Changing Sleep Patterns- Night 2.

I started this post at 10 something this morning.  It is now 9.25pm.  You probably already know how last night went in the great “I Dream Of Sleep” saga.

When I woke up this morning I thought “well, this will be a good blog post.”  I use the word “good” loosely.  Very loosely.

The verdict is IN!  Night #1 = fluke.  It really WAS too easy the first night.  Smunchie is not about to take this night weaning thing laying down.  Bah-dum-bum-bum. Pardon the lame pun, I’m zombie-mom today.

Look at my darling Smunchie.  Doesn’t she look so sweet?  It is possible this is just a facade and underneath lurks a fierce bobbie-monster.

Official analysis?  The night #2 sucked.   Dr. Gordon warned us it would be hard.  The man was not lying.  I think he may have understated it a little.  Doctors do that you know, “this may be uncomfortable” means “this is going to hurt like hell” and “These will be hard nights” means “You will feel like you are being tortured.”

I thought I would check the clock and have an idea of when things happened but apparently I have a selective memory as to how I function in the middle of the night upon being awakened from sleep.  It’s bad.  Trying to be aware made me remember how I felt after having my impacted wisdom teeth pulled when my mom was telling me to put on my seat belt and I tried to say “I am” but instead as I grunt an unintelligible sound a slippery and unstoppable ball of drool slid out the side of my mouth over my drooping, swollen lip all while thinking I was moving my hand reaching for the seat belt but it laid limply in my lap.  Take that image and imagine that same person is trying to get a small, very determined, rather angry, surprisingly strong toddler to stop breastfeeding at night.  This explains SO much.

Timeline-ish

8pm- Smunchie in bed after stories, bobbies, brushing teeth, more books, and singing.  No problems.

Midnight- The Piano Man and I to bed.  Too late again.  But look at that, 4 hours of sleep without a peep from Smunchie.  This is typical.  We suspect it is because we are NOT trying to sleep and she has no reason to interfere with us doing the dishes or picking up toys or maybe even getting some work done.

12.10ish- Smunchie wakes up, we do the short feed but I’m worried she’s already fallen back asleep.  When I whisper “bobbies all done” she immediately pops off and rolls over to go to sleep.  I think “I’m a ROCKSTAR!”  The Piano Man and I share a “she’s-so-cute-and-this-is-awesome” smile.  The kind that makes me think dangerous things like maybe we should go for one more.  I move her to her bed and we all go to sleep.

Sometime between 12.30 and 2am- that smile and dangerous thought leads to some potentially dangerous activities but fear and panic of what could still be to come in the night once again work their magic powers and our current method of birth control holds.  Sleep is made the priority.

After 3.30ish- Now things get really fuzzy.  Smunchie wakes up, I lay there hoping she’ll suddenly decide that what she actually wants is to sleep and stop asking for bobbies.  Then I realize that’s not going to happen so I decide to get her.  Only I don’t actually move.  I think I’m going to but I don’t.  The Piano Man gets her and gives her to me, we nurse and I fight like crazy to be aware but I still somehow manage to doze and roll away from her a bit and she loses the nipple.  Freak out.  This is what usually happens and we do this dance until… well, I don’t know when because I never really sleep and I never really wake up.  Get situated again and she sucks like she’s holding on for dear life.  My brain is making random shapes and I have some stupid Katy Perry song that I hate running through my head and I may have mumbled “stop it, just stop it” but that was about that dumb song.  When her suck changes I croak (no sweet whisper this time) “bobbies all done” and she lets go and rolls over.

Though I’m in a sleepy stupor, I’m impressed.  We all settle in for a picturesque sleep in the family bed.

3 min. later- Smunchie sits up suddenly and starts asking “bobbies?”  From some place in my head free of any Katy Perry music I register the question and think it sounds cute.  She was not going for cute.  It quickly escalates to anger.  How DARE we take her bobbies away?!  She was USING them!  Crying and repeating that one word she starts pushing me, pulling me, sticking her hand down my shirt, body slamming me and then pulling a move worthy of a WWF broadcast, an elbow blow to my head.

I forgot the plan.  The truth is, drooly, dozing me is no match for bobbie crazed Smunchie.  The Piano Man pulled her off of me and cuddled and cooed and I have no idea what else because I kind of tuned it all out.

Sometime after 4am- She would settle, almost asleep and then rouse again to let us know how angry she was.  This happened so. many. times.  We took turns with the comforting, I even sang “You Are My Sunshine”, which may not have helped things since it sounded I had cotton packing in my cheeks and my mouth open for hours.  I rubbed her back, The Piano Man held her on his chest, he patted her, she and I laid with our noses touching, she tried to push us both out of the bed and claimed the center going the wrong way. I thought “I’m so not a rockstar.”

4.30ish- Squiggle Bug woke up.  No big surprise, it was kind of noisy.  She wanted daddy.  Daddy comforted her and came back.  So did Squiggle Bug.  I gave her a hug and Smunchie got jealous.  She tried to throw herself off the bed to claim me back for herself.

4.40ish- At some point, I don’t know when, The Piano Man went to check on Squiggle Bug who had gone back to bed (actually, the couch) and Smunchie had the biggest melt down of the night.  Hitting me again (which I don’t permit so I moved out of her way) she turned her extra angry voice up a few notches, climbed out of bed and stomped off to find daddy.  I didn’t even know she could stomp.  Twenty pound ball of bobbie crazed, exhausted, mad stomping off to find daddy.  He brought her back and tried to leave again but she wouldn’t have it so he laid back down.

5somethingish- Our “mm-hm” chant started, she flipped flopped all over the place with The Piano Man and I perched on about 3 inches each on the sides of the bed.  I also ended up in the bed the wrong way for some reason once and we had a smiley, sweet, let’s play few moments in there. Lovey was lost track of several times and the baby doll was thrown out of the bed once.  I started thinking maybe I should give her the bobbies so we could get SOME sleep when all of a sudden she began scooting/crawling backwards toward the end of the bed.  Because he doesn’t act like he just had his wisdom teeth pulled when he’s supposed to be sleeping but isn’t, The Piano Man bounced out of bed (I kid you not, bounced) and got to her before she landed on the floor.  To his surprise she pointed to her little bed, he took her to it, she tossed in her lovey (a small blanket) and Ciel (her baby doll) and reached for the bed.  He gentle placed her in her bed and she immediately fell asleep.  I glanced at the clock, it was just before 6am.  I think, the numbers were really blurry.

7.30ish- Smunchie stands up and calls for bobbies.  We cuddle up and nurse and I still feel like someone gave me some drug and dug around in my head for a while.  Once done with the bobbies she sits up and giggles, points at something on the night stand and in general acts like she had a great night and seriously mommy, what is wrong with you and why are you talking funny?

It was after we got up and stumbled toward the kitchen to get coffee started that I learned that The Piano Man sat with Squiggle Bug for a bit before she’d let him go back to bed.  Today was rough, we’ve been a tired, cranky family.  All except Smunchie, she’s been all smiles and giggles, rainbows and butterflies.

Share

Comments

  1. What a wonderful blog! My daughter was a heavy night nurser and would wake constantly from 18 mths to 2 screaming for “bobbies”! (Ruby called them bobbies, just like Smunchie) In fact, she refused to call me mama or mommy or anything close to it until after she self-weaned at 2 and 1/2: she called me bobby. While I am sorry that you can’t sleep (I remember that torture, I was a single parent at the time, yikes!), your story reminds me so much of a time I sorta-kinda miss, maybe a little bit, now that she is eight. Thanks for the sweet memories!

  2. I feel for you! You and I have the exact same baby girl, who would nurse all night if I let her. We tried Dr Gordon’s method at 12 months and definitely were not ready and plan to try again at 18 mnths. Our attempt was terrrrible!

  3. That is so typical. You get the worst sleep ever because THEY refuse to go to sleep, and they’re so smiley the next day. And my kid doesn’t even nurse.

    I swear, it’s an evil plot, or something. They’re all in on it. Hope that night #3 goes better!!!

  4. monica O says:

    Going through the weaniong process myself, its difficult for me since I love nursing my son (first child) but I think its time to wean him but I’m in no rush since he just going to turn one. I will be keeping up with your blog for advice advice and support and to have someone to relate too.

  5. I feel your pain! We were going to do this, but ended up deciding to end bedsharing as well as nightweaning, so we used a sleep consultant. The first nights were rough. There is something that is different at night: one’s ability to handle even minor setbacks is severely diminished. I found that even though I was exhausted the next day, I still felt pretty confident about the next night. But when it was night again I’d get all insecure again. Anyway, it worked out: she sleeps through the night, and comes into bed at 4/5 am with us for the boob and cuddles.

    How are the naps (nap?)? I found it helpful to get Amber into an age appropriate routine (max 3,5 hrs wake time, early bedtime, etc.) as it meant she was just in that sweet spot of sleepiness when she went to bed.

    And also, like Gordon’s article talks about: she’s learning something new. She needs a number of experiences & testing of boundaries to see if they’ll hold, so in that sense a ‘bad night’ is actually a good night: she tested the new rules loads of times AND also showed you what she needed at a certain point (her own bed).

    Good luck, it is definitely worth it! We had the added motivation of having a zombie baby – she was tired & cranky all day long, so we knew we couldn’t go back.

  6. I completely understand your exhaustion, I really do and I really empathize. I can also empathize with your toddler though, maybe she really needs boobs at night… I regret night weaning my toddler, i am sure it caused him oral anxiety. He puts his hand in his mouth when he gets nervous, he didn’t do that until I successfully weaned him at night. I am sorry if i come across a rude, I just have a big heart ache of my own, and I am wondering, in a year or two, when toddler is a full blown child, and sleeps well, what will you feel when you re read this post.

    • I can’t say now what I will feel then but I believe and hope that what I will feel is that I made the decision to balance the needs of everyone in the family. That my 12 year old and I will have been able to have our away sleepover she has requested with her menarche. That the two very spirited children I have will remember me as patient and gentle in keeping up with them. That my dreamer will have experienced very attentive times from me as we watched clouds pass by instead of mommy almost falling asleep. That we will all have handmade treasures that I had the creative energy to do with my children. That our adventures in the kitchen will still make our mouths water. Right now my fatigue has made all this difficult and parenting is a delicate act of balancing all the needs in the family. Smunchie’s reactions on night 2 were just for one waking that lasted a long time and were anger. I never felt she was afraid and I wouldn’t have let fear continue. Thank you for your concern, I really appreciate it. We’re not letting her cry it out, we’re there and responding.

      • Beautiful response, and so true! I also think – to add to Willow’s response – we should not be so afraid of making mistakes as parents. There is no perfect way to parent, but there are a lot of good ways, and there’s often so much conflicting information as well as conflicting emotions, knowledge, etc.: we can only try to do our best, think our decisions through and change what we can, if need be.

  7. Tammy Dovichak says:

    I went ahead and started this as well. I figured it would be fun to compare notes with you. I actually thought my little booby man put up a good fight, but after reading your experience, I’m counting my blessings 😉 Praying you have nothing but good nights ahead!

  8. Is it bad that the whole time I was reading this, while completely sympathizing with you on the inside, on the outside I was laughing out loud?
    During our night-weaning drama, I quickly learned that parental sleep was at the bottom of the priority list. I was super sleepy like you, but I forced myself to fully wake up to make sure I stuck to the plan. Yes, it hurt like hell in the morning, but I kept the long-term goal in mind and it was sooooo worth it.
    And isnt it wonderful how forgiving our babies can be? We torture them all night, and they have nothing but love for us in the morning- gotta love it!
    Good luck with night 3!!

  9. Joy Bradway says:

    Have you considered moving her to her own room? If she’s sleeping 4 hours before you get to bed and she’s waking up because she can sense your presence – then maybe she’ll sleep all the way through if you never came in.

    Just a thought though. I have a 12 month old who is in his own room and he gets up 1 or 2 times to quickly nurse and goes right back down. But, just last night he was up all night and I secretly wished that we were bedsharing (he was teething). Go figure.

    • It’s really not an option at this time, we’re 7 in a 3 bedroom house and don’t have the space to put her in her own room. She’d be sharing regardless and the other rooms are all doubled up already. Plus I still want to partially bed share. At least this way I don’t have to walk down the hall!

  10. thepianoman says:

    On a side note, although Squiggle Bug decided she was through with sleeping around 5:00 yesterday morning, she managed the entire day without a nap and was acted like it was a ridiculous idea to go to bed when she felt so awake last night at bed time. How do they do it? Granted, she was a bear for most of the day, and obviously needing more sleep, but 4:30 rolled around and I thought sure she’d nod off by 7:00 and set us up for even more challenges last night, but I obviously know nothing.

    5 kids and I’m still learning that I just can’t predict how a day will go.

  11. I think the worst is when you’re already completely sleep deprived on a daily basis and then you have a bad night. I remember that feeling… skating by on a few hours of interrupted sleep and functioning for the most part, but then DS would throw in a bad night and I’d spend the entire next day in tears and unable to cope. I NEED my sleep. Without a backlog of good sleep, a bad night seems almost insurmountable. Hope things are going better for you now. Good luck!

  12. Oh, I feel you! We used Dr. Gordon’s method also but found we had to take it a lot slower than he recommends. My little guy was just SO attached to his nighttime nursing and the nights were so rough that it took us a good week or two at each step before we moved on. I’m sure as long as you’re listening to everyone’s needs you’ll be just fine! Good luck!

  13. Kristina says:

    THANK YOU! for blogging about this! Night time is such a hard time. So THANK YOU for sharing! Great tips and great reality check on how night time should go! Bless you!

  14. What a fantastic blog. I haven’t heard of Dr Gordon’s method but it sounds something like Elizabeth Pantley’s ‘No Cry’ method. I too have a boob addicted 17mth old. We co-sleep and she wakes anywhere between 6-12 times a night. I totally share your pain, and will be doing more research into Dr Gordon!

  15. Lesley Conway says:

    I loved reading your blog. We are trying to get our little one off needing to fall asleep with a boob in her mouth too. Hearing about another booby monster makes me smile. Our LO ( 7 months) will arch and pull and pinch looking for her boob but when she finally gives in it is so worth it. ( we are trying this so my husband can also put her to bed and naps preparing for when I go back to work). Good luck and I hope you have some quiet nights.