Gingerninja: Ahh, Christmas 2006 … a memorable time in the Ginger household. Alas, not for the usual eat as much as you can in 45 minutes flat and then lay prone for the rest of the afternoon establishing a cat show jumping arena in your own living room. No, this was the beginning of the unforgettable ‘when baby sleep goes baaaaaad’ incident(s) that united us in sleep deprivation and ultimately led to the birth of this blog.
At about 18 week old the sleeping baby police stole my little ninja and replaced her with a much less sleepy version. In my search for an explanation (you can find the answer to anything on the internet) I discovered mumsnet.com and others in the same bleary eyed boat. Sleep is for the Weak was created as a talk thread in January 2007 and has provided a lifeline to me and a huge support to many others especially during those times when you seem to have the only baby in the world that doesn’t sleep and you feel hopelessly inadequate about it.
It’s not all bad. There are graduates of Sleep is for the Weak, those whose babies are now sleeping 11 or 12 hours a night and whose parents are rediscovering their evenings. Between us we’ve tried most, if not all of the ‘techniques’ to aid sleep, we’ve got plenty of sleeplessness experience but most of all we’ve got bags of sympathy, encouragement and support for everyone in the same boat.
Amberjee: Who knew that motherhood wasn’t all about watching the midday soaps and eating chocolate biscuits? I made this shocking discovery in January 2007 when the little Imp came hurtling into the world at a great pace and he hasn’t really slowed down since. I had imagined since I was one of those yoga types and my partner is pretty relaxed that of course together we’d create a placid little baby who was entertained by calmly staring at his fingers and then when he was getting tired, would put himself to sleep. Boy was I wrong. We’ve hardly had a decent night’s sleep for 6 months, though I have to admit in the last month it has gotten a lot better. It had to get better when the first 2 months were spent carrying the little Imp 24 hours a day and having him sleep in our arms or on our chest as the cot sat in the corner gathering dust and as we grew more tired by the second.
In my quest to ‘solve’ the sleep problem, I think I’ve read every sleep manual under the sun and even consulted a sleep nanny. And yet, I still can’t say there’s any definitive way to get a baby to sleep. Thus far, I’ve concluded it’s basically a matter of time, gentle encouragement and a bit of good old fashioned luck. I still go to bed at night with my fingers crossed.
Megbasket is a 30-year-old Londoner with a son, known as Chops (or Sausage, or Dumpit, or occasionally at 2am You Little Bollocks, but only quietly) born in February 2007, who slept brilliantly until he was 13 weeks old. Then he started waking… and waking… and waking. Sometimes to feed, sometimes to cry, sometimes to play with his feet and call out for Mum and Dad to join in the fun. He also has eczema pretty bad, which doesn’t help. Oh, and he only naps for 30-45 minutes at a time. When he’s awake (ie most of the time) he is brilliant and lovely and smiley, which makes up for it, though.
Meg used to be a hard-partying media type so you’d think she would be used to sleep deprivation. Hah.
Swizzler: I have the ‘advantage’ of being used to not getting any sleep from before Loudboy was born, having been pregnant in the sweltering summer of 2006. He tried to lull us into a false sense of security by sleeping away most of this first 48 hours, then settled snugly into a routine of waking every 2 hours (or less) that has more or less been the pattern ever since. We’ve had some blessed periods of 3, 4 or even 5 hour stretches of sleep, but at 9 months in the middle of teething, crawling and growing like crazy they seem a looong way away.
Tamdin: I am a very happy sahm who is 30 this year. I love my son more than anything but I also love music, fashion, travelling, books, my family and friends (dearly) and of course my SIFTW sisters. Oh nearly forgot my husband!
I have to ashamedly admit that having spent 2 years of my life working with babies and young children I thought I was prepared for being a mother. In fact not just prepared but that I’d be a ‘natural’. Little did I know! What I was not prepared for was, you guessed it, the sleep deprivation but also the overwhelming love I would feel for this little boy and my instinct to want to protect him and to keep him as close as possible!
Now some might say that is where we went wrong. Having spent the first 6 months of his life being carried around constantly and sleeping on my chest, he was never going to decide on his own that the
big white cot beside the bed was a better place to be, now was he? I read all the books in an attempt to learn the ‘secret’ to getting my gorgeous boy to sleep through the night. Then one day, due to a much
publicised legal battle with a certain sleeping guru, I heard about mumsnet on the radio and logged on.
Not surprisingly my eye was drawn to the sleeping threads. From there I found a thread called ‘Sleep is for the weak’ but I also found so much more. Hidden behind the posts of Gingerninja, Tibsy, and Swizzler (to name but a few) I found a group of supportive, kind, intelligent and most of all funny women who instantly made me feel welcome and that I was certainly not alone!
And so here we are … 18 months on and he still doesn’t sleep through the night and he still comes into our bed most nights (ok every night!) but I have now decided that that is something only time will
heal … and so we wait.
Tibsy: Hi, I’m mum to a gorgeous son of 12 and beautiful daughter of 10 months. Gorgeous son slept through from 3 months old, so when beautiful daughter (buddha bubba) showed no inclination to sleep through, I was shocked. ALL babies slept through didn’t they? Who was I kidding?! I had been recommended to try Mumsnet as a way to ‘meet’ other mums who were going through the same things as me (not sleeping related at the time). In fact I was a little surprised to find that mums were posting about lack of sleep as I’d sort of resigned myself to the fact! Anyway, I posted onto a sleep thread one day and was recommended by one of the posters to join them on ‘sleep is for the weak’ for some ideas on how to ‘encourage’ buddha bubba to sleep. I certainly have picked up some great ideas, but not only that, siftw has been and continues to be a fantastic support network.