In my recent blog, ‘things I didn’t expect to happen when my baby arrived’, I touched on the issue of tiredness (as in a whole new breed of tiredness!) so when I read this blog by Sally Haslewood, who runs one of our sister sites, Harrogate Mumbler, I could completely relate…
Sleep is a peculiar thing. Get enough, (and as a mum of two I’m really not that greedy. Six to seven hours is fine) and you can cope with whatever life throws at you. Get too little and it really doesn’t take much for this delicate balancing act to fall apart.
I can clearly remember when pregnant with my first, reading a Gina Ford book all about getting your baby into a routine. As I read it, it made perfect sense. I even thought to myself (now reader, please don’t laugh,) that it all sounded very reasonable. However I didn’t think 7am would work for me. I was going to train my baby to wake at 8am. Much more civilised or so I thought…
Needless to say, the Gina book actually got thrown across the room a number of times. I’d hopelessly go back to it time and time again trying to find that elusive answer to why my baby wouldn’t sleep.
Both my daughters suffered from colic. They’d both be happy enough during the day but come to six pm they’d start up screaming. They’d be like that until 11 or 12 when I’d finally manage to get them down to sleep and then collapse into bed myself.
Colic is a particularly horrible experience. For the baby they seem to be in so much pain and there is nothing that you can do to help them out. It used to come on at the point in the day when I was so tired and fed up. I just wanted to get an hour where I could sit down and watch the telly and have a glass of wine.
I tried everything on the market to no avail. The fact of the matter is, you will try anything and I’m pretty sure that the drug companies take full advantage of this.
The difference between my first and second child was that with my first I’d sit up in the nursery with my colicky baby in the dark, sobbing to myself wondering why I couldn’t help my little one stop crying.
With my second I’d just bring her down to the lounge, put subtitles on the TV and cuddle her while she screamed.
The colic did eventually wear off but even then a full night sleep was a long way off. My girls both woke in the night for a feed until they were seven months old and on three proper meals a day.
I got to the stage with both of them that I thought that I could literally not go on any longer feeling like such a zombie.
It’s a level of tiredness that only a parent will understand. It’s not tired as in “one good night sleep will sort you out”, oh no. This is deep down, to the core fatigue. This is tired that leads you to finding a baby wipes in the freezer (yes, I did) or tired that meant you went out with your new baby for the day with no nappies, wipes or change of clothes (yes I did that too)
My girls now are both great sleepers and so although I’d like to end this column on a high note, I’m told by my older and wiser friends to enjoy this short phase because when my girls are old enough to drive then the sleepless nights start all over again!
Sally Haslewood, Harrogate Mumbler
(First published 6th April 2012 Harrogate Advertiser)