by Lori Dwyer on May 28, 2012 · 22 comments

“I go to sleep… I imagine that you’re here, with me.”
“You will hold me closer than I can ever remember being held… I’m not afraid to sleep now, if we can stay like this until…
It’s the last day on Earth, here in my dreams.
It’s the end of the world, and you’ve come back to me…”
Last Day On Earth, Kate Miller-Heidke

Sleep is the ultimate tool of the chronic procrastinator.

I am a sleeper… I can waste whole days lolling in bed. A recent, horrible spate of anxiety attacks, spending every night struggling just to breathe normally, the world stretching out in front of me as dismal and lonely… they culminate in me falling asleep on Bunny’s lounge and staying there for the next fifteen hours.

I wake, occasionally, and think of emails and blog posts and organization and school lunches and bills to pay… and I fall asleep again, easily. On the odd occasion I suffer insomnia, driven by a different type of anxiety- a restless mania that makes me eager to do all the things that must be done, to strike tasks off my eternal inbox list of ‘things to do’… and I stay up all night, burn my candle at both ends until the wax drips on my fingers.

More often, though, sleep is a calling, warm darkness where I can forget… and it’s easier to be in that darkness than out of it. There is no fight against in me against it.

So when I can, I loll in sleep, in blackness, in the half life of slumber. I wake, sometimes, during the day I sleep on Bunny’s lounge, and guilt tempers at me to get up, to do the things I need to do today.

The dark, black warmth wins, every time.

The bonus is, when I wake… I feel better than I have in days.. rested, my muscles not so taught. Obviously I needed it… but it still feels like overindulgence, and I have to be gentle with myself- the harshest part of my mind will tell me that sleeping this late is a terrible sin, if I let it, and punish me for the rest of the day accordingly.

But all bets are off here. If sleeping all day is what it takes… well. If I think about it too much, stop to look back where I’ve been… I’m surprised I make it out of bed at all, on the days when there isn’t enough oxygen to allay the anxiety that builds in my lungs.

I don’t sleep well, I’ve been told.

In truth, I knew that already. I wake some mornings (mourning) feeling as if I have fought a battle in my sleep the night before, and only just won it… some nights I’m sure I lose, over and over again.

I sweat profusely, grind my teeth, call out names in dreams I don’t remember. I’ve been told I thread my fingers through my hair and pull at it, the same way I did that afternoon in the Quiet Room

The demons are still there, even in that warm blackness. I guess the only difference is that I don’t remember them.

Maybe that counts as some kind of exorcism.


On a same-same but totally different note- I was, in the Before, passionate about breast feeding; and now, in the After, having had contact with so many mums grieving tiny babies, I pay attention to the SIDS and Kids guidelines with a fervor I never have before, despite the chances of having another baby being slim to none…

Anyway. I’m a dedicated co-sleeper, and firmly I believe a combination of successful breastfeeding and sleeping your baby safely in your bed can reduce the chances of post natal depression– simply because you get more sleep. I know that’s not exactly cool with SIDS and Kids, who state “Sleep baby in their own safe sleeping place“… but that’s how we roll. Check out the downlow here on how to sleep your baby safely in your bed here, by the way.

One thing that is very cool is that the SIDS and Kids guidelines now include “Breastfeed baby if you can.” The language is damn impressive- there is no element of “Breastfeed or your baby will die!” which always ticks me off. And I always wondered why smokers were vilified in the SIDS literature but there was no mention of the massive increased risk of formula feeding in regards to cot death. (Before anyone starts jumping up and down and sending me hate mail, please read every post I’ve written on breastfeeding and the necessity of formula feeding so you know where I stand on the topic… go on. I’ll wait. Cuppa?)

Edited to clarify and amend…

My apologies- that was extremely badly worded, and, no excuse, but I wrote it at midnight last night. Formula feeding has been inconclusively linked with SIDS deaths, and breastfeeding is recommended. SIDS has this to say…

“There is no consistent evidence that formula
feeding increases the risk of SIDS or that
breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS. However,
SIDS and Kids recommends breastfeeding as there
is strong evidence to show that breastfed babies
have fewer infections and that breastfeeding lowers
infant mortality.”
I’ll take my pie and eat it- that was a sensationalized way to word things. 
“Wow seriously will the breastfeeding nazis stop at nothing?! Scare mongering at its worst!! Shame Lori I usually agree with most things you post but this is ludicrous!!” – Anonymous, I am so sorry you feel this way. As I’ve said above- I’ve addressed this before. Formula feeding is entirely necessary, and that makes me sad- but no one should ever feel guilty about it.

That’s probably a topic for another day. The point here is- huzzah for boobies. And sleep.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Sophie June 8, 2012 at 9:39 am

Oh boy. For what its worth, I was unable to breastfeed my boys for a million different reasons, mostly down to me not coping or producing enough… because I was not coping… The only child who got more than three or four weeks of breastmilk was Jordan… and she couldn't latch on and I had to pump and pump all day long until eventually the exhaustion and stress dried me up. Some people cope with it, some people don't. I resent the fact that people think it is an uneducated choice. I did my research, and I tried my hardest… but at some point you have to make decisions because it just needs to be done for sanity's sake. My two boys who were bottle fed are strapping healthy lads. My daughter who received four times as much milk from me is dead. I agree Lori, in a perfect world, we wouldn't need this discussion. I do believe breast is best, but I don't think of formula as being poison either. When its referred to like its the skankiest thing on the planet… that bothers me. And no, it doesn't endear me to the cause it just isolates me. And I don't need that… I don't need to be isolated, bullied, coerced or 'educated' and so often that is what it feels like when people get up on their pro breast feeding platform. It worked for you Lori and I am so happy for you, but it didn't for me and I refuse to beat myself up over it for the rest of my life. It is what it is.

I just needed to say this. Thankyou for your apology…


Anonymous May 30, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Blergh, seriously, all you haters…GO ELSEWHERE! If all you want to read is your own opinion, write your own damn blog!!

Love your work Lori
Charli x


becca May 30, 2012 at 10:15 am

so pump the breast milk and bottle feed. They *knew* the surgery was going to be done soon, and they didn't want to mess with the natural latch.
Education, not shame.
There is *plenty* wrong with formula.
Thank you Lori, your point that we're talking about *formula* not people. That is why we need better education, so people are properly taught. I'm sorry if anyone thought I was implying that a formula fed baby is less loved. I know that is not the case.
Education, not shame.


Pearl Red Moon May 29, 2012 at 11:38 am

As mothers we all make what we rationalise are the best choices for our children. This debate becomes so irrational and emotive when theres an implication that non breast feeding mothers don't have the same level of love and commitment toward their infants. Whatever is suggested by the science, statistics, merits or any argument for or against Mothers will make the choice that best suits them. Whether you do or don't and whatever is the rationalisation all these mothers make loving choices they sincerely believe are the best for their child.

Every mother has the right to make her own choice and as the responses to this forum show, will consequently "defend to the death" the "rightness" of her decision!


Andrea May 29, 2012 at 8:04 am

Google "the new Zealand cot death study"


Andrea May 29, 2012 at 7:54 am

Yes! Exactly!


Andrea May 29, 2012 at 7:51 am

Just read a medically refereed article on the topic….and yes …reduced risks with breast milk…..


Andrea May 29, 2012 at 7:48 am

Faark. Seriously , get over it people. She was talking about sleep. Focus on the sleep part. Take the best out of a post/person , not the bit that rambled slightly into the wee hours of the morning. Currently breast feeding, and my god it's hardwork and not fun at all and if it wasn't for the iimmunity bulilding properties, the benefits to the digestive system of a premature baby, and the fact that all the special care nurserys promote it as the best way to help your baby….I'd be formula feeding. Breast feeding is sometimes the best, and sometimes not when you cant/struggle/ have a baby whose mouth is too small to latch//are on meds/get mastitis all the time/lose supply/are traumatised by it or whatever. But mostly breast milk will help a baby more than formula because it's tailor made and there are reduced SIDS risks associated because of all those immune building properties/developmental "tailor made" properties . If you know anything about both formula and breast milk you will know that and given that this was a personal post on a personal blog lori is entitled to say whatever she likes about it. . If you are traumatised because you can't breast feed and are angry at lori because she brought up a tricky topic..get over it ( the anger part, and..eventually the trauma part) because some of us are traumatised by breast feeding. People do what they can, and I am sure lori of all people knows that pretty darn well!! And as for SIDS, same same- you do your best. If you can breast feed you do it (even if it is a battle), if you can't you don't. There is no vilification, just a reality.. You follow the guidelines as best you can but if there is a good reason to vary from them….reflux, PTSD, PND … Then you vary from them as safely as you can.

And yes that was a rambling comment but I have had fuck all sleep breastfeeding a prem baby with reflux so piss off and leave lori alone. So there!


Lori @ RRSAHM May 28, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Anon, no one is trying to make anyone feel guilty. No one is trying to shove breastfeeding down anyone throats. No one's judging anyone.
We're talking about formula, not people… please don't take it personally.

Assuming that the same Anon is making all the comments, there is absolutely no evidence, including the anecdotal comment posted by Kat, that states "most SIDS babies have been breastfed!!" In fact, anecdotal evidence points to the opposite. I attempt to be clear and concise in the information I post, and I stand by what I say- research suggests that formula feeding slightly increases the risk of cot death.
I definitely concede it was terribly worded on my part, and I apoligise for that. But as I've stated before, in a Perfect World, we wouldn't even be having this discussion.


deardarl May 28, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Ahhhh THAT song, that song. Funeral song. Dreams where I try to get him to keep up with me as we try to out-run death again…..

…and yes, we co-slept safely and breastfed exclusively for 6 months and then on to 2+ years with each child self-weaning. Yes, it can be hard for some people, but for people like me, breastfeeding and co-sleeping literally saved my sanity.
When will people understand that mentioning the benefits of breastfeeding as a superior infant food is not an attack on formula feeders, but rather a mere stating of fact?


Anonymous May 28, 2012 at 9:44 pm

I also had a son who was tongue tied & he fed fine from the bottle like all his siblings! Good luck "finger feeding breat milk" as the operation wasn't performed until he was 10 months old!! Formula is fine there is no need to shove breastfeeding down people's throats as its their baby & their choice NOT the nurses, family or anyone else!
Why judge someone for not breastfeeding! Or for breastfeeding? Being a mum is hard enough we do what we need to & what works for our family, we are very lucky to have lots of good baby formulas available if we can't or choose not to breastfeed. If they weren't selling so many tins there wouldn't be so many types widely available!
Would you let your baby starve if they were failing to thrive because you didn't make enough milk? I dont think so..,,


becca May 28, 2012 at 8:38 pm

I admit to that there are multiple reasons to formula feed. But regardless of SIDS, nothing, NOTHING in formula can replicate the health benefits of breast milk (and can often cause hard in the digestion). My cousin just had a baby. he was tongue tied. So rather than resorting to formula, they *finger fed* him breast milk. (this until he has his wee operation to snip the bit that was tying him up) Obviously adoptive parents don;t have much of an option, ya know, except for the fact that one can induce lactation…INCLUDING biological men. So breast cancer survivors who have had mastectomy then…I'm sure there are other who do not have access to milk banks, or money for a wet nurse (I wonder what the cost comparison would be?) part of the problem is the SHAME society puts on BFing and part of it is lack of education. It's rarely easy to start! I think this is one thing we should be, not just encouraging, but really pushing for (if any humanly way possible. bottle fed breast milk for you working moms.) I don't want to shame anyone who has formula fed either, and fear tactics aren't the way to go (thanks for addressing that Lori) but better education, and less profitmongering from formula companies please


Anonymous May 28, 2012 at 8:33 pm

I really grieve that I was unable to breast feed my four children. What I grieve much, much more is the death of my son 2 1/2 hours after his birth. There is a whole lot more to motherhood than breast feeding (or formula feeding for that matter). Hold your children close and stop ranting about issues that, when push comes to shove, don't really matter.


Miss Pink May 28, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Ahh a sore topic with me. There are nights I really would gladly take a shotgun to my head just so I can sleep. Fark.
The waking up and not feeling rested? Sometimes feeling worse? I have those nights more often than I'd care to admit also.

My kids didn't care for much sleep either, although they were good nappers in the sense that Bluey napped right up until the day before he started school, and Greenie still has a 2 hour nap a day. If only *I* could nap!


kat May 28, 2012 at 7:27 pm

What a totally ridiculous thing to say,that will strike fear into the heart of a struggling new mum,long time follower lost.


Marlene May 28, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Thank You Lori for being such an advocate for breastfeeding :)
I also don't understand why people post anonymously, especially if they are passionate about something.

P.S. I am of German heritage, and breastfeed, I find the phrase "breastfeeding Nazi" quite offensive. AND I'll put my name to that!!


Anonymous May 28, 2012 at 2:48 pm

From the SIDS guidelines "NO consistent evidence that formula feeding contributes to SIDS" & also NONE that breastfeeding prevents it!!
Thank you Lori for amending that. I would hate to think anyone would be made to feed their baby a certain way because of false information like that!
As the poster above has stated most SIDS babies have been breastfed!!


thehungrymum May 28, 2012 at 2:45 pm

You're such an amazing writer, Lori. The first half of this post was just incredible worded and I could feel your anxiety and loss.
You're stronger than you know.


MelC May 28, 2012 at 2:40 pm

dachlostar, I am a member of a few baby/pregnancy forums and all the babies that sadly died of SIDS on there died in their parents beds and they were BF.

So until there is clear cut evidence as to why these poor babies die, leave the formula hating out of it please.


dachlostar May 28, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Anonymous, Lori is absolutely correct that formula increases the risk of SIDS. It mightn't be a truth you want to hear but that doesn't make it any less true.
Because I'm lazy I'm just going to link you to a blog with more info….


Anonymous May 28, 2012 at 11:34 am

Massive increased risk of formula feeding and cot death?? What utter garbage!! Way to scare women into beeastfeeding even if they can't or choose not to!
Formula feeding does not cause SIDS or contribute to it!
Wow seriously will the breastfeeding nazis stop at nothing?! Scare mongering at its worst!! Shame Lori I usually agree with most things you post but this is ludicrous!!


Brad May 28, 2012 at 10:51 am

…and the only time I can touch you is in my sleep… (Missy Higgins – Ten Days).


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