Sleep was a constant thought on my mind until Parker turned one. Why isn’t he sleeping? How can I get him to sleep through? And what am I doing wrong? Classic. Before I had Parker, I had read every book about babies. Heck, I had been reading them since I was 18. So I knew exactly what strategies I had to put into place, in order for Parker to sleep through the night. Because, as the books said, it was just a matter of good sleeping habits and a strict routine. But Parker taught me what the books could not.
Ever since I can remember I have always wanted to be a mum. I dreamed about it. Anytime there was a baby at a party or family gathering, you could bet I would be right there beside it. Everyone said I was a natural when it came to babies and would make a beautiful mother. So the day Parker was born, I was feeling confident, calm and happy. I had this. I was prepared.
I can still to this day remember when Parker was only 6 days old, crying non-stop, feeding every hour and there was nothing I could do to comfort him. How wrong all those people were. I had no idea. Here I was in the middle of the night, holding my own little baby and I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t even get him to stop crying, let alone sleep.
My confident, happy facade masked a frightened, emotional mess. I thought I was going to be a good mum. I read all the books and I had all the gadgets ever invented. Because having all the ‘knowledge’ mattered. The only thing was, I didn’t bring home a text book baby. I brought home a real baby.
Parker’s longest sleep was 3 hours until he was six months old. No matter what strategies I put in place, no matter how many routines, noises, lights etc we introduced, he just didn’t sleep. My days were foggy and as night grew closer my anxiety would rise. What will he be like tonight? How long will I be pacing the lounge room floor? And what am I doing wrong? Because, it must be me! I must have read all the wrong books. So I started asking for advice and believe me when it comes to your baby sleeping through the night, everyone has advice. Every time I tried a new suggestion and it failed, it only feed into my negative thoughts that I was a hopeless mum! I must be failing motherhood, the one thing in this world I wanted so much.
I started to only focus on his sleeping and not everything else that was happening. He was kicking milestones here there and everywhere but he wasn’t sleeping. The sleep deprivation was consuming me. I was looking for an answer that wasn’t out there. Because I began to realise that there is no magical way to make your baby sleep through the night. Sure, some routines and sleep habits help some babies, but not all. It might be hard to believe but not all babies sleep through the night. It’s no failure as a mother if your child doesn’t sleep through. Your baby will figure it out in their own time. The funny thing is, that in all my google searching and book reading, I never read that. When it came to reading up on sleep, it was as though you could just routine away their sleeping issues. But I can assure you, for some babies this is not the case. Parker is now two years old and he still wakes up once a night for milk or a cuddle and that’s okay. Because that’s him and I am sure one day I will be missing those early morning cuddles. It wont be forever, just this small moment in time.
So if you baby isn’t sleeping through the night and you find yourself bouncing, rocking and singing to your baby all hours through the night, just remember this is not your moment. Your moment will come and it is okay. Because believe me opinions, books and google will probably tell you otherwise. It’s hard and sometimes it seems like a dark tunnel and no matter what you do, you can’t see the light at the other end, but you will. You can’t fast forward to an easier moment, so just go with the hard and take heart that an easier moment is coming.
And remember some babies don’t sleep.