The Guilt

IMG_1850fWhy do I always feel guilty? Why do I always feel that I am not doing enough? Why do I always think that the grass is always greener on the other side? As we approach the six month-mark of exclusive breastfeeding (so proud of myself), and four sharp teeth, I am contemplating the idea of changing things up. I have discussed about potentially getting a pump with some of you, and still haven’t. I am beyond exhausted. I have lost an amazing amount of weight (which is great, don’t get me wrong, but I feel weak), my nipples are sore, and I am just not enjoying it as much. We are still co-sleeping, and she still nurses frequently at night.

I feel the need to mention that I am writing this post during a growth-spurt and therefore, I am very sensitive about the issue. After a couple nights of constant nursing, I am ready to tackle tonight but I can’t help and wonder: Have I hit rock bottom? Is this it? Can I keep going like that for a few more months?

One part of me wants to stop breastfeeding and feels extremely guilty for not wanting to continue to do what is best for my daughter. And the other part of me wants the best for me (mentally and physically speaking). It is just me and the girls 24/7 most of the times as my husband works away, and although we have family here, I care for them exclusively. I dream of a day off. I feel bad about it but it would make me feel so good – walking around, light and free. I would sleep in, read an entire book, window-shop without the stress of being as quick as possible so that my babies aren’t too cranky by the end of it, create, paint, do nothing.

What does it have to do with breastfeeding? Yes, good point. Well, I feel like I am losing myself. I don’t want to be cranky anymore because my child bites me when I feed her. I don’t want to be cranky because I don’t have time for myself in the evening. I don’t want to be cranky because I don’t have uninterrupted sleep. But when she is in her own bed, I can’t find sleep because I miss her.

My first baby drank formula when she turned 2 months old. I wanted the best for her. And I want the best for the new baby. But I know more. I have grown as a parent, and a mother, and it is hard to ignore the simple facts. Breast is best. It is not going to damage her – Sixtine is a beautiful toddler, but I can’t quite tell myself: “Oh, I am tired, I’ll just give her formula. It doesn’t matter that it isn’t best for her.” Pumping would be ideal. Unfortunately, it takes up so much time and energy – I am afraid it might make things even more complicated than they are now.

I am at a complete loss.

On The Sleeping Scene

When we brought our daughter home from the hospital, we decided to co-sleep with her as it was easier for me. I was exhausted and having her by my side while I was breastfeeding was our best option at the time. Long story short, I stopped breastfeeding and my husband was able to help with the feedings but after a month and a half, I started to feel overwhelmed. I couldn’t do anything as my daughter was only happy in my arms, on my chest or her father’s. I couldn’t rest, and I couldn’t get anything done.

So one night, I decided that was the end of it. My daughter would sleep in her own bed, in her own room. We bought a set of three baby monitors and when my husband was away for a couple days, I started “sleep training” her (I am not talking about sleeping through the night here – she still needed to eat every 3 to 4 hours). The first night was really hard for both of us. She was missing me, I was missing her and I felt guilty. After about an hour, I took her back with me. The second night, I waited three hours. And she was less unhappy about it than the night before. The third day she made very little noise and seemed ok with the idea. After a week: the “sleep training” was over. I missed her at first but got used to sleep better very quickly !

About a month ago, I started to space out the feedings by putting her soother back in her mouth instead of feeding her. 15 minutes the first time, then 30…and so on.

Now, she usually goes to bed at 8.30pm and won’t wake up until 5 or 6am in the morning. She does wake up some time during the night, but it is rare enough. She has been a bit off lately – teething ! – and her routine has been a little different but she slept from 8.30pm last night to 9am this morning. I was on duty for early feeding this time and didn’t have to wake up early ! Haha !

I am hoping that this post won’t turn against me and make my baby girl a night owl…I know that sleeping routines are not set in stones, especially at such early age (growth spurt, teething, etc) but I will do my best to make it easy for everyone. She seems to enjoy life much better after a good night sleep, just like we do !

How about you and your little one(s)? Have you tried co-sleeping? Did it work for you? Do you have any advice for other parents?