I never thought we’d fall into a routine. It was my only hope and wish from day 1 that Julian’s sleeping would even out, that he’d figure out his days and nights and fall into a fairly predictable sleeping and eating schedule. Then I could relax a tiny bit.
You know what happens when you picture your future life and how things “should” be. The Universe then laughs in your face and does the unthinkable. It’s rude.
Sleeping has been the one of the biggest challenges for me as a mom. It’s been an obsession and not a good one. It started in those early days when I was so extremely exhausted and working around the clock to take care of Jules. Then it continued as I read by 3 months or so babies should be falling into more of a set schedule and sleeping longer hours at night. I waited with bated breath. 4 months passed, then 5 and 6 and he was still very much on a baby who was only a few weeks old schedule. I was beyond exhausted, devoid of energy except when it came to caring for Julian and so ready to have a break for a couple hours a day or even get a good block of rest at night.
Brand new baby Julian and a very tired mama
I felt guilty that it must be something I was doing, right? I didn’t know my baby well enough. I wasn’t reading his signals or I was reading too deeply into them thinking he was tired when he wasn’t. Maybe it’s the nursing, maybe I don’t make enough milk to fill his belly and then he’s hungry and looking for me way sooner than he’s “supposed to”. If only he’d let me switch him to bottles or formula so I could at least rule out one cause. I should read more books or maybe I should throw everything out the window and do whatever he wants whenever he wants.
Nothing worked. His non-schedule remained his non-schedule. He did start sleeping better at night after we sleep trained him at 6 months old but he was still waking at least once at night on the regular and I would nurse him back to sleep until he was around 13-14 months because it was the only way we could both survive. Even still, teething and colds would wake him up fairly often. Sometimes I’d nurse him and sometimes Jeff would rock him back to sleep.
I wouldn’t say that we have our shit figured out quite yet but things are certainly better on the sleep front. I have no idea if it was the nursing or not, I think probably no because he started sleeping a bit better right before I weaned him. But he’s now sleeping through the night (HALLELUJA) and he’s even, dare I say, letting me put him down for naps in his crib and sleeping for over 30 minutes a LOT of the time. He still does short naps and car naps a few times a week (he cannot keep his eyes open in the car doesn’t matter the time of day) but this is a HUGE improvement, guys. Huge.
No makeup mama and 17 month old dirty shirt Julian…BFFs
I guess my point with this post is, if there is anyone reading this who is struggling and at the end of your rope because your little one is refusing to sleep, like, ever, I see you. I feel your pain. I see you scrolling through your phone at night in the dark looking for answers, laying awake in bed asking yourself WTF you are doing wrong. I know how tired and so desperate you are for a break, for even an hour once or twice a day, that doesn’t require you to be holding or driving your child so he sleeps so you can actually relax yourself for once.
Julian is almost 18 months old and he is JUST starting to come around with his sleeping and schedule. And who knows, babies/kids change all the time and this could just be a phase for him (please don’t let it be true!). Hang in there. You got this. Don’t drive yourself crazy and just trust that whatever decisions you do make on a daily basis concerning your child are the RIGHT ones for him or her. It took me a long time to feel confident in this belief and I wish I would have got it sooner.