Having newborns who will sleep through the night is the last time on earth that the mother ever DARE dream of! Babies just know that they are supposed to play in the night and sleep in the day…? Why, WHY, Why? haha….but My baby daughter is different. Ever since birth, she sleeps through the night, only to wake up 2-3 times for her milk feeds and ‘diligently’ go back to sleep Zzzz….
Let me tell you my secret to this…
Perhaps it began during my pregnancy. When my fetus learned to kick me. Similar to many pregnant mothers, my fetus kicked me vigourously in the night and was quiet in the day. It took me about 1 month to realise that this shouldn’t be the way. Since I’m staying at home, usually doing close to nothing…it is very obvious that the reason for not noticing baby movements in the day is NOT because I’m busy. So I began to talk to my baby…
In the DAY, “Darling, Mama knows YOU are asleep. Just an hour’s nap will do, Ok? And play with Mama..kick Mama when you wake up.” (then tap on my tummy to wake the fetus and talk to her an hour later)
In the NIGHT, “Darling, why are you kicking so hard? It’s nighttime, TIME TO SLEEP. It’s been a long day and Mama is tired. I believe you are tired too. Sleep with Mama, Ok? Stop kicking and sleep.” (then tap slowly on my tummy as if soothing baby to sleep)
I do this almost everyday when the baby sleeps in the day and kicks in the night. The situation was better after some time. For a few days in a row, baby does kicks in the DAY and was quiet in the NIGHT. Then the turn-around came again and I repeat the process.
Eventually, the baby arrives to our world. She is now 3 months old and sleeps through the night! -only ask for 1 milk feed sometimes. And she doesn’t even bother to open her eyes when she suckles for her milk. I didn’t realise I was very lucky until my sister-in-law asked me about it and was SO impressed with my answer. She said, “It’s a miracle! I must try that out for my next baby!”
However, do not worry too much or fuss about it when you feel your baby does not sleep “through the night”. What you should understand most is that, for a newborn of one to four months of age, a five-hour stretch is a full night. Many babies of this age can sleep without waking from midnight till 5a.m. And that’s a far cry from what you may have heard of “sleeping through the night”. Yes, my daughter sleeps at 10p.m and wakes up at 5.30a.m or 6.30a.m for her first milk feed of the day! So please pause for a minute to think, “Do you have a baby who sleeps through the night but you didn’t know it??”
What’s more, while the definition of “sleeping through the night” is clarified. Most of us would not consider the five hours sleep a full night’s sleep ourselves. In fact, I’ve heard some mothers who has sleep-through-the-night newborns suddenly begin waking more frequently. Then settle into more stable, all-night, sleep pattern when they turn one or even two years old.
But then again, there’s another side of the studies who say, “Working mothers will tend to have babies who wakes up very often in the night. But sleep through the day when they are at their caregiver’s place.” This is because babies recognize and needs to have their share of ‘Mummy’s time’ everyday. If they do not get it during the day (because their mothers are off to work), then they will cry and ask to be cuddled at night when their mothers are with them. This, if you believe is true, can easily be solved by carrying your baby more when you get home in the evening and before the baby’s bedtime.
There’s a natural way to let your baby fall into dreamland happily and enjoy undisturbed sleep. That is to fall asleep while sucking at the breast, a bottle, or a pacifier. When the baby or newborn always falls asleep this way, he learns to associate the sucking with time to sleep; overtime, he happily goes to sleep by himself. Hey, this is a very powerful sucking-to-sleep association. My girl must have her milk at the breast before she sleeps. But I do not allow her to stay at the breast if she is not sucking and swallowing the milk because I do not want her to treat the breast as a pacifier. I will remove her from the breast when she stops for about 5 minutes and is dreamy. Then I’ll clean her mouth with a tissue and slowly carry her to her crib. Most of the time, she is still half awake, but falls asleep happily because that is the everyday procedure! It’s bedtime!
Joann Cheong is a blogger with over 1000 readers. Visit her Blog at motherndaughter.blogspot