It’s a six word question I have come to dread these past few months. I get asked this question often, sometimes by complete strangers. Then, depending on which answer I give, I am judged. What are these terrible six words, you ask?
Is she sleeping through the night?
Even writing it now fills my body with anxiety. The subject of sleep has become a touchy subject in my household lately.
It seems like my husband and I are constantly discussing, analyzing, and arguing over L’s sleep habits. So why would I want to discuss my daughter’s night sleeping with a perfect stranger, and furthermore, why is it such a popular question?
People inquire about sleeping through the night because it has come to be some sort of marker of a “good” baby- if she sleeps through the night.
If you think I’m wrong, just look at the person’s face when I respond that no, my baby still wakes up two or three times per night to eat. They look at me with pity. That poor mother. She must be spoiling her baby and teaching her bad sleeping habits if she still nurses that much every night.
But for now, the schedule we have at night is working for us. The key words in that sentence are “for us.”
Sure, if I had to get up and work a 9-5 job every day I might be less inclined to still nurse L during the night. Thankfully, I only do part-time work from home, so I don’t mind the sleepless nights as much.
That being said, there are still aspects of her sleeping that I am trying to improve upon. Like the fact that she needs a pacifier to fall asleep and if she wakes up without it, we have to go running in the room to replace it.
We are currently on Day 5 of “training” L to not need her binky to fall asleep- a personalized training plan that I purchased, mind you, for $75 (or $25 as I told my husband) from The Baby Sleep Site.
Even before L was born, I devoured entire books devoted to sleeping, convinced that the key to a happy baby was a well-structured sleep schedule.
My favorite one was Marc Weissbluth’s Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. I was prepared to follow every tidbit of Weissbluth’s advice, until L suddenly turned into a short napper at the age of 4 months.
Nothing in his book helped. Trying to put her on a three-nap-a-day schedule made it worse. She wanted four or five short naps per day or she was a hot little mess.
So why are we so obsessed with baby’s sleep? And I’m guilty of it, too- I definitely ask friends how their babies are sleeping. Because I do think it’s really important, but I guess I just feel it should stop being yet one more way to judge a mom. There’s enough of that already!