I thought I was prepared for sleepless nights. You hear about sleepless nights and sleep deprivation and you just think it’s all part of the experience. What they (I don’t know who ‘they’ are but ‘they’ need to buck up their ideas and start telling some home truths!) don’t tell you is that everyone and his dog thinks it’s ok to ask about sleep and it’s a competition at the baby classes as to who is getting the most. I’ve just started lying now and saying my daughter is a brilliant sleeper so you don’t get the pity stares and the look of ‘what are you doing wrong?’
Quite simply when people say their child is ‘sleeping through the night’ they are defining this as four hours sleep. To me that was an amazing nap pre baby, not a full nights sleep!
People give you great advice like ‘sleep when baby sleeps’ and that is all well and good but when baby only sleeps while you are outside pushing the pram or driving the car, call me crazy but I don’t think that’s the best time for you to sleep….??!!
Sleep deprivation can hit you like a tonne of bricks and turn you into a mad woman. I’ve woken up and forgotten where I left the baby and have stripped the bed thinking I must’ve fallen asleep feeding and lost her in the covers when she’s sleeping soundly in her crib. Was sleeping. The panic of losing her has woken her and it’ll now take another hour to get her back down again.
You find yourself becoming obsessed with sleep and getting your baby to sleep. You’ll shove her in the car seat at ungodly hours and take her for a drive so she doesn’t get overtired or you’ll go on 6am walks in the pram hoping the fresh air knocks her out and she’s not crabby for the rest of the day! There’s only one person that has to deal with the crabby baby that’s overtired and that’s the mummy.Relatives and friends get to hand her back over once she gets fussy and they’ve stimulated her so much she resembles a hyena on speed.
In my naivety as a first time mum I allowed people to lift the sleeping baby, yes lift her and hold her. If there is ever a no2 people will be asked to look and don’t touch. If you’re coming for a visit it’s not for a cuddle, if you want to help bring food and empty the dishwasher or do the ironing. Do not under any circumstances lift the sleeping baby.
Also part of the sleep obsession is the sleep competition. The constant ‘who has had the most sleep’ battle between me and my husband. He needs sleep because he has work tomorrow while I’m off on my extended holiday….I need sleep because this is no spa weekend and sleep is needed for my sanity and ability to preserve human life for another day. Woe betide anyone who does not have children and responds to the question ‘how are you?’ with ‘I’m tired.’ No. You. Are. Not.
I’ve concluded that some babies just don’t need as much sleep as others. I’ve given birth to a nosey little Madame who came out of me wide awake. Having a good old nosey at her mummy and daddy and checking out the doctors and nurses. She has the odd cat nap during the day but is pretty much constantly awake keeping me on my toes. But she is thriving, hitting her milestones and is a little character, so the way I see it is I get to spend more time with her and her cheeky little ways which provide me with endless entertainment and smiles throughout the day. This, though hard, makes it all worthwhile.