The Facts About The Night Feed

Our second child who is now 8 months old slept through (or as good as) from 6 weeks. I then stupidly bragged about how well she was sleeping, considering our first never slept. He was always awake. So after all the bragging and the blissful nights, it’s no surprise she decided she would start to wake in the night. Not just once and not just for a quick feed. No. That would be too easy. She would wake every two hours and sometimes for a three hour long stretch of crying. Aren’t we lucky.

Every night we put her to bed hopeful. Cooing over that sweet face drifting off in to sleep. Wondering ‘could tonight be the night?‘. And let me tell you, tonight is most certainly, not the night. Minutes after we leave the room she’s wide awake. Screaming at maximum volume, standing in her cot and swinging from the railings.

She doesn’t want milk, of course she doesn’t she’s just had her bottle. What does she need? is the question we ask each other every night. Sometimes we even ask her ‘what do you need?’.

After a period of persistent rocking mumbling for fucksake under my breath, over and over because that programme I’ve been looking forward to watching has started (and the mass of housework that needs to be done). I give up. It’s not easy rocking a baby who obviously is not in the mood for rocking and cuddles and at the risk of waking the toddler, the risk that’s never worth taking, I bring her downstairs. She’s now beaming with a smile from ear to ear. Wanting to bang my head against the wall.

So, what now? She’s tired, but she won’t sleep. I can never understand that. Tired but won’t sleep. Jesus, if someone said to me ‘go on, get yourself to bed’ I’d give them a swift high-five and be in the bed before they’d even finished the sentence. We usually spend an hour downstairs, watching the same episode of Mickey Mouse we’ve seen hundreds of times because I keep forgetting to record another. You know the one, Pete is a leprechaun and all the crew want to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Scratches eyes out. Towards the end of this hour there’s a glimmer of hope that she may just go to sleep! You’re shitting me? She might actually go to sleep? That’s right, you were shitting me. She’s not going to sleep.

PhotoGrid_1435583607563 (1)By now I’ve lost all hope, me and Mr Firstooth are drowning our sorrows, wine for me. We can’t win here. She stays up with us, she’s restless and crying. She’s in her cot, screaming her little lungs off. It brings me to tears every, single, evening. It’s a mixture of sadness because nothing I can do will settle her and anger, I’m not ashamed to say, it annoys me. The constant crying and no reasoning throughout the evening is enough to tip anyone over the edge. I have to hand over to Mr Firstooth for a breather, a walk in the garden and a top-up of wine.

Eventually a calm daddy settles her to sleep. How the hell? I don’t care, she’s asleep, hurrah!

We then convince ourselves that the amount of milk that she’s just had and the amount of crying she’s just done, must be enough to wear her out. She will sleep for at least 4 hours before her next waking, perhaps even until morning, she is exhausted after-all. Ha! We have no hope. None whatsoever. She wakes another six times following this horrific evening.

I will lay rigid for a few of these night-feeds (not even a night-feed she has a few sips, a cry and then back to sleep, it’s a midnight snack every hour) Mr Firstooth will experience an elbow in his ribs and a small amount of shin-kicking as gentle persuasion to just feed the baby. You do it. I’m not doing it. I hate my life I hate my life.

Morning arrives and the baby wakes up like nothing has happened. Bright as a button. Probably because the lucky little bugger gets to nap when she fancies it. Sneers. I, on the other hand, am struggling to keep my eyes open and instead of putting the milk in the fridge, it somehow always ends up in the cupboard. I am now officially a grumpy mum for the rest of the day.

Overall, night ‘feeds’ *rolls eyes* are shit. They are the bloody awful part of having children. I don’t really hate my life, but I hate night feeds.

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7 thoughts on “The Facts About The Night Feed

  1. I really feel for you hun. I can only imagine your exhaustion. BattleKid didn’t sleep through until 4-5 months old and even then he was up between 4 and 5am for a breastfeed after one at 11pm. Even now at 18 months old we have good nights and bad nights but I think his cries and shouts are now down to dreams as he’s not fully awake.

    We went through a spell of him standing in his cot and crying just after his first birthday when we put him to bed (this after him self-sealing since 8 months old) and I’ll be honest I did some controlled crying with him, which I appreciate isn’t for alot of people and might be difficult your situation with your toddler to think about.
    I hope your little girl settles back soon for you but remember, you’re not alone, many of us are going through it or have done recently and it will get better. Sorry I know they sound like famous last words. Xx

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    • You’re so lovely, thank you. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel in my toddler who is now sleeping through. I think I may start the cry it out with the baby a little sooner than my toddler. She is a funny little bean but turns into a devil at night. It’s tough on my sanity but we will get there! Xx

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  2. I’m sorry you are going through this, it’s terrible 😦 I don’t think you mentioned how long this has been going on for but if it hasn’t been too long it might be for a few reasons that could offer you peace of mind a) she’s teething b) she’s learning new skills and they are very exciting to her like crawling, walking and or talking c) if you breast feed maybe you are having caffeine later than you should without realizing it like chocolate or something. I hope it passes soon, it seems like it might as she was such a good sleeper not so long ago. I wish you luck, even though it doesn’t feel like it (probably) you’ll get through it and it will just all be a memory or a blur!

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    • Thank you for your comment, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with the first two suggestions (she a pro crawler and I can see another tooth popping through) and I’m wondering since she’s been weaned whether she’s just not quite getting enough. These times really don’t last long but they will be the death of me I’m sure! Yes! I look forward to it all being a blur but I’m not looking forward to my baby growing up, it’ll be bittersweet 🙂

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  3. I feel your pain! My little lady is 5 months old and has never slept through. We got down to 1-2 feeds a night but now we’re back to every 2-3 hours. Does your baba have a bedtime routine? We introduced a routine recently and it at least gave us our evenings back which was a big hurrah! It was the best thing we ever did! At least you can try and make yourself feel better knowing that it’s teething and new skills like Ginger suggested? I am telling myself that this blip we’re going through is teething although I still can’t see the little buggers (I can feel them though, ouch!!!) I hope she sleeps better for you shortly and gives you a rest, it is exhausting, like nothing I’ve ever known before! Xx

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    • Sorry for the late reply! We have a routine and have done since birth really. I think when I adapted her routine, it threw her out so much that she’s not been able to go back to the perfect sleeper she was. Routines are brilliant for getting some ‘you time’. The earlier the better! There’s definitely teeth rumbling through. It amazes me the disruption they cause! I hope your little one (and you) doesn’t suffer too much with teething. I didn’t envision this part of parenting, but we survived last time. Lots of tea and tv (I cheat sometimes) when you need a break xx

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  4. Ah yes! I do remember those days well! I took a drastic measure and will write a post on it today as you have inspired me 🙂 thank you for linking on #wineandboobs

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