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?

Advertisements