by Esther on Wed, Jul 14th, 2010

in Baby,Challenges,Month 2,Sleep

“Is he sleeping through the night?”

I must get asked this question at least 4 times a week.  The first person who asked it was asking when our little baby boy was only 2 weeks old!  ”Of course he’s not!” I answered.  Had he been sleeping through the night at 2 weeks of age, I would have been ripping my hair out wondering what was wrong.

According to every book I read about infants and sleep, he won’t be physically or mentally prepared to sleep through the night until he’s about 4 months of age.  This is universally accepted from the rigid Baby Wise to the attachment parenting guru, Dr. Sears.  So?  Why am I being asked this question about my 8 week old?

About 4 nights ago, our Lucky Crane slept for a full 6 hours.  I, however, have not gotten 6 hours of full sleep since he was born.  For the last 2 hours of that 6 hour stretch, I laid on the couch next to the pram, dozing and waiting for him to wake with my huge aching breasts, telling myself not to worry and NOT to wake the sleeping baby.

So, you see, he’s not the only one who’s not quite ready to sleep through the night.

We have adapted pretty well to the strange new parent sleeping cycle.  I try to let Milton sleep through most of the feeding shifts because he has to have brains enough to work with during the day, whereas I can (and often do) take a two hour nap in the afternoon right next to the baby.  The biggest physical problem I’ve noticed in myself after a couple of months of sleeping in 2 hour bursts is that I’m grinding my teeth quite a bit and spending a lot of my day with an aching jaw.  I’m hoping that my next acupuncture appointment can relieve some of that pressure.  I know for a fact that quitting coffee would also relieve some pressure… but I’m not sure how to do that just now.  I tried to quit right after the birth, but was so plagued by the withdraw headache that I went right back to my cup in the morning and have not felt one ounce of guilt.  This isn’t a huge problem, though, the headaches from coffee withdraw are far far worse than the occasional headache from my jaw being troublesome.

I get a lot done in the middle of the afternoon and early evenings when our guy sleeps for long bursts.  And I get a lot of cuddle sleepy times in between 6am and 10am, when we both wake and sleep in each other’s arms between bursts of cluster feeding.  This has become one of my favorite times of the day!  I truly believe in breast feeding on demand, and feel very connected to him through this process.

So.  No, our boy is not sleeping through the night.  But we’re feeling pretty alright about that for now.

Sleepy men

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 robin elton Wed, Jul 14th, 2010 at 2:28 pm

My Maverick slept through the night the very first night we brought him home, and so did I. There has never been a moment quite as terrifying as when I opened to my eyes to daylight and went to go check on him.

He is still a GOOD, SOUND sleeper. Even if allowed to stay up for whatever reason– a party, the first week of summer vacay, Christmas Eve– 9:00 hits and he’s all, see you losers in the morning. I’m tired.


2 Esther Sat, Jul 17th, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Goodness, our first night together was spent nursing for a full 8 hours! And now it’s NO WONDER I produce far too much milk and have a giant baby!


3 Jen Wed, Jul 14th, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Any sleep is good sleep, right?
I’m guessing that many people don’t know when is normal for a critter to sleep through the night. I sure didn’t!


4 andrea Wed, Jul 14th, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Mine is 2.5 years old and still doesn’t ever sleep through the night. But at least no one asks me about it any more! ;)
And plus I LOVE hearing her little footsteps as she trots down the hallway to climb into bed with us in the early hours of the morning.
I like it that you’ve written about not-sleeping-through-the-night from this positive perspective.


5 Esther Sat, Jul 17th, 2010 at 1:31 pm

I would be sad if he didn’t cry to come to bed with us between 4 and 6 every morning. Night time seems to be adult time, but morning is all wonderful and smiling baby times!


6 jill Wed, Jul 14th, 2010 at 3:47 pm

i love reading about all your stuff with the baby. it’s such a good education for me. soon!!


7 Esther Sat, Jul 17th, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Maybe even NOW, huh? I’m thinking of you often!!!


8 CF Wed, Jul 14th, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Huh, I’ve known a lot of people with babies that slept through the night before 4 months, so it can’t be THAT uncommon.


9 Esther Sat, Jul 17th, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Nah, can’t be totally uncommon! I’ll believe ANYTHING when it comes to babies!


10 Esther Sat, Jul 17th, 2010 at 1:39 pm

ALSO, he logged his first full 8 hours of sleep the very night I wrote this entry. I again ended up hand pumping and dozing on the couch. Wish my boobs would stop waking me up.


11 marissa Wed, Jul 14th, 2010 at 9:06 pm

that was my least favorite question! really, what does anyone care if another person’s baby is sleeping through the night? mine didn’t sleep through until he was about two and then, a short while later, he had night terrors for a few months. at nearly five, he definitely sleeps through almost every night. yay!


12 Esther Sat, Jul 17th, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Sometimes I feel like having a newborn in the room is the same as having an elephant in the room. People feel like they can’t make conversation about anything else, so they skip to the required questions- sleep being at the top of the pile.

This is a funny phenomenon. I hear so many childless people say that all parents talk about is their babies. While there is certainly some truth to that, I’ve noticed that those same childless friends sometimes can’t think of anything to say when they are in the presence of a baby. They are either hypnotized or freaked out, I guess.


13 cat Mon, Jul 19th, 2010 at 12:39 pm

oh man, I hear you about the jaw! I’ve always been a tooth-grinder, but now in addition, my jaw is so sore from being clenched. I think part of it comes from trying to look down at my gorgeous baby while breastfeeding — I have to force myself to relax my jaw.

And same here about the boobs — the few times that my son has had an awesome night of sleep, mom has not been able to take advantage of it because her boobs aren’t on the same schedule.


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