I've lost track of how many times I've written about sleep in this space. I've officially become one of them I guess. By that, I mean that I talk about sleep and my baby a lot. I try not to talk about it too much on a day to day basis but if someone asks me about it I don't lie. Since Baby was about 7 months old (I think that's when it started...maybe 6 or 8 months?) she started waking up every 15 - 30 minutes. A good night was having an hour of uninterrupted sleep.
Then, a couple of months ago I had 2 nights with 4 hour stretches each night. It was heavenly.
And then things really started getting crazy again with the 15 minute thing. I sometimes had nights with about 4 hours of sleep in total. I was REALLY tired. Somehow I managed to get through the day without feeling it too much though. I really think that there must be some protection in a breastfeeding mother's hormones that allows someone to survive on such little sleep for so long. Some nights I would wake up in the middle of the night and start babbling about how tired I was and I would be so frustrated and disoriented and really quite crazy feeling. S would get frustrated with me on those nights. It wasn't a pleasant experience. I drove myself crazy trying to figure out what was "wrong" with Baby. There HAD to be something "wrong." No "normal" baby woke up so much unless there was something terrible going on. I went through a list of things...
Food allergies? Not that I could positively identify.
Night terrors? Nope, she was awake and aware when she woke up.
Gas? Yes, but didn't seem to be enough to wake her up so often.
Teething? Probably some of that caused it for sure.
Developmental milestone? Definitely causing some disruption during big changes.
I googled. I searched. I read (Dr. Sears, No Cry Sleep Solution, heck, I even got Sleepless in America out of the library!). I obsessed. I felt like a failure and that my baby was suffering and I couldn't figure out what was causing it.
Then one day I went back to where I was when it first started happening. Acceptance. I accepted that this was the way it was going to be. I had no idea if that meant for one night or one year. I stopped getting so frustrated so easily and I stopped searching for an answer. I continued on and just went with it. It was hard.
Then, Baby started walking! And got her first 4 molars in. And I was more relaxed. And I'm happy to report that she is now sleeping 2-3 hour stretches (nearly) every night for the past week. Napping has changed too. Naps are usually only once a day and last 1-2 hours on average. Sometimes a late afternoon cat nap happens as well if the earlier nap was only an hour. I feel good about these changes. Really good. I feel like Baby is settling into sleep patterns based on her own internal, natural schedule. I feel better rested and I look forward to sleeping.
Are things perfect? No, but I don't even know what perfect looks like to tell you the truth. People look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them my sleep schedule. However, I know if our whole family is healthy and happy and well rested it's looking pretty perfect to me.
Maybe I'll even be able to have some time alone in the early evenings or during nap time in the future.