Our Sentiments

Mothering and Life in General

Sleeping Through The Night

I think about my family’s sleeping habits often. More so, once K2 was born. In the past I never thought sleeping would be an issue that I would be introduced with. While pregnant, I was worried about my body rejecting another baby and SIDS.

Once K2 arrived and came home, I was questioned about her sleep. That puzzled me, because I knew, as I would assume every other knowledgeable person does, that when a baby comes you don’t get much sleep. I always thought that, that was the downside when  signing up for parenting.

If it was not breastfeeding advice, it was sleep training advice. It really made me feel like I really should not have this perfect child in my care. I felt dumb and small for feeling something different. I questioned more of my upbringing.

You see, I have wonderful memories of bedtime growing up. I had the choice to sleep in my parents bed, and anytime I needed them they were always a touch away. When I grew older, I was the one that came to my parents and asked for my own room, then they where only a voice away.

I remember at nighttime, my parents taking turns opening up the door, coming into my room, putting the blanket back in place and kissing my forehead. I sensed their pause at the door before they left and closed the door.

If there was a time where I woke in the night, I never felt the vibe that my being awake was a burden to them. I never felt like I had to shut away my fears and go back to sleep, because that was what was expected of me. I remember this clearly, even though I am 30.

I want this for my daughter, because it’s meant so much to me growing up. My parents were not perfect, and this is the one thing that, in my heart, I know my parents did right. This is just one out of the few experiences that I would like to pass down.

Since having K2, I read Mommy Wars and different views on how an infant should sleep. I was even told that the way I do things can stunt her independence and personal growth.

I co-sleep and have the luxury to work at home. So most times, I don’t need to stress about K2’s waking during the night because I have to be up in a few hours. I also breastfeed and intend to continue until she has no need of nursing. There are times because of discussions of my lack of mothering experience and what my beliefs are, that I feel like I may be doing some harm.

Then I think…

I don’t sleep through the night. I wake up in the night to adjust my pillow, go to the bathroom, find the stolen blanket and rip it off DH. I find a warm or cooler spot in the bed, I move K2 over sometimes. Sometimes I even get thirsty or get lonely and feel the need to touch my husband or our daughter. Call it weird but, I also check to see if everyone is still breathing at night.

So since I don’t sleep through the night, then why should it be expected for K2?

What would happen if I was a child, like K2, who could not do things or some things for myself, and I woke up cold and could not find my blanket, or found my diaper too wet, or my throat dry. What if I needed to know that someone I loved is around yet no one would come or no one was there?

My belief and thinking is that, for my family, it’s normal to wake in the night, and it’s ok to have needs during that time. Since I am not the other person, how do I really know if there is pain, thirst, hunger or even if there is loneliness? I am not my daughter and I can not mind-read, but I can and will go too her at any age, even if I feel I need more sleep.

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2 responses to “Sleeping Through The Night

  1. baj4life June 3, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    I feel the same way you do. I don’t think that babies must sleep through the night but I understand why parents want their babies to sleep for longer stretches. Although I’ve been amazed at the number of people who are curious about my son’s nighttime sleep duration. I think the reason that I’m not bothered by my son not sleeping through the night is because we co-sleep and breastfeed. This makes it easier for both of us to go back to sleep fairly quickly. Am I worried about this making him too dependent on me? No. 1) He’s a baby so he’s supposed to be dependent on me and 2) If he knows that his needs will be met then he doesn’t need to be insecure as he begins to explore his independence.

    • Our Sentiments June 4, 2010 at 12:56 am

      Yes I too understand why parents want their babies to sleep through the night. Yes, it would be great to be able to sleep the way we did before pregnancy. It just does not happen often enough to make it a non-issue. With us breastfeeding and co-sleeping, it does take less time to drift back to sleep, which might be another reason night waking is not minded in our situations. I, like you, is still confused on why my child’s sleeping habits are so interesting to others? Is the fact of my child night waking an impact on my mothering abilities? This question is so confusing, that I find even myself asking it, then stop to apologize to the person. To me asking how a child is sleeping is like asking how often DH and I have sex.

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