Hanging out in the park, on any given day you can hear the question being posed – “Are you getting any?” – and if the answer is yes, we all hang with bated breath,
“How much are you getting?”
We become obsessed with what’s happening in other households and we compare them with our own. Of course, anyone that actually has babies will know that I’m talking about sleep, because we can fairly safely say that in the first few months there ain’t that much of the other going on….but I reckon that’s a romping elephant in the room to tackle another day.
There are countless books proclaiming to save your sleep, and give you a contented baby. They all have their own vibe going on and many proclaim that if you start their regime at birth, your bundle of joy can be sleeping through – 10pm-7am – by 4 months. If this isn’t happening for you, then it would be easy to feel as though you are doing something ‘wrong’. The books can be helpful, especially if you only read one and not confuse the issue with conflicting advice, but they don’t allow much leeway for having any kind of life outside your house……also, when they suggest other settling techniques it can be difficult in the cold, dark dead of night when you’re already shattered. A baby’s cry is so much louder when it’s pitch black. It’s often easiest to pop out a nip and hush that crying child. Everyone is back asleep in a matter of minutes. If you don’t mind getting up, if you’re ok with what happening in your house, then power to you.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard was from Genevieve Titov, from Sleep Angels.
“If you are happy with what you are doing to get everyone in your family some sleep (night feeds, dummies, co-sleeping) then there is no need to change anything. Do not listen to anyone else that tells you otherwise! It’s only when you are not happy with how things are that you need to make changes. There is nothing that can’t be undone at a later date if needed. Sleep, however you get it, is still sleep”.
Things started ok with D Man, and then by six months when other people were boasting of whole nights of blissful rest, or at the very least, dropped feeds, I realised we are in a funk. I was feeding whenever he woke, and by 11 months old that could be up to 8 times a night. We traveled a lot and I soothed with the breast and in the end I finally flipped my shit and I would have paid anyone anything to make it stop. I faced each evening with dread and seriously thought I may lose my mind. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture. I wore it like a badge of honour for the first few months, but the novelty wears thin quickly and after six, eight, ten unending months of terrible sleep you’re ready to shave your head, put on some combats and go postal in the main street with an easy plea of insanity.
If someone smugly told me their kid was sleeping soundly I seriously wanted to punch them in the face. The worst part is that you can’t imagine that it will ever end. There is no light in your tunnel, and your tunnel seems infinitely infinite.
Sadly, many people wait until they’re at the end of their tether before they ask for help. I did. I called Keratane but they didn’t get back to me, so I called in a baby whisperer. Sleep Angels offered many services but I had the head honcho, the Arc Angel Genevieve, herself come and chat to me. And that’s all it was. We talked for an hour and a half and in two days D Man was sleeping through until 4am. In another week we were all sleeping until 6.30-7am. It was pretty easy for us, and I hear some people do it tougher, but after a few short days life looks better and those bags the size of an elephants arse on your face can pack up and, finally, go.
“Baby whisperers coach you through personally tailored techniques for your family. My techniques are not only based on current infant literature, but also my work with hundreds of familes. For success in getting on track with sleeping you need to start something you are comfortable with. If you can’t bear to hear your baby cry for even a few minutes then controlled crying is not going to work for you. If your Mum looks after bub 3 days a week and wants to hold your little one the whole time they sleep, then trying to get bub to sleep in their cot the other days is going to be very difficult if Tresillian has told you that’s what you must do! If you are sleep deprived you are already likely to be emotionally vulnerable, relationships can be tense, time to yourself can be non existent and everything can seem too hard. Talking to someone who is going to listen, as well as offer practical (easy to take on through the fog!) advice, that sits comfortably with your personal parenting beliefs can just the help you need.’
If you’re struggling with sleep, and you’re losing your marbles, I have two pieces of advice for you. Firstly, ask for help, and keep asking for help if you need to. It doesn’t have to be costly. There are many community and private but just someone understanding what you’re going through is priceless, and secondly, try to remember that it won’t last forever……but the job lasts forever. In the blink of an eye, you’ll be sitting up in your dressing gown, an hour after curfew, ready to ring their little necks.
Note : This is not a sponsored post. I truly think Sleep Angel saved my bacon and I would like to sing it from the roof tops! If you want to ‘like’ Sleep Angel on Facebook (here) there are weekly tips on sweet, sweet, sleep.