I have had two good conversations about babies and sleeping through the night. First, a dear relative of mine who has done plenty of mothering wrote to me, relating her experience:
"Looking back, I think I was measuring my success as a new mother on how much he (her little boy) slept while it was dark. It was very stressful and I felt like I was failing because he was not a good sleeper and my friends all had sleeping babies."
This made me think. I have been placing a lot of weight on how much Luke will sleep at night. If he wakes up earlier than usual, I wonder, did I swaddle him tight enough? Did he have enough awake time before bed? Did he get too much stimulation during the day, or not enough? Were his naps too long? etc..... Lots of seconds guessing.
The truth is that he will do what he will do. We try to set him up for a good night sleep, but sometimes that doesn't happen. Sometimes he has a poo that is bothering him, sometimes its gas, sometimes something startles him (like our neighborhood two-year-old crying, or the barking dog next door). I cannot control all of the variables, so why put so much into it. We will just keep trying for good nights. I won't use his sleeping pattern as a measure of mothering success. Maybe I should measure it by is ever-increasing chub. :)
Also, talking with Grammy helped me have more compassion for him during his nightwakings. If he wakes up, he needs something. Maybe he is struggling with a poo and wans some comfort. Maybe his tummy is empty and is hurting him. Maybe he just needs a cuddle from mama. I can't get upset at that. :)