As I write this, little miss Maddux is sleeping like a baby. Which means she is lying in her crib about to wake up and realize she is being neither fed nor held. You see, the entire phrase is misleading. Sure, a sleeping infant looks peaceful, especially to the uninitiated. But those who live with newborns know that the slumber of a baby is as ephemeral as the little gas smiles that dance across its face.
The literature says breastfed babies sleep up to three hours at a stretch in the day and up to five at night. The literature lies.
Thus it is with great pleasure that I announce that on Wednesday night, Maddi slept for three hours in a row, had a 1 a.m. snack and then slept for another four hours.
This may not sound like much, but prior to this week she has slept no more than a few hours at a stretch, and usually not more than 90 minutes. When she is awake, nothing but food and cuddling will do, even if it’s 4 a.m. (hey, especially when it’s 4 a.m.!), so her sleeping this much during the night is a Very Big Thing. Accustomed to operating on two or three two-hour stretches of sleep per night, I woke up Thursday morning practically drunk with slumber and exilharated by the implications of Maddi’s newfound ability to sleep for as long as normal newborns are supposed to sleep.
Granted, last night I planned for her to be in bed at 10 or 11 and she wanted to eat and play until 2 a.m., and then awaken for hourlong feedings every hour thereafter. But I’m going to call that a fluke (the kind that I hope can be remedied by not having iced cappucinos in the evening) and say that she is finally figuring out that nighttime is for sleeping and that, while my nighttime hours are flexible, Mommy is not a 24-hour buffet.
Once she starts sleeping for longer stretches, perhaps I will be able to do things I haven’t done in a month — things such as using the bathroom, eating in places other than the bed, and taking only one day to write the short weekly blog entry.
If our ambitious plan to have Maddi sleep for several hours at a stretch comes to fruition, my next order of business is even more optimistic — one day in the future, we may get Maddi to be OK with being awake while not being held or fed. That way, we can get pictures of her without Mommy or Daddy in them (oddly, what with the lack of sleep around here, nobody really wants to be photographed anymore).
But for now, I’m just happy that our little girl is now sleeping like a baby. Sure, it’s fitful, three- or four-hour sleep. But after four weeks of fitful, two-hour sleep, we’ll take it!
And here’s Maddi’s 4-week-old picture, taken during one of Maddi’s naps: