“Is she a good baby?” It’s a common question people ask Mothers.
Our four month old is a happy girl. She smiles, she laughs and she loves to play. She adores her big brothers and her Daddy, rolls over onto her tummy and swats at whatever is in front of her. She chews on everything, is fascinated by other peoples food and has excellent balance. However, my baby does not sleep through the night – and that’s okay! That doesn’t mean she’s not a good baby.
Ella is fully breastfed. I don’t say this to give myself a pat on the back, it’s just a fact. Nursing is how she gets her food and how she finds comfort. Breastmilk digests in approximately two hours, so it’s not surprising that a baby who relies solely on their Mama would need to eat more often. Every now and then she gives me a longer stretch, but generally, she’s up every three hours at night to nurse. I do not expect my four month old to sleep eight hours straight (as nice as that would be!)
Lack of sleep is a common thing in Moms of babies under the age of one. It’s expected, it’s dreaded and it’s hard. It’s what I least look forward to in having a baby. That being said, I’ve found ways to cope. Ella and I co-sleep, meaning she sleeps in a bassinet next to my bed and then joins me in mine at some point during the night. All of our babies have been in our room for at least six months. It keeps me in tune to my babies needs, helps stimulate milk production and gives me peace of mind that she is well. I totally get why some Mothers choose to put baby in their own room to rest better, it’s just not what works for us.
Our first left our room at 6 months since he switched to formula and began doing long stretches of sleep. Our second child nursed until 15 months and was in our room for the entire first year of his life. Ella will be in our room at least until we move, but I hope to nurse her at least as long as her brother.
There will come a point where I’ll begin to decrease night nursing with my baby, but it’s not any time soon. At this point I feel she’s too young, she relies on me too much and I’m still her only source of food. She feels safe, she feels secure and I’m not too bothered by her latching on a few times a night. If it works for me, why would I change it?
I think where we run into trouble, Mamas, is in our expectations. Someone else’s baby is rolling before mine, talking before mine, laughing before mine or sleeping through the night before mine. Comparison is the thief of joy they say, so stop comparing! The beautiful thing about your child is that they are unique and come with their own strengths and weaknesses. Let’s celebrate that, instead of wishing for something different.
My baby does not sleep through the night, but she is a good baby!