Sleep when they sleep. And other bullshit parenting advice…

The phrase ‘sleep like a baby’ will never hold the same meaning again. People take it to mean peacefully snoozing away no matter the time or place and sure, sometimes that is how my baby sleeps. But I now know that ‘sleeping like a baby’ can also mean shutting your eyes for five minutes before screaming non-stop for three hours while your frantic mother rocks you back and forth like a zombie while joining in the crying and your neighbours plan more elaborate ways to force you to move out or silence you forever. It can also mean lying on your back for a couple of hours making peculiar grunting noises and straining to pass wind which is only marginally quieter than the crying.

Night time sleep is the most elusive of baby achievements, some new parents are blessed with dozy babies that sleep for 4 hour night stretches from birth and have mums that are capable of doing the washing up and inviting people over for cake and making actual conversation. I, however, have been blessed with baby Jack. Colicky, windy, noisy little bear whose record for screaming is roughly 12 hours in 24 and record for sleepless nights contained a solid stretch of no more than 20 minutes. 
But he must sleep sometimes? Yes. He often has a three hour nap first thing or at lunchtime or sometimes he sleeps nearly the whole day. And this is where the oh so helpful advice comes in;
Ok. I get this in theory. When they’re asleep is the perfect time to catch up on some zzzs. But in practice…
  • If you are mother to an erratic sleeper you can’t really plot a nap in. They’ve just shut their eyes, sure, but chances are they could be awake again in 10 minutes so settling down for a nap seems fruitless
  • They’ve been screaming / feeding / screaming for hours before said nap. So you’ve been attached to them / pacing the halls holding them. You haven’t eaten, been to the loo, had a drink, showered, cleaned up after the last clothing and nappy change, put the washing on, or sterilised anything that needs sterilising. Sleeping would be marvellous, but how will you be ready to do it all again if you don’t get these things done in this rare moment of peace?
  • Sleeping on demand is actually not that easy. Especially when you’re seriously over tired and have one million baby worries racing through your brain. 
  • Did I mention they’re often asleep on you? You aren’t going to risk moving them or getting yourself more comfortable. It isn’t worth waking the beast.
So world, thank you kindly for your helpful advice. But I can’t sleep when he sleeps. I guess I’ll catch up on some rest in 18 years time. 

6 thoughts on “Sleep when they sleep. And other bullshit parenting advice…

  1. I've never been able to sleep when this one slept. I just forced husband to do the evening shift so I at least had a chance to chill out (by chill it normally meant putting tea tree oil on my stitched up ladybits). It does get better and soon it'll just be a memory. I promise! Colic is shit.

  2. I'm the proud and knackered owner of two crap sleepers. I am surrounded by mum friends whose babies sleep 'through' and often I wonder to myself what the F I am doing wrong here….I rarely feel tired anymore, I think
    I've become accustomed to my average 3 hours a night. Right on cue, I can hear my youngest stirring. My 2 hours of peace are up. X

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