After a year-and-a-half of bleary-eyed mornings and heaping cups of coffee that served only to keep my sore-nippled body standing, my son is finally sleeping through the night – words I never thought I’d say.
It took a few brutal but necessary rounds of night weaning, where we both nearly drowned in tears, but now we are living the good life of uninterrupted sleep.
Feeling rested is a dream, though it’s not all peaches and cream at first.
Here are 8 things that happen when your child begins sleeping through the night:
1. You fall asleep and wake up 8 hours later in a cold-sweated panic, certain that the silence could only mean one thing. You sprint into your child’s room (or roll over if you’re like us and you co-sleep) and place your shaky hand on baby’s belly. Your hand rises and falls, as you let out a heaving sigh of relief and feel too giddy to go back to sleep.
2. The next night, you go to bed at a reasonable hour, and wake up at 3 in the morning, feeling completely rejuvenated and ready to start your day. You haven’t had restorative sleep in almost two years and it’s so refreshing you don’t know how to handle it.
3. The following night you cannot fall asleep until 3 in the morning, because you’re basking in the knowledge that once your head hits that pillow, you will not be awoken a mere two hours later. Is this real life? Why not live it up? You feel clearheaded and inspired (and maybe a little manic) so you stay up until the wee hours of morning.
4. The next day you are tired. Oh so very tired. In your fog, you are reminded of what the last 18 months were like. *Shudder.* You vow to henceforth have the same bedtime as your baby.
5. You start having anxiety about having a second child, even though that’s a ways away. You swear that when you do eventually have another, you will sleep train him or her early. As in, tough love, real deal sleep training – tears for days, rewards abound. Except you clearly don’t have it in you because you’re missing this thing called a spine, so you put all thoughts about this matter out of mind. Why ruin the sleep-high you’re on?
6. You are moving through full cycles of REM and non-REM sleep, which means you are actually having dreams again, and this includes nightmares. You wake up screaming and crying, sometimes chuckling, and then waking the baby with this bizarre behavior. How emotionally draining for you both.
7. Suddenly, everything’s funny. You can laugh again and make others laugh (or so your best friends tell you). Every day is a snort-fest, and every night a snore-fest. So this is what you’ve been missing all your child’s life. Who knew Heaven was a place on Earth?
8. You find something else to worry about, to complain about, to consume you. Like potty training, for example, but for real… here we go! (Stay tuned for the 8 Things That Happen After You Potty Train Your Child, coming soon (or not) to a newsfeed near you).