Before I get hate mail, or you stick pins in a voodoo doll I want you to hear me out. My baby sleeps 11-12 hours a night. Please, please keep reading until the end.
He has been since he was nine-weeks-old. Of course, I still did the dream feeds and the 2am feed until he grew out of them. In fact, I kept doing them long after he had grown out of them because I loved that time with him so much.
Fox isn’t a unicorn baby. He isn’t any different from any other baby. We had circumstances that had us call in a sleep whisperer very early on. I had over committed myself stupidly, to start work seven weeks postpartum. It was part time work but as you know when you are in the baby bubble, you don’t want to leave.
When I gave birth, I expected to have a sleepy newborn for at least the first six weeks. I never got this. My baby was AWAKE. Wide awake and unsettled. All the time.
I didn’t know what to do. I cluster fed and I tried to co-sleep (this terrified me, I had heard of people rolling and suffocating there babies). So he sometimes slept and I watched him. I rocked, I strapped him to me, I patted, I tried 15 different dummies. He was just ready to party.
LISTEN: Zoe explains why sleep training worked for her on Mamamia’s latest podcast for new parents, The Baby Bubble:
It was time for the experts. I called Jen from Wot Baby. She has an app that teaches you the basics on how to create the perfect sleeper. But Fox was too little to start this so I called Jen desperately. Jen does phone and home visits.
I needed help. I needed to know from an expert that I wasn’t crazy and that this baby was rejecting sleep. I had no idea that babies needed to “learn” how to sleep. Just like they need to learn how to chew and feed themselves.
I remember the first time I called Jen. My husband was away. My godmother was here helping me and my gusband (gay husband) had brought over dinner. Fox wouldn’t stop crying. I was sleep deprived and overwhelmed.
Jen answered the phone to me sobbing. I was crying so hard that I didn’t realise the Fox had fallen asleep whist I was wailing. I realised in this first call this was going to be as much about teaching me how to cope as it was to teach Fox how to sleep.
I don’t have my mum. She passed 13 years ago. So the day to day guidance you get from your mum or parents wasn’t available to me. Jen became my biggest support.
The first few times Jen and I met was about helping me understand what was happening for Fox. She did admit that he was very awake for a newborn and seemed more unsettled than normal. This wasn’t a problem. We would be able to address it in a couple of weeks. But for now it was about teaching me what his crying meant when all his needs are met.
Zoe Marshall and Sean Szeps are here to bring the mother’s (and father’s) group to your ears.