The Blessed Life

The Blessed Life

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The sleeping through the night myth

Let me start by saying that I hope I get tons of comments from moms disagreeing with me and telling me how wrong I am.  I hope many of you tell me this post is just plain nonsense and that the problem is me and my parenting strategies.  Because, well, if I am wrong, that means there is hope.  (The pictures of sleeping babies are to remind me that they do sleep some of the time.)
Daddy let Lawson wear himself out in the floor.  This NEVER happened with the girls.

When I had Isabelle I had already read Babywise cover to cover two times.  I was SOLD.  After all, who wouldn't want an eight week old baby who sleeps through the night for ten hours solid??  Seems like a no-brainer.  And since their formula said that is what I would have, I followed it to the letter.  And when my eight week old wasn't sleeping through the night I figured I just wasn't being tough enough, wasn't letting her cry enough.  And cry she did.  Just ask any one of my family members who may have visited at a nap time or a bed time.  That girl cried. it. out.  And for the record, she is fine today.  And eventually, many months and many long nights later, she slept through the night.  Well, kind of. 

Isabelle started getting in the swing and falling asleep when we brought Moll home from the hospital.
Molly was a totally different story.  That girl came home from the hospital sleeping through the night.  It was a chore to get her to wake up for feedings at night.  I had to beg the doctor to let me let her sleep through the night and stop waking her up for feedings.  Eventually she gained enough weight and we were good to go.  Babywise didn't enter the equation because she just slept.  She was a sleeping queen.  Well, kind of.
Moll in the early sleeping days.
Now comes Lawson and I am a much different parent and well, babywise seems so labor intensive.  So scheduled.  And well, I have two other kids and sometimes I don't quite remember to keep Lawson on schedule.  And I like nursing him to sleep and rocking him to sleep and I realize that before I know it he will be four and I will be wishing to rock and nurse him to sleep again.  And whether or not it is because he is a different baby or because I don't keep him on a strict schedule like I did with Isabelle or because I don't let him cry it out, or who knows what other reason, he isn't yet sleeping through the night.  My pediatrician says nursing babies often continue to wake up once a night to eat until they are weaned and that is what I keep telling myself, "he will sleep
when he is weaned."  Right?
Isabelle sleeping with her LaLa Loopsy doll.

You see, as parents we are sleep deprived.  And moms, well we are super sleep deprived.  And the idea of a baby sleeping through the night brings us a light at the end of a very sleepy tunnel.  But, it is a myth.  Kids, babies, toddlers don't sleep through the night consistently.  Really, it's true.  Just ask any parent. 

With Isabelle she finally started sleeping through the night and then we moved her to a big girl bed.  It was a transition and she started waking up at night.  Fixed that problem and then along came enlarged adenoids and sleep apnea and LOTS of night wakings.  Isabelle was waking up more as a three year old than she ever did as a newborn.  Fixed that problem and had a few months of peace and then we moved her and Molly into the same room.  Now, Molly wakes her up.  Back to her waking up at night.  Not always, but still, she does not sleep through the night without waking up consistently.  I would say at least once per week she comes into our room and we have to go put her back in bed.  She is four and she still doesn't always sleep through the night.
Kids love the car.

Molly, she did great until about 8 months, and then started waking once per night.  Fixed that problem with the Ferber method sometime around a year and then she did good again.  Until we moved her to a big girl bed and into the room with Belle.  Now, Molly also wakes up at night and comes in our room.  Both girls have figured out that crawling into Dad's side of the bed is their best bet because Dad doesn't always wake up.  Luckily mom usually does, so back to bed they go.  Molly is two and a half and still doesn't always sleep through the night.
Sleeping on the boat.  Just about the only place she slept at the Lake.
I already explained my Lawson dilemma.  I want to also point out that each time he gets close to a long stretch at night he gets sick, or day light savings occurs or there is a change in routine and there goes our progress.  So, at 10 months, Lawson does not sleep through the night.

Sleeping at the zoo.
See, it is a myth.  You can make progress and you can get closer but I am here to tell you that babies and toddlers do not consistently sleep through the night.  They don't.  So please, please, new parents, don't set yourself up for a big disappointment.  Sleep deprivation is part of the job and it doesn't go away at the eight week mark!  I am not saying you won't ever get a full 8 hours ever again, but I am saying that you will not enjoy a full nights sleep every night once your baby hits the two month milestone. 
 Now, if your kid is different please leave me a comment telling me what I am doing wrong!


  1. And Amen.

    Although the girls do sleep through the night fairly consistently since 1 year. I was VERY scheduled with them and I think that they learned to sleep through the others' disturbances has helped. However, I am ruining Jack. I nurse him to sleep and then 30 minutes later nurse him back to seep if he asks!! They're only little once, and really, except for the hours between 12:-4: am, I rarely feel as exhausted as I should feel!


    1. something about those boys........

  2. I think there is no way my boys would have slept through the night if not for my husband. Everything little change did cause problems to deal with also. Like moving them in the same room. We were really scheduled and it did seem to work really well but my oldest is a sleep lover and my husband worked nights with my youngest. He would get home when the baby was waking up and take care of baby and older brother while I finished sleeping (I actually slept too much a LOT!!!). I think even with the best schedule every child is going to react differently. My husband has always insisted on no nightlights in the boys room, I think that helps with the not getting up. There is nothing to see! Good luck!!! I am not a pretty person when I do not get a full nights sleep!!!

    1. thanks for the comment! i hope that this didn't come across as me being upset about my current situation. i just hate that i know so many new moms who are stressing over getting their little babies to sleep 10 hour nights! the fact is even if you do have great sleepers, there will be sicknesses, trips, changes in schedule, etc that can always throw a wrench in things. thinking that after eight weeks old you will never be up in the middle of the night again is laughable! we do have nightlights so maybe getting rid of them would help! they don't stay on all night, but maybe it contributes to them having trouble falling asleep!

  3. Kids have different needs for sleep. I remember telling my MIL that the (youngest at that time)would fall asleep if you just laid him in his crib. She didn't believe me until he did it at her house, consistently. The one thing that we finally figured out that helped us and them was to have them put a pallet on the floor with their pillow. They were comforted and we got more sleep. Everyone was happy, but now they are teens and they REALLY don't sleep through the night, just half the day, if I let them! :0) I would say that when they quit naps they slept better at night and went to bed earlier and slept find a pattern that works for your family and don't listen to all the experts. After all, the experts never raised your kids!

  4. My girls are sleepers {thankfully} and other than a few nights when we first bunked them together for the most part they sleep through the night. They are both sound sleepers, so if one is up calling for me, the other one sleeps right through it. Kind of grateful for that!!

  5. this made me laugh! i totally agree with you and i really like how you explained the whole thing. none (not a one of em) none of my kids slept through the night till almost a year. i just accepted it. there were definitely 4-5 hour blocks in there, but they were few and far between. and my youngest still wakes up. she's had ear infections, but the lack of sleep catches up fast!