Monday, March 30, 2009

No Finish Line

Parenthood is all very misleading.

What is pretty much the number one question you will be asked when you are with a newborn at the grocery store, a restaurant, your inlaws, or anywhere in public you might happen to be? Is the baby sleeping through the night yet?

When you are asked this question, your answer may vary depending on the day. You might have been up only once the night before or so many times that you lost count. You might not even have the strength to put a coherent string of words together, depending on how much (or little) sleep you got.

But the thing is, you have your bloodshot eye on the prize. You believe that if you can just get your little one to sleep through the night, you will have achieved The Full Night Of Sleep and you will get that from then on out. So, you do whatever you can to get this to happen. You blog. You read. You read some more. You ask parents of other babies (and then wish you hadn't, especially if their little one is already sleeping through). You google. You read some more. You blog some more, pleading for some secret trick that you might not yet have uncovered.

What is so very misleading is that getting your baby to sleep through the night is not a one shot deal. It's not like they magically sleep through one night and then every night that follows until they turn 18. No. Nope. Nada. Absolutely not. They might sleep through many nights, but then they will teethe, or get a cold, or the sky is blue, and bam! You are right back to those nights of multiple wakeups wondering what the heck is going on.

In case you hadn't figured it out yet, we are going through more sleep issues with Will. His napping during the day has remained relatively untouched (for which I am very grateful), but his nighttime sleep has become very unpredictable.

He goes to his bed every night around 8 PM, drowsy but awake, and usually settles for the night without so much as a whimper. Then, about an hour later, he is up for the first time, and every hour until about midnight, when he usually settles for about five hours until 5 AM, when nothing but a bit of milk will settle him back until 7 AM. He doesn't have a binky that needs replacing or a mobile that he can't turn on himself as a sleep association. We don't rock him to sleep. We have a great bedtime routine. He takes regular naps. All of the things that the books will tell you need to change if your baby isn't STTN. He was sleeping through the night just fine for about six weeks and now this.

Like I said, once you achieve the magic that is STTN, you think you've got it down. And then, buckle up, because you ain't seen nothing yet!


Fertilized said...

AMEN! Ride the Tide. Hoping for sleep for you all.

mummydr said...

When DS1 was born I really believed it was my fault he didn't sleep well, I read books I tried a million things. I looked at friends with babies who STTN (all girls btw) and knew I had to be doing something wrong. He finally STTN at 14 months for the first time. DS2 came along and STTN from 3 weeks. Some babies just sleep well and some don't.
Hope Will gets it soon. I understand how it feels

Road Blocks and Roller Coasters said...

Aaah, yes. This is the story of my life. Though I will say that we have NEVER had Lemy STTN EVER in her 8 months of life, but it is still a goal that we hope to achieve one day. Even if it does only last one night. ;)

Hoping Will gets back to sleep soon!

Amanda said...

The boys have STTN once or twice, but as a rule they wake up once between 3-4. Trip has added another wake up time (11-12) since we quit swaddling. I'm figuring that pretty soon they'll throw me for a big loop and quit sleeping all together.

I hope that Will returns to STTN soon!

Tracy said...

We are going through the same thing...and some nights it's Evan, other nights it's Rowan. I try not to think of the cumulative sleep loss, and just focus on the good nights. And there ARE good nights.

Hang in there.

Ashley said...

My guys have been doing the same thing, so we went to the doctor today and both had double ear infections. The doctor told me that sleepless nights are one of the biggest things to watch for. I know Will just had one, but is there any way that he could have another? I sure hope not for your sake! Hopefully you get some sleep soon!

Gibson Twins said...

Sleeping through the night....that was a big problem area for us (ours didn't sleep through the night til 19 months). By "through the night" I think our ped said about 6 hours. I couldn't function on 6 hours so I didn't count it as STTN until I actually FELT like it had been an adequate amount of sleep for ME lol. I can tell you confidently that it DOES get better. Mine are 2 1/2 and go to bed at 7pm and wake up at 7am. But for the longest time (read: every single night) they EACH got up 3-4 times per night for a bottle up til 19m. Around 8 months I started just warming bottles and taking them into the nursery so it wasn't quite as bad as having to actually do all the feedings since they would hold it themselves at that point.

Hang in there- I promise it will get better :)

Maria said...

This is the thing I fear most about parenthood. I need my 8 hours to function. But it's a price I'm willing to pay.

Jen said...

All the blog babies seem to have gotten together and decided to not sleep all at once.

Samantha said...

the best peice of advise i received and I am going to forward to you. If he is not sick or hungry then you need to check on him once or twice but from then on out get out of his way. He is waking out of habit not because he needs to. When you go check on him don't make eye contact because once he has your attention he will use it. I used this for my daughter and once her "habit" was broken, she was sleeping 12 hours through.