When you're pregnant you get tired, really tired. Like crushingly tired where you feel like the small being that is forming inside of you is literally zapping away all of your energy and sapping the life from you. But word to the wise, don't ever make the mistake of telling anyone that's actually had a baby that you are tired. "Just wait until you have the baby" is the response that will generally ensue.
That used to annoy me so much. It's only now that I have a baby that I realise yeah, they weren't wrong!!
Oh my. I have now not slept for 25 weeks. 25 weeks. In case you're pre baby and still working in months that's almost 6 months without any sleep. I know there will be mummies out there thinking that's nothing but over here I feel like I'm going through some sort of sleep deprivation experiment only there is no end date in sight.
It's fair to say I've always loved my sleep, I'm not a naturally early riser by any stretch but I am an expert in going to bed late. A mistake I still repeatedly make.
In the early, early days Caleb woke every hour sometimes less and the whole process of feeding, changing and settling would take up to an hour itself so that ended up being about 15 -30 minutes sleep in between feeds. I'd wake up and stumble into the nursery with a screaming baby (oh and did he scream), trying to be in stealth mode but what I was actually doing was walking into walls, bouncing off doors and things would clatter noisily onto the floor around me (not the baby I must add) but somehow, miraculously, my husband stayed sleeping the majority of the time. When I eventually tiptoed back in and climbed into bed he would ask if I needed anything... too little too late pal. This mama just needs her sleep.
To give him his due Mr jenandcub has been brilliant and has offered to do whatever he can but realistically there's not a lot he can do. He gives me a lie in at the weekends when he can and enjoys boys time with Caleb downstairs until I wake up or Caleb needs a feed. I can't even begin to tell you what an extra hour in bed can do for you!
I used to love going to bed prebaby but having a newborn I become so anxious about the night times. I used to play sleep roulette and some days would stay awake in case Caleb woke for a feed, other times I'd try and sleep before he woke. Either way I played it, it never worked in my favour. In the middle of the night when you are awake and feeding and feeling like you are going to literally die from no sleep the only saving grace I can recommend is knowing someone who is going through the same thing.
The day before I had Caleb one of my NCT mummies had her little boy. Since that day I'm pretty confident we have been in contact every day. Each night we would come up with a contingency plan for getting through the night. New night, new plan. You always need a plan! Perhaps it would be trying a dream feed, an extra blanket, no blanket but growbag, change of nappy before a feed, change of nappy during feeds. The list was endless but the nights seemed endless too. Things seem so much more bearable if you can text someone in the middle of the night and you see immediately the writing bubble pop up on your dimly lit screen. They are responding - yep they are awake too! Hallelujah. The next morning my friend and I would consult each other on how the plan went and needless to say there would be flaws and we'd need to revise them, once again gearing up for the next night of no sleep but with a thinly veiled confidence it would be different with a new plan!
As soon as the sun comes up everything seems manageable once again. It's a new day. Me and my new plan have got this!
Around 3 months Caleb did the unthinkable and slept through until 3.30am and on a couple of occasions until 5/6am. I felt pretty smug, a little like my boobs may explode and a little bit sad. Did my baby not need me anymore?! It's the strangest feeling in the world when you crave sleep and you wake up in the night because your baby hasn't woken up and part of you wants them to wake up and need you. The rational part of your brain screams wahoooo keep sleeping! It's so strange how our body is wired. I didn't need to worry because Caleb was soon back to sleep regression full pelt.
It is brilliant advice when people say sleep when the baby sleeps but with a newborn, and I'm quite sure if you have more than 1 child, when is this possible? I can count on one hand the amount of naps I've had in 6 months.
I think I manage this no sleep phase because in some twisted way it's quite wonderful too. It's just me and him in the middle of the night now. Our stolen moments that no one else is part of. Time for just us two. Don't get me wrong I really want to sleep again. Really, really want to, need to, sleep again but I know when the time comes part of me, just a smidgen, will miss being needed by my baby boy. I know in the scheme of things a few months (possibly years I've been led to believe) of no sleep is nothing so it's one night at a time for now.
Until that time I'm still fully allowed to tell everyone I'm tired. Like, all of the time.
Another word to the wise, if your baby sleeps through, don't tell a woman whose baby isn't. Although I am happy for you. Sort of.
I've read so many books, so many articles and had so much advice given to me but I think we just need to ride this sleepless wave. Caleb still wakes in the night but at least I can set my watch by him now so I know what I'm in for. Good job he's as cute as a button!
May the night feed odds be ever in your favour mummas!
♡ Jen and Cub