Who Needs Sleep?

I should be asleep. Catch and Charlotte have both been out for over an hour. Charlotte would only sleep while attached to me last night, which meant lousy, choppy sleep on the lousy, lumpy couch. I should be dead to the world tonight.  I’m not though, which just goes to show you that your body actually does adjust to getting a ridiculously insignificant amount of sleep.

I blame breastfeeding. If I pump and give her a bottle, I can usually get a 3 hour stretch from her. If I nurse her instead (because seriously–who wants to pump in the middle of the night?) I get two hours if I’m lucky. Once 3 or 4 am hits, its usually every hour from there. 

I hear from so many moms that at this age, their baby was only waking once or was sleeping through the night, and it fills me with total anxiety. 

You know what I’ve gone through to be able to breastfeed. I take 29 pills every day to be able to produce what I do now. That’s crazy, right? If you saw my pill stash in the kitchen, you’d think I was seriously ill. So this no-sleep business just has me questioning my boobs and their abilities.  I am totally insecure. 

The thing is that she always seems satisfied after she eats. She usually falls asleep or pops off on her own after a reasonable time and she usually isn’t interested in the other side. Her timing is the same during the day. I can’t even get to/from the grocery store in time for her to eat. 

So is this sleep business her? Or is it my boobs?

I have no clue. 

Why is breastfeeding so damn hard for me? I am so sick of worrying about my boobs. Charlotte seems healthy and happy, but she is constantly on the boob. It is wearing me out. (And then I feel guilty for being worn out because I WANTED THIS SO BADLY.)


I remember thinking I couldn’t make it 4 weeks with breastfeeding. Then my goal was 2 months. Then 3. Then 4. Now I think I might just be able to make it a year, but we have got to figure this out. Mommy needs sleep. Hell, mommy needs to be able to cook a meal from start to finish. 


11 thoughts on “Who Needs Sleep?

  1. I don’t know what it is in this situation but I feel like I haven’t slept a whole night since before Bumbi was 1 and now she is well over 2 and while my body functions on caffeine my brain still longs for sleep. So sorry you are going through this.

  2. If it helps, it is absolutely within the range of normal for babies this age to wake regularly like that. I make enough milk that Darwin gets more from breastfeeding than she ever would from a bottle during a feeding (she never liked bottles) and her sleep was like that for a long time.

    You probably already know, but did want to mention since you brought up the couch, that cosleeping on couches and recliners (even accidentally due to exhaustion) is one of the most dangerous ways to sleep with a young baby. If you are exhausted and think you might fall asleep while nursing be sure to be on a flat, firm surface.

    It will get better, one day we will all sleep again!

  3. Okay, so on the surface you are doing a brilliant job. You’ve just ‘caught up’ to Charlotte and her needs after the hassles you’ve had with feeding. And if nothing ever changed then you’d continue to do a brilliant job.
    The thing is, they are always changing. Just when you fist-pump “Yeah! I got this!” The little buggers go through a growth spurt (about now!) and everything changes. Again. Repeat…forever…
    And this current leap (if you believe in wonder weeks) is NASTY. In no uncertain terms…excuse the language… It f*cks with your head. They DO want you. Then they DON’T want you. Your breasts feel empty. The babies act hungry. They also act insane. Violence towards mother ensues. It’s a war zone. It’s elder abuse.
    The good news? Eventually you will catch up, fist-pump, and feel like you’re on top of things once more. The babies are learning something amazing at the moment and that’s why they are tiny little weirdos. All their energy is going into mental and physical development. At the end of this horrible month (yes, month) they’ll be able to speak fluent Mandarin.
    Oh wait, shake a rattle.

  4. Have you still a relationship with your lactation consultant? In my experience, they’re often open to still giving some advice every so often throughout that first year if you’ve paid for a consultation in the past. They might have some suggestions or game plans. If your LC just isn’t giving you good advice then maybe consult a new one. I’m no expert but I do know that nighttime nursing is the best time to boost prolactin production and keep up supply. Maybe it’s just a matter of not pumping at night and nursing exusively instead, since they can suck more than you can get with a pump, and after a few nights your supply will catch up to her demand and maybe will start bring able to sustain her for longer stretches…

  5. My wife would super identify with this – so many pills, so much anxiety, so little sleep. Junie also feeds every 1-2 hours, sleeps 1-2 hours at a time (if we are lucky), and it is HARD. And it is also totally hard hearing about other babies that sleep for significant chunks, and how it should be easier by now, when it just isn’t. I hope Junie and C catch up by being amazing toddler sleepers! (Um, universe? before that would be nice too, if you’re listening.)

  6. So, I don’t know how to give advice because honestly each and every baby is different. Don’t take what others say about baby sleep personal. Our first woke up constantly, our second slept like a champ. It just depends on the baby. I think she may be comfort nursing if she’s wanting to nurse so often. Or she could be going through a growth spurt which is so often she may just want to nurse so frequently. She’s quickly growing so maybe that’s the case. I HIGHLY recommend talking briefly with a lactation consultant. So many new moms don’t do this and ask advice from others which you can see from your comments everyone has something different to say. I think your doing amazing, it’s nothing your NOT doing or doing wrong. She’s just growing fast and wants to nurse frequently. But I can see the exhaustion. What worked for me was using a bedside co-sleeper so the boys could be right next to me. Smell me ect. It really worked. Then when I nursed I was literally just rolling over and grabbing him out of the co-sleeper to nurse and back to bed they went right next to me. Arms reach co-sleepers are the best! I hope you can catch up on sleep today my dear! 🙂

  7. I used to beat myself up wondering why my friends babies slept through the night when mine was waking so frequently. I played the compare game and it did not help me feel better at all. It is still well within thr range of normal for Charlotte to be waking! Evie sure did a lot at that age.

    I hope you can catch a nap this weekend!

  8. Awww, obviously I have no words of wisdom but tons of support! That sounds so hard and I could see myself feeling just as you do. I really hope your milk decides to do a 180 or just bump up by another 25%! 29 pills a day is a huge commitment and I really can’t imagine how you find time right now☺️

  9. Yep. It’s hard when everyone one else has perfect little sleepers. Charlie wakes up after three hours almost on the dot. Then she gets in bed with me most of the time and i get a much longer stretch-like 5-6 hours. It may not even be the breastfeeding-do you think she is comfy in her sleep situation? Honestly I think Charlie only wakes up to nurse after the three hours because she’s in her pack n play and not with us. Either way, you’re doing great as long as she’s healthy and putting on weight.

  10. A was definitely still waking with that kind of schedule when he was Charlotte’s age, and he still wakes 1-3 times a night at 8 months. I think it almost never had anything to do with amount of milk, babies need lots of things and sleep in a variety of stretches. That said, I understand the weird anxious balance of sleep vs. Supply. Sometimes I get nervous A will start sleeping all night and nursing will be over for us. And that anxiety is reasonable but not helpful.
    In any case, Charlotte isn’t waking up because you don’t make enough milk. I almost guarantee it.

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