I have been on the not-so-fortunate side of the mommies, whose baby wasn’t ready to match his biological clock with the one on the wall.
He would pretend sleeping for what looked like a nanosecond and the moment hubby and i would collapse he startled us by making creepy sounds; may be he just wanted company. This cycle of pacifying the baby, changing soiled diapers, feeding him, getting him to sleep then getting myself to sleep went on over and over again for good 40-50 days.
Eventually i had to tell hubby to start getting some sleep in the guests bedroom since he could not take a break from work forever which left just the two of us to each other. During the day, there were so many visitors, like in a typical indian family, that even if i tried to shut the door and sleep i just could not find the state of mind to do so.
Lack of sleep causes more trauma than the lack of anything else on this planet and that i can say by experience also it is one of the major causes of post-partum depression. I didn’t know if i would ever be able to get back to my good ol’ days where sleeping was a default condition unlike now where i consider it as pure luxury.
However, he eventually did discover that nights are to sleep and days are to learn and have fun, he still woke up about 5 times a night to feed. I read about thousands of moms who did that and other lucky ones whose babies started to sleep through the nights from the very beginning. He genuinely did start to sleep through the night only when i weaned him off, after a good 16 months and still wakes up few times but falls back to sleep on his own. We still co-sleep because hubby and i both love to snuggle up with him and we want to him to sleep separately when he starts going to play school (that is our imaginary benchmark; like it ever works, sigh!).
So, the baby sleeps when he gotta sleep but i have listed down few tips that proved helpful to us:
1) control the baby’s day time nap hours by adding more activity during the day (could even be just looking around or babbling with the baby). The baby needs to stay up during the day to sleep at night.
2) an oil massage right after before bedtime soothed the baby and he slept more/ for longer intervals on doing so. Stretch his/her arms legs. You can also slightly stimulate pressure points behind the ears and between the brows for increased relaxation.
3) at the earliest stage start making the baby sleep with lights off; this way the baby learns the concept of night and day earlier.
4) keep the temperature of the room comfortable. Babies feel more or less what the mothers feel so you can add or remover one layer of clothing they wear at the max. Dont’t overdo thinking babies feel very hot or cold.
5) try co-sleeping or separate sleeping to see what works or your baby. Every child is different and has different ways to handle.
6) try to give the night-time bottle feed if you’re exclusively breastfeeding, try to pump and give in bottle so that the baby refrains from waking up at night out of habit of comfort feeding from the mother. The later you do so, the more the baby will revolt since exclusively breastfed babies give a hard time accepting the bottles.
7) when the baby wakes up and calls for you, don’t immediately pacify the baby. Let him be on his own for a while and try to get back to bed on his own. This way babies learn to sleep on their own. Most babies don’t know how to get back to sleep on their own like adults, once their sleep gets disturbed.
These things worked from me and it would be great if any of these could help you too; if not keep trying for different tricks on your own, because only Momsjustknow and they always find a way.
All the new mommies, i hope this gives you some comfort through the nights of sleep deprivation.