Sleep Like A Baby….My Backside!
Before I had a baby, I thought I knew what tiredness was. The thing with pre-baby tiredness was that you could be tired in a moment but you could always catch up. Whether it was an all nighter for social or study, a few days later and I would be right as rain.
Even pregnancy the first time around, again, I thought that was tough going at the time but again, I had unlimited rest. I remember so many people telling me that it was going to get hard and that you don’t get sleep but I didn’t understand the real impact until my first baby arrived. I read nothing, did no research and just went in to this whole process completely unaware. I was trying to recover from a c-section and seeing as though I had no idea about sleep, neither did my baby! I honestly didn’t realise that there was a whole science behind it.
I kept just trying to battle through days and do my best. The only way I could get James to sleep was by going for a walk and of course that meant that he had no idea how to fall asleep without motion. Plus, the whole thing of people saying ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ was unreachable for me as I was flat out pacing the streets of Castleknock to make sure he slept. At night, it was an absolute shit show. I would have to rock him to sleep and every time i’d go to put down in the cot, he would wake crying.
I remember I started to feel really low in myself as I had about 3 months of pretty much no sleep and high stress. I thought I had postnatal depression but having gone to the GP, explained how low I felt, did the post natal questionnaire, it was not PND, it was sleep deprivation. Never in my life would I have thought that sleep could really affect me like this. I was low, body had no energy, I was eating crap as my body craved the sugar to keep me going and I was missing out on the joy of my little one. The recommendation from the GP was to go find a way of getting James in to a sleep routine. Never even knew there was such a thing to be honest as in hospitals, they just tell you to feed every 3 hours and as they get older stretch that out. No word on sleep!
First thing I did was reach out to every baby sleep coach for an appointment but I couldn’t get on the list for weeks and it was just time I didn’t have. Instead, I bought a few books. The one that worked best for me was this little compact book by Stephanie Modell ‘The Baby Sleep Guide’. It’s only €8 on Amazon.
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This just put everything in perspective and helped me take control of the sleep issue. Once baby slept well, so did I. Firstly, I saw that my baby James had day/night confusion – there was a strategy to tackle this. He had no idea how to self soothe to sleep….there was a solution to this AND most importantly, his feeding routine and routine in general was linked to his sleep. I literally drank this book. I had this book re-read when Adam came along and I was so aware from the day he arrived of those techniques that I really didn’t have anywhere near the same level of exhaustion and that is with a 2 year old! I’d say it took James roughly 2 weeks to sleep train and it was all humane as I know many think it is letting your baby cry out and feel emotionally unsupported. There are a few options depending on whats right for you.
Over the course of the month, I started to feel good and balanced again. I was a better version of myself and it also helped me work through getting rid of the night feeds. It wasn’t until I got rid of the second night feed that I felt I got good quality sleep.
There is a gap of 4 years between this new little baby arriving and the last time I had to sleep train myself, never mind baby. I’m going to re-read that book in preparation plus I’m just going to go really easy on myself.
One thing I failed to do on both was day time nap. Im going to be day time napping this time around. I will sleep when the baby sleeps. I spent so much time worrying about cleaning the house before and I’ve shifted my thinking on that. Now knowing what to expect, I am ready for it.
Some other books that I know other mums have recommended is Irelands own Lucy Wolfe and controversial Gina Forde.
Lucy is very practical her Instagram is really good. You can watch back some of her IGTV’s and she’s great for those troubleshooting problems. Gina is very controversial. She has a very direct approach and it’s not for everyone. I read her books and as the midwife said to me in the hospital ‘take a sprinkle of Gina and you’ll be ok‘. If you were to try and stick by her routine word by word you’d be doing well! I felt that her routine was a lot of pressure to keep up with but then some loved it. I cross referenced her approach to sleep and Lucy’ for any gaps in Sophies.
Most cover off any troublesome problems like colic etc. BUT if you are pregnant and haven’t really got your head around the whole sleep thing, Sophie’s book is by far the easiest and quickest to pick up and get to grips. As a new first time mum, you don’t always know what to do until the moment hits you so don’t worry about that. Just knowing the resources that are out there is enough. Knowledge is power.
The key thing is that you mind yourself as if you go down, so does everything else so you are priority number one. We forget this when we first become mums as naturally instinct kicks in but a bambino needs you at your best and therefore, you have to put the work in to make sure that you are in as best shape as you can be.
Some of you will have glorious babies that naturally sleep…..you are blessed!
Even now and before getting pregnant, im very conscious of my sleep. Luke O’ Neill (scientist) was on Pat Kenny last week explaining that the optimal length of sleep is 7 hours as that ensures you go in to enough deep sleep and replenish your system. My friend Anne Marie set up a company called The Sleep Care Company and that has so many articles and products to aid sleep so even now if you are stressed over your wedding, check out her stuff for help!
I hope that helps xx
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