Does your baby sleep through the night?
Maybe it just drove me batty because I was up half the night every night and that’s what bats do. Or perhaps I’m bitter that I don’t get as much sleep as I would have liked. Either way, I should be a rich bat with a gold-lined-cave because as the saying goes… If I had a dollar for every time I heard that!
Whilst I could go on for days about why I dislike this question, I’m going to instead tell all of you wonderful mummies why it’s ok that your baby doesn’t sleep ‘through’. And why some other babies do.
Fact: Babies who co-sleep don’t sleep as deeply as babies who sleep separate from their parents, and may wake more often. Here is an interesting article on why babies should not sleep alone.
Fact: Breastfed babies wake for feeds more often than formula-fed babies. As they are designed to do.
Fact: Babies are not designed to sleep through the night. Nor should they be forced or expected to. Some babies do naturally, and that’s fine. But most won’t. Here is a really good article written by an anthropologist who has looked at how human babies are genetically designed to live.
To quote a blog I read recently: “But you have a baby now. DEAL WITH IT”. I’m afraid baby-lifestyles are not the same as adult-lifestyles. As much as sometimes it seems that life would be easier if they were.
As harsh as this may sound, I’m afraid it is true. I have learnt that feeling sorry for myself and/or feeling tired and grumpy doesn’t help my baby – or myself. In fact, quite the opposite (if you want to know more about how your stress levels effect your baby… Read this book: Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five)
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What you just read above, is a post I started in September 2011. I have just been going through my drafts folder… This question still irritates me and my heart breaks when I see the reaction to this question in other new mums.
My Evie sleeps quite well now – she still wakes on occasion when she is sad, startled, feeling lonely, having a bad dream, hungry, cold or in need of a cuddle. She is 18 months. And yes she still doesn’t sleep through the night every night. I remember being concerned when Evie was only 3 months old that she wasn’t sleeping ‘through the night’ because everyone told me she should be. I later realised that by ‘through the night’ most people didn’t mean 8, 10 or 12 hours… they meant 5-6 hours. Perspective. And she was doing that – 6 hours solid a night. UNTIL 3-4 months at which point she woke every 2 hours (and often more than that) until she was 12 months old. That was just my baby. It took me a while to realise that there wasn’t actually anything wrong with her. She was just being a baby!
Since starting this post, I read a friend of mine’s post that was on a similar topic and then I never felt the need to complete this post – she had written it so incredibly well and explained exactly what I was feeling! It was a huge sigh of relief! But when I began to re-read this post today, I thought “Maybe I don’t need to finish this post because it has already been said so well” BUT you haven’t (or maybe you have?) read the other post! So it’s time to share…. Please go and read it. Tiffany writes so very beautifully!