Sleep, or lack of it. It’s usually one of the first things new parents worry about and a topic that many have opinions on.
So, you’re really struggling with the sleep challenges that your little (or not so little) bundle of joy is throwing your way. You are desperate to get some sleep. You’ve done sleep training to death. You tried controlled crying two nights ago. Last night you rocked you little one till your arms nearly dropped off. Last week you feed him to sleep but then decided on the advice of a friend to stop. Tonight you might put him in bed with you and have done with it, despite what your other half says. He’s not the one getting up and down all night, you have to go to work too and you’re just too exhausted, nothing seems to be working.
I get it you’re mentally and physically drained, snapping at everyone and just wish you could sort this sleep stuff out, but you really don’t know what to do next. You’ve read you should establish a routine, but you’re not a routine sort of person, never have been. You know you should consider an earlier bedtime for your child but you’re juggling full-time hours a home and a baby, it’s not that easy to fit in a routine when you don’t get in ’till 5.30pm. Then there’s the naps that you hear everyone talking about. How the hell can you sort that out when your mum has him one day, your mother in law the next and nursery the rest of the time. At the weekend, you want to enjoy some family time not be stuck at home wrestling to get your baby to nap.
Well, firstly, you have to make a commitment to really want to sort this
sleep stuff out. ‘Sleep won’t get any better if you are not 100% committed to changing it. There is simply no point in trying something one night and not the next. You’ll take one step forward and two steps back, prolong the whole process and will still be in the same position as you were a few months ago. You really may as well not bother
I totally get how overpowering it can be. When overwhelm strikes take ‘baby steps.’ Decide on one thing you’re going to work on for the next seven days and stick to it. Or pick a time when you have a few days off from work and really stick to your plan to move forward with the sleep challenges.
Manage your expectations and those of others around you. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and give it time. Find out what you can expect realistically from your child and work with your own values and beliefs. It has to be the right time and option, not only for your baby but you and your family too. There’s no point in comparing what your friends baby is doing, different baby, different world. AND don’t listen to any advice that doesn’t sit comfortable with you.
One of the most vital ingredient after consistency and commitment is SUPPORT, emotional support. Parents who are not looking after themselves and running on empty will not have the internal resources to cope with a child who doesn’t sleep. It’s not selfish or irresponsible to teach your baby to sleep. It’s a basic human need like eating and sex. I can’t stress how important it is to look after yourself and FUEL YOUR EMOTIONAL TANK. (Look out for my blog about fueling your EMOTIONAL TANK later.)
Round up support from your partner, family and friends. Make sure they understand you need this support. It’s essential for your health and well-being as a mother, partner and daughter and an indispensable requirement for the success of ‘Sleep Training’.