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The Rubber Band Effect

This isn't going to be one of those feel good , I know what I'm doing, all is well, posts. After all I haven't had a stretch of more than three hours of sleep in oh ... many many moons.

Baby Boy *L*, 6 months old, as cuddly as they come. I am trying desperately to establish an earlier bed time routine. We have been nursing from 8:30pm till 11pm - Yes, for that long - in the comfort of my bed, my legs stretched out with a good book in my hands or my iPad at my side. By 11pm I'm exhausted. If I try to put him in bed any earlier he wakes up within 20 to 30 minutes. He knows!

I'm ready for bedtime in the 9pm hour. Time for hubs and I. Because our relationship is like an industrial rubber band. It's strong but it is being stretched, big-time. How many times will he hear "Not tonight, dear"? How often will I slip off into sleepdom 10 seconds after hitting the pillow? How I long to let that rubber-band be not quite as stretched and have more give in my evening hours.

Every night *L* is in his bed at 11pm... up and mad sometimes in the midnight hour but always before 2am. He joins us because I'm tired. Way tired. I can easily lay him between hubs and I and he can nurse while I drift in and out of sleep. *L* is comfortable. He is warm. He is between the two people he loves the most. Life is good.

I can see how he would be mad about my recent decision that he needs to stay in his bed at night. I nurse him in his room. I put a CD player playing our favorite quiet music, Loreena McKennitt. I put the small clock that plays nature sounds to wind for some white noise when the CD is done. I knew this would work. He would get comfortable in his room. He would sleep like a baby for more than a few hours.

Two nights ago there was much gnashing of teeth and frustration from 11pm until 4am. After more screaming then I thought possible from those little lungs he fell asleep in his bed with my pajama shirt clutched tightly in his fingers. (I carefully slipped it off and let him sleep with it... which he did for a couple of hours... no more, no less.)

Last night Hubs and I lasted till 1am and out of pure exhaustion brought him back in to our room. I feel like we are failing and all the parenting experts would say you are /never/ going to get him out of your room if you cave. But we need more than 4 hours of sleep.

So the rubber band is still stretched. I can only take comfort in the fact that it will not stretch beyond its means and will bounce back ... now if only I could say the same about my achy, aging, sleep-deprived body.

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

4 comments:

  1. We're two weeks intothe same process right now, and it SUCKS. I planned to let baby share our bed for several more months, but hubby & I have had a hard time reconnecting in the two months since he returned from deployment.
    The past two nights, baby finally slept for 7 hours, bt when we finish the short nursing session he requires at that point, he will not let me put him back down.
    *sigh*
    he's five months old, so I am thinking we'll have this all perfected by the time he is, oh, maybe six YEARS old?

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  2. Oh Gaile, sometimes it is just nice to know... "It isn't just me" :) Funny thing is this is Baby-Boy number four. You would think I wouldn't stress out as much about it. None of the other boys are still sleeping with us so I know that "this too shall pass"... but in the mean time "Lord, grant me sleep!"

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  3. Leanne, this one is my fourth, as well! I do think the sleep thing gets harder on me as I age, but other than that, shouldn't we be old pro's at this? :)

    My third one still wants to snuggle in my bed when he's not feeling well (he is eleven years old) and I LOVE that closeness. But right now, I want my bed back. I want my marriage back!

    For now, I have to settle for the occasional nap with baby to compensate for some of the lost sleep, and keep on keepin on with the night time sleep struggles.

    It WILL get better, and of course you are not alone!

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  4. Oh no! My munchkin is 4 months old (2nd child), and much clingier than his older brother ever was. The only way I can get him to sleep most of the way through the night is to swaddle him tight. He can't startle himself awake or chew on his hands to remind himself that he COULD be eating if Mommy were there. I recently also started using a lavender spritz on his bedding (Pure Romance's "Dream" pillow mist--with pheromones!), and I think it helps calm him. Works in his hated car seat, too. :)

    He's never slept in bed with me, though, so he doesn't expect to be there--but he does love to be held. It's most frustrating when he's cluster-feeding and wants to eat all night. I just stay up and watch a show on Netflix.

    Good luck! I hope he let's you sleep, soon! I get so cranky, I feel like having a naptime meltdown, myself. :) Hopefully the light at the end of the tunnel is near (and is not a train--or the sunrise)!

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