Posts Tagged ‘infant sleep’

Will I Ever Sleep Again?

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

 

After the arrival of your new baby and a few sleepless weeks, do you wonder if you would ever get a full night’s sleep again? I know I do. Adjusting to an infant’s sleep patterns is challenging because they are vastly different than an adult’s sleep cycles. Functioning on lack of sleep is no doubt very difficult! I have lots of compassion and empathy for sleepy moms! In fact, I’m one of them. 🙂 However I do believe there is a light at the end of this tunnel and sleep will be restored in our lives someday. I remind myself that overall this is a relatively short period of time in our baby’s life where the need a lot from us during the night.

 

Nighttime Parenting
As you explore literature on infant sleep you might see the term Nighttime Parenting which refers to how we parent at night. When I first heard the term it kind of confused me. Why the need to distinguish nights from days in terms of parenting? Doesn’t the role of a parent automatically include addressing baby’s night time needs? Is it possible to hang up your parenting hat at night or does parenting exceed the boundaries of time? After doing some reading and some thought on the topic I felt being equally available to baby during the day or night was important to establishing a sense of security for them. I wanted them to know their needs were important to me and that my love was available to them all times of day. Additionally I believe crying serves an important communicative function day or night. In other words if my baby is crying, my baby is expressing a need. By responding to that need I am fostering communication skills and trust, which are the foundations of healthy relationships.

Listen to your heart
There is a lot of parenting advice floating around in regards to infant sleep. There are various sleep training methods that promote ways to get your baby to sleep through the night. Some may have suggestions that feel uncomfortable or upsetting to you. If so, listen to your heart! It speaks from a wise and intuitive place.

Don’t Compare Your Baby to Others
I remember going to a mom’s group when my first son was about 6 months old. Many of the moms were discussing how early their babies slept through the night…some as young as 8 weeks old. At 6 months old my son was still waking up several times throughout the night to nurse. After hearing the moms talk I wondered if I was doing something wrong. Also I was a little jealous of all the sleep they seem to be getting. After thinking about it for a few days, I reminded myself why I wanted my son to have access to breastmilk at night. I realized it was important not to be pressured into thinking he needed to be doing what other babies were doing; rather trust we were doing what felt right for our family. I found that connecting with like-minded families was helpful. It felt safe to openly share with them that my son still nursed at night and I found comfort in knowing that many of their babies did too.

So to answer the original question of Will I ever sleep again? The answer is YES! You will! I don’t know exactly when, but it will happen and it will feel amazing! In the meantime nap when your baby naps (forget the housework!) and utilize your support system to help you get through the days that follow those sleepless nights.

What are your thoughts on nighttime parenting? Any moms of older children who can attest to eventually getting a good night’s sleep?

Sleepy moms need good nutrition for energy throughout the day. Check out tomorrow’s post for a fun, healthy nutrition activity you can do with your child.

-Sarah