If you type the words “baby sleep” into Google, 188,000,000 results will appear in a fraction of a second. When it comes to parenting, there is no greater point of contention. There is plenty of contradictory information available to support arguments on all sides. I don’t know about you but the most common question I was asked when I first had a baby was about how they were sleeping.
As Mum’s we are desperate to know if we are doing the right thing, if our practises are the best for our children and so on. Even more so as first time mothers.
My first baby was particularly gruelling. She took hours to settle into bed for the night, would wake every hour or so and would only go to sleep feeding or being rocked.
Friends, family and medical professionals offered advice on how to get her to sleep. For the most part all that I had learned worked for a while. When she started teething she reverted back to being a difficult sleeper.
I was so uptight and wound up with a very strict schedule to ensure she slept through the night. No doubt she felt that stress, which compounded the whole situation.
Do what’s right for you
When I had my second baby I decided I would do what I felt was right. I (dare I say it) co-slept with my baby. I researched and read all I could find to determine the safety of my baby.
It was a decision that wasn’t taken lightly. Standing at six foot tall, waking throughout the night to my first baby in a low lying crib, left me exhausted and wreaked havoc on my back. I knew I wouldn’t be able to function that way with a new baby and a toddler, so I brought the baby in bed with me.
This resulted in a happier baby and a well-rested mama.
Don’t heed all the warnings.
People said things like, “He will become dependant on you” or “He will never know how to sleep on his own”.
Despite all the warnings and horror stories, my boy is one now and sleeps in his own cot fine.
It was much easier to get our son to sleep after almost a year of co sleeping than it was our daughter who went to a crib at 3 months. That’s not to say that is a direct result of their sleeping arrangements, every baby is completely different.
What I learned though is that they are babies for such a short time.
Cherish the closeness while you can
My little girl is now three years old. She has slept in her own ‘big girl bed’ for over a year. Lately (she has her mother’s height and can reach the door handle) she let’s herself into our room and snuggles in our bed.
I absolutely love it. She hops into my bed, wraps herself around me and goes straight back to sleep.
I figure she will grow out of this soon enough. There will be a time where she won’t even want to be seen in public with me, so I am happy to take all the cuddles I can get.
When it comes to sleep, whatever age your child is, lighten up. You know your kids more than anyone else. Figure out a way to do what’s right for everyone. If one method isn’t working after a while, try something else until you find your fit. Don’t be so hard on your kids but more importantly, don’t be so hard on yourself.