From the day my child was born I struggled with lack of sleep. It’s no secret I left her sleep on top of me most nights, I took her in bed with me to be able to have an hour sleep in the afternoon or going around the house with her in my arms trying not to doze off while walking.
Talking to some other mums I realised my baby has me wrapped around her finger from day one. The things I’ve done can’t compare to any of the experiences I heard of. All other mums told me they took the child with them in bed, co slept. Not because they felt that the baby would be safer or sleep better but because they couldn’t cope with getting in and out of the bed night after night. Others insisted on baby sleeping in their own bed but would not pick them up or try and comfort them the minute they would wake up. So, technically you hear the munchkin, you know he/she is awake but you wait, listen and wait some more hoping sleep would win them over and eventually, if baby is still awake you drag yourself out the bed and bother with comforting them.
Somehow none of these techniques worked for me. Ruby is one and a half and she never spent a night away from me. From the day she was born she was in my arms and around me, with me day and night, holding on to me and hoping I will give her the best in life. That uninterrupted first hour of her life, having skin to skin contact with me gave us this crazy connection that cannot be broken by anyone or anything ever. Maybe that is why I cannot stand hearing her cry or needing my arms and me refusing to give them to her. My heart melts and she can play me however she wants.
I kept reading some feeds on different mum groups and all I could notice was the same issue over and over again for all new mums: “my baby is 5 days old and doesn’t like his/her cot/Moses basket. They only sleep on top of me. Why shall I do? How can I make them sleep in their bed?”
I can only say one thing: first three months of baby’s life are called the fourth trimester, that time when they adjust with life outside the womb. That little human was inside you from day one of their life. You were the life support for nine month. Not your family, husband, nanny but you. They don’t know how to eat or drink on their own and it’s your duty to teach them. Hold on for those first months and yes, forget about sleep, hold them in your arms so they can feel your heartbeat and give them exactly what they need: YOU.
After the fourth trimester things get easier and easier on one hand and other challenges come along the way. But this is what being a mother/a parent involves. 24h sacrifice called parenting. Let them sleep on top of you, next to you, or however they want because looking back, you will miss these days so much.
Ruby slept on top of me for most of her first three months of her life and after that I gave up on the useless Moses Basket and moved her in her own bed. At the beginning I thought she sleeps much better and she loves her bed. I was already dreaming of a full night sleep or at least half of it. I would have been over the moon with four hours of uninterrupted sleep. But no.
It was just wishful thinking
She still woke up a thousand times every night. I would go bed, close my eyes and hear her moving around and crying. I would jump straight away, go check on her and if she was unsettled I would pick her up, hold her and rock together in the rocking chair until her breath would go deeper and heavier. I would slowly put her back in her bed and drag myself to sleep. And I would relax and start dreaming things I could not remember as not long after I would have to start it all over again. Night after night and day after day.
When she got a bit bigger she started sleeping around three four hours at a time during the night (when I was lucky). I would still wake up so very often to check on her. Check if she is breathing, if she is too hot or too cold, watch her sleep so I can be able to close my eyes and rest. Up to when she turned one she had this habit of falling asleep in my arms. She would have her milk and fall asleep while I was slowly rocking her. I had to always keep her at least twenty minutes until she would be snoring away and after that I could put her in bed. From ten months to thirteen months she mostly slept in my arms while I was on the sofa or rocking chair. It was the time when she started Nursery so she picked all germs possible and brought them home to me. Every week it was a different type of cold/flu. Three months I was a proper nightmare. I went back to work from maternity leave and I couldn’t recognise myself. People would ask me if I am always sick 🤒. But after this some miracle took place.
When ruby turned one she was moved in her own room and this is how she started sleeping through the night and I started feeling more alive. This until last night when she woke up at midnight and went back to bed at 4am. Just as a reminder. In case I forgot how it felt to be knackered.