My kids were never very good sleepers. Nap time was not the issue but night time…getting them to fall asleep on their own in their own beds or getting them to sleep through the night without a night feed, again in their own beds, has been a challenge. They say in parenting consistency is key and let that just not be my strong suit. All it takes is one moment of weakness, to give into their relentless crying and helpless sobbing, to give into my own feelings of fatigue and frustration. On the other hand, what’s better than having a child fall asleep in your arms drooling on your chest. And of course there are always extenuating circumstances: they’re coming down with something (which is usually the case for at least one of the kids), teething (though this excuse is no longer valid once they have all their teeth), or simply growing pains (vague enough to cover about any situation).
I had already accepted the fact that some kids are good sleepers (but a baby who sleeps through the night on day 1? Seriously, who made this up?!) and mine were not. But I had such high hopes for the little one, my chance to do things over and get it right from the start. I wasn’t going to rock her to sleep!
You should know inspiration for this blog post came to me a few weeks ago when I was up at night with the little one who had been sleeping bad for weeks (she was coming down with something…) and I was determined to rectify the situation, as in ‘no night feed for you, missy!’. So I was rocking her to sleep, walking up and down the living room… All of a sudden I remembered the countless times I had walked around with my two older kids, rocking them to sleep, contemplating if I should try to sit down or even lean on the armrest of the couch, deciding to do so while trying to hold baby in position, slightly relaxing my tired arms, waking up baby in the process (grmbl), having to start all over again. So there I was rocking my little one to sleep, managed to sit down on the couch without waking her, planning my next move, trying to get a pillow in position, wishing I hadn’t tidied up the plaids, deciding getting back up to grab one was too risky. Almost in a semi-comfortable position, she woke up before my head hit the pillow so I caved, gave her a bottle and even ended up letting her sleep in our bed… It was then that I realized I had once decided I would not let her get used to being rocked to sleep. But all it takes is a serious cold and a double ear infection to let all my good intentions out the window. We let her fall asleep next to us on the couch, took her into our bed at night, sometimes even gave her a night feed. It really should not come as a surprise that she’s been sleeping bad ever since. So I tried to turn things around again. As much as I love holding her while she sleeps, I’m not doing myself or her a favor by making this a habit. The difficulty is that we have 2 other kids who might wake up should we decide to re-educate the little one and let her cry for a while. We risk having all 3 kids in our bed instead of just the little one…(note to self: buy bigger bed). Obviously these nightly escapades are exhausting (they’re surely wearing ME down) so by the time we need to get up for the day, the little one is sound asleep and there’s no waking her up. At daycare they praise her for being such a good sleeper, little do they know…I shouldn’t forget getting even with her when she’s older and trying to sleep in 😉