Constantly defending myself is wearing me down & creating serious doubt that I'm doing right by my child. Am I following my instincts or is it my anxiety about never wanting him to be hurt/scared/alone hindering him? He doesn't sleep well, up every sleep cycle (either 90 mins or lately 45, how can he possibly be rested with all that waking up? I know I'm not!) just to snack/ latch on & go back to sleep. Same with naps & I wonder if he'd sleep better in his own space but i've tried the pack & play next to our bed or even just next to me on his back (instead of on my arm) but he wakes up, seemingly startled, within minutes. I now have to go to bed with him at 7:30 & though my husband has been very supportive we do miss our alone time. Has anyone else been in my shoes? Any advice? I'm reading Attached at the Heart & I've done some other reading to feel normal but my mind still spends a great deal of time worrying..
I know the baby days are fleeting & he is almost always a very happy baby (though the whining for ne has begun already haha) but boy am I tired & starting to feel burnt out/sore from my little attached monkey. I love that he is attached to me but I wonder if I'm doing him damage by not having others babysit & is the way we're living sustainable?
Sorry for the long post, thank you for your time & nice to "meet" you. I'm sure I'll have more questions I wish I'd asked, this is just an overview I suppose!
You are NOT doing any damage to your LO. You're giving him exactly what he needs, which is you. Being close to you, especially while sleeping, is absolutely a need at this stage.
Speaking of stages, there is often a period of increased night waking around 6 months. It sucks but it's normal. This tends to happen around periods of rapid growth or when learning a new skill (crawling, walking, etc)
As far as the sustainability of the choices you've made, that's something you'll decide as you go. But keep in mind that these phases are short. Soon your LO will likely be sleeping longer periods again, and you'll have more time for you/with your DP. I nursed my DD on demand to age three, coslept with her to age six. Now I'm breastfeeding, cosleeping, cloth diaper/ECing, and baby wearing my nine month DS. If you are feeling burnt out its time ask for help or consider a change, but honestly it sound like you've made some great choices for your babe.
Feel free to PM me if you want.
Except I am now nursing a 7mo old. There is a LOT going on around 6mos that can often lead to a change in sleep patterns, but it is fleeting! Stick with it! If it FEELS right to you then it probably IS right for you and your son.
It can be really rough to go your own way when everyone is telling you their way is right/better. I know that there have been times that I have wondered if my parenting choices were "the right ones". But in retrospect I wouldn't have had it any other way...I wouldn't trade away a single night of snuggles with my 4yo DS and now his baby brother! Everyone says 'It goes so fast!' and it does, though it may not seem like it when you are in the sleep-deprived moment!
Good luck mama! I hope you find the support here that you need to keep on with being the mama that you want to be.
Also, I took your advice & asked my DH (again!) for help around the house, he's under the impression that since I'm home, I should do all the cooking/cleaning/laundry etc and childcare and boy have I been trying but it's just not possible when I hold DS for naps & have to go to bed when he does. I do some while wearing him but certainly not everything & I like to spend more time engaging with him than "getting stuff done". Obviously I have a lot going through my mind these days that I haven't been able to get out without judgement. Thanks again!
My son was such a crappy sleeper - that every or every other sleep cycle thing, wow do I remember that! I totally feel you when you wonder if it's normal, etc. My doc told me he was fine too and I just coped by getting my priorities straight, which it sounds like you have done (perfect house last?). We had some luck at 6 months with setting him down to sleep only if we had used white noise in a darkened room and did some patting to sleep. Some people swear by baby swings. Those devices can give you some time! And I wouldn't feel bad about it if he was sleeping or not crying. We also carried our son all the time and didn't worry about it too much. Some day he will be struggling to get down and saying "go away, mama." *sigh* BTW, he also sleeps through the night 7:30 to 8 and is just over 2 years old. He was a frequent night waker for a while, always "behind schedule" that way. We tried CIO at one point and I regretted it very much and didn't "follow through." I learned to choose to abandon the "plan," the clock, you name it, on many occasions and still have to make these choices now. You will never regret following your heart with parenting. I found that whenever I chose to do that and to take care of myself (read: perfect house comes last!), the resentment went away. I know it's hard to have a demanding baby sometimes, but you will treasure your bond and you will not regret your perseverance.
Also I suggest, if you want your alone time with DH, to put baby to sleep in another room (if you have one) and sneak away to have that time. Then bring baby to bed with you at the first night waking/when you are going to bed. If you can swing it. Some people do a crib or a big bed on the floor and roll away (and sneak away!) when baby unlatches. This is how we struck a balance and though I had to work hard to get him to sleep sometimes, it gave me maybe 1.5 hours. If he woke after 45 minute, I would go try to resettle him there and go back to my business.
Have you checked to see if he has a tongue or lip tie? We were just discussing these in my DDC and how they can cause a babe to nurse frequently, especially at night. Here, let me include a link... http://www.mommypotamus.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-diagnosing-tonguelip-ties/
Mama505, funny you say that I had 1 LC point out a lip & tongue tie when he was 12 weeks old but got 2nd & 3rd opinions because my gut was very against putting him through the frenectomies since his latch isn't bad & I had none of the symptoms listed. I spent the early days flipping his lower lip & that helped his latch, plus even during most of his night wakings he latches on for moments & is back to sleep. He actually eats only once or twice & his day feedings are no struggle at all. Some days I wonder what it would be like if I had them repaired but again I went with my gut & spoke to a few mamas that went through it just to have them reattach! I couldn't do that to my DS since he's gaining weight great & not struggling to eat. Thank you for the idea though!
Just "chatting" on here really does help, who knew?
Now co sleeping with ds. He was a great sleeper till four months now he is exact like his sister was naps in moms arms only and mom in bed at seven with baby.
It does make time with hubby tough especially when you can't break free.
It will pass. My dd asks me once in a while to sleep with her. I tell her oh I would love to because you know how to sleep well but your brother doesn't know how to sleep on his own yet so I have to stay with him.
Hang in there!
Best wishes mama. This is so challenging. Protect yourself from others. Most certainly your DH has to help more. My son still needs me for naps. And definitely try switch from worry to rest in the evenings.
Best of luck,
You're doing great!
I've been there. My LO is now 14 months old and my MIL *still* asks me questions about our sleeping arrangement (she is fervently anti-cosleeping). To top it off, my LO was a poor sleeper from day 1. So, I understand the immense exhaustion and doubt you must be feeling!
Here's the thing: we weren't ever meant to mother alone, let alone as "attachment mamas". The work of mothering this way in the modern era is beautiful but exhausting! And then you have the nay-sayers on top of it! The ones who seem ever so much better rested and "together". It can be maddening. We NEED community. We NEED to hear other mamas saying "yes, yes, dear. I've been there sweet mama and I know it feels so desperate and sometimes you feel unhinged. I hear you and I see you. But you are strong and will make it through. It gets better! Can I make you a cup of tea and do some laundry while you rest?" My absolute refuge and relief has been the mothering forums (as well as a "waiting it out" Facebook group and a parents of spirited children Facebook group). It's not quite the same as having a real life mama tribe, but it's been my substitute. So, I think you've come to the right place.
FWIW, my daughter is absolutely one of the worst sleepers I've ever seen! (I'm the eldest of five, was raised side by side my husband who is eldest of six. I've also nannied extensively. NONE have been like my sweet spirited daughter. Ha!) I thought I might die from sleep deprivation. I even thought about letting her cry it out. But with the encouragement of other wise mamas, I've stuck it out. And now, at 14 months old, she does sleep better. Probably not as much as many her age, but I don't care as much anymore because this is what's right for her/us right now. She allows my husband to help her to sleep after we bath/books/nurse, and then she sleeps a two-three hour stretch alone in her crib (which she didn't start doing until she was at least 13 months old!) And it's been heaven to be able to relax downstairs with a book or a movie and a glass of wine.
IT GETS BETTER. And you're doing great.
You sound so much more relaxed! Glad to hear you are getting more rest and are feeling more confident. That makes a world of difference!
As far as the babysitting pushers... I got that a lot with my first. I just always said, "But I really LIKE being with my baby!" I received many confused looks, several disapproving sentiments (weird, right?), and lots of pitying looks as if I would someday regret not having others watch DS. Well, he's four now. A dear friend with a son his age has watched him a couple of times when DH and my work schedules overlapped by an hour or so, and once or twice my parents have watched him. I don't have any regrets. He cherishes the couple of times he has been "babysat" by his grandparents and looks forward to when they are in town and can do it again!
OP, I am so glad you're feeling a bit better! It's a rocky ride. Even still, my 14.5 month old DD will have a week or so of terrible night sleep and I panic and am all "OMG WHAT HAVE I DONE! THIS IS AWFUL!" But I just keep on keeping on, meeting her needs and ignoring the naysayers. And things always get better. And my girl is becoming such a smart, clever, confident girl. Much more confident than most of the other toddlers in our playgroup. So, I'm happy. I think I'm doing a good job. And I think YOU'RE doing a good job, too.
I understand the lying to people about sleep schedules and such. Mu dh tells me to lie to peoe (family) all the time. He says just tell them what they want to hear. I don't lie because well just too much work to keep lies straight;). I really don't know why people are so invested in other peoples schedules and milistones. Right?! Sometimes I wonder of its a matter of having nothing else to say. I am glad that you are coming into your own and doing what is right for your family. At least if you have anyother children you will know and be confident with how you raise then and I find people are a bit less vocal about things (except sleep) after the first one. Keep up the good work mama sounds like you are raising a happy confident baby!
We started to lie when my daughter was 10 months old. That's the age where most people assume that if your child isn't sleeping twelve hours straight through the night in his/her own crib, something's wrong. My MIL raised six children and is very outspoken against co-sleeping. DH and I are passionate about co-sleeping (specifically bedsharing), so at first we would give her literature on safe co-sleeping in efforts to reassure her that we weren't endangering "her" baby. (Eyeroll). But now we lie. Because it's so damn annoying to have to explain the same thing again and again. So, we have a script we stick to for people who repeatedly question our sleep situation. "Yes, she gets all the rest she needs. Yes, she sleeps in her own bed." (She DOES get the rest she needs, it's just much more broken up than what people consider "normal" because DD still wakes to nurse frequently at 15 months old. We do it lying down. The second bit is not actually a lie anymore because DD starts her evening in her crib while DH and I do our own thing, then she moves into the family bed around 11 o'clock at night).
Thanks again ladies, always feels better to have someone to relate to. As far as babysitting, I want to be with my DS too, I don't feel compelled to be without him, why is it that THAT isn't the norm? And i hear a lot about him being spoiled already & "you'll probably do things differently next time".. Even just today, and I feel horrible for admitting this, I had to lie to my own mother that DS went down for the night in his pack and play while i got stuff done. We try every night but I get about 5-20 mins so that's a snack, a pee, teeth brushed, face washed & in bed for the night.. Did not get the house cleaned liked she expects me too! I'm just tired of the negative comments. Doing the best I can for sure, I'd love her to be proud of me instead of disappointed. But we were all CIO babies. Bedtime was bedtime & I can remember sneaking into my baby brothers room to comfort him knowing my mom wouldn't. She believed in self soothing, still does. Even with all 3 of her grown kids having struggled with anxiety or depression at some point. I think there is a link, I tried to gently tell her that but of course it comes off as me disagreeing with her parenting choices & maybe it makes her feel unloved, unappreciated. She is a great, selfless mom, just did was she leaned was right.. Anyway, I guess I'm outwardly justifying to myself the little lie I told about DS sleeping on his own Thanks again!
I understand all of this. I sometimes do feel like a failure because of how "attached" we are to our baby. But, it feels right to us and for our family. And I now know that no one else is raising our child- we are- so we're the only ones who get to make these crucial decisions.
Keep on keepin' on! You're doing great!
Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012
I didnt get questioned too much, I guess because my family (in laws included) know how stubborn I am. And I often would say "we", making it as clear as I could that DH and I had decided and that is all there is to it.
My husbands step family is always supprised that I'm still breast feeding at 3, 4, 5, 6, and now 7 months. And if they know the hours DD keeps I'm sure I'd get some unwanted input. I don't tell fibs, but I leave things out sometimes I try to seak support where I know I can get it, like on here. Also I believe I can be bold and without fear in my mothering choises because of my relation ship with God. That is an awesome feeling.
I read what you said about your LO seeming uncomfortable on his back, have you thought about a chiropractor? I took my DD in while she was still a newborn and it helped. But your sweet baby could quite simply love being that close to you.
Keep being the wonderful mother you desire to be. No one knows your baby like you do.
OklaFarmMama, I did see a chiropractor once but thinking of going back again as I think it did help.