Sleep deprivation is like nothing else – for the past few months I’ve gone through phases of being in somewhat of a trance, when Harrison is not sleeping and therefore neither am I, and phases were he’s been good, and I’ve been able to grab a solid 5 hours sleep in a night and feel like an entirely new woman. At one point, we went through a week where he woke once or twice per night, and I swear I felt on top of the world. That feels like a long time ago now, despite it being only a few weeks, and I can’t remember the last good night sleep we had. This week, with Harrison finally outgrowing swaddles, it’s probably only going to get worse..
When Harrison was around 6 weeks old, we ran into one of Jordans friends in Mothercare who had coincidentally had a son 3 days after we did. When Jordan asked them how they were coping with not sleeping at night, they’d said they were pretty lucky, their little boy more or less slept through the night from the get go. I could have screamed, or cried, or left Harrison in the middle of Mothercare there and then. Obviously a slight exaggeration there – I wouldn’t have cried in public – but the lack of sleep was making me a crabit, irritable person, and I wouldn’t have been surprised had no one wanted to be around me at the time. Whilst I’ve gotten better at living on little sleep, I’ve been determined to try and get our little one into some sort of routine. He is only 3 months, so it’s not expected that he’ll be in any, but if I can introduce bath, book and bed early, then it might make it all that much easier later down the line. And maybe, just maybe we’ll make it more than 3 hours without a feed…
Tonight I was desperate to introduce an earlier bedtime – it may be construed as selfish of me, but I need some time at night back. I need 2 hours to cook, to clean, to put my feet up on the couch and not have to bounce my legs constantly to keep my little man entertained, and he needs an earlier bedtime. He was absolutely shattered, so instead of him napping, we gave him his bath around 6pm, lathered him in baby bed-time lotion and had him all ready for bed. His bottle was guzzled and he was down for 7pm, and I was absolutely terrified. With a baby that barely sleeps at is, surely putting him down early just means he’ll start his day at 3am?.. I was pleasantly surprised. He woke up at 11.30pm, and I decided to try one of these ever raved about dream feeds (I then realised I didn’t have a darn clue what the hell I was supposed to do so abandoned that idea and left him to go back to sleep…). He woke up at 1.30am for a bottle, and I couldn’t help but think I’d absolutely screwed myself over. He was chatting away, but at one point, he must have drifted off, and so did I, because next thing I know its 5.30am and I don’t feel like I’ve been ran over by a lorry.. Night 1, success.
I need matchsticks to keep my eyes open today; I think that just about sums up how well our night went last night. Following on from last night – which for us was a good night – we’d decided to try and hold off on bathtime until a little later, to try and hold off on that first inevitable nightfeed. Around 7.30pm we had bath-time and baby massage, and he was tucked up with us on the couch with his bottle by 8pm, eyes heavy and everything looking very promising. From here it all just went downhill. It had been a while since we’d had a projectile vomit, and boy did he give us one. He also managed to fill his nappy at the exact same time and any chance of a peaceful night went out the window. He was completely wide awake, and it took us until after 11am to get him down again. I had a small inkling of hope that the sick and the later bedtime might have tired him out, but no, low and behold, 3am, 6.30am, and then finally waking up for good at 7.45am. I am done in. Night 2, absolute balls.
It all started off so well: bathtime and kick about starkers for half an hour (naked time is his happy time) at 7.30pm, ready for bed and bottle by the back of 8pm. He was obviously exhausted though and only took about 2oz when he should be taking 6, so having put him down, I began to look into dream feeds in the hope I could manage one tonight and that might sort him out. His dream feed went down pretty well, he took another few ounces, so nothing special, but I was confident it might have done something. He woke up at 2am pretty much on the dot, and I remember waking and feeling absolutely defeated. Surely he should have slept longer than that – but of course, that would have been to easy. He went back down half an hour later, and woke for good at 5.30am, refusing to go back to sleep, and giggling at me with every attempt that I made. Techincally a better night, but the lack of sleep is building up again and I just want a good few hours, or a lie in, or to feel like my eyes aren’t constantly on fire.
I’ll be the first to put my hands up and say I was on the verge of a breakdown on Thursday – with only one hour long nap during the day, Harrison was as crabbit and nervy as I was, and it made putting him down for any length of time difficult. I was done in. I’d wanted to hold off on his bath to slightly later tonight, but a mini meltdown got in the way (from me, not my baby), and Jordan had to take over bath-time duties, leaving me to wallow in my own self pity.He had him bathed, and ready for bed, gave him a FULL yes FULL bottle (hallelujah) and he was asleep for 8.30pm. Once again, quick dream feed at 11pm and we were on to a winner. Or so we thought. With my near breakdown a few hours earlier, Jordan had said he’d do a night feed tonight so I could try and regain some sanity, so when Harrison decided to wake at 12:50am, I could at least try and continue to get some sleep. What they fail to tell you though, is that whether your needed or not, if your baby is awake, then so are you. Despite taking a bottle, it took us until 2.30am, with both of us taking turns. Tears (from Harrison, and myself), multiple dummies, an exercise ball and some teething gel and we finally had some respite. He was back up at 5am again, and I finally gave in and let him sleep on my chest. It’s not ideal, but at this stage, I was in a trance, I could barely keep my eyes open and I’d do anything for some sleep – I think anyone would have.
Our bath, book, bed routine is pretty consistent now, and he was down for half 8 with no problems, but if we’ve realised anything from my sleep diary this week, it surely must be that an early night can only be a warning sign for us… Jordan was also out by 9pn, and if I was smart I would have taken a leaf from his book – instead I shot myself in the foot and trawled the internet for the best part of 3 hours. A little top up of milk and he slept through until 2.30am, a solid 6 hours and I didn’t even take advantage of it! He went down easily enough, and woke for good at 5.30am and honestly, I couldn’t have been happier. Finally, we’re moving back in the right direction.
This week, I’ve probably had the hardest week yet, grasping 3 hours sleep is an absolute godsend with a teething baby who’s sleeping for the first time without a swaddle, but unfortunately it’s not really enough to keep me sane. I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place with the decision to either give him an earlier bedtime and regain part of the night back, or continue to put him down when we go to sleep and have an extra few hours uninterrupted sleep. Right now, the latter is without a doubt the most appealing, but at some point, his bedtime will have to get earlier, so I figured when better to do it than a week when we won’t be getting much sleep anyway. Here’s hoping next week is just that little bit easier…