This post has a stupid title because babies don’t sleep. Actually, babies sleep a lot, just not usually during nighttime hours.
Scratch that. Babies sometimes sleep during nighttime hours. But only for a few minutes (hours?) at a time. Or when they are attached to a nipple or laying across your chest or with a couple of tiny little fingers wrapped around your hand that if you move. even. a. little. bit. THEY WAKE UP REALLY MAD.
Scratch that. Some babies sleep just not mine. Or my baby sleeps but just not like other babies? Wait what was I talking about again? I can’t remember because I haven’t slept in a year, or a month, or maybe just one night but it feels like a year. I don’t know. Where am I?
That’s what it feels like to be on baby sleep time.
It’s sort of amazing that I’m even alive. I mean you see all this research when you’re awake at 3am surfing babycenter.com about how humans can actually DIE from sleep deprivation. (A tip for babycenter.com editors: this is NOT helpful information for new parents!) But somehow I’m still alive, despite sleeping in very short increments for like, I dunno 11 months now.
That’s actually an exaggeration because Mia sometimes sleeps for like 8 or 10 hours at a time. Sometimes for a couple weeks in a row. But every time I get all excited that she is finally “sleeping through the night” she says fuck you and wakes up at 3am. And 5am. And other am’s that are too horrific to mention. And this girl can seriously WAKE UP. I’m not talking about a little whining. I’m talking about full blown, wake the neighbors, ear piercing shrieking for hours (that is NOT an exaggeration BTW, I have OCD and I time her for my cry it out sleeping training records) at a time.
People are always asking new parents if their baby sleeps through the night. Now when people ask me that I ask them which night they’re referring to.
Because really, what is sleeping through the night anyway? I once saw a post on Facebook from a mom that said her daughter ALWAYS sleeps through the night she just gets up two or three times to nurse.
Umm…ok? Way to be glass half full I guess.
But anyway I feel like it’s a mommy blogger “coming of age” thing to write about baby sleep. And I would know because I read like 5000 blog posts about how everyone else’s baby wasn’t sleeping and now they are if you just do these 3 things…
The problem is, those 3 things are all different and they contradict each other and are impossible to do. Like always co-sleep with your baby but never in the same bed but always in the same room but not in a big room or a small one…..you get the point. This blogger really nailed it when she wrote this post.
So when I set out to write a post about baby sleep I knew that a. not many people will read it anyway and b. the few people that do are not interested in any miracle sleep tricks (which is a good thing since I haven’t discovered any yet). But I wrote this post anyway because in my 11 months of not sleeping I have figured out one thing that actually seems to help with the sleep deprivation.
No, not coffee – although I wouldn’t advise against it. Same goes for a margarita or even a shot of whiskey.
What I’ve figured out is that the key to surviving sleep deprivation is to give up.
That’s it. Just give up.
Stop trying to make them sleep through the night. Stop trying to figure out when they’re going to sleep through the night. Stop trying to define what it actually means to sleep through the night.
Seriously, just stop. If they start crying and you don’t feel like getting up, let them cry it out. If you feel like nursing or giving them a bottle, than do that. If you feel like rocking them back to sleep, or getting in the crib with them, or sleeping in the basement so you can’t hear the crying – then do that. I put my 11 month old baby in a swing sometimes still. (A baby sleep expert somewhere just fainted I think).
Dan and I have tried every sleep strategy on the internet – cry it out, rock it out, drink it down – wait, no that was something different. Point is – we’ve done it all and the result is the same. Sometimes she sleeps and sometimes she doesn’t. Our friend’s baby always sleeps and has never woken up during the night since 9 weeks old. They didn’t do anything differently than us except get so. goddamn. lucky.
I’m not advocating for doing anything irresponsible, I’m simply suggesting that you ignore the “rules” and do whatever it takes to get through it. You may or may not get more sleep, but at least you won’t be suffering from sleep deprivation AND guilt that you are somehow ruining your child’s life by not teaching them how to sleep properly.
I know a lot of sleep experts will debunk me on this. But whatever – I already gave up on you people. I’m going to take a page out of one of my (childless) cousins’ books and set ridiculously low expectations so that I will either be right, or happily surprised.
At this point I don’t expect that Mia will ever sleep through the night. Not by 12 months, not by 24 months…hell, maybe not even when she’s 18 years old (but at least then she will be moving out, so I won’t have to worry about it). I just take it as it comes and move on.
Come to think of it, that’s not a bad strategy for parenting in general. And by the way, is sarcasm a side effect of sleep deprivation?