October 1, 2010 3:59 pm


To co-workers discussing their lack of sleep re: their babies’ once-a-night wakeups: HA. AHA. AHAHAHAHAHA.

At six months old, Wesley still does not sleep through the night. This is not abnormal; babies are not really wired to sleep through the night for a long time. However, at six months old, he probably does not need to eat every two hours, all night long. (Right?)

Which brings me to this: I have broken down and purchased sleep books. Not cry-it-out books, as I am uncomfortable with the idea (to put it mildly), but books designed to help you foster healthy sleep habits in your child. Even so, I feel like a total sellout.

Like, is it REALLY that inconvenient? Am I expecting too much from him? Am I actually that tired?

At roughly 12 weeks, we would put him down for the night around 7ish and he would sleep about four hours (sometimes it was two, and ONCE he slept for seven hours) and then would wake up every three or three and a half hours for the rest of the night. This meant feeding at 7pm, 12am, 3am, and 6am. Great!

At 6 months, we put him down around 7 or 7:30 and he wakes to eat at 9pm, 11pm, 1:30am, 3:30am, and 5:45am. This is… not so great, especially since eating at 5:45am means he will be hungry while we are on the bus to daycare and OMG DISASTER. He usually wakes up for the day around 7am.

So. The books.

Why does this make me feel so gross? Is it because I get incredibly irritated at people who post “HELP my 9-week-old is not sleeping through the night” on baby forums and by buying these books I feel like I am turning into them?

Dear readers [with babies], when did your baby start sleeping in longer stretches? Am I a sellout for getting sleep books?

Edited to add: Thank you! After reading your comments, I think I feel weird partly because I don’t actually care if he sleeps through the night or not – I would just prefer less night wakings, like maybe going from six to two or three. So ordering the books (the two you guys mentioned!) feels like I’m saying “I don’t want to parent my baby at night” when it really means “I just want to help him sleep for a bit longer at a time.”

(Also, I am one of those people that can continue to function reasonably normally on less sleep, and Wesley sleeps with us, so I don’t really have to wake up all the way to feed him – I often fall asleep before he’s done eating. So even with six night wakings, I don’t lose THAT much sleep. But it is very disruptive and I feel like he is capable of sleeping for longer, hence the books. I feel less bad about resorting to them now.)

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  • BreAnna says:

    No baby, but this is the book one of the families I work for used- http://www.amazon.com/No-Cry-Sleep-Solution-Gentle-Through/dp/0071381392 I can imagine it was on your book list though so forgive if this is an unhelpful comment. ;) Getting her in a consistent routine really helped them get her to sleep longer between feedings (and eventually through the night).
    I hope W gets with the program! I understand your feelings of “gross” but you are such a good, thoughtful mama, and you need energy to continue to be so awesome at everything you do.

  • Caity says:

    I’m sorry that your sleep is so interrupted. I wish that I could offer you advice but I haven’t been through it yet. I remember stories of my parents taking me for rides in the car to put me to sleep then leaving me in the carseat just to get some peace.

    I hope things start to help. If the books work, then why not? Nothing wrong with asking for help now and then, I always say.

  • Cristina says:

    I think this is one of the big things that scare me about becoming a mom. I am one cranky b**** when I do not get my sleep, so I’m concerned as to how I’d be with a baby. I don’t see any harm in looking at these books, especially it seems you are not the only one with this problem. Keep us posted on how this goes. :)

  • Ali says:

    Unfortunately no miracle advice here, but just wanted to say I feel your pain – my 5 month old wakes on average of 6 times a night.

    Have read a couple of no cry books which were lovely about making me feel better that it will pass and I’m doing the right thing for my babe, but I didn’t find anything there that I wasn’t already doing. (Except for the Pantley Pull Off, around here that results in one very pissed off baby!)

    I especially loved Pinky McKay, Sleeping Like A Baby, it made me feel so much better about doing what worked for us, rather than what I thought I “should” be doing.

    Currently I’m reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child which is very firmly in the cry it out camp, but I’m finding it really useful. There is a lot of information on how sleep develops (and references to real honest to goodness studies!!) I’m only 150 pages in (very lengthy and slightly repetitive book) so I reserve the right to change my mind later.

    I’ve kind of come to terms with the fact that until my baby figures it out we’ll just have to muddle through in a fog. I try not to scoff too much when my friends complain about their baby who woke up twice last night – to them, that’s twice too many times ;)

  • Melissa says:

    I honestly can’t even remember when my son started to sleep through the night – it was that long ago. Probably sometime around 3 months or so. I can’t really relate that to Wesley, though, because I wasn’t breastfeeding at the time. We usually had to wake Andrew up for a feeding around midnight, then he’d be all set.

    I’ve always said that the one GREAT thing about my son is that he sleeps like a champ (at night, at least). We’d put him down around 7 and he’d be out until 9, sometimes 10 the following day. As he gets older, though, he’s been wanting to stay up later and get up earlier. It’s still not bad, though. If I’m tired, it’s definitely my fault, not his.

    I’m glad sleeping at night was one battle we never had to wage. Taking naps during the day, however, is a completely different story! I can’t get the kid to nap for the life of me! That’s probably part of the reason why he’ll sleep so well at night, though – he’s just so exhausted by the time it’s bedtime that he can’t do anything BUT pass out!

    I wish I had some advice for you! You’re not a sellout for buying books, though. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do!

  • Jem says:

    Everyone talks about the 4 and 9 month sleep regression but I swear there’s a 6 month one that loads of people talk about but nobody has connected the dots with HELLO – another sleep regression.

    I know that physical and mental developmental leaps make sleep more disturbed (Wesley has not long learnt to sit, right?) plus teething (which Wesley is also going through) so it’s no wonder he’s up loads. I remember it was that age Izz did her first spending-all-night-attached session and I ‘woke’ (waking suggests sleeping but I don’t think there was much of that going on) and shortly after several teeth came through at once. I don’t know if you know this already, but breast milk contains naturally occurring painkillers, which is one of the reasons why teething babies feed so much more (as well as counter pressure on the gums).

    Anyway, I don’t think you’re gross/a sell out for buying books. I think that whether or not you buy the books Wesley’s sleep WILL improve of its own accord (lol, eventually..) and that there are people who sell their “wonder” techniques which are total bollocks (IMO) that you have to be careful about but you have to find a solution that works for you and there are definitely successful techniques out there. I have the luxury of being able to sit on my arse at home after a crap nights sleep whereas you’re obviously back at work; nonetheless, the most important thing for my sanity was getting to bed before 9pm.

    I’ll let you know when Izz starts sleeping through ;)