Anyone who has brought up an infant will know that one of the major concerns of bringing up baby is sleep or rather the lack of it. From the little that I remember, my own children slept rather well through the night, except when crabby Mrs. T cast her evil eye by asking me if the babies slept well.
So apart from those rocky nights, we had pretty much a good sleep schedule; but that was because we mothers in those days topped up the last feed of the night with a formula leaving no scope for baby to feel hungry. However, mothers today are told that babies have to be exclusively breast fed for at least six months so formula is totally taboo. I’m not sure this is a bad idea because what did people do in the days before formula? And to attribute sweetness to formula is complete wrong because mother’s milk is sweet as sweet can be. So why is it that babies don’t sleep at night? They look so angelic, sleeping for hours during the day but come nightfall and they turn into creatures of the night making somnambulists of us all.
This was particularly true while bringing up Little P. I remember trying hundreds of remedies from rocking to singing, walking and crooning, but nothing seemed to work. We tried the hot bath before bed time routine, we tried the gentle, soothing massage routine, we tried the getting ready for bed music and dim lights routine, we even tried the cutting, the daytime sleep routine but nothing seemed to work.
There are literally hundreds of articles written about babies and their sleep, possibly even more than how to lose that extra kilo or how to make a million bucks but all that you really learn from reading them is that you are not alone in facing this problem.
But that’s cold comfort because who cares when other babies are not sleeping? What matters is that your baby doesn’t sleep and more importantly you don’t sleep. Funnily enough a baby who doesn’t sleep during the day isn’t so bothersome because baby manages to stay in the crib/ bed even while awake and amuse himself. Come night time and the story is completely different. A wakeful baby at night will make sure he’s not the only one awake and will cry and wail till every person in the house is awake. This is particularly stressful when you have to deal with the brilliant question “why is the baby crying?”
Come on! If I knew why the baby was crying I’d make sure he wasn’t! It’s all so easy to change a wet nappy, feed a hungry baby, soothe a sick child but a baby who wails for nothing at all – that’s really hard to address. And the funny thing is that all those experts and grannies and everybody who’s dealt with kids will sagely tell you that children don’t cry for no reason. So what dear baby, is making you cry?
But of course your baby can’t tell you what the matter is and you are no telepath to read his mind. All you can do is accept the fact that babies don’t particularly like to sleep at night and those who say that theirs do are a) lucky b) lying c) making the baby sleep in another room or with a nanny.
You can try all the remedies suggested, you can wait for baby to grow out its angst, you can wait for baby to tire itself to sleep, you can do whatever you want till one fine day you find the house surprisingly peaceful and quiet. You wake up from time to time wondering why there is no wail. You toss and turn in your own bed wondering why the baby is sleeping so peacefully with not a whimper. You try and analyse what you’ve done differently that has made baby go to sleep so that you can continue doing it to ensure a good sleep. You find once again that you have no answers but realize that baby’s sleeplessness is now transferred to you!
As a mother of two thirty-year old daughters and a grandmother of a nineteen week old grandson, Sunita Rajwade has been there and done that. A hands on mom, she has seen two girls grow successfully through babyhood, toddler hood, adolescence and adulthood; solving their maths problems and contributing to their angst of growing up with a mom “who doesn’t understand”. But now as a grandmother, she’s being appreciated for her “wisdom” and “understanding” and would like to share my experiences of this wonderful journey from motherhood to grandmotherhood.