The day I brought Baby V home from hospital was quite terrifying. I didn’t know how to deal with a baby and an almost-four-year-old. LagosDad was there, of course. And my mum was there too. So I had a lot of help, but I was still overwhelmed. Overwhelmed and in a lot of pain from my c-section.
That night, Baby V slept for six hours straight. I didn’t sleep (I spent most of the night deciding on whether I should wake him and feed him) – but he slept. He was probably a bit shocked at the change in environment, etc. Anyway, the next morning I was quite proud. Wow – my three-day-old baby had slept for six hours!
The mid-wife arrived. And she looked a bit alarmed when I told her how long he’d slept. She told me that if a baby is under five kilos, they have to be fed at least every four hours (five maximum) or they get drowsy and sleep more and more. I immediately felt like crap. How come I didn’t know that? What if something had happened to my baby?
As it happens, he started waking for his feeds after that. As it got nearer to the time of our 6-8 week check-up, there were a couple of nights when he didn’t wake up for his four a.m. feed, and I didn’t wake up either. I can’t describe the guilt I felt when I woke with a start and realised it had been six hours since his last feed. I’d rush over to the Moses basket in a blind panic to check he was ok.
The morning of our check-ups was hectic. I had to get V1 off to nursery (thank goodness the nanny was there, as my mum had left the previous week), get myself and the baby ready, pack the changing bag and get to the Health Centre before 9.30 a.m. Yes, I packed the bag the night before – but bottles had to go in in the morning.
The GP (a very nice lady) asked me how I was doing (she must have wondered why I was a sweaty mess), and I promptly burst into tears. I told her I was very worried because I’d missed the four a.m. feed again. She really was very kind and said it was ok and not to worry, etc. Easy for her to say! Luckily for me (and my sanity), Baby V was just passed the five kilo mark at this point.
I’m sure we should have been in a routine by then. In fact, I was reading THE Gina
Fraud Ford book quite regularly and tried to Baby V into some kind of routine. But it just wasn’t happening. She says baby shouldn’t sleep for more than four hours during the day, so that they can sleep well at night. The problem with that is as soon as we were out and V was in the stroller, he’d fall asleep. Often staying asleep until his next feed, or until we got home! Usually, at night, he would wake and/or cry every five or ten minutes until about midnight. This was one of the reasons why I was looking forward to coming back to Lagos – because it would be easier to get into a routine here.
However, before I could even figure out which of the eighteen suitcases the book was in (to check feeding and sleeping times), my darling boy put himself into his own routine. By seven every evening he’s crying when I change him into his pjs. By twenty past seven, he’s asleep. I give him a dream feed at some point between 10 and 11 pm, and then he sleeps through until at least 6.30 am. Sometimes 8 am. Sometimes even 8.30 am. Sometimes he’ll have a feed at 6.30 am and go back to sleep for a couple of hours.
This is something I wasn’t used to. V1 had to be walked up and down ten times a night. He woke for milk at least twice. And he is STILL a terrible sleeper.
Now I’m telling myself that this must just be a phase (although it’s been nearly three weeks now). How could an eleven week old (which is how old he was when we got back) put himself into this kind of routine? I’ve had one or two other new mums ask me how I did it. And I can’t even give them an answer!
Is there such a thing as too much sleep?