Babies are clever. Just as you think you’re going to lose your mind from the lack of sleep, the battles at bedtime, the constant feeding, waking, feeding, waking . . they seem to find a rhythm, and things settle down for a while. For Ziggy, this was at about 3 months old. He started falling asleep in the evening without a fight. I had to boob him sure, but he would fall asleep, I would transfer him into his bassinet and he would stay asleep! Do you know how amazing that is? Yes, if you have a baby yourself, of course you do, what a stupid question.

Asleep in the pub.

We took him to AJ’s work-do and he slept most of the night.

Some nights he would stay asleep for 4 or 5 glorious hours. For the first sleep of the night anyway. That always seemed to be the nice long one. And I was so torn . . . did I got to bed too and try and get a decent rest, or, did I stay up with AJ and enjoy quality adult time, which mainly involved movies and chocolate. Most of the time, sleep won. But every now and again, I would stay up ‘late’ with my darling, sitting on the couch holding hands, eating chocolate and watching Harry Potter like love sick teenagers. I would rarely make it all the way through a movie, I’d start yawning, my eyes would get heavy and I’d start to nod off, but, it did feel nice to have some ‘us’ time again.

AJ and I

Just the two of us . . .

I’d like to tell you that things only got better from here, that 4 hours turned into 5 hours, 5 hours turned into 6 hours and the next thing we knew, Ziggy was sleeping from 8pm – 8am . . . but I can’t. Because, just as we were high-fiving ourselves for surviving those newborn months, and having a baby that finally slept for more than short snatches . . . it all turned upside down again.

At about 4 months old, things got bad. In the sleep department anyway. And actually, not just in the sleep department, but also in the feeding department. Ziggy had discovered that there was a world out there, and it fascinated him. So, rather than feeding quietly, cradled in my arms, he would get distracted, and pull off the boob at every noise he heard. If the cat walked past, if the wind blew the curtain,  if a bloody shadow passed his face. Feeding became a battle. And it started hurting again, which freaked me out. I had thought all of that was behind me, the prospect of going through nipple pain now, after everything we had been through was upsetting.

Homeade nursing necklace.

Trying to keep him entertained while feeding.

His sleeping also took a big step backwards. Now I was lucky if he would sleep for more than 2 hours at a time. He’d go down at 10pm, be awake by midnight, feed, go back to sleep, and be awake again by 2am, then 4am, then 6am and then . . . he was wide awake and ready to start the day. I on the other hand was a creased face, red eyed mess that needed caffeine before I could even contemplate doing anything more involved than showering and putting on clothes. Some nights, he didn’t want to go back to sleep and after boobie, swaddle and bum-pats all failing, I would tiptoe out of the bedroom with our wide eyed baby, and we would camp out in the lounge, playing on the floor and watching terrible TV until he decided he was ready to go back to sleep.

Ziggy and I in the lounge at 1am

Instead of fighting it, we’d just stay up till 1am, watching shit TV.

His daytime naps were no better. He would do a wonderful 2 hour morning nap, not that long after he had woken up, but for the rest of the day, he would cat nap, half an hour here, half an hour there. He was staying up a lot longer between naps. None of this ‘sleep every few hours’ business he did when he was younger. Some evenings he would be awake for up to 6 hours before giving in and going to sleep.

Ziggy sleeping.

There is little more beautiful than a sleeping baby.

‘Sleep when the baby sleeps’ people would tell me. Well yeah, that’s all good to say, but it’s not actually that practical a lot of the time. When he had his long morning nap, I was up, my body didn’t want to go back to sleep. This was my ‘get shit done’ time. Dishes, a load of washing, feeding the chooks, writing my blog. And as far as afternoon naps went, when your baby is sleeping for less than an hour in the afternoons, most of the time, a 30 – 40 minute nap just left me feeling worse. I found some days, it was easier to just scull back a coffee and push on through.


Some days afternoon naps turned into afternoon selfie sessions instead.

It was hard. But I wasn’t alone and that was a big help. My friends from antenatal classes, with babies the same age as Ziggy were going through the exact same thing. We would message each other every day. ‘How did bub sleep?’ we would ask, hoping the other mama was going to have good news for us, that things were getting better and the sleep regression was over. Unfortunately, every morning was a carbon copy of the morning before. “He slept like crap’ . . ‘She was up every hour’ . . . ‘I can’t do this for much longer’ . . . ‘when is this going to end?’

3 babies.

Ziggy loved playdates with his friends. We mamas loved the coffee.

This phase continued for weeks. Every now and again, maybe once a week, Ziggy would do one amazing sleep. The night he went down at 11pm and woke up at 4am I was elated! I felt like a new woman, 5 hours of sleep! But these longer stretches seemed to be flukes, they were in no way the norm, and I started to lose my mind. It wasn’t that I was worried about the amount of sleep he was getting, he was happy and healthy, so he was obviously getting what he needed. It was that my body was struggling to operate on the amount of sleep I was getting. I’m a bit of a useless person when I get overtired. I cry easily, I hurt easily. I get emotional, I don’t heal as well. I think AJ was a bit worried about me too. Some afternoons he would come home from work and I would be so overtired I was almost delirious. These were the afternoons he would direct me to the bedroom, and try and keep Ziggy occupied as long as possible while I shut my eyes.

Me, looking like shit.

The lack of sleep started taking it’s toll.

When Ziggy was about five months old,  he and I went on a week long roadtrip. I’ll go into this trip in more detail later, but, it was during this trip that I rediscovered something that saved my sanity. Bed sharing. We hadn’t properly shared a bed with Ziggy since those first few weeks where he was gassy and unsettled and would sleep on our chest. As he grew, he didn’t like being tummy down on our chests, and was happy enough to sleep right next to the bed in his bassinet, so that’s what we did. We’d bring him into the bed with us in the mornings for snuggles, but he spent most of the night right in his bassinet.

Ziggy in the big bed.

For a small person, he took up a lot of bed!

But, while the two of us were visiting family, we had to sleep together. I hadn’t bothered to take his bassinet with us, and the various places we stayed at didn’t have one, so, we shared a bed. The first night I was a little nervous. What if he rolled off? What if I rolled on him? What if the blanket covered his face? I don’t know what I was so worried about. It was wonderful.

Sharing a bed at nanas.

Sharing a bed at nanas.

In the evening, when he was tired and starting his evening grizzle, and I would take him off to bed, lie there on my side skin to skin, gently stroke his head while he fed, and he would drift off the sleep.  Like magic! Then, during the night, as soon as he started to stir, I’d offer my breast, he’d have a quick feed, one that he didn’t even properly wake for, and he’d go right back to sleep! Sure, he was still waking up every 2 hours, but he wasn’t waking up fully and neither was I. We were ‘dream feeding’. I didn’t realise there was a term for it until later. Basically it is when you feed your baby before they achieve full wakefulness, which means they go fall asleep again easier, and you just doze through the feed. It was great. I was sleeping better than I had in weeks! I contemplated kicking AJ into the spare room when we got back home, so we could continue.

Ziggy in his bassinet.

He’s almost outgrown his bassinet anyway.

Luckily for AJ, kicking him out of the bed didn’t become a reality, we just moved Ziggy in, and somehow we make it work. A bigger bed would be great, sure, but for now, two adults, one baby and a occasionally a rather large cat fit quite well in the one we have got. It’s not every night, some nights are okay and he sleeps in his bassinet, but on the nights when he is restless, when I am tired of waking up every hour to feed him, he gets to come and sleep in the big bed with us, and, it’s a lifesaver.

At kangatraining

We get out and about, I even exercise!

Ziggy is six and a half months old, and, while his feeding is back to normal, these short snatches of sleep during the night don’t look to be stopping any time soon. We bed share full time, and most nights he sleeps for an hour or two at a time. I’m waking on average five or six times a night, every night. But you know what? I’m okay about it. I’ve found a way to make it work for me and I’m okay. We’re okay. I don’t know how I’ll feel, if, in another three months this is still going on, but we’ll deal with that if and when we have to, as we have with every other phase so far. This too, is just a phase, a slightly longer one than the others, but just another chapter in the journey that is Raising Ziggy.

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