I refused ANY meds the whole time and was fine). The mind is so powerful over the body, we can manage anything if we focus and let go!!
And YES….I need to change my attitude and not beat myself up, that seems to have been quite a habit of mine for as long as I can remember (amplified from being an only child??) Need to read this book I have called "Embracing Your Inner Critic" especially since I'm an artist. :) Like my husband says, take it easy on myself and our DS and give myself a break. Last night's change of attitude really did help me, just need to keep practicing that and I'm so glad you said I can't go back and undo, I can only focus now and forward and START FRESH, what a great mantra to keep!! Be in the moment. I really have been going backwards accumulating in my mind all the negative I have done, this can change!! I can turn things around. You have really inspired me!!!!!! :) :) :)
I also got the names of some psychologists to look into when needed. I have had so much therapy over my years of depression growing up, I think all you wonderful women are reminding me and adding to things I have learned and I know I can get through this, it sooo helps to have all your support!!! So beautiful how perfect strangers take time to help out, means soooo much!!!!!!
This was a long one….but the communication is therapeutic. thank you again for your time and the chance to vent, share, learn, and grow. :)
Glad to hear we can be of some support, but that you also have people to reach out to IRL. Sometimes you just need to vent. There was a thread awhile back, something like 'Let's yell here so that we don't yell at our kids'. It's always a little comforting to hear that you aren't the only one who is going through _____ (enter ANYTHING here, parenting related or not). It's nice to know we aren't alone!
So, how's it going today?
You are really sweet, thanks. It really does help to know others are going through the same thing. Things are better at times. Had a really hard day recently (DS did) but I was able to keep my calm the whole time. Broke my heart that he was having such a hard day. Lots of hard crying. I just need to be calm for him especially when he's in distress.
A little challenging last night as I went to bed super late and no rest during the day. He woke as usual at night, nursed him to sleep no problem. But put him down in the crib and he woke again crying. I keep taking the type of cry when this happens to mean "mom, you woke me up again, thatnks a lot!! " silly I know. I tend to project so many emotions and funny thoughts like this. So when he woke, rather than think "oh poor little guy, I wonder what's wrong, or he might be teething, having a hard time sleeping…" i reacted and said "my God" not really in a yelling voice but a tired and frustrated voice. Gotta turn that attistude around. And I wasn't directing those words to him, they were towards myself. I was upset with myself for not putting him down carefully and waking him since he was having a rough time sleeping lately. My recurring thoughts are "really?? i can't believe I did it again! why do i keep doing this??" This means I'm really dragging all the past times similar things happened to the present. Gotta drop that and just be present. :)
Sometimes too I worry that I'm focusing too much on my own feelings. "I'm so tired, I messed up again…." Like you said, start fresh each time. Just do my best for him. I will keep at it and thanks for checking in on everything, really makes me feel cared for here. :)