The trouble with the baby night shift is that unlike actual work you don’t get the morning off to catch up on sleep.
Nope this night shift is just in addition to all of the other parenting responsibilities you’ve got to handle every single day.
Sleep deprivation is an absolute killer and until you’ve lived it with a baby night after night for months and months, you cannot possibly understand.
So for you fellow mums who are surviving through coffee and sheer determination alone, this is for you!
1. It is no comfort to be told it does get easier
It does, we know it does. I’m doing it for a second time so I know firsthand how much things change by the time they’re toddlers. And I’ve even said it myself, check out the link to the post above.
However in the middle of the night when you’ve had zero sleep for the last six months, this knowledge isn’t particularly helpful. We need it to be easier right now!
2. Baby sleep training is b******s
It’s all very well and good outlining a detailed plan on how to handle a baby bucket who screams every time they’re put down in their cot.
However when you’re too tired to pick-up put-down 250 times all good intentions of following said plan go flying out the window.
I’ll try again tomorrow, you tell yourself. Knowing full well that you won’t.
3. There is a reason for tidying up the toys at the end of every day
That reason is in the middle of the night when you’re blindly stumbling towards the cot to fish out the baby in distress, you will tread on the Lego brick or stub your toe on the VTech device of extreme irritation.
This results in a string of expletives from you and some annoying jingles from the toys that you forgot to switch off. Silent night no more.
4. Avoiding eye contact is weird
You’re holding the baby, comforting the baby and feeding the baby. But you’re not supposed to look them in the eye because it might wake them up more or make them think it’s daytime.
I think the darkness might make the point for us. Avoiding eye contact just makes the baby think we’re not paying attention to them. Plus it’s those moments when your eyes connect and they smile at you that get you through the hard nights.
5. Mirrors are evil
Looking in a mirror when you’ve had zero or limited sleep is a shock every time. The bags under our eyes, the grey circles, the dull skin, the frightful hair. Just don’t look.
6. Your brain is limited to vital information only
It can just about process when you need to breathe, wee, and eat and the fact that you’re so tired you feel like you’re swimming upside down. Anything beyond that is too much for it to handle.
7. You hate your other half
There’s nothing that stirs up relationship wars than seeing your other half arise from a night of five hours uninterrupted sleep while you’ve just got 30 minutes of snoozing and sore nipples to show for your night.
All rational thought leaves the building and suddenly your baby’s propensity to stay up all night is their fault. Your fatigue is their fault. The rain is their fault. Everything is their fault.
8. Drunk people are very annoying
It’s 2am and various revellers are stumbling home from their big nights out. They’re free, they’re full of joy, they’re merry and they’re noisy. The noise varies from singing a very poor rendition of Robbie Williams’ Angels to loudly professing how much they love their drinking buddy who’s helping to carry them home.
As they pass by your window you will curse them for waking the baby who you had just got to nod off and for having the audacity to have a life when you don’t.
9. Subscription TV is everything
I don’t know what I would have done without our Netflix subscription when I was breastfeeding my little girl all night.
I got my iPad set up on the sofa next to me, plugged in my earphones and watched a LOT of telly. On demand rules.
Read more: Bleary-eyed binge watching
10. Other people who complain they’re tired are lucky to survive
There’s nothing like lack of sleep to evoke memories in people of that time two years ago when they tossed and turned for five hours. “Ooh it was just dreadful,” they say, as if that makes them a part of the sleepless mums club.
People who say this in front of a mum who has been going for months and months with no sleep are lucky to get out alive. You do so at your own risk.
I’m hoping these gave you a few giggles and that they reminded you that you’re not alone in this night shift hell! How do you pass the time during the baby night shift? I would love to hear from you.