attachment parenting, homeschooling, gentle discipline
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  • .: Status Updates :.

    Friday, December 21st, 2012 10:23 am

    Hundreds of hurting people visit here every day, most of whom are searching for comfort after loss. Please reach out for emotional support as you begin the healing process. Be patient with yourself. Allow yourself to grieve. Let it out. May God be with you.

  • .: Quotes :.

    “I pay the schoolmaster,
    but ’tis the schoolboys that educate my son.”
    Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Does she sleep through the night?

    The most common question I have been asked since the birth of Baby GC is, “Does she sleep through the night?” (I think “Does she sleep through the night?” and “Is she a good baby?” amount to the same concern. The expectation seems to be a baby who leaves the mother alone so the mother doesn’t know she has a baby.)

    Baby GC ~ 12 days old

    I think most of the people who ask this question have experience with “bottle-fed, baby-in-a-crib-in-the-other-room” parenting. Night feedings must be much more uncomfortable, unpleasant, and more difficult than what I experience as an attachment mother. I thankfully also don’t have to leave my children in the morning to work outside the home.

    Baby GC ~ One month old

    Nighttime awakenings usually go like this: When the warm milk that filled her tummy at bedtime is completely absorbed, she stirs and tosses and smacks her lips. I pat her back or lift her on to my chest in case it’s just a rogue burp which needs to be released. If she continues to turn her head and begins to root, often with “hurry-up-already” coughs, I begin to nurse her. The smile as she latches on and her sighs of complete satisfaction are worth the label of not “sleeping through the night.” Mother’s high of a mixture of oxytocin and prolactin is satisfying as well. Her little fingers are wrapped around my thumb, and my fingers are wrapped around her little forearm. I may drift back to sleep while she is nursing, but if I can, I stay awake to position her carefully beside me when she is contentedly full. I cuddle her next to me and stretch out while she sleeps peacefully. I often hold her two hands in one of mine while I join her in deep sleep. (This helps when she is getting settled because it keeps her hands from rubbing or accidentally scratching her face and waking herself.) She sleeps next to me, safely on a firm mattress with a sturdy, high guard rail, instinctively watched over by her sleeping guardian mother.

    I believe babies are smarter and healthier if they don’t sleep through the night. I understand the technical definition of “sleeping through the night” is six hours, but Baby and I usually stay in bed for eleven hours straight.

    Usually after night nursings, I don’t even want to stop holding her. For her sake, I don’t want to put her down on the cold sheets, and I selfishly don’t want to lose her comfy, cuddly warmth. I have had five babies, and I know this time passes quickly. Soon, there will be a baby no more.

    I can relate to the pain and suffering of having a colicky baby up every hour or two for months, stretching to sleepless years. Even with a healthy baby, there can be stressful nights of fatigue and frustration, but under normal circumstances, nighttime mothering isn’t much of a sacrifice. It is more like a gift. A mutual gift that brings joy and satisfaction to both mother and child.

    So the answer to your question is, “No. She doesn’t sleep through the night. She’s a baby! And I’m glad. I miss her when she’s sleeping!” (I hold my tongue from saying, “Do YOU sleep through the night?” because I already suspect the answer is no.)

    Baby GC ~ Almost three months old

    P.S. It is now 4:47AM and I am lying here, propped up in bed, with a pencil and paper in hand, writing by a dim light. Baby is sleeping peacefully on my chest. I listen to her soft, steady breathing. Her eyes are closed with dark eyelashes feathering her rosy cheeks. I breathe in her baby smells. Sweet milk has dripped down her chin into the creases of her roly-poly neck, adding to her scent. Her “baby-ness” encourages mother’s kisses. She smells and feels so nice. She was made to be irresistible to her mother. I don’t want to lay her down. I want to hold her forever. She is surely giving me a glimpse of Heaven.

    “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40:11

    “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.” Isaiah 66:13

    “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:40

    “People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.” Mark 10:13-16

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    Welcome to PARENTING, a unique website with information based on research, experience, intuition, and Christianity. "O teach me, Lord, that I may teach the precious things Thou dost impart; And wing my words, that they may reach the hidden depths of many a heart." I encourage you to read my parenting essays linked in the left sidebar. Each topic has Scripture verses and quotes that are particularly moving. Thanks for visiting my website, and come back soon!


    10 Responses to “Does she sleep through the night?”

    1. evelyn says:

      My co-worker was telling me that when she was a new mom at the age of 18 her mother (a NICU nurse) told her to put her daughter down whenever she slept so she’d be used to it. She followed the advice assuming her mom knew best. As a result she has no memories of holding her sleeping baby. I was so sad!!! I may not have any children myself, but I definitely cherish the times I rocked my baby nephew to sleep, and now my niece.

      Man, I really gotta go visit this week *sniff*

    2. Twila says:


    3. Gabreial says:

      I loved every word of it. I long for those baby moments with my two boys past that stage. You are an inspiration to mothers.


    4. Adeena says:

      Oh my goodness!! Those chunky baby legs are too adorable!! :D

      I miss that stage.

      I’m so glad that I got to snuggle with my babies at night. And, my last baby is now 16.5 months, and we still sleep in the same bed. I wouldn’t change a thing. :)

    5. Edith says:

      This is written so beautifully Carol. You are an awesome mother…and you are right, there is nothing like holding and cuddling your child. Having them sleep beside you is the best thing ever….

    6. Ruth says:

      I love this post! It’s a beautiful description.

    7. Jessica says:

      I absolutely loved this…makes me want to get off this laptop and go join my sleeping baby who is waiting in bed for me. There is truly nothing sweeter than the night time bonding that takes place between a mother and her baby. I proudly say my 5 month old wakes every 2 hours at night for his mommy’s milk, and I don’t mind at all.

    8. Pranee says:

      My children are all 5 years apart and have co slept with each one of them until they decided it was time to ‘move out’ lol! My sister came to visit with her three kids and I set up a place for her to sleep. She went to lay down by herself for an afternoon nap and woke to find her third child asleep with her (he was 2) and was amazed that she had woken with a sleeping baby on her! She had never had the experience of holding her child while he was sleeping! As in awe of it as she was I couldn’t help but feel so sorry for her and her children. I love your post!!!

    9. The devil does everything he can to attack and destroy the family, and he’s been very successful as the god of this world in taking babies out of their mothers arms and out of their parent’s beds.

    10. purple moose says:

      My little one is nearly eight months and this is our record for co-sleeping. (The older ones got too wiggly, or maybe we gave up too soon. Or maybe my hubby and I were just too exhausted.) I nurse her overnight, but never feel that I’ve gotten enough sleep. Some days I get a nap. (I figure two maybe three naps a week is enough.)

      I generally answer this question by sidestepping. “She does pretty well overnight.” She sleeps just fine, just what I’d expect, just what I think is appropriate for her age. Besides–nobody sleeps through the night.

      And anecdotally, I know of one family that practiced “cry it out” with the babies and ended up with toddlers or preschoolers who would go into the parents’ bed overnight. So she might not have practiced co-sleeping with her babies but she still co-slept. :)


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