Getting the little bugger to sleep

It’s quite ironic, while you’ll be short of sleep yourself, early fatherhood involves constantly trying to put your own child to sleep. Newborns sleep for about 20 hours a day, and even now at three months old Luka is sleeping about 15 hours a day. Phew! I guess getting used to this big wide world around him is tiring business. 15 hours sounds like a lot, and if he was out cold for 3 or 4 hour stretches fatherhood would be a breeze, we could just leave him there and get on with our day. Unfortunately it’s not that easy. Babies sleep fitfully and lightly.

We’ve all been warned that the first couple of months involves two hourly shifts through the night to feed hungry crying babies. Within two month’s our son was sleeping through the night 4 out of every 7 days, sometimes for 10 straight hours, which leaves us to watch the World Cup.

Ha! but it’s not that easy, even the slightest noise wakes him up and then he wants to join the party (taking after his old man eh!). Babies sleep lightly and will almost always be awakened by bangs and sudden noises, including slamming doors (which leaves them in tears), clanking dishes, sneezing (I kid you not!) and even barking dogs out in the garden. Of course, you may have taken half an hour to get the little one to nod off and ten minutes later they’re awake and all irritable. We’ve found that some ‘grey noise’ such as TV and classical music helps drown out any sudden sharp loudness.

Nothing is more frustrating than a tired and irritable baby, we’ve discovered, and Luka can be a little darling in the mornings, happy to amuse himself for an hour or more, but in the evenings can scarcely be left alone for five minutes before he gets all ‘antsy’!

Getting him to sleep seems to be the biggest challenge. Babies like to be kept amused and have a short attention span. They soon become bored and irritated with being left alone or in one place and often the only thing that silences him is to carry him around the room.

The easiest way to get a baby to nod off, is movement, which is why they invariably fall asleep when in the car. A rocking cot is essential for keeping the peace in your household and these always put babies to sleep, but the trouble is, they become accustomed to the motion even in their sleep and the moment you think they’re fast asleep and you can leave them, they suddenly wake up! 

So, the answer is…sleep when your baby sleeps, or better still, leave it to the missus and bugger off to the pub to talk about it with yer mates.

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