I knew the day would come, I just didn’t think it would come this soon. I thought my crappy Mama period would be sometime in his childhood when I slipped and let him watch a movie that was too violent, or when he gets to be a older back-talking teenager, and I loose my cool and yell, but no…it was going to be MUCH sooner than that, that I would feel like a crappy Mom. It would be now.
It all started around Christmas. Parker all of a sudden started waking at night. We had been spoiled because he had been consistently sleeping through the night (8:30pm-5am, since some people have different definitions of STTN) since about 10 weeks old. So, I started to go through the mental list of the reasons why this was happening. I had recently changed his feedings from seven a day to six because seven feedings meant feeding him every 2-2.5hrs during the day, and he was spitting up ALL the time, so we thought that he was being overfed. Plus, everything that I was reading said that most babies reduce their feedings to about six feedings around three months. Since he was starting to take his naps much better, I didn’t find the need to wake him more during the day to fit an extra feeding in, so I adjusted his routine to six feedings.
Fast forward one week later. He’s still waking several times at night. Where we would give him the pacifier, and he would drift back to sleep. So, this led me to do another CRAZY (crappy) Mom thing. I thought since he was waking several times a night because his paci fell out of his mouth…maybe we should wean him from his paci. Sound insane? Well, you’re right. It was insane. None of us slept a wink all night because we were constantly in there trying to soothe him every other way but with a paci. My thought was, if I could just get him to go to sleep without his paci, then when he wakes up and doesn’t have it, then he won’t need us to come in and give it to him. Well, it was a good thought in theory. EXCEPT… infants have the need to suck. That’s how they self soothe. So, he was still waking up, except this time MANY more times, and my dumb ass took away the only thing that makes him soothe himself!
So, where did I get this idiot idea from? The internet. Sometimes I think that our parents had it much better not knowing what the hell they were doing and just following their gut instead of reading all the useless BS that is on the internet these days AND reading all these silly books that say you can have a breastfed baby sleeping 10hrs a night by 3 months old. Needless to say, we ended up giving him back his pacifier. Dan practically had to knock some sense into me. (I’m so glad he intervened) He wasn’t really down with the idea to begin with, but he was trying to be supportive of what I thought was the right thing to do.
Fast forward a few days later and we had teeter tottered between giving him six and seven feedings during the day, and adjusted his awake times during the day to see if it would in turn give him more sleep time at night. That didn’t work. I sought out the advice of others on forums and blogs, and they confirmed that the six feedings should be sufficient for him, so we decided to keep it that way, and find out if there was something else that was causing him to wake.
Here we are a couple of days later and the crappy Mama syndrome hit me. Why isn’t he sleeping through the night? What is it that I’m doing wrong? He USE to sleep though the night. What has changed? Instead of trying to find “opinions”…at this point I just wanted facts. I went to La Leche League site, and posted a thread on their forum about my feeding and sleeping delimma. Of course, I knew that I would find a bunch of crunchy moms that believe in attachment parenting, no schedule, baby wearing, hippies, but nevertheless… I also knew that they know a heck of alot about breastfeeding too. This is where I found out that it is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics that infants average about 8 feedings a day up until they’re six months of age. Yikes!! Then it dawned on me… OMG has my precious son been hungry all this time at night when he’s been waking up, and I’ve just been giving him a paci? I”m the worst Mom on the planet! I started to think about it and it all made sense. Since he’s older, he weighs more, he needs MORE milk. I was reducing the feedings and not giving him any more quantity.
Sounds so simple when I look back on it and I begin to wonder how I made this crucial mistake to begin with. It began with trying to figure out how many times other people on my forum with babies Parker’s age were feeding their little one, not taking into consideration that they may be formula fed, which takes MUCH longer to digest than breastmilk, which takes about 90 mins.
So, I’ve learned that I need to trust myself and try to listen to my son’s cues a little better. I just want to know that he’s growing and thriving and being absolutely everything he can be. I think it’s so easy for first time Moms to wonder what other people are doing with their babies instead of focusing on the individual that your baby is. We have never met two adults that eat, sleep or interact with others the same, so why do we expect our babies to?
Lesson Learned! Now hopefully I won’t have any more crappy Mom moments for years to come! (Hey, a person can dream right?)