I'm so sleep, I need tired.

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Article Published on Mom Culture

I used to set an alarm on my phone to get up in the morning. Now, my alarm clock is the sweetest little girl and “Oh mama” does that little girl keep me up. There is that age old saying that every expectant mother hears while pregnant: ‘Enjoy your sleep now because once the baby comes you will not get any.’ I am here to tell you – THEY ARE NOT LYING! Go to sleep while you can because when the little one comes, goodbye sleep- hello exhaustion. I know a few mama’s that have been blessed with great sleeping babies, and man do I envy them!  For me on the other hand, sleep is a thing of the past. I am now the mom that is so tired she puts her shirt on backwards and needs her morning coffee to feel she can tackle the day.

When Marleigh was first born, she had jaundice which made her super sleepy. You would think I was lucky right? Wrong. I had to feed her consistently every two hours to help with the jaundice. You would also think during the day I would sleep when she did? Wrong again. I would stay awake staring at her because I was so infatuated with my new baby, and truth be told I had to be awake to get all my errands and daily tasks completed. I would organize the house, stare at Marleigh, wake her up to feed and think next time I will nap, but then I wouldn’t. When night time came, I was bone- tired. My body was ready for sleep but I still had to set my timer and feed her every two hours.

I am not sure if I can accurately explain the sleep deprivation I experienced. There were moments I would feed Marleigh and drift off to sleep holding her. I would set her back in the crib once I realized she was no longer eating and had fallen back to sleep. I would go back to bed, set my alarm for another two hours and drift asleep. I was so exhausted that I would quickly fall into a dream state and dream that I was still feeding Marleigh. When my alarm would go off two hours later, I would wake up in a panic because she was not on me. I would look next to me on the bed and I couldn’t find her. I would literally be freaking out and then look in her crib and see her laying there sleeping peacefully. This literally happened to me constantly for the first few weeks until I could finally start letting her sleep through the night.

As time went on, and I no longer was on the every two hours schedule, I started to get more sleep (Hallelujah!) but was it good quality sleep? We would put Marleigh to bed around 9pm and she would sleep until about 2. Five solid hours of sleep! I would feed her and put her back to bed until about 6:30! Another solid 4.5 hours of sleep! Sounds great, right?! Yet, I was still not getting more sleep, even when she was sleeping longer. I could not sleep through those hours because as a mom, especially first time moms, we are consistently waking up and checking the monitor to make sure the baby is alright! Even though she was sleeping, I was not fully sleeping. I now consider myself a light sleeper because every noise has me up in two seconds.

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Now, Marleigh is doing pretty well with her night time sleeping! Our fun issue is napping! Once you get one sleep pattern accomplished and settled, the next sleeping problem arises. I swear the four month sleep regression is no joke! Except our regression is happening during the day, she will just not sleep during the day. I honestly breed a non-sleeper because she refuses to go down for a nap unless I feed her and hold her the whole time. Once she is asleep, I am scared to move a muscle or she will wake up! If I try to put her in the crib, she immediately wakes up and cries. You know those videos of the parents getting in the crib and sleeping with them, yeah that just might be the next thing I try.

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The sleep issues are all a phase and will get better once Marleigh gets older… well I am keeping my fingers crossed at least. I have researched so many sleep training tips, scheduling ideas, routines for night time, nap tricks, etc. I have done the research and I still have my issues. Ask me how sleep training is going? It’s not. I am just a first time mom trying to figure out how to get my sleep back! Honestly, as a mom - do we ever really get our sleep back like we used to? Maybe when she turns 18 and heads to college, I will find my sleep again. Maybe.

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I finally understand the extent of sleep deprivation. I swear my pregnancy midnight wake ups were just preparing me for the rest of my life. I am that mom that gives up in the middle of the night and sneaks her baby into bed just to feed her and catch a few more minutes of sleep. I wake up in the morning and miss the refreshed feeling. I am the mom praying that my child will sleep for a few more minutes because mommy is not ready to get up yet. I live for the days my husband will take her in the morning and let me continue to sleep. I find myself chuckling to myself when I think about how the days I said I need my eight hours of undisturbed sleep. I mean in all honesty would be  grouchy without a full night's sleep, and yet here I am running on 2 hours of fulfilling sleep, a coffee, but a whole lot of love. As much as I miss my sleep, I love my late night cuddles with my little one. Even if I did breed a non-sleeper, that just means I get more hugs and quiet time with my daughter!

Now, I am off to go catch a few more minutes of sleep before my little one wakes up again!

xoxo,

Jeana Hughes