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Sleep like a baby? What???

People who say they sleep like a baby usually don’t have one. ~Leo J. Burke.Ahh, the million dollar issue for individuals all ages. As a child my parents thought I didn’t sleep enough, then didn’t know what to do with me when I gave up the afternoon sleep and wanted to stay up watching TV at night. A few more years in and I refused to wake up in time for school and then survived on 4 hours sleep per night during 3 years of college in India. I have profusely apologised to my parents for a being a night owl (or a vampire if I was allowed to use that word to describe myself as a child) but I often hear stories of them taking me out on a bike so that the ride would put me to sleep for a little bit.

As an adult I understood that there is either a bad sleep routine or Sleep disorders which impacted the amount or quality of sleep someone was able to enjoy. And as a parent I had the luxury of getting good sleep on most nights after the first few months of Junior’s life. So here is my story:

Junior did not co-sleep as S and I are heavy sleepers and we would have probably crushed the little bubba between us lol. He moved into his own room at the age of 5 months because in the same room as me, none of us were able to sleep well – and lack of sleep makes almost everybody crazy (unless you are a rock star and using some illegal substance to keep you going on and on like a Duracell bunny). Surely it was hard to cross the living area to reach his room few times a night at start but before we knew it, he started sleeping through, waking up a much happier baby. Much to everyone’s disgust, we did the ‘crying it out’ method of teaching him how to put himself to sleep. Research supported that he wouldn’t get sick crying like that and he was well monitored by us.

We got help from Cradle Sleep school which pretty much taught us exactly what we had read online and implemented into Junior’s life. We were clearly judged by others for being ‘harsh’ parents but the method worked for us. I tried not to look down on those who kept their kids sleeping with them until they were 3 years or older or judge those that kept their kids awake way past midnight coz it was easier for the whole family to hang out together. To each their own of course.

Research links lack of a good sleep routine for a child to Post Natal depression in mothers and significant relationship difficulties for the couple. We have to find a formula that suits our child and supports our lifestyle. Something has to give and we cant have it all.

If you are willing to do it the ‘hard way’, there is a lot of assistance and support available in the Western countries. Speaking to your local doctor or a health nurse is probably a good place to start. Personally – Sleep Sense is a great program developed by Dana Obleman; she not only provides the easy to implement program but also ongoing newsletters and support for parents. The first step would be to recognize the issue with your child’s sleeping pattern and get everyone who is involved in your child’s life on board with your ‘plan of attack’.

Points to Ponder:

  • What is your current lifestyle like? What hours of work or play for you as a family during the week and weekends?
  • If you are with a partner, where is your relationship at? Could you use more time and space as a couple with your baby sleeping better?
  • Do you have regular support from friends and family who can help you get some rest during the day and look after your baby? What other support systems have you got available in the community?
  • What is YOUR fine line between managing your child’s routine as well as managing some of the uncomfortable emotions that come with trying to get that?

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