No I don’t have insomnia. I have a baby. I had something else in mind for my next blog but seeing as I’m stuck in my bedroom with a restless baby who is fighting to stay awake I thought I would talk about sleep. I love sleep. I mean who doesn’t hey. But I mean I really love sleep. Naps, oh my god naps are my favourite. Or at least they were.
The last time I had a good sleep was sometime in 2012. I was pregnant with my first son and I got to that point in my pregnancy where my hips hurt, I couldn’t sleep on my back and I needed approximately 1,000 pillows in my bed to get any sort of comfort. Then of course the heartburn joins the party. Add that to the ever decreasing bladder capacity and it’s pretty much game over for decent sleep. ‘Oh I will catch up when the baby is here’ I said confidently. As I knew that obviously newborn babies sleep all the time…I mean don’t they? I now understand the ridiculous looks I had. Completely clueless I was. But if I am anything it’s a fast learner.
Baby arrived via C Section. I was alone so the midwife took him for me for 3 hours in the night that first night. I think that was one of the kindest things anyone has done for me. After that I was going it alone. He didn’t seem to sleep for long periods but I just guessed that was how babies are. There were some issues with breastfeeding due to a tongue tie (I will write about that seperately). I felt he was hungry all the time and that’s why he wouldn’t settle. After a few weeks he went on to formula but taking it from a bottle didn’t seem to make much difference. He just needed to eat regular and slept little.
The delightful colic arrived around 4 weeks of age. Purple crying it was indeed! This usually commenced from about 5or 6pm and could last 4 to 6 hours. Hours of solid, continuous crying. No amount of soothing would work. I swaddled, I shushed, I patted, I rocked, I used a dummy. As he got older I just knew he was going to grow out of this and sleep for longer periods. Of course he was, wasn’t he? The colic lasted for about 10 weeks. In that time I became an ‘internet expert’ on baby sleep, colic and reflux (yes I lucked out on that too).
I worked out a kind of routine that worked for us. He would only day nap in motion, so in the car or walking in the pram. So that’s what we did. At night it was like musical beds. He’d sleep in cot, then I’d hold him for an hour or so until I got too tired. So I would transfer him to the baby swing. I’d get a few hours sleep while he was in there. Then back to my bed and so it went on until he was about 1. I just gave up completely trying to get him to sleep all night in his cot so when he woke we would just co sleep. I was back in work by then and it was the only way I would get some semblance of sleep. He’s still a crappy sleeper and still comes into our room at night. I have decided that he just doesn’t have the good sleeper gene.
I vowed if I ever had anymore children then a good sleeper was top of my list of requirements! (Like we get to pick right). Ok so fast forward a few years (of still broken sleep) I have a new partner and we got pregnant. I kept remembering what a shitload of work newborns are. Telling my partner how exhausted we were going to be as he seemed to appear to have forgotten since his youngest child from a previous relationship was 11. But at least I was prepared this time.
I was beyond tired during this pregnancy with lack of sleep due to pelvic girdle pain and anaemia. There were times I would fall asleep in the middle of reading my son his bedtime story! When baby arrived, again via C section, I was ready this time. Mentally prepared for the torture that prolonged sleep deprivation is. I think the Gods of tired mother’s must have been looking down on me because this time I was blessed with a great sleeper . In fact he was an all round easy baby. I didn’t know myself. Plus this time around I had a partner to share the care. With my first son I used to hate those mums in playgroup who would say ‘ oh baby Neville sleeps from 8 until 8 and has done since he was 26 weeks gestation’ …oh that’s nice Paula’ my baby has woken approximately 26 times between 8 and 8 while I ate coffee straight from the jar!. I’m a peaceful person but nothing makes you want to poke someone in the eye more than the bragging mother of a sleeping baby when your so freaking exhausted because your baby won’t go to sleep. Anyway now I have one of THOSE babies. Mythical creatures that are as rare as unicorns. Which is why I am always so puzzled then when he doesn’t sleep. Teething, colds or growth spurts usually get the blame and sometimes a combo of all 3. I always feel knackered during these periods but then I remember that I basically survived on very little sleep for 2 years straight, so I know I can do this. I am also very grateful that the rest of the time he’s a great sleeper and not to forget the Mr who shares the crapfest.
You can always tell the mums of great sleepers because they are straight in there with ‘are they sleeping throught yet’ Where the mums of the crappy sleepers avoid eye contact of this question while they neck their 3rd coffee. So even though I now have one of THOSE babies I don’t brag about it to the other mums. Partly because I don’t want my eyes poked out but mostly because when your the mum with the baby that won’t sleep no matter what you do, we don’t want to hear about your baby who sleeps 23.5 hours a day on a clothesline Susan.