Sleep can be such a touchy subject amongst new mums. Some have notoriously ‘bad’ sleepers for quite some time and it can be a bitter pill so swallow when you see others who have had great sleepers from the start.
We really struggled with Baby B and sleep in the first 3 months. We were still adjusting to having our own little person to take care of and she woke up regularly throughout the first 12 weeks in particular. Due to my husbands shift patterns I was responsible for the majority of the night wake ups, and then looking after Baby B during the day until he got home. I’m not going to lie, it was HARD.
The level of tiredness was insane. Baby B would only sleep for about 2 hours each time (if I was lucky) at night and then during the day it was a constant battle to get her to nap. This was causing me to feel resentful at times toward my husband; when he was on early shifts he got to sleep through from 11pm-5am and then leave the house and not have to deal with anything baby related until 3.30pm. He got to have adult contact and conversations whereas I was limited in my ability to get out due to not driving. We do live in quite a large town but all the baby groups are a good bus ride (or 2) away from us so I felt quite isolated at this point.
Other people’s comments didn’t really help either. My mother just kept saying that there was a lot going on with her and that it was all down to the difficult start with the feeding (even when we were at week 10 of exhaustion), and my mother in law just kept repeating that they sleep for much longer from 6 weeks onward (again, we’re at week 10, not helpful).
The pressure that comes to having them ‘sleep through the night’ makes you question whether you are doing something wrong, whether you are the cause of your own sleeplessness. You see these other mums with apparently brilliant sleepers and wonder what they are doing that you aren’t. The truth is, they are not necessarily doing anything different. I learned that each individual has a different perspective on what ‘sleeping through the night’ means. Technically it apparently means a stretch of 6 hours in one go. So for some of these mums, they could put them down at 7pm and up again at 1am and that would mean they had slept through the night right? By that logic anyway.
For me it would mean 8 or more hours straight, and no wake-up before 4am. Ironically 4.30am is my new wake-up time due to it being the time Baby B decided to start her day on a regular basis.
I cannot complain though. From week 12 – almost 5 months Baby B decided she was going to set her own routine. She wanted to be in her bed asleep by 6pm and then would run through to at least 4am each night. That was 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep she was having each night, and meant at least 6 hours for me. It was heavenly!
Try not to compare your baby to another mum’s little one. Each baby is an individual person and will set their own way of doing things. You probably aren’t doing anything wrong with sleep patterns, your baby just has to find their own rhythm. During these first few months in particular don’t stress yourself out by trying to set some strict routine, try to go with the flow, follow your baby’s needs, and then just do what you need to do to survive.
As they saying goes ‘This too shall pass’.