If you have a Mom friend or two (or a million) on Facebook, you have probably seen a status update like this, or something similar, before:
O-M-G! My baby just SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT!! Best baby ever!
If you’re a Mom with a baby, you’re going to feel hate. If you’re childless, you will wonder if it is normal and then you will start counting statuses like this, trying to figure out why parents complain about being so tired. Because SO MANY BABIES sleep through the night. Or so it would seem.
I did this too. I was all over Facebook bragging about how awesome a sleeper Cameron was.
April 23, 2010 (Cameron, 7 weeks old): I am SO proud of my baby who slept from 10pm to 5am!
April 27, 2010 (Cameron, 7.5 weeks old): I think this counts as sleeping through the night – asleep at 12:30, still asleep now at quarter to 8 (although not for long, I reckon).
Let me tell you a secret. Cameron didn’t actually sleep through the night for good until he was nine months old. Sure there were a few nights when we were granted a sliver of hope that maybe just maybe he would start sleeping through the night, but as he got older, those nights became few and far between.
Here’s the truth behind many of those statuses. A baby may sleep through the night once, twice, three times even, and it still means nothing. All your parenting hopes and pride will rise up just to be dashed the following night when Baby wakes up every hour. Your baby will have good sleeping nights just long enough for your body to get used to more rest and then BAM! growth spurt; BAM! teething; BAM! sick; BAM! mental leap; BAM! horrible sleep. In fact, in my experience with my first child, sleep started off great and went downhill from there… for nine whole months.
So this time, I kept my sleep statuses to myself. Why cause envy in other Moms when I already know that a good night’s sleep is just a fluke and not indicative of how the rest of my year will go?
We all have such high hopes for our children. Maybe our baby will be the one who sleeps through the night. Maybe he’ll teach himself to sleep and not have to be taught to sleep on his own. Maybe I’ll be able to brag about how perfect my baby is because he lets me sleep.
Or maybe he’ll be like most babies who need food, comfort, love, and closeness in the middle of the night.
Gavin just turned four months old. I have been dreading this age.
It was at fourth months when Cameron went from being a pretty good sleeper to an OHMYGOSHJUSTGOTHEFRIGTOSLEEP!!!! sleeper. Everything came to a head during his fourth month. He started teething. We weaned him from the swaddle. And of course, there was Wonder Week 19. It was in this fourth month when all my hopes of ever sleeping again were completely shattered.
For the record, Cameron now sleeps very well. Gavin is a different story. Gavin is a baby.
I’m still holding on to hope that Gavin will eventually sleep through the night on his own. I’m crossing my fingers and holding my breath that this month doesn’t represent the spiral into no-sleep territory like it did with his big brother.
And I’m trying to enjoy those sleepy smiles and late night snuggles that strengthen our bond, while simultaneously makes me completely debilitated until lunch time the next day.
What will I do when Gavin actually sleeps through the night? I don’t know. Probably rejoice. Loudly. To anyone who will listen. Yes, you’ll hate me, but at least your hate will be justified. Until then, I’ll just keep complaining about how tired I am and hope that everyone who brags about having sleeping babies actually continue to have sleeping babies.
How does your baby sleep? When did your baby start sleeping through the night? Did you experience the same sort of dashed hopes that I did with my first child? Did you (will you) let your baby learn to sleep on his own or did you (will you) sleep train?