Thursday, July 30, 2009

sleep...or lack there of.

Everyone knows that when you have a newborn baby, you aren't going to be getting much sleep. But lately it has occurred to me that parents really don't get much sleep for the entire first year. Mind blowing stuff huh?

The first 8 weeks of sleep are kind of a blur. You get up every 2-4 hours, an occasional 5-6 hour stretch thrown in and you call yourself lucky. If you are truly lucky you are getting 8 hours or more by 8 weeks.

But here is what people don't tell you, and most parents (whether it's your first or not) tend to forget.

It doesn't last.

You see, shortly after those 8 hour + nights become the norm, your little one goes through the 3 month growth spurt, and then the 4 month sleep regression. Apparently by 4 months they realize that the world is full of life, and darn it, they don't want to miss a minute. When they finally realize that they can sleep, and the world will still be there when they wake up, you are feeling pretty good. After all they are 4 or so months, sleep is becoming predictable, and you are feeling good.

Careful Mama.

Around 5 months your little one will learn to roll over. Which means you lay them in their crib and they immediately roll to their tummy (or their back for those tummy sleepers), waking themselves up. You'll try sleep positioners, rolled up blankets, and all sorts of things, but ultimately its a phase and you just have to deal with them while they master this new skill.

That's where we are right now. Poor Miles.

That's not the half of it (literally, we've only made it to 5 months). Now your baby will start sitting, scooting, crawling, and pulling themselves up. All skills, like rolling, they tend to practice in the middle of the night. Which translates into less sleep for you. Throw in teething, growth spurts, separation anxiety, and colds, and you've got your work cut out.

Even the best sleepers have problems. Most parents tend to forget the month that their 10 month old would not fall asleep at night. They might forget the i'mupatfiveinthemorningreadytogo days, or the period of time when they couldn't get their 8 month old back to sleep at 2:00 in the morning so they routinely brought them into their bed. It happens to all of us.

oh, but it is so much easier to deal with the second time around! it's expected, a hurdle, but will soon past. plus at this point you've forgotten what sleeping through the night feels like, because with back to back pregnancies and babies, uninterrupted sleep is a rarity. I just wish someone would tell that first time mom to embrace the sleepless nights, rather than control them. Your, baby may sleep through the night at 8 weeks and you may feel like the best mom in the world, but chances are it won't stick around for the rest of your life. So just let those ideals go, and enjoy some snuggle time with your baby in the middle of the night.

they grow up too fast anyway.


Rose said...

Tomorrow I will appreciate your post (when I am better rested)

Girl I am SO TIRED! I think 9 months of pregnancy might be too long. Or something.

Have you seen the wonder weeks calendar? If you go to and click on extras, page 4 has a calendar of when you can expect turbulence, and when you can expect sweet baby peace. Check it out!

Annie said...

THANKS for the wonderweeks tip. I wanted to pick up that book again, but haven't had the chance!

don't worry, it is easier having 2 kids than being pregnant with a toddler. At least that is what i think!

Michelle said...

Well said, Annie!!! Very well said. Once you begin to embrace the lack of sleep, it makes everything seem a little less challenging. What did we do in college, after all? ;)

Great post!