Thursday, October 09, 2008

Chief nourisher in life's feast

Shakespeare certainly knew what he was talking about when he referred to sleep that way. Sleep nourishes you and helps you enjoy your wakeful hours so much better! I've wanted to write about sleep for a while now - Our lack of it, my growing obsession with it and my failed attempts to impose some kind of schedule on Kuttipa.

Before I launch into my sleep diatribe though, let me tell you about something cute that Kuttipa did recently. We were at the library for a Mother Goose story and rhyme session for babies recently. Midway during the program they serve snacks to the babies - this time it was Cheerios in a small paper cup, the kind you drink water from. As soon as Kuttipa sees the cup he opens his mouth and tips his head back and tries to drink from it. So whats the big deal? I actually thought it was pretty smart of him - he associated a cup with drinking. I know....I know...just a mother's pride in silly little things - but I cant help feeling happy when I notice things like that.

Now onto sleep. I happened to see a bit of Oprah the other day and the doc there was talking about how pregnancy shrinks a woman's brain by about 9% (ouch!). The good news is that it grows post delivery back to its original size but there are two things to do to enable that growth - eat plenty of Omega 3s and sleep a lot. Apparently the growth hormone is secreted in sleep and so being sleep deprived is going to kind of fry your brain. Oh, so that explains it all! But how are you supposed to sleep with a newborn on your hands? No one expects you to. But by the time your baby is 6 months old, they expect you to start catching up on those Zzzz s.

Excuse me, but I have a one year old baby here who clearly missed the bulletin sent out about sleeping through the night at 6 months. He wakes up every couple of hours - sometimes every hour and even worse, at times will stay awake for a couple of hours sometime in the night.

Stop whining! The problem is the cosleeping and breastfeeding. Stop both. Wean him and move him to his own crib in his own room. Sure he'll cry up a storm initially but watch how fast he learns to sleep on his own. Both of you will be feeling much better. This is advice I get constantly from friends, from the public health nurses and from even random people on the street.

Hmm.. Tempting. Tempting. Especially since I see all the non-nursing independently sleeping babies around his age sleep 10 or 11 hours straight and also take 2 hour naps at daytime. But I chose this lifestyle for a reason didn't I? Besides, am I strong enough to watch him cry for hours on end? Erm...maybe not...('Sucker!' my friends hiss)

So whats a co-sleeping breastfeeding mother to do? Why don't you night wean him, my husband asks. What a great idea! I think I'll ask for tips at the next LLL meeting. And so I do. They all look a bit shocked. "How old is your baby again?" one lady asks. Another says "It seems a bit early to be night weaning. The optimal age is 22 months." TWENTY TWO months? Clearly LLL is filled with stalwarts of selflessness who have no trouble waking every half hour if needed. But I am clearly not one of them.

Frenzied googling on the subject yielded a very promising link.
Dr.Gordon, I've not heard of you before but you give me such hope with your words. So I've decided to give this nightweaning a try. Wish me luck and then some more!

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