Should your baby really sleep through the night
First-time mum Felicity shares her experience and offers advice.
One of the most prominent memories of Eric being a new born baby (alongside the shock of how much life changed and thinking he was the cutest, coolest baby I had ever met!) was the crushing, bewildering, fog of tiredness.
One of the hardest parenting challenges I faced was the early sleep deprivation – I don’t think anything could have prepared me for how tired I would feel. Yet, at the same time, I had quite a lot of adrenaline – it was exciting, I was a bit worried and a bit scared.
I was warned, but I had never experienced anything like it before. I was so tired that I felt like I was underwater the whole time.
“I was so tired that I felt like I was underwater the whole time”
We took it day by day and we survived. It did get easier. Below is our story.
At home we put Eric to sleep at night in a Moses basket on the floor right next to our bed. If you’re using a cot instead, make sure you buy a good quality, new mattress for baby. Having him right next to our bed made it easier when he woke up in the night. I wanted to co-sleep but we were nervous, unsure, new parents and we weren’t sure if it was safe or whose advice to trust.
“We were nervous, unsure, new parents”
When we first got home and were getting used to being parents, even if we did fall asleep at night the slightest noise, snuffle or squeak he made would wake us up. I often wouldn’t get to sleep for ages constantly checking on Eric just to make sure he was breathing! If I had another baby I’d definitely have the confidence to safely co-sleep.
To start with, Eric didn’t differentiate night from day at all and after the first week, when we got home, he started staying awake much more at night than in the day. We read this was normal for babies, who in utero, typically sleep during the day when rocked and lulled by the movement of their mother. To help us get through the phase of him being so wakeful at nights, Alex and I used to do shifts. Doing shifts at night with Alex got us through, and just constantly reminding ourselves that it would pass and would get better.
To help set Eric’s body clock we made sure it was dark(ish!) and quiet at night, and for daytime naps we made sure it was light and didn’t worry about making noise, and he gradually got used to sleeping more at night than in the day.
Coping with tiredness
Having Eric right beside the bed helped me sleep better. Not having to get up and go to another room to feed him or look after him when he cried meant I got more sleep, I could just stay in bed and go back to sleep right away.
March 18th 2014