Kit has been teething recently, and coupled with a cold he is waking up every hour or so – it’s just like the newborn days now, which got me thinking about sleep.
After your baby is born, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be happy to get up at all hours to change nappies and soothe baby… for a while, at least. It does wear you down eventually, but the first week or two was so surreal and strange that it almost felt like I was always dreaming. It’s probably hormones.. As a dad, you may not have to get up as often as Mum – unless you’re sharing feeding responsibilities (bottle feeding perhaps) – but you’ll probably feel your sleep is poor quality and you can’t keep it up forever.
Well, ultimately this will vary from baby to baby. I have heard from parents who said that their newborn would sleep from 9am until mid afternoon, and then sleep for another six to eight hours at night! Bliss.
Other parents have said that their kid will sleep for two hours tops, for up to a year or even two years. Eugh. Please, no…!
Apparently, babies up to six months need between 16-20 hours of sleep a day. Well, I don’t know what to say. Don’t get your hopes up, please! Think about this – this means that at the upper end of the scale, baby will only be awake for four hours a day. Well, it may be true for some, but I have to stress, it is massively variably from baby to baby. I wish Kit slept for 20 hours a day – but to be honest, I probably would have thought something were wrong if that were the case.
From my experience, and for the purpose of setting expectations, this article on KellyMom.com is the most accurate. Yeah, that site is mostly aimed at mums, but to be a good dad you should probably be getting good at doing mum stuff too!
Our boy has given us a nice variety of sleep schedules. From waking every couple of hours in the first few weeks to sleeping for five, then six, then sometimes seven hours at a time up to about four or five months. Then he started having a bit of solid food, and we experienced a couple of nights of sleeping through till 7am!! And now he wakes up every couple of hours again. Go figure.
In light of the above, some people might be wondering whether this is the dreaded sleep regression. This is usually reported to happen at around four months – we got through that four month barrier with him still sleeping a nice five or six hours, waking for a feed, then sleeping again for a couple of hours. His regular waking returned at around 6 months.
I think the fact is that baby’s needs need to be met, and his needs change as quickly as he does.
Remember, baby is physically changing all the time – just because he sleeps through at 3 months doesn’t mean he will at 6 months. Just because he didn’t need feeding all night then doesn’t mean he doesn’t need it now.
Basically, my advice is to take it one day at a time, appreciate that some nights will be sleepless, others will be fine but eventually baby is going to sleep through just like almost every grown up!