When you have to choose a parenting style to be implemented in your own situation you need to have the ability to adapt it to the child’s needs. I tried to have a prompt response to his needs, I’ve annihilated all cleanliness standards and perfection and chose instead to emphasize on the emotional stability of my baby boy.
That wasn’t easy, but I thought about the long term effects of such approach. I received several tips – including GP’s one (man), who was trying to help me get rid of postnatal depression – to let my baby cry in his crib, nothing can happen as long as he is safe, he can only go to sleep. I didn’t agree with this, especially because baby’s cry isn’t PND friendly. I know, babies cry a lot, scream a lot, is their only way of communication.
Internet is full of articles of how to get your child to fall asleep on his own, including letting him cry in a controlled way. Baby’s sleep has a very important role in his development. They say you should do everything you think that might work in order to put your child to sleep. A rested child cooperates better and and is less fussy. We’ve been through lots of situations. Since hospital discharge up to 5,5 months of age he has been struggling to sleep every day, didn’t have sleeps longer than 45 minutes, maybe once or twice he slept for more than two hours and I was worried, I didn’t know what’s happening, that wasn’t normal. Obviously, he just needed to sleep more than usual.
I understood then that even if the sleep is essential a baby will only sleep to cover his needs, as long as he feels safe. Safety is essential too, not only for babies. Adults need to feel safe too, otherwise we wouldn’t nod off to sleep. It takes time and patience. I know there are babies that sleep a lot, they only wake up for a feed and fall asleep again during the feed. I didn’t go through this, you probably get bored. I try as much as possible to set my baby’s environment friendly to sleep and create a very specific atmosphere such as darkness and silence.
I’ve wanted to write about baby’s sleep because in the last few days Robert has fallen asleep several times without any help from me. I wonder if it’s due to the discovery of a self-settling method. All this happens naturally, without intervention, and I can only be happy about that.
We also find several points of view regarding baby’s place to sleep. The standard recommendation is that the ideal baby should sleep in his cot, laid on his back, in the same room with the parents up to at least 6 months, to reduce the risk of sudden death. I remember that when Robert was almost 2 weeks old he fell asleep on his tummy, for about 2 hours and I was frightened that something bad might happen. He enjoyed a lot though. Since he can roll in sleep from back to tummy he can’t go back yet and starts crying, asking for help.
I didn’t agree with the idea of sleeping in the same bed (aka co-bedding), we reorganized everything in our bedroom to accommodate his cot. With very few exceptions he’s been sleeping there for the first three months, thereafter we left for a month, we weren’t anymore in our comfort zone and I had Robert next to me every single night. How can I put him back to sleep in his cot? Especially now, that he’s rolling, I find him beside me in our bed, in various positions, looking for his mommy’s warmth. Do you know a better place to be than this one? The cot is now a playground. He would scream if I put him there for sleep. I got used to him next to me, it’s easier when you’re breastfeeding, I barely remember something form the night, even if I am aware of all our awakenings.
I noticed that the time he goes to sleep is important too. I’ve read that babies like routine and that is true, but sometimes when you feel overwhelmed and tired the routine feels like a beautiful dream, that is quite difficult to accomplish. I learned that life with baby is unpredictable, comes with hard times and beautiful moments and can’t be compared to anything.
I’d like to write more, but mother’s sleep is important too. See you soon!