Some Babies Don’t Sleep

When Max was a newborn, he slept just fine. He was our first and we really had no idea what we were doing, but we slept. He slept in our room for the first four months of his life.

Read the Books and Follow the Rules

By the time he was 4 months old, I had read that it was time to start sleep training. So we did. We followed the rules. He began sleeping in his crib in his own room at 4 months old. He would wake once or twice for a bottle, but he would go right back to sleep.

But then, he got sick. He was not really sick. It was just a snotty nose and a little fever. But he needed us more than usual; he needed us more than just a bottle or two a night. And when he was well, he acted like he had never slept in his crib in his room by himself. So, we sleep trained him again. And he went back to just getting up once or twice a night for a bottle. We thought we were acing it.

But then, we went on vacation. We were in a new place, and sleep routines were all screwed up. When we got home, he again acted like he had never slept in his crib in his own room again. So, we sleep trained him again. And all was well with the world.

This same routine happened over and over again, and we diligently went back to the books and sleep trained him again and again. But, once he turned one and it was time to kick the bottle, he was still waking up once or twice a night even though we were not giving him the bottle anymore. He did not sleep through the night EVER until he was 18 months old.

We went through periods of rocking him at night, letting him self-soothe, letting him cry, and also pulling him into our bed at night.

We tried all the things and followed the rules as close as possible.

But guess what? Max is 2.5 and has slept through the night fewer than 20 times. He wakes at least once, and more often, wakes twice.

sleepWe’ve asked his doctors, gone through periods of self-blame, paid a fortune for a weighted blanket, and changed up his bedtime routine. People have given alllllll the advice. He still wakes once or twice. And everyone else’s babies just seem to sleep better than Max. But we have just come to terms with it. Max not sleeping is just part of our life. It is part of what we signed up for when we made the choice to becomes parents.

Earlier this week, though, I was watching an Instagram story for an Instafamous local, and she was talking about baby sleep and how getting her baby to sleep through the night (like 12 hours — GAH. ) changed her life. And this Instagram story brought back all of my bitterness and self-blame for Max’s terrible sleeping habits. It is frustrating that I can’t fix it. But you know what? That night, he slept through the night. It is like he knew I needed him to sleep through the night.

He hasn’t slept through the night since that night, but I feel better about it. And I am just here to tell you that some babies don’t sleep. They just don’t. And you can spend time stressing about it; trust me I have. But you should also just know that it is okay. Whether they are all being honest or not, there are mamas all over the country in the same boat as you who are up at night for some reason or another.

I’ll Sleep One Day

When they go off to college, we will be up at night wondering if they have made it back to their dorms safe and sound. But for right now, I will hold his tiny body in my lap and smell his glorious little boy smell. And while I rock and rock, I will feel sorry for the mamas who don’t get to smell their 12-hour-a-night-sleeping-babies. And who knows, maybe he will sleep all night tonight.

Rebecca Autin
Rebecca is an attorney by day and a toddler wrangler by night. She is a product of divorced parents and grew up in both Thibodaux and Franklin, Louisiana. Rebecca attended Loyola University of New Orleans and Southern University Law Center. Rebecca married her high school bestie in 2012. Quinton and Rebecca went through months of infertility before giving birth to Maxwell Lincoln in 2015. In 2016, they were surprised by a baby boy due in June 2017. But, in February 2017, they suffered with incompetent cervix and delivered sweet Theodore Paul too soon. In October 2018, after an incredibly difficult pregnancy, a cerclage, and a whole bunch of bedrest, Fitzgerald Joseph was born -- a happy, healthy, and perfect rainbow. If you can't find Rebecca, you can summon her with pot of freshly brewed coffee or look for her in Target or behind the kitchen island where she is hiding from her kids with a very generous pour of red.


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