When women first get pregnant, the most common piece of advice they are given is “Sleep when baby sleeps!” But what happens when baby never sleeps?
Let me tell you, it’s not pretty! I play perfect testament to the effects of child-induced insomnia. I can’t be the only mom with a sleepless baby/toddler, but at four in the morning, I certainly feel as though I am. I was not prepared, to say the least, for how exhausting an 18 month old would be. I can’t even remember the last time I got a full eight hours, and now that we’ve reached the toddler stage, I can attest to needing more sleep now than I ever did when Piggle was a newborn.
Sure, brand new babies need feeding every couple of hours, and sleeping through the night isn’t recommended, let alone an option, but let’s face reality: Newborns sleep. A lot. Toddlers are a whole new can of worms. Especially mine. Piggle has never slept for longer than a 4 hour stretch. At first, he was cute enough (and my gushy-lovey-new-mom hormones allowed for it) to wake me without dire consequence. Now, however, it’s all I can do not to send him packing when he feels that 2 am is a great time to strike up a conversation about trucks.
When he was a squishy, little peanut, I could stuff a boob in his mouth or drop him in a swing, and he’d be out cold. Getting him to sleep was probably the easiest thing I’d ever done. Flash forward to now, and even though I’m still nursing him, the soothing NyQuil effects of breast milk seem to have vanished completely. Now this shit is like a hit of Red Bull cut with cocaine for him. He’s like an addict, waking at all effing hours of the night, begging for the damn stuff!
I could say no…in fact, I have. An experience I’m not likely to repeat anytime soon—especially between the hours of midnight and 7 am. I’m not a complacent person, and generally have zero issue with saying ‘no’, but at the ass crack of dawn, running on less than an hour of sleep, I’ve already lost the battle. After all, zombies aren’t known for their firm parenting skills.
I am often told that this is normal; that sleeping through the night can take almost three years to achieve. That knowledge, however comforting it’s meant to be, doesn’t stop me from wanting to punch every well-rested parent in their junk. I wonder if the same people who studied age-related sleeping patterns ran any numbers on the incidences of exhaustion-induced insanity among mothers…