Mission DTG: 0300 22JUL2015
Location: Bedroom District
Operation Good Night has been an ongoing attempt to stabilize night time operations. The infant insurgent continues to conduct disruption operations at all hours of the night, leading to a significant impact on the Area Commander from sleep deprivation. I have been able to step in to relieve her from Command for limited periods on the weekends in an attempt to mitigate some of the effects of the sleep deprivation from Sleep Ops during the week. Various attempts have been made to influence the infant insurgent to utilize the C.R.I.B. (Comfy Really Interesting Bed) for his bed down location which has yielded only limited success so far. We are becoming convinced that an absence of night time operations is nothing more than a myth.
Real Talk – Baby Sleep
Okay, so let me tell you right off the bat that the whole ‘baby sleeping through the night’ steadily at any point until at least after the first year is probably a pipe dream. Sure, you could be that lucky person and your kid magically figures out how to get themselves back to sleep during the night when they wake up randomly, but don’t count on it. You might get lucky when you’re still in the hospital after they pop out, they’ll get a bit of milk in them and pass right back out. Super cute, right? Enjoy it while it lasts.
During the first month or two, your newly minted little minion may sleep quite a bit, but it will be infrequent enough to drive you crazy. Our little hellspawn is nearly 9mo now and he still does not sleep all the way through the night, but he’s getting better at it.
Still, through the first couple weeks you probably won’t mind too much that they’re constantly waking up every hour or two looking to be fed/changed/soothed. I remember back in the early days just about everything would piss him off enough to keep him from going/staying asleep. A little too cold? Awake. A little too hot? Awake. Slightest bit hungry? Awake. Two drops of pee in the diaper? Awake. Eventually it got to the point where we felt like this:
Best thing I can tell you about figuring the whole sleep thing out? You’re just gonna have to wing it.
The whole time leading to the baby coming, and even after their born, they harp on all the things you shouldn’t do when it comes to the baby sleeping to prevent an issue with SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Everything from the baby has to sleep on their back, to making sure there’s NOTHING in the crib with them. No blankets, no pillows, no blow up dolls, no magic fairy dust, nothing. Luckily it looks like one Doctor may be on the verge of cracking the SIDS mystery, which basically boils down to an inner ear dysfunction which leads to them lacking the reflex that would normally kick in when they begin to have trouble breathing. In any case, they’ll drill it into you so much you’ll spend the first couple weeks of the little one’s life watching them so closely while they’re sleeping that you’d think you’re waiting for them to fill that diaper with a solid gold #2.
Our issue right of the gate was that our little minion refused to sleep on his back. EVER. He’ll sleep on his back occasionally now, but he didn’t start doing that till nearly 6-7 months in. Up till then the only way he would sleep for any length of time on his own in his crib was on his stomach, and with all the hype over SIDS and the need to be on their back we were on eggshells every time he slept on his own. We weren’t truly comfortable with it until we got a legit Baby Monitor to put in his crib. We didn’t feel the need to spring for anything super fancy like a monitor with live streaming HD video and night vision heat thermal sensors, we just wanted to be able to hear every little sound he made while he slept. This thing was pretty legit though, it vibrates if the noise is sudden and loud enough like a cry, and was so sensitive that we could hear him breathing. That helped my wife get some time sleeping on her own in the bed again finally, but that didn’t last too long.
So here’s what they don’t tell you about babies and sleeping. The Regressions. our little guy was starting to do so well in the crib on his own around 3 months, he’d sleep on his own for a good 4-5 hour stint before waking up and needing to be fed before going back to sleep for a couple more hours. Oh man, we thought we were almost in the clear and that restful nights were on the horizon. Until the four month regression hit. It was right after he’d gotten his four month shots, so at first we thought he was just still feeling bad from the vaccine goodness coursing through his system. But after it persisted past a week we knew there had to be some other reason.
Not only had he stopped sleeping well at night, but I couldn’t get him down at night anymore either. Up to this point we’d both give him his bath, then top him off with a bottle, then I’d carry him around for a bit until he fell asleep. Sure, sometimes he fought it like I was taking him to a Gulag labor camp, but eventually he’d always run out of steam and pass out in my arms. Then the four month regression hit and he would scream bloody murder continuously until mommy took him back. The little asshole.
Eventually after a week or two of cluelessness my wife finally found something that could explain this mysterious hell we were experiencing: an article explaining the four month sleep regression. Long story short, at the four month mark their little brains will go through a developmental phase where they go from normal baby sleep, to cycling between light and deep sleep just like adults do.
This whole transitioning from light sleep to deep sleep freaks your baby right the hell out. Ever gotten drunk and passed out, only to wake up at 4am and feel like it’s 10am and you’re late for work, and proceed to lose your shit in panic mode? Yeah, that’s kinda how it is for them at this point. Luckily this regression only lasts a couple weeks (weeks?! screw you man!) until they start to sorta get back to something of a normal sleep pattern. Just pray that you don’t get hit with the perfect storm like we did: four month regression, immediately followed by two teeth popping in for a week, then another two teeth popping in right as he was getting over the pain of the first two teeth.
Stay tuned for the continuation of Baby Chaos Theory: More on Baby Sleep Problems