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What's sleep?

What's sleep?

I’d forgotten what getting up before the sun does looked like until Akira was born. Anaïs has always been a really long and lazy sleeper, going for 12- or sometimes even 14-hour stretches at a time. By the time she was a month old, she slept through the night without any real training. I knew it...

I’d forgotten what getting up before the sun does looked like until Akira was born. Anaïs has always been a really long and lazy sleeper, going for 12- or sometimes even 14-hour stretches at a time. By the time she was a month old, she slept through the night without any real training. I knew it was wishful thinking to hope that any child I would have after her would be the same way. But I still hoped.

Jesse and I joked that we’d been so spoiled by Anaïs’s sleeping habits and that Akira would be the one who would keep us up all night. Well, that joke isn’t so funny when it’s actually our reality these days. It’s even less funny when people sometimes smugly ask, “Getting any sleep?” and then chuckle to themselves knowing the answer is written all over our sleep-deprived faces. The first few days were really an adjustment for us all, but I think we’re learning how to function on intermittent sleep. Fingers crossed it doesn’t last too long, though.
The longest stretch he’s had so far has been four-and-a-half hours in the middle of the night. While it felt great to sleep that long, what didn’t feel great was my engorgement and how uncomfortable it made me. It happened pretty early on and because I’m breastfeeding, my body was still trying to regulate my milk supply. He hasn’t slept that long again and is still somewhat erratic, although thankfully, he’s pretty much figured out his nights and days. Also, I really shouldn’t complain too much about his sleeping habits so far. He doesn’t really even cry when he wakes up at night. He sort of makes a soft grunting sound and brushes my arm as though he’s saying, “Hey, mom. It’s time.” It makes me smile, even in my groggy, half-asleep state. However, interrupted sleep is still interrupted sleep. It is no picnic.
Despite the difficulty in trying to get used to this new schedule, something great that’s come of it is an earlier bedtime for all of us! That might sound like a weird thing to get excited over, but Jesse and I would sometimes stay up until 1 or 2 a.m., even during the week, leaving us exhausted the next day. These days, we’re usually winding down around 10 or 11 p.m., and there’s something about going to bed that early that makes getting up several times throughout the night more bearable.
It’s funny to hear others who’ve had children always dish out this common piece of advice: Sleep when the baby sleeps. In theory, it is the perfect solution. In reality, though, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Dinner still has to be made, laundry still has to be folded and a toddler still needs to be attended to. Finding the right balance of resting while at the same time not neglecting household chores is tricky, and I’m still trying to learn my way around it. I’m finding a new normal in the disarray, but I don’t think I’m alone when I say that we are all looking forward to the days when we can all once again laze around.
 
*Editor’s note: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents sleep in the same room as baby but not in the same bed.

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