Congratulations on your brand new baby and farewell to that wonderful feeling of waking up rested. Of all the changes and challenges that a new child brings, the broken sleep cycle is one of the most difficult precisely because broken sleep affects all other aspects of living. Everything is just a little bit harder. Most parents desperately want to know what to expect and spend countless hours trying to track and predict sleep patterns. All in the effort to get that extra bit of shut eye and not experience waves of resentment when 20 minutes into what was anticipated to be a 2 hour nap, warbling cries waft through the monitor. Or maybe you heard somewhere that a baby needs to get 15 hours of sleep a day and your little tyke is barely squeaking in at 13 hours.
Countless books abound regarding infant sleep, routines, and training with a wide range of standards regarding how much and when baby should be sleeping. Like all those self-help and dieting books, the confident assertions and advice given can often end up making parents feel like they’re failing. When the stakes of failure are delineated as difficulty focusing, erratic behavior, and emotional disturbances, these sleep expectations and subsequent feelings of failure can border on traumatizing for parents.
So what’s the dish on infant sleep? This article has a nice (and short) synopsis of why your efforts to create sleep expectations are so often thwarted. And if you’re breastfeeding, you can listen to podcast and be hands free! If you’re beating yourself up over sleep expectations or lack thereof, please know: You are not alone. From the dawn of humanity, infants have been pulling the rug out from under their unsuspecting, sleep deprived parents. It’s the less romantic Tale as Old as Time. And if you need sleep, phone a friend. Because you need sleep.