I just read this article about how to make your newborn sleep through the night and to be honest, it made me angry.
Because newborns weren’t made to sleep through the night! Of course, there is the odd time when a newborn will sleep 5 or 6 hours a night from the start but that is not the norm. Most newborns need to eat every 2 or 3 hours, sometimes more often.
I get that we live in a self-centered world and that likely these parents grew up not having to sacrifice anything. But come on.
Complaining that their newborn wakes up 2 or 3 times a night? That’s a good night! 3 of my 4 kids woke up 6-8 times a night until well over a year! My 19 month old is still waking up 2-3 times.
YES, it’s hard. Believe me, I get it. I’ve been there, and I AM still there. I’ve had my share of nights crying out of sheer exhaustion, angry at God because he didn’t seem to care that I was so beyond tired.
But our society, these doctors, is teaching the wrong mind-set for parenting. What they are teaching parents to do is also unhealthy for the babies.
YES, it matters how often a baby eats. They have stomachs that only hold a tablespoon or 2 at a time. They eat small amounts, they digest it quickly, and they are hungry again. This is how it’s always been. Babies waking up at night is nothing new; what is new is parents being unwilling to accept that their lives will be inconvenienced by a new baby is who is completely and 100% dependent on them for its survival.
Think of it this way. Would you rather eat your day’s food in many small portions, or heaped together in 1 or 2 sittings, when you are forced to eat beyond your appetite? Which is healthier? Smaller, more frequent meals! It’s the same for an infant.
These doctors are teaching young people, who will believe them because they trust the doctors, that babies and children are to be molded into something for our convenience.
No, they’re NOT!
Our children are a blessing. A gift from God. The Bible is full of verses that talk about parenting and the blessing of children.
8 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Genesis 1:28 NKJV
3Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.
9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! 12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
Matthew 7:9-12 NKJV
Just this last verse alone tells us that what the doctors are teaching is not natural. If your child is hungry, you feed him!
But nowhere in the Bible does it ever imply that children are convenient. And really, ask any parent just how convenient their children are.
As parents, there are sacrifices to be made. One of those sacrifices is usually a good night’s sleep. But we are called to do it joyfully (and yes, this is easier said than done and I struggle with it too when I’m up for the 4th time by 2am!)
So how do we manage when we’re tired to the bone?
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 11:28, 29 NKJV
We might not have our prayers answered by the baby sleeping through the night any time soon, but God will give us rest in our soul.
Lower your standards
If you’re too tired to get everything done, don’t. Do what NEEDS to be done, the rest can wait. Don’t use up those precious moments of energy you have on housework that isn’t urgent. Don’t feel that you need to go to play groups. Conserve your energy for what needs to be done and the rest can wait.
Share the load
I find this extremely hard to do, especially since I’m the one who gets up at night. My husband can’t feed a nursing baby, and he needs decent sleep so that he can drive to and from work safely. But I can sometimes take a break by myself when he’s home to watch the kids. My husband urges me to take breaks like this more often.
This is hard and it took me a long time to even think of it. But when you’re tired and up in the night, praise God. It’s hard to stay negative when we are praising our Father.
Take heart, and know that this shall pass
Your baby will eventually sleep at night. And shortly after that, he won’t want to cuddle anymore. And shortly after that, he won’t even want to hold your hand while you walk. But right now, he wants YOU more than anything else in the world.
Be blessed, Mama, and may you get rest soon!