I don’t know about you, but I get mildly excited when my baby plays happily in his activity centre or motion gym for longer than five minutes, because it means I can actually heat up my lunch, or do some laundry, or take a decent shower. And when he naps, it almost feels like a reward – a small portion of your day that’s just for you. You don’t necessarily get one of these every day, so when you do, you make the most of it.
Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with my baby. He is the best thing in my life, and I love him to bits. But every few days, I really just need a few moments for me, for my sanity. At the moment, my baby needs me a lot, more than at other times. He is in that stage that begins around 29 or 30 weeks, where he realises that he can be left alone (even if I just put him down for a minute and am sitting right next to him). And he doesn’t like it. If you’re not familiar with the leaps and fussy stages in your baby’s development, take a look at the Wonder Weeks app – it’s a great tool for helping you understand your baby’s behaviour and how it relates to their neurological development (post on this app coming soon!):
Anyway, sometimes, when it’s been a few days since I’ve had some “me time”, I will sometimes stay up after putting him to bed for the night. Usually, it’s something quick, like sterilising my expressing equipment for the next morning while having a cup of tea or a late night snack. But sometimes, I’ll be “naughty” and stay up to watch TV.
The other night, I was in the middle of an episode of Glee when I finished feeding my little man (there’s not a lot you can do while breastfeeding!). I put him to bed, and snuck back to lounge lounge room to watch the last fifteen minutes of the episode. I got hooked and ended up watching another episode before going to sleep … After all, I thought, another forty-five minutes isn’t very long, and my baby is a good sleeper and doesn’t normally wake up till around six in the morning.
The thing is, there is never a guarantee on how long your baby will sleep. It doesn’t matter if they have slept eight hours every night since they were 4 1/2 months old, anything can change or interrupt their sleep patterns for a day, a week, or permanently. On this particular night, my little man woke up six times after I went to bed at midnight, and demanded his first feed at 4 AM. It was a rough night for both of us, and I was a zombie the next day. You see, although forty-five minutes of TV is nothing, forty-five minutes of sleep when you have an infant is an age.
This is what I have come to call “the delusion of time” – the notion that time means the same thing as it did before you had a baby. Before becoming a parent, you pretty much always had time to do whatever you wanted or needed to … you might’ve even had time to waste. Once you have a baby to take care of, time becomes a precious commodity. So, my advice to you is to make the most of any “free” time you get. And when you have to make a choice between sleep and something that can wait, think about which will be more useful to you after a night of truncated sleep.
Mini Mummi Blogger 🌺