Up at midnight, both in tears…


This was my first thought as I was awakened from a dead sleep at midnight last night. No, literally, the ellipses for dramatic pause were actually part of that thought. It’s kind of like saying something through gritted teeth, calmly, but just about to blow.

My son has multiple personality disorder when it comes to sleep habits. He is now 4 months old, and until a couple of weeks ago, was sleeping realtively well at night. That is, after we figured out I had been starving him the first few weeks (see post “The First Few Weeks…”)He would go right to bed around 8 or 9 with minimal fuss, and wake up only once around 4 to eat and go right back to sleep until 7. I was getting somewhat used to waking up once at night for a quick 10-minute feeding, and still was feeling realtively rested the next day.

My world has once again been turned upside down. For the past couple of weeks, my baby has been fussing and sometimes all-out screaming when we put him down to bed. What used to take maybe one time going into his room to put his pacifier back in, give his forehead a few strokes and say shush to get him to sleep has now turned into sometimes an hour of doing this, resulting in me giving up and making him a bottle so hubby and me can go to bed at 10.

Last night I put baby to bed at 8:30. He woke up at 10, crying. Hubby went in and did the pacifier-stroke-shush. Then he woke up again at 12:30. This is when the “I-can’t-do-this” thought complete with dramatic pause came to my mind, and I promptly started whining and crying to my sleeping husband “Whyyyyy is he doooooing this now??” Maybe it’s because I was tired and had a headache, but I seriously thought I was going to explode with anger or start crying and pounding my fists. All the while, all I could think was “I…CANNOT…do this anymore.”

Luckily my husband got up and fed baby. Baby woke up again about an hour later, but I think he put himself back to sleep. I say I think because at that point I just went back to sleep myself. Five a.m., baby wakes again. Since this was the schedule I was more accustomed to, I was ok with getting up for this feeding, and the angry feeling was gone. Baby wakes up at 7 a.m. Exhausted, I drag myself out of bed, make coffee, change his diaper, etc.

Unfortunately, the daytime routine isn’t any more predictable. As a result, it seems that both myself and my baby are chronically tired. Yes, I’ve tried all the methods, but believe it or not, my baby has a mind of his own.

The hardest part of being a new mom for me has been the illusion of routine. Just when I think things are finally settling into predictability, baby throws me for a loop. This could not be more true than with sleep. It is human nature to try to control what happens in your life, but there is nothing harder to control than a baby.

Today I am going to the store to get rice cereal. Maybe it’s time to give that a whirl. Meanwhile, like Dory in Finding Nemo, I’ll “just keep swimming.”


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