It’s what everyone asks you about when you have a new baby.
(And then abruptly, the questions cease at around 6 months, and I’m still here with a two year old like “Hellooo, acknowledge how much sleep I’m NOT getting please”.)
This time, my answer has been a little different.
“Yes, he’s actually really… “good?”
The intonation rising slightly at the end – a hint that I’m in slight disbelief at what I am saying. A giveaway that I’m under no illusions and am totally expecting it to change any day now.
In the first weeks, or months maybe, his trapped wind would make him restless and wakeful. But this is now in the past.
How long those days seem when you’re in the thick of it, and how quickly they are suddenly over. It’s only been four months, but already I feel we’ve been through at least five different phases of sleep.
At three months, he has found his thumb. My first thumbsucker.
I watch him as he quickly and contentedly falls asleep by himself, when he’s ready. It’s fascinating. I’ve never seen one of my babies be so happy and sure of themselves when it comes to sleep.
He can settle himself. He doesn’t always, all the time. And there are days where he really needs me. But he can settle himself.
He can sleep through the night. He doesn’t always, there are nights where he wakes. But usually just the once, and usually not till 4am. And more often than that, he goes right from 10pm – 6am or *whispers* longer.
He has short naps. He doesn’t always, there are times when he goes down for a two hour stretch. But usually, he cat naps for 20 minutes or so throughout the day. And he’s happy.
I feed him to sleep. Well, I do if he hasn’t gone off already by himself, which is happening more often than not these days.
I feed him on demand.
His sleep schedule is at the complete mercy of the two or three school runs I make per day. There’s never usually long enough for him to have a solid nap at home.
If he wakes during the night, I make no effort to resettle him in his own bed, he comes straight in with me and has milk on tap available until the morning. But usually, he doesn’t want it. He is happy to snuggle up until morning after his one night feed. And these days, most of the time, I wake to see him still in his Snuzpod next to my bed come the morning, having slept right through the night.
By all accounts, my actions and his routine should be a recipe for disaster. This is real rod for your own back stuff. And it’s the exact same way I treated sleep with both of my older children.
But somehow, he has found his own way.
I am still expecting things to change. We haven’t hit the four month regression yet. And I have the past experience of two children who slept pretty well as newborns and then not again until they were way over two years old.
People tell me I deserve it, after two bad sleepers. But I don’t see it like that.
I might not have had a clue what I was doing with Arlo and sleep, but by the time it was Rory’s turn, I made my own choices with confidence and hindsight – accepting that I was never going to have the determination for routines, NOT feeding to sleep, getting up in the middle of the night to pace the floor.
I knew I’d rather two years of interrupted sleep and co-sleeping versus the short term exhaustion of trying to get a baby into a ‘good’ sleep routine early on, and then having to stick with it every time they got ill or went through a bad sleep phase. I knew I would take the easy way out every time.
It wasn’t bad luck to get two sleepers who needed me lots in the night. And I LOVED those cuddles in the bed I’d made myself to lie in.
I know not to be silly enough to count my chickens at this stage. I know that things change as quickly as they’ve begun in these early months.
But, for now, for the moment, sleep is good.