Read part one here.
My son slept exceptionally well for the first 4 months. I moved him to his crib in his room, which he shares with his nanny when he was 3 months. Then the 4-month sleep regression struck and he woke a bit more often. Then on the 4th of June he turned 8 months and his first teeth came and he hit the 8-month sleep regression. He hasn’t slept well since.
At the same time for a number of personal / social / weather related reasons I stopped exercising. I couldn’t sleep, he kept waking, when I woke I couldn’t go back to sleep for hours. In my musings at unearthly hours coupled with browsing out of boredom, I’ve hit upon a chain of thought and I wish I thought this way earlier.
1) Though the baby sleep sites and books say, babies will never learn how to sleep on their own, I figured out one night that that’s absurd. We all learnt how to sleep on our own at our own pace, some at two years and some way earlier. Babies, children, and even adults grow out of habits like they grow out of clothes. Just like babies don’t have to be trained to crawl or walk, they don’t have to be trained to sleep.
2) I called a friend who was very against sleep training, and she told me it’s a developmental milestone. Her daughter one fine day slept through the night at one and a half years when she was ready.
3) I’ve tried a lot of gentle methods to help him sleep. My son is clearly not ready.
4) I am a stay at home mom and can lie in whenever I wish.
5) It’s not such a big deal for me that my baby is waking up often.
6) It’s upsetting me because the books say my baby should sleep and he is not sleeping. Its also upsetting because other people say ‘are you still feeding in the night???????’. Though most moms I know have one and a half year olds who still wake up.
7) But honestly I love it.
8) When he goes to his bed I miss him and want to smell him one more time.
9) Why am I losing sleep really?
10) I am losing sleep because I resent the fact that he is waking up when he should be sleeping and I am a terrible mom because I am screwing up his sleep forever and ever by attending to him with care and love.
So, four nights ago I brought him into my bed after resolving all this internal dialogue. And sometimes he wakes often. Sometimes he doesn’t wake often. But I sleep much better than before because I know this is where he belongs and I don’t mind nursing him when he needs me.
A few days ago a fellow mom pinged me to chat on FB. I told her N still wakes about twice to feed. She said oh that’s just wrong, you must stop it at once, because her doctor says : If you had a midnight buffet at 3 am would you be able to eat? No? Then why should your baby? Well I’m truly sorry doc, but I believe (as usual) you’re wrong. An infant’s needs are different than ours. Neither you nor I can pinpoint why a baby is waking but as his mother I need to be there for him.
Another fellow mom of a 3 month old messaged me the other day asking when did N start sleeping through the night. I told her the whole truth. She was surprised because she thought no 3-month-old baby should feed in the night and she walked with her baby for hours but did not offer him the breast.
I’m done being part of this absurdity.
For anyone asking:
No my nearly 9 month old son does not sleep through the night.
Yes I still nurse him twice sometimes thrice a night.
Yes I know he may not be hungry. It does not matter.
No he will not nurse forever.
Yes when he stops/ I want the nursing relationship to end we will deal with it together.
No I do not believe I am spoiling him, just teaching him that he can always depend on his mamma and attending to his physiological needs.
Yes I’m in for the long haul of interrupted sleep. But since I am a mom now it comes with the territory.
For more reading these are some excellent links, which I’ve read many times over the last few months but have only just hit home:
Write to me in the comments fellow moms / dads. I really want to know – is your baby sleeping through the night?