1. Endless expert advice.
If your baby isn’t sleeping well, fear not. Just casually drop this into conversation with your well meaning acquaintances or even better on your social media account/s, and before long you’ll have so much advice to draw upon you could write your very own (slightly crap) book on how to get babies to sleep through the night. Your own baby won’t read it (or even care very much really), but at least it’ll give you something to think about as you go about your ‘shush shush shushing’, or ‘sway sway swaying’, or ‘just go to F’ ing sleep-ing’, or whatever else it is you do come the 3am wake up call. In case you are feeling confused by it all. Here are a few highlights I’ve learned from ‘sleep advice’ so far:
– Whatever you do, don’t leave your baby to cry. They will lose all trust in you, wake even more and hate you forever. Babies’ cries’ should ALWAYS be answered.
– If your baby cries, NEVER give in and go to them. You are teaching them to ‘need you’ to get back to sleep and they likely will be doomed to a lifetime of inability to fall asleep without you by their side.
– Remember when the baby wakes to leave the lights low, not to talk and to keep everything calm and peaceful. (Resist the urge to scream “no fucking shit Sherlock, it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference” should any well-meaning acquaintance offer this shiny pearl of wisdom).
– Have you read (insert sleep-training book here)? In truth one book DID get my baby to nap well, both times. But nighttime sleep? Not a chance.
2. Feeling like everybody else’s baby in the world, universe and beyond sleeps through the night and has done since day dot:
It isn’t true. They don’t. At least not all of them. And deep down you know that you can’t be the only one awake at every unGodly hour. But at least four of the babies from baby group are sleeping through, and come to think of it so is the neighbour’s baby and your best friend’s, uncle’s, friend’s, daughter’s baby. Oh and all the babies on your news feed look happy, and their parents look pretty good, so they must be sleeping too, right?
3. Nighttime swearing
It doesn’t matter how sweary you are by the light of day. Mary Poppins herself has been known to turn the air blue when faced with a sleep refusing child at 2am, then 4, then 5…
4. Coffee is your new best friend.
You’ve resorted to two spoonfuls per cup, literally cannot function without it and your blood is pretty much 60% caffeine. Woe betide the person who tries to speak to you before your morning fix.
5. Your biggest dilemma is deciding whether to stay up for a slither of precious grown-up time in the evening or go to bed early to catch up on sleep.
If you should ever opt for the latter, be sure to make it to bed before 11pm to avoid a panic infused frenzy and rush to bed, only to be greeted with the first waking of the night.
6. The ageing process is accelerated
You feel and look like you’ve aged years in months and daren’t post a photo publicly without applying a carefully chosen insta-filter to hide your pale skin, new wrinkles and dark under-eyes. You don’t look in the mirror very often, but sometimes you catch yourself and give yourself a fright. After a particularly bad night, you might answer the door to the delivery driver who looks at you and your babe in arms, before saying ‘Oooo. Rough night?’. Resist the urge to punch him in the face. Likewise anyone who points out the obvious that ‘you look tired’ – a personal favourite and not so subtle euphemism for ‘you look like crap!’
7. The ‘Brain fog’
You live in a permanently dazed state and everything is a little hazy. Before maternity leave, you may have had a responsible or difficult job, but these days you struggle to remember what day it is. To your shame, you even forgot your own child’s date of birth when booking them in at the doctors the other day and make Dory from Finding Nemo look positively ‘with it’.
8. Sugar cravings
You regularly eat half a packet of biscuits without even realising you’ve done it. But if you don’t remember, it doesn’t count , so you finish off half a grab-bag of malteasers for good measure just a few hours later.
9. Being a glutton for punishment
It doesn’t feel like it at the time, but one day your tiny sleep-thief WILL sleep through the night. Far from savouring it though, you will forget all the struggles and stupidly do it all over again.
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday