When you are deep into a rough patch with a baby, it feels like nothing will ever get better. You feel helpless, unable to fix the problem. Usually, when a newborn cries, they need one of three things: 1. A diaper change 2. Feeding or 3. Sleep. The difficulty at that phase is the frequency with which these needs have to be met. As they get older, different needs develop. Since they can’t talk, it is hard to know which need to meet and even if you do know, sometimes, there is just nothing you can do but hold your crying baby until it passes. It’s an understatement to say that this can be very frustrating. We were deep into a sleepless phase of waking up every 2 – 3 hours with a five month old, spending an hour or more trying to soothe him back to sleep only to have him wake up the moment we tried to put him in his crib. We had a couple over for dinner and they gave us the best advice. They said, “the first year or two, nothing lasts more than three weeks.” This filled us with hope and relief that this horrible phase would soon be over. Then our friends added another piece, “Neither the bad times nor the good times.” Ah, there is the rub.
We had already experienced a good phase. At 8 weeks Carter was sleeping 8 hours. This was a tremendous break through and much sooner than the other exclusively breastfed babies we knew. I think, with formula or bottle fed babies, you can reach this milestone faster, but every child is different. So we thought we had figured it all out. Literally, we said that out loud. We were so pleased with ourselves….so naive. Three weeks later, the night before I went back to work (I went back to work for 3 weeks before becoming a SAHM) he started waking up at 2 am. So I started feeding him again and that was when the bubble burst. Nothing lasts.
So, when times are bad, don’t worry, it will only last three weeks. And when times are good, enjoy them because they won’t last either. Even beyond the first year, the only constant is change. For the past two weeks, Henry (2 – a celebrated, awesome sleeper) has been waking up at 5:45 four days a week and sleeping until 8:30 the other three days. He doesn’t want to go to bed and he says he wants to sleep with us (which he never does). But this too shall pass. It may take more than a few weeks, but even with a two year old, nothing lasts…though it can seem like an eternity at the time.
Just a cute pic of the boys in their PJs.