Saturday, July 24, 2010

Night Shift

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about nighttime parenting and nursing. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!

Nighttime parenting is a subject in which I am strongly opinionated. If someone doesn't want to lose sleep, spend hours taking care of a child at night, and do this for months years - do not have children. End of story.

I did not have an "easy" baby, you know, those freak babies that sleep 10 hrs solid the day they're born. My daughter took hours to soothe to sleep. That isn't an exaggeration. I often spent 1 to 2 hours rocking, nursing, and/or singing to get her to bed. This was just the begining of our night, she woke up countless times well into the 2nd year of her life.

A book that helped me was "The No Cry Sleep Solution." I am strongly against the whole "crying it out" option, I find it down right cruel. If and infant cries, it is because they need something. If they need just your attention, I think it's wrong to deprive them of that. The book helped me to plan out a nighttime routine, and chart out just how many times she woke up at night.

When she was about 1 year old, her wake ups varied between 3 - 7 times a night. The count was higher if she was sleeping in a crib. Co-sleeping helped to keep me from becoming a zombie during the day. I could just pull my shirt aside, and go right back to sleep. Sophie would nurse until she was content, then fall asleep herself.

Around 18 months (when we stopped nursing) she would only wake up once a night, ask for her sippy cup and go right back to sleep. Now at 2 1/2 she rarely wakes up at all. If she does get up, she just asks for her sippy and that's that.

I cannot express just how much co-sleeping helped me. I was the one who was up every single night with my daughter. I was the one who nursed her in the rocking chair and tried not to pass out. I was the one who sacrificed my sleep, to make sure my daughter was happy and well. Therefore I was the one who decided that we could all squish into a little full size bed.

Co-sleeping isn't for everyone. I would suggest at least a queen size mattress (like we have) or bigger. I'd love the idea of squishing two queens together, but Denny just rolls his eyes at me when I mention it. ...Secretly, I think he'd love the idea too.

Waking up to a 2 yr old smiling just 3 inches from your face is delightful. Even better when they yell "Good morning, Mom!" My pillow often gets stolen, I normally have tiny feet sprawled across me, and if I don't wake up in the morning - I get a little finger in my eye/nose/ear. Still, I love it.

All in all, parenting is not a day time job. I work all day every day, nights and weekends, holidays and even when I'm sick. If you don't want to sacrifice your time and sleep, I would suggest a different job field.

Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.


Timbra Wiist said...

ah, so many similar sentiments. I don't like being woken abruptly, necessarily, but a knee in my back all night, not such a big deal :) i have a friend who moved her tot out of their room and his sleep was just so awful and he woke up kind of sad every morning and she finally talked her hubby into two Queen sized mattresses (cuz they have 2 kiddos). . . yeah. . the dads secretly love it :)

Natasha said...

So well said. It is the night shift and the day shift and the afternoon shift and the lunch hour shift.....and as much as I complain about it at times and the pay sucks, this is the best damn job I have ever had!! And no paycheque in the world can hold a candle to a spontaneous "I wuv you Mommy" from a 22 month old at 3:37 in the morning!