Why I stopped worrying about my babies sleep
As I sit on my 2 year old’s floor beside her bed at 2am again, in a bid to try to get her to fall back asleep happily in her own bed (please, please) and stay there (I believe in miracles) I wonder if this is how it should be?
I try every night to send her back to her own bed, to her own room at the opposite end of the house to me, to sleep alone. She has only been on the planet for less than 2.5 years and since she was 8 months old, she’s slept alone (I know the guidelines are 6 months, but I found it hard to let go). But now she is mobile, and has vocabulary (and a pretty amazing amount of it too) she is telling me what she needs, and she prefers to sleep with me.
So why am I not listening to her, why as a society are we conditioned/geared towards making our children sleep alone? The people most precious to us in the world, the ones most vulnerable. So they can learn to be independent? To stand on their own two feet? I can’t imagine anyone having this viewpoint when it comes to taking them to the park,”you take the bus, I’ll meet you there!” or in the supermarket “can you go find the cereal, and I’ll get the fruit”.
It wasn’t always like this though
She slept through from 8 weeks old! You know that really annoying Mum at new baby groups looking fresh faced and wide eyed, telling everyone that will listen that their baby sleeps through, and wondering what everyone else was doing so wrong? Yes, that was me! She slept through every night until she was 16 1/2 months old. What changed? My 2nd daughter was born, I had a night away in hospital, and the new baby came into sleep with me, and suddenly, my eldest wanted to as well, because “I’m still a baby too Mummy”. How could I argue with that? She was still a baby.
- the sleep fairy,(we both love this concept, but she usually comes in saying “I don’t want a present Mummy, I just want you!” (what do I do with that?)
- keep taking her back to her own bed,
- Dory’s sleep book,
- sleep tight all night unicorn (very cute, but she just ignores the colour change even though she knows colours)
- staying with her in her room till she sleeps, for as long as it takes. Including one night last August staying up with her until 4.30am until she finally got the message that she wasn’t coming in.
The only thing I can’t do is let her cry it out alone. I know for some people it works really well, but it just didn’t work for us. I don’t have the heart for it, we tried it for about a minute when she was 9 months old, and both caved and felt so guilty afterwards (we’re clearly wimps, did you know that?)
But she is a determined little madam, and lately I’ve been so tired she usually wins.
I wake up with her next to me in bed, (she makes her own way through), she leans over and kisses her sister (who is usually led at the other side of me-but that’s another story) and often will blow a raspberry on me too, then follows the heart-sweller
“Good morning Mummy, I love you very much. We slept really well didn’t we!”
No! I want to moan. No, WE didn’t, one of us slept in a 6 inch sliver of bed between 2 spread eagled babies, and when I wasn’t being hit in the face by a rogue arm, I was having a toe nail dug into my back (Remember to buy new baby nail scissors!!) and waking up every time either of them went “too quiet”! But I don’t, I just smile my best Mummy smile and say….
“We did sweetheart, are we going back to sleep cause it’s still sleepies time, it’s only 5.30am and I’ve had less than 4 hours sleep, No? Ok, lets go and play and make breakfast then” and as Marlin says in Finding Dory “And we’re up!”
Why fight it?
So if this happens Every. Single. Night. Then why am I still fighting it? Co-sleeping is a thing, right? This must be what my children need right now, they are young for such a short time and there WILL come a time where they wouldn’t dream of getting into my bed; so as much as I used to value my 11 hours a night sleep above all else:
I now value my children’s hearts above all else, and children with full hearts, who know they can fully trust their parents to be there whenever they need them, must be the ones that grow into the best humans. Right?
P.s. I just sneaked back to bed as I thought she’d drifted off… 3 minutes later she wandered in and climbed in bed with her arms outstretched for a big cuddle! Maybe tomorrow?? Maybe not. Besides, I really enjoy the snuggles ? All I do know is that I’m going to let go of the guilt and enjoy them!
Does your little one make their way to your bed in the night? Do you send them back or snuggle them?