It’s been almost four months since I had a good night’s sleep. Probably longer than that if you factor in the common night-waking I was doing for probably three months prior. It’s not like I shouldn’t expect it — I had a baby after all and he’s the reason why “restful sleep” is a term I no longer understand.
Babies just don’t sleep. Silver is my fourth so I’ve had a lot of experience with the truth about how and when and where babies sleep. The catch-all answer for those questions when it comes to my kids is: never. Yes, I am being dramatic — sleep deprivation does that to you. They do sleep, but certainly not like the popular phrase “sleep like a baby” would have people believe.
When you hear that phrase you’re to assume that the person who said he or she “slept like a baby” had a wonderfully restful sleep where nothing could wake them no matter what. When I hear that phrase I think of the baby who woke when someone two floors down sneezed or who fell asleep eventually after hours of whining on the rocking chair.
So, I say enough of that inaccurate term and let’s start using a term that more accurately describes what baby sleep is really like with an infant.
1. “Sleep Like a Husband”
Let me set the scene for you: My husband, Silver, and I are in our bedroom. It’s 2 AM and Silver is on hour three of screaming while I wiggle, shush, and hold him. One dim light is on in the corner because I am practically blind in the dark, and reruns of Mad Men quietly play on the television behind me. Then on the bed, with all that noise, is my husband. He’s tucked comfortable in his comforter, and out of his mouth you hear a subtle snoring sound. Why? Because, despite all the noise from the baby not sleeping, there he is — having a wonderfully restful sleep where nothing could wake him.
2. “Sleep Like a Zombie”
Zombies always have this look about them that screams “I need a good nap.” They have a disheveled look, dark circles under their eyes, and they are always doing this irritating grumble and never stop to rest or sleep. While my son is far cuter than a zombie — the dark circles, irritating whining grumbling, and never stopping to sleep really describes what a baby sleeping is really like.
3. “Sleep Like, Never!”
If you’re trying to make a statement that accurately depicts what sleeping is like for a newborn or infant — you can’t get more accurate than this. While you and your child will eventually sleep again, when you’re on day 12 of little to no sleep, it feels like it’s never going to happen again.
Photo credit: © Devan McGuinness
Devan is a freelance writer living in Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and four kids. No, those aren’t her kids real names — they’re online pseudonyms. Read more from Devan on Babble and “like” Accustomed Chaos on Facebook!