Does your baby sleep through the night?

Friday, February 22, 2013

I absolutely hate this question, and I swear it is the first question everybody asks when you have a baby. People are causing you to worry about something that really doesn't need to be worried about. Just like smiling, crawling and rolling over, there is wide range of normal for when babies start to sleep through the night. Most parents also don't realize that "sleeping through the night" is usually defined as a 5 hour stretch for babies as indicated here. In a addition to that, its normal as adults to wake up during the night, we just don't remember it most times.

When I decided to become a parent I knew that it was a 24/7 job (even if you work and your child is in the care of someone else during that time it is still a 24/7 job). If my daughter needs me at night I will be there. I have made this easier on myself by bed-sharing with her which I absolutely love, but I would and always will be there for her even if she is/was in another room. In my experience people are obsessed with babies "sleeping through the night". My thought is this baby was in my womb for 9 months constantly rocked, held, warm, it should take at least that long (if not longer) for her to get used to sleeping on her own.

Just because someone elses baby sleeps through the night and doesn't need to eat, doesn't mean another baby is the same way. Some adults need to eat more often than others, why shouldn't this be the same for babies? Then there are those people that will adamantly claim that baby is just trying to manipulate them, as soon as they pick baby up they are happy again. Well yeah cuddling is a need too, especially for babies. They want to know that mom (or dad) are going to be there for them. They are completely helpless. I wouldn't like to be away from my caregiver either if I had no means of getting around, feeding myself or for that matter defending myself. I would be scared to death if I was left alone like that. Besides that, even I feel a need to cuddle with a loved one a lot of times; so if it is acceptable for an adult to just need cuddles why isn't it acceptable for a baby to just need cuddles?

This brings me to the ideas of "Cry it out" and "Controlled Crying". I will never ever do this with my daughter. Yes there have been a few times where I have had to leave her crying for a few minutes in order to regain my sanity, but that is a completely different story. I will not purposely leave her to cry in order to "Train" her. In my opinion(which has a lot of research to back it up) all I would be "training" her to do is to realize that when she cries no one responds. So yeah I would quit crying then too, I mean its pointless to keep trying for something if you know its never going to happen. My daughter will become independent on her own terms not min. I know that some day she won't need me any more. Some day she will be able to understand when I say I will be there in a minute but right now I just respond. Why are we so determined that babies and children need to be "independent" so early? Can't we just allow them to be children and need us for a little while?

I don't hate anyone because they use "Cry it out" or "Controlled Crying" methods, I don't even dislike them  for it. I simply don't understand the reasoning behind it, I don't understand what makes someone want to go against every instinct as a mom and ignore the cries of their baby. It just doesn't make sense to me. If I at some point feel the need to "sleep train" my daughter I will personally be looking at no cry solutions such as Elizabeth Pantley or Jay Gordon.

As to the question that is the title of this post. You decide. Ella nurses 2-3 times on a normal night but they are all "dreamfeeds" that she doesn't even wake up for. This means she sleeps 8-12 hours on a normal night nursing 2-3 in her sleep. Sometimes I wake up fully, and sometimes I just wake up enough to make sure she is latched good and then go back to sleep. Usually I don't even remember what time she nursed at night. Growth spurts bring the number of times she nurses up to about 3-6. She also has some nights where she wakes between 1 and 3 in the morning and is awake for anywhere from 1-3 hours. Like I said, you decide what the answer to the question is, because I really don't know. 

I know this isn't the type of post I usually write here, but this question from every single person I run into has just gotten to me. This post consists of purely my own opinion and while there is research to back it up I am not going to go into it here. If you are interested in research on some of the ideas here I will put some links at the end of this post. Also this is a bit off topic, but for those who currently are or would like to bed-share, please do it safely.

Many of these links are from Evolutionary Parenting, I feel she does a good job explaining things and always cites her research and backs up her statements.

All five of these articles are awesome

This in itself contains links to a lot of research

and some bed-sharing articles


Joys Truly said...

We are on the same schedule over here as you. My son sleeps 12 hours a night but nurses 2-3 times and he is 14 weeks. And I agree, there will come a day where they will not need this and with him being this little I am embracing it. I worked too hard to get him without enjoying every moment.

Sarah said...

Ella is almost 6 months. She is starting to get a bit more independent for sleep now. But is so busy during the day she makes up for any missed nursing sessions at night. They are little for such a short time I am trying to enjoy every minute! Congrats on your son. They really are miracles!

Jules said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, it's giving me a lot to think about. For me, I wanted to start sleep training early because of having twins I feel like I have such little time to rest as it is so I was hoping that training would help us all to get more sleep. I learned quickly that it's not so simple, and that (compared to many babies their age) my boys are pretty advanced in their sleeptime and night feeding schedule so right now I'm following their lead and trying to read their signals. Thanks for sharing the articles, I'll check them out!

Sarah said...

I completely understand the wanting rest thing, I honestly can't imagine twins. If you are interested in more resources I will see what I can get you, I know I have talked with a couple moms who have had luck with gentle sleep training for twins. I can't remember off hand what method they used though. I do I have seen several moms of twins say their babies slept better if they put them in a crib together, not sure if this is something you have tried or not. Feel free to email me if you want more info on anything,

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