Here I am upon waking.  Notice the swollen eye lids…the one eye that cannot open due to sleep deprivation….the bird’s nest hair…the cranky look on my sleepy face.

Now have a look at my baby.

Notice the bright blue eyes…the smiling happy face…the content look as if to say, “yay! It’s morning and I’m so happy to be awake!”

Didn’t we have the same experience last night?  Didn’t we both wake up four times? Didn’t he feel hungry for each of those four times before he woke up? How is it that he can be so AWAKE and happy in the morning?  It is one of the great mysteries of life…..

OK, I know I just did a topic on sleep but honestly, it’s something I think about a lot. Because I miss it and I dream about what it’s like to get a sleep chunk longer then two or three hours.  The truth is, I hate this topic. Why are we so obsessed with sleep?  Why must people always ask us how our babies are sleeping?! If I never have to utter the word “sleep” again I’ll be a content mother.

I would get even more frustrated when random strangers would ask me how my baby was sleeping.  That question is not helpful to a new mother!  It is also not helpful to ask a mother of a breastfeeding toddler who feeds ten times a night.  Why do we sit around mother’s groups comparing sleep patterns with each other? I find myself doing this at times and have to snap myself out of this hypnosis type coma state I go into when we all get into a tizzy of “sleep talk.”  Oh the misery.

Babies are not supposed to sleep through the night.  They are literally not physically made for it.  When they are born their stomachs are the size of marbles.  They need to eat frequently because breastmilk is so utterly perfect for them and their digestive systems, it goes in and it goes out and they get hungry again. Babies breastfeed for many different reasons as well as hunger, one of which is comfort.  Babies fed artificial breastmilk sleep longer because it is so difficult for them to digest, is hard on their digestive systems and it sits in there like a little brick.  It’s no wonder they sleep so long, they are abnormally full and their little bodies are trying to digest this artificial substance.

Just be comforted in the fact that babies (and toddlers) are actually not meant to sleep for long periods of time and we really need to change our way of thinking.  Just think of how often you wake up… to get a drink, roll over, get an extra blanket, kick the blankets off etc. etc. If we can just accept that this is the reality, that we will not be getting our eight straight hours for quite awhile and this is normal we would be much happier. I wouldn’t have had three kids if it’s like this forever. Or am I just a glutton got punishment?!

Here is one of my all time favorite photos of mine which very clearly exhibits the utter exhaustion that mums experience at times.  It was taken eight years ago and is my eldest boy and I after what appears to have been a very long tiring night! Let us all support one another through this and not get stuck on “whose baby is sleeping through the night.”  We are all in this together.

For more posts on sleep (or lack there of!) click on the links below…

Breastfeeding Through the Night

Breastfeeding Your Baby to Sleep

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