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My Girl Likes To Party Like Lionel Ritchie - ALL NIGHT LONG

Cora is four and a half months now, and is
driving me crazy with the sleep thing.

I know that every kid is different, and you should never compare,
but Maddie was sleeping nine or ten hours at a stretch by this
time, nursing, and going back to sleep for another three.
She’d go through these phases when she hit developmental
growth spurts where she’d wake up a couple times a night for
a month or so, then settle back down again.

Cora, on the other hand, has yet to sleep through the night.

And when I say “sleep through the
night”, I mean longer than five hours, though that is the
definition most (sadistic) doctors use. Cora will go to sleep
fairly easily around 9 or 9:30 p.m., needing us to go in a couple
times to soothe without picking up as she drops into a deep sleep.
But generally it’s pretty easy and she’ll be out for
the remainder of the “evening”. I’ll get all my
work done that didn’t happen while I was watching two kids
and stumble to bed around 12 or 12:30, cringing because I know
what’s coming next.

The 3 a.m. feeding.

Yes, Cora is still getting up at 3 a.m. And six a.m. And then
starts to really wake up at 8 a.m., at which point I desperately
bring her into bed with me for an extra hour of sleep before Maddie
wakes up.

I’ve gotten used to these two nightly feedings – Cora
seems genuinely hungry and is clearly too immature to sleep train
right now, though I dream of that day a couple months from now. But
I can function pretty well with those two nightly interruptions as
long as I get back to sleep pretty quickly. No, my problem is when
she gets up for her 3 a.m. feeding – and stays up.

Last night Cora got up at 3, nursed (and I mean really ate, not
just comfort sucked) for almost an HOUR. I spent another half hour
with her awake and content, lying on the boppy while I rocked
desperately – sleep, darn it! Sleep already! – and
tried to not hate her. Cora chatted. Cora blew raspberries. Cora
cooed. The one thing Cora did not do was sleep. At 4:30, in weepy
desperation, I put her down only drowsy. Rookie mistake, I know,
and we paid dearly since five minutes later the crying began.

At which point my crying began, and I kicked my husband out
to deal with her.

Long story not quite so long, we ended up trading rocking
privileges every half hour until Cora finally went to sleep at 5:30
– after nursing AGAIN. When I looked at the clock and
realized it was 5:20 and a mere forty minutes from her next
nursing, I said, “Kid, it’s time to eat. Now.”
She had, of course, no complaints.

I wish it were just evenings, but for whatever reason Cora
doesn’t seem to be a big fan of sleeping. Sure, she naps
three times a day, but before you “ooh” and
“aah” over that, let me explain that it’s after
half an hour of rocking, and each nap may last for ten minutes.

And my kid is clearly tired – red eyes, cranky, everything.
She just has trouble going into a deep sleep for whatever reason.
Most afternoons she’ll acquiesce and fall into a decent sleep
for an hour or two, but that is the limit and it’s
notoriously unreliable.

Some parents would advise that we keep her up really late, make her
incredibly tired, until she’s simply too fatigued to fall
asleep. This, I warn you, is another rookie mistake. For babies,
sleep begets sleep and if a baby is tired, the earlier you put her
down the longer she’ll sleep. Babies simply hit that point
where they’re too tired and can’t go to sleep.

As I’ve said, though, that’s only half my problem. On
most nights she simply wants to hang out, smiling and chatting.
I’d happily put her in her bassinet to talk to herself, but
this doesn’t work so well: she’s fine as long as
she’s with someone, but leave her alone and she’ll
crank it up quickly and severely.

So for now I try to grit my teeth and get through it, dreaming
about this time next year when she’ll be sleeping through the
night and these wakings are a distant memory.

At least I hope they’ll be a distant memory by then.


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