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How We Got the Baby Sleep to Sleep Thru the Night (Finally!)

Baby sleeps thru the night

6 month old Hazel, after a full night of baby sleep

Well, she finally did it! Last night Hazel fell asleep around 9:15, and then slept through until 7:30 this morning! I feel like the proverbial new woman!

Mike and I took her to her 6 month checkup last week. She was normal, if on the tall (i.e., supermodel?) side: Weight: 17 pounds, 12 ounces. Height: 28 inches. Smile: 2 inches—until she got three immunization shots in her thigh.

Before we left I told the pediatrician about the baby-sleep issues we’d been having, and I asked my burning question, Should I just let my baby cry at night? And she said, basically: yes, for 10 minutes. So I tried not to roll my eyes as I said, “While we’re just lying there next to her?” And she said yeah, but we could also consider having her sleep in another room. Oh.

We do have a separate room for Hazel. Hell, we bought a whole new apartment so we’d have a baby room all ready. And I remember Mike and I had a conversation when I was still pregnant with her. He said, “The baby will probably sleep in the same room with us for the first year, right?” And I was all, “No! I want sleep! We’ll put her down the hall and we’ll hear her cry and then we’ll take turns quietly feeding her. I need my sleep!”

Then that all went out the window when Hazel actually arrived. As I’ve mentioned, one of the 5 surprising things about new motherhood was that I’d rather lose sleep than have Mike (or anyone else) feed Hazel with a baby bottle at night. And now that my daughter is 6 months old, although I do value my sleep, the thought of having her go to bed in another room just seems terribly … sad. And lonely.

Anyway, we did set up the crib and baby bedding this past weekend, but we haven’t actually put Hazel in it yet. Instead, I switched sides with Mike in bed, so I’m not sleeping right next to her and she can’t smell me (or something). Then when Hazel cries at night, Mike will give her a pacifier but mostly we’ll just lie there and try to sleep. For 10 minutes. And lo: most of the time she’ll go back to sleep before the 10 minutes is up. Every time, in fact, except for once at 5 in the morning, when she might have genuinely been hungry. And then, last night it happened—no crying at all!

Mike was actually out of town on business. I put Hazel to bed at 9ish (I admit I nursed her to sleep—why follow all the rules at once?). Then I got up at 2 to go to the bathroom, and she didn’t stir. She fussed very briefly around 3, but I gave her a pacifier and she immediately fell back asleep.

Clang! Clang! Clang! At 4:30 I was jolted awoke to the worst sound ever: The old steam radiator in our room was going nuts. It sounded like a homicidal car mechanic was smashing a wrench onto an axle over and over and over again. For half an hour! It was so loud, I couldn’t even start to fall back to sleep. I ultimately recorded it so I could play it back for our maintenance man in the morning. But Hazel? She just snorted once or twice, then kept snoozing, with her little pink cheeks undisturbed as she peacefully inhaled and exhaled.

Of course, I was also lying awake because I was fearful that the pipes were going to explode and that I might have to grab Hazel and run as a geyser of boiling water rained down on us. Fortunately, that didn’t happen.

What did happen was that Hazel stayed asleep for longer than ever before, until 7:30, when she awoke refreshed and smiling what looked like a two-and-a-quarter-inch smile. Heaven!

More posts from Esther:

Woman Falls in Fountain While Texting: Don’t Be That Mom!

My Baby Wants an iPhone

Does My Cesarean Really Count as ‘Giving Birth’?

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