Society is so obsessed with babies sleeping through the night. And it honestly grinds my gears.
I’ve been told by so many new mums (and personally experienced) that within days of their sweet baby being born, they’ve been bombarded with questions along the lines of…
‘Oooer, isn’t she a petal! Sleeping through yet?’
No, Margaret. HE is 4 weeks old.
‘Put some baby rice or rusk in his bottle, it’ll make him sleep all night.’
NO, Doris. NO. This is no longer medically advised as it can cause choking and it’s also completely unnecessary calories.
Babies also have short sleep cycles as a natural defence mechanism against SIDS. Waking every few hours ensures that baby is fed often and doesn’t fall into a sleep deep enough whereby they just *stop* breathing if that makes sense.
Obviously some babies will sleep through earlier than others – if this happens naturally it's considered to be fine. If it's forced by shoving food in a bottle, it can raise the risk of SIDS as it dampens this mechanism. It’s just another one of those ‘back in the day’ anecdotes that we now know isn’t the answer.
It isn’t just older relatives, acquaintances or randoms in the street perpetuating this… social media and mum groups are equally as bad for posts like;
‘Why is my 4 week old not sleeping?’
‘What can I give my 10 week old to make them sleep better…?’
‘When do you start putting rusk in bottles before bed?’ (Erm… never!)
All because they’ve had it drilled into them that babies should sleep through the night, and that it's normal to override their natural sleep patterns. It isn’t.
Babies have short sleep cycles. Fact of life.
This societal obsession has served to make new mums paranoid that their baby is ‘abnormal’, or validates their plan to give their baby food prematurely for the sake of a few hours' kip. Parenting is bloody exhausting so it’s no wonder mums cave in.
So, I ask… when your friend, family, acquaintance etc brings forth new life, don’t bloody ask them whether the baby is sleeping through. Please don’t make that poor new mum feel under pressure, or feel that her baby ‘should’ be sleeping through. Instead, tell her that she’s doing a frigging marvellous job and that sleep will improve, so she shouldn’t worry.
Generally, small babies don’t sleep through the night and it isn’t safe to force them to do so. So mamas don't worry if baby isn't sleeping through the night. This is perfectly normal - exhausting but normal.
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