Thursday, 30 June 2016

You know you're tired when...

When you're pregnant, everyone tells you, sleep now while you still can! Sounds like good enough advice except that I couldn't sleep properly when I was pregnant either. I guess it was good practice for what was to come, but don't tell a pregnant woman that, it's rarely welcome!

by PrintsmadewithLOVE
Newborn sleep deprivation is not a very fun thing. Aside from the c-section recovery, I would say it was the hardest part of life with a new baby. My little bundle of joy woke for feeding usually every 1 and a half to two hours for the first couple of months of his life. And since I was feeding him expressed breast milk (a story for another day) for the first few weeks of his life, I would quite often miss one or two of my 'sleep slots' as they became known, because I had to pump breast milk. By the time I'd be done and cleaned up all the paraphernalia that entails, he'd be awake and hungry again!

Tiredness does funny things to a person. It's not even fair to call it tiredness really, it goes way beyond that. Add the lack of sleep and the recovering battered body together, and you end up doing some strange things. Here is a list of a few things that told me I needed a nap.

  • When bottle feeding, not noticing you've inserted the teat into one of your baby's many chin folds instead of his mouth for a good ten minutes. Baby was absolutely soaked but didn't seem to mind at all, funny lad.
  • Showering with your glasses on. And your socks on.
  • Relying on daytime TV to give you a clue which day of the week it is.
  • Wearing your knickers/nightie/t-shirt/almost anything inside out all day long. Every other day.
  • Having no idea if or when you took any of that vital medication they gave you when you left hospital. If it weren't for my husband (who turned into an excellent personal pharmacist), I would still be anaemic from my inability to remember my iron pills. Before I had children I never missed a pill.
  • Nearly putting the butter in the oven. And on a similar theme, trying to cook things in the freezer.
  • Trying to scoop your 5'11" husband up and put him in the cot, because you mistook him for the baby.

I'm sure there are more daft things I did in the depths of sleep deprivation, but I was too knackered to remember them.

I feel quite lucky in that at about 2 and a half months we had a sudden break through and he slept for 4 hours straight. 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep! I felt like superwoman. And at 3 and a half months he could do a 6 hour stretch. Now he more or less sleeps through if you count waking at 6am as sleeping through, which I'm pretty pleased about. Of course I've gone and jinxed it now, but I appreciate many new parents have it a lot worse than we did.

One last thing on babies and sleep. I would advise anyone never to say 'sleep when baby sleeps' to a new parent. It is the least useful piece of 'advice' ever. My usual response to that is, 'okay, I'll be sure to shower while the baby showers, or do the laundry while the baby does laundry, or sterilise bottles while the baby sterilises bottles.' No wait, that's not going to work is it? Rant over.

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