Okay, so, really, why won’t my baby sleep? I swear on my grandmother’s favorite rosary my newborn child DID NOT sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time his first several months of life! How did I survive, you ask…. To be honest, lots of coffee, prayers, and the patience of a sloth.
Baby Bird was born in October. The weather was just starting to change over to “colder than a witch’s tits in a brass bra” as they say around here, so we were mostly stuck indoors. Not that it mattered, because I didn’t have the energy, strength, or pure will power to take a walk outside anyways. Point is, I was starting to literally lose my mind. Everyday I would count down the hours to my husband walking back in the door, so I could hand over the baby and go lay down/take a bath/cry alone on the toilet/just have a friggen minute to myself.
I walked cow trails in our newly installed hardwood floors for up to 6 hours straight at a time. I had Netflix streaming constantly in the background to keep my mind preoccupied and my body going. I couldn’t sit and rock, oh no no, that was not good enough for the Bird. He had to be held in an upright position while you walked heavily and rocked him. Did he sleep? A little, but it most relaxed him. The only time he wouldn’t cry. The. Only. Time. I literally peed with him on me. Cooked with him on me. I would get him back from my husband around 8pm, he would go to bed, I would pace until anywhere from 2pm-4pm, until sheer exhaustion was overcoming me, then I would wake the hubby up and have him take over so I could get a few hours of sleep before he left for work at 6am. Up I was, starting the countdown… Only 10 hours. Oh, look, that hour went by kind of fast, 9 hours. 8 hours. 8 hours and 45 minutes, wait what?! Only 15 minutes since I last looked?! Oh gosh I’m not going to make it today. I just can’t. Then the baby has a poop-splosion and I spend an hour cleaning him, the changing table, his clothes, myself, and oh yay, just 7 hours and 15 minutes left.
I know what you’re thinking: ‘How terrible! Why aren’t you enjoying this time with your baby?’ ‘What about the little smiles you get throughout the day?’ ‘Don’t you realize how lucky you are to have this precious gift, why count down the time to get away from him? It’s bizarre. Terrible mother!’ Okay, listen, I get it, I really do. But I was exhausted. Pregnancy was rough. Delivery was traumatizing. I cherished that little boy coming in to this world in every way, but I WAS EXHAUSTED. Your body and mind can’t function in an even remotely proper way with the combined lack of sleep and the frayed nerves. I was in survival mode. Period.
Finally, around the 2-month mark I realized if I laid down on the couch at an exact angle and left him laying on his belly on my chest, (after at least 2 hours of pacing) to get him semi-asleep I COULD LAY DOWN, too! I would get nearly an hour at a time of sleep. It was my own little miracle. He woke up / roused to nurse every hour. Around the 3-month mark I discovered and perfected side-lying nursing. I would fall back asleep as he nursed. It was another little miracle.
We slept like this for his first 6 months of life. He slept on my chest, waking up hourly to nurse. I was finally able to transition him to laying beside me, where he still sleeps and I was able to get back in my own bed! Mind you, he’s a big bird. He was 17 pounds by his 3-month mark, and now at 1-year-old is a hefty 28 pounds. I didn’t care. We were sleeping.
So, why wouldn’t my baby sleep? I don’t know. The pediatricians said colic, acid reflux, allergies, out of alignment…. we tackled all of that the best we could with no solid results, besides the acid reflux medicine, it seemed to help the most for sure. But here we are, a 12-month-old that still wakes 3-7 times a night to nurse. I tell people that and they nearly faint at the thought of him waking up that much and me getting up that much with him, but to me, I don’t mind, it’s better than walking the house day and night.
Remember, when you think you have it bad, it could always be worse! You could have a little person cling to your nipples 7 times a night, while your husband lays 3 feet away wondering when he will ever get to cling to your nipples again…..