I just want to start this blog by saying that it will always get better. Even if it takes a long time, it will.
That is what I tell myself every time E won’t go to sleep, or wakes up every 30 minutes, or won’t be put back in her cot when I’ve finally got her settled. It’s hard work, it takes its toll, but I still won’t sleep ‘train’ my child.
Now, I am NOT judging anyone that chooses to sleep train, be it Controlled Crying or the ‘Cry It Out’ method. If it works for you, then brilliant. However, sleep training, is not something I want to put my baby or myself through. Hearing E cry is my least favourite sound in the world and I don’t ever want her to think that I won’t be there when she needs me. Trying to explain this to people though, is met with a plethora of eye-rolls and “you’re making a rod for your own back”.
Let’s break it down shall we?
I am not making a rod for my own back.
I highly doubt that I will still be feeding E to sleep when she’s 18 and off to uni (if she wants to go), or will I have to move into her house with her when she’s 40 and have to get into bed with her every night.
Eventually, ALL children will develop the capacity to link sleep cycles and sleep ‘through the night’. It’s a fact. It might take some years, but most children are sleeping better by age two. When I think about that, I’m over halfway to better sleep.
Does it meant that I wish she wouldn’t magically develop the skill now? No. I WOULD LOVE HER TO SLEEP THROUGH. Hell, I’d love for her to sleep in consistent 3/4 hour blocks. But, I’m realistic. I’ve changed my expectations and I know what she needs. Does that mean I will always do it this way? Probably not. It does get me down and soon I may change how I get her to sleep, that does not mean that I will leave her to cry alone.
Sleep training doesn’t always work
It’s not always a long term solution. It may work for a while, but there is usually a reason that a child wakes in the night.
I know people with older children that have used methods involving crying, which worked until the child was about 2, but now at 3/4 the child gets up frequently again. It’s not long term and it’s not the be all and end all solution.
I’m not creating a bad habit
There’s nothing wrong with your child needing you. I’m not creating a clingy child. Babies aren’t designed to be independent. For babies to be born at the capability to be independent with things like sleeping and feeding, they’d be born at a minimum of age 4. So, as hard and as exhausting as it is, your child is meant to be near you.
It’s hard work
I’m all for an easy life. So, if that means cosleeping and having her in our bed until she’s old enough to understand, that’s what I’ll do. My husband is brilliant and will do anything to keep us all happy. Yes, he probably gets slightly less sleep with E in our bed, but he also gets a happier wife and baby. Happy wife = happy life, as the saying goes!
I like the cuddles
As much as I moan about being tired (and I am, do not underestimate that). When I wake up and realise E is asleep, cuddled under my armpit, or I see her snuggled into her daddy’s back, then I know we’re doing something right. She’s content, she’s close to both of us and one day, she won’t do it.
So, yeah. The lack of sleep is prematurely ageing me; it’s caused arguments between my husband and I; I’d love a good 8 hours in one stint; it’s making me crave chocolate like you wouldn’t believe; and it’s bloody hard work, but I still won’t leave E to cry herself to sleep. It’s not what I’m comfortable with and I don’t believe it will do any of us any good.