It’s 6:31 pm and my little man is asleep! It took all of 5 minutes for him to go sleepy byes. There was no shouting, crying or magic wand waving either; he said that he was tired and off to bed we went. Sleeping has been a big issue for him me. When I had Miss 12 she was what the textbooks would call “the perfect sleeper”. At 7 weeks she slept from 10 pm-5 am, by three months she was sleeping 12 hours straight. I didn’t employ any techniques or tricks either–she slept like clockwork 7 pm-7 am.
Fast forward 9 years to when I had my son, and I thought he would follow the same pattern. I was wrong! He liked to sleep during the day and play at night. He was a screamer too. I was exhausted and I don’t know if it was by day four or the fourth week (it was such a haze) I went against all those doctor warnings of co-sleeping and took him into bed with me. I fed him to sleep. Some would say this is a no-no but hey, I didn’t see anyone of those experts offering to look after him during the night. He still wasn’t a great sleeper and woke up quite a few times during the night. But I believe co-sleeping saved my sanity.
Now, I must state this upfront; I don’t believe in the cry it out method and I don’t believe you can spoil a baby, so, I rocked him to sleep, I fed him to sleep, I sang him to sleep, and I laid down with him to sleep. I used to get annoyed when he didn’t fall asleep immediately, actually, I sometimes got downright mad it took so long. My husband has received many text messages from a very grumpy wife moaning about how long it took to get his their son to bed.
I tried to employ a strict routine of dinnertime, bathtime, and bedtime but some nights I would be lying awake in his bed for 3 hours with him crying or tossing and turning and even hitting me because he didn’t want to sleep. I felt guilty for getting angry. After doing some research and finding a plethora of articles and studies on why babies are not biologically wired to sleep through the night, I eventually gave up the struggle. I stopped focusing on the time, I stopped thinking about all the work I had to do and I stopped listening to the experts and the opinions offered by others on sleep training and I started listening to what my son was trying to tell me. It was the best decision ever!
Out went the routine and the set bedtime and I trusted my son to let me know when he was tired. Now bedtime can be anywhere between 6 pm and 9 pm but it’s mostly around 7:30ish. It seldom takes a while for him to fall asleep, it happens mostly within 5 to 10 minutes. Now and then he will wake up during the night or early morning (why 4:30 am, I have no idea) but he’ll go back to sleep quite quickly. He sleeps through most nights (thank you, thank you, thank you). I still don’t get enough sleep but that is because I go to bed too late as I prefer to work at night (I’ll be changing this soon.)
If you are struggling to get your baby/toddler to sleep may I suggest to let the struggle go. Lay down with them, cuddle them, kiss them, feed them and sleep with them. Listen to what they are telling you through their behaviour. Some children might like to follow a set routine and some will just go with the flow. The time does go by quickly, soon there won’t be any bedtime snuggles, so try to enjoy bedtime.
Here are some great websites and groups:
Raised Good Natural Parents https://www.facebook.com/groups/2023815077893784/
I’m not affiliated with any of these groups or websites. They are just a few helpful ones I have read.
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