On behalf of every parent, everywhere, please allow me to say:
WORST. EXPRESSION. EVER.
We’ve all said it, sure. But for most, I suspect, it was to illustrate a point of blissful slumber and peaceful innocence, lost somewhere in a world of dreams… But the reality? HAH! Let’s talk:
I have a 5 week old. And apparently, we’ve hit the sleeping jackpot! We’re talking won the lottery, found the holy grail, landed on free parking, found the golden ticket and are going to the chocolate factory!!! (Did I just date myself? HAH!)…. Since he was only a couple days old my sweet lil babe has reliably gone to bed at 8 or 8:30 every night, and has slept for 3-4 hour stretches at a time. When he does wake up through the night, its only to eat or have a diaper change, and then he’s right back to sleep! During the day his naps are shorter(seems he has his days and nights figured out-WINNING!) AND he can even self soothe to sleep! When people ask how he sleeps we are either met with awe and fascination, or daggers of jealousy and mutterings of “just wait…..”
SO… Why is it I say babies are the worst sleepers ever? LET ME TELL YOU! When I put him in his bassinet at bedtime, he will at first lay there in a total milk coma, looking as peaceful as can be. But once I crawl into bed, the noises begin… Constant noises, ranging from sad puppy, to creaky door, to rabid goat meets velociraptor. Trapped gas turns our little angel into a squirmy, grunting, limb flailing machine that sounds like it’s in desperate need of a tune up. And let’s not forget his cute -not so cute- sleep cries; maybe it’s nightmares?? Whatever the noise, it has this momma jumping to her feet to assess the situation: “are you waking up? hmm…maybe?” I grab my sweater, put my hair in a ponytail, and stand over him just in time to watch him settle down into restful sleep. False alarm…AGAIN! I lay down again only to hear the noises startup. Instead of getting up I try shhhhh-ing him to sleep, but in the end I’m unsure whether it worked, or I just shushed myself back to sleep.
And these crazy nighttime adventures are considered winning the infant sleep lottery? Hmm… In an attempt to understand these infant sleep-isms, I consulted Dr.Google. I discovered that babies under 6 months old spend 50% of their sleep in REM cycle, which means that they are constantly in light sleep. What does that mean? That means lots of noise and lots of movement! Dependable sleep is also made impossible by immature reflex & nervous systems, constant sleep cycle transitions, and their frequent hunger that leads to fussing and a symphony of mouth sounds. Even the facts state that babies are terrible sleepers!! ( see the detailed article here: https://www.verywellfamily.com/baby-sleep-sounds-4691679 )
And… So… What happens when your baby is NOT considered a good sleeper you ask? Enter stories of my first born. With him there was no laying him down drowsy to fall asleep on his own, it was fire-alarm red-faced wailing every time. Everyone offered suggestions to help him sleep better, but nothing worked; worst idea ever was letting him cry it out… After 2 hours of screaming I gave up. So what’s a sleep-deprived momma to do? Break the sleep rules of course! Don’t co-sleep (yah, that happened), don’t fall asleep while they nap on you (oops, that too), don’t let them nap in their swing and don’t let them nap in their car seat (yes, the last 2 are actual things, but I feel like they’re new rules because I had never heard them until recently! And without them I’m sure I would have NEVER slept!) The only time he ever slept on his own in a “safe-sleep space” was after being rocked to sleep. But we’re not talking just a light rocking, it was more like a windmill caught in a twister–Swinging side to side, building speed, and praying he falls asleep before your arms fall off! Once asleep though, there was of course the delicate procedure of peeling him from your warm body and placing ever so carefully into his crib… Yah, I certainly don’t miss those days.
Infant sleep….yup. It’s a crapshoot! lol! 🤣🤪 To conclude these ramblings, here’s a picture of my napping cutie!
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