Why does everyone have advice on getting your baby to sleep that they just must give you! There is an endless stress of books, websites and experts telling us how to put our baby to sleep or we risk permanently damaging their development, intelligence or social skills. 'No control crying before 6 months' but 'you must train your baby to self settle as soon as possible', 'your baby needs to be in a feed, play, sleep routine', 'don't feed your baby to sleep' but 'make sure your baby has a full tummy before bed', 'don't rock your baby to sleep', 'your baby should be sleeping through by 6 weeks'.... and the list of what you should be doing goes on... unfortunately, I've caved into first-time-mum syndrome of following all the advice and stressing that I'm 'ruining' my baby by not getting her to self settle by 6 weeks, 12 weeks or even 15 weeks! I've tried every 'technique' in the book to the point I'm not sure my baby even knows what she should do either. The pressure on mums these days to sleep their babies the 'right' way has struck poor exhausted mums with the fear they are severely disadvantaging their children because they are not a 'good enough' mum! This is simply BS! New mums are working hard enough, sleeping little, and stressing greatly, without needing to be told they are doing it all wrong!
This week I've had my mother to stay with us and she told me the first piece of advice that might actually be true. 'Trust your instincts'. And you know what? She may be right! Maybe we should all just do what ever our babies seem to need, doing whatever works to get our babies some precious sleep, even if it means letting our little koalas sleep in our arms, or comforting them with a feed. My mother never had a single baby book. Not even 'What to Expect', no 'Save our Sleep' - she slept us on our tummies, she fed us to sleep every sleep, she let us cry. She raised three stable, intelligent children. We can put ourselves to sleep without being fed, or rocked, or shhhooshed. Letting us cry a little has not left us severely psychologically scared and emotionally disconnected. Our parents raised us all without this so-called 'expert' advice, there was no internet with endless sources of information. And guess what, our grandparents raised our parents the same way... and their parents before them, and their parents before them!
Ladies, lets stop being so hard on ourselves! What is it about modern day parenting that has mums constantly on edge feeling as though they will ruin their babies if they don't follow the expert routine to a T? Trust your instincts and ignore all the conflicting advice. Your baby wont remember that they were rocked to sleep, feed to sleep, cried a little, cried a lot, self settled, didn't settle. All they will remember is that their mummy loved them, that they were safe, that they were happy. Love your babies, love yourself and don't stress they small things, this too shall pass. xoxo