Sleep looks different for everyone. Let’s ALL stop being so hard on ourselves.
Sleep is the main dominator we all have in common when we decide to embark on the magic that is parenthood. We all want to know if you're getting it and how much? Some don’t get anything, many get broken bits and pieces, most think they have it sorted and then teething, a regression, toilet training happens and it all changes again. Let’s be honest a baby that sleeps through the night, every night, is a fallacy. We're not miracle makers, what we are is here to help make the journey to sleep a little smoother.
But what if my baby doesn’t sleep through?
You’re not alone. We want you to remember, most importantly that you’re not failing if your baby isn’t sleeping through the night. Every baby is different, just because a mum in mothers group has a unicorn child that sleeps the night, doesn’t make you a failure as a Mama. Every baby has their own agenda and journey to path out. Sleep in the first year isn’t linear it does not go in an upward trajectory, like many of us are led to believe. Infant sleep actually goes up and down (mainly down), this is completely normal and incredibly common. Read more: When will my baby sleep through the night?
There are many regressions, physical changes (teething) and milestones (crawling) that need to be reached which can interrupt their routines. It’s also not uncommon for your baby to continue getting better at sleep as they fall into their own routine. We see you, you lucky duck.
Sleep Is a journey, not a destination.
Just when you think you have your baby in a regular sleeping pattern, anywhere from 0-7 months, boom a new milestone will be reached and they’re up demanding your attention. It’s important to remember that this too shall pass. About 4 months of age a significant regression hits and babies can wake anywhere from every three hours to every 45 mins at night. Again at 8-10 months (the worst it's going to get) it can happen all over. To note 84% of babies are still waking to feed throughout the night at this age. The good news is sleep should start to increase around 11 months of age. Night feedings are still perfectly healthy during this time. Whatever your baby needs are in the middle of the night is right for your baby. Mama if you're thinking you’re alone in this, you’re most certainly not. It’s the journey and not the destination in your baby’s life.
Remember you can always talk to someone.
The first year of sleep is tough Mama, the most important things you can do is get some sleep (when the baby is asleep) pop the phone away, eat well, stay hydrated, stay calm. Get out and go for a walk on the tough nights, a bit of fresh air can help do the soul some good. If you're finding it tough some days, it's best to talk with a loved one or friend or seek out an expert. You can find the numbers and information to some helpful organisations below there's no shame in asking for help. Finally, don’t be so hard on yourself. You're raising a small human and doing what is best for them.
PANDA (Postnatal and Antenatal Depression Association) 1300 726 306
Your health professional (nurse or doctor)
Emergency assistance 000 Lifeline 13 11 14
MensLine 1300 78 99 78
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
Sane 1800 187 263
Mind Spot Clinic 1800 614 435
Mind Health Online support
Source: The Gentle Sleep Book - Facebook.com/Sleepcalm & Sarah Ockwell-Smith "The Rollercoaster Of Real Baby Sleep - Parenting Expert.