I have learned through bitter experience that if I stay up later than I have to it’s a guarantee that Margaret will wake early and often during the night and I will get hardly any sleep. Knowing this I was in bed myself shortly after nine, with Margaret snoozing soundly in her crib.
Prior to my going back to work Margaret had been sleeping five to six hours during her initial stretch each night. This reverted to three to four hours for the initial stretch once I was back at work. While this meant my sleep schedule is not ideal, I assumed that she needed the extra nursing session at night because she no longer had unlimited nursing during the day. Since I have been getting enough sleep to function so long as I don’t do anything stupid like stay up until 11pm I am fine with this. In fact I found it reassuring in a way because I knew she was getting the milk she needed. I figured that maybe I might get the five hour initial stretch back sometime after we introduce Margaret to solids, probably a few weeks from now.
Imagine my surprise when I was awakened at 3am by Warren coming to bed to discover that Margaret was still sleeping soundly in her crib. Surely she would wake any second. Since it felt like I had two stones strapped to my chest, and because a nighttime pumping session in necessary in order to fill out the milk supply for the next day, I scooted off downstairs to pump, figuring that Margaret would be ready to nurse when I was done. At 3:20 I was back in bed and Margaret was still asleep in her crib. I lay there and waited for her to wake up. And waited. And waited. Had she buried her face in her cuddly prehistoric companion and smothered herself? No, the occasional soft sigh from the other side of the room indicated that she was still breathing. Was she ill? Perhaps she was too faint from hunger to rouse herself enough to alert me… I knew that I really should let her sleep, but on the other hand my wee little morsel of a baby hadn’t eaten in hours and was no doubt starving to death all the way on the other side of the room. (I should mention here that while Margaret starts the night in her crib, she almost always ends it co-sleeping with me because I need the security of feeling her body cuddled up to mine, not because she has any trouble sleeping in the crib.) Finally at 5am she roused enough that with great relief I could jump out of bed and take her to the back room and nurse her and change her. She spent the rest of the night in bed with me alternately dozing and nursing in bed. I had not slept a wink between 3 and 5, but since she slept straight through from 8pm to 5am that counts as sleeping through the night.
I know you’re not supposed to talk about your baby sleeping through the night when it happens. The thinking is that if you say anything fate will punish you by immediately changing the baby’s habits to not sleeping ever. That is exactly why I am posting about this right away. Sometime between 4am and 5am last night it became crystal clear that I am not ready for my baby to sleep through the night. Of course her occasional habit of waking every hour on the hour is just no fun at all and generally leads me to dumping her on Warren for some portion of the next night, at least that doesn’t leave me worried that she’s starved to death during the night. People have been asking me since she was born if Margaret sleeps to the night yet. I’ve always said that she’ll sleep through the night when she is ready. It just never occurred to me that she might be ready before me. So here I am doing something I have never heard of in a mommy blog and hoping that the nearly nine hour stretch of baby sleep last night was some sort of weird fluke.