What Your Baby Is Doing While You Sleep At Night

We never invested in a baby monitor when our daughter was born. Honestly, our apartment is so tiny we figured we'd hear her if she needed us, even with both bedroom doors closed. We always have heard her, loud and clear, when she's ready to wake up or talking to herself or sometimes even when she rolls over hard and whacks into the wall of the crib. But I do sort of wish we'd bothered getting a video monitor, because it's fun to get a peek at the things your baby is definitely doing while you're sleeping. Spoiler alert, it's not always sleeping, dear reader.

Half of what we know about how our daughter spends her time while we're sleeping is because we spent so much time traveling to visit family and sharing a room with her. We'd sneak into the room to go to bed long after we thought she was asleep, only to find her chatting away to her stuffed animals or just laying there staring at the ceiling. It certainly made me wonder about all those times I'd close the door to her room when putting her down for a nap, her eyes still open and her little arms still wiggling around. Sometimes when she'd go down for a nap she wouldn't make a peep until an hour or so later. Did she ever fall asleep in there, or was she just staring at the mobile?

The most important thing about what your baby is doing while you're asleep is that you're asleep, right? However, and just for kicks, here's a list of what your baby is probably up to in there while you're resting up for the next day.


This is a tricky one, but something you pretty much have to tell yourself in order to get any sleep, especially when your baby is very tiny. Your baby is breathing in there. Your baby is breathing in there. Repeat it over and over again.

I remember lying awake at some ungodly hour in the middle of, well, most nights, when my daughter was just starting to sleep through the night, completely convinced that she must not be breathing in there because she hadn't woken up yet. This is when that video monitor would come in really handy, or one of those foot monitors (although then I'm pretty sure I would have gotten even less sleep because I would have been up every 20 minutes checking it).

Dreaming Boring Dreams

Apparently, kids' dreams (until they're about 7 or 8 years old) are mostly static and quite boring. So maybe she's dreaming about a bottle or snuggling in your arms? She just might not be meeting Michelle Obama in her dreams quite yet.

Doing Crib Laps

Once my daughter was a few months old and could roll around her crib, we used to get such a kick out of seeing how she would end up in the morning. We'd put her to sleep on her back facing the same way every night, but she'd always end up at the other end of the crib with her legs facing a different direction and sticking through the crib rails. We used to love imagining how she managed to get herself into those positions.

Talking To Toys

On summer nights —when the sun just doesn't seem to set ever, let alone when we put our daughter to bed — she can still see her toys across the room. Luckily, they don't seem to be too tempting, but when she can see them she does like to have little chats with them. We like to imagine she's telling them about her day or complaining about her parents making her go to bed so early that the sun hasn't even set yet.

Not Sleeping

This freaked my husband and I out the first time we snuck into our daughter's room in the middle of the night, fully expecting her to be knocked out, only to find that she was wide awake and sitting up! How totally bizarre!

(But also, how totally amazing that she was just kicking it by herself in there. Maybe she was counting sheep?)

Practicing Words

Our daughter goes to sleep with a soft lovey that's supposed to be a bunny but looks more like a cat. She also sleeps with a stuffed goose. When she wakes in the night she'll often practice saying the word goose over and over again or try out whatever word she picked up that day. It's hilarious, yes, but sometimes terrifying when you wake up to hear her shouting, "Bye!" as loud as she can.

Chewing The Crib Rails

We didn't have a crib chewer until we recently took our daughter's pacifier away. The first night we took it away, she fussed for a while and eventually fell asleep.

When we got her out of her crib the next morning, she was covered in little flakes of paint chips and there was a sizable section of crib that was missing its white paint. Luckily they don't paint cribs with lead paint anymore! Thankfully, it was a short-lived chomp, but I have friends who have much bigger sections of crib missing paint.

Poking You

We've never co-slept, partly because it was against the rules of fostering and our daughter's adoption wasn't finalized until she was 7 months old (even though we had her since birth).

However, the few nights since her adoption was finalized when we've taken her into bed with us— usually when she's sick and waking repeatedly in the night — she has spent the entire time poking us or pulling our hair or getting her face up close to ours to see if we're awake, which is a guaranteed way to wake me up. It's absolutely hilarious until you're so tired that you just want to poke her back.