Wait it out. Why doing nothing is sometimes the hardest thing of all.

Wait it out. Why doing nothing is sometimes the hardest thing of all.

It’s 9pm I’ve been lying in this feckin cot since 7.30pm. I’ve done the bath, I’ve done everything yet my baby just won’t sleep!

How much would I give for a cup of tea.

The lack of down time in the evenings is hitting me really, really hard, especially since i started this nighttime routine. I started it when Cara was a few months old

I thought this was supposed to make my life easier! Cara had been sleeping in the moses basket in the sitting room in the evenings while we watched TV but I was seeing that almost everyone else had their babies going up to bed in their cots so I thought I had  better do the same. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing or why.

I spent most of Cara’s first year-and-a-half worrying about how she slept, when she slept and how many times she woke up, trying to find a pattern, something I could blame. And it really stressed me out.

I was constantly feeling like I had left it too late and now all the sleep strategies weren’t working and then you start to blame your baby for not being like all the other babies who sleep, to feel like there is something fundamentally wrong with her, like you have failed and have been too soft. “Better knock some shape into this.  What kind of mother am I that I can’t catch her sleepy cues or put my baby into her cot drowsy but awake. “.

Looking back I could have worked around my baby’s sleep rather than trying to directly shape it.

Looking back I could have worked around my baby’s sleep rather than trying to directly shape it. After all, how can you really manipulate another human being sleep? Especially a little human who has so much brain development and growth and learning happening! I mean, think of it like you as a child trying to get to sleep on Christmas Eve night….the excitement! The novelty!

Now imagine you are four months old, you are learning so much about the world, your brain is going through a huge burst of growth and development, you are experiencing all this for the very first time.

We know from the work of Dr Helen Ball and her team at the University of Durham and Dr James McKenna’s mother-infant sleep laboratory in the United States that babies sleep very differently to adults and do not have the capacity to soothe themselves back to sleep, they need to be parented back to sleep. Babies have more sleep cycles than adults  — 16-18 compared to four to six. More frequent sleep disturbances are therefore to be expected.

Babies sleep generally gets more broken from around four months onwards. Sleeping through the night is defined as five to six hours sleep.

By four months 54 per cent of babies sleep through the night, but by nine months this goes down to 16 per cent.

So you can see that broken sleep is normal and we need to try and plan for it and get as much help and support as we can.

Fearless Mammy Checklist

Outsource what you can…can you get a cleaner for a few weeks? Or even just once?

You do not have to cook — ready meals will get you by while your baby is sleeping more, ahem, creatively.

Increase vital nutrients in the most easy way possible. Where possible get fresh fruit and vegetables.

Go to bed early, record your fave programmes and watch next day.

Have your bedroom clear of clutter.

You have a pass to do a lot of online shopping – its fine to know your DPD driver by their first name!

Ask your partner to bring you a nice cuppa and a sambo or some really nice food if you are in bed earlier than you would like with your baby. For a night owl, going to bed can really feel like a punishment.

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