Sleeping baby

Sleep, Wonderful Sleepzzzzzzzzzz When You Can Get It!

Sam PenmanBag O' Tricks

As a former flight attendant, I remember many of the crew I travelled with referring to early parenthood like working an LA direct from Sydney, EVERY DAY! So I had good training – and also gained the wonderful ability to pretty much fall asleep anywhere, anytime – if granted. Oh to be a baby again!

It’s difficult enough to get sufficient sleep before the baby arrives if you’re pregnant. What with trying to find a comfortable position, getting up every 5 seconds to pee, heart burn etc. it’s next to impossible to slumber blissfully for a decent amount of time. On top of that is the impending marathon of physical exertion and exhaustion to face. Heed my advice, definitely make the most of your hospital stay and have baby in the nursery regularly so you can get some well-deserved (albeit short lived) rest.

I still remember when I was 8 months pregnant with my first child, and my husband had the nerve to wake me in the middle of the night because he couldn’t sleep due to my snoring! If I’d had the energy I would have throttled him on the spot Homer Simpson style. Amazingly, we’re still married…….but, he better not EVER do that again-pregnant or otherwise!

Expectant parents often hear “sleep when the baby sleeps”…..yeah right! You’re so busy feeding, changing, bathing, and interacting with your baby when they’re awake there’s no time for all the other stuff! How can such a little human create soooo much housework? There’s laundry, dishes, and cooking – not to mention cleaning the war zone to catch up on. Your gorgeous cherub is also an eating/sleeping/excreting machine. There will be times you feel like you’re living an episode of the walking dead! And I quote “…the zombie shuffle

Factors such as family and home life circumstance, culture/religion, and shift work to name a few, can and do influence sleeping arrangements. I don’t believe there is a right answer for where, how, and when your baby sleeps – no perfect method for EVERY young child. This cottage industry has produced so many resources, services, gadgets, sleepwear, and approaches catering to optimizing the snooze zone. Whether you try or have had success with co-sleeping, cry it out, swaddling/sleeper sacks, white noise, music, general sounds of everyday life, blackout silence, or the luxury of a night nurse/live in nanny, I hate to break it to you – it’s rare two siblings are the same in their napping preferences.

Even though I was aware of many of the current techniques and helpful tips as cited here to be honest I was quite lazy and selfish in my own Z needs. My first-born wasn’t too bad and adjusted to sleeping on his own fairly early. That being said, we did fall victim to the baby swing trap, and didn’t start cry it out till quite late at 18 months. And by we, I mean me as Dad couldn’t handle the “cry” part. To say J was (and still is) a very high-energy boy is an understatement – the kid stopped napping at 2! I went on to make all the mistakes with my second son.

I co-slept in the beginning, and then graduated to lying with him until he would fall asleep. You know, the classic case of wishing you could gnaw your arm off. What ensues is some major gravity defying contortionist movements to extract yourself from their embrace, bed, and make it out of the room successfully without them stirring. Sigh of relief. A good friend who became a parent much earlier than we did even warned us “If they’re in your bed at 2, they’ll be in there at 5”! Ironically, everyday at ScuttleBugs, B was one of the first children to lie on his cot and fall asleep unaided (without being rocked, snuggled, or back patting). Much to the parent’s exasperation, we often experience this at the center with some of our kiddos. Other examples of these phenomena involve eating habits and toileting as polar opposite of what occurs at home.

This process is equal parts nature and nurture. Although your sleep patterns may not coincide (at least in the beginning), they are intertwined. In this day and age many agree you should try to steer baby’s sleeping pattern to last through the night by 6 months old. Older babies don’t necessarily need to be fed at night, they’ve merely become accustomed to that schedule. From Spock to Ferber then Sears – this aspect of child rearing has evolved over generations. Here is an interesting read on this topic spanning the past 250 years.

IMHO the longer you leave it, the harder it will likely be for either party or both! Regardless, I’m hoping you may be one of the lucky exceptions. We do what is necessary and push through the darkness. “This too shall pass”, and the sooner your whole family maintains healthy sleep habits; the better you’ll be able to deal with everything else!