Sleeping through the night sometimes

Babies vary a lot regarding when they start to sleep through the night and even when they do start, they can easily go back to night-time waking during their first two years. In a large Australian study of more than 3,000 children's sleep patterns, researchers found that

I At age three months about 70 per cent sleep through the night occasionally.

I Among babies who start to sleep through the night, many relapse into waking at night during their first year.

I Frequent night-time waking is common until babies are 12 months old, and one in eight babies wakes three or more times every night.

I Nearly one-third of parents report significant problems with their baby's sleep behaviour.

I Regular night-time waking becomes much less common by age two.

Babies who sleep through the night often go back to waking at night when they're teething or have a cold, nappy rash or something else that disturbs them.

From the IVF mums in our study (see Chapter 18) we found that i At three months one in four babies was waking more than three times per night.

i At eighteen months one in five babies was still waking more than three times per night.

So, if your baby sleeps through the night regularly, consider yourself lucky — and if he doesn't, you're not alone.

Not all roses

When the babies of the IVF mums in our study reached 18 months old, we asked the mums to answer a number of questions about their overall experience of motherhood to date. The results showed that many were more satisfied with their lives as mothers than most other mums, and most found motherhood very enjoyable and rewarding. However, some of the mums were still struggling with their feelings, as these examples show:

I 'I think it's important that women who become pregnant after assisted conception (especially those with multiples) understand that once they are a mother, they are entitled to feel like any other mother. By this I mean that they are allowed to admit it's hard and not all roses. There is often an attitude that because this pregnancy is everything you ever hoped for that you should just be grateful and not get upset, tired etc. I myself struggled with guilt. This put extreme pressure on me and it wasn't until I admitted it was hard that I felt the pressure release.'

I 'Being a first-time mum I had absolutely no idea how time-consuming and at times difficult having a baby would be. I really felt a terrible failure and felt terrible when I had thoughts of "Why did I have a baby? I want my old life back" when I had so wanted a baby and tried for so long.'

For some useful tips to help you to get your baby to settle himself back to sleep after he wakes up, check out the What Were We Thinking! website

(www.whatwerewethinking.org.au).

If you're having problems getting your baby to sleep and are feeling frustrated and anxious, you may benefit from a stint on a mother-baby program: Refer to Chapter 20 for more details on such programs.

Pregnancy Nutrition

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