I just read this article about sleep. It confirms my own experiences.
I generally say that Little Z slept through the night right away, and that she was a good baby and no trouble at all. This is mostly true, but there is a little white lie in there. It's easier not to explain, but I think, in light of this sleep research, I'll explain it.
She did sleep through the night right away a week or two after being born, but only for about two and a half weeks. Then, she started waking up once a night. She didn't actually cry. I would wake up around two or three AM and feel like she was awake. I would go to her little bassinet, and she would look up at me. I would pick her up and rock her in the rocking chair and breast feed her, and then put her back to bed. I might read a little bit and then go back to bed myself.
At first, it really bothered me, because she had been sleeping through the night, and then she just stopped, and I felt cheated of my eight consecutive hours. Then my dad came to visit and said, "You know, it's completely natural to wake up for an hour or so in the middle of the night. It's what everyone did before the light bulb." Then I started thinking about it differently. Why was I mad about her waking up? Did I really have trouble getting back to sleep? Was my waking up unsettling, really, or did I just have some preconceived notion about eight consecutive hours of sleep?
She kept waking up once a night for the better part of a year. I read House of Leaves, and I have to say, reading that book in the middle of the night scared the bejesus out of me! Mostly, though, it was just a really unique time that I'll never forget. I'm not generally awake in the middle of the night.
One night, there was a lunar eclipse, and I woke up BAH to share the experience with us. I'm not sure he appreciated that.
I know that I really came to accept waking up once a night at some point, because I went to a check up for Little Z, and the Doctor offered to put her on some sort of program to help her "sleep through the night," and I (without thinking) blurted out,
"No, no. She's fine. WE DON'T NEED THAT!" Sensing Mama Bear about to attack, he backed off.
Eventually, she did start to cry a bit in the night. We moved her crib to another room, and she grew older, and she slept through the night, and I didn't mind her sleeping through the night. And I certainly don't mind her sleeping eleven hours at a stretch now. But, it's still interesting to me how I just woke up and knew that Little Z was awake, without her crying.
Anyway, that sleep article may change how you think about sleep. I had already decided that it was okay to wake up for an hour or so in the night before I read it.