Wishing people goodnight by telling them you hope they “sleep like a baby” is one of those sayings that you only see the lunacy of once you have an actual baby sleeping in your home. Or, not sleeping, as is just as often the case.
When you are acutely aware of how not-restful a baby’s sleep can be, telling people “Goodnight. I hope you sleep like a baby,” is the equivalent of telling them “Have a good trip. I hope you lose your luggage and catch the stomach bug.”
My husband has suggested a better alternative. Instead, we should tell people “Goodnight. I hope you sleep like a husband.” This certainly seems like more agreeable well-wishing. I know I tell my husband I hope I sleep like him every night.
Last night was one of those nights. As was the night before. Up for an hour or two trying to solve the puzzle of why my baby is not sleeping.
If you are a parent, you have been here too. In a sleep-deprived, panic meets despair state, you run through all the reasons why your baby could potentially not want to sleep. They are potential because WHO REALLY KNOWS?!
Sure, sometimes the answer is simple and you all get back to sleep quickly. These scenarios are probably more frequent than the despair-inducing ones. And for this I am so thankful.
The other times, though, when the minutes just keep ticking by and still your baby isn’t asleep. When cries from the monitor wake you just after getting back to sleep for the third time. Then you start going through The List. Racking your brain to figure out what will get you both back under the covers long enough to reach the elusive REM sleep you miss so much.
Reasons Why My Baby Won’t Sleep:
I considered all of these last night.
Feeling her gums (does she need medicine?).
Maybe she’s growing (am I still nursing her enough during the day?).
Does she need to drop her morning nap or not? (no certain answer here).
Her diaper feels pretty full (do I chance changing her and waking her up more?)
I should change her. She woke up wet yesterday. (Crap. Now she’s seen light and thinks it’s really time to get up).
I have to share at MOPs tomorrow (why are the hardest nights before I actually have plans?).
The bed sheet is different (is it too itchy and dry? I keep seeing sparks when I touch it).
Stupid creaky hallway (where is the dog?)
She’s getting ready to start walking (I’ve heard that sleep suffers when they are learning something new).
Maybe it’s caffeine? (Exactly how many cups of coffee did I have yesterday?! Unless I’m sleeping-caffeinating, I don’t remember more than one…)
So what’s a sleep-deprived mom to do?
I’ve thought of a few suggestions.
- First, don’t stress the list too much. Try to figure out an immediate solution if you can, but most of them probably won’t be factors anymore by the time you narrow down the list.
- Remind yourself often- this will pass. this is worth it.
- Keep a secret stash of middle-of-the-night chocolate (or substitute favorite treat). I just thought of this one, but I plan to implement it immediately. Salted dark chocolate with definitely sweeten the bitter sting of loosing sleep.
- Find hope and encouragement in Scripture. Memorize it and remember it. It does help. Psalm 30:5 has been encouraging before and still is.