Refreshingly Honest Confession About Sleep

Ok, so sometimes I think I am all-star mom, but more often I feel like a rookie.

Tommy doesn’t have a nap schedule. I often go for long walks so he falls asleep for longer than 20 minutes. I know it’s not proper sleep training but luckily, I live in a beautiful walking city.

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He is technically sleeping through the night, starting with a large 8 hour chunk but he still wake up every night between 2 and 4am. He then wakes up at 5 am. And then at 6:45, or 7:30 if we are lucky.

I have a sleep training book called Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. I want to read it in full, but I just haven’t found the motivation. There should be a Cliff Notes version. I mean really, who writes a 600 page book for sleep deprived parents? I did gloss over the first 2-3 month stuff but haven’t had the time to check out months 4-6 yet. I wish I could implement the suggested tactics but since I haven’t read the book, I guess I’ll make do with putting him to bed sleepy but awake. The first tip in the book. He does eventually fall asleep when I do this so I think I deserve brownie points at least for that.

He falls asleep after he’s rolled on to his stomach 3 or 4 times and cried for whatever reason. Is he frustrated? Is he just tired? Or uncomfortable? Probably all three. I gently roll him back onto his back and finally he falls asleep. On his stomach.

WHAT!? He sleeps on his stomach? What kind of horrible parent am I? He surely will get SIDS, right? Right?

Ever since Tommy learned how to roll from his back to belly a week ago, he has been sleeping on his stomach. It freaks me out because of all the SIDS information I was taught.

They say sleeping on your stomach is OK at this age because if they are strong enough to roll, they are strong enough to lift their heads if their air passage is blocked.

Once he is asleep, I often stare at the monitor to see his chest moving up and down. I also stare because I think he’s so cute. I didn’t think I’d be one of those parents.

I feel his forehead when I drive if I can’t see him to make sure it is still warm. “Is he breathing?” I always wonder. He always is, but what if that one time I don’t check and he isn’t!?

I’ve had two sleep scares. One involved me not properly securing his car seat. I will never make that mistake again. The other was discovering his cold arms in the middle of the night – due to a fan I put on him – not because he stopped breathing.

But still, for that split second I saw him slumped in his car seat or felt his chilled hand, it felt like my heart stopped beating. I shook him both times, waking him from a deep sleep. He was fine. But I wasn’t. I just had a mild heart attack.

Will the heart attacks ever go away? I know my baby needs to sleep but every time he does, I’m plagued with this fear that he might not wake up. For that reason, I don’t mind that he doesn’t sleep 12 hours straight. This way, I get reassurance throughout the night that he is alive and breathing.

In another month, I think I might mind. I know I’m supposed to wean him off the night feeding but for now, I don’t mind the 5 minute interruption as long as I get to sleep at night.

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In the mean time, I’ll keep my energy levels up with Black Tea. Share your refreshingly honest moments on social media using the hashtag #RefreshinglyHonest.

I partnered with my friends at Honest Tea for this confession, I mean blog post. I hope this brings you some level of comfort if you’re unsure of what you’re doing or winging it like me.

Refreshingly Honest Confession About Sleep

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  • Sarah F

    This post pretty much sums up my life last summer/fall with a newborn. All I did was walk the Common and Beacon Hill to get my son to sleep during the day. Nights, he’d do 8 hours for the first stretch, with the remaining being a total crap shoot. That is until I read Weissbluth’s book this past January. It’s my sleep bible. Honestly, I wish I had read it earlier, as you are…We went from what felt like total chaos to two solid naps a day and 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night. I know the book, and specifically the CIO method, aren’t for everyone, but for us, it was exactly what we needed. My son is now 13 months and is the happiest, healthiest boy.
    Hang in there! You’ll get there too--good luck!

  • amy

    I used that book with my first. there is sections for tired exhausted parents the bullet points. Cliff notes version is that you should have the same schedule every night 7pm bed 7 am wake up. Nap at 9 for a few hours then after 1.5-2 hr of awake nap again for afternoon. around 1 once you get him to nap 2 hours in am. then 2 hour afternoon nap then a 30 min ish cat nap around 5 is the rough schedule I think! them drops 3rd nap around 7 months I think

    • meegan

      another confession: I push my baby’s bedtime to 8pm because if it were any earlier, I’d barely see her awake. 🙁 🙁

  • meegan

    my sleep confession: i would’ve never believed it in a thousand years, but i have become a bed-sharing mom.

    i had my first baby just a few weeks before you (congrats mama!) and yes, i too am struggling with how and when to get this baby into *normal* sleep habits.

    she starts off in the bedside bassinet for a solid 5-7 hours, but at her first peep I bring her into the bed, nurse her, and cosleep till morning. despite all the warnings about “accidentally rolling onto your baby” I still bedshare. it works for us.

    even so, i know eventually i’ll have to get this nugget trained to sleep in her own crib, in her own room, all night, without all the boob snacks.

    but who knows, maybe we’ll work on walking first 🙂

  • Stephanie

    I think we’re just a few weeks behind you with our baby, so I see a lot of similarities to your stories. Our baby also just started rolling over a lot (which also means we put her in one place and she ends up in another!) That also led to her rolling over and sleeping on her stomach. Which for the first night or so I tried rolling her back to her back (for the same fears you have). But from what I’ve read, once they’re rolling on their own, you just let them do what they want (i.e. let them sleep on their bellies). The first night she did this I barely got any sleep due to panicking the whole time about it.

    We haven’t really done any sleep training yet. Doctor still doesn’t want her going more than 6 hours at night without eating since she’s still on the small side, so I get up and feed her at least once every night, but usually after that middle of the night feeding, she also wants a 5am feeding then a 7…

    I suppose I should start reading all these books, too…

  • Kheira

    Our babies are around the same age so it’s always nice to see what you are experiencing with Tommy because we are almost always experiencing the same thing! It always makes me feel better. I often feel like the books and the blogs make you feel like there is something to fix or solve when in reality it seems like their behavior is age appropriate. We haven’t started sleep training since our baby still sleeps in our room and our pedi suggested we wait until we make the move to her permanent bed, which will be in a few weeks. In the meantime I just follow her lead and try to stick to a loose schedule. I might be in denial but I feel like she’ll figure it out eventually.
    Also, I too worry about SIDS, stare at the monitor to see if she’s moving (and because I just like to look at her) and have caused myself a few heart attacks out of worry. So either we’re both THAT mom or most mom’s do the same thing and nobody talks about it ???? I’m a proud “smother!” Thanks for keeping it real and for sharing -- I know it’s not easy to put your parenting experience out there.

  • Hillary

    I am super lucky with my 4 month old. She goes to sleep next to me around 11 pm in her bassinet, which is right next to where I sleep, and she will sleep until 8-9am. I love it now, but I’m terrified of what it will be like when she sleeps in her own crib in her nursery. I have luxury of sleeping next to her and checking her breathing right now, but that will be changing soon and it’s scary.

  • Megan B.

    Have you heard about the Owelet? It’s a breathing/heart rate/oxygen monitor thing that you can put on your baby’s foot like a sock and then it alerts you via your phone if there is a concern or change. I didn’t have one the first time around and spent lots of time staring at the monitor to make sure my baby was breathing. I will totally be investing in one for this second kiddo though! Seems like it will relieve some of the SIDS related anxiety.

    • Sarah

      I asked my pediatrician about it and she said that they often have a lot of false positives and to be careful of them. I didn’t want to be freaking out for no reason so I didn’t get one but I didn’t hear about it and maybe I will the second time around…

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