The Sleep Thing



The first question I get these days from well-meaning acquaintances to strangers at the grocery store is “Are you sleeping? Is he sleeping? How is everyone sleeping?”

On one hand I can’t complain. He goes to bed without too much fuss around 7PM. He might wake up around 8 or 9PM and need to be quickly soothed back to sleep. From there he’ll wake up around 1AM, 3AM, and 5AM – we all get up for good at 6AM. On a good night (and there has only been one good night) he’ll wake up just twice to eat. And usually he falls right back into a peaceful slumber while I convince myself to not think about work and go back to sleep.

On a not-so-good night, like last night, he’ll wake up every hour hungry or with soaked jammies. So, on the other hand … I’m really tired, y’all. Each individual night is easy enough to handle – even the not-so-easy nights. It’s just 15 weeks of fragmented sleep that is making me tired on a very deep level that could probably qualify any new mom legally insane. With no end in sight.

I’ve weighed my options and there’s really not much of a solution other than going about my day – a day that is now twice as long as it used to be. So, even though on this particular morning I feel as if I might die from Tired, I have to have faith that our babies wouldn’t intentionally try and kill us, as a species, by not letting us sleep ever again.

So how am I sleeping? How is he sleeping? How are we all sleeping? Like babies, apparently.

  1. Renee

    We are about to welcome baby #2 in a few days and I’m in total denial of the sleep thing ha! You will no doubt get much advice (cry it out, etc.) but I have so much respect for your tone – which feels to me like you are embracing the tough parts of parenthood as much as the more joyful parts. Lack of sleep is a bitch, but there is some sort of family bonding that occurs in those wee hours, I think. Remind me I said that bullshit in about a week 🙂 Good nighttime vibes going out to you three.

    • Honestly, I can’t complain. I know one day I will cherish these moments – or at least fondly wear these nights like a badge of honor. I’m truly grateful to be Fox’s mom and would stay up all night for the rest of my life with him. BUT… I also wouldn’t mind a little bit of sleep. Even just a few three hour stretches would be lovely. 😉

      Thank you for that article! It’s helpful and answers a lot of questions I’ve been having. It seems as if Fox is pretty predictable when it comes to typical sleep patterns for babies.

  2. Katie F.

    I like your attitude here. Our 1 year old has always been a decent sleeper, but has been struggling a bit lately (like 3/4 times up in night rather than 1 or 2). Yep, you just keep moving on and eventually it’ll end. Right, folks? All y’all with older kids don’t look like zombies. So it must end. Right, folks? Hang in there and keep doing that good mama work!

  3. Celeste

    Ahhhh, sleepless nights. I do not miss those and it is one of the things I am not looking forward to with Butterbean. But, I do remember some nights more fondly than others, not sure why. But there is something magical about nursing your baby in the quiet of the night with the moon illuminating the warm love that nestles in your arms with absolute and perfect trust. Those are the moments that I feel more bonded than ever with my children and keeps me moving forward.

    And, yes, these sleepless nights will eventually end. My ten-year-old is a testimony to me that this part of life is short-lived in the long scheme of things.

    • nicole

      I love this – it’s totally how I felt/feel. I don’t really remember what it’s like not to be tired but I hope I do remember these fleeting days when it was just she and me in the middle of the night. I know I will miss them when they are over.

  4. Julie

    What a great perspective you have. And I echo the thoughts that there is something special about the wee hours of the night. I especially loved doing a dream feed with my babes. Softly creeping into their room, cradling them, and feeding them while they slept was such a peaceful moment. Plus it got me a few extra hours of sleep because their bellies were full!

    • I love dream feeding him before I go to bed. I think the hardest time is between 3:30AM and 6AM because he gets so restless and I begin anticipating a sleepy day.

  5. Olivia

    Those 3-6 AM hours are killer. I agree!

  6. Beth

    At @12/14 weeks I used a sleep sack for the first time and from then until about 9/10 months, the girl slept from 7-7 on a regular basis. Bliss. Then the first sleep regression happened, followed in short order by teething ,walking and talking. I miss those blissful sleep months.

  7. Kristy

    The time between 3 am and 5:30 am is the worst! We are doing some sleep training with our daughter and she goes to bed in her own bed now, but if I have to get up after 3 am I just bring her back to bed with me so I know I will get a few more hours of rest before the day starts. It is difficult, but you sound like you are handling it well. If I had one piece of advice, I would look into some wool inserts for overnight. They are super absorbent. I have a friend that knits them for her daughter. We took the easy route and just switched to disposables over night. 🙂 Best of luck on a good nights sleep soon!

  8. Jen

    You are both scaring the crap out of me (due to have my first one today, but clearly she’s got other ideas) and making me feel like I can do it. I really appreciate your honesty.

    • It’s going to be great. I promise.

  9. Katie F.

    Saw the post about wool inserts and ditto that. Not sure what kind of diapers you have, but even if you don’t think being wet is the main thing/at all waking up Fox, doubling up inserts or using wool could help at least save you laundry/changing time. I just use our old small inserts wedged under her current larges and it works great. Very few overnight/nap leaks anymore. You sure have a cutie little guy on your hands there!

  10. My kid was a good sleeper while a baby. Not great, somewhat like Fox. But I didn’t work at all for the first year, so whenever she took a nap during the day, so did I.
    It passes by quickly. It’s incredibly tiring, but really goes by fast. 🙂

  11. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and it comes with time. Just feel safe in the knowledge that it’s only a matter of time until he starts sleeping through the night. Ours finally did at 5 months – but, of course, all babies are different.

    We’re about to have our second in a couple of weeks and sleep deprivation is one of the things I’m dreading the most. Especially when I probably won’t be able to do the whole ‘nap while he naps’ thing. The trials and tribulations of having two under two, I guess!

    Maria xx

  12. Julie

    As a co-worker once told me “ride the wave,” and i thought of that phrase a lot with our first child. I remember feeling a little crazy at 3 am, but usually once the sun was up i was like “ok, i can do this!” With our 2nd child i was sooo much more at-ease with the lack of sleep. I mean, it still wasn’t fun, but because i had been through it before, i knew she would eventually fall into her own rhythm.

  13. nicole

    Yes — my daugter woke up every 2-3 hours until about 6 months (gaaah), then she had a really amazing glorious month of sleeping through the night, and now it’s back to 1-2x again. She’s a hungry girl and I just go with it, although I totally hear you on the fragmented sleep thing. It’s rough. The good news is that she is super efficient when she eats now, so I’m ‘only’ up for 10 mins or less, but the trouble is that sometimes I am then totally awake at 1a and start thinking about stuff and I can’t go back to sleep … Good luck. It will get better eventually, I have to believe … 🙂

  14. Misty

    I think it is great how everyone is so positive. However I do think moms have to be careful and aware. My daughter didn’t sleep more than a three hour stretch until after she was 22 months old. That’s almost two years! I developed such bad adrenal fatigue with almost nonexistent cortisol levels from not sleeping. My anxiety went through the roof, my hormones were (are) very messed up because my adrenals were stealing progesterone to try to create energy for me. The exhaustion is very real and can affect your whole body if it last long enough 🙁 BUT it sounds like Fox is doing just perfect for his age right now!! 🙂

  15. Oh sweet mama. Sound exactly like the first 5 and a half months of my son’s life. Finally we got to a point as a family where we were all suffering for the lack of sleep. Our health, our marriage. All of it.

    I was anti-“cry it out” for a long time. But as we approached hitting rock bottom as a family, I realized Mason had no idea how to put himself to sleep – and really, that is a LIFE skill. We decided to try out the “SleepEasy Sleep Solution” and it was a game changer. Like hardcode, change-my-life, holy shit my kid CAN sleep, game changer. And it only took 3 nights before my sweet as pie but up all night baby was falling asleep at 7pm, soothing himself to sleep during middle of the night wake-ups, and waking for the day at 6.30 or 7. And, we weaned night feedings within 5 days.

    Highly recommend it Kathleen. You all need sleep to thrive. xx

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