Hello everyone and welcome back to A.P Writing, tonight I’ll be discussing something that all new parents go through when raising their baby, sleep deprivation. It still amazes me how quickly you can get used to disrupted nights, food at all hours and no sleep. Looking back over the last six months I’d have to say this is the one thing that’s affected me most, how are we meant to function properly when we’ve only slept for two hours a night? To be honest I can’t give you a definitive answer to that question, we simply do, we get up, we deal with it and we carry on, that’s what being a parent is all about right? I’m actually pretty lucky really, I’ve got an incredibly understanding partner who takes on 99% of the night-time routine, allowing me to somewhat function while I’m at work during the day. Even with that support I still struggle though, so throughout this post I’ll be sharing what the last six months have taught me.
For the first week after Ezra’s birth we stayed with my family, as new parents I’d describe this support as invaluable, having the ability to ask questions no matter how silly or insignificant you thought they were really helped. It also allowed us small breaks during the day after many disrupted nights. If you’re feeling nervous about the first few weeks I’d advise being honest, speak to those who can help, it doesn’t have to be family it could be close friends, as long as they can offer that support you might need at the time. Now, this is not something that’s set in stone, if you’re feeling confident, perhaps this is not your first child and you don’t need that extra support, all I’d say is it’s worth considering. When I look back to that first week now It makes me laugh, I remember Ezra getting hiccups for the first time and me being the worrying new parent that I am had convinced myself something was wrong. My dad walked up to me, took Ezra and calmly said its only hiccups son, within five minutes he had him asleep, hiccups gone and panic averted. Imagine that something so small had me so worried, but It was something you’ve got to learn, having that person at hand who’s got the knowledge and isn’t fazed really can take away some of your stress in those early stages.
So, what is a typical night in the life of a baby? The truth is that every baby is unique, one things for sure though, nearly every baby will have you up at all hours to begin with. Ezra used to wake between 3-4 times a night, some of those times would be for a feed and others would be that he needed the reassurance from a parent that he was safe. Think of how they must feel, they’ve been curled up asleep for 9 months and all of a sudden they’re free to move around, there’s all these new smells, colours, bright lights, it must be terrifying. In another post I’m going to discuss the importance of pre baby groups and the role that they play, we went to one called Baby Steps and all I’ll say is that speaking to the other parents from that group, our babies all have differing patterns and routines. Some are sleeping straight through, others won’t sleep at all, I’d describe Ezra as in between, he’ll have a good night and then a bad one. There are differing theories as to why one baby will sleep and another won’t, but don’t get disheartened when your child refuses to give in, it might take them more time that’s all. I actually think the worst thing you can do when your baby has restless nights is convince yourself it’s your fault, that you’re doing something wrong. Truthfully, you’re probably doing everything right, but by worrying you can end up convincing yourself that you should be doing more, don’t put that pressure on yourself. This also goes for the advice others can often give, take the good and let the bad sail past, just because something worked for one person that doesn’t mean it’ll work for everyone. There’s no blueprint to parenting, believe me I wish there was, it’d make life much easier at times, but the only way to learn is on the job and our babies are the best teachers.
When you hear your baby cry for the first time something changes inside you, well it did for me anyway, you realise all at once how proud you feel, that’s your baby making that noise, you’ve helped produce that new life. You might also like me, think your babies cry is cute when first heard, I’d have to say my opinion has changed slightly since then, when Ezra cries now it’s with far more vehemence. I read somewhere that our babies cry becomes so unique to them that as parents we’d recognise it anywhere, even in a room full of screaming children you’d be able to pinpoint your own. I’d have to say I agree, but by the fourth sleepless night in a row this cry has you at breaking point, it’s designed to get that reaction however and that’s what I remind myself now when I’m getting a tirade of noise from Ezra. The only way our babies can really communicate with us is through noise, they can’t sit up and say dad I’m hungry, can I have some food? Their cry is meant to prick every nerve we have so we realise they want or need something, it could be food, a bum change, or they might just want a cuddle. One thing I’ve learned is to roll with it, no matter how frustrated they’re making you, no matter how loud that scream of theirs is, it’s only your babies’ way of communicating. As hard as it may be sometimes I try looking at it from Ezra’s perspective, his whole life rests on me and Chantelle, without us he can’t eat, change his bum, even sit up, if I had to rely on someone like that I think I’d cry a lot as well.
I’m going to end this post with the notion that a babies sleeping pattern can be incredibly temperamental, and at times it does feel like the whole world is on our shoulders as parents, lets be honest here, parenthood is hard. Things will get easier however, I’m starting to see this now, we still have many sleepless nights with Ezra but he’s developing every day, growing up so fast.
As always thanks for taking the time to read my post everyone, it means a lot. Please feel free to leave a comment, I’ve also created a new Facebook page which you can find here https://www.facebook.com/apwriting19/
See you all real soon.