Opinion: When Your Baby Won’t Sleep
These are the 10 steps Evelyn Lewin goes through when her baby wont sleep...
There are times, my baby falls asleep instantly. She closes her eyes, curls her little hands and, by the time I leave her room, shes fast asleep. At other times she falls asleep like, well, a baby. Those times, she fights sleep likes its an Olympic sport. Take tonight, for example. Wed had a great, active day and shed eaten plenty. There was no reason for me to believe shed have any trouble falling asleep. How wrong I was. This is how it can go down on those kind of nights*:
Step 1: Put baby to sleep. Wailing starts as soon as the door shuts.
Step 2: Return to baby. Hug her, speak soothing words, sway her. Try to leave again. Wailing starts one moment after the door shuts.
Step 3: Pick baby up and walk her away from her room. Baby is instantly calm. Walk baby back towards her room. Crying resumes. Realise that baby thinks this is a game. Put baby down in cot. Wailing resumes.
Step 4: Become determined to get baby to sleep. Take deep breath and arm myself with all weapons of baby soothing. Speak gently, rock baby, hush baby, check babys nappy, give baby water, do everything short of placing a boutique chocolate in babys cot. Leave quietly. Wailing starts.
Step 5: Feel beaten. Wonder how long it will take till baby falls asleep. Wonder why babies fight sleep so much. Wonder whether all this wondering will actually help me get baby to sleep in any way.
Step 6: Realise this getting a baby to sleep thing is really hard. Think someone should write a book about it.
Step 7: Decide it doesnt matter if baby never sleeps. Who needs sleep anyway? Take baby out of her room. Let baby run wild. Feel like baby is on Baby Survivor and has just been given a feast. Baby very happy. Me so tired.
Step 8: Feel very confused by baby. Cant understand why baby tries to resist sleep. Sleeping is the best. Whats better than sleeping? Apparently emptying out my handbag. Baby finishes emptying handbag. Take baby back to bed. Wailing starts again.
Step 9: Go in again. Do it all again. All of the Everything. Am Highly Determined To Make Baby Sleep. Doesnt that count for anything? Baby thinks not.
Step 10: Take baby back to bed. Watch baby close her eyes.
Step 11: Realise baby is asleep. Stare at her gorgeous fluttering eyelids, the way her lips curl and move in her sleep. Long to touch babys plump cheeks. Notice how light and wispy her hair is, how beautiful she is. Feel so blessed to have this beautiful, sleeping child. Feel filled with all the love. Feel so lucky to be the mother of such a lovely baby.
*Please note some of these thoughts/actions are the product of an overtired mother and as such are an exaggerated version of the truth. No babies were harmed in the making of this article, though the authors handbag did incur some baby drooling.
Photo: Jenna Potter