Thursday, February 10, 2011

I Can't Get No Sleep

I had to take my baby to pediatric after hours care on Sunday. There was a couple there who looked like they hadn’t slept in weeks- their hair was crazy, they looked like they hadn’t showered in a while, they were only partly dressed- half PJs, half clothes, the man wasn’t wearing any underwear. (don’t ask me how I know, it wasn’t a pleasant sight) They had their sick baby with them, who was hooked up to some sort of monitoring device. And yet they had a pleasant conversation with me about how old their baby was- they were so proud of him.
This pretty much sums up everything about the early months and years of parenting. You are so sleep deprived that you are close to losing your mind, yet those little angels make it all worth it. I felt so sorry for those two people, I almost cried. Because I have been there; I know.
People may try to tell you what it will be like when you have your first child, but sleep deprivation is impossible to describe. The first few weeks with my baby were just awful. I didn’t know what I was doing, to be totally honest. I didn’t get any sleep. Two, three hours here and there. It was incredibly horrible. I felt like a different person. It’s almost like an ache that you feel all over your body, a yearning for rest. It impairs your ability to function- you can’t really think straight, trip over your words, bump into furniture.
To those of you who don’t have children yet- don’t be scared off by this. It is only temporary and somehow we all manage to get through it. You will sleep again some day, I promise! Listen to people when they say “Sleep when your baby sleeps”- you will need it. My biggest regret is that I didn’t do that more. Now with my second child I have learned my lesson. Everything else can wait- when both kids are sleeping, I am going to do the same.
R was a very bad sleeper until she was about 15 months old. She wouldn’t sleep longer than two hours at a time. It was very rough. You can really tell when the exhaustion affects everything you do. Thankfully, she did finally learn to sleep for longer stretches, then the entire night. (I felt like a new person, simply fantastic!) To get through this “phase”, I did everything I could to maximize my rest. We co-slept, so I would only be awake a few minutes at a time. I napped when she napped. Sometimes I went to bed at the same time she did. On the weekends, my husband would occasionally let me sleep a little longer.
I understand how parents get desperate for solutions. Being tired is more than unpleasant. Yet, I think that quick fix solutions are not the way to go. I like to compare those quick fix methods to taking a diet pill- it gets you where you want to be fast and without much effort, but isn’t good for you and doesn’t really teach you better habits.

If you become resentful towards your spouse, yourself, or even your baby, get help! Unfortunately, other people (yes, that includes your spouse/ partner) cannot see inside of you and may not catch on to your desperation. Just ask! i promise you that there are people around you who are more than willing to watch your baby while you sleep a little. Trust me, a few hours of sleep will do wonders. It will benifit you and your baby.
Desperate parents, you are not alone! Find the best solution for your family to get the most sleep you can. Always remember that it is only temporary. You will sleep again. And as long as you put underwear on before you leave the house, you should be alright.


  1. Very well said and excellent advice. Im so glad youre sleeping once again!

  2. I would give up everything for more sleep-food, showers, chocolate...everything!