At three months, my little girl slept through the night for the first time. A proud mommy moment followed. When she did it a couple more times, I was ecstatic. It seemed so early! How lucky I was to have a three-month-old sleeping through the night without nursing
After she did this, I asked my husband to take over in the evenings, should she wake up – so that she wouldn't think she was going to nurse if I picked her up. He agreed. She woke up every night; he would soothe her back to sleep. She really fought going back to sleep, and it could take nearly two hours, some nights, to get her settled. Then she started waking up more than once. She was upset, Daddy was grumpy, Mommy was confused.
Now that I write that, it's pretty obvious she wasn't quite ready, yet, but in the moment, I thought perhaps she just wasn't ready to miss out on the cuddling – or maybe she was just dropping her pacifier and wasn't mature enough to self-soothe.
I did some research. Most people said: “let him/her cry it out. It won't hurt anything; babies get used to it.” I couldn't do that. Although I believe parents who resort to or initially choose this method of parenting have good intentions, it is not one I can condone in myself. It is physically and psychologically unhealthy for a baby to be left crying on their own. While some babies, doctors will admit, can handle the stress, it can be damaging to others. I wasn't comfortable taking that chance; I couldn't find any information that really helped.
One evening, in desperation, I laid out a blanket on the floor, curled up with my baby to my breast, and she nursed herself to sleep. Then she slept soundly and did not stir until it was time to wake up. A little tentatively, I suggested to my husband that maybe she wasn't ready to sleep through the night.
Since then, I've nursed her when she wakes up. She sleeps more soundly, for a longer amount of time, and she settles as soon as she's done feeding. No more waking every hour. No more sleeping only eight hours. No more crying every time we set her down. It's really nice. Who knows when she'll sleep through the night, again, but I'll enjoy this peace and closeness as long as she needs it.