‘Get all the sleep you can before baby arrives,’ you will undoubtedly hear whilst pregnant. And that is the only advice I believe is worth listening to, except you most certainly can’t sleep at all in those last weeks of pregnancy.
When you were younger, it was a badge of honour to say that you stayed out late and had a few hours sleep last night. Now, as a parent, you deserve a medal if you manage a few hours.
Sleep deprivation is real. At first, you think you’ll be alright, that you’ll survive, that you’ll get used to it. You probably will, but during a sleep regression you probably don’t feel like you will.
It goes a bit like this:
1 week old – Okay, let’s do this!
3 weeks old – Feeling quite tired, but it’s okay.
6 weeks old – Really feeling it now.
3 months old- Wow, I think I’m used to this.
4 months old – What is going on?!
Yep, the 4 month sleep regression. You’ve probably read about it- the mystical sleep regression- a developmental phase that occurs at certain points in your baby’s life, but you hope that it will magically miss your baby out… then BAM! It arrives out of nowhere.
In some babies, it’s probably hardly noticeable, but in most, you can’t help but notice the sudden change in pattern and wonder where on earth your baby has gone, whether it affects their daytime naps or sleep at night.
So expect to spend a while walking around like a ‘mombie’- you go through the daily motions but are not actually experiencing the day. That’s the only way I can describe sleep deprivation.
However, there’s lots of ‘advice’ out there that will try to make you feel like you’re doing something wrong if your baby doesn’t sleep. (How else would they make us feel guilty?!) I’m sure all parents have gone through it, without the help of a ‘sleep consultant’- I mean, what kind of job is that? Someone gets paid to tell us that we are doing something wrong and our baby needs ‘fixing’ so they sleep ‘through the night’. I’m sure our parents didn’t have these ‘experts’ to tell them what to do!
The ‘sleep consultants’ and ‘expert’ advice out there will probably tell you to:
- Put baby down in their cot drowsy
- Don’t let them get used to being held / rocked
- Don’t feed them every time they wake
- Pat and shush, then give them time to settle themselves.
They will probably charge you quite a bit of dosh for this ‘specialist’ advice too.
Looks good on paper, but are these ‘experts’ going through it right now? Probably not. And believe me, you will do anything for them to go back to their normal sleep pattern because you will inevitably end up putting washing in the bin, or milk in the cupboard. Expect to become pure evil when your baby hits a sleep regression. I most certainly am Jekyll and Hyde.
So my ‘advice’ is swaddle, shush, sway… if it helps and don’t you dare put them down until they are fast asleep! Just get through it however you can… and don’t waste your money on ‘expert’ advice.