As soon as you have your baby, it seems that everyone and their mother asks how your precious bundle of joy sleeps. I can’t even count how many times people ask me how Mirella sleeps… is she a good sleeper, when does she go down for the night and how does she nap throughout the day. It’s funny how sleep becomes the number one topic when you have a child, but it certainly is a crucial one, especially when you don’t get enough of it.
I have always been a big sleeper, needing at least 8 hours of sleep to function normally, until I had kids (now I’m happy when I get 6 hours, ha!). When I had Keenan, I thought I would never get through those first few weeks and that I would be a zombie forever, but I was comforted to know that pretty much every new mom feels that way! After those first few honeymoon weeks after I had Keenan, I knew I needed to figure out something in order to help expedite him sleeping through the night (if there was such a way). After talking to my sister-in-law, she recommended establishing a routine and sticking with it throughout the day to help Keenan distinguish his days from his nights and ultimately sleep longer at night. At first I thought, “Why would I do this?” I didn’t want to conform to a certain schedule and not be able to do anything or go anywhere, but a routine allows your child to know what to expect, as one thing follows another. Things don’t happen at the same time everyday, but they do happen in the same order. After implementing a routine, Keenan started sleeping 6 hours consistently at six weeks of age, and 8 or more hours at 4 months old. I want to think his “sleeping through the night” had to do with the routine, but he also could have done that on his own.
Fast-forward 3-plus years: Wow, things really change! With Mirella, I have started the same routine, repeating it throughout the day (within reason). It’s a little harder with two kids in tow, but it’s generally the same as what I did when Keenan was a baby. Mirella is 8 weeks old, now, and sleeps 4-5 hours at night, and then another 2-3 hours. I guess that isn’t bad, but I thought she would be giving us more sleep, like her brother. I know, I shouldn’t compare them, since every child is different, but it’s hard when you want to get more sleep! In the grand scheme of things, I know this is only for a short period of time and I’m trying to enjoy every middle-of-the-night nursing and cuddling, as it will go by sooner than I think.
Keenan’s old pediatrician told us to close every book, turn every clock to face the wall, stop taking other peoples’ advice, and just listen to your baby. You know what is best for your baby and just enjoy this precious time. His words have resonated within me since he said that when Keenan was a month old, and I hear them even more now. Every baby is indeed different and what worked for one child doesn’t always work for the other. My assumption of following the same routine with Mirella to help her sleep through the night like her brother was wrong. She will eventually get there on her own terms and I need to let it go. I need to listen to her and follow her lead without comparing her to other babies (and how they are sleeping), especially to her brother. Like the old saying, sometimes the best laid plans don’t always work, and that is certainly the case with us!
Do you find yourself comparing your child’s progress and development to other children?
When did your child/children sleep through the night?
How many hours of sleep do you need to function normally? If you have kids, did it change?