Or make me feel better when he doesn’t!
Let’s face it, before our beautiful, perfect little bundles of joy come in to the world, many of us have a preconceived idea of how they are going to behave and how “easy” it will be to be parents. How they are going to so easily slip straight into our lives… The reality, for many, is far different.
When I was pregnant with my son, I read ALOT! I mean, every night after work I had may head in a book or my phone. My husband was feeling a little neglected but I think he’s glad for it now! From all that research I came to the conclusion that gentle parenting was more my style and breastfeeding was something I really wanted to succeed with.
However without all of my independent research and night after night spent trawling the internet and Facebook groups there is no way I would have succeeded. Unfortunately a lot of the information about breastfeeding and gentle parenting are not readily available and unless you research yourself, you will never know this stuff.
What I have learnt to help my baby sleep through the night.
What I discovered throughout my research is that there are an infinite number of sleep aids, comforters, baby shooshers, white noise machines, swaddles, sleeping bags… The list goes on!
These are all things that many people claim will help your baby sleep through the night and while I love some products, unfortunately my son was not a unicorn baby and he didn’t come out of a box with a list of instructions.
I’ve tried an endless list of things and some times he sleeps well and I think YAY I finally found something that works!! Only to have him wake 2875305 times the next night. What may work for your baby may not work for someone elses. What works for your first child, your 2nd baby make despise!
Should I let my baby cry it out?
If you were upset, would you like your partner, husband, wife, parent, co-worker even stranger to just walk on by and say nothing? I will go out on a limb here and assume that you would feel horrible if your needs and emotions were completely ignored, especially by your loved ones. So why should the needs of your baby be any different?
Many people in todays society are so focused on getting their baby to sleep through the night that they forget that the little person, who they have created and cared for since day one is exactly that, a person, just like you or I. Just because they can’t talk yet, doesn’t mean their needs are any less than ours. Why would I completely ignore what my baby is trying to communicate to me just to get a few extra hours sleep?
But he shouldn’t need me throughout the night, why can’t he just go back to sleep like we do?
Do yourself a favour and look up the next 2 things I’m going to share, these resources helped save my sanity and got me through this exhausting, sleep deprived time in my life. The amazing Facebook group I found called The Beyond Sleep Training Project, a beautiful supportive group of mums and dads who talk about and normalise sleep challenges. They do not believe in any form of sleep training regardless of whether it claims to be “gentle” or not. They celebrate small milestones and support parents going through what feels like a never ending sleep battle.
The other is a book called The Gentle Sleep Book by Sarah Ockwell-Smith. Sarah has an amazing way of explaining the psychology behind why it is normal for babies and children to wake regularly during the night. Why regular night waking is actually beneficial for your babies health and helps to reduce the risk of things like SIDS. If you haven’t heard of this book you need to look it up! It will change your whole perspective on your baby sleeping through the night, or more so why they aren’t.
Loving your baby with every ounce of your being WILL NOT spoil him.
There is always advice thrown around about how your child is manipulating you by crying at night. The truth is, the ones who are left to cry it out and eventually fall asleep are not doing so because they have “learnt” to sleep. The heartbreaking truth is that they have just realised no one is coming to rescue them or tend to their needs.
There have been a number of occasions, especially since returning to work where I have brought my son into my bed. I needed sleep and it was the only way I could get it. People say that if you co sleep that you’re setting yourself up for a life of misery with a child that will never sleep in their own bed. Well I don’t know about you, but I have never met a 16-year-old child that still has to sleep with mummy!
Just enjoy your baby.
Everyone will tell you that the time goes so fast, try to enjoy the early years! You will want to tell them to shut up because those years are so hard and you’re exhausted. The truth is, my son is almost 16 months old and it feels like he was never a newborn. I get so sad some times that I can’t really remember those times. I wished the time away because society told me that he would sleep better when he got to 3 months, 6 months, 12 months… The truth is, he slept better in his first 3 months than he has most of his life.
In saying that, in the space of a week he went from basically not sleeping at all to sleeping through the night for the first time EVER. True to form, he hasn’t been consistent and is back to his old tricks. But he did it! He’s not broken.
My baby will sleep one day and I will miss these times. When you’re in the thick of it however, it feels as though it will never end.
Cuddle your babies, they won’t be little forever and I guarantee you will never look back and regret the love and compassion you show your children.