I haven't actually gathered any data, but I would make a hypothetical guess that "why won't my baby sleep?" And "when will my baby sleep?" and "baby who won't sleep" are among Google's top trending searches since the beginning of its existence.
There are approximately *10 thousand websites related to infant sleep . There are approximately *20 thousand books. There are about *30 thousand sleep doulas and "educators" out there trying to make money off of exahusted-as-shit mothers desperate for any glimmer of hope when it comes to sleep.
And it seems like everyone, except you, has a baby who sleeps, right? Every person you talk to has a good sleeper. You feel like you must be doing something wrong! Or perhaps your baby is malfunctioning? Did you put the batteries in backwards? It's quite possible. You can't even see straight, you're so damn tired!
Well, after two and a half years of sleepless nights, two babies, a lot of reading, soul-searching, coffee, and a bucket-load of my own tears, I can honestly say I've learned a lot and have some pretty strong beliefs about infant sleep:
I believe in nighttime parenting.
I believe in responding to your children's needs.
I believe in trying to find the best way to maximize sleep for everyone. Even if it means trying eight thousand different sleep arrangements, like I illustrated here: "The Evolution of Our Sleep Arrangements."
I believe in NOT believing people when they say "My son sleeps through the night. He's 6 weeks old." Even if it's true, I'm too jealous to actually process that thought. So I block it out.
I believe you should try different techniques, but don't stress if something isn't working for you. Babies are not machines. Babies cannot be programmed. Listen to them. Listen to yourself. You'll find a rhythm...
I believe that the days are long but the years are short. There are so many sweet moments I've shared with both of my children in the wee hours of the night.
I believe my friend Kevan said it best years ago when he told me, "There are worse things than waking in the night to hold your children."
So please just know that you're not alone. And please know that I understand how having children who don't sleep means so much more than just being tired. It means having little patience for things that normally wouldn't bother you. It means having to be strict with bedtimes and naptimes because sleep is just oh-so-precious. It means having to put yourself to bed really early just so you have a hope-in-hell of functioning the next day. It means that exercise regime you keep fantasizing about might just have to wait until you actually have an ounce of energy to spare.
But it will get better. I promise. Slowly, but surely: like a sloth crawling through a vat of honey.
One day you'll look in the mirror and realize your eyes look a little less puffy. You might have a few more lines, and gray hairs, but they just add character, right?
*These numbers aren't even hypothetical guesses, they're just random numbers that feel accurate.
If you'd like to read more about my sleepless adventures, here is a post about the time I got cocky and thought I had a baby who slept.