Some lie to make you feel better (health visitors, netmums, well-meaning friends) and some lie to make you feel worse (health visitors, netmums, not so well-meaning friends).
Of course, I only found this out two babies later. From the moment I arrived home with my first born I made the mistake of believing that everything people told me about babies was TRUE!
The first few months…
Even by day there was no respite. My ‘sleep thief’ would sometime nap for half an hour in the pram or car if we were lucky. We tried singing, shushing, rocking, white noise, radio, light on, light off, music, bottle feeding, massage and even threatened her with Gina Ford but all in vain.
We attempted to put her to bed early, we kept her up late. She had a bedtime routine, we tried various sleep techniques but she saw right through them. On a good night she would wake about five or six times. On a bad night she would wake every half an hour and on a really bad night she would not go to sleep at all.
We took her to the doctor and the health visitor convinced there must be something wrong! We consulted osteopaths, homeopaths and Dr Google. But it turned out she was healthy and happy but just didn’t seem to need a lot of sleep.
Then came the lies…
People said she would get better. “Babies settle down at six weeks”, they said. “She’ll sleep through at three months,” they told us. Then it became six months, nine months, one year and still she kept us awake.
So the lies continued…
“When she goes on solids she’ll sleep better.” Lie. Food just gave her more energy to stay awake.
“When you stop breastfeeding she’ll sleep.” Another lie.
“When she starts walking she’ll be so tired she’ll sleep through.” Another big fat LIE.
Meanwhile, I was totally exhausted and surrounded by people who’s babies apparently slept through the night at three, four or five weeks old!
And these parents of sleepy babies just delighted in telling me all about it. Apparently, their babies were going down for eight, nine and in one case, fourteen hours per night, plus having regular daytime naps. Surely, that isn’t far off a coma? These smug sorts were happily going about their days with their perfect skin, ironed clothes, tidy houses and bagless eyes. Enjoying the simple pleasures in life. Watching an entire film in one sitting, eating a meal with their partner, reading a book, having a bath or most importantly – sleeping. And one quick scan of Facebook tells me they even go out. At NIGHT. In posh dresses. Even if I could find a babysitter who was prepared to do the bedtime battle with my baby, I was too bloody knackered to go out post 7pm.
Despite all this, my sleep-hating daughter is as entertaining as she is tiring and even in the early days she would always make us laugh. But she didn’t sleep any better at three, six or even twelve months. I endured this severe sleep deprivation for about two years before she gradually improved and these days she goes to bed without a major bedroom battle and (mostly) sleeps through the night! However, now I have her baby sister to keep me awake instead…
But Baby Two will sleep through the night soon, right?
They had said you normally get one good sleeper and one bad.
They told me that second babies are always better sleepers….
Have they lied to me again?