Monday, June 15, 2009

Sleeping like a Log with a Baby?

Cosleeping CatsMany parents report that the birth of their first child represents the end of sleep. There's the difficult newborn stage to get through which requires you to be up every few hours, but it's more than that. Parents report that a kind of hypervigilance sets in that keeps them from falling or staying deeply asleep.

I'm a little different. As a child, I struggled with insomnia. As a childless adult, I was easily awakened by noises at night (much more so than Lyn). As a parent, I sleep like a rock.

It seems strange to me that while so many other parents seem to become more sensitive to their childrens' needs, waking at the drop of a hat, I have learned to sleep like the dead. It happened while Leigh was a baby. For a while she was sleeping in the bed with us and she was a restless bed companion. I think she would have nursed all night if I had let her. So I would wake up, feed her, coax her back to sleep, and then roll over and ignore her hard. I learned to fall asleep quickly with a noisy, wriggling baby right beside me, wanting to nurse. I aslo learned to stay asleep through Leigh's noises until she was really, insistantly hungry.

Parenthood turned me into a much better sleeper, so you might ask what happened to Lyn. Back when we were first married, Lyn could sleep through anything. After Leigh was born, Lyn often had to sleep in the other room if she wanted to get any sleep at all. She woke up every time Leigh rustled or whined in her sleep and had a hard time returning to sleep after wake-ups.

With Ira's birth, I'm still a champion sleeper. I can sleep like a brick with him on my chest or snuggled in my arms. Because I had become such a good sleeper as a nursing mom, Lyn wondered if (hoped that) once she started to nurse Ira, she would become a champion sleeper, able to pass out after popping a boob in or to sleep soundly through Ira's rustling. No such luck. She finds that she is still hypervigilant. For a couple of nights last week, she slept in the other room and I brought Ira out to her, just so she could have a chance to get some really restful sleep. She reports that things are a bit better this week and she's able to get good rest with the baby in bed, provided that the baby isn't snuggled right up next to her.

So that's the sleep report from here. Ira is doing three-hour stretches and Lyn gets to sleep in most mornings, so we are all doing OK. But I am curious. Anyone else out there sleep better with a baby than before, or am I just a freak of nature?

6 comments:

CCB said...

*raises hand* me! me! me!

While pregnant, I often had to sleep on the couch. Michelle's snoring and the dogs renegotiating positions woke me up and I couldn't get back to sleep for hours. Baby arrives and off to sleep I go! I sleep endlessly and HARD, and whenever I can get it. It's great! It also helps that Bird is also a pretty good sleeper and is very happy to go back to sleep after eating or being changed.

Dirk Awesome said...

Uh oh! I am a great sleeper now - might this mean that I will lose that talent once our baby arrives?

On the plus side: Skye isn't a good sleeper, so maybe she'll improve.

nutella said...

I was a deep easy sleeper pre-baby. now that he's here I am super aware of every noise he makes. I could NOT sleep when he was in our room and I can't imagine trying to sleep with him in the bed. Even with him in his crib in the next room I sometimes awaken thinking that I'm hearing him cry. And sometimes upon checking he's still sound asleep.

Lyn said...

I'm with you Nutella. Though for now, it's easier to have him in the room than stagger around the house in a fog when it's time to feed him...

giggleblue said...

you are a freak of nature! i have not had a dream since our daughter has been born, which means i have not entered REM sleep since our daughter has been born. you could easily conclude that i have not slept since our daughter has been born.

perhaps i'll be able to sleep when she's 5. i'll keep you posted. ;)

JenLF said...

I was a light sleeper and got lighter once the kids were born. Although I think I slept more like a rock once Jonah started sleeping through the night, and now am sleeping lighter again with Ava as a babe.

I agree with you, Lyn, that it's best to have them nearby at the beginning, for precisely that reason!

And Matt...slept like a log before kids, continues to sleep like a log now.