Up until a few months ago this is what our night time sleep or the lack of it looked like:
1: Massage my baby and bathe her at around 10 pm
2: Put on her pajamas, keep the room dim lit and breastfeed for sometime.
3: Put her down, give her the lovey to snuggle with.
4: Kiss her goodnight and pray. Pray with all my heart that she sleeps.
Every day, I would go online, read everything that has ever been written on the internet about sleep training, buy yet another book that claims to offer easy sleep solution and tried to follow everything that it said, word by word.
I would start my bed time routine at exact time every night, put my baby to sleep “drowsy but awake,” whatever the hell that meant, create a calm and relaxed environment to induce sleep. So you see my steps 1 to 4 were the full proof formula for a baby to sleep through the night. After all that’s what google said and google can’t be wrong! Right?
But were my prayers heard? Did she sleep after I completed step number 4?
Here is what usually happens after that.
5: She starts playing with her lovey for some more time, obviously not drowsy anymore.
6: Gets bored and realises she needs mama again.
7: She whimpers a bit for attention. I try to ignore.
8: She is crying her lungs out by now
All my research boiled down to two things. Either you let the baby cry as long and as loud as she wants to and you cry silently outside the room with her or you let the baby cry for sometime, go in and sush her (without picking her up ofcorse) and make the baby feel horrible because mama stands right there and won’t hold her and keep doing it until she gives up and finally sleeps.
This doesn’t even sound right, does it? But if mums all over the world are doing it, how could I miss out? So I did just that. It broke my heart but I tried people. I would soothe her by patting her forehead, caress her nose, pat on her chest but by now she screams so loud, we feel she would vomit anytime now.
At this point husband gets so mad that he says F*** google I am holding my baby. But hello! He doesn’t have what she wants! So ultimately I give in and breastfeed her to sleep, convincing myself to start over again the next day.
Somewhere around 7 months, after trying this crazy drama for almost a week, I lost it. What the hell was I doing? It was down right cruel! I realized leaving your baby alone to cry will ofcourse give you results. Your Baby will learn to sleep on her own but will she be calm or soothed from within? What impact does it have on her overall development?
Those poor little things cannot talk to us. They let us know their needs by crying or giving us cues. If the baby has stopped the only thing they know to communicate with you, how is that a positive sign? I feel they go back in a shell where they know that nobody is going to listen to their needs.
Would I ever want that for my baby? NEVER. I did not bring this baby to this world to abandon her when she needs me the most. Husband was right f*** google and let my instincts take over from here.
Our moms co-slept with us, nursed us on demand even if it meant waking five times, six times a night, sometimes she told me she had to sit up a whole night because I preferred to sleep on her lap and I would cry when she tried to put me down. They did not have technology, they didn’t have other superb moms support online, all they had was their motherly insticnts. They made mistakes, they learnt, and look how we turned out. All fine? Aren’t we?
I gave a lot and I mean Ah looott of thought to it and finally did what I needed to do for my own sanity. I packed up the crib and put in the store room for good. (That extra space?? I love it!!). I then, brought my baby to our bed. Even though I continued my bed time routine of massage and bath, I now nursed her to sleep.
This is what my night-time looks like now.
Steps 1 and 2 remains the same.
3: Nurse her until she is asleep
4: Wait for another 2-3 minutes to let her drift off to deep sleep.
5: Gently put her down. Not Drowsy, Not Awake but in Complete Deep Sleep.
6: Spend some quality time with hubby. (I never got that while sleep training)
7: Cuddle the baby and join her dreamland.
Easy! I started this at around 7 months. She is going to turn 1 in a few days, and we all sleep a lot better than we used to during the horrible sleep training phase.
She still wakes up twice, sometimes thrice a night (which I am not even sure because I am half asleep most of the time) , nurses for about 5 minutes and goes back to sleep. I know most of the time it is comfort sucking but I don’t deny her that. And because we are co-sleeping I do not even mind it anymore.
People keep asking me “Will she ever learn to sleep on her own?” Honestly, I don’t think about that anymore. But if it brings you any peace, just ask yourself, did your baby learn to sit up on her own? Crawl on her own? She successfully did, didn’t she? Then why do we have to be so obsessed about baby sleep schedules? To me, it is just another developmental milestone which I am sure she will learn when she is ready.
Until then, I make sure she is in a happy state of mind before falling asleep even if it means nursing, rocking or singing her to sleep.
Do you believe in sleep training?
Did it work for your baby?
Share your experiences in the comments below.
A new mom somewhere will be glad that you did!
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