I can fondly recall the delicious hours spent sleeping in on weekends because no kids = sleep at will. Or coming home from work and having the luxury of being able to catch a good nap before supper. People often tell you to enjoy your sleep before you have a baby. But as is always the case, you smile and nod, and give a little laugh as you say you will. And then before you know it, the little bundle is here and getting a full nights sleep becomes a distant memory.
Babies do not sleep through the night. Toddlers maybe, babies rarely. They do not sleep at will. They do not take naps when you want them to. Baby gurus say your child should nap for x number of minutes y amount of times a day. Trust me, babies do not follow ‘the manual.’ Count your blessings and jot it down in your gratitude journal if your baby sleeps well and easily. My first born was such a light sleeper that my hubby and I would sometimes have to text each other whilst in the same room for fear of waking him up. I’ve spent more hours of my life than I care to count making my son sleep, especially my marshmallow. And so, I found myself craving sleep.
Sure enough, I was warned that I would miss my sleep and that sleep-ins would be a thing of the past but little did I know that actually getting my little one to sleep would be a mission. I have two boys and my second is just shy of two but sleep is still on my bucket list;) Some days are a dream and others are far from it.
There are many sleep training methods that are offered as solutions to parenthood induced sleep deprivation. In pursuit of happiness, which pretty much means beauty sleep, I’ve dabbled in this and that. Some with more success than others.
This method requires establishing a routine for sleep, eat and play time. At the time that I had approached the consultant, my main concern was getting my Marshmallow to sleep by himself, without having to rock him to sleep. Believe you me, after all those hours rocking him to sleep I did not need to include bicep reps in my post pregnancy workout. This method did not work for me. Whilst it did help in establishing a routine which I lacked during the day, once you put your child down for his sleep session, you are required to leave him to self soothe and are only ‘allowed’ to check on him once during that period which is generally about 1.5 hours. My son bawled his eyes out uncontrollably during every single sleep session with no respite. Needless to say I couldn’t bear it and threw in the towel. I should add that when I had made the decision to try out the baby love method, I was at my wits end and was willing to try just about anything. In its defense though, there are friends who have had success with the baby love method.
The baby sense method requires using a much gentler approach. The authors of the book suggest that from the age of 6 months you can leave your baby to self soothe for up to 5 minutes. They recommend using techniques such as holding, talking in soothing tones and standing next to the cot. If crying persists, you can either stay in the room and place a firm hand on your baby’s back to reassure her or leave the room, returning in intervals of 1, then 2, then 4 and 6 minutes, increasing the interval by 2 minutes each time. If your baby becomes hysterical, she may need to be picked up, but put her down once she’s drowsy. This method whilst time consuming, did initially work for us, however, we went away for a mini holiday in which time Marshmallow reverted to his usual sleeping habits.
I eventually settled for the ‘my way’ method. Yes, that’s right…my way…because I realized it was the only way to save my sanity. What works for some does not necessarily work for others. I slowly stopped the rocking, then after a while I got him used to lying next to me whilst I held him close and he would eventually fall asleep whilst I lay on his bed. The downside was that he would often wake up needing someone next to him as a ‘security blanket.’ We have come a long way since and he sleeps better as he’s gotten older. My youngest has on and off days which sometimes turn into off weeks ..haha. So some days are ‘mombie’ days and others better. The one thing I have learnt though after two kids, is that no two kids are the same, and that what works for one may not work for another. The most important thing is that it works for you and your child.
All you wonderful mommies out there who have had ‘one of those days,’ hang in there…you are not alone.
Ps: These are my views on the sleep methods mentioned. Please pop over to the respective sites for additional information.