10.17.2013

sleep


Cheech slept through the entire night last night for the first time in a good 2-3 months. And she woke up in the most splendid mood, to boot. I've been fighting a head cold and allergies for the past couple days, so I like to think that she subconsciously knew that I needed rest. 

Sleep is hard. It's much, much harder than they lead you to believe. When she was an infant, with the exception of sleep training, Joe and I tried every trick in the book to get her sleeping at least a solid 8 hours. Maybe she was cold? We'd try layering her pajamas. Maybe she was hungry? We'd feed her right before going to bed ourselves. Maybe all those other people who didn't know our baby were right, and she really did need to be sleeping on her own in a crib? Two weeks of her waking hourly in her crib, and I realized that all those other people didn't know their heads from their assholes. No one knows your baby the way you know your baby (my mom told me that shortly after Cheech was born, and it's the best parenting advice I've received to date). If any of those minor adjustments did work, they only lasted a night or two at the very most. Sleeping through the night, the entire night, didn't happen for us until she hit 11 months. Knowing what I know now, I can't help but look back at all of my frustrations over sleep and realize what a doofus I was. 

Kids learn to sleep. Eventually, they all learn to sleep. But the thing is, just like crawling, walking, talking, etc., they do it on their own time. And sometimes they're really great at it, but sometimes they regress. Cheech didn't take her first unassisted steps until she was 15 months old, which made her a bit of a late walker. Although she's now had over a year of practice and it's safe to say she's basically mastered the skill, she still stumbles, misses a step, or plain trips over her own feet on a daily basis. Yet, unlike with sleep, I don't find myself asking, "Why can't she just walk perfectly all the time?". You see what I'm saying here? Sleep is hard. If it wasn't, there wouldn't be countless books, websites, forums, and sleep specialists dedicated to children and their inconsistent sleep patterns. There are no answers, and the only solution is time.

The reason I decided to write this somewhat boring post is because I know that quite a few of you just had babies, or are on the verge of having babies. I'm probably the worst person to come to for parenting tips (I mean, I let my kid watch TV... which is apparently horrible), but trust me on this one, guys. Your baby will, one day, sleep. Just be patient, and ignore all those bags of tricks that so many people seem to have. I wish somebody had told me that. And if they did, I wish I would have believed them. 

12 comments:

  1. i feel the need to comment simply because i was in your boat and i don't hear of many people who had kids with sleeping troubles (liars). my almost 3-year-old didn't sleep through the night until he was 2. there were a few weeks here and there, even maybe a month-long stretch, but honestly, i don't remember shit because i was so tired. but i do recall being so frustrated by people giving me advice - "that's so weird/have you tried xyz?/it worked for us/johnny loves sleep!" That added unnecessary stress and taught me that huge lesson that you brought up - every kid is different. It's that simple.
    Hoping you get many more restful nights.
    Oh, I let my kid watch tv, too.

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  2. yes! sleep is hard. adeline is not a great at it and never was. lately there has been a lot of night terrors followed by vomiting and nose bleeds. and she is also obsessed with pingu and pororo and has been very keen on how to turn the tv on. she hasn't figured out the ps3 controller yet to scroll through netflix. haha

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  3. Ha ha. Love this post. It's the one thing that I wish they had talked more about in our prenatal classes because I literally pulled my hair out trying to figure out the sleep thing and it really was as simple as you say. Your baby will sleep through the night when they are ready and this usually does not coincide with when, we, the parents are ready. My 3 year old sleeps now and when I look back, I wish I hadn't had so much anxiety about it. You live and you learn.

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  4. My first baby didn't walk until she was 13 months, didn't sleep through the night until she was 3 but she could carry on an intelligent conversation by the time she was 18 months. My second was running at 10 months, slept through the night at 6 weeks but didn't speak much at all until he was 3. It's a crap shoot. You get what you get.

    They're 25 and 23 now. She still talks a lot and sleeps horribly. He is still a man of very few words and sleeps like a rock. Go figure.

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  5. Thanks for being a mama mentor, C.

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  6. Ok, I officially love you x100000.

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  7. yeah. my advice is these days: some kids sleep well (or so i hear), others don't. you either have to sleep train, or ride it out. they will sleep. one day. (i assume.)

    xx

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  8. Thank you for this. My two year old was up until 1am last night. A portion was spent watching Martha Stewart re-runs - her current t.v. preference - so that her dad and I could eat our dinner. Honestly, recalling your IG photos of Cheech up past "bedtime" a while back made me feel better about not giving too many fucks, and to relax and acknowledge this as a phase. 1am is pretty nutso, however.

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  9. Sweet beautiful sleep, how I love thee. W&P were up 1-5 times a night every night for 5 weeks after we took the sides off their cots. After 18 months of them sleeping through the night I nearly lost it altogether. Then we bought them this and ISWEARTOGOD, they haven't made a noise in the night since. http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Gro-Company-HJ008-Gro-Clock/dp/B002APJCNE I love that clock almost as much as I love sleep.

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  10. god I hate to be that person, but our guy goes a good 12 hours every night and has been since 7 weeks.... BUT we're lucky to get a nap now and then so day to day productivity is definitely affected. We did NOT sleep train or let him "cry it out". Grass is greener, and all that. I think your advice is good for every single state of parenting though, and each kid will learn things in their own time - there aren't many 30 year olds who never learned to walk, talk, or sleep a good stretch.

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  11. Thanks for the reminder. I spent SO much of my big girl's babyhood fretting about why she was so shit at sleep. Now she is three and she mostly sleeps beautifully, in her own bed. Now her 11 month old brother spends most of the night snuggled in between his dad and me in our bed. And I bloody love it and give not one shit whether I am failing him as a parent by not teaching him to sleep alone or not. I will miss this phase when it ends, and I know it will end. You don't need to know all this waffle, but thanks.

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