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Image / Editorial

‘I’ve gone six months with about 2.5 hours sleep but I feel fine. Tzotally fffzine’


by Dominique McMullan
05th Nov 2019
‘I’ve gone six months with about 2.5 hours sleep but I feel fine. Tzotally fffzine’

Sometimes it feels like sleep is all I talk about. I used to need eight hours a night. Now I have a six-month-old. It’s really all I talk about…


I used to worry about how tired I might get if a late-night coincided with an early morning. I used to be one of those nine or 10 hour-a-night sleepers.

“Oh I’m one of those people that just really needs a full 8-hours,” I used to say. I would go to bed at 9pm and be asleep by 10. Then I would get up around 8am, if I felt like it. Then I had a baby.

I’m not knocking people who have those kinds of sleeping patterns now; I have learnt that sleep is relative, but, please, try and appreciate some of those long beautiful hours. At this stage, I’ve gone six months with about 2.5 hours sleep but do you know what, I feel fine.

Tzotally fffzine.

Morning report

Sometimes it feels like sleep is all I talk about. Each morning, the first words out of my mouth are a report to my husband, (who is intelligently sleeping downstairs) on the night’s goings-on. Then I call my mum and do the same.

During the day I’m constantly calculating nap times and feed times while changing and swapping ever-moving variables to see what effect, if any, there is overnight.

It’s useless of course. What works one-day, will not work the next.

“Maybe it’s teething?” is uttered A LOT. We have tried everything. We introduced solids, we bought Ewan the sheep, we moved him into a grow bag, we bought blackout blind, we threw salt over our right shoulder whenever the wind blew in the west. Nothing is working.

He will be 16 and waking every hour for a cuddle and some milk. I’ll have to go to university with him and eventually I’ll move into his marital home. It’s all my fault. 

We are of course wasting our time though, because we made the life-changing mistake of cuddling our son to sleep. And worse, sometimes we even (whisper it) feed him into slumber. Because of this, according to the experts, he will now need these aids every time he falls asleep, probably for the rest of his life.

He will be 16 and waking every hour for a cuddle and some milk. I’ll have to go to university with him and eventually I’ll move into his marital home. It’s all my fault.

World’s worst mother

Except it’s not though. Sleeping like a baby, contrary to popular belief does not mean sleeping well. Babies. Don’t. Sleep. Well. They’re not meant to. And those mothers who tell you their baby has slept through the night since day three are lying (probably).

When I first heard someone say that babies don’t often sleep through the night, my shoulders dropped 10 inches. Hallelujah. Does that mean I’m NOT the world’s worst mother then?

You can’t, no matter how hard you try, manage a 6-month-old baby. 

The last few months have been a serious lesson in control. Every time a new issue arises, I go into management mode. I problem-solve. I research and attempt to implement change. It’s what I am used to doing. I manage.

But each time, it’s when I actually just let go that everything becomes easier. You can’t, no matter how hard you try, manage a 6-month-old baby.

We have a habit of letting mums believe that any ‘problems’ that arise must be their fault; and that it’s up to them to work hard to find a solution, when sometimes there is no solution.

Normal patterns

A five-month-old might not sleep for a while; an older baby might be a fussy eater, another might not walk when they are supposed to. But every child, like every adult, is different.

It’s not because you didn’t introduce steamed salmon in the first 60 days.

Ronald might just not be into fish yet. It doesn’t mean you’ve has been neglectful, which is what it can feel like. It had never even occurred to me that my son’s sleeping patterns are just normal sleep patterns for a baby. That they are not the cause of something I have, or haven’t done.

Cuddling to sleep doesn’t make me a bad mum. I know we will both grow out of it eventually. But right now, each evening, we both let go a little bit.

We hold hands and look at each other, still getting to know the folds and freckles on each other’s faces. I slow down my breathing, he mimics it and after a few wriggles I watch him drift off.

There will be plenty of time for rules in our lives, but just for this week, let’s keep cuddling.


Read more: 15 tips to help when someone has premature babies

Read more: Parenting anxiety and the need to speak out

Read more: Things to know before you leave the hospital with baby

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