“Is Your Baby A Good Sleeper?”

Posted on Jul 3 2013 - 2:13pm by megganmamma
is your baby a good sleeper

I can’t tell you how often I’ve been asked this question in the last 14 months.  There’ve even been times when meeting another mum for the first time she’s skipped the ‘hi, what’s your name and how old’s your baby” stuff and gone straight for the big question.  What everyone’s really asking is, “Does your little darling sleep through the night?”  

Joshi’s almost 15 months and ever since he was born he’s woken several times through the night, usually three or four, sometimes more, sometimes less.  When he’s unwell or is teething it’s a whole lot more.  I think our record’s around 20 times.  Anyway, I’ve never felt that Joshi’s waking through the night is a problem I have to do absolutely everything in my capacity to change.  Of course it would be nice to have an undisturbed night of sleep.  No parent wants to be sleep deprived and we all function a whole lot better when we’re not, but that’s what babies do!  They wake through the night!
According to Dr. William Sears , American pediatrician and author or co-author of more than 30 parenting books, every hour babies cycle through a state in which they’re likely to wake if there’s any arousal stimulus (teething pain, a loud of noise, hunger, separation anxiety, etc).  He also says “babies sleep the way they do – or don’t – because they are designed that way for both developmental and survival benefits.” Of course this changes over time and eventually they enter into ‘sleep maturity’ as their cycles naturally change, but when this happens can vary a lot from child to child.   What this means though, is that if you have a baby who doesn’t sleep through the night then you have a normal, regular, healthy baby (unless they have another medical condition that’s causing or exacerbating it). 
Also, just because your baby sleeps right through the night doesn’t mean they’re a good sleeper, especially if it’s a result of the ‘cry it out’ approach.  Sears has a lot of wise stuff to say about the ‘cry it out’ approach and I love the sensitivity he brings to the table.  “When your baby cries, put yourself behind the eyes of your baby and imagine, ‘if I were a baby, how would I want my mother or father to react at 3am?’  You’ll always get it right.”

Anyway, I’m interested to hear from all you mammas out there who don’t practice “cry it out” …  When did your baby or toddler first sleep right through the night? Do you think it was directly related to anything you did and how long was it before it was a regular thing?  

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4 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Shenaaz Chenia July 4, 2013 at 7:30 am -

    Meg’s our little Ayyan is 2 1/2 and now only wakes up once a night, which is bliss. As parents we’ve learnt to adapt to his wake up calls and no doubt as the calls get less frequent it is a relief, particularly when you have to be at work early the next day. However, we were never in favor of the “cry out” method and we accepted his frequent interruptions at night as part of who he is. I have no regrets and must admit that when the now one call a night ends- I may even miss it;)

  2. megganmamma July 4, 2013 at 8:41 pm -

    That must be so hard, being a working mum and having to ride through those nights. What would you do when he woke Shen?

  3. Stephanie November 28, 2013 at 5:19 pm -

    Hi Meggan,
    Just found your blog through a comment on evolutionaryparenting.com and so have just read this post 🙂
    Ugh I hate the “Does he sleep all night?” particularly from my father in law! I always say, very brightly, “no, but that’s what babies are like, they are meant to wake up”. Liam is 13 months and has also always woken AT LEAST 2-3 hourly since day dot. He also only just started having naps in the last month or so that last longer than 40 minutes at a time. So I feel your “pain” (if you like, I actually choose not to think negatively about it). I wonder if Joshi is sleeping better now that he is a few months older? At 6 months I started a schedule from The Dream Baby Guide, without the cry it out she suggests. I used gentle techniques to wean off feeding to sleep (we were attending a wedding when Liam was almost 7 months and wanted it to be easy for my mum to put him to sleep). Anyways, long story short by 10 months he was sleeping 630 to 2am then awake again at 5am then 7ish. At 10 months he got hand foot and mouth disease and it all went out the window. Now he goes to sleep by 715 (nursed or rocked), wakes again by 930 then I don’t keep count after that as I’ve usually pulled him into bed with us so I can sleep better.
    Anyways, it is always so nice to hear that others just get on with it and deal with the same situations without resorting to harsh methods just because they want their 8 hour uninterrupted sleep (gee wouldn’t that be bliss!). Oh or so they have time to do their hair :/ (absolute pet hate).
    Keep up the good work!

    • megganmamma November 29, 2013 at 1:06 pm -

      Hi Stephanie! Thanks for your comment. Joshi is definitely sleeping much better now. He’s 19 months old. He has quite a long initial sleep at night now, usually between 3 and 6 hours, which I think is great. He tends to wake more regularly closer to getting up time to cluster feed. I feel good about the fact that this progression towards longer sleeps has happened naturally. And I don’t feel sleep-deprived anymore. What’s also helped heaps though, is that I no longer need to EC him at all at night because since 14 months he started holding through the night. That makes night time wakes heaps easier and far less disruptive. Sounds like you’re doing a great job. All the best!