Getting very sleepy...

Sleep is something that isn't done to well in this household.
Ryley has to have medication to help him sleep, and even with that, he wakes at least 3-4 times a night for a drink and a resettle.
Braeden...well he has NEVER slept through the night, and his latest trick is to wake through the night screaming and refuse a BF, drink of water and even cuddles.
Add to that the fact that both the kids think that first light means it's time to get up (5:20am in the morning), and it makes for a very grumpy, sleep deprived Mumma.

Sometimes I wonder if people understand the exhaustion I feel every day. I manage it with a cup or two of strong coffee, but I know it is starting to affect me and I wonder how long it will take for others to notice. Most people wouldn't realise that I am still BFing Braeden at least every 2 hours through the night. It takes me and hour and half to get him to sleep most nights and then he is up again 2 hours later!

So why do I do it? Why not just let him cry himself back to sleep?
Well, a number of reasons. Firstly, I will state outright that my style of parenting is not like most peoples. I am what is known as an 'Attachment Parent'. I believe that in order for a child to grow up emotionally stable, they need to be responded to, so, for me, this includes co-sleeping, breastfeeding, baby-wearing, actually sitting down and playing, teaching the kids how to behave, and letting them express themselves, but with plenty of boundaries! This belief is backed up by plenty of empirical evidence. We know that between the ages of 0-2 years, a baby must be responded to when it cries, or else it quickly figures out how to 'give up' and learn that it's needs won't be met. It enters a survival mode, and yes, will be quiet, but also learns not to trust the world. Often these are the babies that are called 'good' babies, because they are quiet and tend not to scream for their parents attention for long (because they realise they won't get it).
Unfortunately, these babies will go on to be toddlers who can't cope, have great difficulties in social behaviour and cannot regulate their emotions. They then go on to be children who are clingy, anxious or have difficult behaviour...etc etc.
So I guess that is partly why I still get up through the night to BF, or David gets up to Ryley. In Ryley's case it is a little different. He has seizures through the night and he often needs a drink. Sometimes he has a bad dream. I couldn't for the life of me imagine not responding to his cries, no matter how hard it is sometimes.

I do want to stress that this style of parenting is not for everyone. Based on the current research it is by far one of the best for the children, but there are definite variations which would work just as well for other people. Most people that I know would parent in a similar style. Every child is different though, and I am always envious of people whose children sleep through the night without any troubles at all!!
I really just wanted to explain why I haven't weaned Braeden, or why I don't just be 'tough' and let him cry himself back to sleep. I just can't do it.

Although, there are times, when I am up for the umpteenth time BF, when I am bawling my eyes out from the pure exhaustion and I wish I had kids who would sleep through the night...

It will come. Sleeping through the night is a developmental milestone. Like all milestones, some reach it quicker than others. For those BF babies and toddlers, it does just take that wee bit longer. I am assured by one of my best friends that it does come...she has been exactly where I am at, but now has a 3 year old who sleeps through the only another year of no sleep hey? Better invest in a coffee shop then!


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