I Cry Uncle

I’ve been fighting the good fight and soldiering on as my mom would say, but I’m pooped.  Two kids, working, wifeager to my husband’s career, I can keep the balls in the air okay, but Rex waking up like he does is starting to CRACK ME. Crying babies in the night remind me of when I dated an alcoholic. At night is when is when he was his most belligerent, verbally abusive, showing erratic behavior, and then in the light of day he was full of life, smiles, buying me presents. Okay, Rex’s presents come wrapped in a diaper. But when he smiles at me and giggles, it’s like a lobster dinner.

Just called the pediatrician. I told her that after I had nursed him the in middle of last night, he would go down. I had to deal with Vivien having a bad dream and while I did that, Mark gave him a big, full bottle of breast milk. Rex then slept for almost 5 hours. Unheard of around here. So I asked the doctor, maybe I am not nursing enough for him? She said his weight and height are good, but babies go through growth spurts and to give him a bottle extra at night. I asked if I should throw in a little formula (the powder kind, not the pre-mixed stuff; he hates that) at bedtime. I think she said it’s okay, but honestly my memory ain’t what it use to be.

Just now he was fussing for nap time. I had been sucked clean, so I wrapped him up, pacifier, and vibey chair  (my go-to, sure-fire tool),  and he was crying. I did something I haven’t done… walked away. Let him cry. I could hear the chorus of “bad mother” in my head as I stayed away. And after 5 minutes… nothing. I crept in. He is asleep. All in the time it took me to write this.

So, time for Ferber at night? Any clues or suggestions on this time of life I would appreciate because I know I didn’t do much with Viv till she was 1. But then I wasn’t working… and I was able to hire some night-time help to ease the sleep deprivation problem.

Oh, the last picture is just Rex’s copious spit up… I gave up on dressing him by 12. He had gone through 4 outifits already.

16 thoughts on “I Cry Uncle

  1. First of all, ((((((((((hugs)))))))))). Second, leaving a baby cry for a bit isn’t going to hurt them, especially when it’s for the sanity of the mom. Mom’s always have the guilt song playing, I’d like to pull that CD out of our brains and smash it to smithereens. As for advice, ehm, I know it’s different for each child, but the only thing that helped my second child sleep longer was putting her in one of those baby sleepsacks that a friend lent me and sometimes placing a hot water bottle in the crib. (maybe not useful advice for summer unless you have a/c)

  2. I was the same way w/my 2nd. I fed the first at night up through 9 months…with #2 I was too exhausted and we started trying to get her on a schedule and cut out night feedings by around 5 months (I think?). She was eating 2x/night. We cut back one, then the other, and we did let her cry (a la Weissbluth, similar to Ferber). It was hard, but loved it when both were sleeping through the night.

  3. Hi Daphne!

    I never leave comments on blogs, but when I read your last post I just had to.

    I remember a couple times feeling like I just couldn’t cope with everything (my baby is now 10 months old). It felt like it came out of nowhere and hit me like a ton of bricks. I called the pediatrician to ask about something else, and the nice nurse could tell I was having a rough time. She explained to me that my daughter was most likely going through a growth spurt and sucking me dry of everything I had to offer…and it was leaving me completely wiped out.

    A few days later I felt normal again, but then went through this again during the next growth spurt.

    Nobody had told me that growth spurts can make a breastfeeding momma feel like they just can’t handle life, but that’s what it was like for me.

    Just thought I’d share in case that’s what you’re going through. The good news is that if that is what you’re going through, you’ll feel better in a few days.

    Oh, and I couldn’t do the sleep training with my daughter until she was a little older…couldn’t handle letting her cry…but when we did, we used the baby whisperer method. Basically you respond to them everytime they cry…go in, pick them up, whatever it takes to calm them down. Then, when they are calm, you put them back down and walk away. After awhile the kiddo learns that crying isn’t going to get you to pick them up and put them to sleep. This method appealed to me because we were still responding to her when she cried. It took a little longer than Ferber, but after 4 or 5 days, she was going down really pretty quickly and sleeping much better once down. (The only thing we really modified is that we figured out that putting her down was so disruptive that it made more sense for us to just rub her side/back and calm her that way; so if that was enough to calm her, that’s all we did. Not that it was enough to calm her when we first started this.)

    Good luck! 5 months is tough, but it gets easier…

  4. SOOO FUNNY how you compare this to dating an alcoholic. Your sense of humor is what’s saving you when other moms crack during these times. And, oh yeah, those growth spurts will kill ya: you got a big one coming up at 6 months. I remember, just knowing one was coming up, prepared me for it. I remember being stuck in a parking lot of a supermarket when my oldest was 5 mos old., I was ready to go in, he started to fuss, I thought I’d give him a little “snack” so I could shop in peace. Well, that little snack turned into 45 mins on each side, and HE STILL wanted more. I was a lump of tears, he was crying, we were both sitting in this car in the middle of the day, and I was a first time mom. It didn’t feel much more hopeless than that…sad times, I remember them well. What it took to pull myself out of that moment, I wish I could go back there and help myself realize it was only a crying baby….I should’ve just gone back home, and shopped that night when my husband came home. Hindsight is 20/20.

    All babies are different. We have 3, and sleeping and naps were different with each one. With my first, he would only sleep with the radio on “white noise” (You know, in between stations static) I had that on low, and it worked with him everytime. With the second, he needed this crib aquarium thing that would make bubble sounds, I’d turn that on, and bam, he’d be out.

    With my 3rd, I’d lay him down with one of my well worn T-shirts that still smelled like me, tied in a big knot…he’d fall asleep hugging that one, right next to him.

    A lot of that is personality. My lightest sleeper is now 14, and STILL wakes up at 6AM. The one who needed the crib aquarium is 12, and sleeps with a fake jellyfish aquarium on the nightstand. The third guy, now 7, still gets up about 5 am and wanders into our bed and sleeps the best in the crook of my arm.

    The point of all these words is that this will all pass too quickly, and MUCH too soon Rex will become a toddler. SIGH..what I wouldn’t give for a crying baby right now.

    Enjoy these days, keep on keeping it in perspective, just like you manage to do everything in your life.

    Go on and give that little man a bottle….kinda like with the alcoholic (haha).

  5. P.S. He is adorable!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wish I could pick him up right through that picture. I can almost smell the baby chick fuzz on the top of that soft, soft head.

    (from Daphne, oohh, thanks, he is yummy. like the “call back” at the end of your last note!)

  6. I’m so with you! I hate letting my 2nd baby cry it out because it wakes up the preschooler. However, I did turn off the baby monitor 2 nights ago and I feel much better now! I can still hear him when he gets really upset, I can turn on the monitor to check on him but I’m no longer waking up at every litte spat of fussiness and feeding him.

  7. I’m almost 4 months along with our second, and I keep thinking about how I’d like to do things differently than I did with the first. Our first is so independent, never co-slept, but cried every 45 minutes for the first 5.5 months. Basically, every time his pacifier fell out of his mouth, he’d wake up. I was about to go to work, so we did the Ferber method over the course of a weekend. Never looked back. It saved my sanity. I was hallucinating, I was so sleep deprived.

    Do what’s right for the whole family, and remember that he won’t suffer through the training.

    Oh, and our first was a world class champion spitter upper.

    My tip for getting through Ferber: headphones that connect to the TV. Distract yourself, and just keep a watch/clock nearby to track the time.

  8. When Moanna was going through a phase of partying all night, I nursed her some and gave her some formula. When the bottle was dry, I’d pull the switcheroo and swap out the bottle of the binky. My breastfeeding consultant would have died, but I was near the end of my sanity. I need to sleep for more than an hour at a time, and my nipples needed to rest for more than an hour a time too.
    ( from Daphne ” OMG right, they can get sore)

  9. thank you all for support advice.. in summary, let em cry, prepare for spurts, smell the head. I can think it through today, because last night I said, “I’m not in charge” and slept with a sounder next to MY head. I still got up and nursed once, but just being in a different room all night and giving myself the night “off” helped. Also remembering with Viv I always gave her a bath at night which pooped her out. Since Rex is number 2 the baths have been more sporadic. will keep you posted.
    AMAZING how much better I feel today.

  10. Funny, I just read a post about nighttime sleep and sleep training from Rebecca Woolf. I’m relieved to hear that even second time moms don’t have it all figured out. I’m hoping any person I read (or know IRL) will have THE ANSWER to night-waking. I am trying not to be obsessed with sleep- my own sleep, my baby’s sleep, my husband’s sleep (actually, I don’t really care about his sleep because he actually gets some).

    My little guy is 4 months old and he’s actually a pretty good sleeper but I’m scared of the future. Will I teach him bad habits? Will I be able to sleep train him?

    Basically, I have no advice for you- only commiseration and sympathy. 🙂

  11. Daphne,

    My husband and I tried the baby-wearing, cosleeping thing with my daughter, but she is apparently *not* the communal dirty hippy that we are. She’s high strung and a light sleeper with a history of colic and reflux.

    We tried tons of attachment parenting tricks with no success.

    By 6 months (the recommended optimal time to start training), I got her a crib (in our room) and a copy of Dr. Ferber’s book. Though I was terrified, I started sleep training with her and within a few days, she was a much happier, well-rested child. She is now 9 months and still fusses sometimes, but she now sleeps through the night. Naps are improving, as well.

    We were scared to move forward with sleep training, but it was the best thing we have done for her. Her sleep is still a work in progress, with teething and occasional regressions. The bigger picture is that we are helping her to teach herself to sleep and self-soothe which are skills she will need forever.

    Go with your gut. Rex will let you know what works and what doesn’t. Good luck!

  12. I always wondered why I needed to teach my baby how to sleep while I was crazy-sleep-deprived myself. With both boys, I felt like I wasn’t in control. I relied on research and used the methods I felt comfortable with from these three books: “Sleeping Through the Night” Jody Mindell; “Secrets of the Baby Whisperer” Tracy Hogg; “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” Marc Weissbluth (known as the Sleep Nazi).

    Trying a method or two from these books made me feel like I knew what I was doing and had a plan. Growth spurts drove me batty though… they seemed to always come when we had a nice routine going.

    I really feel for you, Daphne! I foolishly thought that I had enough mommy experience from my first child to easily conquer anything from the second kid. The ignorance makes me smile now…

  13. yeah, and I just plum forget stuff from my first go around. feel like I don’t have time to read a book.
    I have to concentrate on this though. thanks all! hug!

  14. Funny how a few years later this sleep stuff is all a blur. What I remember was always putting them down in their cribs before they were asleep, mostly letting them cry it out, supplementing with formula when they were growing…and they slept thru the night on their own at 8 weeks and the second one at 6 weeks. GOOD LUCK!

  15. I had the same issue with my son. I asked the pediatrician how long he could cry without doing physical/psychological damage. He replied “about 17 years”.

    Oh, just so you know he’s not some fly-by-night quack…..he’s a top pediatrician here in Toronto – on staff at the Hospital for Sick Children (a big deal for us Canadians).

    BTW, your hair looks very pretty in those photos.

  16. I think you’re doing the right thing! I let my first child (who is now 8 months old) “cry it out” at 3 months. She never held a grudge and she now knows how to soothe herself to sleep. I still have some trouble during bouts of teething or growth spurts but she sleeps more and more all the time. Often she will go 9 or 10 hours without waking. I don’t know why it is thought that letting a child fall asleep unassisted could cause any harm. In fact, I think it helps him/her learn the important life-long skill of falling asleep without a breast or bottle. Don’t get me wrong, it’s so hard to hear my daughter cry when she needs to sleep, but I know I’m helping her learn to sleep and that is going to help her more than running to nurse her every time she cries.

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