Once you have a baby it seems that everyone’s favourite buzzword is ‘routine’…at a time where your life has just been thrown into chaos! The short answer to ‘How do I get my baby into a sleep routine’ is you don’t. Babies come with their own ideas and very rarely run to schedule; the fact of the matter is they want what they want when they want it, especially in those early weeks. It’s important to remember your baby is new to this too-they have absolutely no concept of day or night having just immerged from a world of varying degrees of darkness.
So we thought it would be great to hand over to one of our mum’s here who has just returned back to us after being off on maternity; because who is better to talk about the disorientation caused by a new baby than someone who has just been through the experience…
“Hey, I’m Laura and I am back working part time following the birth of my gorgeous third baby. I would say sleep deprivation is one of the most difficult parts of having a newborn and I really struggled with our first two babies…it was kind of soul destroying and there were several (many) emotional outbursts (tears and lots of them) due to being thoroughly exhausted. However; despite being 11 years older, I found things much easier this time around. I think partly because my third baby was ‘easy going’ but mostly because of my state of mind. Now stay with me, don’t stop reading because I mentioned Positive Mental Attitude…
I read a lot about the theory of the fourth trimester and understanding why my baby wasn’t sleeping went a long way to my making peace with it and it was this acceptance that helped me through the really tough times; the times that would have previously broken me and seen me descend in to a puddle of tired and frustrated tears.
Trimester is a term you hear used to describe the phases you go through when pregnant. Pregnancy itself is split in to three trimesters, each lasts around three months and brings with it hormonal and physiological changes…being aware of these means you understand and are more prepared for what is about to happen. The theory of the fourth ‘trimester’ is that just because your baby is out of your body doesn’t mean they are ready to be separated from you.
I thought about it as being similar to Kangaroos…baby kangaroos (Joeys) are born but then climb in to their mothers pouch where they stay until they are ready to be more independent.
You can read endlessly about this subject but I found this article really useful…https://www.babycentre.co.uk/a25019365/your-baby-and-the-fourth-trimester
Understanding the fourth trimester eased my worry and anxiety about why my baby wanted to be held constantly or why he was only happy on my chest listening to my heartbeat. I no longer worried I was doing something wrong, or making a rod for my own back or spoiling my baby. I simply held him and soothed him with skin to skin where possible and popped him in a sling and wore him if I needed both hands. These practical solutions worked well for me but so did the knowledge that this wasn’t forever. Having had children previously I was able to rationalise that this was a phase; it would last around 3 months and then we would be on to the next leap in development.
And do you know what? I kind of miss the early days; where all he wanted was to be close to me, nuzzling in to my neck and sighing in his contented sleep.”