Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Musings of a sleepy Mom

Things have improved greatly, regarding my sanity, since Shira started sleeping through the night. All you Moms out there probably know how frustrating it is to try to fall asleep, knowing that in just 2-3 hours, you'll have to wake up again. Perhaps some people deal well with sleep deprivation, but a few weeks of it left me totally incapacitated and desperately trying to sneak a nap here and there whenever our little one slept during the day, or simply was willing to quietly be on her own.

These days, when Shira falls asleep at night, there's a fair chance I can look forward to 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. What a blessing. After a night of sound sleep, I can face almost anything. After a restless night, I'm discomposed and unproductive.

Still, at the end of a long day, I'm ready to crash when she does, and am extremely irritated if anyone or anything tries to keep me awake when I might be sleeping.

I can reason with myself about self-denial and tending to the needs of others, but a few restless days will quickly do me in, until I'm good for nothing. That's why, when I come to the midday dilemma of "housework or a nap?" I often choose the nap, and don't feel guilty about it.

Another important thing is to eat well. I used to be proud of myself because I didn't have time to sit down and eat a nutritious meal (yes, this is coming from someone with a degree in nutrition, if you can believe it), since I was so busy taking care of my baby and my home. Last week I looked in the mirror and was startled to see bones where I never saw them before. I didn't realize how rapidly I'm losing weight.

Then I caught myself and said, hey, adequate nutrition for a nursing mother has a double purpose – providing a good milk supply for the baby, and keeping Mom strong, cheerful and able to take care of herself and those she loves. Ever since, I have tried not to go hungry, and to eat wholesome, while often very simple, meals.

However selfless we might try to become, eating and sleeping is a priority.


Anonymous said...

Welcome to first-time motherhood... :) Sounds like you and Shira are both doing wonderfully. What a good baby to sleep through the night so soon.

DO eat and DO sleep - I guarantee that it matters more to your husband that you are sweet-tempered than the laundry is folded. (And when I am truly sleep-deprived, what I think is a mild rebuff is usually something on the level of a dragon's roar).

It's such a blessing to read your writings, you're so level-headed and God has blessed you with great wisdom.

-Anon Amy

Dragon Petals said...

My daughter has just started sleeping through the night last week. She is 13 months, and I hadn't gotten more than 1-2 hours of sleep at a time since early 2006. Oh boy was I ready for sleep. It makes a WORLD of difference. People told me she was too young to nightwean but we did it anyway. She seems perfectly happy and sleeps a good 10 hours now, and *I GET TO SLEEP!* Whoo-hoo! I'm celebrating with you! And as far as eating goes - definitely eat as much as you can - nursing a baby means needing lots of nutrients to make milky from. I am eating voraciously now that I'm nursing.

Bethany said...

Dear Anna!
You have me worried about you!
Please do try to get sufficient sleep and good, healthy food! Shira and your husband are counting on you!
God bless.

Kyle, Amanda, and Tobias said...

I completely agree! Be careful about eating enough while nursing, you'll be amazed how many calories you need. I didn't change eating habits at all during pregnancy, but while nursing I have consistently eaten 5 meals a day and managed to maintain my weight. Before when I ate just 3 meals I lost all 33 lbs from pregnancy and then an additional 10 lbs so I was at the same weight I was at age 14! I was tired and had no energy either. I also became diligent about taking my prenatal vitamins every day while nursing, that helped tremendously.

I'm so glad you're taking care of yourself now, it's so important! You will want Shira taking care of herself as well as others when she is grown so you'll have to set that good example :-)

Everybody's Mama said...

Rest and good nutrition definitely add up to a happy mommy and a good milk supply! Another thing to think about is not only a good quantity of milk but good quality. Plenty of vitamins for your milk to keep Shira healthy with lots left over to keep you healthy, too!

a new mom myself said...

NEVER feel guilty for napping while the baby naps. Take care of yourself first, so you will be able to cake better care of Shira & your husband. Housework *can* wait.

Bethany Hudson said...

I'm glad you're getting more sleep again, Anna. I'm praying that our new little boy will learn to sleep through the night much earlier than Sophia did--it took her nine months because her metabolism is so high, and she was always hungry! I think that good nutrition and eating regularly was the only thing that kept me functioning those months since I, like you, do not handle sleep deprivation very well. Fortunately my body gives me loud and clear signals when I am hungry (for example, my hands will start to shake) so it keeps me disciplined about feeing it :)

Persuaded said...

aww honey, sleep deprivation can make even the most even tempered of us feeling a bit desperate. you are doing a hard hard *hard* job- make sure you are being easy enough on yourself.

lots of love and prayers♥

Jessica said...

Awww. I think what Persuaded just said was sooo sweet. : )

I don't have any children but sometimes I work night shifts and it always surprises me how edgy and spacey the sleep deprivation makes me feel.

Say hello to that beautiful Israel sky and breathe in that wonderful air for me. It's been four weeks and I STILL get teary when I think about being there. Thanks for posting the beautiful pictures of the landscape.

Aelwyn said...

You are fortunate! My little one did not sleep through the night for over two years. She still will occasionally wake at around 3 a.m. and ask "Is it waking up time?" She will sometimes then toss and turn for an hour occasionally calling for me. She is now 3 years old.

Anonymous said...

I ditto everyone else- take care of yourself. Just so you know, it gets easier to handle the constant waking with each child ( I have eight). Sleep depravation is still hard to deal with, but you learn to nap better during the day to compensate.

Anonymous said...

Oh my! I feel for your sleep-deprived days! My "baby" is 5 years old and has several health/sleeping issues. I have not slept through the night since he was born. I take naps on the weekends while my belove is home but not during the week as I teach my other 4 children at home. You are so correct about eating healthy as well as taking a refreshing walk around 2ish in the afternoon (my personal tired time). Of course, stealing lots of kisses from your precious little one will rejuvenate anyone!
Mrs. W.

Mrs. Lindblom said...

I look back fondly on the days when I could "nap when baby did". Now that I have my second baby, I pretty much can't even function until I've had my coffee in the morning! lol
My son has dropped his naps, and my baby still gets up a time or two during the night, so I just do my best to cope for now.

Otter Mom said...

I think the best advice I was given when I had a new baby was to nap when she did. I tried getting my housework done while she napped but then I was so exhausted I couldn't see straight. Which didn't help me take care of her, my husband or my home. Once I started to nap when she did, it made a world of difference and I was able to get everything done and I felt much better. She was about 4 months old when she started sleeping through the night.

Anonymous said...

"...eating & sleeping is a priority." Too true, Anna! And it's all too easy to let bad eating habits creep in when you're looking after a new baby. There's nothing virtuous about skipping meals! That, coupled with less sleep, is a sure recipe for eventual failure.

thinking of you,

Jennifer @ Conversion Diary said...

These are such important points. I actually felt strongly called through prayer to start taking a hard look at what I eat and how it impacts my life before my baby was born a couple weeks ago. The results were amazing: I realized that the unhealthy foods I was eating were not just making me gain unnecessary weight that made me sluggish, but that it was making me grouchy and irritable as well, and therefore much less able to be the best wife and mother I could.

With this new baby (#4), for the first time I am eating a healthy diet in the newborn period, and the results are amazing. I have much more energy and am not gaining weight like crazy like I usually do in the first few weeks.

Anyway, all that rambling is to say: great post, I agree! :)

Karen said...

Well, my baby has been sleeping thru the night almost from the very start. But before u say you wish you could be so lucky, think again...

It comes at a heavy price! I spend almost my ENTIRE day nursing her, with never more than 2 hours in between, and usually only 30 minutes!! Drives me nuts! But I do get my sleep at night. And boy do I ever need it.