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Five-month fog

Five-month fog

Whew. I’m tired. Like, that glossy-eyed, droopy-mouthed, stumble-around-the-house-in-a-daze kind of tired. The kind of tired I expected to be when Bea was a newborn. Except that phase wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I held my breath, waiting for all-nighters and colic to consume my life, but those obstacles never came....

Whew. I’m tired. Like, that glossy-eyed, droopy-mouthed, stumble-around-the-house-in-a-daze kind of tired. The kind of tired I expected to be when Bea was a newborn.
Except that phase wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I held my breath, waiting for all-nighters and colic to consume my life, but those obstacles never came. In fact, minus her battle with thrush, Bea was darn near perfect for the first four-and-a-half months of her life—just long enough for me to breathe a sigh of relief and settle into a glorious, sleep-filled routine.
McKinley_SleepyBea_10-1-14
Before you think I’m unforgivably obnoxious, rest assured that baby karma has officially caught up with me. Sleep regression and fussiness have hit our house like a hurricane. Don’t let her tranquil picture fool you … this is Hurricane Bea: our squealing, thrashing, little sleep-hater.
What happened to my sweet, easy-going baby? Just a few short weeks ago I’d lay her down in her crib, and return 12+ hours later to find a cooing, giggling, well-rested baby looking back up at me. Now, I see that same cute face, but it’s two to six times a night—and let me tell you, it ain’t always giggling! 
Everyone has a theory: She’s teething! She’s developing attachment issues! She’s having a growth spurt! She’s ready for solids! She’s overtired! She’s not tired enough! And of course, these ideas come with a host of solutions: Tylenol! Cry it out! More attention! Cereal! Longer naps! Fewer naps!
It’s probably a mix of several of these things—some of which we’re willing to try and others we’re not. We’ve adjusted her naptimes and bedtime and we’re keeping her teethers chilled. These changes keep her content during the day and make the going-to-sleep process a little less tear-filled, but she just can’t shake waking up at 11 p.m. Or 2 a.m. Or 3 a.m. Or 5 a.m.
I’ve tried a lot of tricks for getting her back to sleep in the middle of the night. The worst was popping in her pacifier and walking away. As it turns out, cry-it-out only makes it worse for both of us. Her cries get more frantic, and between listening to her wail and watching the clock, it makes me desperate too.
The only thing that seems to make it better is rocking her back to sleep—which is the one thing that seems to be discouraged across a variety of baby sleep resources. But I don’t care. Neglecting her feels way worse now than a lack of sleep could later. In fact, maybe it’s just the sleep deprivation talking, but even though this is a tiring and frustrating phase (especially since I know she can sleep all night!), I have to admit that this extra time together is actually kind of wonderful.
I love it when she looks up at me longingly from her crib. And it brings me sheer joy when she nestles her head into my chest and rests her tiny hand on my cheek while she drifts back to sleep. It clearly makes Bea feel better as well. In just a few minutes, she’s back to sleeping sweetly, and I can lay her down and catch an hour or two of shut-eye before it’s time to do it again.
“The nights are long, but the years are short”—I have no idea which savvy mamma set this quote in stone, but it has become my mantra. I know our late night snuggle sessions aren’t going to last forever, so I’m trying to push aside my sluggishness and enjoy these bonus Bea cuddles while I can … even if that means feeling a little less than awesome for a while.

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