Until I became a parent I had never heard the words “sleep training,” never knew the anxiety that the topic of sleep could bring to the normal adult. It seems as though every well-meaning friend asks if my little one is “sleeping through the night.” Sometimes I feel as though the parenting books are judging me too. Hours have been spent scouring countless parenting guidebooks full of promise of a reclaiming a predictable routine by just following a few simple steps…let them cry, don’t let them cry, pick up, put down, shush, pat…
More criticism is heaped on as the books tell you what NOT to do. Don’t sleep with your baby, don’t rock or cuddle them to sleep, don’t feed them to sleep. Well I have a confession to make. I am GUILTY. Of all of it, but at the same time I recognise that these don’t make me a bad mother, I agree that they just aren’t sustainable practices as my little girl gets bigger and heavier.
My poison was in fact my Phil & Ted’s Smart. The baby started having tummy troubles which would wake her up from a sound sleep with screams, and the only way she seemed to get through more than 45 minutes (1 sleep cycle) at a time was to keep her mostly upright. The maternity nurses suggested propping the bassinet up on an angle, but I couldn’t safely get it high enough to help since she would migrate towards a side in her snug swaddle. The only place she seemed to sleep for stretches was in the Smart which is at a 45 degree recline with the Verso adapter. The doctor (yes it was prescribed), suggested that this was the safest spot for her in the meantime, since she needed her sleep, the straps kept her from going anywhere, and it had lots of ventilation. The bonus was that I could easily rock her to sleep in the pram and wasn’t chained to the house.
I’m not recommending you use your P&T’s as a bed, but everyone has their own poison, whether it’s that magical baby swing or the vibrating carseat you belt her in and drive loops around your neighbourhood. Now that our tummy troubles have been solved (turns out to be a food intolerance), I am preparing for “sleep training” to get her to sleep in her cot. Not just sleep in her cot, but getting her to sleep without feeding (which has been verboten by the doctor because of said tummy issues), and without a horizontal jiggling motion patented by my partner, as she will soon be too heavy to practically do this.
Different things work for different families, but my holy grail is for her to sleep happily on her own without hours of settling on an average night. Thus, starting Friday, I am going to consistently get her to sleep in her cot. I’ve done my research, I have an idea of the method and routine that will work best for my baby and our family. Hopefully I can come out from the haze in a week with a baby who has learned to settle herself. If not, then I guess we will be off to sleep school – another thing I had never heard about.