Are there naturally 'good' and 'bad' sleepers?
I laughed when people asked me if my son was a “sleeper” or not. What an utterly ridiculous notion right? Some babies are sleepers and some babies are not. I didn’t buy it at all.
When my son was born I didn’t even think about routine but when he hit about six months I started developing a nice relaxing bed-time routine - bath, baby massage, PJs, stories, lullabies, dim lights and a musical mobile. I was never expecting him to “sleep through the night” because I was breastfeeding and he was still waking for a couple of night feeds which were no big deal. I also think there is a total unhealthy obsession associated with babies sleeping through the night when they are not robots. I just wanted to gently introduce him to the idea of “bed time”. I hoped that eventually it would lead to him sleeping for a couple of hours in a row and then eventually as close to “through the night” as possible when he entered toddlerhood.
We loved our little routine and we knew that it could only get better. He had started waking for less and less feeds, seemed happy when we transitioned him into his cot, and we were starting to get our evenings back. I loved having those couple of hours to tidy up and eventually plonk myself in front of the telly with a cup of tea. There is something lovely about being able to re-charge your batteries in the evenings.
I’ve come to learn that babies have a funny habit of making you think that a routine or habit is set in stone and then in the next breath it has completely changed. This was one of those times. The dreaded teething started and it made me question every other time that I claimed he was teething. This was a whole other ball game. He was waking ten times a night - roaring crying and in agony. It was absolutely heartbreaking. We were like zombies for that period of time. I was consuming far too much coffee and I was slurring my words with tiredness. Drunk with fatigue.
And then a tooth broke through, and another one, and another one. It seemed like a decent night of sleep had to be on the horizon. We got back into our little night-time routine, encouraged naps at all the recommended times, had him asleep and cosy at a good time, and he had one really great night. He only woke twice which for our little man is amazing. Myself and his father woke up the next day feeling energised and more awake than we had felt in months. We both had a feeling of optimism that this could be the turning point for better sleep for all three of us.
Then came the next night. No pain. No tears. No temperature. Just a sudden desire to wake Mammy and Daddy up for some playtime. At thirteen months now he still wakes several times each night. Sometimes it’s for a cuddle, sometimes it’s a feed and other times it’s to have a play.
So this sleeping business? Turns out you really can do all the right things, follow the recommendations, and still end up with the same result. I laughed back then, but now I’m coming to realise that maybe there is some truth to it after all. Maybe he’s just not a sleeper.
But it’s grand, sure he’ll sleep when he’s a teenager.