Getting Charlie to “sleep through the night” has never really been one of my biggest priorities. When I was pregnant, I thought a lot about what it would be like to have a baby and be a new mother. I had very realistic views on sleep. I knew I wouldn’t be getting much. I knew I was going to be tired. And as for sleeping through the night? I never expected that he would do it in the first month, or even the second, or third. I had accepted that babies need to eat and wake frequently, and that it is totally unrealistic to expect them to do otherwise. I just figured that he will do it when he’s ready. And really, what’s one year in the grand scheme of things? Nothing I thought, as I read parenting books, browsed forums and turned my nose up at the so-called “Ferber Method”
What I didn’t know, or knew but didn’t realise, was how absolutely tiring it is. Because initially, it wasn’t so bad. In the first month, I think I was running on adrenaline. Though I was tired, waking every 2-3 to feed was okay. I coped. Month 2 was okay also. Motherhood had sunk in and I was even starting to get my energy back after a hard birth. Month three came and went and despite hearing that babies should start sleeping through, we noticed that Charlie had actually regressed…maybe he was teething?
Month four brought us a hungry baby ready for solids. The reason why he’d been so unsettled. Sending him off with to bed with a full belly got us a five hour block from 12am – 5am. Bliss. Month five and six passed, as he reached many milestones, sleep wasn’t exactly on his agenda. But it didn’t matter so much as we were so excited to watch skills emerge and develop. But now here we are at month seven, and all these wakeful nights have taken it’s toll. We are exhausted.
And it’s not normal tired, either. We’ve completely run out of steam, each day feels like we’re climbing Everest. Okay…. maybe I’m being a tad over-dramatic but my point remains the same. It doesn’t help that we’re constantly hearing stories about wonder babies who’ve been sleeping through since they were 7 weeks old or whatever, and even more exasperating is the fact that a lot of babies his age are beginning to do it, when we’re not even close. Charlie wakes a minimum of two times for a feed and change, and countless others for reasons unknown. I am lucky that I have the manly one, who often springs out of bed and tells me to go back to sleep. He truly is wonderful. I don’t think I’d cope otherwise.
But despite all this, my views on baby sleep remains unchanged. We’ve been teaching him to self settle, but I don’t expect him to sleep through for another few months, at least. I don’t see the point in spending hours trying to get him to sleep in his cot either (sometimes he does though, and that’s great)
Instead, despite being very tired, I’m trying to cherish these moments.He won’t be little like this forever. One day (and I’m already preparing for this) he’ll outgrow us and become a moody teenager who can’t think of anything worse than spending a day with his lame parents. There’s plenty of time for discipline later down the track, but they’re only small for such a short amount of time, and I’m really trying to make the most of his babyhood. And in the morning, after a hard night where I swear and wonder why I wanted this, I wake up and feel my babe sleeping under my arm, snoring slightly beside me, I realise I wouldn’t change this for the world.