Sleepy-time for little ones (or not…)
I have to say: I do have a pretty easy kid. Until he was 9 months, he would fall asleep during his last sip of milk. I loved that part about breast feeding: fall asleep with your baby and your partner.
Then it changed a little bit, because he would sleep less during the day and he would have to go to bed earlier. More around 20.00 than 22.00. We also wanted to teach him to fall asleep in his own bed, instead of between us.
When you go to the books and the advice of the infant centre’s it comes down to this:
“Figure out an evening/going to bed ritual, put your baby in bed and leave the room. If your child cries, it is okay, as long as you are sure he cannot suffocate in stuffed animals etc.”
For more than FOUR months, I tried this ‘advice’. We would have a ritual of bathing him, brushing his teeth (he had eight teeth already) and read him a story. Then we would kiss him goodnight, put him to bed and leave the room. In those four months there was ONE day where he would fall asleep after 5 minutes and not cry for more than 30 minutes. The feeling I had was awful, I hated it. It’s not that I didn’t try. I tried a LOT of things to make it more comfortable: aromatherapy with lavender oil, a candle beside his bed, soothing music. We noticed he loves music and it helped a little bit, but it never really stopped.
After those four months I was done! Sometimes, I ask myself why I kept doing it for so long, probably because of the one time it seemed to work. In the hope he would really fall asleep by himself. But he didn’t, so I started bringing him to bed while I was there with him.
“And what a wonder: he would sleep within ten minutes after he got that I would NOT leave the room before he was asleep. ”
We still bring him to bed like that, and sometimes it’s a pain and I don’t feel like it. Most of the time I actually like it: watching him while he falls asleep. Sing lullabies for him. Listen to his breathing. And during the afternoon when he takes his nap I allow myself to take a nap too, when I feel like it. And I love it!
Since we have our own apartment he sleeps in his own room, normally within 15 minutes.
When I know he is playing with me, or when he really doesn’t want to listen I do go out of the room. With the side note that I am sure, nothing else is going on.
I just want to say: don’t be to harsh on yourself, you dads as well, I am sure that you hate to leave your baby crying just as much as the moms! Don’t be to harsh on your baby. Most importantly, listen to your instincts. I am sure that that’s always the best.
I have talked to moms where they told me this method of leaving the room did work. After a few weeks they would bring their infant to bed, say goodnight, leave the room and done: Baby asleep. Not every baby works like that, because every kid is different! Just keep that in mind and enjoy watching your little one asleep. It’s one of the best things ever to see and before you know it, they are grown up ;).