Saturday, January 21, 2012

STTN: The Loaded Question

"How is your little one sleeping?"

Is it just me, or when this question is asked amongst new moms it's almost like a test.  Sleeping through the night (STTN).  It's like the ultimate trophy for new moms.  If you've got it, you must be some kind of awesome (in other words, some kind of heartless woman who can let their baby cry it out -- aka I'm jealous of you now).  If you don't, you must be exhausted, you poor thing!

I avoid asking the question because I am afraid of my tendency to spew advice before it is asked for.  I'm in an awkward place where I don't have credentials or experience -- let alone a perfectly sleeping baby --  to give me any right to go telling other moms what they could be doing better.  I just have a passion, an awesome book, some reading I've done on the Internet, and a bunch of experiments I've run on my own kid.

Anyway, that's my disclaimer, and this is just my opinion.  I think it's awesome if your baby sleeps through the night.  I wouldn't mind it if Declan decided to start doing it tonight.  He used to for 11 blessed weeks.  I took them for granted... but that's beside the point.  I was very thankful to learn from Weissbluth that it's perfectly healthy and normal for babies 6 weeks - 9 months to have 1 or 2 night feedings.  What a load off!  That made me kinda realize that there is a lot of pressure from the American culture to get your baby sleeping through the night as soon as possible.  It's a big challenge.  Sure, I'd prefer that he slept 10-12 hours straight instead of waking up about 7hrs in to eat, but knowing that he's not "behind" really makes it not so bad.  At least for me.

Hoping it takes the pressure off of you.  If your baby is waking once or twice to eat and going right back to sleep, you've got it good.  Realize that the pressure you might feel is coming from our demanding, competitive culture, don't let it bother you if your baby isn't sleeping through the night.  Just my two cents (c:

When Declan was about 9 months and 1 week old, I used extinction to eliminate the night feeding.  It took about 4 nights of consistently not going to him, or having Ryan go in to check on him if he was really worked up), and he then started sleeping 11-13 hours straight through pretty consistently.  Every so often he'll fuss in the night - sometimes all-out cry.  This is usually because he is overtired from a couple of non-routine days.  Other times I have no idea why he does it.  Usually if I wait 10 minutes before going to him, he goes back to sleep for the rest of the night.

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