Thursday, November 1, 2012

TT Things I Wish I Knew Before I Became a Parent

At first I thought this topic was going to be a wash for me. I got so much advice from other moms, probably because I grilled asked them to share their L&D stories. Once a mom shares that, she's feeling pretty chatty. So I got a lot of advice, and a lot of warnings. I listened to it all, noted what I thought was important and I could use, ignored what I thought was useless or negative, and forgot everything else (and because I have a shitty memory that was easy).

But looking back, there is ONE thing. ONE crucial bit of information I wish someone had clued me in on.
The body numbing, mind crippling, life sucking, soul crushing, sleep depraved life I was about to lead. I wish I had been told that not all babies just start sleeping through the night on their own, they certainly didn't tell me HOW our little guy was supposed to accomplish this fucking feat. Or what to do if he didn't.

At first is was awesome. Animal slept pretty great at night most nights right from the beginning. But I was breastfeeding, and in my BF class they told us to wake the little guy up, every 3hrs. To help establish the milk supply, but especially to ease his latching because if I waited till he woke up on his own, he would be starving, and fussing, and it would be harder for him in his hysteria to get a good latch. Thus making it more painful for me. So I did that for weeks, until I was sure my milk supply was good and my cracked nipple had healed (you read that right, don't see that in the fucking movies do you?).

Then I went back to work, so Animal would be sleeping, but I would get up to pump. Why not pump during the day you ask? Well I did, but that wasn't enough. When I was away from him he would drink 19-24 oz and when I was with him I couldn't get him to nap. Unless he was in my arms and had fallen asleep nursing. There were no such things as naps in our home, and you can't pump with a sleeping infant in your arms.
Everyone would tell me what I was doing wrong, but not how to fix it.

Except CIO. If I would do that then it would fix it self I was told. But how could we just let him cry shout and scream bloody murder when we, one, live in apartments, and two, miss him so much because we're gone close to 50 hrs a week? We couldn't. And so we didn't sleep. For months on end.

This was when I discovered this secret, that there were these large groups of parents who let more like gave up after there little babies sucked their will to live their children sleep with them. I'm not judging, I don't care what anyone else in the name of not loosing their fucking mind does. I even tried it a few times when I didn't feel I could safely hold my son and nurse him without falling asleep, possibly dropping him to the floor, like I'd read other moms had done (no judgment their either I was damn lucky this didn't happen to me because I most certainly fell asleep sitting with him in my arms). Did that solve the problem? No, it created a new one when he quickly refused to go in his crib. And the hubby started sleeping on the couch. It was horrible but we were sleeping. I refused to let go of that last bit of intimacy and space my hubby and I shared. For God's sake we hadn't had so much as a (hot) meal together in months.

I painstakingly got him back in his crib, and never laid him down on my bed again.

I started reading every sleep training book I could find. Every article, every YouTube video. Until I heard a book title I hadn't read. I went on Amazon and read reviews. I knew I had to have this book. I couldn't wait for my order to ship from Amazon so I downloaded onto my phone. And I read every spare minute I could find until I read enough to put it's techniques into practice.
First let me tell you that in the end there were some CIO nights. But what made this doable for us this time is that finally someone said that nursing my son to sleep was NOT what caused the sleep problem. That I could even continue this soothing and loving act as part of our bedtime ritual. What I could NOT do was allow it to become a tool that my son could use to stay awake. It could NOT be my ONLY tool. And most importantly it said something that my husband and I desperately needed someone to say to us. Putting our son down to sleep at an early time (meaning we only spent 30 minutes with him once we got home for work) did not make us bad parents. It didn't mean we didn't LOVE and MISS our son. It only meant that we recognized and respected his need to get to bed when HE was tiered, so that HE could get the sleep that he so desperately needed so HE could be healthy and happy. And you know what? Even though my hubby and I miss him terribly and would LOVE to spend more time with him. Our son is healthy and happy.

Within a week from following the advise in this book. Our son went from maybe sleeping 3 hours at a time to sleeping 11 plus hours a night AND napping. Everyone is happier and finally after 11 months, mommy is getting a whole nights sleep! I'm finally a person again. The best part is I'm not too sleepy to enjoy every minute with my son. That's what I wish someone had told me before I became a parent. Maybe we could have handled this shit when he was 4 months old! But I'm glad to know it now and I'll share it with every mom to be from now on.


  1. Oh, I loved reading this post. I feel like very few people have been through this. I have. It was not a fun experience. But there was no need to wake my daughter up every 3 hours - for the first 3 weeks, she was up every 45-90 minutes to feed. I'm not joking. I was a zombie. And I had heard about nipple confusion, so I didn't pump for 6 months, which meant all feedings were me. I have never experienced tiredness like that in my life!

    I also read that book and it made a lot of sense. I also had to hire a sleep coach eventually as I couldn't deal with the long ritual to get my child to sleep. Both helped. I did have to do CIO which I hated, but I think it helped us all in the long run.

    As for co-sleeping. We considered it. Well, my husband did. But I refused to get into that trap too. And I'm glad as I would much rather have the beginning be rough and not have years and years of trying to correct an even bigger problem! But, I do NOT judge parents who co-sleep. I completely get why they do it. And I think they may be better people than I am!!!

    Great post!!!

    1. We had the name of a specialist too! that was the next step if we couldn't do it. lucky for us we solved it with 15 bucks instead of 1hr/$150 sessions!

  2. I have 3 children. Oldest was colicky, I was breastfeeding, and lost down to 97 pounds in 3 months after she was born. I had no family around to help, and a hubby who worked 60+ a week. I was experiencing postpartum and didn't know it. Until 4 years later. Anyway, after taking my infant, who wouldn't sleep wasn't satisfied nursing for what felt like 24/7, to a specialist (because I was convinced she was 'broken')....I stopped nursingat 6 months. My OB told me 'NO MORE' it's going to kill sleep, poor nutrition, baby sucking the life out of you, no help = no good. Then I decided, ON MY OWN, that I would do CIO. But I started with naps. I would put her down, wide awake, in her crib and turn on the monitor to a low setting, and then take a glass of iced tea (i.e. wine) to the patio and just sit. The first day was HELL. She cried for 30 minutes. Gradually, it decreased. It took 5 days. Then, after that was successful, I began doing it at ritual: dinner, bath, bottle, story, lights dimmed. mommy say 'night night' and walked out. She slept 12+ hours a night from 7 months on...I kid you not. My middle daughter.....different story, but for different reasons :-) And the youngest....rockstar sleeper always :-)

    1. Oops thought I hit reply, my replies down below.

  3. Man I can't believe you managed to go so long w/o help. (Your obviously a rockstar mom) I honestly would have never made it w/o the hubs, fam AND my counselor at MNC. Glad you were finally able to do it with your tea ;)

  4. I love this. Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child totally changed my life and saved my sanity. My daughter is a good sleeper now (most of the time) and I don't know if she would be if I hadn't read that book (over and over). I would recommend it to every parent. You should submit your story to Weissbluth- he'd probably feature it in his next edition!

    1. You think? I would LOVE that. The stories were one of my favorite parts. I felt so alone and embarrassed that we just couldn't do it. Knowing so many others felt the same and got through it made me feel like part of a community (a zombie tribe if you will) but it also gave me confidence that we too would get to the other side. Glad you made it too!