How Much Sleep Does 3 Month Old Need At Night The Baby Who Never Sleeps

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The Baby Who Never Sleeps

It wasn’t until I started living on two or three hours of sleep a night that I began to understand how child abuse happens. Before having children, nothing could have been more foreign to me than the notion that anyone would even consider harming a child. But after a few months into parenthood, never getting more than a few hours of sleep in a stretch, I remember curling up in the fetal position on my bed, listening to my inconsolable baby screaming in the next room. Oh, I would have given my left arm (and I am left-handed, mind you), for maybe five or six hours of silence.

Five or six hours of sleep.

Fortunately, I am a relatively stable person. Even blind and on the verge of insanity, I had enough sense to pick up the phone and call for help. “I can’t take it anymore!” I cried to my husband. “I’m a terrible mother!”

My problem wasn’t that I was a terrible mother, of course. On the contrary, it was what I tried to be too good from mother I never wanted to let my poor, vulnerable little girl cry. I never wanted her to have a moment of discomfort. I never wanted to be like the cruel and heartless parents who are, whether real or imagined, the parents of past generations. I wanted to be an empathetic mother.

It’s a mindset that’s popular with parents of my generation. “Attachment Parenting”, some call it, as coined by the famous Dr. Sears. People who carry, sleep with, and respond to their children regardless of circumstance. And for some people, it works. Others, however, end up curled up in the fetal position, cradling a phone and begging for a break from anyone who might answer.

The first night I decided to let my baby cry, she was about six months old. We were going to “Ferberize” her. My husband, who by the way can sleep through a baby’s cries, was not entirely comfortable with the idea, but I gave him a choice; a crying baby, or a wife who runs screaming to the nearest mental health facility. Fortunately, he made the right choice.

It took three nights, but it worked like a charm. I awoke in the morning after a good six or seven hours of sleep, shouting praises to the Almighty in gratitude for the mercy showered upon me.

I am not here to endorse the vaunted Ferber Method. In fact, this was not the end of our sleep problems. But it was the end of me feeling guilty for being a parent who doesn’t respond to my child’s whims, even at the expense of my own sanity and well-being.

The sleep problems continued, on and off, over the years. That precious baby is almost four now, with a one-year-old little sister. We’ve seen our share of sleep problems, from fussy toddlers to night terrors and more. I have learned to approach these obstacles as they come with a mix of both empathy and practicality. With balance. Sometimes there are tears or consequences, but more often, with commitment and innocent awareness, we managed to fall asleep to a routine that everyone loves.

Forget all the exciting opinions about Ferber and co-sleeping, Ezzo and the “No Cry Sleep Solution”. You are the parent. Whatever it is, you have to do what works. It’s what’s best for you, and best for your child. The bottom line is, everyone is happier when everyone is sleeping.

To those who have asked me for a specific book recommendation, I always recommend Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Weissbluth, who not only shares my philosophy, but will also outline for you exactly why it is in the best interest of your child’s physical and neurological health to get proper sleep.

Just in case you’re feeling guilty.

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