New babies love to sleep. It seems like that’s all they do. So why are parents of new babies so exhausted? New babies have some weird, mysterious way of sleeping just enough that the look like they are always asleep, but waking up just enough that their parents get no sleep at all. It’s just the way it is. Tricky, sneaky babies.
Luckily I no longer have a new baby. My baby is an old baby, which means that I get to do the tricking. I have successfully
tricked her into taught her to sleep through the night, and to have pretty regular and kick-ass naps (are you kidding me? Right when I typed this, I heard Harriet wake up…. damn hubris!) during the day.
My main advice in all things parenting is to not read any books, or if you simply must a book, please, please, please only read one. Books are notorious for giving conflicting opinions and making you think you are doing things right, while simultaneously making you think you are killing your child. Yuck. My second piece of advice is to never listen to advice. It only messes with your head.
If you want to know how we trained our daughters, I will refer you to this blog post. I know some people think it is mean to sleep train babies in this way. I would say to them that it is mean not to, but I’m not going to say that. It’s just what I would say. But I’m obviously not saying that. I’m not trying to start any ‘mommy wars’ here, just trying to share my truth and reality. If you don’t agree with this, feel free to close the browser, or tab, or phone, or what-have-you. I’m not trying to change your mind, just trying to share what worked for both my girls. Besides, if you feel strongly that what I did is wrong, your mind will never be changed, now will it? Nope. And anyway, that is totally not the point of this post.
The point of the post is to deal with my feeling after having sleep trained. I love that Harriet has learned this amazingly important life skill. I love that Jesse and I were able to teach her this amazingly important life skill. I have no regrets as to how or when we sleep trained both girls. I am confident in all of this. I am proud of this. I am proud that Jesse and I are able to teach and guide our kids. I am proud of my daughters for taking this small, no huge, step towards independence.
With Alma, we had her in bed with us every single night until she was four months old. I loved sleeping with her, and being able to nurse her whenever either of us wanted to. I loved the connection and cuddles. But I was so ready to move on to the next step when she turned 4 months old and we got the go-ahead from our pediatrician. I don’t remember feeling sad to have her out of the bed in those first few weeks.
With Harriet we had her in the co-sleeper, up against our bed every night until she was about 4 1/2 months old. I loved this, too. It was great having her close enough that I could nurse easily. I loved being able to hold her little hand while we slept. I loved hearing her little baby noises, and watching her little baby breathing. Again, I was so ready to move on to the next step. But, this time I have been a little sad in the weeks that followed.
Maybe it’s because she’s our last baby.
When I go to bed, and turn off the light, it takes me forever to fall asleep. I don’t know if it’s that I miss the white noise of her breathing, or the nightlight that is now in her room, or something more visceral.
All I know for sure is that it is called sleep training for a reason. Harriet seems to be trained, but I’m still learning. I guess that is what it means to be a parent. And that can’t be found in any book.