Monday, May 4, 2015

Sleep... Glorious Sleep. Are We Ready To Give it Up So Soon?

FrenchFry (2 year old) has now slept through the night in his own toddler bed for enough nights in a row that I feel like I can publicize this without jinxing it.  Of course with that sentence I've probably just guaranteed myself at least a few rough nights, but I'm willing to take the chance.  (Dangerous words of an overly confident mom.)

Sleep... glorious sleep.

Two years ago my instincts told me to get up with my son (4 months old at the time) with each cry.  It was around 2 months old that I stopped getting up with each tiny whimper but, anything beyond that, I continued to get up to check on him and comfort him.  That usually meant nursing him for 45 minutes to an hour for the first year, though eventually that became just 30, then 15, then 5 minutes of nursing and he was back to sleep.  It's hard to remember specifics because life with an infant can be  especially blurry when trying to remember the haze of middle of the night parenting.

I know I began the process of night weaning him about 2 and a half months ago because I wrote about it here.  And I was feeling pretty confident when I wrote this a few weeks ago to let other parents know that you won't ruin them forever if you nurse, rock, etc. to sleep.  And now here we are - FrenchFry sleeps in his bed all night long and I got there without having to follow any "methods."

Instead... I just followed my instincts.

Through the last 2.25 years I have second guessed myself a lot when it came to FrenchFry's sleep.  In my heart I always felt that if I waited long enough, eventually he would be sleeping through the night and in his own bed.  And guess what?  It actually worked!  I wish I could go back to the me of 2 years ago - the first time mom of a 4 month old - and let her know that she doesn't have to doubt herself and it is going to work out like she thinks and hopes it will and take away the kernel of doubt that was always there... especially when the advice of the "experts" seemed to contradict my own instincts and approach.

Someone ALWAYS has their advice... sigh.

As my husband and I think about whether or not we are ready to try for another child, I know one of his biggest concerns is going back to that really hard place of having a newborn... to sleepless nights and a crying infant.  But I really think this time will be different.  I mean, I KNOW it will be different because every child is different but also because WE are different now.  We know how things can turn out.  We've been through to the other side and we have seen that you can (and will) get there one day.

One of the hardest things about those sleepless nights is that you don't know if you're going to get through it.  You don't know if you are ruining them for ever (spoiler alert: you're not)... especially when you hear advice from friends, coworkers, strangers, the Internet that tell you that you are doing it wrong. That the choices you are making will keep your child from ever sleeping through the night or in their own bed.  That they will never be able to fall asleep on their own (presumably there are millions of adults out there right now who can't fall asleep unless their roommates or spouses rock them to sleep because their parents did that for them as infants and toddlers).

I'm sure if we do have another child and I'm up at 3am (after having been up at 11pm and 1am as well) and at my wit's end I will remember how naive I was to think that the worst part was the not knowing... when the worst part is probably the torturous lack of sleep and the feeling of helplessness in the moment.  But I suspect that maybe next time will be different.  That I can cling to the fact that things did get better with FrenchFry so they are likely to do the same with the next child. 

Maybe I'm just trying to convince myself so I feel ready to make the plunge into having another child.  In some ways it seems like this new development of actually getting consistent sleep is the best reason not to jump into life with a newborn again!  Maybe it's just like getting a tattoo or giving birth where you forget what it was really like once you get far enough from it.

Or maybe it really will be different next time.

Are these well rested parents ready to give that up so soon?

If you're still in the trenches with infant sleep - just remember that it's okay to trust your instincts because it can and will get better!  

If you have had more than one child, did it get easier the second time around? 

No comments:

Post a Comment