Infant Sleep: What I Wish More People Told Me

Infant Sleep

We live in a sleep OBSESSED country. Seriously, how many of you get asked REGULARLY about your baby’s sleep? Does she sleep well? How often does he wake? Where is she sleeping? Is he napping on schedule? And my personal favorite, is she sleeping through the night? WTF does that even mean – sleeping through the night? I’ll tell you what it actually means. And more. Here’s what I wish more people had told me about infant sleep.

5 hours is “sleeping through the night.” That’s right, 5. So, if your babe is like Baby Bear and falls asleep at 7pm, then “sleeping through the night” means he sleeps until midnight without waking. Yep, midnight.

Every baby is different. Every. Single. One. Including your first and your third. That says to me that Baby Bear’s sleep habits have way more to do with her internal clock than my parenting. And that the “expert” books are a bit of a crapshoot. They may work for your babe and not your neighbor’s babe. Or, they may work for your first babe and not your second. This also means we need to QUIT COMPARING our babies. Your baby – my baby – is her own person, with her own sleep habits.

– Sleep patterns change. And then change again. And change again. Babies go through A LOT of growth and development. And every little thing seems to impact their sleep. Growth spurts, teething, learning how to wave… The list could last forever. So don’t get too settled. Not only is your baby not like every other baby, he is not like the baby he was yesterday. Again, QUIT COMPARING.

– It gets better. Or you get more used to it. Either way, it gets better. This one I don’t didn’t listen to. Every hour of sleep I “lost” led to thinking I would never sleep again. You will sleep. Somehow. Just know that sleep/rest might look different than it used to.

– Enjoy 2 a.m. When Baby Bear was a newborn, I wanted to punch every person who told me to “enjoy it.” Seriously?! Enjoy being sleep deprived, uncomfortable, and rocking a baby for the thousandth time? But it turns out those people were right. You can’t get the cuddles back. And chances are, you’re not going to change the fact that baby is asking for them at 2 a.m. So yes, enjoy it. Use it as an opportunity to savor a moment between the two of you where the rest of the world goes away. And, be realistic. Not every wake-up will be “enjoyable.” Forgive yourself for resenting 2 a.m. and move on.

What information/advice have you found helpful in coping with your baby’s sleep?

Great information about “normal” infant sleep:

Baby Sleep Training: Mistakes “Experts” and Parents Make

Timeline of Baby and Toddler Sleep

Normal Infant Sleep: Part I, Part II, & Part III

And, because even though all of you are enjoying those night wakings, we all need some sleep now and then, here are some gentle sleep resources.


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