Friday, February 15, 2013

Sleeping Through the Night

I'm about to share something that makes me feel totally anxious and conflicted.

My nine month old still doesn't sleep through the night. She's slept continuously between 10pm and 5am a total of twice. Ever.

I was lying in our guest bed nursing her and snuggling a couple of nights ago when I realized I don't really want her to sleep through the night. Not like I'm making an active effort to keep her from sleeping through the night or I'll cry my eyes out when she does, but I haven't made it my mission like everyone in the entire world seems to think it should be.

I like cuddling with her,
just the two of us,
while the rest of the world 
is asleep. 

It's nice. It's this perfect, warm, relaxing time we get to spend together when nothing else is going on besides us being together. If she didn't get up in the middle of the night the only time we would get to nurse is before bed and first thing in the morning when I'm thinking about all the things I need to do to get ready for work and out the door.

Okay, so there's that. There is my fondness for the time we get to spend together and the bond I have with my middle of the night nursing infant. Then, there is the message I get from the world that if my child isn't sleeping through the night at this point I am doing something wrong and my goal in life should be to correct my behavior so I can fix the problem.

The message is clear

If your infant sleeps through the night, 
you are a good parent and 
you are doing everything right
If your infant doesn't by 
almost nine months of age,
you have failed in some way and 
not only are you not as good a parent as you should be 
you are creating a situation which will have horrible consequences 
if you do not change your bad parenting ways.

So there's that too.

And then there is the feeling of jealousy when my sister tells me her 4 1/2 month old slept for 10 hours last night. I'm not sure if it's real jealousy from the exhausted part of me or jealousy that she's going to be perceived as a vastly superior parent or my own internalization of this message and wish that I was a "good parent."

I have no idea, but I know thinking about it makes me feel emotionally exhausted, much more than I'm physically exhausted from having slept through the night three times in the last nine months (Norie stayed with Grandma once).

So yeah, sleeping through the night. What's that like?


  1. I think you are a great matter how many nights Norie sleeps through...and btw my 4 1/2 month old is up anwhere from 0 - 10 times per night, so my parenting "must" be all over the board! :)

  2. I just found your blog and love your interesting posts. I was in the same boat as you with my little one. We breastfed and co-slept for 18 months. So would often start off the night in her bed, and end up in ours, nursing, after a few hours. She would wake up to nurse often, sometimes ever hour. And at the time, I told myself it was ok, I was willing to sacrifice sleep for the great relationship. After we weaned fully at 18 months, I had a hard time keeping up with her night time routine. She would want to be rocked to sleep, which would sometimes take hours. And then every time she woke up it would take me a long time to get her back to sleep, and often times I would give up and let her sleep with me. I wouldn't have a problem with that, except neither of us slept well together anymore. She would wiggle and kick off the blankets every 20 mintues, I would worry about her getting cold and if she was going to roll off the bed. Eventually I decided it was time for her to sleep in her own bed. But I had no idea how. I searched for toddler sleeping tips, since my "baby" was now 20 months. And I hated the mean tips of "just let them cry." I finally found a site called Baby Sleep Site. It gave positive ways to help direct your child to peaceful sleep, without emotionally scarring them or you. The site had 5-6 FREE ebooks that I read. My daughter also took terrible naps. Only one 30 min nap a day. I could tell she was exhausted, but couldn't get peaceful sleep. I applied some of the changes the e books talked about, and she has started to sleep better! And so have I, which is why I can finally work on some projects (like the 72in table that you modified from Ana Whites plans!!). The BEST thing I read on her website was that the nighttime routine YOU have is GREAT. Until you decide it's not working. If you are comfortable with your routine, don't let anyone else tell you it's wrong. But, when you are ready for a change, whether that is at 12 months, 18 months, or 20 months....her e books helped me a lot!! Good luck! Can't wait to look at some of your other posts!!

    1. Thanks, Juli! Welcome to my blog. :) We're actually doing pretty well at this point. I think what I really need more than anything is 11 hours of continuous white noise. With it Norie generally goes back to sleep with minimal effort except once a night to nurse. Even that seems to be tapering off somewhat (sort of). I used advice from Elizabeth Plantley's No-Cry Sleep Solution and found them to be super helpful. Her site has suggestions for toddlers and preschoolers ( There is a book too.



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