Anticipatory baby waking: When you wake ALL THE WAY UP because your baby sighs, coos, moves or hums…

Stay with me. The baby who is 2 weeks old is sound asleep.

She’s in your room with you in a bassinette about a foot away from your bed. It’s 11pm, you’re exhausted and you’re ready for as much sleep as she will let you get!

Your brush your teeth and your head hits the pillow hard! You’re expecting a good 2.5 hours before she wakes, and you need it badly!

Your eyes quickly close to the hum of your sweet bundle’s breath and you’re there. Your body and mind are finally at rest. Your body is in recovery mode. I mean you might even have a dream, you’re so asleep and then…

She sighs. You’re up. I mean all the way up! You’re standing over her, ready for action… BUT… she is sound asleep. Anticipatory baby waking strikes hard.

It is 11:23pm, you get back into bed. Within moments, sleep finds you.

You’re not sure how you’re able to hear her move her mouth but somehow from a full-on sleep, her tongue moves off of the roof of her mouth and her pucker wakes you like a 5 alarm fire!

You bolt out of bed. You’re standing over that bassinette and staring at a …SLEEPING BABY! Anticipatory baby waking strikes again.

You make your way back to bed. It is 11:41pm. You drift off to sleep with thoughts about whether or not your husband needs a hearing check…

At 11:57, she is screaming! At least you thought so, because in the .2 seconds it took you to whip the covers off and RUN 1 step to her bedside… she fell back to sleep… Anticipatory baby waking is gonna be the death of you.

You chug some water, rub your face and let your weak and exhausted body melt back into bed. You pull those covers up to your chin, close your eyes and think… what the fuck is wrong with him? How does he NOT hear our baby?

12:14am  she wriggles, you’re AWAKE!

12:36am  She moans, you’re AWAKE!

12:52am  She whimpers, you’re AWAKE!

1:18  Her lips smack apart, you’re AWAKE!

1:36  She sighs, you’re AWAKE!

1:58am  She cries, you give her a pacifier, you go pee, you come back from the bathroom, she is asleep and… you’re WIDE AWAKE!

You get into bed. Could this REALLY be happening to you? How the fuck do people do this? Anticipatory baby waking is worse than the baby actually waking.

People tell you that their baby sleeps 3, 4, 5 hour stretches at night. You would KILL for a 3 hour stretch at night! You’re exhausted. If you had the strength, you would cry. You decide to save the crying for the daytime hours like you did yesterday…

Now get this…

At 2:45, your husband wakes you up and says…“Honey, the baby is awake, I think she’s hungry.”


“Ok… I’m up.” You pick up your daughter, take her into the nursery (as to not keep your HUSBAND awake!) and change her diaper. You keep the lights dim so that you can keep her sleepy. You sit down in the glider and lay her precious warm body in your lap while you release your breast and remove your breast pad. You bring her to your breast, she wiggles her wide open, hungry mouth from side to and then latches on. All the exhaustion in the world couldn’t break the bond that merges the two of you together right now, but you are tired…

She nurses and you switch back and forth between, lovingly gazing at her and closing your eyes for a few minutes rest.

OK… Back to bed! Anticipatory baby waking is waiting for you.

2-3 more hours of up and down before we are back in the nursery doing this again.

Here is the plug for Northeast Doulas!

Hire a Postpartum Doula. Someone to work in the capacity of a “Baby Nurse” at night, but with the understanding and emotional support that doulas provide.

At night, your postpartum doula can care for the baby between feedings so that you can utilize that time to really sleep! I mean REALLY sleep.

Your postpartum doula will take the baby in another room and stay with her while she sleeps, (jumping up every time she moves) so that you can rest and recover!

We have learned over the years that a well rested mother can handle absolutely ANYTHING her baby throws her during the day!

Let our amazing postpartum doulas support you at night so that you can conquer the world during the day!


Authored by: Randy Patterson