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?