Why is it we always hear about babies that don’t sleep? Before I had you I was pretty certain you and I wouldn’t be sleeping for perhaps the next two to three years of our lives. An image of me with bags under my eyes, limping along with one leg struggling to keep up filled my head. Pouring juice into my cereal instead of milk and forgetting my own name from time to time, I believed would be common practice. I guess I pretty much visualised me, but in zombie form.
From what I’d read & heard from family & friends and from my mother & mother in laws own experience with your papa & I, I was certain my destiny would be one in which I was basically awake an awful lot of the time.
Then you were born. And in your first 14 hours on earth you slept for 12 of them. Fast forward a few short days later, and you were sleeping for four to six hours at a time during the day & six or more overnight. Ironically enough, as you dreamt away, I was an anxious, teary wreck, consulting experts at frightful hours and wondering how the heck you were going to grow, learn anything or come to recognise us, when all you did was sleep so much. I was told newborns should wake every 2-4 hours for a feed. That my milk supply could be jeopardised if you didn’t feed often enough. That you may not gain weight & fail to thrive. Crap. Must tickle your feet to wake you, must undress you to wake you, must express when none of this works. Must worry.
I was driving myself & your papa a little bit loopy, when my Oma said very calmly to me whilst visiting, “We were told to never wake a sleeping baby”. I had heard this before, but just didn’t think it would ever need to be spoken to me and my make-believe baby that never slept. And why were all the supposed experts lying to me then!
Meanwhile, you were putting on weight; from my expressing sessions I had enough milk to feed a small army, so basically you were thriving while I was drowning in worry. It was time to dig deep inside my concerned mind and listen to my own instincts & my baby. Not that you were saying much seeming you were always asleep...
That happened at around three months, when we learnt that you my love, just loved to sleep.
By six months we learnt that you loved to sleep 12 hours overnight.
So why did worry still seep in when you would wake from a 12 hour sleep only to want to go back to bed a short hour later. Why, oh why did I worry so. Mothers with babies who didn't sleep wanted to throw bricks at me. But I too was a first time mum, with worries of my own. Still worried you wouldn’t learn anything & reading to much useless google nonsense.
Although, needless to say, very soon I learnt to enjoy my sleeping one.
Yes, there have been nights when you had a fever or sickness, that we would be up with you. And yes there were a few nights when I had to replace your dummy more times than I could count. There was also those eight nights when you refused to fall asleep in your own bed, favouring ours. And that upsetting reflux that you experienced in your first 6 weeks of life, well that’s another story, but even amidst the chaos that brought upon us, our saving grace was that you still slept. Put simply, you have been our own little sleeping beauty.
Do I think it’s something we did or just you? I truly believe it was just. you. being. you. Full stop. Am I scared of having another baby that doesn’t sleep so well? Yes, I guess so. I, like many others do love sleep.
Yes, the sleep gods have been good to us. But I often think if you hadn’t or didn’t sleep so well, we would have been okay too. I would have loved you just as much (I hope;) & life would have kept on keeping on whether we slept or not.
And yes I still get happy butterflies & am grateful when you say “time for bed” or are lying in bed and ask me to turn the light off and shut the door. I must soak up these moments, because who knows, our next little one may want to turn me into that forementioned zombie. Come what may is all I can say. And no I won’t be consulting anyone but myself next time around thank you very much… well maybe just my Oma.