Lisa

Nurse. Mummy. Wife. Life.


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Night Feeds

My son turned 9 months last week. He loves his food, and I am still breastfeeding him. My aim is to breastfeed till he is 12 months old.

Every now and then I will read up about baby development, and what to expect with my son. And I often find it interesting that most books, and websites say that a baby of 9 months does not need feeds during the night, and should be sleeping through the night. Now this is not happening with me, and to be honest I have no problem with it.

My son has always been a great night sleeper. He figured out from very early on that night was for sleeping, and currently sleeps approx 10-12 hours a night. BUT……he is yet to sleep through. He will wake anywhere between 1-3 times for a feed.

Now I know most people will say it’s a bad habit, and he is only feeding for comfort to fall back asleep etc…….But it works for me. Although it’s hard dragging myself out of bed to feed a baby at 2am, I can’t bear to face the alternative. I don’t handle my son crying too well. My stomach goes into a knot, and my heart races. I’m hoping that over the coming months, my son will sleep longer periods, and eventually through the night in his own time when he is ready.

There is a lot of pressure on mothers to have their child on this perfect schedule, and to be super mum. But I am trying to take the good with the bad. You can choose your battles. I feel well rested for the most part, and my son is happy, so do I really want to rock the boat. What if I try and push the whole sleep through the night thing and he turns into a gremlin! I feel he is still so little, and if he needs a little comfort at night, then so be it.

I guess the key is to find what works for you. As long as you are coping, and feel on top of things, then who cares what the books say. Trust yourself, and your gut feeling. I have at times struggled with the whole subject, and with some of the information out there, you are made to feel like you are spoiling them for giving them a night feed. But does it really matter? It is not like the child is 5 and waking for a bottle…..

Maybe I am being naive, and too optimistic about it. But I am willing to see where this road leads us…….

 


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Take a moment to count your blessings.

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When I was pregnant it came as quite a surprise at the amount of women who were very pessimistic about lack of sleep as a result of having a baby. As soon as you told anyone you were pregnant you quite often got a response like “get used to being tired” or “say goodbye to your sleeps”, and I even remember one lady serving me at the shops say “you are going to wish you could shove that baby back up there for a day so you can sleep”.

It was quite disheartening at the amount of tired, grumpy, negative mothers out there I would come across.

So fast forward to now, and I am now a mother to a 7 month old baby. I can talk on the whole sleep subject, as I have gone through the sleepless nights, and that blurry haze they call the first 6 weeks. And to be honest I think some mothers have forgotten how good they have it.

I am a paediatric nurse and have spent many years caring for some of the sickest children. Cancer, blindness, deafness, autism, developmentally delayed, cerebal palsy, and the list goes on. I have spent many hours at work caring for children and their families who are praying for a miracle so they can take their baby home and live a normal life. I have taken care of children that have never been home their whole life. I have taken care of families who have exhausted all their avenues for treatment and have been told to go home and make the most of the last few moments with they will have with their baby before they die.

What I am trying to get at is that sleepless nights come with the territory of motherhood, but what I have done is always try and put it into perspective. I have a happy and healthy little boy who is doing exactly what he is meant to be doing, and the fact he wakes me up for a feed in the middle of the night or wakes up at 6am for play is trivial compared to some of the things I have seen keep mothers up at night in hospital. I often think to myself, who am I to complain about being tired when there are mothers in hospital who have never had the opportunity of taking their baby home! Who am I to complain about being woken in the night, when I have witnessed mothers not sleep a wink because their grief has consumed them. After seeing what I have seen I sometimes feel I have no right to complain.

I guess you can say this is a sensitive issue for me. But I also have to remind myself that it’s all relative. Sometimes when you are in the midst of it all it’s hard to take a step back and appreciate all the wonderful things in your life. Sometimes you do need to just have a moment, and vent and have someone acknowledge that what you are going through is real. I do just sometimes wish I could have a sleep in, or not wake in the night to a crying baby. Everyone copes and deals with situations differently.

Nothing in life is forever, and your baby is not a baby forever. That is always a reassuring thought for me- that this phase he is going through of waking in the night will pass. I have to admit one of my favourite moments of the day is those middle of the night feeds. Because it’s my time of reflection, and a time for me to thank my blessings.