Ahhhh... the joys of having a newborn.
You welcome your new bundle of joy and, at the same time, you kiss your good night's rest good bye. However, if you were like me, then you probably kissed your zzzz's good bye after the 7th or 8th month of pregnancy.
All of a sudden, this newborn who was oh so snuggly cuddled inside of your belly is only happy in your arms. Many mothers wonder why this is and fail to realize the 4th trimest actually exists. The baby needs things to remind him or her of the womb: rocking, shushing, humming, being on your chest to hear your heartbeat, swaddling, etc.
Unfortunately, newborns were not programmed to immediately adjust to outside the womb. If that were the case, parenting wouldn't be needed, right? This is why newer babies need love, affection, and nurturing to thrive to live.
But, what if your baby is.. say 6 months old and still has not gotten the perfect night's rest down. Then, you start worrying right? You wonder, "Well my baby has slept through the night before and now, all of a sudden, he won't sleep!!!!"
I was frustrated too.. until I learned that this sleep regression was actually normal and good for baby though it may leave you feeling much like the zombie you were when you came home from the hospital.
At around 6-8 weeks, my son started sleeping for longer periods. I remember my husband and I jumping for joy and amazement! Then 4 months hit.... and BOOM! No more sleep. I mean, he would wake up 4-6 times a night. Just because.
That is when I learned of the "4 month wakeful period." Four months old is a huge point in your baby's life where he or she might become more aware of their surroundings which, in turn, makes them curious to explore. I know that my son had learned to roll over at 4 months and boy the milestones just came full speed ahead after that. After about 2-3 weeks of frequent wake ups, his sleep went back to normal.
Keep in mind that we do co-sleep. This makes our lives a whole lot easier!
Around 6 months, my son's sleep regressed AGAIN. He was starting solids at this point. He also started refusing my breastmilk from the bottle, which opted out the possibility of my husband helping to feed him during the night so I could actually sleep. At 6 months, my son hit a HUGE milestone: sitting up on his own... then I remembered how the 4th month was so trying and WHY my son's sleep sucked. I got myself together and weathered through it. Sure enough, the sleep returned back to normal after 2-3 weeks or so. I think it might have even been a month this time around.
Now, my son is 9 months old. He sleeps through the night for the most part. But, lately, he has been waking himself up more frequently. He has already learned to crawl, just learned to pull himself up, and has been focused on trying to walk. Oh boy. Lots of changes, right?
When your baby wakes up in the middle of the night after sleeping for so well for so long, it can be very confusing and quite frustrating. I kept thinking "What the hell am I doing wrong?"
Your baby does not wake up to be a nuissance. He or she is waking up because they want to practice their new skills, out of curiosity, or just wants to play.
What I do in this situation? Boob. Works.. every... time... Redirection is key here so he or she will know that 3am is not play time.
Hang in there mamas. Your kids sleep will suck... for at least a little while. Remember you are doing a good job and trust your instincts!