If someone had asked me if I thought that Anakin would still be feeding several times overnight when he was 8 months old, the answer would have been no. I had this idea that up until 6 months it would all be up in the air, but after that some things would change and get a lot easier, particularly nights. And extreme sleep deprivation would stop driving me bat sh** crazy.
Ehm… fat chance, you naive first time mama.
Yes, we had a particularly bad night again. We’re apparently in wonder weeks territory, or so they say “the people in the know”. Hooray!! And why not just label it wonder months, as it always lasts a month with one particularly bad week somewhere in the middle. Oh and if you add teething, well, you’re apparently screwed for a long time.
Everyone seems to have opinions about night feedings. “You should stop feeding him at night.” “It’s just a habit.” “He doesn’t need it anymore.” “Maybe you’re not making enough milk for him.” “He needs to learn that days are for eating, not nights.” Ok, so I agree that he needs to eat during the day. Obviously. But I can tell the difference between the wake ups that are driven by habit and the ones that are driven by hunger or some other discomfort. And I wish everyone would stop acting like it’s not normal for an 8 months old to still feed at night, because as far as I know, it is. I don’t mind helpful suggestions, but I do mind being made to feel like I’m an idiot for feeding my son when he seems hungry. Or being made to constantly doubt myself and my body’s ability to provide for him. (YES, he has enough wet nappies!) If I thought there was any way he wasn’t getting what he needs I would be the first one to say “Hey, let’s try something else! This isn’t working!”
Every time I figure enough is enough, let’s get down to business and do something about it, he has a few good nights. Anakin can sleep well and only wake up for one feed, it’s not like he’s incapable. And I am willing to live with one feed for a while. But as soon as I start thinking “Yes, this is it!”, he throws me back into the fire. Which leads me to believe that maybe something else is going on as well. He’s learning a lot of new things, and I’m sure there are some teeth on the way. Or maybe I’m just being naive again.
To be honest, some of it is laziness on my part, some of it is out of consideration for my partner, because if we had to get down to it, he would have to step in the game. I smell like food, it’s a lot harder for me to resettle him than it is for the one who has no milky boobs. I do try to if I think there’s a chance. But I don’t pick him up and walk around for 30 minutes hoping that he’ll fall back asleep if he’s wide awake and cranky. No, I cave and I feed him because I know that even if that takes me 20 minutes he will go back to sleep once he’s done. And then I can go back to bed and hopefully get some Z’s too.
But lately the game has changed. He wakes up a lot more often. Every 1,5-2 hours or so. And I’m finding it really hard to go to sleep because I know that he’ll wake up any minute so anything and everything gets me on edge and keeps me from falling back asleep. Cats, snoring, lights, it’s too warm, it’s too cold, my back hurts, my head hurts… I am so tired I can’t think straight.
Last night was so bad that I considered giving up breastfeeding altogether. That would seem like the easy way out, right? But I can’t bring myself to do that knowing that breast milk is better for him. And it’s not like he’ll take formula anyway. We tried that when the maternal child health nurse thought he wasn’t gaining enough. Which turned out to be much ado about nothing by the way, and a couple of weeks of torture and doubt for me until we’d seen doctor and another nurse who assured us everything was fine. They can’t all be chubba bubbas.
I thought about trying a bottle of water, but the only time Anakin will take a bottle is if it has breast milk in it. So express, you say? Yeah, well, it’s not that easy. Expressing enough for one feed would take me a week. My boobies just don’t like the pump much. So, here we are. At a stand still. And I’m betting that he’ll be better tonight because I’ve threatened to make it a shift night between me and my partner. You’ll only get mummy every 4 hours! But I know if we did this, I still wouldn’t sleep. So we’d have two exhausted parents instead of just one. And if there’s one thing that’s keeping me sane these days, it’s the couple of hours I get in bed in the morning when my partner takes Anakin after his breakfast feed. Without that, I’m no mummy of the year to be around and I’m even less of a loving partner, that’s for sure. And I may just be lacking a bit on the loving partner front already these days. I’m too tired!
So where does that leave me? Still going bat sh** crazy, I suppose. Still waiting for that miracle change… Still complaining and still doing the same shit every night. Well, at least I seem to have hope, right? And as much as he can be a sith lord by night, he’s an angel by day. Most of the time.
Remember how I said we were in putting baby to bed heaven for a long time? Well, a couple of weeks ago that changed overnight.
Anakin is one of those babies that makes good progress in something, then takes three big steps backwards for a while. Maybe all babies are like that, I don’t know. Anyway, after we came back from our Sydney adventure I had three blissful nights of only having to feed him once. I thought I was in heaven for a bit, and I even started to feel human again. Getting more than 2 hours of sleep in a go makes a huge difference. Then all of a sudden… WHAM! Come bedtime he simply refused to sleep. It would take us up to 2,5 hours to get him down. It took every trick in the book and then some. And when we finally got him to sleep he’d stay down for an hour or two before wanting his first night feed. Then a couple of days later he refused to go down for his second nap of the day, and the day after he refused every sleep. And so it went for 10 days, 10 horrible, horrible days.
One night I was so exhausted that after the battles had raged for 2 hours I got him out of bed, put him on his play mat and just laid next to him crying my eyes out. This, for some reason, made him stop and I was able to get him to sleep once I wiped my eyes and took him back upstairs.
Then suddenly after 10 days he was back to normal. Oh joy!! For a bit. Then Captain Ridiculous introduced himself. He’d wake up and start the day at 5.30, then 5 the next day, then 4.50. I took solace in that he at least only fed once overnight again… until a couple of days ago when he decided that two times is way better than one again.
And last night Captain Ridiculous trumped himself. He woke for a feed at 11.15, then woke again at 2. I fed him and put him back to bed assuming that he’d fall asleep again like he always does. Nah, not a chance. He played for a bit before starting his engines (a whinge that soon becomes a cry). I offered him some more food thinking he might still be hungry, but no. I put him back to bed. The same thing happened. After 20 minutes of me hiding next to his bed patting him he finally fell asleep. At 3.45. I went back to bed desperate for sleep. Then Steinar woke up sick. When I finally fell back asleep it was past 4 am. It felt like I had only just closed my eyes when Captain Ridiculous woke up again at 4.30. This time there was no hope left. Hello day! Steinar got him up while I got a bit more sleep. At 7.15 Anakin was awake after his first nap of day and ready to continue. Needless to say we were not.
Oh Captain, my Captain… I love you, but you’re driving me mad.