You Are Not Alone; Mums Speak About Their Baby Sleep Problems
When it comes to getting a baby to sleep, time seems endless and nights seem like a distant memory. Although it can seem like a time full of desperation and despair, there is always light at the end of the tunnel, and you are not alone. Every parent goes through periods of restless nights - the more you ask around, the more stories you'll hear. We spoke to a handful of mum bloggers about the their sleep challenges and how they overcame them.
- "I remember running on 1 hour 34 minutes of sleep a night for about a month after my daughter Mae was born. I was broke, had mastitis and wasn't sure if it was night or day sometimes. There was one night where I fell asleep and heard the tropical setting on the sleep sheep and genuinely thought I'd passed out on a beach after a full moon party in Thailand. It was traumatic realising I was just dribbling on the carpet. This time round I'll try and accept that exhaustion is part of helping a human grow instead of fighting it and getting frustrated. I might also book myself into a full moon party once we are through the woods to celebrate." - Anna Whitehouse @motherpukka
- "Being a mum of 2 under 2 means I run mostly on coffee, otherwise I'd be a walking zombie! As much as it's super tiring, I often find if I give in to my urges to stay in bed all day then I end up feeling worse. Instead I opt to throw myself in a shower to wake up, go for a big long walk with the pram & then get an early night instead! That way I feel like I've made the most of my day & try to get my body clock back in order!" - Ash Reid @mamareidwrites
- "When Florence was 6 months old, we had to move out of our house to have building work done. For the next 5 months, we stayed with grandparents, friends, went on holiday - basically anywhere you can think of that wasn't home! Florence had to get used to sleeping in lots of different places, without blackouts, with noise, in unusual settings. Needless to say we had a fair few middle of the night wake ups. But it wasn't until we moved back home and back into her own room we had the problems, she was now 11 months old and everything was exciting, she didn't want to go to sleep in this exciting new room, she wanted to play in it! It took 3 very tiring weeks of painful bedtimes, wake up's and re-settling but eventually she got bored of her new surroundings and now sleeps like a dream...most nights!" Anna Woodham @themothershop
- "Around the months of October and November 2016, I went through some pretty dark times as a mother and as a person. Although inside I felt deeply happy and full of gratitude, there were mornings where my whole physical being ached so much I could hardly move, I consumed more cups of coffee than I care to recall, and I don’t think I went near make-up for weeks. You see, at around the age of four months, Sonny went from sleeping beautifully to thinking night time was rave time. And by that, I mean he would wake every 45 minutes at night. He just couldn’t stay asleep and was waking after every sleep cycle, unable to fall back asleep and making me dread nights and feel at best, like a zombie the next day and at worst, totally unable to function and fully understanding why sleep deprivation is a form of torture. We tried lots of different things but my main tip? To remember the all important piece of knowledge that with babies, everything is a phase. I had deep faith that Sonny would eventually sleep through the night and I think that positive state of mind got me a long way in those dark hours. Fast forward 8 months and he happily sleeps through the night (though even writing this I worry that I'll jinx it!) - Emma Ross @mamalina
- "No one could really prepare someone for the fatigue they are about to experience after having their baby. With my first born, being the first time mom, I thought I could never see the light at the end of the tunnel. Severe fatigue like I've never experienced in my life took a huge toll on my body and it became difficult to do easy daily tasks and be able to enjoy my beautiful newborn. Now with my second, I knew what was to come ( could also be I was used to the lack of sleep with my first born). I napped when I had the chance but with now a toddler around that isn't as easy to do. The only way that worked to get us both good sleep was I allowed my baby to nap wherever he would give me the longest stretches. Whether it was co-sleeping, the swing or a car ride. On the tough nights, I have my husband wake up earlier before going to work to be with the newborn for me to get in a couple solid hours of sleep, which is good enough for me to function; quality over quantity. Knowing more this time around, I can truly say I am enjoying my newborn more than my first, as I will see sleep again and he will no longer need me at night as he grows into an independent toddler." - Amanda Chbat @the.chbat.crew
- "I think the most tired I felt was when Forrest was 6 months old, he had been such a great sleeper as a newborn up until he was about 6 months old where he started waking up 5-6 times a night to nurse, sometimes every hour. I clearly wasn't used to that and the lack of sleep was hard! But, I found that just going with the flow helped with him to calm and sleep better in the night, we also added a better 'before bed' routine to our schedule which has helped us tremendously. I think structure is very important & knowing that not all babies especially babies who aren't 'sleep trained' aka CIO method will still wake up from time to time and that's OK, knowing that our babies wake up for us, means we are doing the best thing for them by being there and comforting them! Sleep is tricky, but I think going with the flow and creating a good routine has really helped us get a better nights rest!" Erica Sue @ericasuee
- "From the very first night we brought Sienna home I knew uninterrupted sleep was going to be a thing of the past, or at least for a few months. I remember those very first newborn days, Sienna would wake every 1-2 hours. It was so exhausting, especially when we were having to greet a never ending queue of family, friends and neighbours each day. Amazingly you do find some inner strength to just keep going, night after sleepless night. Thankfully Sienna now sleeps so much better. Although she still doesn't sleep all the way through, I'll take these 5-hour stretches. I have reached out to other mums for their top tips and the best piece of advice I was given was have Sienna in a bedtime routine as early as possible and also to play white noise. Both of these made a huge difference to her sleep." Danielle Dean @sienna.and.i
- "I think my most tired state of being a mother was my first few weeks of being pregnant with my second baby. I was so ill and exhausted in those first number of weeks of being pregnant that there were days that I honestly didn't know how I was going to make it. Having a baby who just turned one and growing a baby at the same time, really takes it out of you! It got to the point where I was just so worn out that I needed to ask for help. I reached out to a few family members and asked if they would be willing to watch my daughter just for a few hours so I could relax, clean, or rest. I'm the kind of person that really doesn't like asking for help, but I'm so thankful that I did. Just having a few hours to myself made all the difference and it helped me have such a better attitude as well!
Never be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Whether it's when you're pregnant for the first time, the fourth time, or even if you're a first time mom and just need a couple hours to recuperate. It's so rejuvenating to get some time to yourself and I can only guess that there are countless people who would love to watch your cute children! We can't be super moms all the time and sometimes just need a break from our crazy lives to take some time to love on ourselves." Julianna Woehrle @julianna_woehrle
- "When I think back to those sleepless days, (mind you, Maddie was an absolute sleep terror until she turned one) I recall all the hours I spent trying to figure out the "why's." I felt so convinced that if I knew the reason for her lack of sleep, then I can "fix" the problem. I also tried every possible method out there; all to no avail. But now I see that it was one of those things that I just needed to let time take its course-- and Maddie eventually learned to sleep long and well on her own. What I've learned through those sleepless days is that parenthood is learning to be okay with what I can't control and working on being present with my child. And sometimes, time itself is the answer we may be looking for." Stephanie Baek @steph.soj
- "I remember myself being very tired the first months as a mom. The new routine (or even no routine) , the lack of sleep, feeding my daughter during day and night, made me feel exhausted. At daytime, Liv was a very bad sleeper in her first newborn months. When she did sleep, it was time to do the household. If I look back at this period, I would advise new moms to really try to sleep when your baby naps as well. Especially the first months. The household can wait, tomorrow's a new day, don't expect too much of yourself. And accept help. Why not have a cleaning lady, only if it is just for one time. I remember we went to have dinner at the grandparents a lot, what a relief. :)" Fien Dequecker @fiendq
- "I think we can all agree that motherhood is straight up exhausting. People warn you about it, but nothing can prepare you for living a sleep-deprived life. My girlfriends and I compare it to torture tactics. We’re being a little dramatic obviously, but as a mom your sleep schedule is totally at the mercy of tiny humans who do not care if you’re literally crying from fatigue. For me, it’s not the early newborn days I find the most tiring. I think at that point you’re running on the adrenaline of this new, perfect little soul that’s joined your family. It hasn’t caught up with you yet just how tiring that is. With both of my boys, I’ve found that month three is the mark where I feel like a zombie. Neither of them are “bad” sleepers, but the best thing I’ve learnt from this sleepy season of my life is to establish a bedtime routine early on. And that’s more for your sanity more than anything else! Motherhood can feel like an endless cycle of catering to everyone else’s needs, but carving out a loose schedule lets you work in some time for self-care. I’m a work in progress when it comes to that, but alone time is seriously sacred when you’re a mom and it always, always leaves me feeling recharged and ready to hustle my way through another day of momming." - Shauna Dean @quentinandco
What sleep stories do you have? We'd love to hear them & we're sure other parents would too! Let us know in the comments.