By Rachel K. Watts
I am a mum.
I am exhausted.
I am confused.
My heart and mind seem like they are in a constant argument with each other. Much of the ‘helpful’ information i have read on the internet and in books and been told seems to go against my God given instinct as a mother.
My body screams for rest, for my little one to sleep through the night, yet my heart says give him the food and comfort he wants.
He doesn’t know any different. He is helpless, completely reliant on his mum and dad and his only way of communication is to cry.
He craves human attention just like us adults do.
I watch him play on his mat, yes he likes his toys, but they are no replacement for time spent with mum and dad.
I told myself it wont be forever, maybe three months, that sounds reasonable, but one week has turned into one month into five months attending to my little one for an hour at a time, several times a night, every night and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight.
Other mums babies sleep through the night, why doesn’t mine?
What am i doing wrong?
’They’ say “Don’t feed to sleep”
“Don’t respond to their cries at night if they aren’t hungry”
“They have to learn to self settle”
“Don’t pick them up if they only want attention – it will teach them bad habits”
Is that why my baby won’t sleep – because I pick him up when he cries?
‘They’ would place guilt on parents in these situations, overloading us with information and doubts…What do we actually teach them? That long term that mum and dad will ignore them so its no use trying to call out to them?
Yes maybe they have to learn to sleep through the night on their own, but how many adults do this?
Its normal for adults to wake during the night, we just don’t cry for attention when we wake.
Instead we try all manner of things to put us back to sleep, like drugs, food, drinks, essential oils, creams, cooling, heating, and even some white noise.
I need the fan going all night every night to fall asleep, without it I take forever to settle, is this a bad habit i have got myself into? If my little one couldn’t fall asleep without white noise would it be considered a bad habit? Much of the information out there would suggest so!
Maybe I have taken these things out of context and it is well meaning mothers who love their little ones, that cant cope without sleep, (ie myself), that have written numerous guidelines and techniques for helping baby to sleep through the night. I may well be writing sleep studies for babies in years to come, but i still find it confusing…and probably will even then.
What did mothers do hundreds, or thousands of years ago, or even just decades ago, when they didn’t have the internet?
When they didn’t have as many contacts via phone or email, or the copious amounts of sleeping guidelines that we have today?
Maybe they just picked up their baby and fed them and comforted them when they needed it.
Maybe they held their little ones all night knowing that one day they would not be little any more and they would be independent of their parents.
Thats a scary thought for me.
How will my little man do without his Mother?
One day my son wont need me to help him to go back to sleep.
He will look to other things to achieve this purpose.
Until then as hard as it is and as much as I love my sleep, I will hold him when he wants holding and feed him and comfort him when he needs it.
Maybe just one day in the future I will wish back the days when getting up every night to my son was the norm.