Hayden is going to be 6 months in a couple of weeks and I’ll give myself a nice little pat on the back for keeping him alive from month 4-5.5 because I’m not sure how I did it with the lack of sleep I had. Pretty sure you could have put orange juice in a coffee mug and I would not have noticed the difference.
Everyone warned me about the dreaded four month sleep regression (hey not all babies have one) and I almost thought we were going to be lucky enough to pass that little sucker right by. Not so much Abby, not so much.
Our sleepless nights and days lasted for 6 weeks and I nearly broke down in tears or actually broke down in tears for 5/6 weeks. Sleep deprivation is no joke. The foggy head and headaches were killer while trying to figure out how to get my little bean to sleep for more then one hour at a time at night or 20 minutes if I was lucky during the day. Not to mention that I got sick and my favorite hand dermatitis came back to make me even more miserable. When you don’t sleep your body really doesn’t like it too much, mine was rebelling against me big time.
This is parenthood my friends. Sometimes it’s so perfect you can’t believe you’re so lucky and sometimes it’s so crappy you kind of wonder how people have done this for 1000s of years.
Sleep is so so precious for us mommies and daddies- for me getting a four hour block of sleep meant I could be a fun and happy mommy the next day. Sleep is also not a competition, as one person in my mothers group shared with us via a great blog on sleep. It was hard for me to hear all these moms talk about how great their little ones were sleeping and know that night I was in for a marathon of feeding and settling, but I had to keep reminding myself that it wasn’t a competition. I didn’t need to compare Hayden’s sleep to anyone else because frankly it just made me feel worse that I couldn’t figure out how in the world to help him sleep better.
I won’t go into too much detail on the bad sleep because if it’s happening to you then you know exactly how I felt, and if you’re lucky enough to have a baby who has slept through the night since 4 weeks old than no need to scar you with my horror stories.
I have to just brag about how amazing Alex was during this time, it’s hard on dads too when there is very little sleep happening. He was so patient with me and understanding. He helped me so much during the night and I know for a fact I could not have made it through this alone. He is one amazing dad I’ll tell you that much.
We finally made it to the other side of this punishing 6 weeks and have a much happier family because we are all sleeping better. I’ll share with you my tips on how I made it through those tough weeks.
- I FaceTimed and text my mom like crazy. Mostly complaining to be honest but also so she could tell me encouraging words. If your mom isn’t close by like mine it’s hard because so many days I just wanted her to come over and help me but her words have done wonders
- Enlist some help. From husbands, friends, family. Have them come over and give you an hour or two to nap. Or bring you dinner or do anything that you would find helpful. Asking for help is okay.
- Give yourself a break. Don’t be so tough on yourself when you’re in the thick of a hard time (easier said than done) but some days I would think I was the worst mom because I couldn’t figure out how to make Hayden happy and help him sleep. Babies who aren’t sleeping well tend to be a little grumpy so I should have cut him a break as well
- Know this won’t last forever. As every phase of life comes and goes new challenges and joys await you.
I wish I had a list of tried and true ways to get your baby to sleep when they won’t but honestly I have no idea how we did it some days. Finally I stopped going in to Hayden’s nursery every time he made the slightest whimper and he actually learned to self settle but I think it just was his time to do it. No special help from me other than giving him the chance to figure it out and have him be ready all by himself. We have been having great sleep for a week now but that could all change tomorrow. I think now having been through such a hard 6 weeks I’ll be better at coping with it.
Motherhood is uncharted territory until you have your first child. Then you’re just learning on the fly and figuring it out one day at a time. Advice is great, when you want it, but every mom and baby are different and you just kind of learn what works for you. Some days you’re just thankful you got to take a shower and eat. Other days you look at this miracle in front of you and wonder how you ever deserved such an amazing gift.