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Tiny Tyger, Baby Bear and Me: Sleep (or a Lack Thereof)

Thursday 22 January 2015

Sleep (or a Lack Thereof)

We’re stuck without internet because my parents are upgrading to fibre optic and...well BT/useless calls centres/stupid bureaucracy.  Do I need to say more?  Three days without internet so far and an engineer out today who doesn’t seem optimistic.  My teenage sisters are thrilled.  So, I’m writing this in MS Word and will put it on the blog once I have access to the world again at some point.  I thought I’d write about sleep because people obsess over things they can’t have so – other than internet access – sleep is something I fantasise about a lot right now.

Whenever you complain about being pregnant, everyone tells you, ‘this is the easy part; just wait ‘til you have the baby and don’t get any sleep for months and months.’  The funny thing is, once you have the baby everyone starts asking if they’re sleeping through yet.  So, after being warned babies and sleep are like...two things that don’t go well together (look, I’m not good with similes and metaphors) you suddenly feel like a failure if your tiny baby who has only been in the big bad world for a few weeks and needs to feed all the time because they have a really teeny tummy isn’t sleeping 8pm-8am every night.

Babies and sleep are chalk and cheese...no too much of a cliché (and also, what’s that about?  Why chalk and cheese?  Just because they’re alliterative?  I don’t know).

Tyger was not a good sleeper.  Well, to start with he was because he was jaundiced and not getting much milk due to a tongue tie and...that’s probably a future blog post.  But in the longer term he was – and I think this is the technical term – a little bugger when it came to sleep.  For a few months the Wolf got me to express milk through the day so he could feed Tyger in the evening whilst I got a couple of hours of precious sleep (oh yeah, if you don’t have kids yet: sleep becomes a commodity that can be traded and gifted when you have a baby).  But then the Wolf’s night shifts started (his old job sucked) and I had to largely go it alone.  The night was along the lines of putting Tyger to bed and him sleeping for an hour or so and then around the time I’d go to bed he’d wake up screaming and I’d be stuck in a loop of feeding and trying to get him down in his cot with the occasional break where he’d sleep for anything from a few minutes to maybe an hour if I was lucky until around 4am when I’d break and take him into bed with me so I could get a little sleep and to stop me from doing anything Social Services would disapprove of (although, let’s face it, they probably disapprove of co-sleeping as well because everyone seems to).

Hmm...babies and sleep are like oil and water?  I thought I was being slightly original there but a quick google has assured me this is a cliché as well.

At a little over nine months it was like someone flipped a switch on Tyger (why oh why could I not find that switch myself??) and his sleep dramatically improved to the point where within a few weeks he was sleeping through every night.  Basically, he was suffering from trapped wind every night until his stomach matured enough for him to deal with it without the, I'm assuming, agonising pain.

Baby Bear is – I’m hoping – just starting to improve with his sleep.  Maybe he has less of a switch and more one of those dials like a dimmer switch.  He’s still far worse than most babies his age but bad is an improvement on terrible so I’m still happy.  I have also been much more relaxed about the whole sleep thing this time round.  I deliberately co-slept for the first few months, knowing it would make my life easier and actually wouldn't mean Baby Bear was still sleeping in the marital bed when he was 35 with a family of his own.  I stopped when it got to the point where I was waking up feeling like an 80 year old every morning because of the amount of hip pain I had from contorting myself into bizarre shapes every night (Baby Bear is a BIG baby) and when Baby Bear got so rolly polly he rolled right off the bed one day (not when we were sleeping but I was still rather paranoid after that) but I was willing to give it a go for a while this time.

Anyway, for the time being I'm still getting a very broken sleep every night but I am keeping faith this will stop soon.  But if these blog posts are ever a little incoherent you can go ahead and blame that on sleep deprivation.

Babies and sleep go together as well as Tiny Tyger and vegetables.  Yeah, that's probably a little specific.  I'll try to work on the whole imagery thing for future posts, okay?

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