Friday, August 8, 2014

7 Reasons You Can't Sleep When The Baby Sleeps


I’m sure all new and expecting parents have been offered the advice to “sleep when the baby sleeps.”  For the first week or two after your baby is born, you may be able to squeeze in a couple naps a day with him. Especially if you are mom – baby may fall asleep after nursing and then you can just snooze right along with him. You’re still recovering, so you can’t do much else anyway. At least, I couldn’t. I was fairly incapable of walking around and doing laundry and cooking and cleaning. (That’s what all that visiting family is for, right?)

However, once your little one is a few weeks old… they start doing more than just eating and sleeping. They start having awake periods and start sleeping less. Plus, at this point, most moms have nearly fully recovered and are capable of doing things around the house. This is the point where I was still tired most the time (who am I kidding… five months in and I’m still exhausted all the time!) and wanted to be able to take lots of naps to catch up on sleep I may have missed during the night, but at the same time, I wanted to be able to do things.

So here’s my list of reasons why that is the worst and most tired advice (pun not intended) that new parents can get.

1)    Sometimes, you have to shower, and baby’s nap is the only chance you get.
2)    At times, they are cranky and fight sleep and won’t let you put them down to get anything done while they’re awake. So once they’re finally asleep, you have a choice: eat, clean, walk the dogs, take a shower, or take a nap. And when it comes down to that, napping is not even an option.
3)    There are times when you can’t sleep because you have things you need to do (see number 2, above) and then there are times when you can’t sleep because you have other things you want to do that you never get a chance to do otherwise. Like read a book, watch a movie, take a bath, or spend some alone time with your partner.
4)    There are occasions when you put your little one down, that by the time you head to your own bed and crawl in and close your eyes… he’s awake. And stays awake for another hour and a half. By the time he falls back asleep, you’ve given up on the idea of catching a few winks.
5)    And, then sometimes you lie down to nap and no matter what you do, you just can. not. fall. asleep. Many parents experience insomnia. 
6)   Though young babies don't have much of a schedule, sometimes you try to schedule your life around their naps. You know they're going to be sleeping soon? Now's the time to head out to get a bite to eat, or get groceries, or go to the mall, cause they'll nap the whole time and you won't have to worry about them crying, or having to feed them or entertain them. 
7)   Babies definitely don't sleep on demand. So sometimes, it means putting them in the stroller and going out for a walk (or in the car and going for a drive) just to get them to fall asleep. You can't exactly fall asleep at the wheel... and at least in my experience, often taking baby out of the car seat or stroller to take them inside and lay them down wakes them up. And at that point they've either been asleep just long enough that now they'll be awake for another hour or two, or they're cranky cause you woke them up and need to be soothed back to dream land. 

And a bonus number 8: Sometimes you use their nap as a photo op. :)

This is by no means the complete list of reasons – just the ones I’ve found over my short five months as a new parent. Do you have any other reasons you can't "sleep when the baby sleeps"?

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