I make no secret of, or apology for, the fact that we nursed The Boy to sleep until he was gone two years old. Yes that was a long time, and yes I do (partly) wish we hadn't, so you at the back over there reading this with your judgemental face on can cut it out! Walk a mile in my shoes and all that!
It didn't start out that way; I intended for him to go to sleep independently from the word go but babies make a habit of falling asleep in your arms. And in my defense he was always put down fully awake in his cot at bedtime, he'd fall asleep under the mobile and everything was fine and dandy. A series of colds over the course of his first Winter saw us slip into the habit of nursing him to sleep and, in all honesty, it was just too damned lovely to break the habit.
However, one day enough was enough, and with the advice of a sleep expert (from Pampers originally) we developed a routine to get him to go to sleep by himself without the use of the dreaded controlled crying that I detest so much. This started to go well but unfortunately she was no longer at hand to help out and that's when I found Jo Tantum on twitter. I actually think she may have found me first and I glanced at her profile thinking she was more than likely one of those people using twitter to promote and not actually help. How wrong I was! I asked a question to the general twitterverse one day and she answered it. Ever since Jo has helped me out with queries about sleep training, potty training and reassuring me about whether to start night-time training or not. She's friendly and non-judgemental, genuinely.
I want to share some information with you about babies, parents and sleep that has been collated by BabyHuddle. Their survey has shown that "nearly 70% of parents are rocking their babies to sleep in order to get some well-earned rest." I can completely understand that, although I will hasten to add that The Boy was never a bad-settler at bedtime. However, the hands-on approach (like mine) seems to be the preferred option for new parents rather than a non-contact approach like "pushing the pram round the house, driving the car around the block and singing nursery rhymes."
Now being honest, I would rather not be walking around the block or driving around and around (like my own parents had to) at midnight, and luckily I never needed to (before the nursing began). However, The Boy's mobile was a Godsend and it was the reliable method to help The Boy get to sleep, even now.
Jo (who has written ‘Baby Secrets’) says:
“Rocking a new baby to sleep is beneficial for bonding and breastfeeding, but as your baby gets older it leads to the baby needing that same sleep prop every time they want a nap in the day, or in order to sleep at night. If they wake up in the night, they will need that rocking again then, and since the parent is the one who has provided it, it usually leads to sleep deprivation and exhaustion in Mum and Dad, not to mention a bad back as your baby gets older and heavier!”
And she's right, because it took us a long time to break the habit of nursing him to sleep. We did manage to through the programmes and support we were given by two sleep experts. And not one tear was shed (apart from mine at my baby growing up)!
I'd like another baby and the question that has crossed my mind is, "Would I do bedtime differently?"
"Yes!" is the answer. While The Boy now goes to sleep by himself, if he wakes in the night he is ill equipped to get back to sleep without one of us nipping in and reassuring him; we're all a bit shattered to be honest!
More on the survey can be found on blog.babyhuddle.com. You can follow Babyhuddle on twitter or Facebook. To find more on ‘Jo Tantum’s Spaced Soothing Technique’ visit www.babysecretsltd.com or follow @jotantum for free advice on twitter.