Babies need to eat around the clock and will get the sleep they need. Moms and dads need their sleep, too, and are used to sleeping at night. So what did I do when my son was a baby? I called it “trial and error”. Here are a few things I gleaned from my experiments:
– Resolve together not to make any important decisions at 2:00 AM. Things always seem more difficult and emotions are running higher. My husband came up with this rule for us. Because of this rule, I persevered until morning and in the light of day I could get help and things were not so impossible.
– Practice nursing lying down during nap times until you are an expert and can do it at night. Once you have mastered the skill of nursing lying down, you don’t have to wake up nearly so completely to nurse. I found that my sleep was more connected and I didn’t remember how many times I nursed. I felt better rested.
– No one solution works for every family. I have strange sleep habits (I need moving air and white noise, etc.) and my husband can sleep standing up. My sleep can be disrupted for weeks (not a happy thing) while my husband literally fell asleep walking the hallway with the baby. What works for us is not for everyone. That is why Dr. Sears book: Nighttime Parenting is helpful. It gives you various different options to try. La Leche League meetings are helpful, too. You can ask other mothers what they have tried and try what makes sense to you.
– Every stage of your baby’s development is brief. If you are having trouble now, things will change soon.
– Nighttime made me really appreciate breastfeeding. It is so much easier to get a baby to the breast than to have to make up and warm a bottle. You have fewer minutes of crying (if any) and more contentment. During the night, breastfeeding is really fast food!