Tired New Parents, Take Heart

Before you had your baby, you never imagined that you would feel such love, exhilaration, and tenderness. Or such exhaustion. Everyone’s heard of the lucky parent whose baby slept through the night right from the very beginning. But according to the new parents who visit Parent Soup, sleep is a precious commodity.

One mom from Michigan took her four-month-old baby who was waking up three to four times a night to the pediatrician, desperate for some affirmation that her baby was normal and healthy. "My doctor told me that 95 percent of four-month-old babies sleep through the night," she reported on the Parent Soup message boards.

Other tired moms begged to differ.

"I think this is hogwash!" wrote in one mom. So let’s take a survey -- write back and tell me how many times a night your baby wakes up.

In only eight days, 40 parents had responded. The results? Only 39 percent of four-month-old babies sleep through the night. One mom wrote in, "My little munchkin wakes up three to four times a night too. Will we ever sleep again?"

Which leaves the question: What do you do about a baby who won’t sleep through the night? The basic argument boils down to whether you should comfort the baby whenever he wakes up, or whether you should let him cry it out, and teach him to put himself back to sleep.

The Problem
"My baby boy has been so miserable lately -- waking up three or more times per night. Trying the cereal routine to hold him over till morning didn't work. Trying the stay-up-later routine to get him good and tired didn't work. Going to the doctor to check for illness, teething or ear infection found nothing. Then my doctor informed me that I need to teach the baby to sleep! I almost died right there on the spot. I thought the one feature a baby came with was the ability to sleep. The doctor said, ‘Let him be, let him try to put himself to sleep. If he cries, go in and pick him up, rub his back, and put back down.’ And repeat until either he sleeps or I drop dead from frustration. I tried this today. It didn’t work and I'm at my wits end. I can't stand hearing him cry, is there any other way?"

~ Luci, Connecticut

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