The baby sleep conversation
Newborn and infants sleeping patterns can be incredibly different for everyone and comparing it is often going to leave you more stressed than accomplished. Yet it is still one of the most googled questions from a new mum. Baby sleep. How can I make my baby sleep longer? Take away the books, apps, advice, videos, techniques and the urge to make your baby sleep and just breathe.
Look at the baby in front of you and find their cues.
That’s the best advice I think someone could have ever gave me. Just trust your baby and see what their natural cycle is. Newborn sleep is going to be a little all over the place. It is normal. Don’t let an infant sleep schedule overtake the enjoyment, slowness and haze that circulates the newborn days.
A baby is going to become an infant, toddler, child, teenager, adult whether they slept on a schedule or not.
There will be days, weeks, months that they go through growth spurts and sleep is a thing of four days ago while other weeks they sleep like a dream and you wonder about everything you must have done right that day. Then there are babies that are naturally routined, others that are persistently routined and some that have none at all.
None of those parents are doing it wrong. They are doing it there way. You, we, I should all just do it our own way.
Whatever works for you. Baby sleep is messy. If it’s a problem for someone else then remember that their problems say more about them than you! The choices we make are our own and if you are okay with the consequences then that is perfect!
It’s still a topic I get asked about constantly though, emails and messages asking about Elle’s sleep routine.
Before Elle went through her first growth spurt she was waking throughout the night for milk and it was when other mums said their babies at the same age were only waking once a night that I began to question.
Is my baby getting enough sleep? What am I doing wrong?
I read different recommended infant sleep schedule books, googled and spoke to others. I then began implementing a strict routine. Some aspects of the routine I didn’t follow but following the time cues was very exhausting. For the days that followed on our new ‘recommended’ routine I felt extremely restricted to what we could do and where we could go. I just had this baby and life had changed so much already but I didn’t picture I’d have to/ should change everything about my day.
I felt a bit stressed and concerned trying to get her on a routine and sleeping through that we ended up
worse. She would follow the times in the day but at night it was worse.
Every book said she should be sleeping.
All the books could never say they knew my baby. They didn’t know my baby was born small and wanted to grow rapidly. They didn’t know my baby was a persistent pooper (aka every feed or otherwise thirty one thousand times a day). They didn’t know that my baby was going through a growth spurt. They didn’t know that we had an event on that we needed to attend or that I didn’t want to spend all day at home now or like ever. I’m a busy person and I enjoy my life that way.
The more I realised what the books didn’t know was the moment I realised I knew my baby better than anyone.
I then decided to change my way and go with the flow. I am a relaxed person and I want that to translate into my parenting and into the child I raise. I think routine is healthy but it doesn’t always need to be adhered to for us by strict times. A baby should know routine but should also be able to adapt through change and that’s the parenting style we are trying to take on.
It may mean we have some harder days but we don’t remember them we remember everything we enjoyed about this time in our life and I want to our children to be there enjoying everything with us.
I calculated the amount of hours the books recommended your baby sleeps for during the day and work best to ensure Elle gets around that total of daily sleep to avoid the over tiredness. Which FYI over tiredness is just standard in a newborn.
Your learning them, they are learning the world.
This can be one of the hardest things to avoid sometimes but once you get to know your baby and her cues mastering it gets easier but we won’t be able to avoid it every time because sometimes we have shit to do and sometimes the cues are missed! It’s okay! One minute you think you know them and then suddenly their preferences change. It’s normal.
Why does no one tell you it’s normal?
Well, some may laugh at me as I’m only 8 weeks in but for 8+ weeks in we are getting pretty damn good sleep in my eyes. While I thank a lot of our amazing sleep to the incredible sleep nest Elle loves to snuggle into which you can read about here.
Ironically I’m finishing this post at 4.30am after recognising Elle is going through a growth spurt, nothing you do can improve sleep during those times! You can’t force a baby who wants/needs to grow to not feed an extra 81 times a minute when they go through a growth spurt so you kind of just have to take the good with the bad and remember the days your baby wakes and feeds more often are good days, they are growing days!
Something I would’ve given everything to have experienced with our first child.
The beauty of watching your child bloom and grow right in front of your eyes. This long night tonight is extra special, special because I can acknowledge how lucky I am to be here holding our daughter and feeding her through her growth.
There are so many different factors that make each of our babies so different and often it is just genetics. Some babies have reflux, colic, want more of your love, less of your love (which I swear is Elle sometimes so that’s why I force all the love upon her haha!), siblings etc. No two are the same!
I was nervous going away the other weekend with Elle and that she would turn crazy being in a different environment but I think because we chose to not surrender all aspects of our lives and we expose her to different scenarios consistently within our lifestyle she has managed to adapt so well for our nights away from home as a family.
I really enjoy this parenting gig! It’s amazing how rewarding it is. Just this week alone I think I’ve cried more times than I could count with proudness. The moment your baby smiles and means it beamingly just lights up your world. You truly forget all about that baby sleep conversation.
Surrender yourself to parenting the way you surrender your body to change in pregnancy. The years are short. Enjoy it with your little ones.