The Trouble with Sleep

Ah, sleep. You remember that, don’t you? It’s that 6 to 8 hour period of rest you used to get each day before you had babies. These days, it may feel more like a nightly crapshoot that leaves you groggy, irritable, emotional, and just plain exhausted. The irony is, after giving birth, your body needs time to rest and recuperate. But this is precisely the time when you aren’t going to get anywhere near enough sleep. Go figure.

When my first baby was born, I had no idea what I was in for. He didn’t want to sleep from day one. He wanted to eat and be held around the clock. This grew old fast. I was running on fumes most days and there were times that I would fall asleep while sitting with him in the rocking chair or while playing with him on the floor. I was sleep-deprived and miserable.

I researched all the information I could find on getting a baby to sleep and helping a baby sleep through the night. The problem is, there is a lot of advice out there. There are special CDs that promise to lull your baby right to sleep, there are countless books each with their own unique spin on baby sleep, and elaborate programs that each claim your baby will sleep through the night. Do these programs work? Sure–some programs will work for some babies. And then there are babies like mine.

Of course, part of the problem probably had to do with the fact that I never stuck with any one program! The poor baby didn’t get any nighttime consistency so why would I expect him to sleep well? In the end, I believe it was a combination of a consistent nighttime routine (bath, feeding, singing, rocking) and his age (about 8 months!) that finally allowed him to sleep through the night on a regular basis. Those were a rough few months in the interim, though.

God took pity on me the second time around. When my daughter was born just two years later, I was prepared for the worst. I anticipated months of sleepless nights and sheer exhaustion during the day. But by day three, she was sleeping through the night. It wasn’t anything I did or any program I followed. She was just a natural sleeper.

So the point is, if your baby isn’t sleeping through the night, it’s probably not anything you are or are not doing. Sure, are there are techniques that can help but don’t beat yourself up over it. If you want to try the advice of experts, go for it. But only use what feels right for your and your family. Most importantly, remember that you will eventually get a good night’s sleep again.

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