First of all, come over here and let me hug you and tell you that I understand. And that it will pass, I promise. I don’t know when, but you’ll make it through this.
I’m not going to tell you how to get your baby to sleep, because I know maddening it is when people give you suggestions and they don’t work. Or when people tell you what worked for them, and you want to try because you have tried that and it doesn’t work for your baby and what’s wrong with your baby because it worked for that other baby and then suddenly, inexplicably, you HATE every single person in the world who is sleeping or who has a baby who will sleep.
Ahem. Or maybe that was just me? Let me tell you about my baby who wouldn’t sleep. When he was born, I was so happy because he slept for three hours stretches, he would eat, and then he would fall back asleep. I was all, This new baby is awesome! He eats and then falls back asleep! Then he grew. I kept waiting for the sleep stretches to get longer, only they didn’t. I used to put him down for the night and he’d be up for the first feeding at midnight. I knew that if I went to bed at 9, I could get three hours of sleep. After midnight, he would be up every hour on the hour, until 5AM when he would be wide awake. Shane would take him from 5 until 7, when he left for work, and I learned to live off of those two hours of sleep. Then one night, I went out with friends, thinking I could get home at 11:30 to be there for Tommy’s first wake up. Only when I pulled in the driveway at 11:30, Shane was sitting up with him. Apparently he woke up at 11 that night. From that point forward, his first wakeup started coming at 11, after which he’d be up every hour, until wide awake at 5. This went on for a few weeks, until his first wakeup starting coming at 10, followed by every hour until he was wide awake at 5. When I’d hear him cry out for the first time, it was almost physically painful, because every night I’d think, “Maybe this is it. Maybe tonight will be the night.” I wanted to cry, to pull a pillow over my head and pretend that it wasn’t happening. I used to fantasize about checking into a hotel room just to sleep without interruptions. I used to cry because I felt like a tired zombie, because I couldn’t muster up the energy to play with my well-rested toddler.
I learned to avoid Twitter and Facebook in the mornings, to avoid the moms gleefully announcing that their children, babies younger than mine, slept through the night. Or worse yet, to avoid those who were complaining because their kids “only” slept ten or eleven hours (please, for the love of all that is holy, STOP COMPLAINING ABOUT THIS). Tommy sleeps through most nights now, but it took awhile. Even now, we still consider ten hours to be a victory. Many nights, he’s up in the middle of the night and if we make it until 5AM, we feel good about that night. He’s high energy, high needs, and simply doesn’t need to sleep as much as other kids do. Maybe you have one of those babies. Maybe yours will learn to love sleep someday. I don’t know, but I can promise you that it will get better. I won’t tell you what we did or didn’t do, because I know that those tips and tricks might not work for you, that those tips and tricks might make it even worse. I can’t tell you when it will get better, because I don’t know, but it will. Someday, you’ll feel human again.
From one former sleep-deprived zombie to another, I promise.