Sleep when the baby sleeps.. 

‘Are you prepared for the lack of sleep’ they said. Yes, I thought I was. I could handle a few weeks of no sleep, maybe a month or two, surely after that things would settle down. I heard this a lot, but nobody told me the extent of the lack of sleep I was about to encounter, and how it lasts months and months. Why did nobody tell me this? 

‘Sleep when the baby sleeps’ they said. But nobody told me that this would be impossible as my newborn baby would want to nap only on me. Putting my baby down so I could perhaps even rest risked going through the whole getting baby to sleep hour long procedure again. This was naptime for the first few months at least. 

As he got older and I could finally put him down for naps, nobody told me he would nap for exactly thirty minutes only, leaving me just enough time to do some laundry, tidy up a bit and make a cup of tea. Just as I sipped my first long awaited sip, he would wake up. I couldn’t even attempt to catch up on sleep and ‘sleep when my baby slept.’

‘He’s hungry’ they said. ‘Just wait until he’s on solids,’ they said. I had built false expectations of my baby sleeping through the night (or at least better), once I introduced solids. But nobody told me that food would cause my baby to actually wake up more from wind and a bad tummy. And why did nobody tell me just how hard weaning a fussy breastfed baby would be. 

Now they ask me what I do with all my free time as I am no longer working. ‘You must watch so much TV’ they ask. I wish! I wake up at 6am and don’t sit back down until 7pm once the babies asleep. When explaining this, I often get told to just sleep when the baby sleeps.. 


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