Can we talk about sleep for a minute? Because I feel like it’s the one thing on every parents mind when it comes to babies. Twelve months into this and I’m constantly asked by literally everyone and their mother (seriously, even random strangers) if Sam’s sleeping through the night, to which I always respond with a laugh, a big shake of the head, followed by some more laughing. Why yes, I did think that by one year we’d all be sleeping through the night again, but apparently Sam isn’t one of those special unicorn babies and that’s alright. Mama doesn’t need all that sleep anyways! Unfortunately my response is usually met with an assortment of “helpful” tips from these same people, giving me their magic cure that they’re sure will make Sam sleep through the night. Well I’ve come to learn that not all babies are the same, especially when it comes to sleep, and that those unicorn babies that slept through the night starting at six weeks aren’t as common as they’re made out to be.
You see, Sam was one of those babies (or so we thought, back when we were brand new naive parents). Around 2.5 months old he suddenly started either only waking up once a night, or sleeping straight through it. We couldn’t believe our luck; he’s sleeping through the night so early?! What sort of sorcery was this? Then suddenly, just as quickly as it came to us it was ripped away. About a month later Sam started waking up 3-4 times a night and I told myself it was okay, he was going through the dreaded “four month sleep regression” and we’d be back to restful nights in a few weeks. But that’s the thing that I did not understand back then that I now know; that when babies go through the four month regression it changes the way they sleep forever, not just temporarily like teething or illness might. Needless to say eight months later we’re still waking up usually once a night and that’s alright with me. I know that one day it will happen, until then I just nod my head to acknowledge the well-meaning suggestions and smile.
So what’s the point of this post? To let you know that you’re not failing as a parent if your baby isn’t sleeping as well as you were expecting, or as well as others say they should. I can honestly say that back a few months ago when we were waking up so frequently at night I let others influence our decisions in hopes that it would lead to more sleep. We were told to move him out of our room and into his nursery, but it did nothing but make things more difficult because I now have to walk to his room for midnight nursing instead of just leaning over and picking him up. We were told giving him solid food before bed would help fill his belly, but he has a big dinner plus breastfeeds right before bed and still wakes up. “Let him cry it out!” Sam’s one of those babies that is a loose cannon, so sometimes letting him cry would work and he’d fall back asleep, but most times he’ll never surrender which means none of us are sleeping (the kid’s got quite the set of lungs folks). And the final suggestion we’ve been given but the only one I refuse to do; wean him from night time feedings. People swear that’s the solution to our problem and maybe it would be, but when Sam’s such a distracted busy body it’s hard to get him to sit still to nurse for more than a couple minutes at a time. At night though? He’s half asleep and would lay there eating for as long as I let him most times, and I’m not about to take away those added minutes of nutrition. Mama’s desperate for her tiny peanut to keep his weight up and that’s a lot more important to me than uninterrupted sleep.
So do what feels right to you, after all you are the parents. Don’t let others pressure you into something just because it’s what worked for their kids or whatever their reasoning may be. YOU’RE THE PARENT. You’re an adult who can make decisions for yourself, especially when it comes to something regarding your baby. If you want to try out a suggestion that someone swears by then go for it, but don’t ever feel like you’re doing it wrong by deciding a tip or advice isn’t something you feel is best for you. You’ll be sleeping again one day, I promise, and that’s coming from a mom who’s still getting up at night! You’ve got this ❤