For the past two nights, Liza has slept better than she has in her entire little life! Very nice for mama and very nice for everybody else because I am definitely a better person when not sleep deprived. Be it because I am actually sleeping or because I know this is likely a fleeting phase, sleep is on my mind.
In order to understand my thoughts on infant sleep, you need to understand my thoughts on babies:
Babies are people. Like you and me, babies have needs that must be met in order to be happy and whole. Liza's needs are simple -- food, clean diapers, loving interactions, and sleep. The food is easy. Liza loves her mama's milk. Clean diapers are easy especially now that she no longers pees buckets and only has a dirty diaper if I eat dairy. Loving interactions is the easiest of all. I mean, really. She is so flipping cute that I can't stand but to snuggle and play with her all day long. Sleep.......not so easy.
Actually, sleep is where it gets tough. As an adult, I need long stretches of sleep. My body craves at least 8 hours of interrupted sleep. But, Liza is not an adult. She is a baby. Babies do not need long stretches of uninterrupted sleep. In fact, babies are designed to wake frequently at night. This article is a wonderful, research based piece on the facts and history of infant sleep. Even without evidence-based research, common sense tells me that babies are designed to wake frequently at night: their stomachs are small and breastmilk is easily processed thus designed for frequent feedings, their first 40 weeks of development were spent in a pitch black loud safe place and last but not least, they are babies and everybody knows that babies don't sleep all night long.
So yeah, I totally accept that babies are not designed to sleep like adults. But this doesn't mean that I do not foster good sleeping habits in hopes that my babies will sleep longer stretches at night. Trust me. I foster good sleep with every bone in my body. We use white noise machines, a swaddle, light layers, a small heater in Liza's room, sleepy cues like that first little yawn and even though it scares me every time she goes to sleep, Liza has a blanket to snuggle. But, if she wakes up, she wakes up. If she needs to be nursed and rocked in the middle of the night, I will nurse and rock in the middle of the night. If she is ready for the day at 4:30am, Taylor will start his day at 4:30am. For us, there is a fine line of respecting Liza's baby needs and still fostering good sleep habits.
So there. These are my thoughts about sleep. And, I consider myself lucky that Liza cooperated in her morning nap this morning to let me write these thoughts about sleep. Thanks, Little Baby Sister Girl!