Every new parent has moments when they think they are actually going to be OK. The baby is asleep, and I mean finally asleep, so you think you might be able to catch some sleep yourself. I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, read reader, but this is one of those postpartum moments when you think you're going to get sleep, but no. Psyche. False. No way. You're existing in a web of lies.
I think I remember what sleep is, but honestly I am not sure. I'm pretty positive the last time I got a full eight hours of sleep was in 2008. Seriously. I can sort of remember what it was like to not fall asleep at my desk or wake up in the middle of the night, but the last nine years have been kind of a blur. Between pregnancy insomnia, postpartum sleep deprivation, co-sleeping with a toddler, and transitioning a toddler to a "big kid bed," the first two years of parenthood trained me to exist on caffeine, adrenaline, and snuggles. Then, just when I got my older child to sleep through the night consistently (after establishing a ridiculous routine), it started all over again with baby number two.
When I became a single mom, I thought I was done having babies. I had horrible insomnia, and even when I could sleep I often stayed stayed up late worrying about and planning for the next day. Then I met my husband, and I was finally able to sleep again. Well, sort of. We had the added challenges of blending our families together, realizing that bedtime with four kids can sometimes last four times as long as a bedtime with two and that even a king-size bed is not big enough for a family of six during a thunderstorm. When we decided to have another baby, I am pretty sure I had forgotten just how exhausting and impossible the first few months with a newborn can be. I mean, it couldn’t have been that bad, could it? (Yes, the answer is yes, it was that bad.)
So, now, I find myself once again desperate for sleep. The baby is asleep right now, actually, and I'm already asking myself the same silly questions I already know the answers to. Should I try to take a nap? Will I be able to sleep when the baby sleeps? Ha.
By the time my first child was born, I had already been up for over 36 hours. I mistakenly thought that once my daughter joined us I would be able to get some sleep. What a nice idea. Turns out, between baby waking up to eat, nurses coming to check on me every 15 minutes, and me not wanting to put my new baby down, I didn’t get any sleep at all.
Your First Night Home With Baby
After being up all night at the hospital, I just wanted to go home. No one told me that almost all breastfed babies go through what's commonly referred to as “second night syndrome.” They are hungry, but your milk isn’t in yet, so they cry or want to nurse all night long. There was no sleep for either of us.
“When The Baby Sleeps”
I'm convinced that anyone who suggests you should "sleep when the baby sleeps" has never actually had a newborn, or has never tried to fall asleep in broad daylight when they have a newborn to worry about and enough caffeine in their bodies to keep an elephant awake for a week. So not happening, you guys.
When You Go To Bed Early
I try to go to bed early, really I do, but there is so much to do at the end of an already long day, and I want to spend time with my partner and my kids. When I do turn in early I can't sleep, and I end up playing on Facebook or watching Netflix until the baby wakes up for a meal.
When Your Partner Agrees To Take A Shift
One huge benefit of having an involved parent for a partner is that he (or she) will offer to take the baby off your hands so you can sleep. It's amazing, right up until you then find yourself laying awake, wondering if your partner needs your help.
My partner is a great dad, and is probably doing fine whenever he takes over, but logic is hard when you are sleep deprived.
When Someone Visits And Offers To Let You Sleep
When people come over to help out, I always intend to take a nap. However, I am honestly so starved for adult conversation that I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to chat.
When You Take Medication To Help You Sleep
When my postpartum depression was impacting my sleep, my OB-GYN prescribed me some medication. They worked to help me fall asleep, but then, when I would inevitably wake up, I would be so confused and out of it that caring for baby was challenging. For me, the medication wasn't really worth the few minutes of extra sleep.
When The Baby Falls Asleep On You
Baby gravity is one of the strongest forces in the universe. I often find myself lulled to sleep by my son's weight and soft snore. Of course, I then jolt awake a second or two later, because my mind goes to the dangers of falling asleep with your newborn.
When The Baby Sleeps For Longer Than An Hour
Whenever my newborn manages to stay asleep for longer than an hour at a time, I start to think to myself, "You know, I should really try to get some seep, too." Of course, like anything else involving parenting, it's easier said than done, especially when I start to wonder if my son is ok or if it's "normal" for my newborn to actually be sleeping.
When You Finish A Night Feeding
I try so hard to fall back to sleep right away, after waking to feed my baby, but it was never gonna happen. Good thing I have my phone and snacks nearby. What did moms in the thick of sleep deprivation do before the internet? Actually, don't answer that. I don’t even want to think about how bored I would be.