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Sleep

This is the topic of many books.

All of which I have read. 

The problem I discovered, is that the reason there are so many books on sleep, is because there is no secret way. Do you know how to self soothe yourself to sleep? Do you sleep for exactly the same time each night? Same is true for Bub. 

Think back to when you were pregnant. You didnt feel your bub kick as often when you were walking around. This is not because you were not taking notice, it is because you rocked your baby to sleep. When did you feel them active? middle of the night! Nothing has changed. 

So a few things that I have learned over time:

firstly sleep isnt a milestone.

"Sleeping through the night" means that the baby slept for one longer stretch than the other day naps

 

People will imply that if your baby is sleeping that they are "a good baby", so you might think that the babies that dont sleep through the night are "bad babies". It is all not true. 

You can drive yourself insane with the concept of putting the baby to bed when they are sleepy, not asleep, and not over tired. Save yourself the struggle. When you figure it out, write a book, you will be a millionare. 

 

 You can opt for a schedule if you want. Personally I went for something simple. EAT PLAY SLEEP. Now for a newborn, play is having a nappy change. As they get to a point when they are awake a bit longer, hang out with your baby. Or dont. I would listen to music, and read poetry. Did that make my child smarter? no. It kept me sane though. 

No matter what anyone tells you, if you are watching a tv show in the background, that really is fine. 

There is nothing better in this world than holding your baby while they nap in your arms. There is also nothing more scary when you need to poo and the baby is napping in your arms. You can do both. If you want to, it takes practice but you wont be the first mum to go to the bathroom while holding a sleeping baby. 

Some people say that you shouldnt feed to go to sleep. The theory here is that the baby fell asleep with a nipple or bottle in his or her mouth when they realise it isnt there they will get upset. That might be true. I dont know. My baby never told me that. I doubt she remembers.

Pretty much every animal sleeps with their offspring. What about SIDS? Yeah look you do need to be careful. Dont bring a baby to bed if anyone in that bed has smoked or is intoxicated or under the influence of something. You can put a cot wall down and strap it to the bed. That would be fine until they can roll. 

 

So here are my rules for sleep, that you do not need to follow. 

  1. everyone should sleep where everyone gets the most sleep- if that means you are asleep with your boob in the babies mouth or you get next to them in their cot (you didnt think I knew about that...I do, Ive done that to). 

  2. Do whatever you need to do to get through the night. Personally I started watching a TV show that I would only ever watch at night. So when I got up to feed the baby I got the extra bonus of another episode. 

  3. This too shall pass and you will not remember. I dont know why mums like to tell new mums that they will never sleep again. of course we do. You will go to sleep again. you will sleep through the night again. Take some photos by way of keeping a night time diary. When Dad complains that HE didnt get enough sleep hit him. 

If you are so tired, and so stressed that YOU cannot sleep when the baby is asleep, mention that to your doctor. It is perfectly normal, so just mention it. They will ask you a few questions to check you arent depressed. You might be depressed, you might be tired and stressed. All of this is very normal. Not a failure on your part at all. I couldnt sleep. I thought, in my sleep haze that my nasal spray must be keeping me awake. I called every pharmacist in the area to see if that was the case. I was depressed. So its fine. It is fine to be tired. If you cant have a shower today, that is ok. If it has been a while since you brushed your hair...meh. If you accidently chuck a loaf of bread into the dishwasher or washing machine, you wont be the first. Just try to keep you phone away from toilets, sinks, washing machines. Just trust me on that. 

Dad

What sweet hell is this? We see pictures of babies sleeping. We even say after a good night of sleep that we "slept like a baby"- I dont know why.

You thought that because the baby slept so well the first three nights that this was a forever now situation. Sorry Man.

You may have even said to guests visiting in the hospital to talk normally as you wanted the baby to not be fussed by sound. Well now they are fussed by sound. If you dare make a noise after the baby is asleep you will find that Mum is really pissed off at you. DONT flush the toilet without checking in with her. I still remember to this day when my husband flushed the toilet. To be honest I am not sure if I have forgiven him. Oh and put the toilet seat down ok. 

Sleeping through the night in baby terms is 4-5 hours. They wake up at night a lot. It will be taxing on you both. If you complain about it, then you are telling Mum she isnt doing a good job. She is VERY tired. She has just run a marathon, become a hormone filled, crying mess, and now she is tired. What can I say other than, arent you glad it is not you?

Woman do this tough. During the day, if you are home, take the baby outside and let mum sleep. The baby getting some sunlight will help them fall into a day and night routine. Not automatically though. Still sunlight in the day is good for bub. 

So, whenever you can, take the baby, and let mum nap. Use this as your bonding time with bub, and learn how to hold them when they are asleep, so she can rest. The more you learn how to settle the bub, the better. We swaddle babies. When you think about this it makes logical sense. They have been all squished up in the womb, and it is strange for them to be out and free. Learn how to change nappies, it isnt that hard, and learn how to swaddle. Get a swaddle with a zipper if you want. If you find that mum has bought the baby into bed with you both, then either move to the couch, or make sure you havent consumed alcohol or smoked anything.

I want you to look out for signs of depression. The main one here, is when she is so tired she cannot sleep. It cannot hurt to mention that to your doctor. She will see this is a failing, so dont push the issue. It is very common. You may come home from work and she is sitting there looking like she hasnt showered in months and in some daze. 

No one can prepare you for this part. So here is the good news. It will pass. You will both sleep again. She will become herself again. It just takes time. Cuddle her, tell her she is doing great. Do NOT pressure her in any way. If she want to try different routines in the hope that it will make life easier, let her do that. It might work, I dont know. Also if it works once doesnt mean it will work the next night. Ask her what she needs if you dont know. If she cries, remind her that she is amazing. You know what. She is amazing. 

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