One of my many worries in pregnancy was that the already awful sleep I was experiencing due to an extremity in the ribs, was about to get worse. I’m the kind of girl who is flagging on a night out at 11pm. The first to admit defeat and not make it to a midnight feast – the thought of sleep deprivation was terrifying to me.
So I did my research. Surely throwing money at this potential scenario would make it go away – I stocked up on the must-haves:
- A Sleepyhead – the go-to sleep miracle for newborns! Amazon reviews cannot lie! “My baby slept through the night from day 1! “It’s saved my life!” “I do yoga while my baby is in it!” etc.
- A Snuzpod cosleeper – all the rage. Scandi, aesthetically pleasing (before puked on) and means your baby is so close to you but not so close that you’re in the DANGER YOU WILL SQUASH YOUR BABY IF YOU PUT IT IN YOUR BED zone.
- A Ewan the Dream Sheep, who makes the sounds of the womb and glows as if the baby is still in there. Why the terrifying eyes and short battery life I have no clue but ah, how this trio would work in perfect harmony to lull my baby off to sleep.
We returned from hospital and deployed the trio. They failed instantly and repeatedly – the baby would scream if put on a surface other than a parent’s chest and we quickly realised we had to sleep in shifts. So other tactics had to be used because as fun as it sounds to watch Gossip Girl from 2-4am it isn’t when it goes on for weeks.
We warmed up the Snuzpod with a hot water bottle, put my smelly milk-stained t-shirt around the mattress. Didn’t work. Bought a heavy duty fan, convinced it was too warm, a footless sleeping bag, more blankets, less blankets, borrowed a friend’s Cocoonababy, window open, window closed, a short sleeved vest, a long sleeved vest, dairy free diet, IT MUST BE ALL THE ALMONDS I ATE – no more almonds, more almonds?, an air purifier, a humidifier, a dehumidifier, a wedgehog (baby must be at a 45 degree angle), swaddle, unswaddle, the sound of rain, alpha music, red light, no light, blackout blinds, a cashmere mix sleeping bag, trapped a nerve trying to put a boob and half my body into the Snuzpod.
Weeks of this suck all round. The baby hated it and so did we. So in desperation I tucked her into my arm in my bed. And she slept.
And woke up again. Every hour or so, but those were hours we could sleep too. Following safe co-sleeping guidelines we could all sleep. And loads of people, it turns out, do this too. Because you know, sanity is useful.
A year later we sleep like this, cuddled together. It takes practice but sometimes I’m not even totally awake when I’m getting her back to sleep. I am the best ‘sleep aid’ for my baby, totally free. Although a Superking size bed is probably the best investment we’ve ever made. The Snuzpod does make a convenient bedside table though.
I wish I’d known my aptitude for sleep deprivation was so good. I should have partied till 4am while I had the chance.