Why Do People Want to Know if My Baby Is Sleeping Through the Night?

Our blogger Rebecca Eckler says, after you give birth, you’ll basically get asked one question over and over again


 

There are two main questions you get asked when you are pregnant. The first is, “When are you due? The second is “Do you know what you’re having.” Answers to these questions I can understand why people are interested. It’s exciting having a baby! It’s exciting knowing what gender you’re having!

After you give birth, though, you’ll basically get asked one question over and over again. That question is, “Is he sleeping through the night?” I’m not sure why people are so interested in knowing this answer. Do people really care if my baby, or for that matter me, are sleeping through the night. I can’t imagine people, even my best friends, having a hard time falling asleep in their own homes and bed, staying awake wondering, “Hmm. I wonder if Eckler’s baby is sleeping right now.” But still, people ask. Strangers ask. Everyone asks.

They started asking when he as about two weeks old. I would look at people asking this question – Is he sleeping through the night – and say to them, “Um, no,” as kindly as I could. “HE’S TWO WEEKS OLD!” Now that he’s five months old, and I’ve been asked the question over the five month period about five million times, I don’t really even have an answer. This is because I’m not really sure WHAT constitutes “sleeping through the night.”

As an adult, sleeping through the night for me means going to bed at 11 pm and sleeping until 7 a.m. Even better, is falling asleep at 10 p.m. and waking up at 8 or even 9 a.m. on weekends. That, my friends is sleeping through the night. But babies have different rules when it comes to sleeping through the night. I’ve been answering, “Yes! He’s finally sleeping through the night,” but this is not entirely true.

He goes to bed at 8 p.m. because he can’t keep his eyes open any longer. Then, sometimes, he wakes up at 3 a.m. for a feed. Yes, he is only up for ten minutes and goes back down, but is that considered sleeping through the night? It’s not to me, but it’s good enough for me, if you know what I mean. Once, he slept from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. before he needed a feed. That’s a whole 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep for him, but can you really consider waking up at 5 a.m. “sleeping through the night?” I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s not exactly sleeping through the night, but he’s pretty much there, so my answer is ‘yes,’ because it’s simpler than saying, “I THINK he is sleeping through the night. What’s your definition of ‘sleeping through the night?’”

One day (rather night) soon, I hope he’ll sleep from 10 p.m. until 8 a.m. Then, for sure, I’ll consider that ‘sleeping through the night.’ Until then, and that may not happen for months, I’m still going to say, “Yes. He is sleeping through the night.” It just makes people happier to hear that.

 

More from Rebecca Eckler:

 

 


 

Rebecca Eckler is one of Canada's most well-known journalists. She has been a columnist with theNational Post, Canada's national newspaper, for five years, including a stint as a New York-based columnist and feature writer. She is the best-selling author of Knocked UpWiped!Toddlers Gone Wild, How to Raise a Boyfriend and The Lucky Sperm Club. Rebecca lives in Toronto with her fiancé and family. 

 

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