“What’s her longest stretch of sleep?”
“A few hours, then she wakes up to nurse.”
“Well, at her weight, she’s perfectly capable of sleeping through the night.”
said with a concerned look
Now, I’m not knocking my pediatrician. She’s very nice and, even though she’s very by the book, she’s usually fine with me shaking my head no when she suggests things like rice cereal at four months….and again at six months.
I really don’t like the phrase “perfectly capable” especially when used for my daughter. To tell me my daughter is perfectly capable of doing something but she isn’t makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong as a parent. For a first-time mama, this feeling pretty much haunts you all the time. Hearing that phrase?
What I’ve learned so far in my brief nine months of being a mother and from other moms out there is that 1) every baby develops differently and 2) babies who sleep through the night on a consistent basis are a myth much like unicorns and pots of gold.
If yours does? Awesome. Amazing. I envy you deeply. But you are not the norm.
I think what bothered me the most about our pediatrician’s statement is that her reasoning was based on Olivia’s weight. I mean, I can understand weight being used as a marker for, say, how much Tylenol I can give her for her teething pain.
But, hi, have you [seen] my daughter?
In case you forgot:
My 9 month old baby weighs nearly 25 pounds.
Her cousin weighed just less than that at 12 months.
I know some 18 month olds that weigh barely 20 pounds.
See the discrepancy?
Yes, I’m sure at that weight any child is [perfectly capable] of sleeping through the night.
At nine months, babies are doing any one of the following:
Learning to Crawl/Stand/Cruise/Walk
Eating New Foods
Guess how many Olivia is doing? Go ahead. Guess.
If you guessed “all of the above,” you win a prize.
Recipe for Disaster doesn’t cover the half
The simple fact is, and this was reaffirmed last night by all of you wonderful moms out there in the world who have become my real and true friends, she’s a baby and she’s growing and learning.
among other things
She’s also still primarily breastfed and, just like when she was exclusively breastfed, breastmilk digests super fast. She wakes up hungry. She wakes up with sore gums. She wakes up cold/hot. She wakes up and she’s alone. She wakes up with a leg cramp or tummy troubles. She wakes up because her brain is figuring out her next word or how to take those first steps.
She wakes up.
And, yes, it’s exhausting. My lawd, it’s exhausting. I feel stretched and spread very thin because, sometimes, I’m the only one who can get her back down. I take a series of two hour naps through the night and that’s my life. I drink copious amounts of coffee. I cry out of frustration. A lot. I snap at Stephen. My brain doesn’t work half the time.
I tell you, if there was a safe, healthy way to get her to sleep through the night [naturally], I’d be all over it.
The point is, this is [normal]. And for anyone to insinuate that it isn’t is wrong. And I want other new parents out there to know this.
“Oh your baby isn’t sleeping through the night?”
“Nope. And that’s okay.”
It’s okay. It’s not ideal. But it’s okay.
Thank you to everyone who listened to me cry out my frustrations last night on Twitter. You guys are amazing with all your support and advice. After all of that, she slept five hours in a row. That’s longer than she’s slept in a while.
** Edited to Add **
If any pediatricians happen by this post, I’m not telling you how to do your job. I just wish, instead of arbitrarily following predetermined charts and graphs or seeing a weight on a page and making your decision based on those things, that you actually [talk to me] and find out what’s going on with my child first. Is she teething? Is she sick? How old is she? Any major milestones? Regression? There are [so many things] that contribute to interrupted sleep and to say “Oh she weighs X so therefore Y” isn’t helpful.