Saturday, May 1, 2010

Day 99: Night wakings all over the place

Mari has gotten down to a number of night wakings I consider more or less acceptable -- one or two. Though of course none would be ideal, it may be asking too much at this stage, especially given that Mari tends to sleep a fairly long stretch in total at night -- from about 7:30 AM to 6:30 AM. However, looking back at the so-useful graphs on, I see no pattern at all as to when the night wakings occur.

Mari does normally nurse when she wakes up. She definitely seems to need to nurse at least once at night, though whether she needs a second night feed is more questionable. However, given that she goes to bed at a fairly consistent time, her totally unpredictable night waking times make me wonder what's going on. Can it really be that sometimes she's hungry at 10:30 PM and other times, not until 5:00 AM? Or is something else going on? If so, what?

Especially if she wakes up early in the night, we try to get her back to sleep without feeding, but yesterday, I went out for awhile and left Jon in charge, only to find that Mari woke up at 10:15, a pretty much unheard-of hour for night wakings, and Jon was unable to get her back down, leading him to conclude she was hungry. I (stupidly) left the cell phone in my pocket and didn't hear it until he had called 11 times and Mari had been up more than an hour. Oops.

When I got home, I tried to feed her right away. When Mari's really hungry, she can go at me like a vampire. This time, she popped on and off the breast in a nonchalant manner, finally nursed from one breast, then rejected the second after only about 30 seconds. However, she then went back to sleep easily. So while she was hungry enough to eat, she didn't seem very hungry.

Mari seldom nurses to sleep now and I know she knows how to put herself back to sleep without nursing because sometimes I hear her cry out in the night, only to quickly stop without any intervention on our parts. Therefore, I've started to wonder if she's developed a sleep association not so much with nursing, but with me.

I'm always the one who puts Mari to bed. This makes sense because I nurse her because bed. I'm almost always the one who goes to her in the night. Again, this makes sense because she usually nurses if she's up at night (though occasionally I will soothe her without nursing, which may or may not work depending on how long it has been since she last nursed.) However, I don't want to be the only one who can respond to her and have her go back to sleep. (When I nurse her at night, she doesn't actually fall asleep on the breast, but she gets very close.)

Jon, of course, has work to do during the day. I'm on maternity leave. Mari is my job. Should we nonetheless make a point of having Jon respond to her more often when she wakes up at night, so I don't have to be there for her to be able to fall back asleep?


  1. Karen--you have to do what works for your family, and you and Jon will decide what that is for you. But I'm looking for a gentle way to say that you two may have overlooked something: yes, Jon has work to do during the day, *as do you*, because (as you've said) Mari is your job. So maybe you each do your jobs for your eight-hour workday and then share the parenting the other 16? It never works out exactly 50/50 for any family I know (certainly it doesn't for ours) and that's not necessarily the goal, because maybe that's not what works, but I would say if you're able to negotiate it, absolutely YES, share more of the nighttime work. It's not super-fun, but it'll be good for you to get some breaks and good for Jon to get a chance to shine in this part of caring for the baby he obviously adores.

  2. You definitely make a good point, Nicole. I hadn't thought of it that way. Jon does respond to Mari sometimes if she wakes up in the evening, so I shouldn't make it sound like he does nothing, but it could certainly be more balanced. Trouble is, Mari won't take a bottle at all, and she'll take a sippy cup only if she's in the mood, siting upright and with a bib on because she'll only take it without the no-spill valve and thus spills half of it all over herself -- certainly not when she's half-asleep. So it's good if I respond to her when she needs to nurse at night. Trouble is, it's not clear when she really needs to nurse at night and when she's doing it just for comfort. Last week she had three nights in a row when she didn't wake up once, not even to nurse, and she didn't seem especially hungry when she woke up. Last night, she nursed three times at night because I was so desperate to get the little bugger back down. And yet, it again didn't seem to affect how much she ate or drank during the day. Babies... who can figure 'em out?

  3. Yeah. That. (And I didn't assume Jon was doing nothing! I don't figure that would really work for either of you.) Jake goes back to sleep easily if I nurse him, not so easily if alex has to try something else. We're in the position of a switch coming up: alex is going to be home starting in June, and I am going back to my job mid-June, so he's going to take over more nights. Perhaps we will even night-wean Mr. Babypants. But not without some screaming and a whole lot of pain-in-the-ass.