Babies and (No) Sleep

2 May

Before I got pregnant, I already loved sleep.  It was well known that I needed 8 hours to function properly.  Any less and I was cranky and fairly useless.  I was pretty nervous about the sleep deprivation I knew I was about to experience.  

Sure, in undergrad I was exceptional at staying up all night–whether it be to study for an exam, write a last minute paper or at a party.  The difference then was that I could sleep all day the next day.  No one depended on me to get up and take care of them.

The first couple of weeks of Chloe’s life are a blur.  A sweet, sleep deprived blur.  Our beautiful little girl, like most newborns, didn’t understand that night time was for sleeping.  There were nights when I got 1-2 hours, total.  Some nights I would get 5-6 broken hours, but that was better than nothing.  She slept in a bassinet in our room, but I took her into the nursery to feed her and soothe her when she was crying so that Hunter could get some rest before work.  There were some nights when she was so fussy that I we would both just pass out in her floor.  Not restful sleep, to say the least.


Knowing my previous need for sleep, you’d think that I would have been completely incapable of functioning, but surprisingly, I was okay.  I was tired, exhausted really, but I took care of my little girl.  I think that your body just does what it has to do because it’s instinct.  People would come over and try to get me to take a nap while they watched her, and I would genuinely try.  For some reason though, I just wanted to be near her.  I knew I’d be able to sleep eventually.

The first time Chloe slept more than 2 hours in a row at night, I woke up in a panic.  Was she breathing?  I’m pretty sure every new mother does the same thing.  As you would expect, she was just fine.  Eventually (around 6 weeks), she started sleeping 6-7 hour stretches and then she started sleeping from 8-5 almost every night!  I was so excited and so much more rested. For a few weeks, most nights were like that.  I got at least 7 straight hours of sleep.  And I got used to it.


Then this weekend, Chloe forgot how to sleep.  I’m pretty sure it just slipped her mind.  Sunday and Monday night we were up every 2 hours.  And she didn’t want to go back to sleep.  She was ready to play.  (Hence why I didn’t blog yesterday.)

Unfortunately, I had grown used to getting adequate amounts of sleep and the whole taking care of a baby while feeling like a zombie thing was foreign.  Also, when babies are itty bitty, they sleep all day so it wasn’t that hard to take care of her.  Now, she needs all kinds of attention and entertainment.  Also, when she doesn’t get enough sleep, she’s a crank.


The only way we got any sleep at the beginning.

In other words, at the end of the day yesterday I felt like I had been in a war zone.  I felt beaten down…by a three month old.  All the crying, yelling (her, not me) and moodiness (both of us) had whittled me down into a tired, hateful mess.  My poor husband had to deal with me and my terrible mood for the rest of the evening.  I’m pretty sure we were both ecstatic when our bedtime rolled around.

The next thing I know, it’s 5:15 and…she’s still asleep.  Was it a fluke?  For everyone who has to encounter me, let’s hope not.


I say all of this to say that sleep is important.  For babies.  For Moms.  For Dads.  For students.  But, you can survive on next to none when you have to.  I know I’ll never have the luxury of sleeping in or taking naps when I want, but that’s okay.  I have her and that’s all that matters.

But if you’re pregnant (or think you might ever want to be pregnant), go take a nap right now.  Seriously, when people tell you to sleep while you can, they mean it!



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