Updated: Nov 14, 2020
“Get as much sleep as you can before the baby arrives” was a common thing people would tell me when I was walking around with a round belly. But wait, can someone tell me how that is possible when you work full time and you have major heartburn that keeps you in the night?
“Sleep while the baby sleeps” they said. Um, is that really a thing? I have a mountain of clothes on my bed, dirty dishes in the sink, a clean dishwasher that needs to be emptied and dinner that needs to be cooked. So explain to me when I can sleep? Oh yea, at night! Wait -- no -- that isn’t a thing in our house.
Doesn’t everyone know that babies are party animals in the night? I guess not, because a lot of the mom books leave that tidbit out.
Well let me share the story of Caroline’s first night as a 5 month old, which were turned into recurring nights for --- um --- 9 months total.
I told my husband “Today is our Caroline’s 5th month, let’s celebrate by eating food for the first time!”
After her little tummy was full from all of that food she wanted to sleep, but mommy and daddy knew it was tooooo early. So we played (she fused), we read books (she smiled and babbled) and we slowly started to roll into her night routine:
Baby massage with lotion to keep her skin baby soft.
Face medicine to heal her hemangioma.
Medicine for her cradle cap and baby eczema.
Let everything dry - continue to entertain her with books and tickle time.
Place our heart pajamas on.
She was happy and smiling as she loves this routine.
I wrapped her in her swaddle, sat in the rocking chair and said “Hey Google, play piano lullabies.” Caroline looked up at me with the sweetest little glisten of happiness in her eyes, she knew what time it was - nursing time.
We said our bedtime prayers while she nursed and she drifted off to sleep around 8PM.
I had this little glimmer of hope, that she would have a good night's sleep as her tummy should be nice and full with food and milk.
✔️The sound machine was on.
✔️The humidifier was on.
✔️And I gently placed her in her bed All while praying to Mary to be by her side as I sneaked out of the room trying not to wake her.
As I was sitting on the couch around 9PM, I heard the sounds of my little one saying a few babbles here and there. I let her be and said a prayer she would “self soothe.”
I could hear her kicking her legs and slamming them to the bed... I knew this sound wasn’t a good sign as it meant she was AWAKE!
I picked her up, switched her from the sleep sack to full swaddle (arms in and all.) And she went back to sleep by 9:30.
The clock ticked to 10:45 and I thought “ok, we made it past the one hour mark of sleep.”
HA! I was wrong. She started to talk with little cry’s of “hold me mommy.”
As I turned on the lavender diffuser, I thought “oh this should work, ALL of the mom blogs says it will.” Yeaaaaa I’m pretty sure Caroline thinks those blogs are a joke, because the sleep tricks just don’t work on her.
At that point in time, as I was rocking her, Matt walked in and said he thinks turning the light off startles her when she wakes because she can’t see anything... I rolled my eyes and in the back of my head I knew this is the worst idea ever, but I’ll just go along with it. He just wants to help and really what’s the worst that could happen?
So I let him test this idea, of leaving the lights on to see if she sleeps better. She fell asleep after an additional rocking and nursing session.
30 minutes go by......
We see little feet go into the air and the babbling begins.
Ok, so the lights on trick didn’t work....
(Insert mommy eye roll)
Around midnight we decided to try something else - we took her out of the swaddle completely. Took her socks off. Took her hat off. OK baby girl, if you won’t sleep with the swaddle, you must want to sleep with nothing! (At least that’s what we thought)
She woke up again. All bright eyed and ready to play.
We were just 100% exhausted. Feeling hopeless. Feeling defeated.
But we both felt the support from each other. We stayed calm together. And we said that her first birthday sounds so nice right now because she should be sleeping by then (saying our prayers for that wish now.)
She was fully awake. Wanting to play. We said “It’s time to hit the hay. Close your eyes sweet baby girl, in the morning we will play till the night comes again.” We promised her this. She still wanted to play.
She finally fell asleep nursing.
Praise the Lord Jesus, we can get some sleep!
She awakened from her slumber.
Daddy picks her up, rocks her. Tells her he loves her and that she needs to close her eyes. She didn’t want to. “Mommy and daddy I want to play” she said. Daddy hands her to mommy. “And I said “Baby girl, mommy is tired, let’s lay down together.” I nurse her and she plays with my hair... I place her hands down. And begin to say the Hail Mary softly to her like a song. She slowly drifts to sleep.
Once I laid her down, I prayed to her guardian angels to watch over her, to help her sleep.
I leaned over to Matt and said “I think we can get 3 hours of sleep until I need to get ready for work” right when I say that, she pops her little head up and smiles... I close my eyes hoping she mimics me. It worked!
She’s asleep! Praise the Lord.
Dreamland sounds like a dream, but I think it will happen.
Yea. Nope. I was wrong.
3:00 AM - 4:15 AM
I nursed her back to sleep.
4:30 AM - 5:40 AM
She’s awake! Her babbling was like she was telling us her life story. Our sweet little Caroline, you’ve only been alive for 5 months, how do you have so much to say? Daddy looks at mommy in defeat. He gets out of bed and says “I’ll get up with her. Come on Caroline let’s play in the living room while mommy sleeps a little longer.”
And so the day began at that point in time.
I keep telling myself, this won’t last forever and we need to see the positive in her hourly wake as there will come a day that she will not want hourly snuggles with mommy and daddy.
--- Fast forward to month 9 ---
I am happy to report by month 9 our little Caroline slept through the night for the first time in her own room.
How did this happen?
Well, we went to her 9 month check up and the doctor asked about her sleep. We both looked down at our little one trying to walk around the room and said “Well, on a good night she sleeps for 3 hours straight.” The doctor assured us that this was normal and she should be moving to a new stage of sleep soon and he suggested a few sleep training methods. He suggested that we do our normal sleep routine, but if she wakes up to let her cry for 5 - 10 minutes as long as she does not sound like she’s in pain.
So we did that.
And guess what. It worked!
For the first time in 9 months of her life she slept from 8:30 PM - 6 AM! And you would never guess what happened the next night - she SLEPT through the night!
Whoa! Is this real life? Do babies really sleep? This is just amazing. Sweet, now mommy and daddy can sleep!
Dad can sleep, but what they don’t tell you is that it’s hard for mommy to sleep. I have been nursing through the night for 9 months, so my body is still in “lets nurse baby” stage…
Mommy wakes up in pain and searching for the pump. Once I did that. I settled back to sleep and slept till 6:00 AM.
It was so nice to finally get that much sleep!
By month 10.5 my body adjusted so that I didn’t have to pump in the night and finally I got some really sleep.
It’s crazy that I thought this was only a dream of my far out future, but that future quickly became today and I can report that I am a rested mommy.
Sweet dreams everyone!