Yep, been there! Said that phrase many times after I had my first child. I was already feeling like I had no idea how to be a mother. I mean I read all the books on pregnancy and labor, but no one said, “Oh, by the way, your little one is going to cry all the time and you have to figure out what he needs, oh, and he’ll never sleep…so you might want to read up on how to understand his ques and get your baby to sleep so you don’t loose your mind six weeks in.” Yeah, no one said that!
So, what did I do? Well, like almost every other parent out there, I lost my mind around week six. I heard all the normal advice…”all babies cry…he’ll eventually get so tired he’ll fall asleep…put him down drowsy…let him cry it out…you’ll get used to it.” That last one was my favorite…why did I have to just “get used to it”? There had to be something my husband and I could do to get our son to sleep through the night and us feeling less tired, frustrated and overwhelmed.
I began researching and reading anything related to baby sleep and sleep training. There are many different view points on sleep training for babies, as well as, which method is the best. What I wanted was a program that:
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- helped us teach our son how to go to sleep on his own
- showed us how to recognize his ques for being tired
- made him not need me as his prop to fall asleep
- didn’t make him feel like we abandoned him
- helped us set boundaries, so he would learn he couldn’t manipulate us
Yes, manipulate…when speaking about babies, manipulate isn’t a negative word, but rather an inherent behavior they’re born with. Babies learn very quickly that certain actions or behaviors can get them what they are wanting at the time. So as parents, my husband and I felt it was our responsibility to help our son understand how to chose the appropriate actions and behaviors. Setting clear boundaries would alleviate confusion for him as he learned to handle situations on his own….like sleeping.
Even though it’s been almost eight years ago, I can still remember the day I stumbled on to the Sleep Sense program by Dana Obleman. For me, I saw a light at the end of this tunnel. She simply explained the importance of uninterrupted sleep for not only babies, but parents as well, and how it can affect us all physically, emotionally and developmentally. Knowing I wasn’t alone in how I was feeling and that I wasn’t a bad mother or selfish for wanting to sleep again, I knew I was doing the right thing for our son, our marriage…and my sanity!
The Sleep Sense program offered everything I was looking for and more. The “more” being that it actually worked!! Now, don’t get me wrong…it wasn’t easy for the first few days, but by being consistent with the program and boundaries we set, our little boy was sleeping through the night ( no waking, no feedings) within two weeks, at 13 weeks old! Two and a half years later, we used the same program for our little girl, and once again…success!
To sum all this up, I want all mom and dads to know…It’s okay for parents to want their sleep back. It’s okay to want quality time with your spouse. It’s okay to help your children find the sleep they need to grow an develop appropriately. It’s okay to chose the program that fits for your family. And, it’s okay to ask for help!
Now, at the ages of 8 and 5, my little tikes are still sleeping…and so am I!!
Sleep Tight ~ Tanya