Last night was rough. You slept at 9.15pm, woke up at 10pm for a dream feed, continued sleeping until 1am for another feed, then were restless from 2am until 4am. Me? I tried to switch you from your crib to the swing but no matter how much you tried to sleep, you were still restless.
The room was not hot, nor was it too cold. I changed your diaper. I nursed you. Rocked you. Yet you just couldn’t sleep.
Perhaps you’re teething. Or your little but very powerful brain is putting together the sequence to learn how to sit up, to crawl. Or maybe it’s the solid food digesting in your tummy. Or maybe it’s a growth spurt. Or maybe you woke up too early in the morning. Or too late. Or you’re overtired. Or you slept too early.
If I ask anyone, they’d all give me different opinions and advice. But the truth is, nobody knows why babies have good and bad nights, and my philosophy is just to be there. Just take it at a stride, and be there.
Only there has been one change recently: we moved you to your crib, and you never protested.
Sometimes you need the swing. Most nights you can sleep in your crib. But I no longer co-sleep with you in our bed, and it’s both a sad and happy feeling. The underlying feeling, however, is gratitude. You’re such a happy, easy baby, no matter how long you keep me awake at nights at times. Since you were born, you never got days and nights confused. I know you, too, want to sleep – only you can’t, and as your ummi I am there to accompany you, with a very, very strong cup of coffee when morning arrives.
I don’t believe in sleep training. CIO, whatever. Babies are born helpless and in need of carers 24/7. Being forced to sleep is unnatural for a baby. I know you wake up every 2-3 hours to nurse, and I believe you do it because you need it. So I shall give.
Because, really. I don’t have long with you, my baby. I have only one or two baby years with you when you’re this small and I can cuddle you this closely. Pretty soon you’ll grow. You’ll sleep through the night. You’ll be independent so quickly that it’d make my heart ache because ultimately, it is me who depends on you.
I depend on you to lighten my mood with your smile. I depend on you to make me feel comfortable whenever I’m at a place where I know nobody. I depend on you to talk to strangers, because they come to me to tell me how cute you are, so we exchange smiles and short chats. I depend on you to teach me to be more patient, productive, hardworking, loving.
When you’re older, much older, I can share these war stories with you, especially when you’ll also have kids of your own who wake you at night.
For now, I’ll share this with other sleep deprived moms. We’ll laugh and share our sleepiness and watch our babies grow. And I await that day when I’d marvel because you finally slept through the night – and then, I know I’d miss these night feedings, too. And I’ll watch you sleep in your crib, and get up every night whenever you cry to nurse rather than continue co-sleeping with you. Because I think it’s time, and you took the transition so well. But it’s not time for us to stop night feeds yet.
Not at all. And when you’re ready to stop night feeds, I’ll be there, too.