So there I was in the middle of the night breastfeeding Beatrice for the fourth time. I was exhausted, trying hard not to fall asleep with her in my arms and thinking about the joys of motherhood.
I try to be those “follow your instincts”-“embrance nature” type of mum, but I’m not very successful at it. Maybe I am too “modern” in certain aspects, or maybe I’m just too… Me.
Here are my (recent) thoughts on things like breastfeeding, co-sleeping, sleep training, and other things. Mind you, I change my mind all the time, depending on my mood and amount of hours I sleep.
Birth: I’m team “natural birth”, I LOVE giving birth (as in I could give birth to 10 babies, but not be mother of 10), but I begged for epidural on both experiences. Yes, I regreted it later on, but I’m sure I would have done the same thing if I had a third child.
Breastfeeding: it’s beautiful, it’s magical, it’s healthy for mum and baby. But whattheheck is this thing of feeding every hour at night at nearly 11 months?!? Ok, the baby seeks comfort and warmth while breastfeeding, but the poor mother deserves to sleep, for the sake of the family. Then you join a group to help you with breastfeeding in the hopes to hear something like “oh, you breastfed until now on demand? Wonderful, but you can now have a beak; resting is more important”. But, no, what you hear is: “this is normal; it might happen until the kid is 2, 3 years old. Keep calm and carry on breastfeeding on demand as much and long as your baby wants”. Yeek! On top of that, they don’t recommend stop the night feeds until the baby turns one. Yuhuuu! The solution I found to find the strength to do these night shifts leads to the next topic.
Co-sleeping: When Laura was born I was discouraged by the health visitor to co-sleep with her, to avoid risks of suffocating her (cover with blanked, roll over, etc). But I ignored it as it was just practical to breastfeed her in my bed at night. I simply couldn’t be awake with her feeding every two hours. So co-sleeping was great in this sense. After she turned one, she was sleeping mostly in her cot and I was feeding her just once or twice at night. Then Bea came and the second child IS different. I mean, the first one wants your attention and routine gets screwed up and feeding baby on demand + needy older child means that when you realise your bed now room for four. You get a nice bed for the eldest, put the youngest’s cot in her bedroom (as she requested) and… She doesn’t want to sleep there, but in your bed! What’s the problem? Well, a 3 years old kicks, rolls over, turns, pushes you. She once kicked my eye so badly that I spent three days with my face hurting. When you start having anger crisis due to lack of sleep, there’s only one way out:
Sleep-training: I tried before but my heart doesn’t like the whole idea. With Laura it was easier – one kid is pretty easy to deal with. Truth is: this stage goes by very quickly, too quick for my liking, so it just seems natural to enjoy and hold on to it as much as possible and I think this is why I did what i did with Laura for so long. But then the second baby comes and you see how easy life was. I cannot live without sleeping and soon I will return to work full time and lack of sleep + work + being a mum/wife/housewife is not a healthy combination.
So I’ve decided that from May, the kids will start getting into a more “strict” routine. Beatrice will be one and night weaning is more acceptable. Laura will be four and a big girl. And I will be too old to spend my nights awake.
I just hope mind and heart are on the same page and I have the strength to go ahead with the plan.