When speaking with a mum recently about her child’s sleeping habits she told me about her feelings of guilt about the things she had tried and failed in trying to help her baby sleep and I thought this would be a good article topic to write about.
Our world is full of different ideas and belief’s on how best to get your child to sleep. There are co-sleeping parents whose loved ones believe in cry-it-out and don’t understand why they wouldn’t let their baby cry-it-out. Then there are parents who do cry-it-out whose loved ones don’t understand how they could let their baby cry. And, of course, there is everything in between.
I myself am an optimist, I always try to find the good in people, so I find myself frequently reminding myself that people are only trying to help and honestly feel they are giving their best advice and those without kids that give advice, I definitely find myself take their advice with a grain of salt. I certainly believed I know & had all the answers before I had kids. It seemed & looked to be so simple didn’t it? Little did I know then what a learning curve motherhood would put me in! Finding out that I didn’t have as many answers as I thought, so now I find myself knowing that these non-parent people out there to be in the same place as I was all those years ago.
When I would mention to people about my daughters challenging sleeping habits, I got ALL kinds of advice! From the lady (who was a stranger!) on an airplane asking me if my baby needed a bottle! When actually my daughter was overtired and needed a nap as I frantically tried to “rock” her into a slumber in a small confined space while you feel every set of eyes glaring at you, to my mother-in-law telling me to keep her up late so she’d sleep better, anybody and everybody thought they knew and had the right to tell me how to help my daughters sleep:
Examples of these range from
“You need to make more noise when she sleeps” – The truth being…. she can’t sleep through noise!
“Don’t let her nap” – The truth being….that less naps meant being more over-tiredness which meant more night-wakings!
“Keep her up late” – The truth being….the same as naps over-tired child who couldn’t sleep well
“Give her a dummy” – the truth being…yes of course why hadn’t I thought or tried that when he was up every hour last night….what a life saver…thanks for that great tip.
“Breastfeeding is not enough” – Yes it is! She’s not hungry. She’s tired. (and to make that one worse I was advised to give up breastfeeding for it to still continue on formula & solid as I felt so guilty that I can be depriving my baby)
“When my baby was 6 weeks, I just put her to bed and didn’t get up again until morning. (even if crying)” – No thank you that one was definitely not for me.
“Does she have to go to sleep now?” (when people wanted to visit) – Yes. Yes she does, because the ramifications of not getting her to bed now will not pretty.
The advice was endless and much of it might work for other people, but just not for me. The beautiful part is that these are my children and my husband & I will be the one who gets to decide what’s best for them. So, I nodded my head or said we tried it. I wish I had listened to myself more strongly about breastfeeding and found the right help which is out there you ay just have to look harder for it. This by no way, means I am strict “lact-ivist” solely believing breastfeeding is the only way to do it. I know many formula feeding mums are just as loving and their babies will be just as smart as mine. These decisions are very personal & we need to support them both equally.
When you are struggling with your baby or toddler’s sleep and everyone around you either has “the answer” or the baby or toddler who is that perfect sleeper, it is very easy to lose confidence, and you will find yourself wonder if you’re doing everything wrong. You might start to question your ability to parent. But, what I tell my clients a lot is that sometimes you do EVERYTHING right and your baby just won’t sleep. You can only do so much. As the phrase states, you can lead a horse to water, but can’t make him drink it and it is so true when it comes to your baby’s sleep.
Your job is to provide the soothing sleep environment and to give the opportunity for sleep and the rest is up to them (unfortunately in many of our cases!). When my daughter, who is now 7, tells me at bedtime “I’m not tired” (when she says that every night and I know is not true and just that she doesn’t want the day to end), it is my job to set firm limits that lights are out at 8:00, no matter what. Most of the time she is asleep in a few minutes and other nights her might take 10-15 mins to settle herself, (as know from our bedtime routine) Either way, I’ve done my job. And, when she was a baby, my job was to make sure we stuck to routine pretty regularly because of her temperament and getting her the sleep she needed because the ramifications were too great if we didn’t. Sure, family members didn’t understand why we had to skip the Sunday lunch for her nap (among many other things), but her sleep and well being came first and we knew her best. AND, we were the ones who had to get up at 10pm, 1am, 3am, etc. when she wasn’t sleeping from being overtired. They weren’t going to do it! There are many things to help promote sleep, of course, and that’s what this program is all about, but at some point you do have to let go and realize they are just going to do what they are going to do and they will have good days and bad days just like we do.
All in all, YOU KNOW YOUR BABY BEST! You are the one with them day in and day out (even working parents like me!). And, you know what you can handle as a parent. We knew the result if we kept our daughter or son out too late, so we chose very carefully any of our special events we were going to attend. As attending them would always set us back at least a week. My second daughter, has been much more go-with-the-flow, so I can definitely see how people do it after my first daughter had major issues with sleep (and still does at aged 20!!). It just wasn’t going to happen with my third daughter & our first son. Their personality, temperament, and sleep needs were all different.
Get a Personalized Sleep Help For Your Baby or Toddler guilt free
Sleep training your child requires work – but it doesn’t have to make you feel guilty! Lisa Gargaro from Dream Sleep Club specialize in creating personalized Sleeping Program which are customized to your own parenting philosophy. This ensure you will NEVER be made to feel guilty or pressured. Even better, once you have your sleep plan, Lisa Gargaro, the sleep consultant, will walk you through each step of implementing it at home.
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