It seems like newborns never sleep. Until you have a toddler to chase after. Then it seems like all newborns ever do is sleep!
The truth is somewhere in between and that’s not great news for most new mothers.
Babies sleep for most of the day in those first few weeks of life. They wake easily and often however. They spend little time quietly awake and an awful lot of time fussing.
The fuss in their sleep. They fuss because they are sleepy. They fuss because they just woke up. They fuss because they are hungry. They fuss because they are not warm enough. They fuss because everything is too bright. They fuss because everything is too loud. They fuss because it’s been a few minutes since they last fussed.
All this fussing means parents don’t get a good long sleep, like they are used to. After a few weeks it starts to feel like a luxury to sleep for two straight hours.
I sat, recently, with a new mother who asked me about baby sleep patterns and when she could start helping baby sleep for 8 or more hours. “I know it’s so selfish but I just can’t function like this.”
Let’s make something really clear right here:
It is not selfish to want your baby to sleep for an entire night.
Women want to spend time alone with their partners, eat a little dinner uninterrupted by a fussy baby and get enough sleep to function properly during the day. And not just function, but be happy and enthusiastic and have energy for a full and exciting day.
Parents want and need to have physical and mental resilience.
Are you sleep deprived with a newborn baby and starting to think that you need to get some help. It’s ok; you are not a jerk who sucks at being a mom and who doesn’t love her baby. If you want to hire a postpartum doula to help you during the day or the night or both so you can get more rest and learn how to help your baby sleep better, you are not a failure.