THE PRESSURE OF GETTING YOUR BABY TO SLEEP
Even before our babies are born we are bombarded with information regarding sleep for baby. I remember feeling so overwhelmed and scared of sleep deprivation (because I had suffered insomnia in the past I knew the effects it had on mental health) that I engaged the help of a baby sleep specialist who wrote me a program to follow once my daughter was born.
In a perfect world all our babies would sleep through the night and we would all sleep when they sleep but unfortunately we don't live in a perfect world and the practicalities of life with a new born are totally different to what I think we are taught.
I shouldn't complain as Millie was sleeping through from a very young age but once she got to about 7/8 months old that all changed and so did my parenting. She got sick and we put her in bed with us and from then on we have been dong a mix of her sleeping in a cot in our room and sleeping in bed with us. I put so much pressure on my self for so long to try to get her to sleep in her own room that one day I had a panic attack and then realised it wasn't worth it, what was more important was that we all got rest and that we were all happy.
Having a baby is overwhelming, sleep deprivation is beyond hard and the pressure we face as new mums is just all too much at times.
If I could give you any advise when it comes to sleep for your baby it would be this:
1. DO WHAT YOU FEEL IS RIGHT FOR YOU AND YOUR BABY:
Co-sleeping or not, bassinet or cot , sleep suits or swaddles, routine or carefree, rocking to sleep or feed to sleep, dummy or comforter, cry it out methods and on and on and on it goes- there is so much info and so many varied opinions on what is "right" or "wrong" but at the end of the day every baby is different, this baby is yours and only YOU know what is right and what you feel comfortable in doing. It's actually no body else's business how you get through the night. What is more important is that you are all happy, content and safe. The proven effects that sleep deprivation have on your mental health are worth worrying about so you do what YOU need to do to get some sleep too even if that means you're doing something that someone told you is "wrong" because usually it just their opinion not fact.
2. STOP COMPARING:
"Comparison is the thief of joy." This little quote goes for everything in life but unfortunately it is hard to live by. For some reason some where along the way "sleeping through the night" has become a milestone for our babies and somewhere along the line that means we are comparing ourselves to other mothers and comparing our babies to each other's development. What ever you do STOP comparing the sleep patterns of your baby to someone else's baby or you will only end up disappointing or upsetting yourself. Sleep is not a competition. If you think about it do we as adults compare our sleep patterns? Do we all sleep through the night? Nope. I wake up at least a few times a night for some water or to go to the bathroom but lucky as adults we have the ability to know it's still the night and still time for sleep so we just roll over and go back to sleep. Our little babies don't have that ability , they are still learning about the big, wide world and are probably scared when they wake up in the middle of the night with out their Mummy right there. We need to be there for them not only to help them to sleep but for them to know we are there when ever they need us.
3. ASK FOR HELP:
As previously mentioned sleep deprivation can have a huge impact on our mental health so if you're suffering please know it's OK to not be OK.
Ask for help, ask your partner to help, seek advice from a professional - sleep consultant or a psychologist if its you that you're worried about, hire a baby sitter to com over for a few hours so you can nap during the day or ask a friend or family member to come stay the night so you can get some rest. In a world where we are pressure to be the "perfect mum" just know that it is OK to admit you're struggling and know that there is a way out.
You cannot pour from an empty cup so make sure you are looking after you too!
Anyway if you came here for tips on how to get your baby to sleep I'm sorry if I disappointed you because seriously I am no expert and I believe every baby is different so what I do for Millie might not work for your baby!