Before I had kids, everyone told me that my babies would start to sleep through after 6 or so weeks. In my pre-baby mind, that was totally doable right? Besides all I ever heard was, “All babies do it eat, poop and sleep! You’ll be fine!”
The reality, however, was so polar opposite that I often wondered if I had dreamt it all. My child consistently woke up every 45min to 2 hours for the first 18months of his life. There was no break. I felt like I was walking around in a fog for ages. He eventually started sleeping through at age 2. 2 whole years. And I tried EVERY SINGLE THING I could manage to get him to sleep. The first time he slept through the night I was a wreck because my body didn’t know what to do with itself! It really messed up my sleep hygiene. By the time man-child number 2 arrived, I hoped for the best but mentally prepared for the worst. Now he isn’t as bad as my first child on a night but during the day, he is such a FOMO (Fear of missing out) baby. Afternoon naps only started after he was 6 months old and even now…they aren’t long or regular. The boy just enjoys life to the max!
In my quest for sleep, I read so many blog posts and books on how to get your baby to sleep through the night. Only problem was, my baby never responded to what all the other babies seemed to be doing. Now what if you are like me and nothing seems to work with your bambino? Well let me share how I coped with and it can help you survive the sleep fog.
Sleep when baby sleeps
As a mom, you always have something to do without a shadow of a doubt but you know what? If you are severely sleep deprived, then the cleaning can wait a little longer. So can the dishes. Mommy is useless if she can’t function properly so do yourself a favour and sleep when baby sleeps whenever you are able. That 1hr or 3 hr nap could end up being your life line during those tough days. If you happen to have older kids, implement a rest time for the whole household. It is only for a season and your baby will eventually sleep. Someday!
There is zero shame in getting help. You bambino may be like my little one who just never slept much during the day or at night. Gather your tribe. People you trust and let them step up to help you. So grandparents, besties, aunts and cousins are all game. As long as you are happy having them around to cuddle your little one whilst you sleep for an hour or two, use what you got. Set up a darn rota if that is what it will take. But don’t turn down good help if you genuinely need it.
Get Baby checked out
Occasionally the reason that your baby might not be sleeping through the night might be due to a possible underlying issue such as silent reflux or bad colic. It is worth going to see your doctor just to rule out such problems. If there is an issue, the doctor can help you figure out a plan to fix or manage the situation as best as you can.
Be Kind to yourself
Mommy guilt is oh so real and life is hard enough with the societal pressures that we face each day. Be kind to yourself momma! Don’t feel bad if your baby doesn’t sleep. Seriously, sometimes it just cannot be helped. Don’t make your situation worse by blaming yourself. You gotta keep your head up and you gotta keep going cause these babies need you. Keep a check on how you are feeling. Again if it starts to feel extremely overwhelming, get help. Get checked out and make sure there aren’t any deeper issues at hand like postpartum depression because that can be a real serious issue for sure.
There is a school of thought that says something along the lines of: the less mundane decisions you have to make each day, the more energy you have to invest into making decisions for things that really matter. Many successful people do it. President Barak Obama used to only wear blue or black suits to cut out choosing an suit each morning. Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg did the same. As a mom, that school of thought can look like this:
- formulate a capsule wardrobe and wash your clothes once a week
- do some batch cooking once week so that meals are easier and faster to prepare
- hire a cleaner if you can afford it
- grocery shop online
- plan your week every Sunday night to know exactly what is coming and what needs to be done to prepare
- meal plan
- Set up your bills to pay automatically on pay day to ensure you don’t miss any by mistake
Find the things in your life that you can automate. Removing those decisions from your daily tasks means that you don’t have to waste your precious limited energy on something that can just about run itself.
I know quite a few mom’s who have resorted to co-sleeping. It can be a very good option for mom’s who need to get a bit more sleep with their little ones. Now before you consider this option, here is my disclaimer: DO YOUR RESEARCH. Make sure you are well informed and know how co-sleep safely. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends the following to start off:
- Make sure your baby can’t fall out of the bed or become trapped between the mattress and the wall.
- Keep your baby cool by using sheets and blankets rather than a duvet.
- Ensure bedding does not cover your baby’s face or head.
- Always put your baby to sleep on their back rather than their front or side.
- Babies don’t need a pillow until they are at least a year old. They should also be kept away from parents’ pillows.
- Never risk falling asleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair. If you’re feeling really tired and think you may fall asleep with your baby while feeding or cuddling them on a sofa or armchair, move to a bed (keeping in mind the safety guidelines above) or, if possible, ask your partner, friend or family member to look after them while you get some rest.
You might be reading this through the very same sleep fog I mentioned before. Hang in there momma. It doesn’t last forever. If you’ve been to “Sleepless in Baby-attle, what worked for you? Please comment below with your tips and tricks. They could be another momma’s saving grace!