Sleep…when you are pregnant, everyone tells you to enjoy all the sleep you get while you get it. When you have your baby, every other mother asks “So, how does she sleep?” And hence sleep is Chapter no. 2.
I think the number one thing that defined the early months of being a mother was the incessant rocking, swinging, bouncing, shooshing, slinging, singing…every two hours all day, and then for about forty-five minutes or so every night. Elka only slept maximum forty minutes at a time during the day, and still does mostly. Firstly it worried me…it didn’t fit with the health nurse’s schedule, or the sleep clinic’s.
I later learnt that most babies were the same…sometimes twenty minutes was normal. I don’t know where the health nurses were getting their norms from, but it certainly wasn’t from anyone I had come into contact with.
And so I ceased worrying, and opted for the path of least resistance. For one thing, we were getting decent night sleeps, so I was in no position to complain about a thing. And in the day, the the Hug-a-Bub won out. For most hours of the day, my little bundle was wrapped close to my heart. It meant I could work at my computer, garden, have lunch with friends, clean the house, go for long walks at the beach…it felt amazing, and it also meant I more or less felt like a living breathing human being, albeit with a big green growth at my front. Even more lovely was that my husband – big, strong and masculine – got to wear our baby too, and feel that warm fuzzy mumma warmth that cannot be described, and usually shared, with our male counterparts.
Some babes don’t like the sling, but ours didn’t like prams, and LOVED the sling…so to anyone who’s looking for an answer to day sleeps…try anything that works, and don’t worry about how your baby sleeps…they are fine, and will get the sleep they need in some form or another. And then they change! Now Elka LOVES the pram!
Night sleeps started beautifully for us. I was still up a few times, but co-slept, so did a quick feed, and usually fell asleep again straight away, or during. As mentioned, encouraging Elka to get to sleep in the first part of the night was always a bit of a fiasco. She squirmed like crazy, and was obviously desperately uncomfortable lying down and lying still. She screamed like crazy too. I rocked, I bounced, I swaddled tightly, and I sang vigorously. Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah proved particularly favourable, and went round and round my head every waking moment.
Eventually a baby hammock helped the proceedings, by creating a little cosy nest the snuggled my baby up. If I was a baby, I think that’s what I would like too. And so every night that’s what I told myself…and I took every night as it came, never exasperating, and always ready for the next rock, bounce and sing duty.
Months in, still feeding every two to three hours, and sometimes more frequently, I wondered why and for how long. After a call out to mums on facebook, and ordering way to many mums of baby self help books, I returned to the path of least resistance, and found that’s where I was most comfortable. Being easy with how things go. And just tonight, after dinner, a bath, a feed and a mini rendition of Hallelujah, Elka fell asleep on her own in the dark on her sheepskin near my bed.
No crying, just immense amounts of patience, and very gently easing Elka from sling to wherever she needs to get to next.