What Your Baby’s Sleep Schedule Says About You
Baby sleep schedules are a mystery. Even if your newborn is automatically a good sleeper or you feel that you’ve benefited from Sleep Training 101 (which may be BS), the sleep patterns of babies remain an often times head-scratching, shrug-worthy, well, I guess this works experience. What there is no debate on, however, is how these sleep patterns impact parents.
1. If your baby sleeps through (most) of the night
You’re either giving yourself calluses patting yourself on the back for all that sleep training you read up on OR you’re counting your lucky glow in the dark stars (especially if this is not your first baby). You’re a little low on sleep — because — well, you just had a baby. But functioning on six or seven hours is proving to be pretty doable and maybe MAYBE you even have time to go the gym/yoga/pilates depending on how that c-section healing is going. You’re the envy of new parents everywhere and some days, some people even tell you that you look great. SLEEP DOES WONDERS LIKE THAT.
2. If your baby wakes up every hour. On the hour.
You’re eating cereal for dinner and leftover Indian takeout for breakfast, depending on how you look at your completely skewed timeline. You have a uniform of sweatpants, old t-shirts, and sweatshirts happening that manage to put even your college days to shame. You’re WELL beyond the daily caffeine consumption for nursing mothers but you stopped caring about that after you had to check to make sure you ACTUALLY put the baby back in the crib that one time. You find yourself napping ever so slightly in the shower (another gargantuan task) and snoozing by the coffee maker. You’re a zombie feigning basic human functions ….who is fooling no one.
3. If your baby only naps, but doesn’t really sleep
These types of light sleepers are confusing to the untrained (or rather first-time parenting eye). People come over to your house in droves to see the baby, of course, always when the baby is napping, only to praise you on what a “good sleeper!” you have. Good sleeper, your pelvic floor! While your newborn is perfect fine crashing after a feeding or a stimulating session under the mobile, night time is lethal. For your sanity. While you can sort of, kind of nap when your tiny human does, you are getting no sleep sleep. The kind of restorative sleep that guarantees your ability to function on all cylinders. You spend your wakeful hours grilling your mommy friends about sleep training or perhaps even the Ferber method.
4. If your baby only sleeps when you sleep with him/her
You were all on board about attachment parenting despite the looks of horror your SIL gave you. Eff her and the judgmental horse she rode in on. You’ve done the research, you know what’s best for your family, and you’re emphatically on the co-sleeping train, first class. Until now. Every moment in which you may have to pee, get a drink of water, or otherwise be a separate person from your baby results in shrieks that you swear shake the very foundation of your house. You spend many hours hugging your serenely sleeping baby counting the lines on your ceiling and wondering if moving your leg, which is falling asleep, is really all that imperative.
(photo: Genie Alisa)
5. If your baby only sleeps with a specific CD, routine, or shusshing noise
After some struggles, you’ve finally found something that works whether it be a specific Enya playlist or a specific sound or coddling routine and guess what? You’re never changing it. Ever. Your partner laughs at you as you school your babysitter on the exact amount number of baby books to read or the exact volume that the music should be on, or how many times you should rock baby in the rocking chair before bed. But to you, this is NO laughing matter. This exact combination of crazy worked one time and, all deities willing, it will work again. You’ve officially lost it.
6. If your baby has a completely erratic sleep schedule you can’t understand
Anytime your baby is sleeping is a good time. Afternoon, middle of the night, early morning, it’s quiet part time and victory dances in your slippers. You take what you can get. The real problem is EVERYONE seems to have an opinion on why this is. To your parents, you coddle your baby too much. To your in-laws, you’re overstimulating your babe with all those crappy toys your friends swore by. But to your friends, you need to rely on these toys to tire baby out so bedtime is more easily achieved. You’ve been inundated with so much unsolicited advice that you find yourself getting tired just considering all their opinions. You’re also too tired to care.