I have three children, and so I speak from a fair degree of experience when I say that all babies are different. All babies are born so unique and wired so differently, making it difficult to always know how to read and “decode” them right? We are constantly trying to understand their language and make sense of the all signs and signals they give us during their first year of development, a time where verbal dialogue ( the straight-forward kind!) is very limited, if not all together impossible.
Just as all babies are different in their genetic make-up, character, personality and personal habits, I believe that all babies are different, to a certain degree, when it comes to sleep too. I know some experts believe that all babies are born wanting to sleep and are able to do so easily with the right routines implemented. While I’m so with every expert on the routine aspect, I still feel strongly that some babies respond far more easily to these things than others. In my experience from talking to moms over the last 7 years, it’s pretty obvious that some babies are wired to sleep better from the moment they take their first breath.
I think, the same way we as adults ( who have had years of trying to implement good sleep habits and exploring beneath the surface the things that help us sleep better and the things that get in the way of an uninterrupted sleep) still differ with our routines and sleep cycles, so do babies! The fact that your friend’s baby may have been sleeping through as early as 6 weeks with zero interference, yet your baby is still waking up hourly at 5 months (despite you doing very little differently to her) is testament to the fact that some babies come into the world predisposed to sleeping more smoothly. No two babies are the same and some babies are just naturally better sleepers while others need a little bit more coaching. And that’s OKAY! It’s nothing you have done wrong (in the early days anyway!) and be encouraged that there are ways you can get your baby to where you want them to be.
For babies who naturally follow a good (age-Appropriate) sleep-cycle, there seems little their mom needs to do to intervene, there are fewer rules they need to incorporate because their babies just have a natural knack from the get-go. And so we watch with green-eyed envy as they find themselves in an easy and manageable routine, because their babies have figured out how to sleep well on their own. Go them! Of course, if we have “bad sleepers” it’s a whole different ball game. I say “bad sleepers” but in reality they are just babies who need a little more coaching when it comes to how they should sleep and how they can link their sleep-cycles to stretch longer.
Jo Ryan, a baby sleep consultant, says that personality plays a big part in whether or not babies are naturally good or bad sleepers.
“Some babies are pretty chilled and will sleep anywhere, anytime, while others need more assistance, are more alert and struggle to switch off,” she says.
What I have learned (I’ve always kind of known and had ringing at the back of my head with all three of my babies) is that when we end up intervening too much and getting into “bad” habits of lulling our babies to sleep and responding to them too quickly, our babies end up relying on them/us as a means of falling asleep or, back asleep. In reality we are not allowing them to learn how to self-soothe. We are not giving them the tools to learn how to sleep independently.
It’s pretty obvious to us that If you rock your baby to sleep every single night, they eventually rely on this as a way of falling asleep. If you give in to giving them boob every time they wake-up, they are going to begin to associate that feeling, smell, warmth etc…. with sleep and need it to fall back asleep every time they wake up.
If you’re co-sleeping and that’s is working for you and you don’t mind your child in your bed then good for you mama! I just know that it wasn’t working for me and and only teaching my daughter that I would be there to soothe her back to sleep all through the night, which led to her waking up even more frequently than when she was only a few months old. Yup, it slowly got progressively worse!
So I knew what we needed to do. It had just been too long since I had attempted any form of sleep-training and so I needed to call on the experts! The real mama experts who had walked the road before me. The awesome thing about putting my life out their on a blog and for everyone to see on Social Media, is that I get to ask for help from you guys too and that is exactly what I did. And the response has been amazing, I’m so grateful for everyone who sent me me referrals and snippets of advice and just for showing your support. As moms who have done sleep-training know, it’s not an easy process and one that demands a heart of steel (mixed with all the warmth and compassion of a mama bear) and much perseverance. Yet, with all your encouragement I found it in me to give it a go. And I’m so glad I did!
As I sit here looking at this picture of this little sausage, I'm also listening to her cry it out in her cot! It's heartbreaking. I know that all those moms against sleep training will want to crucify me, but I know it's what I have to do. I know it's the right choice for us. . . Waking up every two hours is not good for my sanity and no, she won't sleep in my bed either. I feel that as my friend @amybrown777 so lovely put it, we are born not knowing how to walk, eat, talk etc… but with the right coaching we learn and adapt. If all their needs are taken care of (fed, clean nappy etc) and they are not sickly, I don't feel that crying it out for 5 minutes will undo all the love I have invested in her ALL day. . . Does that make it easier?? No!! Is her crying tugging at my heart strings? YES! . . But I'm doing it as much for her as for me. A baby who sleeps better and whose life follows a simple routine, is certainly a happier one. My kids anyway!! . . 10 more minutes and this mama is going to be cracking open the wine though. Seriously it's not for sissies!! 💔💔💔
In my next post I’m going to all you EXACTLY what we have done with the incredible support and help from my new best friend Amy Brown who literally walked me through everything I need to know about the Baby Wise Sleep-training method (over many long what App voice notes. HAHA!). I’ve never met this chick face to face but my husband and I owe our 11 year marriage to her! I will tell you in detail how it has worked with our almost 10 month-old little Hunter Pie and how we are with our progress. I will say upfront that we are only one week in to her sleeping through from 6.30-5.00! (I want to scream that part off roof top because before that she was literally waking up 4-6 times a night and crying for hours on end!) I’m now trying to coach her to stretch that little bit longer to 6! But i think its safe to say the sleep-training has worked and we are living proof that miracles do happen!
I will also say LOUD AND CLEAR than I’m no baby expert or sleep- training guru. I have learnt through my own experience, with huge amount of support from friends like Amy and the Caley-JAde Rosenberg (From Ellie Love Blog) and those who have walked the road before me, and feel I can only depart this knowledge through what I have learnt on my journey third time around. Sleep-training may not be for everyone, but for the mom who is losing more of her sanity with every hour of sleep lost, then maybe this is something you are considering. Maybe, just maybe, my story can give you hope that your baby can sleep through the night too!
Look out on for the big HOW WE DID IT post tomorrow! ♥