The best news new mommies have probably never heard is that sleep is a skill.
When Daly Kay was a baby, and slept through the night at a few weeks old, everyone said I could never get that lucky twice.
They were right.
I got that lucky 15 times in a row.
And that’s because it is not luck.
You see, learning when and how to sleep, is something very much in the parents domain of instruction. In fact, it is probably one of the first things you will ever teach your child.
That doesn’t make it easy.
But it is an important first step.
When baby is born, he most likely has his days and nights mixed up. That’s because when momma was walking around with him in the belly, it rocked him to sleep. Most times, when momma lay down for the night, Jr. started to roll and kick a bit. In effect, he woke up wondering what happened to the gentle rock-a-bye he had been enjoying all day during momma’s activities.
So after the usual first 10 days of “I can barely keep my eyes open enough to get a solid feeding”(on baby’s part and momma’s) they begin to really wake up and it is usually mostly during the night.
This means baby has to learn WHEN to eat, and WHEN to sleep.
I have heard lots of moms say that they just follow the child’s cues. And this is a good thing…you need to follow a child’s cue…always feed a hungry baby! But for the most part, if getting a solid feeding, a baby can go 2.5 to 3 hours between feedings without a problem. If baby is giving hungry cues in between that time, you may need more rest, more food or hydration, or to check your milk supply and see how much you are able to express if you are nursing.
But if following the child’s cues means that you feed whenever they cry, whimper, wake up or squirm…Momma, you’re resigning yourself to years of interrupted sleep for both of you. Sleep is a skill. And it must be taught. For the benefit of baby, mommy, daddy, your love life, your career, jeez—everything. Sleep is the first and arguable one of the most important skills you will ever teach your child.
Will it involve crying?
Yes. Most likely for both of you.
But at the end of a few weeks or at most a few months, everyone will be sleeping and waking up happy.