The Story of the Baby Who Didn’t Sleep

I didn’t shower until 6 p.m. today. When you have a new baby some days are like that, even when there are two parents at home.

Ethan didn’t sleep today, you see.

Well, okay, that’s not quite the whole story. A big part of the reason is that I didn’t get up until almost noon today. I dug my pump out yesterday and pumped last night, which turned out to be fabulous timing because Connor was at my parents’ for a sleepover. That meant no four-year-old coming into our room this morning at dark o’clock and proceeding to bounce off the walls. No thumps and bumps and yells reverberating around the house while I try to catch some extra sleep in the morning. Instead I handed the baby to Rich, pointed them in the direction of the bottle in the fridge, and went back to sleep.

It was heavenly.

I’m blessed to have parents who will take my older child overnight. I’ve always appreciated that, but now I really, really appreciate it. As of yesterday, I was at the point of being so tired I was starting to twitch. When I went for a nap yesterday Connor said, “Have a good sleep. I hope you’re less grumpy.” It was a totally fair comment. (But, bless him, he said it with no malice or resentment – more an observation than a wish.)

It was a good thing I got some sleep this morning, because I spent most of the rest of the day trying to convince my smallest boy that sleep is a good thing. A really good thing. Worth a shot, even if looking out the window sounds more fun.

He wasn’t interested.

I think we emptied our entire bag of tricks today – rocking, bouncing, nursing. We tried the swing, the car seat and the car. We held him and we tried him in his crib. We changed him. We swaddled him. We de-swaddled him. We sang and used white noise and music and quiet.

Nothing worked.

baby face

Hi. I’m not sleeping.

In a moment of pure opportunism this afternoon I decided to take the dog for a walk, figuring that Ethan would sleep in the stroller. It was a farce. I navigated slushy sidewalks while keeping the leash out of the stroller wheels and simultaneously pulling Ethan’s hat up off his eyes so he wouldn’t complain. Because he wasn’t sleeping, of course. Heading home while Ethan howled, I noticed the dog was sporting a dollop of yellow snow on his nose.

I had had enough.

At that moment I might have melted down into my own little puddle of slush in our entryway had I not had the benefit of some extra sleep this morning.

When Rich pulled out the last tool in our arsenal – the Baby Bjorn – and even that didn’t work I figured nothing was going to.

(As a related aside, are all babies chronically sleep deprived? Are there any who, at this young age, actually nap cooperatively during the day? No wait, don’t answer that. If there are babies like that I don’t think I want to know.)

Tonight after a very quick dinner and a shower while Rich took Ethan for a drive, I sat in the rocking chair in his room, one hand holding him to me, the other keeping his soother plugged in. He finally went to sleep just after 7 p.m.

What started out as a heavenly day turned into a hard one. My left arm is perpetually numb from holding him. My back aches in a line up my spine and my shoulders are burning. My neck cracks when I turn my head.

It’s entirely possible we’ll have to deal with the hard stuff again tomorrow, so it’s time for me to sleep. I shall dream of bottles in the fridge and the next heavenly morning when I can sleep. At least I’m old enough to know it’s good for me.



  1. I’m just impressed you showered at all with a newborn. You win!

    As for the sleep, he sounds like my middle kid. She was just so easily stimulated by anything and everything that the harder we tried to get her to sleep, the more awake she became. She cried a lot. What did work was swaddling and sitting still in a quiet dark room, allowing her to calm down and drift off on her own.

  2. Oh Robyn, I so feel for you. K was like that sooo much in her first 4 months or so and those roughest of days were enough to drive me insane. I constantly wondered what was wrong as I was told she would sleep for about 16hrs a day and I’d be lucky if she slept 6hrs in 24.
    I wish for you many hours of sleep. Both for you and Ethan. In the meantime I am here with understanding, love, hugs and the knowing that you ate not alone. xxx

  3. Yep. I’m totally impressed that you showered. A day like that and I’d just throw my hands up and say screw hygiene. LOL As I sit here and groan and ache about how miserable these last few days/weeks of pregnancy I are, this post reminds me that the hard doesn’t disappear…it just changes. Hang in there mama!

  4. Although my 6 month old takes 2 naps a day, it’s not without some hard graft on my part, and this is when I curse my inability to ‘train’ my children to sleep without my help.

    But sleep he does.

    Not every day though. There was a day when he had one 30 minute nap in the morning and figured he’ll try to be a big boy and stayed up all the way until 8.30.

    On the plus side, he’s my exercise.

    Hang on in there my friend. It does get better.

  5. Hang in there, mama. You’re doing a great job, even when it doesn’t feel like it. I know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when the 4 year old pounces in right as you’ve FINALLY gotten the infant to sleep.

    But it will pass. I promise. Just hang in there.

  6. My kids hate sleep. We should throw them all in a room together and just take turns night by night and day by day in terms of the staying-up-with-kids and falling-asleep-in-drool.