I am sure all parents out there would agree with me about the large amount of differing and often confusing opinions, techniques and ideas when it comes to ‘advice’ on sleep & settling associated with babies. Google, Facebook, publications, friends, family, health professionals … the list is endless when it comes to this ‘advice’.
Parents can become so overwhelmed, confused, exhausted and subsequently not enjoying parenthood from all of this ‘advice’. Many parents get to the stage where that they become lost and often don’t know where to turn. It breaks my heart when I have a mum so tired and distressed they cannot stop crying.
It is a common scenario that parents have attempted multiple settling techniques from multiple sources …. but often out of exhaustion (and nights are generally the breaking point) they have been unable to follow through with the ‘advised’ settling techniques and subsequently resort back to their old ways – generally rocking, feeding their baby back to sleep.
I guess the point I am trying to make here is that
- Parents need to understand that teaching their baby to self-settle will NOT happen overnight. This needs to be stressed. It takes commitment, consistency and support. Your baby has been assisted to sleep for 6 days, 6 weeks, 6 months, 12 months….. They will not learn to fall asleep on their own in one sleep cycle. Imagine if I took your bed away tonight and made you sleep on the floor. You wouldn’t sleep well and you too would protest until I either gave you your bed back OR you learnt to sleep on the floor. Your baby is no different. It takes time to learn a new skill.
- You need to work within your comfort zone …. There is no point engaging the services of someone to help you with your baby’s sleep unless you are comfortable with the method. If you can’t follow through with the techniques there is no point! It is also helpful to have an open mind as to the techniques on offer.
- CONSISTENCY IS THE KEY. Decide on a method you are happy with and stick to it.
I have picked up babies, given comforters, given dummy’s, I have even put a chair in the middle of the room for no other reason than the baby thought her mum was sitting in it and therefore went to sleep happily! I have had mum’s contact me because their baby isn’t doing what the ‘advice’ / ‘books’ / ‘google’ says they should be ….. but at the end of the day if it is working for you and your baby is thriving than that’s OK. ALL babies are different. Work with YOUR baby.
I have had mum’s look at me in the ‘are you serious’ kind of way because I have gone against what they have read and/or heard …… and yet by working together with the family: Parents 2 B supporting mum and mum supporting baby: the sleep issues can and have been resolved.
At the end of the day if things are working well for you and your family .. than let it be. If it is not broken then it doesn’t need fixing.
If things aren’t working – then seek assistance. BUT remember to work within your comfort zone and remember it will not happen overnight. It takes time and consistency.