If you hold your newborn to fall asleep they will never fall asleep on their own. Holding your baby to sleep will replicate the womb and make them feel safe. At 3 moths let your baby cry it out so they learn the skill of putting themselves to sleep. Letting your baby CIO will make them feel abandoned. Sleep equals sleep, so the more they nap the better they sleep at night. Don’t let your toddler nap so they’re super exhausted at night and sleep through. Kids need to sleep in their own bed to gain independence. Leaving a kid alone in their room is basically neglect. See where I’m going with this? There is no right or wrong way to get your child to sleep and lets be honest, we all have the same goal…A kid who sleeps through the night and isn’t a cranky little fucker when they wake up (preferably after the sun comes up)
I believe I can speak for everyone when I say lack of sleep is one of the hardest parts of parenting. I’m sure I could handle my daughters temper tantrum over her outfit everyday in stride if I got a full nights sleep. My son flipping out for a 3rd treat would be a joke if I wasn’t days over tired. And my husband asking me why we are still out of almond milk wouldn’t send me into a tizzy if I wasn’t so fkn wiped. But I am and for the most part of motherhood thus far…I am just so damn exhausted!
I remember my parents would always tell me what a terrible sleeper I was as a baby and how I would only sleep if being held, driven or strolled. As I got older my sleep problems only got worse and the thought of sleeping alone terrified me. I would pay my sister to let me sleep on her floor every night for years (seriously what a bitch) and as I got a little older and wiser I realized my parents bed was big enough for 3- JACKPOT!
I would fall asleep in my bed with someone laying with me and in the middle of the night I would walk my little ass down the stairs, tap my dad on the arm and climb right in as he opened the comforter for me. Finally all was well in my mind but never once did I think, do my parents hate me for this? Does my mom yell at me because she’s so exhausted? Do they wish I would just stay in my bed? While I didn’t think much about it then I do recall thinking about it when I was pregnant with Jagger and I knew those rules (or lack there of) would not apply in my house. My bed was for Shai and I, and our kids would be sleep trained from the start and I would feel sorry for all my friends whose kids weren’t sleep angels like mine. Well I was in for a rude awakening when our baby nurse left after only 3 short weeks and we were left alone with a crying baby, who had terrible reflux and needed to be fed every 2-3 hours, how often do babies eat?!? Shit hit the fan like you could never imagine. I was suffering from postpartum (without realizing it at the time) and every night when he would cry for us I couldn’t handle it. I remember sitting in his rocking chair in the middle of the night feeling like I was the only one awake at this god awful hour and it wasn’t because I was out partying with my friends. There is nothing worse than feeling as though you are aIone in your struggles- misery loves company 🙂
I remember friends saying their babies were sleeping through the night and I could not understand wtf was wrong with Jagger! But as parenting goes on you will realize people only want to tell you what they want you to hear. Sleeping from 11:30-5:00am is NOT sleeping through the night in my books, and we would appreciate you stop lying! Anyway, once 12 weeks rolled around and he was doing longer stretches I was given the go ahead by our ped to sleep train. It was at the time the hardest few nights of my life. He was crying himself to sleep in one room with Shai and I crying in the other feeling immense guilt but also believing this was the right move. A few nights later he was sleeping through the night and I was sure we were golden till his teenage years. But then he started to teethe, have a growth spurt, it was a wonder month and so on and so on we had to keep teaching our son how to fall asleep on his own. I was finally starting to realize how incredibly hard parenting actually is.
Things quieted down for a while and we felt like normal people again. It was only until Jagger was 3ish and I found out my parents were possibly getting a divorce. (We’ll save that story for another day) I was beside myself and felt the deep need to take Jagger to Florida for one last vacation to see my parents still together living under one roof. I remember being so incredibly sad and confused, and I didn’t have Shai with me on this trip that I suggested Jagger sleep in the bed with me. I selfishly needed him more than he needed me but it made sense at the time to slumber up for a few days. Well when we returned from Florida gone were the days of his solo sleeping. He needed one of us to lie with him to fall asleep and woke every night crying for me to sleep with him. I got so tired of being woken every night that we put a bed in his room and I just started sleeping there-Every. Single. Night (please pick your mouth up off the floor, I know it was bad) I would watch TV with Shai, brush my teeth, throw in my retainer and head into my new roomies suite to sleep. Super good for the marriage.After almost 6 months of this he finally stopped waking and we are now down to lying with him at night but the truth is, it doesn’t bother me like it used to. Ok, maybe sometimes it annoys the shit out of me like when I’m late for a girls dinner, or my food just got delivered and I’m so damn hungry. And yes at times I want to glue his mouth shut so he will just go the fuck to sleep, but most times I’m like totally into it. But what’s different is that instead of feeling guilty that I’m doing something “bad” I actually try enjoy the cuddles and kisses and hearing my boy fall asleep on me. At least thats what I tell myself every night.
Now we come to Jett. Up until 2 months ago she was my easy child. The dream baby who was independent, fun, easy going and all around an amazing little human. This was all until she finally jumped out the crib at 3:30 in the morning and I got too scared she would get hurt. I did my usual anxious mommy panic and immediately ordered her a toddler bed and let me tell you, she is loving her new found freedom a little too much.
For the first two weeks we had to lie with her to fall asleep (see a pattern here?) but once we realized we didn’t want another Jagger situation, We taught her how to fall asleep on her own. Now don’t let those words fool you as bedtime is still no easy fete.Whoever is putting Jett down has to sit outside her door until she is asleep. No, we still haven’t mastered 1 adult putting 2 kids to bed yet, but stop judging. Remember this is a judge free zone. On average, she will come out and check if we’re there a minimum of 3 times. While its super annoying, I am quite impressed that we don’t have to lie with her. In the Shustik house we consider this a win! But it doesn’t end here, why that would be too easy of course. Half of the time during her nap she will either play in her room for almost 2 hours, take a bottle of coconut oil and cover every inch of herself in it or my personal favorite is when she goes through her closet and takes every single item out.
When it comes to nighttime she wakes up at least once every night and comes into our room, some times waking us and more often than not she would just lay on the floor next to Shai’s side of the bed and sleep there. It’s kind of sad actually and reminds me so much of myself as a kid which isn’t really a good thing. After 2 weeks of this happening I sought out some advice from my therapist and pediatrician and they both suggested the same thing, the dreaded gate. No judging at all but after much discussion, Shai and I decided we didn’t feel great about it and had come up with what seemed like a better idea. I would become the human gate (what the fuck were we thinking)? Every night I would brush my teeth, throw in my retainer but this time set up shop in the hallway outside Jett’s door. Sidenote- writing this blog is making me realize how incredibly dysfunctional we really are! Anyway, as pathetic of an option as this way, it did stop Jett from going into our room as the second she would see me she would run back into her room and go back to bed. But like everything else, this got old and I missed sleeping with my husband. Just kidding, I missed watching Housewives before I fell asleep but regardless I wanted back in. So we are now back to square one, Jett comes in every night and for the most part we walk her back but let me tell you, we are so goddam sleep deprived and very tempted to give co-sleeping a fighting chance. Oh and just to mix things up Jagger will occasionally call me to come sleep with him in the middle of the night as well. Guys we are so incredibly screwed and would totally love any advice you may have. This parenting thing is NO JOKE and we’re just trying to make it through one night at a time.
I’m thinking in parenting solidarity, or at least to try make me feel better, drop a note below on the “bad bedtime” issues in your home, cause like I said before…Misery loves company 🙂