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Are you sleep deprived from having an Always Awake Baby? Do you cry when you hear them cry, 20 minutes during what should be a 3 hour nap? I thought I would share some of my experience, as it’s really nice to hear of someone else who experiencing crap, when you’re experiencing crap.
To be honest, I can’t remember a lot about my first year of experience with a Sleep Thief. Perhaps because I was so sleep deprived, grumpy and stressed over how little sleep my dear son was getting.
The book that helped the most
What I do remember is loving Emily-Jane Clark’s book ‘Sleep is for the Weak: How to survive on f**k all sleep’. She captured my experience in a way that made me cry with laughter. If you are struggling I can highly recommend this book, which lacks all the sleep advice and gives all the ‘This sucked for me too’ feeling.
I remember waking up every hour and a half was a thing for the first few months. The change to every three hours was bliss, absolute bliss. I felt like a functioning human during the day again.
I remember having the cot shoved right up against our bed with one of the sides taken off. Despite the removal of this obstacle the baby would still wake when I put him down in it.
I remember just looking at him in the middle of the night and being happy to have such a cute baby.
I remember melting a $30 too dim night light by putting it on a brighter, but hotter bedside lamp.
The nightmare naps!
I remember stressing over ‘cat-napping’. He would sleep for half an hour and I read in all those advice books that this wasn’t a full sleep cycle, which meant he would never learn to sleep for longer.
I remember in response to this fear holding the Moses basket and swinging it by the handles for 20 minutes when the baby woke up to try to get him to complete the sleep cycle with a 50/50 success rate. Not good enough for my poor, tired arms.
I remember trying to jimmy up the Moses basket and another bassinet contraption with our Jolly Jumper thing, in the hopes of getting that to do the swaying for me. It broke my nails.
I remember spending 20 minutes bouncing on a Swiss ball, which soothed my Sleep Thief enough to stop crying and go to sleep. It wasn’t always 20 minutes; that was the normal, but shorter time. This was also the time we ‘invested’ in Netflix. I say ‘invested’, since I did the free one month trial and that was it. I fondly watched Anne with an ‘E’ and Jane Austen TV series on my phone with headphones on.
Go away husband!
I remember deciding that sharing our queen bed with my son was more productive than sharing it with my husband. My husband ended up in the spare bed… where he took the mattress and slept in the lounge. He’d had trouble getting back to sleep after waking up, poor soul. Note: this was when our son was 5 months to a year old. Not with a new-born!
I remember our sex life becoming the best it has ever been since getting married. Turns out having a baby increases your blood flow down there, which in turn heightens your orgasmic experiences. Who knew?
I remember setting up a canopy over our bed with a sheet, in the hopes of not needing to use a heater at night because our body heat would heat up the space. It sort of worked. We got a heater anyway.
I remember putting a woollen blanket over the curtains to help this with effect. One evening when it had fallen down my husband tried to put it back up. By standing on the cot. My train of thought went ‘the cot could break, but I don’t want to annoy my significant other’. The $500 cot broke. My significant other got hurt and annoyed.
When to night wean? When the baby is ready.
I remember trying to night wean him at nine months old. At 5am I stomped the floor so hard in frustration that it woke up my husband with a start. He took the hungry baby from me then, possibly after I’d fed him. We didn’t do night weaning again for another three months, at which point I finally got to start sleeping through the night again. It did take three nights of grumpy wake ups to achieve this, but he was obviously ready, as it worked.
I remember still waking up at 1am with the wee bairn because he was teething or hungry. We tend to fill him up with Apple purée just before brushing his teeth and going to bed now.
I remember cuddling him to sleep.
I remember commiserating with a fellow mum in my Antenatal group. Her son is hitting all the baby milestones 10 months early (I exaggerate slightly), but sadly will still (at a year and a half) only nap for 30 minute chunks at a time and wake eight times a night. She is tired!
Okay, maybe I remember more than I give myself credit for. I look forward to doing some of those things again with Number 2! Although not the broken cot bit.
Hopefully reading this has brightened up your day a bit, knowing that someone else has gone through this and it sucked, but it was worth it. I’d do it again and will! Keep at it fellow Mama! Deep breaths and keep at it one nap at a time!