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20 August 2008 @ 09:04 am
If sleep is for the weak, then I will gladly accept the wuss title  
I have not slept a full night of sleep, straight through, no waking up, in over a year. A YEAR, PEOPLE!!! I got pregnant in mid-June 2007, and maybe by around the middle of July, or even earlier, I was already starting to wake up at night out of extreme thirst, extreme need to pee, or extreme boob pain (well, it wasn't that extreme, but I like my parallel adjectives :) ). The formermost and lattermost went away after the first trimester; the middlemost didn't. And then, as the pregnancy progressed, there were more nightly wakeups -- at first because of an even more extreme need to pee, and then because I was increasingly uncomfortable (hip pain, reflux, general discomfort), due to my gigantifying midsection.

Then Meghan was born, and obviously my sleeping worsened even more. The night of her birth, I slept only one hour (I went natural, no epidural, so my body and mind were in shock!!!), and the night after that, I slept maybe two or three hours. After that, for the next four months, she was waking up every two to three hours -- and sometimes every hour or more often! I have two friends whose daughters were born 5 and 6 weeks ahead of Meghan, respectively, and those kids started sleeping through the night at two months or earlier. In fact, the one who's 5 weeks ahead of Meghan has been sleeping a straight 12 to 13 hours at night for months! And what could I wring from my little alert one? Four hours...IF I WAS LUCKY. And after such a stretch of sleep, she'd wake up every 2 hours for the rest of the night. A few times, I got 5 or 6 hours out of her, but it was only a few times, and I never reaped the benefits, because I used some of that time to try to get some of my former life back (i.e., get back on the Internet!).

But the night before last, Meghan slept from just before midnight until 8 in the morning! And last night, I got another 8 hours from her, maybe even more than that -- I don't remember exactly what time she went to bed! And then after last night's 8 hours, when she woke up, I fed her, and she went back to sleep. That was almost 2.5 hours ago...and she is still sleeping!

I feel like I'm experiencing a miracle. It really, truly felt as though I was going to be waking up every 2 to 3 hours until this child's bags were packed for college.

And you know where the credit for this incredible turn of events goes to? Sweet potatoes. Yes, a root vegetable is responsible for my child's sleep patterns, or so I believe right now, at least. Starting solids seems to be what gave Meghan the ability to sleep through the night. We had been doing rice cereal for a few weeks already, to try to stop her from spitting up in large amounts, but after yet another crappy night, I couldn't take it anymore. Four-and-a-half months of tiny chunks of sleep, no single one longer than four hours or so, and most lasting only two or two-and-a-half hours (because even with three hours between feedings, the feeding itself takes up about half an hour of that time), and nearly sixteen months of not sleeping through the night, and I had had it. Emergency measures had to be taken! I had already tried giving Meghan expressed milk from the mom whose baby was sleeping 13 hours through the night, in the hopes that she was producing some sort of magical sleep elixir (was my breast fluid the milky equivalent of Red Bull???), but that was a failure. All stops had to be pulled. It was time to start solids for real.

The first couple of feedings actually didn't really help Meghan's sleep, because she didn't eat much. Apparently, bananas are gross and disgusting and offensive. But when we tried sweet potatoes (with an increased amount of rice cereal as well), my child finally slept through the night.

I still haven't; the first night, the stupid baby monitor woke me up with its weird "I'm interfering with some electrical appliance in your house, and you have no idea which one, MUAHAHAHA" noises, and then I woke up when my husband's alarm went off at 6. And last night, Meghan actually woke up at 4, but before I could make it to her room, she put herself back to sleep -- also unheard of for my child!!!), and then I woke up again to my husband's alarm. But these were minor wakeups. They did not require me to go to Meghan's room, change her diaper, nurse her, etc. And thank goodness for that -- I've actually been having a hard time with what I've termed "Momsomnia," which is the inability to get back to sleep after having been woken up for an extended amount of time by the baby. (Yeah, I know, just what I needed -- a hard time getting back to sleep when I already lack so much of it.)

So I'll take it. I'll more than take it. It's been a long 4.5 months, mainly because I've been awake for most of it.

And now there is a light at the end of the tunnel! All hail the sweet potato!

Today, I think we'll try avocado. Let's hope its performance is up to par!

(And yes, that is my little sweet potato eater, with sweet potato smeared around her mouth, in the icon. :) )
 
 
Current Mood: rejuvenatedrejuvenated
 
 
 
Spicedogs: Meghanspicedogs on August 20th, 2008 02:45 pm (UTC)
Yay, sweet Meghan. Here's to sweet potatoes!
~Lirpa~: Hurley and Aaronkatje0711 on August 20th, 2008 04:08 pm (UTC)
You actually gave her breast milk from another mother? That's an interesting idea. Too bad it didn't work. Glad to hear the sweet potatoes seem to be helping. Hope it continues! Why do solid foods help her sleep? Is it because they don't go straight through like the milk?
Miss Sophia: Meghan - Sweet potato smilemiss_sophia on August 20th, 2008 04:56 pm (UTC)
Yep! My friend pumps out 5-6 oz every night while her child sleeps her 13 hours, so she's got plenty of extra, and I figured why not? She's healthy and all. She's sort of like my private wet nurse! Actually, now that Meghan's sleeping better, I am pumping out lots of extra, too, but when your child wakes up every few hours, there's no real opportunity to pump extra from a skipped feeding.

Yeah, so anyway, I was desperate and figured that since my friend's baby sleeps well and is GINORMOUS (she was 18 pounds at 4 months old!), perhaps my wee little nonsleeping Meghan would benefit from her milk. Alas, it was only nourishing, but not sleep inducing.

Some people say that the theory that solid foods help babies sleep is bunk, but hey, it's working for me! I guess the idea is what you said, that the milk travels much more quickly through the system. Also, if your baby is ready for solids, s/he is always very hungry, and your milk isn't really enough, so if you don't start solids at that time, the baby will want to drink more and more milk -- which means more wakeups. I'm not 100% sure that was the case with Meghan, since she always slept like crap, but I think it's a good possibility -- i.e., that, hungerwise, she was just ready for solids.
~Lirpa~: So damn good looking!katje0711 on August 20th, 2008 06:53 pm (UTC)
How long can you save breast milk?

How big is Meghan?

I can totally see that.
Miss Sophia: Meghan - Sweet potato smilemiss_sophia on August 20th, 2008 07:14 pm (UTC)
You can freeze breastmilk for two to three months, although if you have a deep freezer, it'll last for six months or so. That's why my friend gave me her extra -- she's got so much that there's no way she'll be able to use it before it goes bad. I told her she ought to look into getting screened for donating it.

A month ago, Meghan was 11 pounds 15 ounces. She's probably around 13 1/2 pounds now, give or take. She's been in the 10th percentile for weight since birth. But her dad and I aren't very big people, so it makes sense.
Spicedogs: Meghanspicedogs on August 21st, 2008 02:34 am (UTC)
As miss__spicedogs private wet nurse, I nursed another woman's baby when she left her son with me and her stored milk was not enough for him. There's nothing wrong. Nutrition is nutrition.

Edited at 2008-08-21 02:35 am (UTC)
~Lirpa~: Wha? Peter Wattskatje0711 on August 21st, 2008 02:58 am (UTC)
I never said there was anything wrong with it.
Spicedogs: PFFFTspicedogs on August 21st, 2008 02:59 am (UTC)
OH, OK.
madame sosostris: sunbearshantih on August 20th, 2008 04:36 pm (UTC)
Bananas are the voice of the oppressor. Clearly.
Miss Sophia: Meghan - Sweet potato smilemiss_sophia on August 20th, 2008 04:52 pm (UTC)
I suppose you might say they are Da Man! Or perhaps...FORBIDDEN FRUIT (which I still maintain takes a backseat to the soothingness awful monkeyhouseness of Nero).
From the land between Wake and Dream.: DWHappyness - royaldawn_uksea_thoughts on August 20th, 2008 05:35 pm (UTC)
Is that her in your icon? CUTE!

And if it makes you feel any better, I didn't sleep right through the night until I was five years old. Yes, you read right: FIVE YEARS OLD. Fortunately for my parents' sanity and marriage, my sister slept right through the night straight away.

And I agree with Meghan: bananas are DISGUSTING.
Miss Sophia: Meghan - Sweet potato smilemiss_sophia on August 20th, 2008 05:39 pm (UTC)
Yep, that's my little sweet potato. :) Thanks!

And...OMG FIVE YEARS OLD?! Wow. Your poor parents. I take it your sister is younger than you? My mom says that second children, like my brother, behave "according to the manual" from birth, because somehow they know that there's only so far they can push their parents, whereas first children know that they're the only ones around and can afford to make life difficult!
From the land between Wake and Dream.: Forget Growing Up - enhancedmindssea_thoughts on August 20th, 2008 06:39 pm (UTC)
Yep. Five years old. It's not that I didn't sleep at all, I just woke up at least once until then. My mum thinks it was because I didn't have enough mental stimulation.

My mom says that second children, like my brother, behave "according to the manual" from birth, because somehow they know that there's only so far they can push their parents, whereas first children know that they're the only ones around and can afford to make life difficult!

Haha, the irony is that my sister was much more difficult than me when we were growing up, and especially in our teenage years. I always say that I worked out my naughtiness during my babyhood and toddler years while she stored hers up.
Miss Sophia: Meghan - Sweet potato smilemiss_sophia on August 20th, 2008 06:47 pm (UTC)
My mum thinks it was because I didn't have enough mental stimulation.

Funny you should say that; my mom has also floated the theory that Meghan's just too darn smart for sleep! (Apparently, I was the same way....)

Or maybe your diet was just severely lacking in sweet potatoes! :P

Haha, the irony is that my sister was much more difficult than me when we were growing up, and especially in our teenage years. I always say that I worked out my naughtiness during my babyhood and toddler years while she stored hers up.

Oh, that is EXACTLY the story of my brother and me! He was a great baby and a very difficult and teenager; it was the exact opposite for me.
From the land between Wake and Dream.: DWPretty Meh - lemonstationsea_thoughts on August 20th, 2008 07:14 pm (UTC)
Funny you should say that; my mom has also floated the theory that Meghan's just too darn smart for sleep! (Apparently, I was the same way....)

Same for me: my mum was a terrible sleeper and so was her dad.

Or maybe your diet was just severely lacking in sweet potatoes! :P

*lol* Quite possibly as they're very hard to get over here (we don't have the right climate and most of the British population prefer the savoury variety).

Oh, that is EXACTLY the story of my brother and me! He was a great baby and a very difficult and teenager; it was the exact opposite for me.

Haha, it's like I once said to my parents, "What would you rather have? A naughty baby who will make you want to tear out your hair but give you no problems later? Or a sweet baby who will grow into a naughty teenager and give you more grey hairs than the naughty baby ever did? Because teenagers can get up to so much more than babies do." >D
Miss Sophia: Writing with Quillmiss_sophia on August 21st, 2008 03:42 am (UTC)
But I bet your sister turned out OK in the end, yeah? My brother did. It was just a long wait for him to get to that point!
From the land between Wake and Dream.: Laughter - fizzlingwhizbeesea_thoughts on August 21st, 2008 09:18 pm (UTC)
Oh yes, she's fine. She's a nurse now. But as you say, it was a long wait!
nundu_artnundu_art on August 20th, 2008 09:53 pm (UTC)
Wow! Sweet Potatoes? I was told not to eat them when I was nursing, as they'd give the baby gas. Go figure!

As to the question about giving a baby another mother's milk, I was a bottle wet nurse to a neighbour's baby who was allergic to everything. The teen mother wouldn't nurse 'cause it was 'nasty'. She wasn't wild about feeding her baby bottles full of milk I expressed (I could have fed a dozen), but it did keep the child alive and he is now a 6'3" south Georgia redneck of the highest level. It used to be quite common.

Solids help the baby sleep because they do feel more satified. A rumbley belly keeps you awake. My mother was shocked I didn't go straight to solids (a common practice when she was raising children), as both of mine were hefty (9+ pounds at birth). I nursed them exclusively until 10 months, when they both decided to wean themselves. Of course I did produce more milk than either could begin to consume. I can tell some real nightmare/hilarious stories about leaks.
Miss Sophia: Meghan - Sweet potato smilemiss_sophia on August 21st, 2008 03:41 am (UTC)
Wow! Sweet Potatoes? I was told not to eat them when I was nursing, as they'd give the baby gas. Go figure!

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA, funny you should mention that. The one downside to the sweet potatoes is the horrific, toxic, nuclear-fallout-level farts that Meghan has been emitting since she started eating them. It is LETHAL. It is like something has DIED in there and is DECOMPOSING.

But I'd still rather be immersed in her disgusting gas than up and down all night feeding her!

In addition, according to most books out there these days, it seems as though sweet potatoes are regarded as one of the best first foods (along with avocado and banana -- and rice cereal, of course), because they are full of vitamins.

It's a shame that teen mom wouldn't nurse. It's so convenient, and I love the closeness it brings between Meghan and me. And it's natural and good for her and...heh, I suppose I'm preaching to the choir, here. :) Were you pumping for her when you also were feeding your own kids, or had you just weaned?

Well, the way I see it, milk is milk is milk is milk. We're not picky about which cow gave us the milk we put in our cereal, so why should it be a big deal to feed our babies someone else's milk, as long as we know that the mother is healthy and not taking problematic medications?

a 6'3" south Georgia redneck of the highest level

LOL!!! I'm sure it was your milk that took him to that highest level rather than leaving him at "just an average Georgia redneck." :)

Yeah, I've heard that years ago, people used to give solids as early as two weeks. That seems awfully early to me. I had really hoped to wait until six months (it's kind of a special feeling to know that you are the sole source of someone's nourishment!), but the pediatrician recommended the rice cereal for the massive spitups/possible reflux, and I finally ended up giving it a shot after a particularly bad spitup. And then, as I already detailed, I couldn't take the lack of sleep anymore and had to start solids for real.

Wow, 10 months is a long time to nurse exclusively without starting solids! Did they sleep decently during that time?

Oh, man, yeah, you must've had issues with leaks. The friend whose milk I used had that problem with her first child. (The one she's nursing now is her second.) She'd often wake up in a pile of cheese. I haven't had much in the way of that, although I have found myself terribly engorged the past two mornings, and I even had a little bit of leakage onto my nursing tank this morning. I was afraid I was going to spray Meghan's face or make her choke, but all went well -- and after the morning feeding, I managed to pump out another 4.5 oz!

Man, giving birth to 9+-pound babies must've been an ordeal. Delivering Meghan was rough (as I said, I did it naturally, sans epidural), but she was only 6 pounds 4.7 ounces. I can't imagine delivering 1.5 times that!!!
nundu_artnundu_art on August 21st, 2008 04:24 pm (UTC)
Were you pumping for her when you also were feeding your own kids, or had you just weaned? I was nursing my 3 month old when I took on the newborn. There was plenty. When we finally were able to join my husband in Germany 4 months later I had expressed enough extra milk to take the neighbor boy for another few weeks. I think they weaned him to Kool-Aid after that. :P (for non-Southerners reading this...people put the most outrageous things in baby bottles! Kool-aid is one of the better things! I've seen folks giving Coke or Mountain Dew to babies!!!)

My girls slept through the night within a week of coming home from hospital (don't mean to rub it in). But considering their size, they were really more like 6 month olds by then, so no surprise. Mind you, the youngest was 3.5 weeks overdue.

Delivery of a 9.5 and a 10.5 pounder wasn't that horrid. It's in the genes. My mother's smallest was 7 pounds, and she was 6 weeks preemie. I had to be told I was in labor with the youngest. I didn't believe the midwife, so she sent me for a nonstress test to prove it to me. I finally went to hospital when the contractions, that still didn't hurt, were 2 minutes apart. I delivered her 3 hours later. Both were without drugs and only about 15 minutes of pushing. I did use Lamaze breathing though.

My little sister's first baby was 9.5 lbs. The second was 7 lbs. She said it was so easy she sneezed and he popped out. I think she was kidding, but it's got to be easier! :D
Miss Sophia: Meghan - Sweet potato smilemiss_sophia on August 23rd, 2008 02:07 am (UTC)
people put the most outrageous things in baby bottles! Kool-aid is one of the better things! I've seen folks giving Coke or Mountain Dew to babies!!!

...What the heck are people thinking?! WOW. At the very least, water is cheaper, and it doesn't cause your kid a massive sugar high!

My friend is now looking into donating some her excess milk. Apparently, there's a program that flies your frozen milk over to women in Africa who can't nurse because they have HIV/AIDS. That's pretty darn noble. I wish I could do the same if/when I have so much excess milk that I don't think I'll use it before it expires, but I take a medication for my intestinal condition, and while all signs point to it being safe, I'm sure I'll be rejected because of that.

My girls slept through the night within a week of coming home from hospital (don't mean to rub it in). But considering their size, they were really more like 6 month olds by then, so no surprise. Mind you, the youngest was 3.5 weeks overdue.

You lucky, lucky person!!!! Holy cow, I'm shocked they let you go to 3.5 weeks overdue! Meghan was overdue as well, but just by a couple of days. I thought I was looking at an induction the next week, but she decided to come out on her own. But she's completely the opposite of your kids: She's tiny! She still fits in most of her newborn clothes, although they're FINALLY starting to get a little tight. (She's five months old today!) The best fit right now is 0-3 months or just 3 months (the sizes vary), but anything that says 3-6 months is almost definitely still waaaaayyyy too large. She was only 5 pounds 11 ounces when she came home from the hospital! And yet my labor was slow as molasses.

I think I didn't take Lamaze seriously enough, though. I thought that after all I've been through with the intestinal ailment, labor would be a piece of cake. HAAAAA. It sure showed me! But the pushing was quick, at least -- also about 15 minutes for me, or maybe less. I think I pushed through three contractions, and that was it. Then again, I was motivated as hell to get that child out!
From the land between Wake and Dream.: a2aShock - radiogaga80sea_thoughts on August 21st, 2008 09:20 pm (UTC)
In addition, according to most books out there these days, it seems as though sweet potatoes are regarded as one of the best first foods (along with avocado and banana -- and rice cereal, of course), because they are full of vitamins.

Crap, I hate three out of those four things. I'm gonna be a terrible mother. ^^;