Jaggers horn has fallen off, our Unicorn baby is now a Gruffalo.
20 weeks. Like bloody clockwork aye, that 4 month switch flicked and our baby 'woke up'.
No more falling asleep on the floor, no more falling asleep in AJs arms. Bloody hell, it just feels like no more falling asleep full stop. Not for longer than 15 minutes anyway 😂.
The nights are long and the evenings are late. When morning comes I resist waking as long as I can. Just 3 more minutes please. Let me close my eyes. But Ziggy won't let me sleep-in 'get up mama, wanna porridge' and Jagger hears him and his eyes fly open.
It's a hard adjustment to make, even when you're expecting it. And when you're not expecting it, well, then it's bloody torture.
I know that many parents get really worried around 4 months. Especially if like Jagger, their baby's horn falls off. They think something has gone wrong, that their baby is broken and needs fixing. And there are those out there ready to reinforce that sense of failing with advice that flies in the face of maternal instincts.
When Ziggy was very young and very sleep resistant, I went to a free baby sleep seminar. The lady running it was the 'best in the country. And she told us foolish first time mothers that our babies were not sleeping because we were not trying hard enough.
Routine. Schedule. Resolve.
Feed to sleep? Only if you want to be trapped in a cycle. Hold your baby yes, but don’t do anything in arms that you cannot replicate in a cot. Remember, your body is a mattress. Does a mattress rock? No. Does a mattress sway? No. None of that nonsense.
But that makes no sense. It just doesn't. Let's think about this logically for a second and fuck what the 'just buy my book and give me your money' people say.
If so many babies need the warmth of their parents arms to sleep in, if so many babies feed for comfort as well as hunger, if at around 4 months, so many babies start waking often, and cat napping and the days and nights get a bit rough, then common sense would say that this is actually the normal. Not broken. Normal.
This is when we should be helping parents with practical and useful advice. Not reinforcing their worry they're failing because their baby doesn't sleep through the night, or won't sleep in a cot, or is hard to settle.
This is the opportunity to give parents options around safe bed-sharing, co-sleeping, accessible babywearing. Support groups online and off. Mum and baby activities in the area. To help create the village we all so desperately need.
So in absence of common sense advice - here's some stuff I learnt with Ziggy. Not from that seminar, but later on. From other mums.
If your baby will only sleep in your arms, or on your chest, or with your by their side, then let them, it's okay.
If your baby will sleep 15 minutes in a cot, but 1 hour on you, then wear them, it's okay.
If your baby sleeps in the car - go for a drive. Maccas have $2 icecreams and half decent coffee, both available at the drive-thru.
If you can lay down with your baby and rest, do it. If you can sit down on the couch with your baby and rest, do it.
If your baby will only feed to sleep, then do that. If your baby will only rock to sleep, then do that.
If it feels right, it probably is. If it doesn't, it probably isn't.
Find your local babywearing meet. Find your local La Leche group. Find a co-sleeping or bedsharing support group on Facebook and learn about safe sleeping.
If you don't have a real life village, find an online one, one that fits with your values as a parent. They will be there for you at 3am when it feels like everyone in the world is sleeping but you.
And, this is probably the easiest and hardest of all; learn to let things go. Lower your expectations, both of yourself and of your baby.
Sometimes, the easiest thing we can do is to rethink the way we look at things.
It's not our babies that need fixing. It's our expectations of what is normal that needs to change.
#individualresultsmayvary #instructionsnotincluded #sideeffectsmayinclude #drowsiness #nausea #andblurredvision #keepawayfromfireorflame #noexchanges #norefunds #noreturns #pleasedrinkresponsibly