Sleep is one of those things you tend to take for granted -- until you don't get enough of it. Then it's something that will consume a person until, well, you can get enough sleep. It's important. It helps the body function correctly... and not getting enough sleep for any given time, frankly, sucks. Big time. When Skylar was born I was prepared for the lack of sleep. Sort of. It was still hard, but I guess I kinda thought it "came with the territory" and I would just power through and deal with it. I was rapidly falling in love with our little daughter and the sleep thing kinda fell by the wayside in the grand scheme of what was "important". I remember functioning pretty well on 3-5 hours of sleep a night. Looking back I realize my hormones must have been helping out -- A LOT. Plus, I was probably still running on reserves from all the sleep I got pre-baby. I was also better about sleeping when Skylar slept (I'm actually writing this as she naps -- so as you can see I no longer really sleep when she sleeps... at least not every time).
Fast forward to the last month or so... My baby, the one that slept 7+ hours 2 nights in a row at 5 weeks & eventually started sleeping 8, 9, sometimes even 10 hours a night around 4 months no longer sleeps more than 4 hours at a time at night. Actually, she's sleeping more like 2-3 hours at a time and sometimes even less than that. I'm pulling my hair out. This has been going on for a month or so? I have to admit that I really have not been handling this sleep regression well... and, with my parent's visit, I started to become desperate for things to get better... especially at my 3rd wake up of the night around 4AM. (btw, it wasn't my parents that made this worse -- in fact they're the ones that have helped me gain some perspective and took care of Skylar to let me sleep during the day few times. It's really just the realization that the sleep thing was STILL going on by the time they visited that kinda gave me a kick and made me feel lousy -- well, that and the complete change of our typical routine.).
So. What will we do? Neither Jimmy nor I are really sure yet. Skylar actually seems to be functioning fairly well. It may be a teething thing (she's still chewing on things most days), or a growth spurt (or some wacky-fun combination of the two). Regardless of the "reason" our 7 month old daughter (who all the websites and books say "is capable physically of sleeping through the night") is not sleeping at night -- at least not without 3 or more wake-ups. We have, from what I can tell, a couple options. One of them is "sleep training" or "cry-it-out"... And we're not at that point yet.. This is in no way a judgement of those who use this method, but I don't think Jimmy or I are ready for this solution. Other solutions include constancy and "rules" as well as just living with not getting sleep (something ELSE we're not quite ready to accept). So, for now, I'm trying to be consistent about when and if I get her and when and if we nurse to sleep. I'm also trying to help Skylar get used to more food during the day -- hoping that upping her calories during the day will help her sleep more at night. And, finally, we're working on a nap "schedule" during the day so that she's used to sleeping at certain times -- and trying to be equally consistent at night.
I'm definitely still figuring things out... and I'm actually mostly okay with Skylar having to nurse to sleep. I figure eventually she won't need me so much... and being needed feels pretty good -- except at 2 am, 4 am and 6 am. BUT I digress. I got some clarity on all this lately. And it's something I've always known... but needed to be reminded of: THIS TOO WILL PASS. And yes, it will. And the crazy/wacky part? I'll probably miss some of this stuff when it does pass... at least the closeness of late night feedings and the knowledge that I have EXACTLY what Skylar needs in those moments. I am her comfort, I am her Momma.. I am the one she wants above all else.
So. I'm resting in the knowledge that yes, this will pass... as well as trying to soak up the goodness of it. Trying to enjoy what I can and love through the stuff that's difficult. Tonight, I'm sure I'll see it a bit differently when I'm TIRED and just want to sleep... but really, I know in my heart that this is a turning point for me. Sacrifice is sometimes "easy" when it's a point in time and then it's done. THIS, to me, is the real hard part. The being a mom -- ALWAYS. No breaks, no times when it's not my job... just constant responsibility... and it's amazing as much as it's difficult -- even more so. It's beautiful and I'm thankful for it.
So, I'll continue to pray for patience in the night... for love and caring and understanding. To give my daughter what she needs... regardless of the sacrifice of sleep for a time. And with the ever present hope and knowledge that this too, shall pass.