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Parent Diaries

“I was like a zombie for the first year, it was pretty awful.”

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My two babies were just so different to each other

Bree, New Jersey

On the first night back from the hospital with Shane, we put him in one of those vibrating chairs - he fell asleep and slept through. He’s pretty much done that ever since. When we had a second baby we thought we’d cruise through it, but Damon was completely different from the start.

He never wanted to come in the bed with us. He liked his own space and wanted to spread out. We had him in a moses basket in our room to start with but he’d outgrown that by two and a half months. He was head to toe, squashed in, so we moved him into his crib. But we think he had too much space then, so he still woke up every two hours. That went on until he was one.

I was exhausted. My partner and I worked opposite shifts, he’d go to work when I got home, so I’d get up with Damon during the night. I was like a zombie for the first year, it was pretty awful.

Bree

We tried everything - vibrating chair, swaddling (would make him happy but not sleepy), white noise, warm bottle, regular routine. The car would work but we live in the city and there’s no open roads for miles so that just wasn’t practical. He was pretty gassy for the first few months, so we found some natural gas drops and those helped a bit, but he grew out of that and was still a terrible sleeper.

After the first year, things got a bit better and he’d only wake up two or three times a night. But he’d still be up around 4 or 5 am and want to come in with us. He’s still like that now - he wakes up crying then comes into our room, carrying his pillow, sheet and blanket with him. And if he forgets one of them, I have to go and get it. At least that way we all get some sleep.

It’s tough trying to operate when you’re exhausted. You’ve just got to stay patient, try to take care of yourself. Fit in a nap, exercise, anything to make it less aggravating. We never found a magic trick, we just had to accept that Shane and Damon were totally different babies. What works for one doesn’t work for another, the sooner you accept that, the less stressful life becomes!