Anna has always been a decent sleeper. Not like some babies I read about on babycenter who started sleeping through the night since they were 2 weeks old, but pretty good overall. She started distinguishing between day and night since she was around 6 weeks old and since then we have thankfully not spent any completely sleepless night. From that time till she was around 5-6 months old she used to go down at around 10. Wake for a feed at 2:30-3 and then for another one around 6. She would get up for the day at round about 8 o’ clock. I still sometimes remember those days wistfully. Then slowly her sleeping pattern changed and she started going to sleep earlier. Seems good but with that some other things changed too.
As of now they are only 2 issues with her sleeping pattern. She naps well in the day so that is not a problem. The thing is that she gets up for a feed atleast 3 times every night. She doesn’t feed much but she does get up. And the other thing is that she gets up for the day very early – around 5:15 am. This is a recent development. Till a couple of weeks ago she would get up at around 6. She doesn’t cry and seems happy to play but still at that time all I want to do is bury my head in my pillow and sleep.
I really don’t think I’ll be doing anything about it. I am very happy with her going-to-bed time so am ignoring advice to put her to sleep later to make her get up later. Actually going to bed later only makes it worse. She’s cranky the whole evening and STILL gets up at night and is up for the day at the same time. Plus what is it with kids going to sleep so late? A lot of people I know complain all the time that their kids don’t sleep before 11. I don’t know why their kids do so and I don’t know if the credit for Anna’s bedtime goes to me but I am very thankful that she’s asleep by 8. It’s the only time of the day I can really put my feet up and relax. We can have a proper dinner together without jumping up to pull the baby out of whatever she is getting into or holding onto a wriggly baby with one hand and trying to eat with the other.
At the time I can think of only 2 options going forward. The first is to go for some type of sleep training. Either CIO or non-CIO. I don’t think CIO would ever work for us. I don’t want to go into the whole debate of cruel to the baby vs teaching the baby independence but I know I just can’t let Anna cry without going to comfort her for even a minute let alone the kind of time which is required for this method to work. Plus most of these methods assume baby is sleeping in a crib whereas Anna sleeps with us on our bed. We don’t have a crib and don’t plan to buy one. We live in a normal sized 3 bedroom apartment with normal adult sized beds in all three. Once Anna is old enough and ready we’ll shift her to the bed in her room. But I don’t see that happening for a few years.
But overall my main problem with these methods is that they are methods. How can a method be applied to a baby? I mean babies are supposed to be willful and clingy and comfort seeking. It just seems so natural to let things go the way they are which is what option 2 is. I don’t think my mom ever sleep trained either me or my brother and we both turned out fine. I never have any problem in sleeping. Infact I only have a problem if I’m not allowed to sleep for whatever reason. Sure it is a pain to have to get up and nurse her at night. To sleep clinging onto the edge because she’s always pushing me. To live with a constant back-ache because I have to sleep in a certain awkward way all night. And I do cherish my half an hour of spread-out-on-the-bed sleep when R takes her out in the morning. But I don’t ever for even a second think of changing things. It would be great if Anna starts sleeping through the night. If she gets up a little later in the morning. And I know she will do it. When she is ready.
It’s so easy to forget that the little baby you’re trying to train is just that – a baby. She WILL sleep through the night. Just maybe not now or not for the next few months. But someday she will. And till then I want to give her as much comfort as she needs. Because 2 years later all this will be a distant dream and I know I will never regret having put in this little effort.
I know it’s easy for me to not consider sleep training because Anna is already a pretty good sleeper. If she wasn’t, if she refused to sleep or only wanted to sleep while being held, or if I was getting much less sleep than I am now then who knows – maybe I would be driven to it. I know it’s worked for a lot of moms and I know that they have done what they thought best for their babies and their families. In other circumstances it might have been the only option for me too. So I’m just thankful that I have never been sleep deprived enough to have to come off this high-horse and actually do the opposite of what I preach. For this, my gorgeous little night-time-feeding, crack-of-dawn-rising baby, I will always be grateful to you.