I have just found this, which I wrote a few years ago, when Little Miss was a baby and I was sleep-deprived and absolutely knackered!!! It’s made me laugh so I thought I’d share it!!!
Sleep…what’s that??! As a new Mummy you’re not going to get much! Especially in the first couple of months anyway! You’ll find that as you get closer to your due-date, well-meaning friends and family will joke…”Oooh, make sure you get some sleep to prepare yourself…you won’t be getting any soon!” Ha!!! In fact, I suggest that the best way to prepare yourself is as follows:
1. Don’t go to bed till really late, every night.
2. Once you are in bed, set an alarm for every hour. If you can try to get the alarm to go off just as you have managed to get to sleep that’s even better.
3. Get out of bed when the alarm goes off and do at least 50 press-ups (difficult with a bump, but you know what I mean!) then do 50 star jumps and then run up and down the stairs at least 10 times. Repeat for at least half an hour. Get back into bed. Try to go back to sleep. Hopefully your alarm will go off again just as you have managed to nod off.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 continuously until about 5am. Then get up, put some clothes on, go and have breakfast and attempt to begin your day!
Have you ever heard the phrase, “I’m just going to have 40 winks”? My theory is that this originated from baby naps! Most of the time, when I can actually get her to sleep during the day, you could set a clock by my youngest…40 minutes, pretty much to the second! I challenge you…see how much sleep-deprived housework you can get done in 40 minutes, when actually all you want to do is sit down and have a coffee and watch “This Morning” or go to sleep and not wake up for a looooooong time!! Go on, it’s harder than you think!!
“SLEEP WHEN THEY SLEEP!”
Hahaha!!!! The aforementioned 40 winks! It takes you at least 20 minutes to switch off and forget about all the chores you should be doing whilst baby sleeps, then you manage to get about 20 minutes of shutting your eyes but never properly falling asleep because you know you’re going to be woken very soon, and then baby wakes and you feel worse than you did before you “slept when they slept!”
Or, joy of joys, baby manages to sleep longer than 40 minutes, you actually manage to properly start to relax, and you can guarantee the doorbell will ring (invariably it’s the delivery of the online order you did at 3am a couple of nights ago, of clothing that will all need to be sent back because none of it fits your post-pregnancy body). Bleugh!!!!!
Little Johnny from playgroup goes to bed at 6:30pm and sleeps through the night and has done since he was 2 months old (and his mummy can’t stop bragging about it!) Little Rosie from baby yoga has slept in her own bedroom since day one (and mummy can’t stop bragging about it!) Little Jack from baby sensory has 3 hour sleeps in the day so his mummy can do all the ironing and cleaning AND have time to sit down with a coffee and catch up on last night’s Eastenders (and can’t stop nagging about it!!!) SO WHAT???? Babies are human beings for goodness sake, not robots. If human beings were all programmed to do the same thing life would be boring!!!! Do you have the same sleep patterns as your neighbour? No! Do you go to sleep at the same time as your best friend? No! Do you sleep soundly all night? Probably not! (Especially if you haven’t been doing those all-important pelvic floor exercises and wake up needing a wee!) So why should all babies be the same? Ok, it’s hard when your baby wakes in the night needing a cuddle and all you want to do is sleep. But there will come a time (in the not too distant future) when night time cuddles are a thing of the past. Cherish them. You will miss them!
Night time feeds are horrendous. There’s no getting around that. Horrendous!!! You’re exhausted, your hormones are all over the place and your body feels like it’s been hit by a ten tonne truck. If you’re breastfeeding (which I did with Bean) it feels like you’re a feeding machine, and if you’re formula feeding (like with Little Miss) you actually have to get out of the warmth and comfort of your bed to make the milk (invest in a Tommee Tippee Prep Machine…best thing I’ve ever bought). There will be tears (lots!!) and at times it feels relentless. You feel like it’s never going to get better. But I promise you…it will. In a few months time you will be able to laugh about all the times that you fell asleep with nipple/bottle still in place and woke up with the baby fed and satisfied, sleeping soundly in your arms and will remember them fondly. Remember to feel proud! You are feeding another human being…they rely solely on you (and your partner) to survive…that is something miraculous, a unique experience, and something to truly be proud of.
“CRYING IT OUT”
What the heck is all that about? “I want my baby to conform. I want my baby to be asleep by 7pm so that I can spend my evening in peace…I know what I’ll do, I’ll stick them in a room, on their own, when all they’ve been used to for the first 9 months of their existence inside me and pretty much for the first 6 months of their existence on the outside is having me close by, and then I’m going to leave them there. Oh, and when they cry I’m either not going to go to them at all and just leave them to it, to scream until they are so exhausted that they cannot stay awake whilst I sit outside their bedroom sobbing, or I’m going to go in, let them see me, and then disappear again.” Yea, great, that’s what I’ll do!! Or…not!! “Training” my baby, yes that sounds fun! My baby is a pet, after all. I should treat it like one. Or…not!!!
I have friends who swear by these techniques, and it may work for you, but I’m sorry, it’s a no-go area for me. My child needs to know that if they cry for me I will be there, if they need me I will come running, whether they are 6 months old or 60 years old. I refuse to “train” them to think otherwise. I may be wrong but hey, that’s my decision and I’m sticking to it!
We have co-slept with both our children. With our eldest it was more necessity than choice, as neither he nor I would have got any sleep at all otherwise. With our youngest it just feels the natural thing to do. Bean was very poorly for the first 3 months of his life with undiagnosed severe allergies. His symptoms became increasingly worse throughout the night and he spent most of the night screaming in pain. The only way I could settle him (sometimes) so that we could both get some sleep was to lie him on his tummy on top of me. Obviously I panicked that he would fall off me, so I put him in just a vest and nappy, wore a big shirt, did the buttons up over him and tied it in a knot under his bottom. This was certainly a “needs must” situation, but it worked…at least some of the time!
Some people have problems with co-sleeping and yes, there can be risks. Obviously these are your decisions to make, I can’t advise you either way, but I’ll tell you what I do! Generally, Little Miss sleeps in her Snuzpod (amazing…get one!) which is perfect for breastfeeding mothers and great if you like the idea of co-sleeping but don’t actually want them fully in your bed. When she does come in with me, the Snuzpod would stop her from falling out of the bed so there’s no worries there!
Bean still comes into us in the middle of the night for a snuggle sometimes and we love it. I don’t worry about him “getting into bad habits” because I don’t believe this is true. He’ll grow out of it, and I’ll miss it when he does! If they didn’t grow out of it there’d be teenagers all over the world climbing into bed with their 50 year old parents in the middle of the night!! Not likely!!!
So there you go…my thoughts on sleep as a new parent!! If you’re in the middle of it now, just remember, you’ll get used to the lack of sleep (it’s like an auto-pilot function) and I promise you, it does get better………………eventually!!