Sleeping through the night

In those early months, after answering the questions on age, weight and name, mums often get asked, “Is your baby sleeping well?”

Then, there’s the conversation with other mums comparing how many hours your baby is sleeping with theirs.

And, as a result, mums often start to feel that your baby should be sleeping through.  I know because I have been there and I have seen mums in tears because their baby is not ‘being good’ by doing what the other babies are doing – sleeping 7pm to 7am.

In the last week, Alex has just started to sleep between 11 and 13 hours a night.  He is 16 and a half months old.  That may seem very old to be sleeping through the night to some mums but I know of quite a number whose toddlers and older ones are not yet sleeping through the night, so I feel very blessed that I am getting unbroken sleep.

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What was my secret to getting Alex to stop waking up?  Sorry, but I don’t have one.  I honestly feel that there is no magic formula.  There are things that can encourage them – such as a regular bedtime, not letting them sleep after 3pm (if over 1 year), right room temperature etc. – but there is no trick that I can give you.  If there was, I would be sharing my expert knowledge.

There are many out there that do claim to have the secret and are selling books and courses to mums who are desperate for sleep.  I admit to have a couple upstairs and trying a few of their ideas with Nathaniel.  What I learned from the experiences of reading and trying different techniques was that both Nathaniel and I ended up in tears night after night as I tried to get a baby to sleep who wasn’t ready to sleep for that length of time.

With Alex, I decided that I wasn’t going to read any books and just go with the flow.  It has meant that he hasn’t slept through the night until 16 months but the nights have been far more bearable than with Nathaniel as I have given him what he wants and he has fallen asleep quicker, meaning better nights for us to both.  Rather than being up three times a night for an hour a time trying to get Nathaniel to self-settle, I have been up three times a night for ten minutes a time feeding Alex.

Alex has taken nearly 17 months to go through the night but I believe that he would have taken this long no matter what books I read or sleep training technique that I used.  The positive is that despite my sleep being broken, I haven’t spent one night stressing about Alex not sleeping through the night like other babies.  As a mum with teenagers, I know that they all sleep through eventually and then you have the new problem or not being able to wake them up!

My children have all slept through at different ages despite doing the same before bed and during the night:
Michael – 8 weeks, Natasha – 7 weeks, Kaiya – 4 months, Hannah – 7 months, Nathaniel – 14 months and Alex – 16 months

Why?  They are all different.  As adults, we all have different sleep patterns – some of us need 6 hours and some need 9 hours, some of us are night owls and others early birds.  If we are different, why is it so much of a surprise that babies are too.  Some will sleep for long stretches and others in short stretches.  Trying to force them to do what is not natural causes stress and tears for both mum and baby.

That said, I am obviously very happy to have had solid sleep for the last week.  Although, I am realistic enough to know that a cold or new tooth and sleep will be out of the window again.

I hope that instead of making other mums feel as if they are doing something wrong or that there baby isn’t ‘good’, that mums can support each other.  Being sleep deprived is hard enough as it is without feeling as though you should be doing something that you are not.  So if you know a mum who has a non-sleeping baby, don’t judge, advise or criticise.  Just be an ear or offer to help in a practical way.  And, if you are a mum of a baby who likes to be awake during the night, be gentle with yourself – you are doing a great job.

Stopping at two

 

The List

7 Comments on Sleeping through the night

  1. Sarah - let them be small
    February 2, 2015 at 10:12 pm (2 years ago)

    My son was sleeping for 10 hours plus from about 4-5 months. My daughter turns one in three weeks time and still wakes at least twice. I try to enjoy those midnight hours feeding her and resettling her as I know all too soon she will be sleeping through the night and not want that extra comfort from me xx
    #sundaystars
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  2. Karen
    February 2, 2015 at 9:00 pm (2 years ago)

    I love the sentiment of the post – all kids are different and we should stop trying to compare them and just be supportive of each other. My 18 month old frequently sleeps through, but my 3 and a half year old tends to wake at least once! We’ll get there in the end – and I am quite used to sleep deprivation now!
    Thanks for linking up with #SundayStars
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  3. ERFmama
    February 1, 2015 at 1:51 pm (2 years ago)

    Good post! 🙂

    I bedshare and breast feed so I hardly wake through the night if my babies wake up, I sort of just snooze off again once they are latched on. 🙂 It helps conserve energy quite well. I also think it’s quite upsetting all this focus on sleep, and calling a natural development a “problem” really pees me off! hehe.
    All children are different. All 3 of mine have been different. My youngest is 2 years and he now does sleep through, but some times wakes in the early grey lights , then it’s good to have a mummy cuddle and some milk and we both fall back asleep.
    I think that if we all trusted our motherly instincts a little bit more, we wouldn’t need all these books. 🙂

    #sundaystars
    ERFmama recently posted…Sometimes the unavoidable happensMy Profile

  4. The DADventurer (Dave)
    February 1, 2015 at 1:08 pm (2 years ago)

    6 kids, wow, we’re struggling with 1 haha. Ours is 6 months and most people ask if she’s sleeping through the night – to which we glare at them and hiss “no, not yet, she wakes every 2 hours” 🙂
    The DADventurer (Dave) recently posted…Drinking The Wife’s Breast MilkMy Profile

  5. Rachel @ Parenthood Highs and Lows
    February 1, 2015 at 12:43 pm (2 years ago)

    A fab post – I love the way people think sleeping is a competitive sport, as if their child is more ‘advanced’ if they sleep through earlier. I have a 3 year old who slept through from 6 months, a 2 year old who still wakes at least once, and has never slept through, and a 9 week old who is on the brink of sleeping through, Night feeds don’t bother me – it’s just extra cuddle time!
    Rachel @ Parenthood Highs and Lows recently posted…Project 365: Week 5My Profile

  6. Caro | The Twinkles Momma
    February 1, 2015 at 10:54 am (2 years ago)

    It’s funny isn’t it how people become so competitive with how quickly their babies talk/walk/sleep through the night?! Given the fact everyone’s different — and develops at different rates — I think it’s so crazy to compare. But still, people do.

    As we had twins, I didn’t let anyone else’s experiences affect me and figured that things would just happen at their own pace.

    Luckily, we had the boys in such a great routine and they both slept from midnight to 7am at 9 weeks old. I was so grateful to be getting a full 7 hours and carried on waking them for a feed at 10.30pm until they were 7 months old. The first time I dropped that feed I couldn’t believe that they managed to sleep all the way through from 7pm til 7am!! I thought it was a fluke! But at 22 months, they’re still fantastic sleepers. They sleep in the same room and rarely wake each other – even if one twin is ill. We are so lucky.

    As a consequence, my friends are always asking for advice but really, like you, I can’t give any! Granted, their routine and my no-nonsense attitude towards bedtime really helped matters but ultimately we are just blessed with two boys that love their sleep! #sundaystars
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  7. You Baby Me Mummy
    January 14, 2015 at 9:23 pm (2 years ago)

    I am in total awe of your ability to cope with 6 kids! One stretches me sometimes! Baby is 21 months old and doesn’t sleep through the time every night. Wish she did! Thanks for linking up to #TheList (It would be great if you could add our badge to your post) x
    You Baby Me Mummy recently posted…Getting Back To Me – Finding My HappyMy Profile

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