45 minutes

Babies are a blank slate. They’re the absolute zero of human experience, completely devoid of any knowledge about the world they arrive in. They’re learning machines.

You can’t surprise a newborn. It’ll just look at you and say to itself, “ok, so there’s that.”

They do come with a surprising array of built in features. Poop, for a start. But also the morrow reflex, where they reach out to grab if they fall. And they can also track down your moobs, even through a T-shirt, in the hope of finding food.

I’ve always laughed off adult sleep experts. They say we have a 90 minute “cycle”. Waking halfway through a cycle gets you a bad start, leaves you cranky and tired.

Have a baby, and that’s a permanent state of mind.

I never believed that crap though. I’ll leave “biorhythm” to the hippies dancing naked through the solstice. And I’ll set my alarm clock to whatever time I need.

But a baby is a blank sheet. And this blank sheet definitely sleeps in 45 minute cycles. By the clock. I don’t mean he checks his wristwatch before he gets up, I mean he sleeps for 45 minutes *exactly*, goes through a half-awake transition, then nods off for another 45.

If you’re lucky. At the moment we are not lucky. He’s ill, he’s teething. He’ll wake most multiples of 45 during the night, demanding attention.

He hasn’t learned this. This is a built in feature.

The 45 minutes is astonishing. Sometimes it’s not perfect, can drop to 35 or 30 minutes some days. But you won’t wake baby after ten minutes no matter what you do.

But after 44 minutes, you’ll be damn quiet, or there’ll be hell to pay.