124/365

20140504-224317.jpgA portrait of my daughter every day in 2014

Stuffing her face with cheese during lunch at the park.

Pardon me while I digress on some things that have been brewing in my brain for a while.

My baby doesn’t sleep through the night. She’s 19 months old.

Sometimes putting her to bed feels like what I imagine wrestling a baby alligator might feel like. She’s wild. All over the bed, babbling, giggling. It’s quite hilarious. And semi exhausting, leaving you feel like you’ve accomplished a great feat at the end.

When we finally brought her home from the hospital at one month old she desperately wanted to sleep. At first I wasn’t allowed to let her go longer then 3 hours between feedings since gaining weight is so crucial for heart babies. Then they said 6 hours was ok but no longer. I may have snuck a few 7 hour stretches in here and there. Around 3 months old, everything changed.

She hit a growth spurt. She was up every hour to nurse. Then she hit a sleep regression. Her naps went to 30-45 minutes max. And again she woke hourly at night. She was still sleeping in her cosleeper next to my bed at this point. Finally I gave in. I let her sleep next to me and just like that she settled in to 3-4 hour stretches.

I was nervous about having her in my bed. I remember adamantly telling our midwife while pregnant that we would never cosleep. It was wrong. It was unsafe. Irresponsible. I started googling. I was looking for resources with facts. I realized my baby had an innate desire to sleep with me and that instinct must have come from somewhere. I found that when done responsibly, bed sharing can be perfectly safe, possibly even safer then baby sleeping in a crib alone.

My baby doesn’t sleep through the night. And that’s ok. It’s completely normal. Lets be honest here, sleep changes when you become a parent. Your baby isn’t supposed to sleep through the night. I don’t, so why would I expect my child to?

Ever since she was an infant, most nights she wakes again, 45 minutes or so after falling asleep to nurse. Sometimes she wakes again, another 45 minutes after that. Many parents would be frustrated. We’ve only gone out twice after her bedtime since she was born. But it’s just who she is. She needs our presence to sleep well. And why should I deny her that?

My baby doesn’t sleep through the night. But we’re all well rested. We get enough sleep. Our society expects children to be seen and not heard. Doesn’t want them to be an inconvenience. But that’s just it, she’s not. She’s a baby, following her biologically driven needs for food, comfort and reassurance. Life after children isn’t about forcing them into your patterns and expectations. It about adjusting your perspective and letting them be full fledged mini members of the family.

My baby doesn’t sleep through the night. She slept for 7 hours straight one night recently. I woke up to pee before she woke up. It was shocking, and I almost didn’t know what to do. I may have shaken her to make sure she was still breathing. She doesn’t sleep through the night and I’m ok with it, and she may not anytime soon. And that’s ok. It’s normal. And I won’t change it until she does.

I know there are tired, frustrated mamas out there desperate for some sleep. We’ve been told our babies should sleep all night long as soon as possible. People ask how your baby sleeps every time you have visitors. That expectation makes it much harder when the realization that it isn’t going to happen arrives. Step back, take a breath and relax. It won’t be this way forever. They grow and change so quickly. Before you know it they won’t need you for so much. Nap when your baby naps, nap on the weekends. Remember your child is normal, despite what the mom next door/at work/online is saying.

My baby doesn’t sleep through the night. And we’re all ok.

How does your baby sleep? Did you ever question your child’s sleeping habits? Worry about them? Feel like you were doing something wrong? Have you done anything to change your child’s sleeping habits?

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3 thoughts on “124/365

  1. One of my babies slept through the night quite young. The other did not-and you know who you are!! But I never could let my babies “cry it out.” I just couldn’t. Other moms did but it broke my heart to hear my babies cry.

  2. Out of 5 breastfed cosleeping babies…they all started sleeping through the night at different times. My oldest…the first time she slept all night in her own bed she was almost 4 and I was sure she was dead in the morning. Horrible panic when I woke up and realized she never woke me! The second one.. sometime before she was 2. The rest, I don’t really remember 🙂 The current toddler sleeps all night most nights and nurses at like 4 am. I have never tried to “train” any of them to sleep longer stretches. It never occurred to me. As they get older, you can see how they were as babies with sleep still applies. My oldest still has trouble getting to sleep. The second was the easiest for bedtime and nap time and still falls asleep in minutes. The third was horrible to put to bed but slept well and he still winds up at bedtime but now falls asleep faster. So while I think you certainly can change patterns and routines, somethings are just part of who they are as well.

  3. I’d never really been around babies. The two woman w/ babies that I knew both had them sleep trained via cry it out. Their schedules were so exact and could not be messed with. I thought this was the normal way for babies to sleep and then I had my baby… Holy crow! Day 2 in the hospital she was up for 7 hours straight during the day! The girl is 13 months and a long nap for her is an hour and then she will only take one. I tried the whole cry it out thing and didn’t last 5 minutes. I too was like you where I swore up and down that I would not co-sleep. Those people were crazy! And then I had a non napping baby who woke up every 2 hours at night to nurse for 45 minutes… But I realized nursing her while laying down have me a but of extra sleep and then she tended to go longer between feeding. People keep saying that kids get too attached to their parents when cosleeping and want to sleep with their parents all the time… I find this argument hilarious! Heaven forbid a child should be attached to their parent! Maybe we should just stick them in a crib and let them cry. We have seen how effective this is in the Romanian Orphanges…
    Anyway, each child is different and I feel that it’s best to do what keeps you sane!

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