- “How is your baby sleeping?“
- “Is she a ‘good’ sleeper?“
- “Does she sleep through the night?“
People still ask me those questions.
I always hesitate before responding.
The most truthful answer is that she is a wonderful sleeper and that we are all well-rested. If there ever is any lack of sleep in our house, it is because Tim and I are crazy and we stay up way too late working on projects and talking.
That being said, my 14-month-old still wakes up…oh, it’s hard to count because I don’t keep track…5+ times a night. Maybe more. Sometimes less.
When she wakens and cries/calls, I will immediately go to her and lay beside her, often nursing her. She usually doesn’t even open her eyes. She just turns to me, latches on, sighs contentedly, and falls back to sleep. When she doesn’t nurse, she usually just puts her hand on my cheek or my chest – and falls back to sleep. I then get up and return to whatever I was doing. At around 2am, I usually go into her room for the night and we both sleep until around 8am. It’s a beautiful thing.
When people ask me how my baby is sleeping, I usually simply say, “Great!” and leave it at that. But sometimes I say more because I want people to know that it’s normal for little ones to require gentle parenting in the night. For some reason, our culture thinks the norm is for babies to sleep 8-12 hours per night, from 6 weeks on…and CERTAINLY by 6 months, 1 year, and beyond!
I actually think the opposite is true: [Most] babies wake up at night. Sometimes into toddlerhood. And it doesn’t make you a bad parent or your baby a bad sleeper if they do. I just want you to know that.
There also is a widely accepted myth that if you respond to your baby’s cries, then your baby will never be able to “soothe themselves to sleep.” Not true. Our 3-year-old sleeps all night long. In her own bed. Every night. Until approximately 8am.
When our firstborn was an itty bitty baby, I remember feeling pressured by the “Is your baby sleeping through the night?” question. Like it was some kind of competition and my baby was in last place. Other new parents would smile blissfully and describe how their babies slept 10 hours a night from week 2, etc. They’d say, “Oh, we put him on a schedule right away!” or “She just cried for 1 hour straight for 3 nights and she’s slept great ever since!”
One time, we decided to *try* cry-it-out too. That lasted for about 2 minutes (what a truly unkind way to treat another human being, especially a baby!). (oh man – am I going to get comments about that!). (I thought about editing, but I can’t). (P.S. we can still be friends even if we disagree).
Shortly thereafter, we gave away our crib to a friend, bought a mattress for the floor, decided to respond every time our baby cried…and slept happily ever after.
I’m mostly writing this to say…If your baby is waking up in the night, it’s okay. There is no “Sleeping Baby” category in the Olympics. Your baby is probably doing just fine…and SO ARE YOU.
Speaking of the Olympics, you have heard about Baby Quad-Racing, right? Because my baby’s totally been practicing:
What Olympic event has your baby been practicing for? (Also – Is your baby waking in the night?)