It’s probably the question I get asked most as the parent of a newborn. It usually goes something like, “Congratulations! He’s so adorable! Is he sleeping through the night?” or “Oh my goodness, he’s so tiny! Are you getting any sleep?” I have to say that generally speaking, in my opinion, there is too much emphasis put on newborns “sleeping through the night”. Should they really be expected to even know when “nighttime” is as a brand new baby? What does it even mean, anyway? I was surprised to hear that most would consider 6 hours to be “through the night” for a newborn. Uhmm… what?!
It was probably one of my biggest fears going into this whole “becoming a parent” thing. If you know me at all, you know that sleeping is one of my very favorite things to do, especially in the form of an afternoon nap on the couch! I’m a self-proclaimed “night owl” and I’ve never in my life been known to wake up bright and early ready to greet the day! (Just ask my mom or husband!) I was so afraid that the day J was born, my napping and sleeping-in days were up, but I have to admit I got really lucky in that department…. or did I?
Since all babies come with their own set of rules and instructions (wouldn’t that be nice?) my question to all of you is, what did you find to be helpful for your newborn? Warm bath? Swaddling? Ambient noise? Pacifier?
I’ve found that the things that helped J sleep longer when he was 3 weeks old are different from what worked for him when he was 12 weeks old, and will most definitely be different from what will help 2 months from now! Some of our favorite “tools” so far have been swaddling and ambient noise. My very favorite swaddling blankets are by far the Aden + Anais bamboo muslin swaddles, they are so soft and have perfect flexibility for tight wrapping! For J, those things have been like magic!! Our favorite read on the subject has most definitely been “Happiest Baby on the Block” by Dr. Harvey Karp. I would recommend it to anyone, although every baby is quite obviously different.
What I didn’t think I would ever say is, I now wake up, bright and early, actually excited to be greeted by the cutest little face in the world. I cherish the times that I sit up in bed in the wee hours of the morning together, before the rest of the world starts their day, just enjoying all the little noises and breathes, the hiccups and burps, and the smiles and sometimes even cries. I know the days are so limited where this will even be part of our routine (if that’s what you want to call it) which is a relief to know at times, but also can make me sentimental and sad that it’s all going so quickly! Mostly, I just enjoy it while it is, well, whatever it is.
Wake up, my heart! Wake up, O lyre and harp! I will wake the dawn with my song. – Psalm 57:8