How to “Make” Your Baby Sleep Through the Night

 

Ahhhhh….the 65 million dollar question. How can I tackle this one? I am definitely not an expert in this but I don’t think anyone is – and that’s including highly paid pediatricians worldwide. Yes, Ferber, I’m talking to you.

Okay, so I’m not exactly pinning down Ferber here. I just really have to say something about this because it’s been on my mind all weekend. In my 5 years of parenting, I have come across this question or had conversations about babies sleep probably more than I care to think about considering there is no answer! Maybe I’m a sleep philosopher. Maybe we all are….

Another Facebook status from a distant aquaintance that I don’t dare answer asked “Ple-e-e-a-se someone tell me how to make my baby sleep through the night! I need my sleep!” I feel sorry for this mother. I really do. This is her first baby. She’s 4 months old. She’s probably heard numerous stories from other mothers on how they “got” their babies to sleep through the night. She doesn’t know yet that these stories aren’t true. She doesn’t know that the other mothers don’t know that their stories aren’t true. She needs to talk to me. I will tell her what to do. I can free her from her pain by disappointing her. There is nothing you can do to make your baby sleep through the night. Your baby will sleep through the night when your baby sleeps through the night. Some babies do it at 5 weeks. Some babies do it at 3 years old. Sucks, non? Not if you’re a mother of a baby who does it at 5 weeks.

I had one of those. She was 2 months and she started sleeping 8 hours. Glorious – until she started teething. Then she started getting colds. Then these things started happening simultaneously. Then they started to cycle. Teething takes a long time. They get 20 teeth by the time they’re 2. She didn’t sleep through the night again until she was potty trained and in her “big girl bed”. Fair? Not really. Realistic? Yes. The sad thing was I always thought I was doing something wrong because other mothers told me I was. They weren’t trying to be mean. They were trying to be helpful but this poor child of mine underwent several “sleep experiments” during her cold/teething period. It was an awful, frustrating time for everyone involved.

Then, we had another baby. I didn’t do anything with this one other than nurse him when he was hungry. I tried not to sleep with him but it was just so much easier! He was up every half an hour until he was 2. One day I was reading him his naptime story when he told me he was tired, crawled into his bed, and went to sleep. He did the same thing at night night. This has continued. Sometimes he wakes up for water. Sometimes he wakes up to pee. He wants us for this. He’s 3. That’s okay. That’s what I’m here for. My 5 year old still gets up with bad dreams sometimes. Or sometimes she wakes up for no apparent reason and just can’t get back to sleep. I tell her a story, rub her back and she usually is fine.

I have a 3 month old baby now. He’s slept through the night twice. Once a week ago and once 2 days ago. This is because he slept through the night twice. I did nothing to encourage it at all. We just got lucky. He might do it again. He might not. I have no expectations of him other than incredible cuteness. My answer to mom’s everywhere who ask this question is, “The sooner you start realizing that your baby is a human being that you can’t ‘make’ do anything, the easier your life will become”. If anyone has a better answer, I’d love to hear it but I probably wouldn’t believe it at all 🙂

Sleeping at the cabin

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~ by maknitobamomma on July 19, 2010.

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