No, my baby doesn’t sleep through the night.
He is 14 months old, he is put to bed at 8:30pm, and every 1am without fail, he wakes up, makes his “awake-ness” known to the whole house, gets breastmilk, and then — depending on whether or not the goddesses are on my side — either slips back to sleep or gets cranked up and demands mommy time.
Yes, I know that babies past the age of 6 months *SHOULD* sleep through the night with no difficulty.
Everybody has told me that. I have been inundated with suggestions on how to get him sleeping for 8 hours straight. It has been suggested that I am an overindulgent mom, and my son, a despot in a teacup. A particularly pushy Tita has told me, “there is no medical reason a child above one needs to feed between dinner and breakfast.”
Of course, I’ve read all sorts of books to get him sorted. I’ve spoken to sleep coaches. We have had some improvement after employing some sleep training methods: after the post-midnight feed, we’ve gotten a straight stretch of sleep until 6am. I have gotten a bit used to it, and my body clock has adjusted accordingly.
But here’s the thing: there still is, it seems, enormous social pressure to drop the midnight feed. In the mommy blogs, in the self-help books, in the parenting forums.
I have decided recently to say SCREW IT.
No, it’s not just because I want to make sure my baby is fed when he’s hungry. Or comforted when he needs comforting. Or my warm body when his crib feels big and empty, and his room dark and forbidding.
It’s because that sliver of time when the universe around me fades to a whisper, is the only time my child and I truly have to be alone together. At 1:00am, when the work WhatsApps taper to a halt, when my husband is softly snoring beside me, when our household staff have retired to bed, I feel my child’s heartbeat next to mine. At 1:00am, I breathe his baby smells — milk and powder and little-boy wonder — and trace my fingers on the curvature of his head. I watch him sleepily look for my fingers to hold, reassured by the feel of our palms touching. At 1:00am, I watch what my embrace does to him, how it quiets the swirling chaos, and I wonder to myself how long my embraces will continue having that effect.
At 1:00am, I am his and he is mine.