When Your Baby Doesn’t Sleep Through the Night

When Your Baby Doesn't Sleep Through the NightDark circles. Endless cups of coffee. Short-tempered moments with a toddler. Sound familiar to anyone else but me? This is how I am when my son Levi sleeps poorly. Lack of sleep creeps up and affects my day, caffeine intake, and the way I interact with his sister. Levi is 13 months old, and he still doesn’t sleep all night long. Some nights, he is up once. Some nights, he is up every hour or two. How do we as moms handle life when our older babies sleep like newborns?

  1. Know You’re Not Alone. When I decided to do this blog, I was amazed by the number of moms who also are in this same boat. What? You are, too? It’s not unusual for an older baby to still wake at night. Babies wake for several differentreasons. Hunger, wet diapers, loneliness, fear, boredom, who knows! Just remember that when you are up, there is another mom somewhere up too. Yes, moms, I’m right there with you.
  2. Ignore the Critics. Every time we go to a check-up at our local pediatrician, I feel scolded because my son still wakes. I am told to let him cry. Well, moms, I do let him cry. I don’t let him cry for longs period of time, but I do not jump out of bed when I hear a whimper or fussy sound from his room. Everyone has their own opinions. Every baby is different. Your decisions are yours, but you don’t have to night wean your baby if you don’t want to.
  3. Do What You Feel is Right. Levi is still nursing. Some days, he could nurse all day long. I’m sure he just wants the comfort, but some nights, I just feel like it’s okay for him to nurse. Sure, he’s not hungry, but I’m there for him. I am the only one who can truly comfort him in that way in the wee hours of the night.
  4. Stay Hopeful. I am struggling with this currently. In reality, yes, your child will sleep through the night, eventually. I wish I could tell you when, and I wish I knew when I would be able to sleep all night, as well. However, we are moms. We are on the clock 24 hours a day, and that doesn’t stop when babies go to bed. My 3-year-old hardly ever wakes up in the night. Someday, Levi won’t either.
  5. Remember There Is a Reason. I refuse to believe that my baby waking is somehow my fault. Teething has been a big culprit for Levi’s sleep issues. Babies also wake when they don’t feel well. A fever or runny nose can keep any adult up, so of course, it will keep up a baby. Don’t ignore your baby. He or she needs you now, and they won’t need you forever.

I read this quote from a mom on Kellymom.com, and it so resonated with me. Maybe it will with you, too. “Both of my children nursed once (occasionally more) at night through their second year. Since this doesn’t bother me, I did doing nothing to change it. We co-sleep, and neither my baby nor I generally wake up completely when she nurses. Both started sleeping through the night on their own, when they were ready.”

Remember, babies don’t keep. Nap while you can and drink some coffee. Babies love their mommies, and some day this will all be a memory. Goodnight!

Karyn Meyerhoff lives, writes, and nurses in the night in Northeast Indiana. She frequently goes to Starbucks and has an afternoon cup of coffee. Don’t judge.

Tags: baby, cosleeping, night waking, sleep, toddler

One Response to “When Your Baby Doesn’t Sleep Through the Night”

  1. kerisha says:

    wow ,Ezra is 16 months and does not sleep through, he still wakes to nurse twice a night, I am o.k with this because he is the last baby of 6 and I am so much more patient at 38 than I was at 25,plus I had a long time between this baby and the last one (8) to not take things for granted and savor the moments . I have also resolved to let him do his thing he will sleep right through when he is ready,thanks for writing this I really thought I was at fault in some way,because his siblings all slept through the night by the time they were 6 months old.