Things that change when you have a baby: your sleep

I am sitting on the kitchen floor with the little one. I just had a cup of coffee. It is getting bright outside, I can watch the snow falling down, everything seems quiet and peaceful. Romantic? Could be.  If it wouldn’t be Sunday morning at 6:15am.

There are many things that change when you have a child. And although people tell you about them beforehand, you kind of ignore the warnings and decide to have a child anyway. Which is a very clever arrangement by nature! I have already written about the restroom situation…well, that is still kind of a fun change I can live with (somehow). But one of the biggest changes probably concerns your sleep pattern. Not to be mistaken here: my sleep pattern is still the same! It is just not possible to retain it anymore.

It even started before the little one was born. Because at one point during pregnancy you just have to pee every two hours, even at night. Again: very clever invention by nature. It prepares you for what will follow soon. Then comes the birth. Which took exactly 48 hours during which I didn’t really sleep at all. After birth, the nurse rolled me into the hospital room, took the little one and said “I will take care of her and you can sleep!” Sleep…oh yes, please!! And then came the sobering second part of the sentence:”I will wake you up in 2 hours so you an breastfeed her!”. And that’s how it starts. The first weeks were incredibly exhausting. If you don’t have kids and you want to get an impression how it feels: first run a marathon and then set your alarm every two hours night and day for the next 6 weeks. In between, add a week were you only sleep in a half-sitting position because the baby decides to only sleep on your belly and nowhere else. Have fun!

After a while it got a bit better. I even had to wake the little one sometimes during the night so that she could drink. And there was the night when I had my first 4 hours of undisturbed sleep again. And then 5 hours. And one day even 6! God, how good that felt! And god, how bad it feels when it changes again….

Because at one point, the little one decided to wake up every 2 hours again. For weeks. There was a point where she would wake up about half an hour after we went to bed (and we tried to go to bed as early as possible…there is nothing to be ashamed of when your bedtime starts at primetime!). For some time we couldn’t even fall asleep fast enough because the threat of having to get up in 30 minutes anyway was just too big to relax.

Well, it got better again. And now it got worse again. It’s an up and down. Since a few weeks, she manages to stand up. So every time she wakes up at night you hear a rustling noise and a groaning and, in the semi-darkness of the bedroom, you see the black silhouette of her head appear above the railing. It’s incredibly cute – if you think of it at daylight.

Karsten gets slightly scared of me at night because I now master the art of very aggressive whispers. Sometimes the whispers turn into louder shouts. And normally they are followed by unspoken promises that I will spend the next night in a hotel, no matter what happens. Just one night with the feeling that I can sleep as long as I want.

Sometimes the little one decides to sleep in. Mostly on the days when we have an early appointment with her. NEVER on the days where we could sleep long as well!

As a mother you often get the advice to take advantage of the babies day-naps. Leave the dirty dishes as they are and lay down as well. But you know what? That only works if your babies falls asleep at home. The favorite sleeping time during the day is, however, while laying the stroller. And then you walk around the city and watch your baby being rocked to sleep, cozily wrapped in warm blankets, the winter sun shining in the face while the strollers makes a soft rattling noise. And you swear that in 50 years it’s your turn! In 50 years, the kid has to push you around no matter what comes unless it wants to be cut out on your will. Just 50 more years.

Ps: Any grammatical or spelling mistakes are herewith excused by the inhumane time!

About erdhummel

Familial entropy - that's an insight into our current life which has been fundamentally changed last summer when our daughter was born. Having studied in Cottbus, Germany, and worked/studied in Edinburgh, Scotland, we momentarily live in a small town in Switzerland where Karsten is trying to save the environment and Freddie is trying to save our sanity. Since there is not much time for elaborate, long emails while doing that, we thought a blog might be a good option to smuggle ourselves into the lifes of our friends.
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3 Responses to Things that change when you have a baby: your sleep

  1. Eingehirner says:

    You have our deepest sympathy! Did I ever tell you about the friend of mine in Konstanz who has a daughter which NEVER slept before 11 p.m. and had to be taken OUTSIDE in the stroller to a dark area (read parking lot) with no street lights, had to be driven around for fifteen minutes and, when fallen asleep, usually woke up again after return to their home by being carried upstairs to the fourth floor, resulting in the same procedure being executed over and over again? Just remind yourself every time: Someone endured you just like you endure her now 😉

  2. Miko says:

    Sleep deprivation is one of the most horrible things when you have a baby. Luckily enough it does not last forever. I also believe that your need for sleep tends to decrease when you become a parent. I used to be a pretty good sleeper who was quite happy having 8 or 9 hours of sleep per night. Now I am perfectly fine with 7 hours and I even feel bad if I sleep more that that.

  3. Pingback: one year review (or how you know you have a child) | familial entropy

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