Liz Mannegren

Sleeping like a Baby?

Okay, where did the saying, “Sleeping like a Baby” come from? Because as peaceful as they look for those brief moments of blissful slumber, we all know the truth. Babies suck at sleeping. I’ve been sleeping on a baby’s schedule for the past seven months, and hands down, I would much rather sleep like an adult.

When our little one came home from the hospital, he slept almost seventeen hours a day. He’d wake up to eat and if he didn’t fall asleep nursing, he’d crash into a milk drunken coma a few minutes later. The hospital had gotten him on a wonderfully strict schedule and I was thrilled by his night time routine. Most often we’d get three or (when he got a bit older) four hours of hibernation at a time. For a newborn, he was a sleeping champion – my super sleeper.

And then, he hit four months.

Suddenly, my time spent in dreamland was significantly reduced. Four hour chunks turned to three, which quickly dissipated into two. Two hours from the start of one feed to the next, equals about an hour and a half (max) of actual mommy sleep. Amazingly, your body begins to adjust to such an irregular routine and exhaustion becomes the new normal. Wait… why is my shoe in the dryer?

And for some indeterminable reason, have a baby and suddenly everyone is curious about your family’s sleeping habits. Part of a new parent’s job is to constantly answer the unavoidable question, “How does he sleep?”

Well… He sleeps like a baby. He fusses, eats every couple hours and spends a good part of the night grunting and trying to sleep-poop.

If you tell me that your four month old can sleep eight hours – then please forgive me if I go cry quietly in the corner. And when you say that your seven month old just spent the night with the grandparents, you may become the recipient of an unintentional, death glare of envy. Don’t take it personally – it’s just that I can’t remember what it feels like to sleep for longer than a few hours at a time.

And to top it off, this past week has been particularly trying. After recovering from a three week long mutating cold – which has managed to deprive us of even the usual amounts of sleep – the little fellow has decided to mix things up again. For the past three days, Mommy has seen a part of every hour on the clock. Weren’t you just awake half an hour ago?

Sleep regression? Try sleep abandonment. 

I just hope this sleep pattern – or lack thereof – evolves quickly. He’s got to figure out this phenomenon called “bedtime” soon enough, right? Because while Baby may be able to function on such broken sleep, mommy cannot.

Until sleep patterns sort themselves out, hubby and I will stumble through the day with our messy bed heads and baggy, glazed over eyes. We understand, if you question our sanity or wonder if we’ve been hit over the head with a large, blunt instrument. Don’t ask us to walk a straight line or complete a full sentence. Our apologies if we start to snore in the middle of a conversation or appear to be turning into some sort of caffeine inhaling zombie. But you see, we can’t seem to help it. After all, lately, we’ve been sleeping like a baby.

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